Proverbs

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“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)

June 16, 2016

In Genesis 9, Ham saw his father, Noah, naked with a hangover from too much wine and he went out and told his brothers. But his brothers took a garment and walked into Noah’s tent backwards to cover his nakedness without seeing him. They exhibited love because they sought to help cover their father’s sin, while Ham did not. Ham was a gossip. Love helps the sinner get forgiveness. It does not seek to condemn or make matters worse. Nor does it attempt to enlarge the sin by repeating it to others.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (Proverbs 14:12 ESV)

April 29, 2016

Many today claim to have found a new and better “way.” Some say theirs is the way of freedom. Others claim their way is as good as any other. “Aren’t all ways the same?” They ask with a wink and a nod. Yet, God’s Word says that these “ways” only “seem right.” In reality, death lies just around the turn. Death by a thousand cuts: Death of a relationship, of a marriage, death of a desired future… and finally death of the body and the eternal death that follows. The way that seems right to man is paved like a highway, and seems attractive to follow, yet it concludes with a dead end of destruction. However, there is another way, a narrow way, that leads to life, yet few will find it (Matt. 7:13-14).

“The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16 ESV)

April 4, 2016

We live in an increasingly thin-skinned world. People seem so easily offended. Nearly every category of humanity is declaring victimhood. Yet, the Bible describes those who are easily offended as foolish. On the other hand, those who ignore an insult are called “prudent” or wise. Jesus is both our model, and our source of strength, for living with this kind of unoffendable wisdom. It was He who declared from the cross, “Father, forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34). His identity was unassailable from others for it rested in the Father’s approval. That’s the key. If our identity depends on the approval of others, we will be continually “vexed” by every felt offense. But if our identity is secure in Christ, we will care only for His approval, wanting only to please Him in everything. When our identity is found in Jesus, we are unoffendable when others insult us.

“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Proverbs 10:19 ESV)

February 28, 2016

The more one talks, the greater the likelihood of sinning. The wise man “restrains his lips,” keeping silent and actively listening to others before carefully choosing words of response. Try talking less and listening more today. Ask the Lord to help you hear His voice and to hear the voices of others before uttering a word yourself. Talkers should talk less.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses” (Proverbs 10:12 ESV)

February 23, 2016

The heart without love is easily offendable. It looks for offense and strikes back to defend. It leaves a trail of broken relationships in its wake. But the heart of love is hard to offend because it thinks of others ahead of itself. It has no need to defend or protect because love is its strong tower. Where ever the heart of love goes, healing and reconciliation happen. Are you overly sensitive and easily offendable? Ask God to examine your heart.

‘Give me neither poverty nor riches— Feed me with the food allotted to me; Lest I be full and deny You, And say, “Who is the Lord?”
Or lest I be poor and steal,
And profane the name of my God’ (Proverbs 30:8-9 NKJV)

December 17, 2015

A proverb and a prayer asking God to supply just the right “allotment” of wealth to avoid the extremes of both “poverty and riches.” Each condition presents its own spiritual and moral problems. The rich are tempted to be “full and deny” the God who blessed them. They forget that the Lord is both Creator and Owner of all. They become self-satisfied and smug. The poor are tempted to “steal” and to blame God for their plight, “profaning” His great Name. They forget to trust God and blame Him and others for their plight. Both poverty and riches bring their own trouble. Better to focus on the Lord who blesses, than on the blessings themselves. Trusting in the Lord to meet our needs, we are able to say along with the apostle Paul, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Phil.4:12-13).

“As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

November 14, 2015

This is one of the purposes of fellowship: mutual “sharpening.” The life of faith is to be lived out in community. First, to be in communion with God and then, with other believers. The life lived in a community of faith offers accountability, so that spiritual growth is encouraged. Sure, when iron strikes iron the sparks may fly, but those committed to the family of God do not pull away, rather they cling to one another, knowing that this is the will of God. This verse is the motto for our church’s men’s ministry, which we call the “Ironmen Ministry.” But the verse is appropriate for all that would desire to live out their faith in community as God commands.