TODAY’S READING: PROVERBS 17-20
The contrast between goodness and evil; warnings and instructions about life.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
As we have seen all the way through the 365 Days of Pursuit, the Bible is filled with practical insights for living. That is especially true of the Book of Proverbs, for it is really nothing more than a collection of God’s complex and diverse statements of truth about life, compared or contrasted with that which is not true. As was suggested in the “Introduction To Proverbs” on Day 191, this collection is to be read slowly, reflecting on the content, and often! Again, as mentioned, one of the best ways to establish this routine is to read the chapter each day that corresponds with the day’s date. If you’ll simply add a chapter of Proverbs a day to your regular Bible study each year, do you realize that in the next 20 years, you will have made your way through the Book of Proverbs 240 times?! Before you know it, the contrasts and parallels will become recorded on the hard drive of your mind, providing you wisdom moment by moment as the Holy Spirit guides you to walk in t!
he way with the wise (Prov. 13:20).
And wow! Am I with Solomon in verse one in today’s reading (chapter 17)! I’d rather have my family all intact, living in peace (quietness) in a shack with just enough food to get us by, than to live in a fat house, able to eat whatever we jolly-well please, but have it all in the midst of strife in our relationships with each other! (See also Prov. 21:9) Many American Christians in pursuit of the “things on earth,” (Col. 3:1-2), got what they wanted, but lost what they had. Be careful. Be wise!
The second half of verse 6 in chapter 17 packs such a wallop that I can’t just pass over it, but there’s not enough space to really nail the unbelievable implications of this simple truth: “The glory of children are their fathers.” That’s not something you teach your children, it’s just something that is! Because of that truth, more than our culture, environment, and education; more than circumstances of life or socio-economic level; even more than our MOTHER(!!!); nothing humanly has had, or will ever have a more profound influence and impact on who we are, what we are, and what we do than our fathers. Whether he was present or absent; whether he was living or dead; whether we knew him very well or didn’t know him at all; whether we loved him, hated him, or somewhere in-betweened him; whether we like to admit it or not, the fact is – all of us we’re greatly affected and deeply impacted by him. Whether you are a son or daughter, a mother, or a father, and whether you ar!
e old or young, the biblical information regarding fathers is something every person needs to understand.
If you have diarrhea of the mouth, verse 27 of chapter 17 might be a great verse to memorize. This verse has spawned quite a few catch phrases and quips through the years, such as:
• “Blessed is the man who, having nothing to say, refuses to give
evidence of it.”
• “Silence is a hard argument to refute”
• “He can never speak well who cannot hold his peace.”
• “As a man grows older and wiser, he talks less but says more.”
Chapter 18 and verse 1 is key. It lets us know that to arrive at wisdom, we must possess a “desire” that is so intense, that we are willing to “separate” ourselves from anything and everything that would interfere with that pursuit! If you need a reason to continue on in our 365 Days of Pursuit, (I hope you don’t!), this verse (18:1) is a great one!
The “fool” on the other hand (in 18:2), has only one pursuit: “That his heart may discover itself.” If you were to ask him, “What is the biggest problem in our world, ignorance or apathy?”, his response would no doubt be, “I don’t know and I don’t care!” How many “fools” (God’s identification, not mine) have LOST themselves in the midst of FINDING themselves! Allowing your “heart” to “discover itself” is an invitation to disaster! We have been instructed to “keep (guard) your heart with all diligence” (Prov. 4:23). Without that guardianship of our hearts, the “issues of life” (Prov. 4:23) coming out of it will destroy us!
Verse 8 of chapter 18 is extremely graphic: “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of them, you understand just how perfect that description is. The talebearer, in effect, is a murderer. He slays a persons reputation and/or character with a sword that Psalm 57:4 and 64:3 identifies as the tongue. There are many hearts that are bleeding today because they have been stabbed by someone’s tongue. You can’t help it happening to you, but you most certainly can help it happening BY you! Once again, it’s a heart issue. Jesus said in Matt. 12:34, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” As always, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart. Keep (guard) yours today!
CHRIST IS REVEALED
As THE KING Who sits on the throne of judgment – Prov. 20:8. (John 5:22)