Monday, May 31, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 9:

This chapter introduces a new character, Woman Folly. This new character reinforces the whole theme of Proverbs…that there are two paths to choose from. She is clearly the opposite of Lady Wisdom and bears the characteristics of the prostitute…loud, careless and a temptress. The thing to remember is all of our decisions lead us down a path. Even if we feel the decision is very minor, it still leads us to a destination. The introduction of Lady Folly reveals that we either choose wisdom…the way of life or folly…the way of death.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 8:

I love how we just left a chapter that talked about an adulteress woman pursuing a man and now we see Lady Wisdom also pursuing a man. The whole theme of having two paths to choose from continues to stay alive. One path leads to death and the other leads to life. We’ve heard from Lady Wisdom a lot in just a few chapters in Proverbs, so who is she? Is it God, Christ, some Egyptian or Greek god? Actually, Lady Wisdom is a personification of the wisdom that God has built into the world. When Solomon talks about creation we see wisdom woven into the process. Remember, Proverbs is a book of principles and agreeing with them doesn’t make any difference…they are still active. Wisdom is woven into our world and according to verse 4 it’s available to anyone and verse 17 implies she is easy to find. Young men were being challenged by Solomon to pursue the woman that brings life…Lady Wisdom.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 7:

Chapter 7 is a further warning about adultery. It’s interesting because it has a lengthy story from verse 6 to 23. Solomon is peeking through the lattice of his window and watches a young man fall prey to an adulteress woman. He watches the young man as he is lured by the woman to have sex. It’s not just her dress that is seductive but her words. She mentions fellowship offerings in verse 14. Basically, what she is doing is justifying making money for sex so she can use it for worship. Also, she mentions her husband is gone and took the money purse with him. She somehow convinces the young man that he is actually doing a good deed by paying for sex. It seems crazy but that shows how na├»ve people can be in certain situations. The young man goes to the bedroom with the woman and the picture Solomon paints is not the one the young man has in his mind. Solomon says ‘an ox going to the slaughter’…’a deer stepping into a noose.’ The young man is probably thinking…’I’m the man’…’this is going to be awesome.’ Whenever you’re involved in sin it’s sometimes difficult to see what is really going to happen. As Solomon peeks through the lattice he is watching something he has seen many times and he knows the ending. According to Solomon, it’s a path that leads to the chambers of death. Some people struggle with this passage because it seems to portray the young man as innocent and the woman as the seducer. However, we have to remember that many of these proverbs were written to the young men since they would become leaders of their household and communities. Also, the culture was different then and all of the ‘good girls’ would be at home under the protection of their father. That’s different from today since men and women can hook up almost anywhere at anytime. So, for a book written to young men it makes sense to tell a story from this perspective.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 6:

Man, this chapter is loaded. We have financial issues, laziness, a list of things the Lord can’t stand and more adultery warnings. I’m not going to hit them all, but I’ll focus on verses 6-11. We can learn from an ant. Wow! Ants seem so useless when you think about it? I mean you’ve probably killed thousands of them by just walking across the yard, spraying your yard or maybe setting bait traps in your house. If I was going to pick something to learn a lesson from, ants would probably be at the bottom of the list. However, Solomon says ‘go to the ant and consider its ways.’ Think about the ant for a second. Have you ever seen one just layin’ around not moving…like your dog? Have you ever watched an ant carry something bigger than its own body? Yeah, I bet you have. In fact, every time I see ants they’re working, moving and doing something. They always seem to be busy. If there’s anyone that needs a vacation it’s probably the ant. Solomon says they do all this on there own…no leader…no boss…no commander saying, ‘get busy, go to work.’ The ant will really make you look hard at your own life and ask, ‘what should I be busy doing?” Most of us are probably hard workers and need some rest. However, spiritually I think is where we tend to get lazy. Reading your Bible, praying, leading your children in devotions, all that stuff takes time and because there are no instant results…we get lazy in that area. Solomon says the ant works hard all summer to store provisions. The ant works hard during one season so it can be prepared for the next. That’s exactly what we should be doing spiritually. Growing in Christ everyday seems so monotonous, but it helps you prepare for every season of life. Maturing in Christ doesn’t just happen, it takes work and Solomon says we can learn from the ant. There are a lot of other topics in this Chapter. Which one spoke to you?

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 5:

Wisdom has been the main theme for the 1st four chapters of Proverbs. There was a brief talk on avoiding gangs in chapter 1, but since then it’s been wisdom. Now, we get to one of the main reasons why we need wisdom. This chapter is really geared towards men, but it also applies to women. The message is pretty simple, don’t cheat on your spouse…enjoy each other in the marriage bed. One thing I like about this chapter is verse 3. “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil.” In other words, she will be very desirable and pleasing. Also, it’s not just her looks that will get you but her personality can be attractive…notice…“her speech is smoother than oil.” I think the message is to just be honest with your kids. They will desire someone of the opposite sex someday and when they do…applaud. It’s a good thing. Now, you have to teach them where to channel that desire and according to Solomon, it’s the marriage bed only. Be honest and acknowledge the desire is normal and move from there. Now notice where Solomon goes after he reveals the lure of the woman. He goes on a tear for the rest of the chapter revealing that ‘yeah she’s pleasurable’ but it’s only temporary. Afterwards, you will wish you had never gotten near her because the path she’s on leads to death. He lists all of the negative things about having sex outside of marriage. Verse 19 is a cry for 1 man and 1 woman for life. Solomon says we can be satisfied for always and the scary thing is verse 21. God has ‘full view’ of all we do. I’m not sure we think about that enough. We laugh at Adam & Eve hiding from God in the garden but we still do the same thing today. It’s really kind of funny when you think about it. Adam & Eve didn’t get to read about someone before them hiding from God and learn a lesson. They were the 1st people. We do and we still hide…hmm.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 4:

The great thing about this chapter is how the father is practically begging his son to seek wisdom. Normally, the parental appeal takes a verse or two, but this one goes on and on for about 10 verses. You can really see the passion in the Father as he pleads with his son to seek wisdom. Also, wisdom is seen as a woman, which is interesting. Normally, a father will talk to his son about women and encourage his son to date. The agenda of this father is very different. Verse 6…“love her and she will watch over you”…verse 8…”esteem her”…”embrace her.” It sounds like he’s talking about a girl, but he’s really talking about seeking wisdom. I love verse 3…”when I was a boy.” You’re probably thinking he’s about to tell how he walked 10 miles to school in the snow and it was 105 degrees outside. However, he relates to his son and lets him know he’s not the first to go through struggles. It may be hard to do, but somehow we have to let our children know we’ve been there, without coming across as a know it all. Let them know you made some mistakes and what you learned from them. We just have to be honest. And truthfully, I think we as adults still battle with this issue. Every time we go through something it’s as if we are the only one with problems, or the only one to go through whatever it is we are going through. It’s just more proof that we need advice and direction as we go through the trials and difficulties of life. Verse 11 says wisdom will lead you to straight paths. I think that should be the desire for all Christ followers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 3:

Chapter 3 continues on with the benefits of wisdom and the appeal of the parents for the young man to search for wisdom. There’s a lot in this chapter…we see giving in 9, 10 & 28, creation in 19 & 20 and doing evil in 29 and on. It’s worth noting that 2 of the most popular verses in the Bible are found here (v. 5, 6). However, the thing I really notice about this chapter is the appeal for a ‘get rich scheme.’ The heading in my Bible says ‘further benefits of wisdom.’ It can be really easy to read Proverbs with the focus on ‘what’ as opposed to ‘who.’ Meaning, we become more interested in ‘what we get’ versus ‘who we become.’ It seems to get support in verse 2 of the chapter…”for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.” Proverbs never teaches that righteousness is the path to riches…at least not our definition of riches. It does, however, speak the truth that those who live a life devoted to God will escape the pitfalls that bring people to poverty or an early grave. Now, that doesn’t mean everything goes our way and we never experience any difficulties or struggles. We may be going thru some sort of discipline…mentioned in verse 11. But there are some things that we just simply bring on ourselves and Proverbs tells us we don’t have to live that way. There is a better path to take, a better way of life.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Solomon Says...

Proverbs Chapter 2:

In chapter 2 we see the heart of what Proverbs is all about. There are ‘two ways’ for all to choose from. We can choose to walk the path of integrity or the path selfishness. One path is the fear of God and the other one is choosing to go against the heart of God. Lady Wisdom continues to call out to us and encourages us to seek her. However, wicked men and the immoral woman are also seen calling out in hopes that we will choose their path. In verses 18-22 we see that one path leads to life and the other leads to death. The problem, as we talked about Sunday morning, is we only believe that when we’re driving. It makes sense to head south if we are going to Florida for vacation. We understand that. In life, we don’t seem to get it. Proverbs teaches that all paths have a destination. Understanding that will help you to make the wise decision in every area of your life.

*One thing I noticed in chapter 2 was verse 17…”who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God.” The wicked woman that is coming after the young man is a woman that has left her husband. She ‘ignored the covenant she made before God.’ When a couple gets a divorce they not only ignore the covenant between each other but they commit the greater sin by ignoring the covenant they made before God. This scripture really shows the heart of God. He hates divorce. The next time you attend a wedding just imagine God standing on the stage with the bride and groom. As the vows are being spoken, God is listening. They are making a promise to him. Marriage, in God’s eyes, is a huge deal.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Solomon says...

Proverbs Chapter 1:

Thank you for joining me as we go thru the book of Proverbs. During this journey I will write down some thoughts on each chapter. You may want to journal some of your own thoughts during this process. There’s a lot of wisdom crammed into this book of the Bible. Hopefully, by the end of the 31 days we will be much wiser without getting much older.

The 1st thing to understand is the simple goal of Proverbs…to teach the ordinary person how to be wise. That’s it! We don’t just need knowledge (information). We don’t just need understanding (ability to process the information). We need wisdom (the ability to make good, healthy decisions). A wise man in the ancient world was supposed to be able to have this kind of wisdom. Also, he should be able to interpret omens from the gods. That’s why guys like Joseph and Daniel were elevated after they interpreted dreams. Proverbs doesn’t offer us this kind of wisdom…only the kind for making healthy decisions.

One thing that really jumps out in Proverbs from the very beginning is the use of the word ‘son.’ Verses 8-19 show a father advising his son to stay out of gangs. Men were the leaders of the household and it was very important to advise young men (the future) how to live life. Also, wisdom is seen as a woman. So, the thing that really grabs your attention in the 1st chapter of Proverbs is the importance of family. The parents are pouring into the lives of their children. I love verse 23…”if you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.” Wisdom is speaking here. Very early in the game we see wisdom has been offered…not just to Solomon but to all of us.