God is certainly a loving God, but He hates sin, and Proverbs 6 is one of the more famous passages on sin in the entire Bible.
Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Pro 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
Honestly, this list seems rather limited. The entire book of Leviticus is about things that we should or shouldn’t do, but for some reason, the seven get called out as particularly important. There were even 10 Commandments, but this list is reduced to seven. Why would you have this kind of reduction?
I think that we have a reduction have because if you think about it, these actions cover a lot of ground. For example, in verse 18, we hear about the heart that plans to do bad things. In my mind, that pretty much encompasses almost any time we sin. That is kind of the definition of sin in a way. We set our hearts on something that we shouldn’t. In other words, we plan on doing something bad.
I think that this is an interesting chapter without a doubt. This particular passage about the seven things that God hates really makes you think. They are general enough to include a wide variety of missteps, but like most of this book, they are simple enough to be memorable. Rather than memorize a book of a million possible sins, I feel like they memorizing the seven characteristics, we have the criteria to evaluate whether something is right or wrong.
This can help us with those gray areas that the Bible does not speak to directly. Does the activity violate one of these seven principles? If it does, then we know that we probably stop doing it. It is not like God left us out there to evaluate what was right and wrong through trial and error. We have a guide to help us.
Proverbs 5 sounds a lot like marriage counseling. Solomon is basically warning his son about the dangers of having relationships with women outside of his marriage.
Pro 5:3 For the lips of a strange woman drop as an honeycomb, and her mouth is smoother than oil:
Pro 5:4 But her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a twoedged sword.
Pro 5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.
Pro 5:6 Lest thou shouldest ponder the path of life, her ways are moveable, that thou canst not know them.
I first think that this is applicable to both genders. Solomon was writing to his son, but obviously the intent can apply to both men and women.
Basically, it sounds to me like the old proverb, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Later in the chapter, we hear Solomon advise that his son should enjoy his wife which does imply that his son was already married.
People may think that there are better options out there, and it might sound pretty good. However, and I’m sure that we have all heard that about this happening hundreds of times, these types of affairs only lead to pain.
I’m not married, so I am certainly not an expert on this field, but part of me thinks that it is pretty much common sense. If you are married, that is a serious commitment, and violating that relationship and that trust only leads to a vast amount of pain and suffering for everyone involved.
It might seem like the grass is greener on the other side, but it never really works out that way at least in any experience that I have heard about.
Proverbs 4 talks about about learning from your parents. It talks about gathering wisdom from people around you and staying on the path that God has prescribed for us.
For a few verses, it contrasts what evil people do. I found one verse of that part so compelling and interesting that I want to zoom in on just that thought today.
Pro 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.
I know that this verse doesn’t seem like a lot, but it is really interesting that the people who are wicked do not know what they are stumbling over. They do not realize that they are doing anything wrong.
I think that is why it is so important for Christians to be public about our faith. We know that the Bible tells us that some things are right and others are wrong. The Bible does provide guidelines that we can use to live our lives in the right way.
For people who had never read or don’t want to read the Bible, they might not know what they are stumbling over. They may not realize that they are doing things that God has said should not be done. Because of that darkness, they might recognize that they are falling. However, they will not understand what they are falling over because they don’t have the background knowledge.
That is one of the reasons that we cannot be afraid to talk about the Bible. If the Bible is true, then it is very important for people to come to repentance. That is a central part of salvation. However, how can they repent if they don’t know that they did anything wrong?
I am not saying that we need to be incredibly judgmental or the Bible police, but I am saying that we cannot be afraid to call a spade a spade. It might not make us very popular at times because people don’t want to hear about what they are doing wrong, but sometimes it is necessary.
Proverbs 3 is going to keep us on the same theme that we have been talking about for the past few days. We have these concepts of knowledge, wisdom and understanding. We have already established that they come from God. That has been rather obvious from the first two chapters of this book.
Now, we run into them again, and a lot of this ties back to what we talked about yesterday in Proverbs 2.
Pro 3:19 The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
Pro 3:20 By his knowledge the depths are broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew.
I think that this is so important. If you recall, yesterday I explained how if the Christian God is everything that we argue He is, then it makes sense that all things would be able to be brought back to Him. If there was some kind of knowledge in the design of the universe, you would be able to trace all knowledge to its origin which we believe is God.
Chapter 3 emphasizes this even farther. God is not just the source of knowledge, but He built it into creation. God used His wisdom to build the earth. He put His mind to the task of creation. That is why these things are built into the creation.
Think about it. Henry Ford designed the automobile. He had some knowledge, wisdom and understanding as he was creating that machine. You can see the evidence of his thought in that car. There is some type of intelligent design behind the building of that machine.
However, I don’t want to end there. By looking at the automobile, we can learn things. For example, by looking at an engine, I could learn something about mechanics or physics. Henry Ford didn’t necessarily build an automobile to teach me physics, but that knowledge comes along with the package.
I think the universe is similar. I don’t know if God explicitly built the universe to teach me biology. However, in building the universe in the way that it is, God made it possible that I could gain knowledge about biology. I hope that that parallel makes sense.
God is indeed the source of knowledge, but He has also made the universe in such a way that we can discover knowledge. It is not like we are injected with infinite knowledge the minute we are born. We can have that pursuit because God built it in.
Yesterday, I wrote about how we need to fear God before we can have knowledge and wisdom. I wrote about how we need to become anchored in the word of God to really learn who He is and develop this sense of fear and respect.
Proverbs 2 provides us with another way of developing this kind of fear of God. There is another way to learn about Him so that we will put Him in the right perspective.
Pro 2:2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
Pro 2:3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding;
Pro 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
Pro 2:5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.
In verse five, we are reaffirming that knowledge does come from God, so that is good. That hasn’t changed since the previous chapter. However, if you want to fear God, you need to be one who seeks after knowledge. I know that this is a radical concept, and it might be a little bit frightening. However, if we are really looking for knowledge, I am convinced that that pursuit will always lead us back to God.
Again, like I said yesterday, the secular world will tell you this is ridiculous, but I think that this is an important concept for all of us.
For example, I know that there can be fear of academic learning. Parents might worry that by sending their child to a secular college, it could rattle their faith. I am not trying to deny that it certainly could. However, this verse ought to be some type of comfort. If God really is that the base of everything and really is the ultimate Creator of everything, then eventually our pursuit of knowledge should lead us back to God if we are being intellectually honest. If God was not the Creator, then obviously that previous sentence does not apply, but if He is, it is certainly logical to assume that all knowledge will lead back to God.
I took a pair of classes in college called The Pursuit of Knowledge. It made me think of that as I was reading this passage. If you really try to follow knowledge wherever it leads, you are going to end up back with God if He is everything that we as Christians say He is.
Wow, I finally get to say that we are beginning a new book of the Bible. Welcome to Proverbs! I like Proverbs quite a bit, so I think that this should be very fun time.
Chapter 1 seems to be centered on a thesis.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I think that in society today, a lot of people would like to say that the fear of God is the beginning of ignorance, but I guess that shows the differences in our worldviews.
We need to think about the implications of this verse though. We need to fear God if we are even going to begin finding knowledge. That is a rather bold statement. This also seems to imply that if you do not fear God, you do not have any knowledge at all.
However, on the surface that doesn’t seem to be quite right. There are plenty of people who are not God-fearing yet seem to have plenty of knowledge. For example, Sam Harris is a very talented philosopher. He obviously does not fear God, but he certainly has a lot of knowledge about the field of philosophy (even though I believe he is misguided).
I think that we are looking at a somewhat different definition of knowledge than simply facts. Look at the way that that particular verse is set up. It is almost like some type of parallel structure. Those who fear God are at the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
It seems like knowledge and despising wisdom and instruction are at odds here. Wise people do the first, and fools do the second. Therefore, if the fools did not despise wisdom and instruction, they would not be fools anymore. That is what makes them fools.
It seems as if in context, knowledge is being used to mean both wisdom and instruction. Obviously we can gain both of these things from the Bible, and we base our beliefs on the Bible when we respect and fear God. When we understand how great God is and how amazing His power is, we find that fear of God, and we are at the beginning of knowledge. The Bible is what helps us in that process. It can provide us with wisdom and instruction.
This is important stuff. I don’t think that this verse means that we can only learn 2+2 through the fear of God. There are clearly plenty of counterexamples to that one. However, when we look at the context of the verse, it seems to make quite a bit of sense that we need to be grounded in the word of God and learn to fear and respect Him along with the wisdom and teaching that He has given us.
Can you believe it? We made it through Psalms! We made it through the longest book in the Bible, and we made it through the halfway point of the Bible. Thanks as always for coming along for the ride.
Psalms 150 is all about praising God. In fact, it doesn’t really matter how you praise God, but you need to be praising God.
Psa 150:3 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Psa 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Psa 150:5 Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Psa 150:6 Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.
Obviously, there are bunch of instruments here. They make a variety of sounds, and they are used for different purposes. Listening to harp is different than listening to a trumpet which is different than listening to cymbals. However, you can apparently praise God with all of them.
This makes me think about worship styles. For some people, they like contemporary worship. Some people prefer that hymns that they grew up with. I would even be willing to bet that there are some people who wish that there wasn’t music at all since they would prefer more peace and quiet for contemplation.
I don’t think that God has a problem with any of these. Read verse six. We are commanded to praise; we are not commanded to make a certain kind of music or even make any all. We are commanded to praise God.
It doesn’t even limit us to some kind of designated praise time. It just says to praise God which implies that we ought to be doing all the time and everywhere. It is more of a lifestyle choice; it is something that we need to be putting into our life continually.
Psalms 149 is not very long, but it seems to cover an awful lot of ground. The ending is somewhat perplexing, so I guess that is what we will focus on today. Maybe we can make some sense out of it.
Psa 149:5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.
Psa 149:6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a twoedged sword in their hand;
Psa 149:7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
Psa 149:8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;
Psa 149:9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
I think that it is interesting to first of all draw a parallel. There is a reference elsewhere in the Bible to a twoedged sword.
Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Although Hebrews had not been written yet, the obvious parallel makes me think that there is something here. It also makes sense in relation to that Psalm. We can with the praise of God in our mouths, but we also need the word of God in our hands.
Now why do we have this?
There is one very important word. We’re executing the judgment that is written. In other words, the judgment that is in in the Bible.
It is not the believers who are setting the standards. God is the one setting the standard. The judgment has already been written. As Christians, it seems as if we have a responsibility to tell people what we know. We have a responsibility to conduct ourselves in such a way that we uphold the law of God. Perhaps we even have the responsibility to take action and speak out against things that we know are Biblically wrong.
This Psalm makes me think about the value that we place on the Bible. In verse six, it is clearly mentioned that we ought to have the word of God as our sword. Then, beyond that, we ought to be people are willing to stand for what was been written. Throughout history, Christians have been influential politically, culturally and intellectually. That is what the end of this chapter feels like to me. Based upon the word of God, we can be revolutionary. Even if we are going against the world, we can be carriers of what has been written.
I think that we all want to be close to God. If you are a Christian, that is a large part of your daily walk. We try to follow in the path that He would want us to be on. Psalms 148 has something to say about people who were close to God.
Psa 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.
Psa 148:14 He also exalteth the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise ye the LORD.
Israel was obviously a special nation throughout the Old Testament. From the Biblical record, it is not hard to notice that. They were set apart.
In this Psalm, they were called a people near God. What really set them apart was the fact that they were the people who followed God. They had the law which was given to Moses, and they were the only people on earth who created a nation based upon that law at that time. Think about it. Babylon didn’t have that kind of system. Egypt did not have that kind of system. The people of Israel were the people near God first of all because He chose them to be special, but they were also the ones who were trying to walk in the law that He had provided them.
I think that applies as today as well. As Christians, we believe the Bible, and as a result, we do have a set of documents that can help us live our lives in a way that brings us closer to God. That can help us come near, but it does seem like there needs to be some decision on our part. It is great to be a Christian. However, we also need to think about Israel as they are presented here. They were near to God because they tried to live in a way that brought them nearer to God. I am not talking about any type of works-based salvation. I am talking about the process that comes after salvation. If we want to get nearer to God, we need to take advantage of the resources we have at our disposal.
Psalms 147 gives us an interesting perspective on what God really wants.
Psa 147:10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.
Psa 147:11 The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.
I think that is interesting. God does not necessarily delight in His creation. Sure, horses and people are amazing beings that have been created, but God does not receive His joy from simply the fact that these beings exist.
God receives His joy basically when we worship Him and put Him in the right position in our lives. Think about it this way. Verse 10 thoughts about the strength of a horse. That is simply a fact. A horse has a certain amount of strength. It is a biological fact based on muscle mass. Similarly, most humans have legs. It is not the kind of thing that we choose or don’t choose to have. It is just a fact that exists, and we all know that.
Verse 11 talks about things that we either need to decide to do or not do. We can decide to fear God and put our hope in Him. I have done it, and millions of other people have done it. However, we can also decide not to do that. Millions of people have similarly made that decision.
That is the contrast here. The first set are basic scientific facts. This second set refers to a choice. God delights in the choice. He wants to see us come to Him and recognize the reality that He is the God of the universe.
It feels like God is after something more than simply biology. Obviously, as the Creator, He must have thought that it was a good thing for horses to be strong or for people to have legs. As the Creator, He obviously had the authority over that decision.
Is interesting that God doesn’t really delight in that. He delights in relationships with humans who put Him in the appropriate place in their lives. The appropriate place is number one.