Daily Bible Readings – Saturday June 2, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 42

Prayer Point: Spiritual dryness and general sadness can either drive us to our addictions that dull our emptiness, or we can allow that thirst to fuel our pursuit of God. Pray Psalm 42 today, that the emptiness and brokenness in your life will drive you to Jesus.

Matthew 13:36-43

In Matthew 13:24-30 Jesus tells a short story or parable about a farmer who planted wheat in his field. That night, however, his enemy came and sowed weeds so that the weeds grew up among the wheat. The owner’s servants realized what happened and asked to pull the weeds, but the farmer refuses for fear of uprooting the good seed. The time for sorting the good from the bad will come at the harvest.

Jesus often told such stories to the crowds, but he explained them to his disciples when they were alone. Who is the farmer in the story? Note that “Son of Man” is a title taken from Daniel 7 which Jesus used for himself to assert that he was God (see Daniel 7:13-14). Who is the enemy? What is the harvest? Who are the weeds? Who are the wheat? What does this story tell us about the nature of the church? Should we expend energy trying to have a “pure church” today?

1 Timothy 6:6-21

Why is contentment so important and greed so dangerous? What is Timothy commanded to pursue instead of wealth? What is he to fight for? What is he commanded to hold on to and for how long? How is Timothy instructed to pastor those who are wealthy? What greater treasure is Timothy to point them to?

How does Paul summarize Timothy’s role in the Ephesian church in verse 20?

Proverbs 25:15-28

These are more proverbs of Solomon. These particular proverbs were copied by King Hezekiah’s men. “Through patience a ruler can be persuaded and a gentle tongue can break a bone.” (Proverbs 25:15) What does this proverb concern itself with? (I believe this proverb is talking about diplomacy.)
“If you find honey, eat just enough – too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house – too much of you, and he will hate you.” (Proverbs 25:16-17 NIV) These two proverbs are closely related. It amounts to “familiarity breeds contempt”.
Verse 25:18 “Like a club…a sword…a sharp arrow…” This proverb describes the effects of false testimony against one’s neighbor. It is, of course, against the ninth commandment.
Verse 25:19 “Like a bad tooth …a lame foot…” is a description of the unfaithful in times of trouble. A “fair weather friend” as it were.
Verse 25:20 “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” Just to be clear about what “like vinegar on soda” means: According to the ESV Study Bible “25:20 Putting vinegar (which is acidic) on soda (which is alkaline) does no good, destroying the distinctive properties of both.” Usually when one has a heavy heart it is because one has suffered a great loss. Trying to boost morale by singing songs only demonstrates how insensitive such behavior is. You may recall that King Saul was plagued by an evil spirit once the LORD’s Spirit left him. In order to cheer Saul up it was determined that someone come in and play music for the king to drive the evil away. David was the musician chosen.

“If your enemy is hungry, give him food to heat: if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” (Proverbs 25:21-22 NIV) This proverb was so profound that Paul quoted it verbatim in Romans (12:20). Jesus, in his Sermon on the Mount, encouraged us to love our enemies: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:43-45a NIV)

Verse 25:23 talks about a backbiter or a gossiper. No one likes a backbiter. But as for the north wind bringing rain, well; in our case it would be snow (in the winter time).

“Better to live in a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.” (v.25:24 NIV) I don’t think I want to say anything about that!

Back to the ‘likes’.

“Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” (v. 25:25) I don’t think the land has to be all that distant. Good news is always beneficial to a weary soul.

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted wed is a righteous man who give way to the wicked.” (v. 25:26) It is always disheartening when a good man goes bad. This one’s for the books – me making a sports reference. When Pete Rose was caught betting against his own team he proved a serious disappointment to thousands, if not millions of fans. Can you think of others who proved disappointing once they had fallen from their pedestal?

We re-visit the honey in this verse (v. 25:27). “It is not good to eat too much honey.” I take that to mean that it is unhealthy. We have seen this above in Proverbs 25:16. Seeking one’s own honor is nothing more than patting oneself on his back. Everyone loves that!
Verse 25:28 is perhaps somewhat foreign to us today. There is enough history which depicts what it is like when the city walls are breached. The lack of self-control is a mark of a fool. Without self-control a person’s defenses are gone – like the broken down walls of a city.

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Daily Bible Readings – Friday June 1, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 35

Prayer Point: David in Psalm 35 is suffering at the hands of his enemies, but he does not seek vengeance for himself. That he leaves in the hands of God and so should we. Especially when we consider that Jesus, the Son of David, was nailed to the cross because of our sins and yet he said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” Pray for the faith to leave issues of justice into God’s hands. Meditate on the fact that you were God’s enemy and he loved you.

Matthew 13:31-35

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a mustard seed and to yeast working through dough. What do you think Jesus is trying to tell us about the way his kingdom grows and spreads? What does it look like in the beginning? Where does it look like in the end?

1 Timothy 5:17-25

The word translated “honor” in verse 17 is closely related to financial support, just as the fifth commandment, “honor your father and mother” is a call to financially support your parents in their old age. In what two ways were elders to be honored by the church (see verses 18 and 19)? How are elders to be treated if they persist in sin (see verse 20)?

The “laying on of hands” in verse 22 refers to setting apart a person as an elder. How were elders not to be appointed?

Proverbs 23:19-21; 23:29-24:2

“Listen, my son, and be wise, and keep your heart on the right path. Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons becomes poor, and drowsiness cloths them in rags.” (Proverbs 12:19-21 NIV) What is the writer advising his son? (The writer is doing what I hope every parent does. Do things in moderation: no drunkenness, no gluttony. A lesson in common sense.)

Verses 29-30 “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who had bloodshot eyes….” I don’t have to ask any questions! So what is the answer? (“Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine.”)

What is the theme in this section (23:31-35)? (The theme of this section is to guard against the evils of intoxication/drunkenness. This is a vivid description of what being drunk is like. How do I know that, you ask? Well, in my ill-spent youth I managed to fall into this trap from time to time.)
Verses 24:1-2 exhort against keeping bad company, it can only lead to trouble.

Daily Bible Readings – Thursday May 31, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 37

Prayer Point: Every day we are confronted with stories and images of evil and injustice in the media. There is a temptation to slip into anger and fear. Psalm 37 calls us to a different path. “Do not fret … trust in the Lord … delight yourself in the Lord …” Notice all the things we are commanded to do and do not in the psalm. Pray for the faith  to follow this path even though the world is a dangerous place.

Matthew 13:24-30

Jesus compares the kingdom of heaven to a field with wheat and weeds. Why can’t the farmers pull the weeds before the harvest? What will happen to the wheat and the weeds after the harvest? Apply this story to the church. Should the church spend energy trying to ferret out people who are not true believers in Christ? Why or why not? Who will take care of that in the future?

1 Timothy 4:1-16

What challenges will the church face in the later times (the time between ascension and the return of Jesus)? Paul teaches Timothy that a gospel way of life is concerned with love, that is living in right relationships with God and with others (see 1 Timothy 1:5; 2:1-2; 2:8-9) What kind of the lifestyle do the false teachers teach (see 1 Timothy 4:2-3 and 1 Timothy 1:20)? How is it different from what Paul taught?

What is Timothy commanded to point out (see verses 4-6), avoid (see verse 7), and train himself to become (verses 7-8)? Where is he to put his hope? How should he handle the fact that he is a young leader in the church? What three things should he focus on? In what two ways should he teach the gospel way of life to the Ephesians? What two things should he watch closely and why?

Proverbs 21:30-22:6

This section opens with: “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:30 NIV) There is nothing I can add to that, but I can give you a biblical citation which will underscore that truth. Check out Acts 26:14 “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” Here Paul was self-sent on a mission to Damascus to round up the followers of “the Way” to bring them back to Jerusalem. That was not, however, the Lord’s plan.

Verse 31 makes it clear that no matter how much one prepares (for anything) it is the LORD who will determine the outcome. The obvious demonstration of this is the encounter between David and Goliath. Gideon is another. He was commissioned to raise an army to go against a multi-national force. Alas Gideon’s army of 10,000 was much too much. The LORD knew that if Gideon had gone up against such a force and had prevailed, Gideon could then take credit for the victory whereas the victor would be the LORD. So the Lord, by various means, whittled the 10,000 man force to a mere 300 men. Care to guess who won? Care to guess who ended up with the credit? (Of course the questions are rhetorical.)

What is the subject of verse 1 of Chapter 22? (Good character and good reputation are more to be desired than riches.)
What is the main thing we most forget in verse 2? (Before God there is no favoritism either of race or economic status.)
What is the difference between the prudent and the simple in verse 3? (The prudent man can see danger whereas the simple apparently do not.)
According to verse 4 what bring wealth and honor and life? (Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. Wealth can be defined in any number of ways other than in possessions. I have seen life in the direst of circumstances – quite apart from worldly wealth.)
Verses 5 and 6 go hand in hand. Both verses address rearing and training. The training in referred to in verse six yields its fruit in verse 5. How? (If one is properly trained or reared he will have been instructed against the ways of the wicked and thus will be better able to see the thorns and snares mentioned.)

Daily Bible Readings – Wednesday May 30, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 119:25-48

Prayer Point: The writer of Psalm 119 sees life as a continual struggle to stay on God’s path for life. I believe it is what Jesus had in mind when he taught us to pray, “lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.” We need God’s help and this psalm is a plea for that help. Take note of what we are to ask God to give us. Notice what we are to ask him to keep away from us. Take those things to God in prayer.

Matthew 12:43-50

Jesus speaks primarily as a prophet in the final days of his ministry. He targets the religious and the moral people and not the dregs of society that we would expect. The religious have a fatal flaw. While they are devoted to keeping the law meticulously, they have rejected the giver of the Law, the Son of God, Jesus Christ (see Matthew 12:38-42).

What danger is there in “sweeping the house clean” (living morally), “getting rid of an evil spirit” without acknowledging that Jesus is God?

What does it take to be a part of Jesus’ true family?

1 Timothy 3:1-16

Paul in 1 Timothy chapter 3 gives Timothy instructions for choosing overseers (also called bishops, pastors and elders) to serve as leaders for the church. What do you notice about the requirements for someone who desires to be an elder? How many qualities deal with skills? How many have to do with character? How is the candidate’s effectiveness as a father and husband connected to his role as an elder?

Deacon was a role created by the apostles to care for the financial needs of needy of the poor so that the elders could focus their time on prayer, study and teaching (see Acts 6). How are their requirements similar to that of an elder? What is different?

What reward is promised to those who serve the church well?

Why does Paul write these instructions to Timothy? How is this orderly way of life connected to Jesus?

Proverbs 17:1-20

Discuss the similarities between Proverbs 17:1 and Proverbs 15:17. (The poor are, in a real sense, blessed. The “dry crust” doesn’t have much appeal; the vegetables (they have more appeal than the “dry crust”) are less appetizing than the “fattened calf” or the “feasting”. Peace and strife are polar opposites as are “feasting” and want (“dry crust”). )

What is the lot of a wise servant over a disgraceful son? (The wise servant will rule over the disgraceful son and get his (the son’s) inheritance.) Review Luke Chapter 15 (again!) – the Prodigal Son. What does the prodigal say to himself once he comes to his senses? (Luke 15:17ff.) (… make me like one of your hired men.)

In verse 3 what is the purpose of the crucible and furnace? (By fire they purge the impurities from the silver and gold.) What is the LORD doing when he “tests” the heart? For a clear answer to that see Psalm 139:23-24 (“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”)

What foolish thing do the wicked man and the liar have in common? (v. 4) (They listen to evil/malicious tongues.)

How does the one who mocks the poor show contempt for his Maker? Leviticus 25:35ff will shed some light on this: “If one of your countrymen becomes poor and is unable to support himself among you, help him as you would an alien or a temporary resident, so he can continue to live among you. Do not take interest of any kind from him, but fear your God, so that your countryman may continue to live among you. You must not lend him money at interest or sell him food at a profit.” Deuteronomy 15:7ff is a bit more pointed: “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: ‘The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,’ so that you do not show ill will toward your needy brother and give him nothing. He may then appeal to the LORD against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”

As you read verse 6 (Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children”) what goes through your mind? (“Children’s children” i.e., grandchildren – well that could be payback to the children. As for parents being the pride of their children – well, that’s simple – the older the children get the smarter the parents become.)

Why would “arrogant lips” be unsuited to a fool? (A fool is easily exposed through pride (arrogant lips) – he (the fool) talks too much and the more –he talks the more foolish he appears.) “How much worse lying lips to a ruler.” Have we ever seen this? (The question is rhetorical.)

Why is verse 8 true? (Unfortunately the one being bribed sees the bribe as a windfall – not really harmful. He will deal with the ethical considerations when they arise (probably not ethically). The briber firmly believes that his money can buy whatever he wants – he’s usually right so he seems to enjoy success.)

Verse 9: “He how covers over an offense promotes love…” I don’t think this is talking about a cover-up so much as it is forgiveness. “…but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.” The greatest damage to a relationship is the betrayal of trust.

Why will a rebuke impress a man of discernment as stated in verse 10? (A discerning person can learn more from a rebuke. He may then avoid a greater evil as a result.) Will 100 lashes impress a fool? (No, because seldom will the fool see that what he had done is wrong or foolish.)

What is the modern equivalent (in English) of verse 11? (An evil man is bent only on rebellion; a merciless official will be sent against him.) (Proverbs 17:11 NIV) (It’s a dog eat dog world.)
What does verse 12 tell us of the bible’s attitude of fools? (They are very dangerous. Much more than a mother bear being robbed of her cubs.)
The Apostle Paul had some insight about this proverb (v. 13) in Romans Chapter 12 beginning at verse 17 although he doesn’t cite it. What was it? (“Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:17-21 NIV))
Verse 14 is a trap very easy to fall into. I think the message here (“Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”) is choose your battles. Most issues are not worth the wasted energy. With time the issue may resolve itself.
Verse 15 is a violation of two commandments. Can you name them? (Acquitting the guilty is equal to lying; condemning the innocent is also equal to lying, and in some cases may then result in murder, i.e. the death of an innocent. Lying is a violation of the ninth commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. The other is the sixth commandment: You shall not murder.)
Verse 16 “Of what use is money in the hand of a fool, since he has no desire to get wisdom?” What is the adage in English which reflects the spirit of this proverb? (A fool and his money are soon parted.)
In verse 17 (“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”) we are reminded of Jacob and Esau. Jacob and Esau were struggling even from birth. As for the friend – we only have to look to David and Jonathan to see the truth of this proverb. See 1 Samuel 18:1 (“After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.”)
“A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge and put up security for his neighbor.” So states verse 18. This is not uncommon today and no less foolish. What do you think it means? (I think it warns against co-signing a loan for someone.)
Verse 19 tells us that “He who loves a quarrel loves sin; he who builds a high gate invites destruction.” I think it is rather clear that anyone who loves a quarrel loves sin. But what about the “high gate”? I think that the high gate references personal security. The more security the more likely it is that there is something that needs securing, i.e. one’s earthly treasure.
“A man of perverse heart does not prosper; he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.” The truth is we hope this is true but many times as we look around us we don’t see it as true. We live in a sin-filled world which one day will be restored when the Lord Jesus returns to set things straight. Certainly then this proverb will be self-evident to all.

Daily Bible Readings – Tuesday May 29, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 36

Prayer Point: Christians who have gone before us have taught that repentance and faith is the rhythm of the Christian life. Verses 1-4 of Psalm 36 call us to repent for we are like the wicked man. Verses 5-10 paint a beautiful picture of the promises of God. Follow that rhythm today. Confess your sins to God and pray for the faith to believe the amazing promises he gives us in this psalm.

Matthew 12:33-42

Complete this analogy based on what Jesus says in verses 33-35:

A tree is to its fruit as a person’s _____________________ is to their _________________.

Jesus compares the Pharisees to a “brood of vipers.” Why are these religious people incapable of saying anything good? What must be cured if we are going to change? What is in our future if we do not change?

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law rightly perceive that Jesus is attacking their credibility, so they demand that he perform a miraculous sign to “prove” that he was the Messiah. Jesus never performed a miracle to prove himself to an unbelieving person. The Pharisees and teachers of the law demand a sign. What is the only sign that Jesus offers them?

Jesus uses two examples from the Old Testament where Gentiles demonstrated greater faith than Israel did. He does this to shame them. We should pay close attention to them because pride is the sin that especially trips up religious people. Because we belong to God, we begin to see “outsiders” as being our inferiors. In Jonah’s day, it was the violent and vile Assyrians who repented before the Israelites did.

In Solomon’s day, the Queen of the South traveled a great distance to listen to the wisdom of this great king (see 1 Kings 10:1-13). Jesus, who is a greater king than Solomon, is here and ironically his own people won’t listen to him.

1 Timothy 1:18 – 2:8

It is important to remember that 1 Timothy is a personal letter, a letter from Paul to Timothy, his son in the faith, whom he has left in charge of the churches in Ephesus. Leading a church is hard for a young man. What does Paul tell Timothy to remember? What does he tell him to hold on to? What negative examples does he hold out as a warning?

Paul lays out his instructions for the Ephesian church in chapter two. What should the Ephesian church pray for first? Why?

Why is it important for the Ephesians to live peaceful and quiet lives? How are their lives connected to God and his wishes for the world? How is Paul’s mission tied to who Jesus is and what he has done?

Proverbs 15:16-23

We know, but I doubt we believe, that great wealth brings with it great turmoil. What does the writer suggest as an alternative? (“Better a little with the fear of the LORD…) (Proverbs 15:16 NIV)

Verse 17 tells me that event the bible isn’t all that crazy about vegetarianism (veganism). How is it expressed? (Love will make even the meager diet better than a great feast.)

According to verse 18 what does a “hot tempered man” need? (He needs a patient man who can calm a volatile situation.)

“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns…” (verse 19) What does this mean to you? (To me it means that the sluggard will find the smallest excuse to avoid responsibility – like me when it comes time to mowing the lawn. There is no excuse small enough which won’t satisfy me – as long as I don’t have to do the lawn.)
“The path of the upright is a highway.” What do you think this means? (What it doesn’t say is that the highway is easy. I think it means the upright person is not looking for a short-cut nor is he seeking to avoid his responsibility. I think it means he is not looking for the “easy way out” but rather the right way. – j.t.)
What does verse 20 tell us about a foolish man? Notice the similarities to Proverbs 10:1. (He despises his mother.) Whereas “A wise son brings _____ (joy) to his father.”
Verse 21. What does the fool lack? (He lacks judgment.) How is the man of understanding viewed? (He is viewed as keeping a straight course.)
What is the wisdom of verse 22? (There is strength in numbers; it is wise to seek help when it is needed. To quote John Donne “No man is an island.”)
There is not much to say about verse 23 – this would be both a giving and a receiving. Giving an apt reply would be helping someone. There is little that brings more comfort than a “timely word”.

Daily Bible Readings – Monday May 28, 2012

Prayer Psalm: 9

Prayer Point: I believe that the hardest of Jesus’ teachings is his command to love our enemies and turn the other cheek. My immediate reaction is” What about justice? What about my security? See if Psalm 9 has anything to say about God and justice and security and pray for the faith to believe its promises.

Matthew 12:22-32

The people of Israel in Jesus’ day lived with the expectation that a great king, a descendant of King David, would come to restore peace and justice in Israel. This Messiah or Christ would establish God’s eternal kingdom on earth. What does Jesus do that causes the people to believe that he might just be this king? What is the Pharisee’s counter-explanation and what makes it so ridiculous?

It is the unbelief of the Pharisees that causes them to willfully blind themselves to who Jesus is and what he is doing. They would rather believe that demons were casting out other demons than believe that Jesus is in fact sent from God to establish his kingdom on earth.

What sin can be forgiven? Note that Jesus uses the title, “the Son of Man” to refer to himself (see Daniel 7:13-14). What sin cannot be forgiven?

1 Timothy 1:1-17

The book of 1 Timothy is a personal letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy who was a member of his missionary team that traveled around the Roman Empire establishing new churches. Paul was the leader and Timothy, being considerably younger, was mentored by him. Timothy has reached a new stage in his development. He is now on his own, as Paul has moved on from Ephesus to the province of Macedonia.

What kind of language does Paul use to describe his relationship with Timothy in verse 2? What mission has Paul given Timothy in the city of Ephesus (see verse 3)? How were the false teachings hurting the church? What does true teaching produce (see verse 5)?

Apparently, these “teachers” were fighting over minutiae in the Old Testament Law while ignoring the purpose of the law which is to love God and our neighbor. In other words they were using the law “improperly.” The Law was primarily written to expose sin, which is why Paul says in verse 9 that the law is made for lawbreakers and not the “righteous.” These false teachers were starting fights about how to apply Jewish law, when Paul calls them to simply follow Jesus’ way of love. If they do that, they won’t have to worry about breaking the law.

For Paul, love for God flowed out of understanding the depths of God’s love for us, not fighting over details. How big was God’s love in Paul’s life? What was Paul like when God’s grace came to him? For what purpose did God save Paul, the worst of sinners? Why do you think worship of God flows so naturally out of Paul?

Proverbs 10:1-12

“The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here.” (Luke 11:31 NIV) I will endeavor to connect these proverbs with Jesus.

Just a word or two about the purpose and teaching of Proverbs. Taken from The NIV Study Bible p. 954. “According to the prologue (chapter 1:1-7), Proverbs was written to give “prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.” (1:4), and to make the wise even wiser (1:5). The frequent references to “my son(s)” (1:8, 10; 2:1; 3:1; 4:1; 5:1) emphasize instructing the young and guiding them in a way of life that yields rewarding ends. Acquiring wisdom and knowing how to avoid the pitfalls of folly lead to personal well-being, happy family relationships, fruitful labors and good standing in the community. Although Proverbs is a practical book dealing with the art of living, it bases its practical wisdom solidly on the fear of the Lord (1:7; see Psalms 34:8-14). Throughout the book reverence for God and reliance on him are set forth as the math to life, prosperity and security. Such godly wisdom is a virtual “tree of life” that yields the happy life that God fashioned the creation to produce…..

“The major collections of proverbs that follow range widely across the broad spectrum of human situations, relationships and responsibilities offering insights, warnings, instructions and counsels along with frequent motivations to heed them.”

It is important to keep in mind that the proverbial sayings do not connect from one verse to the next. They are written in couplets, which only means that the first part of the proverb is retold in the second part, as you will observe.

Case in point: “A wise son brings ___________ (joy) to his father, but a foolish son _______________ (grief) to his mother.

“Ill-gotten treasures are of no value, but righteousness delivers from death.” Check out Chapter 19 of Matthew to see how Jesus put this proverb into his teaching. (The young man who came to Jesus asking “What good thing must I do to get eternal life?” Jesus then tells him, in essence, to love God and to love his neighbor to which the young man responds that he had done that. But the young man still thought something was lacking. Jesus told him to rid himself of his wealth – give it to the poor. The man was sad because he had great wealth.)

“He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” (Luke 1:53 NIV) How does this restate verse 3? (“The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.”)

What does verse 4 condemn? (Laziness)

Review Luke Chapter 15 – the Prodigal Son. Can you see a connection here with verse 5? (We have two sons: one remained at home to work the fields – the wise son; the other leaves with his inheritance and squanders it – like “sleeping during a harvest”.)

Please read Matthew 13:24-30, 37-43 as you look at verse 6 of Proverbs 10. [“Jesus told them another parable: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. The owner’s servants came to him and said, “Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?” “An enemy did this,” he replied. The servants asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull them up?” “No,” he answered, “because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At the time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.” …

“Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.’ He answered, ‘The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are the angels. As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.’” (Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43 NIV)
What, from Matthew 13, are the blessings to crown the head of the righteous? (“The righteous will shine like the sun.”)

What kind of violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked according to Matthew 13? (“They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”)

The responses from the two previous questions also address the seventh verse of Chapter 10 of Proverbs.

There are numerous verses throughout the Book of Proverbs which talk about the wise heart accepting commands, rebukes, corrections etc. As for the chattering fool coming to ruin, look as close as verses 10 and 14 in this same chapter to see that point made again. While not speaking to this proverb, Jesus has some choice words regarding “chatter”. “Listen and understand. What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’. (Luke 15:10b-11 NIV) And, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 NIV)

“The man of __________________ (integrity) walks securely, but he who __________ _____________ ________ (takes crooked paths) will be found out. (v. 9)
Verse 10: “He who winks maliciously causes grief…” (Proverbs 10:10a NIV) We understand winking as a sort of acknowledgement, perhaps a certain familiarity or as a signal of a joke. Winking in this society was looked upon more suspiciously as described in Proverbs 6:12: “A scoundrel and villain who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart – he always stirs up dissension.” (Proverbs 6:12-14 NIV) As early as Job we can see the seamy side of “winking”: “Why has your heart carried you away, and why do your eyes flash [read “wink”] so that you vent your rage against God and pour out such words from your mouth?” (Job 15:12-13 NIV) We think of winking as harmless, and I believe it is, but in those days it was an indicator of something untoward. Even in Acts: “In the past God overlooked [read “winked at”] such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30 NIV) This would more describe our current notion of winking. The verse closes with the unflattering refrain we saw in verse 8: “and a chattering __________ (fool) comes to __________ (ruin).
Verse 11: “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life…” The Psalmist put it this way in Psalm 39: “I said, ‘I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” (Psalm 39:1 NIV) It seems to me that if our aim is to have a “mouth of the righteous” the best route would be to limit the time we use it. “The less said the better.” “If you cannot say something nice about someone, don’t say anything at all.” Peter put it best when asked by Jesus: “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” (John 6:67-68 NIV)
“______________ (Hatred) stirs up dissension, but ____________ (love) covers over all wrongs.” (Proverbs 10:12 NIV) Peter rendered this thought this way: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)