Some Personal Proverbs

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:  To know wisdom and instruction,to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth — Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles. 

Proverbs 1:1-6

I’ve been thinking about Proverbs lately.  About God’s book of general statements of wisdom.  I’m grateful for the book of Proverbs, because it’s helped me to think through some very practical matters.  What’s the right way to parent?  What’s the right way to work?  What’s the right way to speak? 

I’m not old, and there are many ways in which I’m still foolish (I still often prize people’s opinion of me more than God’s, for instance).  But I think the following observations I’m making are faithful to the witness of God’s Word.  They’re in no way inspired, in that they are not breathed out by God, as the real book of Proverbs is.  

But I offer them for what they’re worth.  
A few personal proverbs, if I may:

  • Young, married men and women: Have children. I’ve never met a Godly older man or woman who wishes they’d had less children, but I’ve known more than a few who wish they’d had more.  
  • If I have a really long list of people that I can’t stand, it’s worth asking whether the issue might be me.  
  • There is nothing I’ve personally encountered that better illustrates the folly of the human heart than the movement to support the right to abortion.  “It’s not a life.  No, we don’t want to look at ultrasounds, I said it’s not a life!  And even if it is a life, a woman should have the right to end it.  No, she shouldn’t have the right to end other lives, just this one.  I’m not crazy, man, come on.  She should just have a right to end this life.  I mean if it’s a life.  And we celebrate that in this country.  Even though we want these things to be safe and legal and rare.  We celebrate it!  But no, seriously, I don’t want to look at an ultrasound!”
  • Forgiveness will be as hard as your heart is. 
  • The fundamental problem with ISIS is theological, not economic or social.  At root, they have a wrong understanding of the character and values of God.  Everything else flows from those headwaters.  
  • Where the world is a system of people moving further and further apart because of annoyances and unforgiven wrongs and technological isolation, the church should model people moving ever and ever closer in intimacy because of a shared love as big as the Gospel.  
  • Bitterness requires entitlement as it’s fuel.  You have to believe you were owed something that you didn’t get.  Remove the fuel and the spark won’t catch.  Replace the lie that you were owed something good you didn’t get with the truth that the only thing we were each owed is Hell, and bitterness won’t have any gas to keep blazing on.  
  • If you want to know how much a Christian man believes the Gospel, one way to find out is to watch how he treats his children.   
  • Remember, “father” is both a noun and a verb.  And appropriately so.   

Happy Wednesday, all!


    21 Quick Hit Statements on the Old Testament


    1) It’s the most misunderstood piece of literature in America.

    2) It is a part of one story, not just a connected companion of the New Testament.

    3) It was Jesus’ favorite thing to quote, and He taught that it all pointed to Him.

    4) God preached the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith to Abraham in its first book, Genesis.

    5) It was written by God using men (their minds, hearts, and hands) to put the words down.

    6) There are laws God gave in it that were only for the Jewish people living in Israel for about 1,000 years, but also laws God gave that reveal His desire for human behavior for all time. God always condemns idolatry, but if you read Acts or the letters in the New Testament, you’ll see He does not always condemn shellfish.

    7) It contains poetry, history, preaching, future-telling, pieces of wisdom, and other kinds of writing, and all of them (in their own way) point to Jesus.

    8) The oldest book in it was probably written about 1400 BC, and the newest book in it was probably written about 500 BC.

    9) A lot of its books are technically anonymous, not having author statements (like Paul’s letters do).

    10) Moses wrote 5 (and maybe 6) of the books in it, Solomon probably wrote 3, and Jeremiah probably wrote 2.

    11) We can trust that it’s God’s Word because Jesus trusted it’s God’s Word.

    12) Copies of many of its books about 1,000 years older than any previously known copies were found in some caves by the Dead Sea in the 1940s. The fact that they were almost identical to the copies from 1,000 years later backs up the claim that the Bible is the most accurately copied piece of writing in human history by a long shot.

    13) God has the same character and heart in it as He does in the New Testament. Compare Ezekiel (OT) and Revelation (NT), Nehemiah (OT) and 1 Peter (NT), Proverbs (OT) and James (NT), or Exodus (OT) and Acts (NT).

    14) God commanded care for the poor, oppressed, foreigner, and widow in it.

    15) God killed sinners who wouldn’t repent (turn from their sins and to Him) in it.

    16) God saved a prostitute named Rahab, a cursed non-Jew named Ruth, and a philandering husband and murderer named David in it. And then He put all three of them them in the bloodline of His Son Jesus.

    17) It helped to shape the English language through the King James Bible and the German language through Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible.

    18) It contains the most Godly love poem ever written: Song of Songs.

    19) It contains descriptions of God’s coming victory over sin and death and His re-creation of the world.

    20) It contains clear pictures of Jesus (check out Isaiah chapter 53).

    21) Its main points are the same as the New Testament’s: God is perfectly good, we sinned against Him, He wins, and we can be a part of it (and part of His family) by His grace through our faith.