Proverbs 16

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Proverbs 16

When reading about the proud, I always pictured the ungodly. However, in recent months, I see it in a new light. I have been diligently seeking the Lord and reading His Word. Doing so has shown me the foolishness of trying to do things on my own, which is exactly what we are doing when we refuse to study the Word. If we are honest, we will admit it is a pride thing – we simply don’t study the Word because we do not want to do so. We want our agenda, not God’s. In verse 5, we find a strong warning: Everyone who is proud in their heart is an abomination to God. Notice it doesn’t just refer to the ungodly who are proud. It is any who are proud. No wonder pride is called one of the deadly sins!

We also see that pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. Can you remember a time when you failed to seek the Lord, and the results were disastrous? Perhaps you can even recall when it happened to someone else. They stopped walking closely with the Lord, and before they knew what was happening, they fell – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, financially.

Did you realize that when your ways please the Lord, He will make your enemies be at peace with you? What a wonderful benefit! I experienced this when I first got saved. The crowd I was running with was a rough group. I made a clean break, and they didn’t like it. They began to stalk me, and continually call the house. My parents began to be my “call screeners” because during that time, there was no one who would have been calling for me. I casually mentioned the harassment I was facing to a dear brother at church. He immediately placed his hands on me and came against a spirit of harassment. From that very day, I never had trouble with my former friends again!

Granted, you may not experience peace with your enemies in such an extreme manner. However, you may still see it in situations where your enemies try to provoke you, but give up when they find you won’t take the ‘bait.’

It is no wonder he/she who heeds the Word will find good!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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Proverbs 15

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Proverbs 15

The first couple of verses are so profound to me because when my daughter was very young, the Lord showed me that when I answered her softly, it promoted love and peace. However, when I was short-tempered, answering her in a harsh way, not only did it stir up anger in me, it did the same in her. If I continued to speak harshly to her, I was going to raise a very angry child. What a revelation it was to me!

If we are walking rightly before the Lord, we should find great comfort in verse 3, knowing the Lord’s eyes see everything – good and evil. When someone does evil against us, God will judge them. We don’t need to become judge and pronounce sentence on them. God is more than able to take care of it for us, and save us from allowing a bitter root to spring up in us.

When I am faithful to spend time in the Word, letting it ‘wash’ me from the filth of the world, my tongue is better able to be a tree of life, my home becomes a treasure – not because of what things I own, but because His presence is evident in my home.

We find the lips of the wise spread knowledge. Now this is not the same as being a know-it-all, who never shuts up. Rather, the wise person will be humble to admit when they don’t know an answer. I remember when Grandma Rose, a precious sister who has gone to be with Jesus, used to answer hard questions with, “Go ask God!” What a wise answer!

It says the sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord. As I pondered on this, it made me think of people who don’t walk with the Lord on a daily basis. Rather, they treat the Lord like He is a genie. They only talk to Him when they need something, and sometimes they will try to manipulate Him by giving a large sum of money. Lord, help us not to ever treat you in that manner!

We find that one who has a merry heart has a cheerful countenance and a continual feast. Why is that? When you truly keep the Lord as your number one priority in life, it changes you, inside and out. Even in trials, you can still have a genuine smile on your face because your confidence is in the Lord, not in your circumstances.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 14

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Proverbs 14

In this chapter, we find that a wise woman will build her house, but the foolish tears hers down with her own hands. I discovered a few ways in this chapter that a wise woman will build her house. She walks in uprightness, and is prudent, which leads to gaining knowledge and understanding. By walking uprightly before the Lord, her house will flourish. She fears the Lord, she works hard, and avoids idle chatter. Her fear of the Lord provides her children with a place of refuge. To put this practically – her children recognize her strong faith and confidence in God. When they are troubled or scared, they know they can come to her and she will encourage them, as well as pray for them.

In contrast, Miss Foolish will tear her house down with her own hands by acting perversely and deceitfully, talking too much, being lazy, and scoffing at the idea of dependence upon the Lord. I like how one of the last verses in this chapter points out that righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. While it is speaking of an actual nation, what if we think of our home as a ‘nation’? We would still find that a house where sin abounds is a reproach, but when we live a righteous life, and instruct our children in righteousness, our home is exalted because we earn the respect of others.

We find several references again in regards to our speech. The mouth of a fool is a rod of pride. A foolish person rages and is quick-tempered. Their idle chatter leads them to poverty. This could be because they boast big words, but never follow through. It could also mean they talk all the time at work, never being productive, which in turn, could lead them to lose their job.

In contrast, we find the lips of the wise will preserve them and keep them out of trouble because they will depart from evil, rather than get caught up in it. A practical way of departing from evil would be by quietly leaving a setting where gossip is abounding. They don’t even have to say anything. Simply by getting up and removing themselves from the scene, their actions are speaking much louder than any words they could say.

One verse that is so fitting for these times is verse 30. We live in such a high-paced, competitive world. It seems like everyone tries to play “He who has the most toys wins.” It’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparison, where envy tends to flourish. However, when we make the choice not to be envious of others, we find such a treasure! A sound heart will give life to our bodies, whereas, envy is like rottenness in our bones. Verse 12 confirms this by telling us there is a way that seems right, but its end is the way of death. God’s way is always better!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 13

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Proverbs 13

We have devoted a lot of time in this study to seeing what benefits there are to wisdom and righteousness. Today, I am going to focus on how hard the life of the wicked is.

Scoffers do not listen to rebuke or instruction, nor do those who are lazy. The results can lead to destruction. In a local, weekly paper, I can usually find at least one person I know who has been arrested. They are all people who knew better. Some have even been what many would consider powerful, influential people. However, by their foolish choices, many of them have destroyed their families, finances, careers, and reputations. Their pride, in thinking they could do it and not get caught, has brought shame to them and their families.

We see in this chapter that wickedness overthrows the sinner. What an apt description this is for the drug problem that is rampant across our nation! They begin with what is called ‘recreational’ drug use, thinking they have control over it. Before they know what has happened, their habit overthrows them. One verse says the lamp of the wicked will be put out. This has happened in the drug culture, with thousands overdosing every year. It proves that the wages of sin really is death!

I have seen much of what is described in this chapter lived out next door to me. There is a drug house next door. The man who lives there is a very proud man, but also a man full of strife and anger, much of it due to the drug abuse. A few months ago, we saw the police do a drug bust there. Not long after that, his vehicle was repossessed. Proverbs isn’t kidding when it says wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished! If his grandma were still alive, she would be heartbroken over how his life has turned out. She would see how he blatantly despises the Word of God, and the sowing he has reaped.

One verse describes the way of the unfaithful as being hard. I have often thought of this as I have watched events transpire next door. I would often think, “Oh, Lord, there is such a better way than this!” I can speak from experience because I use to be much like him, in the sense that I also had an explosive temper. Knowing the freedom the Lord gives us – freedom to not sin, made my heart ache for him every time I would see him go into an uncontrolled rage.

One verse that gave me pause for thought. It says it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil. I never thought of it in those terms, but it is very descriptive way of putting it.

After studying the rewards of the wicked, I noticed something which might help us to understand why our society seems to be so wicked. He who spares the rod hates his son. Hate. What a strong word to use for a parent who refuses to discipline their child! However, it makes sense when you ponder on the rewards of the wicked. If we don’t discipline our children, and teach them right from wrong, they will go down the path of evil because foolishness is bound in the heart of a child. (Proverbs 22:15) When you look at the last couple of generations, seeing how many children are born out of wedlock, with no involvement from their father, is it any wonder that we have prisons filled with young people? Our influence as parents is powerful. We can be the difference between our children making wise or foolish choices.

I think the lesson to be learned from this study is to pray for the younger generation, much of whom is being raised in a one-parent homes. Others are being raised by their grandparents. Somebody needs to pray for this next generation, and I believe that is a mandate for us!

© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 12

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Proverbs 12

In my bible, there is a heading above the chapter that says, “The House of the Righteous Shall Stand.” I decided to dig deeper and find out what wisdom there might be to help us in making sure that our house will stand firm.

If we are good, we obtain favor from the Lord, which in turn, will help in building a strong house. In my own life, the Lord granted me favor with my previous manager and supervisor. When our department was turned over to a different manager, he needed someone to be a lead operator. The Lord granted me favor with all three of them, and I got the promotion. This promotion came with a large raise too. The Lord knew that just five months after this promotion, a large portion of our oak tree would fall on our home, resulting in unexpected expenses. We had the deductible, as well as the cost of removing the part of the tree which was still standing. Yet, because of the Lord’s favor, our house stood firm – physically, financially, and spiritually.

By loving instruction, we gain knowledge. The root of the righteous cannot be moved. Our mouths will deliver us, and we will be satisfied with the fruit of our mouths – likely because we know what to say, what not to say, when to speak, and when not to speak. We will speak truth and righteousness, which will bring delight to the Lord. Our words will promote healing – to relationships, emotions, fears, and even physical ailments. Because our words will promote peace, we will have joy.

We care for others, including the needs of our animals. We will be satisfied with bread, which can be physical food and spiritual food. We are satisfied because we work for it. It even adds that diligence is our precious possession. Our roots will yield fruit, and we will make it through times of trouble.

One last way we can cause our house to stand is by being cautious in friendship. Bad friendships can ruin a house – physically, spiritually, relationally, and emotionally. Years ago, I entered a destructive friendship. I took the word of someone else at church that this gal was really growing in the Lord. In reality, she was still practicing witchcraft. When I called her out on it, it wreaked havoc. It destroyed many relationships because no one else saw it for several months. Had I been cautious and prayed about it first, I would have saved myself a lot of pain.

After all this chapter has shown us in how the house of the righteous will stand, it ends with a final reminder: The way of righteousness is life. When sin comes to tempt us, we can remind ourselves that the way of righteousness is life. That life will keep our house standing firm when times of doubt, fears, temptations, and trials come our way.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 11

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Proverbs 11

This chapter uses many adjectives throughout its verses. We see words like just, humble, integrity, upright, righteousness, understanding, faithful, gracious, merciful, blameless, and generous. However, we also see words such as dishonest, proud, perversity, unfaithful, wicked, unjust, hypocrite, talebearer, ruthless, and cruel. What a contrast between the two lists!

With the first group, they will receive guidance, wisdom, deliverance, and a sure reward. They will also delight the Lord.

With the second group, we find they are an abomination to the Lord. Their own wickedness will cause them to fall. They receive shame, punishment, trouble, and death. Not only that, but people will rejoice in their death!

Verse 14 tells us that in the multitude of counselors there is safety. I have used this concept when I have a difficult decision to make. I choose three of my trusted, godly friends and discuss the situation with them. I have found that I can gain some helpful insights from them. Often times, when we are the one in the middle of a difficult situation, we are not able to look at it objectively.

Verse 15 gives some wise advice, telling us not to be surety for others. In fact, it goes on to say that if we hate being surety for others, we are secure. Cosigning for someone can be a dangerous thing. It can cause immense stress for the person who cosigns, and I have seen relationships destroyed over issues regarding money. I don’t like being in debt, even for my own needs. I surely don’t care to be in debt for someone else! Just recently, we paid off our final bill – our mortgage. What a liberating feeling that is!

Verse 25 tells us that he who waters will be watered. When we invest in the lives of others, it will come back to us. Just choose to invest without being surety for their debts!

We see in this chapter some very practical insights for things we face on a daily basis. Perhaps that is why there are 31 chapters in this book – one for each day of the month. We can take time to read one chapter a day, and find some wisdom or insight to help us navigate through life.
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

Proverbs 10

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Proverbs 10

 

This chapter is filled with stark contrasts between the wise and the foolish, the righteous and the wicked. It is easy to see that choosing the path of the righteous has great benefits, whereas, the path of the wicked is full of trouble and destruction.

 

Here are a few examples:
Those who walk with integrity walk securely, but the ways of the perverse will become known.
The work of the righteous leads to life, but the wages of the wicked lead to sin.
The desires of the righteous will be granted, but the what the wicked fear will come upon them.
The hope of the righteous will be gladness, but the expectations of the wicked will perish.

 

This chapter also has much to say about our words.
The mouth of the righteous is like a well of life, whereas, violence covers the mouth of the wicked. This reminds me of Proverbs 4:23 where it says to guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. The first part of this makes me think of what I experience every Sunday when I walk in the doors of the church. Standing at the counter is Lisa, my dear sister in Christ, ready to speak words that are a well of life. It is a joy to walk in there, knowing someone will be speaking godly words of encouragement. She is a rare gem!

 

Wisdom is found on the lips of those who have understanding, but a rod is for the backs of those who lack understanding.

 

The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

 

Where words are many, sin is not absent. The one who restrains his lips is wise. My mom once told me, “You will rarely regret what you don’t say, but you may often regret what you do say.” There is a lot of wisdom and truth in that! Her wise words have stopped me on many occasions from saying something that I might regret later.

 

The words spoken by the righteous are like choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is worth little. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. (Luke 6:45)

 

The lips of the righteous will feed many, but fools will die for lacking wisdom. How do the lips of the righteous feed many? It is by diligently reading, studying, and meditating on the Word of God. The Word of God becomes a part of them, transforming their speech. When they speak to others, they are speaking life-giving, true words of scripture. They speak forth spiritual food.

 

The righteous will speak forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut out.
The righteous will know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.
As you can see, there is much to be said about our words and the power of our words. We have the power to speak life, love, encouragement, and healing to others. We also have the power to speak that which can damage, destroy, and shatter the lives of others.

 

Personally, I know I must be faithful to read the Word, or my words can turn very harsh, critical, ugly, and sinful in an instant. I need God’s help with my mouth on a daily basis. I need His mercies, new and fresh, every morning. If I don’t depend on Him, my mouth will gush forth that which would dishonor His Name. It takes time to read the Word, allowing it to penetrate deeply into my soul, but I can tell you – it is so worth the effort! You will not regret it when you see the benefits you begin to reap from that precious time in His Word!
© 2018, Stacy R. Miller

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