The wisdom of hard work

Being industrious and hardworking is a quality that Solomon knew was needed if a person is to be truly wise. In Ecclesiastes 2 we see some of what he did, while in Proverbs he wrote about not being lazy.

The word we find in most English versions of Proverbs is ‘sluggard’. This is defined as “as lazy, sluggish person”. The idea seems to be that because they are lazy they are slow; they don’t want to do what is needing to be done.

Rather than working, the sluggard finds any excuse not to work. “The sluggard has said, ‘There is a lion outside! I will be killed in the middle of the streets!’” (Proverbs 22:13 NET). It might sound foolish that someone would use such an excuse to get out of doing something, but some of the excuses we offer could be just as bad! Continue reading “The wisdom of hard work”

Wisdom in marriage

Besides his great wisdom, Solomon is known for the number of wives he had.

“King Solomon fell in love with many foreign women (besides Pharaoh’s daughter), including Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Sidonians, and Hittites. They came from nations about which the Lord had warned the Israelites, “You must not establish friendly relations with them! If you do, they will surely shift your allegiance to their gods.” But Solomon was irresistibly attracted to them. He had 700 royal wives and 300 concubines; his wives had a powerful influence over him.” (1 Kings 11:1-3 NET)

Perhaps it should not surprise us then, with all this experience of being married, that Solomon’s proverbs talk about husbands and wives and their relationship with each other. Despite his having so many wives, his advice to his son is that he should “rejoice in the wife you married in your youth … may you be captivated by her love always” (Proverbs 5:18-19). Even though he did not practice what he wrote, what he wrote is good wisdom! Continue reading “Wisdom in marriage”

Solomon’s proverbs

Solomon is known for his proverbs. Most proverbs are short, compact statements that express a truth about human behavior. Most of the proverbs use two contrasting phrases which compare two ideas, usually wisdom and foolishness (or folly). It is thought by many that Solomon wrote his proverbs in the middle of his life and the book of Proverbs is presented as the wisdom of a father that he is giving to his son.

During his reign Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs according to 1 Kings 4:32. Many of these were compiled during his reign. Other, chapters 25-29, are identified as being copied during the days of Hezekiah, hundreds of years later. Continue reading “Solomon’s proverbs”

Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God

In the lips of him that hath discernment wisdom is found; But a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding (Proverbs 10:13, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — The words of this proverb are not hard to understand. Wisdom comes from only one of two sources. The source of wisdom is either from God or not-God. There are no other options. Continue reading “Two sources of wisdom: God or not-God”

Hate and love

Hatred stirreth up strifes; But love covereth all transgressions (Proverbs 10:12, ASV).

By Ron Thomas — I have come to understand we live in a society that hardly knows the meaning of the word racism, just like they hardly know the meaning of the word hate. Without giving attention to the first word, let us give attention to the second.

The word hate has broad application in Scripture; it can be associated with intense dislike, coupled with animosity to something not so intense. Continue reading “Hate and love”

A little with the Lord

Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it (Proverbs 15:16 ESV).

One of the recurring themes throughout the Proverbs is that peace, righteousness, and the fear of the Jehovah are far superior to wealth. With so much glorification of gain, this is definitely a counter-culture mindset.

It is implicit in almost every culture that those who have are more important than those who do not. Those who have fame are better than those who are unknown. Those who are rich are better than those who are poor. Those who are talented in a visible way are better than those whose talents exhibit themselves in more modest ways. Privation is seen as a character flaw and possession is seen as proof of a superior person. Continue reading “A little with the Lord”

‘A universal proverb among Christians’

Driving one Sunday morning up US Highway 45 in Tennessee, on our way to report on our work to a congregation outside of the town of Dyersburg, we passed a denominational church building with a sign posted near the right-of-way. It was simple, with three words, one on top of the other: Scripture, Tradition, Reason.

In truth, in order to reflect that group’s positions, the order ought to be reversed: reason, tradition, scripture. The denomination could not exist were it not for human reasoning and religious tradition, because its name and its teachings do not appear in Scripture in any form.

Division among people who call themselves Christians is a serious problem. Religious leaders not only justify it, but promote it. They glory in human names and creeds. They impose their doctrines and, like the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, make their followers “twice as much a child of hell as” themselves, Matthew 23.15. Continue reading “‘A universal proverb among Christians’”

Absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Each society has proverbs, pithy statements that may or may not contain some general truth. Some are more useful than others. “All that glitters is not gold” and “two wrongs don’t make a right” seem particularly useful in today’s society. One of the more popular proverbs is “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” But is that true?

Perhaps it is true in an extremely limited sense. Short periods of absence could cause one to realize how much another means to them. However, as a general rule, can we say that absence makes the heart grow fonder?

Continue reading “Absence makes the heart grow fonder?”

A proverb in the mouth of fools

Last week I began the final edit of a book for a friend. It’s a delight to read and an easy work to revise. He has the gift of words and, specifically, of writing. If I weren’t a servant of God, I’d be tempted to envy. He makes reading a joy, and learning a pleasure.

Not everyone has such a gift, and that’s a fine thing, since it’s God’s plan. But some people have what might be called an anti-gift.

Proverbs 26 enlightens the reader about the actions of fools. Among them is the use of a proverb in the mouth of fools. They are not only inept, their bad usage screeches against the ear. Continue reading “A proverb in the mouth of fools”

Goals, thoughts, behavior, self-control: Some notes on the book of Proverbs

This month I’m sending, by email, a chapter a day from the book of Proverbs to some friends who’ve requested it. It’s yet another effort to encourage Bible reading and study. I also post some links and notes of mine on each chapter, for whoever wants to delve further. Following is a translation from the Portuguese of some of those notes, a few of them expanded for this article, along with a couple new ones. Continue reading “Goals, thoughts, behavior, self-control: Some notes on the book of Proverbs”