June 5 — Proverbs 7-9 — Sin’s Temptation (about 950 BC). There is an interesting contrast in these chapters between the call of wisdom and the enticement of sin. The wayward woman of chapter 7 reminds us of the approach of Satan that draws us into sinful ways. She uses “smooth words” (7:5), is suggestively dressed (v. 10), “seizes him and kisses him” (v. 13), perfumes and decorates her bed (vv. 16-17), ensures safety because of her absent husband (v. 19), and uses “much seductive speech” and “smooth talk” (v. 21). On the other hand, the approach of personified Wisdom in chapter 8 is much different. It is an approach of invitation without seduction. Wisdom calls out publicly (8:1-3) with an announcement of truth (vv. 6-7) containing great value (vv. 10-11). Rather than seeking and seizing victims, Wisdom waits for “those who seek me diligently” (v. 17). Sin will find us but we must find wisdom and righteousness. The effort you give each day to immersing yourself in God’s Word is bringing you wisdom and godliness. You are on the right path!
June 6 — Proverbs 10-12 — Promises or Proverbs? (about 950 BC). Chapter 10 begins the section of Proverbs that is filled with two-line sayings. In today’s reading, 84% of the proverbs are expressed as contrasts, with 75% of them using the word “but” (ESV). For instance, many of them contrast good with evil or wisdom with foolishness, urging us to choose the side we really want to have characterize our lives. When considering the book of Proverbs, one often hears the expression, “Proverbs are not promises.” On the other hand, we need to remember that this is also God’s Word to us, and a proverb cannot be dismissed simply because it doesn’t seem to fit into our understanding or cultural context. I found an interesting discussion on this subject by Peter Krol at www.knowableword.com/2016/07/22/why-proverbs-arent-promises-is-misleading/ that you may want to read. It was written in 2016 and is less than 3 pages long.
June 7 — Proverbs 13-15 — Proud House (about 950 BC). One contrasting proverb stood out to me in our reading for today: “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish” (14:11). One contrast is between the “house” as an apparent symbol of prosperity and the “tent” as a likely symbol of poverty. One would expect the righteous person to live in a house and the evil person to live in a tent but the opposite is true here. It is “the wicked” who owns the house and “the upright” who lives in the tent. A second contrast is that the house “will be destroyed” but the tent “will flourish.” Those results are connected to the character of the owners. A later proverb says, “The LORD tears down the house of the proud” (15:25). This adds additional insight to the first proverb: the house is a symbol of pride while the tent is a symbol of humility. Are you living in a “house” or a “tent”? Let’s just make sure that our house is not a symbol of pride for us. We can still have a tent attitude in a significant house.
June 8 — Proverbs 16-18 — Sweet Speech (about 950 BC). There are two verses in chapter 16 that connect sweetness with speech: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (v. 24). We have a choice about the words and tone that we use in speaking to others. “Gracious words” focus on the hearer and how they will receive them rather than on the speaker who is centered only on what is on his/her mind. There are two kinds of benefits that come to the hearer of these sincere words. One is “sweetness to the soul,” something that is pleasant to hear and is deeply satisfying. The second benefit is in the other sweet-speech verse: “…sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness” (v. 21). Those are words that one desires to listen to and that draw the hearer toward the speaker. In your communication with others today, concentrate on how your words will sound, how they will be received. It will make you better understood and accepted.
June 9 — Proverbs 19-21 — Laziness (about 950 BC). Proverbs has a lot to say about being lazy and its prime description may be found here: “The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth” (19:24). That is the height of laziness! Needless to say, “his hands refuse to labor” (21:25) and although he “does not plow in the autumn” (20:4), he still seeks for a crop at harvest time. The only “work” he seems to do is that “he craves and craves” (21:26). As expected, slothfulness “casts into a deep sleep” (19:15) but we are advised, “Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty” (20:13). So, will that motivate you today to turn off the television and do something that you want to do but keep putting off? It is amazing what we could accomplish if we would just do that. Okay, maybe I am preaching to the choir because you have committed to reading through the Bible this year, which is a very good, though difficult, task. Keep it up!
June 10 — Proverbs 22-24 — Rescuing the Helpless (about 950 BC). These chapters have a lot to say about the proper discipline of children (22:6, 15; 23:13). But what about children who don’t have a chance to begin life? I couldn’t help but think about the tragedy of abortion in America as I read these verses today: “Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?” (24:11-12). It seems to me that Christians are not being nearly intentional enough in opposing this national slaughter of innocent children. Thankfully, there are some believers who are convincing women to bear their children and finding families willing to adopt them. God sees this and is pleased.
June 11 — 1 Kings 5-6, 2 Chron. 2-3 — Subtle Witness (about 966 BC). King Hiram of the northern kingdom of Tyre was a rather refreshing character. We read that “Hiram always loved David” (1 Kg. 5:1) and remember that he had cooperated with David by supplying materials for building his house. Later, Solomon asked him to do the same for building the Jerusalem temple for Yahweh, providing a physical witness about God. As a part of his request, Solomon proclaimed that “our God is greater than all gods” (2 Chron. 2:5) Who had spoken to David (1 Kg. 5:5). In Hiram’s encouraging response, he gave honor to God (“… blessed be the LORD”—2 Chron. 2:12), adding that “the LORD loves his people” and acknowledging that He “made heaven and earth” and that He “has given King David a wise son.” We never know how our God-honoring comments to others will be received and we also don’t know how God will use these natural remarks in shaping their understanding of God and their appreciation for Him.