The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting January 14th on Proverbs 14:1-5

January 14;  Proverbs 14, Verses 1-3

[Please note: The first two paragraphs below are repeated each day for new readers.  My amateur comments start below today's verses from Proverbs.]

Christians looking for a simple way to review the Bible regularly, have long been convenienced by the fact that the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, the same number as most of our months.  Each chapter includes multiple bite-sized verses (uhm, proverbs) and can be read through simply in one sitting, one appropriately numbered chapter per day through the month.  A person might read through the Proverbs a chapter a day during any month, but why mess with your head (reading an extra chapter on one, two, or three days!) like that when there are 7 months every year perfectly suited for the endeavor?

My idea here is to reprint about 1/7 of the verses from each day's chapter throughout this year, every time a 31 day month pops up, and then offer a few comments from The Barking Owl.  So in January, we will get through the first few verses of every chapter and then in March, the next group, and so on, until December comes around and we can finally get to the last set of verses in each chapter and complete the book's reading.  If you are smarter than I am (is there any doubt?), you will read the whole chapter every day, every 31 day month, and then you will have read the whole book 7 times this year!  By then you are guaranteed to at least be wiser than The Barking Owl , though no one will ever match the wisdom of Solomon!

[All Bible passages are from the NIV, and are copied from]

Proverbs 14

 1 The wise woman builds her house,
   but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
 2 Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly,
   but those who despise him are devious in their ways.
 3 A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
   but the lips of the wise protect them.
 4 Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
   but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.
 5 An honest witness does not deceive,
   but a false witness pours out lies.

1) Proverbs chapter 31 speaks at length to the many ways a 'wise woman builds her house', and it is a beautiful chapter.  The ugly study of how a foolish woman might tear down her house has not been written, but I suspect it would be a very long chapter indeed.  Without even knowing it (perhaps that defines 'foolish') she can ruin peace, stifle joy, subvert growth, and inhibit love.  Probably at the base of all these horrors is a self-serving, or self-centered, attitude.  Perhaps under that is an unruly insecurity, but does it matter?  Her house is torn down, and her home is no more.

2) People seem to balk at the idea that we should 'fear the Lord', as if only a bad thing, or person, should engender fear.  When on a high ledge, I fear gravity.  When working outside in August, I fear the sun.  When in a puddle, I fear electricity.  When tempted to disobey, I feared my parents, and obeyed.  When driving too fast, I feared the police, and slowed down.  All of society is glad when I fear the Lord, and 'walk uprightly'.    

Think of the headlines we all hate to read and ask: "Are these crimes done by those who truly 'fear the Lord', or by the devious who 'despise Him'?

3) Pride again, devastating again.  This time taking control of the mouth and lips, it is boasting and bragging and making a scene.  The verse below, from James 3, is only one poignant depiction from that chapter about the tongue, and its ruthless work. 

"Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark".  James 3:5

4) A salient point  Some of these proverbs are either too simple or too deep.  This one seems like an obvious point, but maybe there is much more to it.  What do you think?  (Here's my attempt at a modern version of verse 4:  A farmer without gas in his tractor, has no corn in his crib; but from much horsepower comes much wheat flour.)

5) This one too is simply defining the terms.  An honest witness is honest, and a lying witness tells lies.  Of course we all appreciate an honest witness, unless we are being defended by the liars lies, but then we have become one with the false witness.  So the only question left here is "Did I spell lying correctly?"

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