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

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting May 4th on Proverbs 4:10-13

[If you have been here before, in May, then you might want to skip down below the green for today's post.]

"Thirty days hath September, 
April, June and November
All the rest have 31
Except February which has 28
Except during leap year when it has 29"

NO I DID NOT WRITE THIS "POEM"!  (Talk about free verse!)

Why didn't somebody just point out that the four months that do NOT have 31 days (except February, and everyone knows all about February The Exceptional) come every other month except that there is no 30 day month between July and August?  The silly poem above mixes up the order just to hide the fact that the real 30 day months come in two orderly pairs: April/June and September/November.  Can somebody please write a non-silly poem for us that will make this clear, and stick in our minds, but without gooping them up with exceptions (and please just leave February out of it!)?

And to make matters (far) worse, MILLERWRITES has created a Proverbs Pull-A-Part Plan that decimates that fine collection of wisdom in the book of Proverbs, by spreading commentary on each chapter out over 7 months (the good 31 day months)!  Oh don't ask me to explain his system.  You can try to decipher what he said about it at the top of any P31P posts from January or March if you like, or just follow along this month and figure it out.
All Bible passages are from the NIV, and are copied here from

REMEMBER: My ideas may be oh so mesmerizing, but you will get more benefit from simply reading the chapter itself!

So here I offer my amateur comments on verses 10-13.  Today's inspired verses are in red, and my comments are neither       (neither inspired, nor red).


Get Wisdom at Any Cost

1 Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; 
pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning,
so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father,
still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me,
“Take hold of my words with all your heart;
keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding;
do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you;
love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get[a] wisdom.
Though it cost all you have,[b] get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you;
embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head
and present you with a glorious crown. ”
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,
and the years of your life will be many. 

10) Remember that this is not a Biblical promise, but a Proverb.  It is a 'rule of thumb' as it were.  I think that God let's sinners sin, as one of His cardinal rules.  We have free will and He let's us exercise it.  If someone chooses to shoot me and steal my car (someone who has never SEEN my car!), he may.  UNLESS (and there is a BIG unless), I am God's child and someone has been praying for my safety.  In that case, if God chooses, He can use all kinds of people and things in His realm to make sure my shooter does not happen upon me while he is in such a foul mood (Granting free will does not mean working to support any particular goals of a particular free willer).  Traffic issues alone offer God a million opportunities to realign rendezvous times, and without interfering with the free choice of anyone.  

Of course God will exercise His free will, in deciding which prayers to answer and in which way.  If it better serves His kingdom to allow some murderer to take me out, then so be it.  (Yes, the Christian worldview DOES have an answer (an excuse clause?) to every question.  Wouldn't you expect that from an above average worldview?  If yours does not have a rational explanation for every dilemma, something is wrong with it.

God may step in to the free choice-making of His committed followers, but that is by their allowance or cooperation; their willingness may then be used by God, sometimes even in a very small way, to rearrange what would have been a dire circumstance for another believer.  God speaks to His children, personally, and they feel His spirit move them into some specific action or inaction.  "Drop in at Mel's house on the way home."  "Do not mention Fred's dilemma to Ted." "Pull over now." We believers can practice our own free will of course, as well.  And too often we choose to disobey God (thus limiting, at least the "abundant living" , of our lives).

The proverb above, calling us to 'listen' is always relevant and important.  Our lives, and perhaps the lives of others, sometimes hangs on our 'acceptance' of what our heavenly Father says.  

How else might 'listening' extend our lives?  We are told that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, suggesting that we should respect, and take good care of them.  Listeners to this advice live longer   We are told of many types of people, and types of places to avoid (Ever hear of the book of Proverbs?).  People who don't, often die young.  But "only the good die young" you say.  Do you really believe that myth?

11 I instruct you in the way of wisdom
and lead you along straight paths. 

11) "Thank you Lord.  Help me not to stray int the ditch!"

12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered;
when you run, you will not stumble.

12) "But what about if I just sit still and watch the world go by in HD? "  Well I don't have HD yet, but I think God is suggesting that we are not to be on the sidelines.  We should be 'in the game' and not worried about being hampered or stumbling.

13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go;
guard it well, for it is your life. 

13) How easy it is to get all into another one of God's great ideas....and then forget all about the last one learned.  James 1:22-24 uses a great picture to teach this lesson:

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.  Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror  and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

"...guard it well, for it is your life."  I think God has a serious side to Him!

14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked
or walk in the way of evildoers.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;
turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot rest until they do evil;
they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun,
shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know what makes them stumble.

20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the[c] paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.

By the way...MILLERWRITES copy is COPYRIGHTED. Why cut and paste when you can simply copy the link?

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