Many of you who live in New England and the northeast corridor are either enduring hurricane Irene or cleaning up after her. I pray you all suffered little or no loss.
Getting down to the text, however…
“Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 — The hope of this proverb, when training really happens, can be one of high expectation. But training includes more than just teaching. Correction, exampling, coaching, mentoring, consistency, copious amounts of love and support, and much more are part of effective parenting. Even so, each child is an independent moral agent and occasionally there will be a child that will refuse even the best parenting efforts.
“Do not associate with a man given to anger; Or go with a hot-tempered man, Or you will learn his ways And find a snare for yourself.” Proverbs 22:24, 25 — Anger, like many other emotions, are contagious. If you hang around people who are always angry, you are likely to become an angry person yourself — not a happy ambition. Want to be calm, peaceful, and rational? Associate with people who are calm, peaceful, and rational.
“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” Proverbs 22:29 — The truth of this proverb is fairly self-evident and it encourages us to polish the skills that we have. Sadly, many are content with mediocrity — never growing, never improving beyond their current level, never getting better, simply “good enough”. What you do, try to do well!
“Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who linger long over wine, Those who go to taste mixed wine.” Proverbs 23:29, 30 — While drinking isn’t considered sinful, drunkenness is. This proverb adds strong warnings of consequences to God’s specific commandments against drunkenness. Who needs woe, sorrow, fights, complaints, and bumps and bruises they don’t remember? Take the hint. “At the last it bites like a serpent And stings like a viper. Your eyes will see strange things And your mind will utter perverse things.” Proverbs 23:32, 33, NAS95.
“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” Proverbs 24:11, 12 — This has sometimes been called the evangelist’s proverb. It certainly has wider applications, too, but the essence it of boils down to the accountability we will have for simply turning our heads the other way to blithely ignore the tragedy or disaster of others. What souls do you know that are staggering toward death without Jesus?
“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; Or the LORD will see it and be displeased, And turn His anger away from him.” Proverbs 24:17, 18 — It’s hard not to gloat over a fallen enemy, but it demonstrates something less than Christian love, doesn’t it?
“My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change, For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” Proverbs 24:21, 22 — Rebellion (change) is the key issue here: neither the king nor the LORD are pleased with their subjects seeking to change their law or authority. It’s something for those with religiously liberal ideas to consider.
“I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down. When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction. “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.” Proverbs 24:30-34 — Laziness leaves almost everything neglected. Leisure and taking it easy are vastly overrated in our world. Although God did provide for the idea of Sabbath to renew and recharge our bodies and souls, it was never intended to be the main pursuit of our lives.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.