John T. Willis

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Proverbs 15:11-15

Conditions of the "heart" seem to run through the proverbs in Proverbs 15:11-15.

Verse 11--Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord,
how much more human hearts!

Verse 12--Scoffers do not like to be rebuked;
they will not go to the wise.

Verse 13--A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

Verse 14--The mind of one who has understanding seeks knowledge,
but the mouths of fools feed on folly.

Verse 15--All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.

Important practical lessons for daily godly living in these verses include the following.
1. The Bible consistently reminds human beings that God sees and scrutinizes the inner desires, secret motives, and repressed plans of the heart. See Proverbs 15:3; 17:3; 22:12; Hebrews 4:13; etc.
2. Commenting on Proverbs 15:12, Kenneth Aitken writes [The Daily Study Bible Series: Proverbs, p. 111]: "A scoffer will never try to see, far less respect, someone else's point of view. He is always right and the other fellow is always wrong. . . He never has a positive or a good word to say about anybody or anything; but he is always quick to let drop the cynical comment and snide remark to pour cold ater on what anyone else says."
3. Everyone likes to be around a person with a "glad" or "cheerful" heart, a person who has a positive and optimistic outlook on life, who consistently sees the good in others and finds things in which to rejoice, who has a contagious smile. What a contrast to one who is always down in the dumps, looks for things about which to complain, and who dampens the spirits of all those around him or her!
4. A truly wise person knows she or he does not know everything, and does not know anything perfectly; so a wise person is always open to learning new things or learning old things more accurately, and thus to changing her or his mind and ways of life. By contrast, a fool is deeply rooted in his or her beliefs and outlook on life, and would never consider the possibility that he or she needed to change his or her understandings or way of life.

John Willis

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Proverbs 15:6-10

Proverbs 15:6-10 contain five contrasts between the righteous and the wicked, pertaining to true and false treasures, speech, prayer, righteousness, and discipline.

Verse 6--In the house of the righteous there is much treasure,
but trouble befalls the income of the wicked.

Verse 7--The lips of the wise spread knowledge,
not so the minds of fools.

Verse 8--The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is his delight.

Verse 9--The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves the one who pursues righteousness.

Verse 10--There is severe discipline for one who forsakes the way,
but one who hates a rebuke will die.

These verses abound in great ideas for godly living. Here are some of them:
1. There are different qualities of treasures or riches. Many love earthly wealth, possessions, and accumulations of things. Such treasures pass away quickly. Eternal treasures abide and satisfy the human heart (see Matthew 6:19-21).
2. Words are very powerful. Some bless their hearers with knowledge and encouragement and motivation. Those who speak such words receive God's approval.
3. There are things which God "abhors" or "hates," which are an "abomination" to him. One is a person who lives a wicked life but worships God--as if he or she were devoted to God. Another is a person whose daily way of life opposes God's desires and instructions.
4. There are things which make God rejoice, which are a "delight" to him. One is the prayer of a person who is living according to God's will. That person's life agrees with her or his lip.
5. Discipline is like a refining fire which removes alloys or dross from silver or gold or some other kind of precious metal in order to make it as pure as possible. The Lord disciplines people because he loves them (see Proverbs 3:11-12).

John Willis