Showing posts from 2016

Have you met a fool recently?

Have you ever met a fool? How do you know when you’ve met a fool? In what follows, I’ve pulled together the descriptions given in Proverbs to provide a composite picture of what a fool is and does.*

A fool rejects his father’s discipline (Prov. 15:5), causes his father sorrow (Prov. 17:21), and robs him of joy (Prov. 17:21). He despises his mother (Prov. 15:2), is destruction to his father (Prov. 19:13), and is a grief and bitterness to both his parents (Prov. 10:1; 17:25).

He despises wisdom and instruction (Prov. 1:7), hates knowledge (Prov. 1:22, 29), and does not choose the fear of Yahweh (Prov. 1:29). He fails to act with knowledge (Prov. 13:16), has no heart for wisdom, even if he seeks it (Prov. 17:16), looks for wisdom in all the wrong places, and thus can’t find it (Prov. 17:24). He dies because of a lack of understanding (Prov. 10:21)

He trusts in his own heart (Prov. 28:26), refuses to listen to counsel (Prov. 12:15), and rejects reproof (Prov. 1:30). His way is right in hi…

God: His Glorious Goodness Shines Brightest in Satisfied Saints

The last verse in Proverbs where “God” occurs is Proverbs 30:9. Verses 7-9 form a whole thought in which Agur prays to be kept from deception and lies as well as poverty and riches. Fear of denying Yahweh or dishonoring God’s name motivates his prayer. Agur prays,
 7 Two things I ask of You, Do not refuse me before I die:
 8 Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion,
 9 That I not be full and deny You and say, "Who is Yahweh?" Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God. There are multiple layers to this passage’s doctrine of God. Here are only four of them:
1. God has a name - a reputation.
2. God’s name may be “profaned”
3. God encourages personal identification with Him - “my God”
4. God wants us to pray this way

1. God has a name -- God’s “name” refers to various things in Scripture: what He wants to be called--Yahweh (Exod. 6:3); his character (Exod. 33:19; 34:6); his reputation…

God: The Silver-Tongued, Sterling-Hearted Shield

Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.[1]
There’s so much spiritual marrow for soul nourishment here! We can learn the following about God from Prov. 30:5-6 ...
1. God has spoken. God is a communicator. He is there and He is not silent. The silence of our a vast, unfathomed universe has disturbed not a few, but God, the Creator, has spoken!
2. God has made His word available! God is a revealer and a preserver of His word. He not only speaks somewhere, but He speaks here, on earth, to people. We need not go to Him to hear His words. He has come to us! The marvelous way in which He has preserved His word over 3.5 millennia testifies to His passion to be known.
3. God has spoken pure words. The word “pure” (tserufah) means “tested” or “refined”—as in the process of refining silver (Prov. 25:4)—so that all non-silver elements are removed and what is left is silver…

Scoffers Seek Wisdom; Yahweh Refuses

God: The World’s Greatest Concealment Artist (Prov. 25:2)

Most often theology is written in the third person—about God. But for theology to become doxology, it must shift to the second person—You. I try to model that movement in this fourth installment on the doctrine of God in Proverbs.
Proverbs 25:2 has the fourth occurrence of “God” (here Elohim) in Proverbs.
Proverbs 25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.The ‘glory’ of God has multiple senses in Scripture. The sense here, since it is contrastively paralleled with “the glory of kings,” is “honor, acknowledgement of elevated status.” People honor what they admire. What brings honor to God is His concealment of matters because it displays his the unique excellence of His wisdom.
God conceals matters. Father, You hide things. You cover things. You hide truth from the unbelieving (cf. Isa. 6:9-10; Mark 4:11-12). You cover in the simple guise of a leaf multi-faceted machinery that uses light for energy, that processes carbon dioxide in…

God: Longing to Show His Favor (Prov. 3:3-4)

The third occurrence of “God” in Proverbs is in chapter three.
Proverbs 3:3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute[1] In the sight of God and man.
What do we learn of God here?
God favors. Favor is a positive evaluation resulting in an inclination to grant requests (Exod. 33:12, 17); it is being pleased with someone (Gen. 6:8; 1 Sam. 16:22) resulting in dealing and speaking kindly with them (Num. 11:15; Ruth 2:13).
God’s favor is conditional If you bind kindness and truth to your neck and write them on the table of your heart and never let them go, then God will be pleased with  you, God will be positively inclined to grant your request. All men do not find favor in His eyes. Those who corrupt their ways and abandon Him find no favor in His eyes (Gen. 6:6-8; Jon. 2:9).
God wants us to find favor in His eyes. This theological inference follows naturally. God tells us what finds fa…

God: Seen from the Adulteress Angle (Proverbs 2:17)

As noted in my previous post, the word “God” occurs six times in Proverbs. Today we look at the second occurrence in Proverbs to grow our understanding of the doctrine of God.
Proverbs 2:17 “That leaves the companion of her youth And forgets the covenant of her God”
Contextually, we are being warned about the adulterous woman, who violates her marriage vows. That Solomon calls her adultery forgetting the “covenant of her God” opens several interpretive options: 1) the covenant is the Sinaitic Covenant that forbad adultery, 2) the covenant is the marriage covenant generally which God established in Gen. 2:24 implictly, or 3) the covenant is her specific marriage covenant to which God was a party.
Options 2 or 3 seem contextually more likely, and I incline to the third option--that the covenant that she forgets is her marriage covenant to which God is a party.
Given any of the three options, the text makes explicit that God is a covenant-making God. We are also reminded that breaking the…

The Doctrine of God in Proverbs

All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). That means the Book of Proverbs is God-breathed and profitable for doctrine.
I’ve been particularly interested in the doctrine of God in Proverbs over the last several years. With this post I’m beginning what I hope to be a series on the doctrine of God in Proverbs.
The word “God” shows up six times (Prov. 2:5, 17; 3:4; 25:2; 30:5, 9) and God’s personal name, Yahweh (usually LORD in English translations), shows up 86 times.
Looking first at the six places where “God” occurs, what can we learn about God from these verses?
The first occurrence of “God” is in Proverbs 2:5, “Then you will discern the fear of Yahweh And discover the knowledge of God.”
1. Right off the bat, it is easy to see that knowledge of God is discoverable, and thus that God is knowable. This may seem hum-drum. However, both in the Ancient Near East and in much of modern society a personal …