Proverbs 30

I thought this set of proverbs was a really nice change of pace from the rest of the proverbs. Apparently they’re the sayings of Agur. I have no idea who he is, but for the description in the text that Agur is and oracle and the son of Jakeh.

Verse 3:

I have not learned wisdom,
nor have I knowledge of the Holy One.

I can’t decide if this is simply a self-deprecating remark, i.e., who am I to claim that I really, truly “know” God, or if this is a remark that indicates he was not a follower of Jehovah. I’m inclined to believe the former.

Verses 5-6:

Every word of God is flawless;
he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Do not add to his words,
or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar.

A great reminder when claiming the promises of God. His words are flawless, if for whatever reason it looks like God is fail to live up to His promises, it can’t be Him. As Pastor Paul at Abundant Life is fond of saying, when we claim God’s promises, we need to claim the whole thing, and that often means backing up to the verse prior and claiming that as well.

Verses 7-9:

Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.

Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD ?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God.

These are great verses. Such wisdom! Requesting neither poverty nor riches, but the fine balance between the two. And it’s totally true, if we have too much, we forget God, and forget that He is our Provider. On the other hand, if we’re poor we might be prone to stealing and sinning against him.

Proverbs 29

Verse 7:

The righteous care about justice for the poor,
but the wicked have no such concern.

James expresses a similar sentiment when he indicates that true religion is taking care of orphans and widows in their distress.

Verse 18:

Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint;
but blessed is he who keeps the law.

A verse I’ve heard quoted as the reason to be good at casting a vision and making sure that the people know the vision. I’ve read other translations indicate that the people will perish rather than cast off restraint.

Interesting Driving Law

Along with learning about road signs, I also learned the following from Driver’s

The law (21755 VC) specifically prohibits a driver who is being passed from speeding up.

In other words, all those jerks out there who speed up when someone’s trying to pass them are actually breaking the law. It actually makes sense that this would be illegal. It really poses a safety hazard, especially on a two lane road.

I’ve seen instances on Hwy-46 where this happened. A driver in front of me was trying to pass the driver in front of him. Because it’s a two lane highway, that meant he had to get into the lane with oncoming traffic. As he pulled into that lane, the car in front of him started to speed up. By the time he was actually able to get back into his lane, he nearly missed an oncoming semi-truck. Pretty darn lucky to still be alive.

In any case, take note: that type of action is illegal according to the California Vehicle Code.

Proverbs 28

Verse 13:

He who conceals his sins does not prosper,
but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

A vivid reminder also found in James 5:16 that we should confess our sins–not simply to confess them, but because it produces real results. In this case, the verse indicates we will find mercy. The verse in James says that we will be healed.

5 Months, or 150 Days

Charlene and I have officially been married for 5 months. Incidentally, that also translates to 150 days. Funny how that works. I guess the 28 days of February combined with a few 31 day months means we’re at an average of 30 day/month exactly.

Anyways, congratulations, Char. We made it this far! Seems like yesterday we were trying to figure out what to have for dinner at the banquet, and dueling it out on the guest list.

Charlene took me out to Red Lobster in celebration of our milestone. It was very delicious. The service was a bit lacking, but I think the server was being overworked and had too many tables to focus on. He seemed like he was running in a thousand different directions at once.

I’m pretty sure I’ve officially decided that I don’t like eating crab from the shell. It’s too messy and time consuming. But I’ll take crab cakes any day. The shrimp, scallops, potatoes, rice, and broccoli were fabulous.

Oh, and those lobster tails they show in the commericals–it’s all marketing–pure and simple–well, maybe not pure but you know what I mean. The ones in the commercial are huge. The ones on the plate were tiny. They made crayfish tails look pretty sizable.

Thanks for dinner!  It was delicious.

Proverbs 27

Verse 1:

Do not boast about tomorrow,
for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

A great reminder, also found in the Book of James

Verse 17:

As iron sharpens iron,
so one man sharpens another.

Love this verse! Totally true and a great reason to have close brothers in Christ who can keep me accountable. I’m talking to my groomsmen here!

Verse 19:

As water reflects a face,
so a man’s heart reflects the man.

Deep wisdom in this statement. If only men were more apt to share their hearts.

Verse 21:

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but man is tested by the praise he receives.

I often think this is true, especially for people who have a public face in Church, particularly pastors, worship leaders, emcees, etc. It’s easy to get a lot of praise in positions like that. Even as a worship leader, I’ve  been tested by the praise I receive. That’s why when people in such positions do a good job, rather than telling them “Worship was awesome tonight” or “That was a great sermon” I prefer the approach of thanking them for their time, efforts, service, or ministry to the church. Then it goes from being praise (which may or may not be construed as taking glory from God) to a statement of thankfulness.

Even in my own experiences as a worship leader, I’ve found it much easier to give praise to God when people make similar comments to me.

Proverbs 26

Verses 4-5:

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,
or you will be like him yourself.

Answer a fool according to his folly,
or he will be wise in his own eyes.

On his blog, Pastor Tim calls this out as an “apparent contradiction“. I thought that was interesting, because I guess it does really look like a contradiction. I didn’t see it that way. The “contradiction” resolved itself pretty nicely in my mind. Here’s what I wrote back:

Hey Pastor Tim,
I saw the “contradiction” in the Proverb, but it actually made pretty good sense to me right off the bat.

I think this goes along with what you and the commentator wrote, but the paraphrase I came away with was (26:4) “Do not answer a foolish question with a foolish answer because you’ll be no different than he.”
(26:5) “Answer a foolish question with a wise answer in order to call out the foolishness of that question.”

This has been a lot of fun! Thanks for encouraging us to read the Word together.

Hope that makes sense to you.

Proverbs 25

Verse 11:

A word aptly spoken
is like apples of gold in settings of silver.

While the simile is a bit ancient, the content is there. A word aptly spoken is golden.

Verse 16:

If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.

An odd verse to be sure. But my question is whether or not this verse is solely about gluttony, or if there’s a deeper meaning here.

Verse 17:

Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
too much of you, and he will hate you.

To me, “seldom” means we’re hardly ever doing it, and leads me to a conclusion of being inhospitable. So I’m not sure what to do with this. Frankly, it just seems pretty harsh. Maybe Solomon should have had better neighbors?

Verse 20:

Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on soda,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.

I have some musically inclined friends who would find this verse disheartening. My only conclusion is that these “songs” aren’t sympathetic dirges, but inappropriately happy or joyous songs that would only serve to “pour salt in the wound”.

Verses 21-22:

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the LORD will reward you.

So is God rewarding us for heaping burning coals on someone’s head, or is He rewarding us for serving our enemies? Seems ironic that the Bible advocates this type of action for this particular reason. I’ve heard the phrase “kill them with kindness” but this seems to be advocating wrong motives.

Verse 24:

Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

Again, we are given the admonition of Proverbs 21:9.

I guess it’s fair to say that I’m struggling with a lot of the verse in Chapter 25. They don’t seem like conventional wisdom at all, much less biblical wisdom.

What do you think?

Proverbs 24

Aye Yah! Behind again…Good thing for me that next month is right around the corner, and I have a chance to get this right on a daily basis starting with Proverbs 1.

Verse 26:

An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.

In general, I’d say this is true. But what about those classic traps or trick questions:

  • Does this dress make me look fat?
  • Do I look older?
  • How old do you think I am?

The honest answer might not be so much of a kiss as it is a slap in the face.

Verses 33-34:

A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest-

and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.

This seems to be a hyperbolic statement. I find it hard to believe that a little sleep, slumber, or resting of the hands will be the direct cause of poverty. Heck, even God rested on the 7th day. And we’re even commanded to observe the Sabbath to keep it Holy. It seems a bit obstreperous to make such a harsh claim in light of this. I think it must be referring to excessive sleep and rest.

AT&T Future is Dim?

As a follow up to my entry on my new Blackberry, it seems that AT&T might be doomed if they loose exclusivity to the iPhone.

I know from personal experience that Charlene’s reception on her iPhone is less than stellar. Tech Crunch seems to have similar sentiments.

I’ve been unable to do a speedtest on my Blackberry as all of the web-based tests seem to require Flash. But based on my observations, it seems decently speedy. Granted, I’ve never tried to watch YouTube on it. As I mentioned before, I do wish it had WiFi, though. Oh well.