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Proverbs - The Lord and the Sinner

INTRODUCTION: As I continue to read through the Bible this year, I have diverted my path slightly from the chronological schedule obtained from the Internet, and I am now staying in complete books, but with some attention to the chronology of their writing. As I read, I am also outlining in brief detail, by chapter and sometimes by topic. I am well beyond Proverbs in my reading, but I have returned to my notes on Proverbs periodically, where I have made some major separations of the writings therein.

I found chapter 10 through 21 to supply a list of over 370 verses which can stand alone from surrounding verses, and these I sorted by using characterization words in an adjacent column in Excel. I then selected two topics for extraction, the LORD and the sinner, and have used the resultant verses for the MPN this time. The two topic words represent categories, not actual key words found in each verse. The text below shows each verse preceded by chapter and verse number for location reference.

So, out of the 21 selected verses, from the total of over 900 in all 31 chapters of Proverbs, comes some insight from the pragmatic mind of Solomon for understanding how consistent the God of the Old Testament is, with the God of the New Testament, since they are one in the same. The heart of the pragmatist author is revealed if his words are examined carefully. The emphasis in this study is not between the righteous and the wicked, though there were many verses to develop such a comparison; but rather viewing man as he is, and the LORD as the only means of salvation from man's lost condition.

A - all have sinned

14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

COMMENTS: As Paul would say, we are not wise when we compare ourselves with ourselves or among ourselves; and Solomon says that God looks into the heart and soul of man whom he created and judges accordingly, not measuring acts of man's self righteousness. The double couplet of verses above are very similar in the original Hebrew, with the second couplet emphasizing how man considers himself pure and righteous, but God looks more deeply into the heart and the soul. God has given us truth twice through the pen and personality of his anointed king, and we need to apply this truth to our own hearts, and be not mislead by our own wisdom.

B - No Person is Righteous in Himself

20:9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

21:16 The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

21:30 There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.

28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

COMMENTS: These four verses show a progression of thought through each verse, which further underscores the truth of the first two couplets. There is none righteous in himself, so who can say that he has made himself clean, or that he is pure from his sin? If the Scripture declares the truth to us about our sin, and that God alone can cleanse us, then wandering away from that truth in lack of faith, will leave us among those who are dead in their sins. No matter how wise and learned we believe we have become, there is no wisdom, or counsel, or understanding against the truth established by the LORD! The one who covers his sin with any means of avoiding the truth, will not prosper in eternal matters. But the one who confesses his sin to the LORD with conviction to forsake the sin, will receive mercy from the LORD to have that sin removed.

C - Salvation is of the lord

10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

15:11 Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

COMMENTS: The way of the LORD, not the way which seems right in our own eyes, provides us with sure protection, as compared with the destruction awaiting those who reject his way. The fear of the LORD is a continual supply like a fountain, for regeneration, and a stay from the snares of death. Be not deceived, if such vast things as hell itself, and eternal destruction for those who reject mercy, are before the LORD for his discretion, how much more is the heart condition of every person laid bare before our almighty creator?

D - Humility Prepares the Heart

15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.

15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.

16:1 The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.

COMMENTS: The LORD is present in all places at all times, yet is far from the wicked; but he is so close to the righteous, even within, that he hears the prayer of a righteous man, uttered silently in the heart. The fear of the LORD instilled through the understanding of his unlimited power and authority, develops our wisdom to understand our weak condition before him, and our resultant humility, allows the LORD to be the one who elevates us in honor. He has done all of this for his glory, preparing our heart in understanding first, then leading us to respond with confession before the LORD to receive his salvation.

E - The Lord Refines the Heart

16:3 Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.

16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.

17:3 The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the LORD trieth the hearts.

COMMENTS: Place everything you do, before the LORD, and your thought processes will be firmly established in a process of mind renewal. By the LORD's mercy and truth, our sin nature can be purged from us, and by remembering that the LORD has all power and all knowledge, we can depart from our tendency to do any manner of that which is evil in his sight. Man uses refining methods to make precious metals pure for increased value, but our LORD refines our hearts for the purity he desires.

F - Salvation in the Lord Is Secure

18:10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.

19:16 He that keepeth the commandment keepeth his own soul; but he that despiseth his ways shall die.

21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.

COMMENTS: The name of the LORD is a strong tower, so Christian, take refuge in the tower of his righteousness, which alone is unshakable. Observe and exercise the commands of the LORD, for despising them in favor of our own way is the path to separation in death. Likewise, consistently acting in righteousness with sound judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than setting aside times of offering any sacrifice to him. Everything must be done in humility, through the fear of the LORD, while cherishing his promise of secure riches, honor established by him, and life which never ends.

--- Reflections in prayer ---

O LORD, I am overwhelmed as I contemplate the full complement of truth contained in these thoughts from the book of Proverbs. I must pause to reflect for a while more before I respond to your great love. Selah.

There was a time LORD, when I tried to reject your existence, and followed the thinking of man to desire only a human comparative goodness. If you did not exist, then I was free from moral judgment, but the alternative concepts to your creation and redemption left me empty inside. The reality of my sin began to convict me, leading me then to reconsider the small amount I had learned of you. From that feeble faith, I trusted you alone to complete my salvation, and then I began to understand more of the riches of your glory. Thank you for cleansing me, and leading me in the way of righteousness. I desire to remain steadfast LORD, and I ask that you provide the strength for each day.

Thank you LORD for giving me your Word, for your way to replace my own way of life, and the confidence that I have of the sure protection given thereby. I believe such vast things as hell itself, and eternal destruction for those who reject mercy, are before you LORD for your discretion, and therefore my heart condition is laid bare before you, the almighty creator.

What a tremendous comfort to know that even though you are everywhere at all times, you are far from the wicked, but as close to me as I could ever imagine! I want to remain in humility before you, and trust you to cause my humble state to bring only honor to you. By your mercy and truth, O LORD, purge me from my sin, and refine me as a precious metal in your sight.

Blessed be the name of the LORD, the strong tower of refuge in which I will place my trust. Your commandments I will seek to follow day by day, to have the consistent walk, which pleases you more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. Enable me to do everything in humility, through the fear of you, O LORD, while cherishing your promise of secure riches, honor established by you, and life which never ends! Amen.

Published 1 June 2004, first issued 5 July 2001