|Volume 20 Number 10 October 2018||
In his Preface, Proverbs, Wisdom for All Ages, Thomas L. Seals wrote:
Proverbs is truly wisdom for all ages. It is the one book in the Old Testament which gives practical advice on how to live godly lives in the midst of a changing world. It has no equal aside from the small epistle of James in the New Testament. For this reason, we have undertaken the task of writing this book in order to equip the man and woman of God with the wisdom of Proverbs. Through the application of such wisdom, in our daily lives, we can be made better men and women of God and thus make a better society.
I most certainly attest to these thoughts because God’s wisdom is second to none and far superior to the deepest thinking minds of any age! How could man have any good and honorable concept that God forgot or overlooked?
Have you ever considered Proverbs for daily Bible reading? Neither had I until it was suggested in an article or a tract that I read at least 30 years ago. To my regret, I did not write down the name of the article or the tract, not to mention the author or the year of publication, but the suggestion was well taken. At that time, it was a most welcomed suggestion because then I was still struggling to make reading my Bible a daily reality. I have done what I could to encourage those who have expressed the desire to become daily Bible readers and simply did not know where or how to begin.
The reason this suggestion for daily Bible reading caught my attention immediately was the fact that Proverbs has 31 chapters, and there is no month with more than 31 days. To begin, read each day the chapter corresponding with the day of the month. It is so easily done if you first have a willing, sincere mind and a strong desire to come to know God’s Word and how He deals with us. Proverbs presents the mind of God in a very pointed and self-examining way. If you wanted to read the entire book, one source indicated it can be read in 1 hour and 40 minutes. A lot of us spend more time than that every day reading newspapers, magazines, novels, etc. The time spent on the Internet, cell phones, texting, TV, movies, etc. far exceeds 1 hour and 40 minutes daily!
One of the things that makes Proverbs easy to use as a daily Bible reading method is it does not matter which day of the month you start reading. The key to your success is once you start, do not let a day pass without reading the chapter that corresponds with that day of the month. If it is the only passage you read the entire day, your goal is accomplished. It will only take a few minutes even if you are an average reader. Speed is not your goal; gaining the wisdom, knowledge and understanding from the all-knowing God is paramount as eternity lies before us. Read slowly, carefully and expectantly. Which version of God’s Word should you use? The one you will read. Just make sure it is a Bible version and not a paraphrase. Why? The Psalmist David said in Psalm 119:160, “The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”
Reading Proverbs daily will instill godly wisdom that is beyond calculation. Speaking of this wisdom, Proverbs 8:1 declares, “Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice?” Wisdom speaks in verses 10-14, “Receive my instruction, and not silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold; for wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her. I, wisdom, dwell with prudence [penetrating consideration], and find out knowledge and discretion.” Proverbs 8:17 states, “I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me.” Verses 22-26 announce:
The LORD possessed me at the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I have been established from everlasting, from the beginning, before there was ever an earth. When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was brought forth; while as yet He had not made the earth or the fields, or the primal dust of the world.
James 1:5 is a most familiar passage stating how to gain godly wisdom. “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” The only way we get wisdom or anything else is because God gives it to us. We deserve and merit nothing. Everything we can fathom is a gift from God.
After we have asked and received godly wisdom in obedient, submissive and trusting faith, we are told what this priceless heavenly treasure involves. James first explained worldly wisdom as having bitter envy, self-seeking, boasting and lying against the truth and is earthly, sensual, demonic. Continuing James 3:17 reads, “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.” Isn’t that rich? We will strive to achieve that level of wisdom until this life is over!
Reading and living daily the Book of Proverbs will enrich us and encourage those in our sphere of influence for the remainder of our lives. In addition, developing the spiritual discipline of daily reading the Proverbs will increase our knowledge and understanding of who God is. Our minds will be transformed, and we will hold His wisdom and righteousness in the highest reverence.
Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil!
Martha Lynn Rushmore
In most cases, this saying is used with three little green frogs or small monkeys. They cover their ears, so they cannot hear bad language or dirty jokes. They cover their mouths, so they will not say anything bad or nasty. Lastly, they cover their eyes, so they cannot see anything evil. Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil! These little frogs or monkeys are very good examples for us to follow.
We are told in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Evil company corrupts good habits’” (NKJV). Therefore, we do not want to be with those who speak evil, do sinful things and enjoy hearing evil talking. We must be careful with whom we spend our time. We should try to pick our friends from among those who are trying to live as Christ wants us to live. It is much easier for those who do evil to influence us than for us to influence them for good.
Look around at those who have become Christians and now no longer attend worship services. With all the converts over the years, our church buildings should be full and overflowing instead of evidencing dwindling attendance as they do now. Some congregations used to house over 300, and now they are fortunate if they have 100 in attendance on Sunday morning; the evening service and Wednesday Bible class have fewer than that attending.
These words “Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil” are not quoted precisely in the Holy Scriptures. Yet, if we investigate many books of the Old and New testaments, we can find these commandments to obey. In James 1:19, we are told to “be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath.” God gave us two ears and one mouth. This should be a good sign that we are to listen more than we are to talk. Unfortunately, most of us are more likely to run our mouths and turn on our hearing to evil things. If we are swift to hear, then, we should be hearing and listening to good things. We are not to listen to dirty jokes or tell them either.
The second little frog or monkey sees no evil. We are not to watch things on our televisions that are immodest, immoral or filthy in any way. We each have a television remote, and therefore, we can turn off the evil things coming into our homes.
I have a friend, that when he was a young boy, whose father set the best example I have ever heard. When something came on television or if they were in public and someone was dressed immodestly, he and his dad would stare at each other instead of looking on the immodestly dressed girl or woman. This young man instilled this good action into his sons. What a great way to teach our children to see no evil.
The last little frog or monkey was to speak no evil. He was not to swear or to take the name of our God (or our Savior Jesus Christ) in vain. To use the name of God or Jesus in a profane way is to swear. We hear God’s name used all the time, even by very young children. Of course, they have heard adults use these words all the time. We say things like gosh, golly, gee and, the worst to me, is “OMG.” In Exodus 20, God gave Moses the Law or the Ten Commandments. In verse seven it states, “You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” Most people do not realize what they are saying. To them, it is just another word, but God says we will be held accountable for such language. We should really think and act like the frog or monkey to speak no evil.
This does not just mean our word choices but includes gossiping, lying or saying nasty things about and to others. We should follow the golden rule in Matthew 7:12, which reads, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” In other words, treat others as you want to be treated.
Let us all act like the frogs or monkeys. “Hear no evil, see no evil and speak no evil.” We want to do all we can to inherit eternal life and also not to hinder others from entering Heaven.