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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wednesday Bible Study: You can't make this up



This one is going to be just a little different.  Because, as I applied the Kalko Rule, I found that each verse as you went out from our central verse parallelled the one on its other side.  And not surprisingly as we bounce over Psalms and go to Proverbs 3:16:


Pro 3:16  Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. 


Now "she" in this case is Wisdom.  And I believe there is a case to be made that Wisdom in this personification is actually the Holy Spirit.  Regard chapter 8:

Pro 8:22  "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of old. 
Pro 8:23  Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 
Pro 8:24  When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water. 
Pro 8:25  Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth, 
Pro 8:26  before he had made the earth with its fields, or the first of the dust of the world. 
Pro 8:27  When he established the heavens, I was there; when he drew a circle on the face of the deep, 
Pro 8:28  when he made firm the skies above, when he established the fountains of the deep, 
Pro 8:29  when he assigned to the sea its limit, so that the waters might not transgress his command, when he marked out the foundations of the earth, 
Pro 8:30  then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight, rejoicing before him always, 
Pro 8:31  rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the children of man. 

Now, that is not required believing, just how I take the verse.  Anyway, back to our verse, I believe we are looking at a semi-literal description of the Holy Spirit here.  And what She (being the author's determination of gender) has in Her hands are very special.  In the left- and tied to the preceding verses- She holds riches and honor; but as we go through them, we see it is not earthly riches and honor, but heavenly riches and honor.  It matches the description of Her attributes in chapter 8, and is echoed by Paul many times in his descriptions of the rewards that await "at the end of the race."  In Her right we find Long Life; the first description in Strong's concordance of the word orek ("length" in "length of days") is forever;  I take this to mean that we are not looking as much at mortal life on earth but eternity- and therefore, salvation.  With these two principles in mind, let me be a (hopefully) bit briefer as I unpack the parallel verses.

Left:  Pro 3:15  She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. 
Right: Pro 3:17  Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. 

The pleasantness and peace of spirit we find in this wisdom is better than anything we imagine we want.  I Corinthians 2 reads, "9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him."  Isn't that the same as "nothing can compare?"


Left: Pro 3:14  for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. 
Right: Pro 3:18  She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. 

In my Bible, "hold her fast" in v18 is translated "retain"; I thought that as a perfect picture of man's riches versus God's.  Man's gold you can GAIN, but you can't RETAIN.  The gifts of the Spirit are given, not gained by work, but once given, you retain them into eternity.


Left: Pro 3:13  Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, 
Right: Pro 3:19  The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; 


This was the coupling that really showed me that these were matched sets.  In following wisdom, what we are really doing is following the example set by God since Creation itself.

Left:  Pro 3:12  for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. 
Right: Pro 3:20  by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. 


This might be the most important coupling.  Because, the parallel shows us that the correction of God- in whatever form it takes, is to be considered a renewing gift, like "dew falling upon the earth.  My favorite passage for this is in Job, from Elihu's oration:


Job 37:5  God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend. 
Job 37:6  For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour. 
Job 37:7  He seals up the hand of every man, that all men whom he made may know it. 
Job 37:8  Then the beasts go into their lairs, and remain in their dens. 
Job 37:9  From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds. 
Job 37:10  By the breath of God ice is given, and the broad waters are frozen fast. 
Job 37:11  He loads the thick cloud with moisture; the clouds scatter his lightning. 
Job 37:12  They turn around and around by his guidance, to accomplish all that he commands them on the face of the habitable world. 
Job 37:13  Whether for correction or for his land or for love, he causes it to happen. 
Job 37:14  "Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. 


Or, you might just turn instead to James:

Jas 1:2  Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 
Jas 1:3  for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 
Jas 1:4  And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. 
Jas 1:5  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 


And again, it goes back to wisdom...


Left: Pro 3:11  My son, do not despise the LORD's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 
Right: Pro 3:21  My son, do not lose sight of these-- keep sound wisdom and discretion, 


See how these parallels address you directly- "My son"?  The connection is firm between God's discipline and God's wisdom.

Left:  Pro 3:10  then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. 
Right:  Pro 3:22  and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. 


I think this one is pretty self-explanatory; I will add that "adornment" in v 22, my Bible translates as "Grace".  While adornment makes more sense in the verse context, Grace really makes it shine in the overall picture.

Left: Pro 3:9  Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; 
Right: Pro 3:23  Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. 


This might be the coupling that goes together the best;  Be obedient, receive protection.

Left: Pro 3:8  It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. 
Right: Pro 3:24  If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 


Wow.  Healing on all levels: physical, spiritual, emotional.

At this point I ought to say, these passages should be a great proof of the truth of God; what man could give a passage the meaning it has written front to back, and even richer meaning written inside to out?


Left:  Pro 3:7  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 
Right: Pro 3:25  Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, 


All about avoiding evil.  Doing it in our own wisdom, our own strength, courts disaster.  In Wisdom, you needn't fear it.

Left: Pro 3:6  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 
Right: Pro 3:26  for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught. 


Just as tightly woven at the end as at the beginning.  As I actually get to the point of typing this all out, I am even more in awe of God and the way He wrote the Word than I ever have been.  As I might say in a more frivolous vein, "You can't make this stuff up, folks!"

6 comments:

  1. As the old saying goes truth is often stranger then fiction, another bloody good post my friend

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  2. Chris:
    ---WISDOM...a wonderful lady indeed.
    ---The Holy Spirit being wisdom...very intriguing for many reasons.
    ---Eternal life and heavenly riches...sounds good and promised through the blood of Christ.
    ---That IS a great comparison with 1 Cor.
    ---They do seem indeed to be matched sets...good call.
    ---James 1:3 nails it for me.
    ---Being obedient and receiving protection in some ways mirrors our walk in life with parents, teachers, elders, and so on...makes sense. We are protected when we "listen" to those charged with taking care of us as we mature.
    ---Admittedly, we will fail whenever it comes down to "our" wisdom, or our truth...or anything else pertaining to ourselves. God's love, wisdom and grace is THE way to proceed (through the Spirit).
    ---Your closing...
    "No you can't."
    That was wonderfully inspirational and taken to heart here.
    Thanks for allowing Him to speak through you in this.

    Stay safe (and awestruck) up there, brother.

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    1. I am finding a LOT of things fail when we do it on our own... some of them the things we THINK we are supposed to be contributing. More on that in a future posting. Thanks!

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  3. Those first verses from Proverbs are beautiful. Beautiful and powerful.

    Elsie

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    1. When you are as equipped with wisdom as Solomon was, you SHOULDN'T be able to go wrong... that he did for a while tells us that we have to keep tied to God, because we have a powerful enemy.

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