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May 8- Read 1 Kings 4

I remember talking about the immense amount of food Solomon’s court required when we read this in class. Verses 22 and 23 state, “And Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty measures of fine flour, and threescore measures of meal, ten fat oxen, and twenty oxen out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, beside harts, and roebucks, and fallowdeer, and fatted fowl.” Gertrude Hoeksema breaks this down into 11,000 loaves of bread and 130 large animals every day. That’s an enormous amount of food! However, Keil and Delitzsch put it in a little different perspective. They say that if you break it down, you find there were about 14,000 people in Solomon’s court, a number which shouldn’t be all that surprising considering the number of officers required and their families. In comparison, they say, “the kings of Persia required a thousand oxen a day,” and “five hundred sheep and lambs were slaughtered daily for the Sultan’s court.” Compared to these numbers, the court of Solomon seems rather insignificant. Still, whether it was one of the largest courts in history or not, Solomon’s court displayed the great power God had given him as a type of Christ.

Sing or pray Psalter #228.

 

May 9- Read 2 Chronicles 1

There’s been quite a bit of talk on the news lately about prosperity gospel preachers. Many of these false teachers get extremely rich by guilt-tripping their followers into giving them money. They try to convince people that writing them checks is synonymous with giving to God and that God will reward them with even more wealth if they do so. In other words, giving in the offering plate is a smart business decision. One went as far as to request an entire month’s pay from all her supporters as a “first-fruits” offering.

We reject the heresy of these teachers, but isn’t Solomon an example of the prosperity gospel at work? He did the right thing, and God blessed him with an enormous amount of riches. However, God only gave him those riches because he knew Solomon wasn’t putting his focus on them. Also, the Old Testament is full of examples of godly men who were made very rich, but that’s because the time before Christ was a physical picture of what’s still true spiritually. Although there are still rich Christians, God only promises to give his people spiritual riches.

Sing or pray Psalter #172.

 

May 10- Read Psalm 72

Psalm 72:20 says, “The prayers of David the son of Jesse are ended,” indicating that this was the last psalm David ever wrote. What did David have to say as he lay on his deathbed? He didn’t focus on himself, but on giving God all the glory. David clearly brought out that God rules over the whole earth, and even the wicked must acknowledge him. Verse 11 reads, “Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.” As the one who rules over all, he also cares for his people.  Romans 8:38, 39 states, “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” In addition, God’s name endures forever. Man is quickly forgotten. Only God can truly command man’s remembrance, even as he strives to deny God’s existence. With these thoughts of God David concludes his earthly sojourn, and may we do the same.

Sing or pray Psalter #194.

 

May 11- Read Song of Solomon 1

The Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs, is a very interesting book that can be tough to read for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an extremely detailed love letter that can almost seem inappropriate for children at times (more on that later in the book). Second, it can be difficult to follow, since the one talking keeps switching. For example, according to Biblegateway.com, she is talking in verses 1–4a of this chapter, “others” are talking in 4b, she is talking again in 5–7, he talks in 8–10, “others” in verse 11, she in 12–14, he in verse 15, and she again in verses 16 and 17. The book is a beautiful dialogue between Christ and his bride the church.

Something that stood out to me in this chapter is how the woman refers to herself as “black, but comely” in verse 5. The trials that we endure in this life make us black, like skin is darkened by the sun.  We fall into sin and darkness at times. However, we are still comely in the eyes of Christ, our husband, who gave himself for us through his death on the cross.

Sing or pray Psalter #125.

 

May 12- Read Song of Solomon 2

There are many dove analogies in this book. In verse 14 the bride refers to her husband as her dove, and in verse 15 of yesterday’s chapter the bridegroom tells his bride that she has “dove’s eyes.” The dove is mentioned many more times in this book and throughout scripture. Here, the dove is a picture of beauty, but it can also symbolize innocence and other things. This innocence is illustrated in Matthew 10:16, where we read, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”  A similar idea can be found in Hosea 7:11a, which states, “Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart.”  We know that Noah released a dove from the ark after the flood waters had receded and that the Holy Spirit came down in the form of a dove when Jesus was baptized in Luke 3:22.  In addition, Lev. 5:7­–11 tells us that doves could be used as a sin offering for those who couldn’t afford something larger.  As you can see the dove is often used in scripture to illustrate different truths.

Sing or pray Psalter #421.

 

May 13- Read Song of Solomon 3

In verse 4 we read, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me.”  When I read this, I wondered, what’s being illustrated by bringing him into your mother’s house?  In answer to this, Matthew Henry brought out some good points. First, the bride wants to show her husband to her family, those whom she loves, just as we are called to be Jehovah’s witnesses.  Second, the church is our spiritual mother, and we should be concerned that she is being brought to Christ.  Third, bringing the bridegroom to her mother’s house pictures us bringing salvation into our homes.  This truth is made clear in Luke 19:9a, where Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “This day is salvation come to this house.”

As a quick side note, we see that Solomon is mentioned directly towards the end of this chapter.  Solomon stands as a type of Christ, and this parallel will manifest itself later in the book as well.

Sing or pray Psalter #426.

 

May 14- Read Song of Solomon 4

Besides the dove references already mentioned, I also noticed that the Book of Solomon has many references to spices. Spices were used in Bible times to preserve bodies, make things smell nice, provide seasoning, and be ingredients in holy anointing oil.  This is brought out in Exodus 30:23–31, where God instructed Moses on how to make the anointing oil that was poured over the tabernacle.  Spices were extremely valuable in Bible times since they often had to be transported vast distances.  The fact that the three gifts brought to baby Jesus were gold, frankincense, and myrrh, helps to illustrate this.  2 Chronicles 9:9 tells us that spices were also a large part of the Queen of Bathsheba’s magnificent gift to Solomon.

Why do you think spices have such a strong spiritual significance?  In addition to the fact that they are rare, one thing I thought of is that fragrances travel through the air without being seen, just like we can’t see the work of the Holy Spirit with our physical eyes but we can still experience it.

Sing or pray Psalter #384.

 

May 15- Read Song of Solomon 5

Why does the bride say that she is “sick of love” in verse 8?  Instead of pointing to rejection, Mathew Henry says that this phrase means that it overpowers her.  As he puts it, “It is better to be sick of love to Christ than at ease in love to the world.”  We see a similar idea in Psalm 119:81, where the psalmist writes, “My soul fainteth for thy salvation: but I hope in thy word.”  The love of the world comes and goes easily, but the love of Christ, though maintained through much trial and tribulation, lasts forever.  These hardships are indicated by the watchmen’s beating of the bride in verse 7.

Why does the book talk about the bridegroom leaving anyway?  Where does he need to go?  When we remember that the bridegroom is Christ we can make the connection to his ascension.  Christ died for us, rose again, and ascended into heaven.  He now sits at God’s right hand as our mediator.  He is also preparing a place for us in heaven so that we soon can go to be with him for eternity.

Sing or pray Psalter #247.

 

May 16- Read Song of Solomon 6

In verse 4, the bridegroom says to his spouse, “Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirzah.”  What or where is Tirzah?  According to Gotquestions.org, the name means “she is my delight,” which fits with the book’s theme.  Tirzah was a city in the tribe of Manasseh that acted as the capital for the ten tribes of Israel from the reign of Jeroboam I to Omri, who made Samaria the capital city.  Tirzah was also one of Zelophehad’s daughters.  I think I discussed her story in a previous devotional, but it’s very interesting.  Tirzah and four sisters came to Moses in Numbers 27 because they had no males to take their land and were afraid of losing their inheritance.  In answer, God declared that the women should be given the land.  Later, the issue came up again when the daughters were looking at marrying men from other tribes and moving away from their land.  God responded that they must marry men from their own tribe so that the inheritance would be preserved.  Although the Tirzah here seems to be referring to the city, the woman Tirzah was a picture of the church holding dear her inheritance in heaven.

Sing or pray Psalter #239.

 

May 17- Read Song of Solomon 7

The bridegroom describes his attraction to his bride in detail in this chapter.  Two things stood out to me here.  First, this passage is consistent with 1 Corinthians 12, which explains that all parts of the body are important.  The body parts need one another, for only together can they make up the whole body.  Solomon shows this by praising his wife’s feet and navel, parts we might argue contribute little to physical attraction.  As 1 Corinthians 12:23 puts it, “And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.”

Second, this chapter brings out the beauty of the sexual union in marriage.  Society and our sinful nature have so corrupted our thinking that often these passages are avoided, but that shouldn’t be.  This is the word of God, which “is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (1 Timothy 3:16).  We need to get to the point spiritually where we’re able to discuss these things purely with our children, so they aren’t led by the world to make it a matter of giggling behind closed doors.

Sing or pray Psalter #315.

 

May 18- Read Song of Solomon 8

Song of Solomon 8:4 says, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love, until he please.”  This verse is repeated, with slight variation, in chapters 2:7 and 3:5 as well.  Why is this idea of letting the bridegroom rest such a major idea in the book?  Matthew Henry says this is a reminder to the church not to do anything that would provoke Christ to leave.  Without him we are nothing, so we must always have service to him at the forefront of our minds.

Another difficult question is answering who the little sister mentioned in verse 8 is referring to?  According to Henry, some say that she pictures the Gentile world.  The Jewish church is consulting with Christ about how to nurture her.  This could also apply to all the elect who haven’t yet been brought to the knowledge of the truth.  We must always be asking ourselves, how can we help our fellow saints around the world come to spiritual maturity?

Sing or pray Psalter #275.

 

May 19- Read Proverbs 1

1 Kings 4:32 says of Solomon, “And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand and five.”  About 800 of these proverbs made it into this book of the Bible.  What is a proverb?  According to Wikipedia, a proverb is a “simple and concrete saying, popularly known and repeated, that expresses a truth based on common sense or experience. They are often metaphorical.”  A proverb is usually only one verse long.

My Reformation Heritage Bible also mentioned that Solomon isn’t the only man who should receive credit for these writings. Proverbs 25:1 talks about men under the direction of King Hezekiah, some 250 years later, who compiled some of these proverbs together.  Sometimes the book attributes statements to “the wise,” seeming to imply Solomon might have copied them.  In addition, sayings are attributed to Agur, son of Jakeh, in Chapter 30 and King Lemuel and his mother in Chapter 31, although some think they may refer to Solomon.  Regardless, all of the proverbs here position God as central and supreme, something not found in the proverbs of the world.

Sing or pray Psalter #42.

 

May 20- Read Proverbs 2

You know who makes the worst decisions and judgment calls and embarrasses themselves constantly?  The younger you does.  I look back on things I said and did a few years ago, and I’m just in amazement at the terrible decisions I made at times.  The only problem is that at the time I had those major lapses in judgment I was saying the same thing about a few years prior, and I’m pretty confident it will be just as easy to say it again in the future.  Those who are older—do we ever reach a point where we stop falling so blatantly?  I think history tells us that we do not.

Proverbs 2:11 says, “Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee.”  As I mentioned, our entire life is one of growing in discretion.  We need constant reminders that we are all small children spiritually, in need of growth.  Growing in discretion means that we become better able to recognize the dangers around us and flee from them.  In doing so, we build up our treasures in heaven, setting our eyes on our eternal home.

Sing or pray Psalter #324.

 

May 21- Read Proverbs 3

Verses 11 and 12 say, “My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.”  Correction is often not easy for us to take.  I can already see this clearly in the classroom.  One thing we’ve been doing lately in writing is proofreading a student’s essay each day together.  We read it sentence by sentence and discuss what improvements could be made.  Some students do pretty well with this, but others are quick to get defensive.  They are still of the thinking that they can sit down and write a bestseller in the last fifteen minutes before recess.  We generally get a little better at hiding it as we grow older, but this is the way we all are by nature.  We want to hear about all the good things we’ve been doing, not the areas that need improvement.  We want to feel good about ourselves, which is what many churches offer today.  We need to remember that God and our fellow saints correct us out of love, and we must be thankful for it.

Sing or pray Psalter #32.

 

May 22- Read Proverbs 4

We are reading the book The Long Walk in class right now.  It’s the true story of a Polish cavalry officer in World War II, who gets sentenced by the Russians to 25 years hard labor in Siberia, but then escapes and walks thousands of miles to freedom.  In this book, the author states that the Russian guards always reminded them, “turn to the left, turn to the right, try to escape.”  The meaning here was that any movement to the side would be interpreted as an attempt to escape and the prisoner would be shot.

I thought of this when I read verse 27, which says, “Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.”  Just as it meant death for the prisoners if they turned aside, so it’s death for us to stray from the straight and narrow.  It’s very tempting at times to veer off and enjoy the ways of the world, but we must keep moving forward with our eyes set on heaven.  Whereas successful turning aside for the prisoner meant freedom from bondage, turning aside for us is bringing us into it.

Sing or pray Psalter #334.

 

May 23- Read Proverbs 5

There are a couple of things I wanted to discuss here briefly.  First, Solomon addresses this chapter and several of the surrounding ones to “my son.”  This reminds us that Solomon stands as a type of Christ, and we are all God’s children who need instruction.  Through Christ’s blood, we have been made God’s adopted children and can be called his sons.

Also, in verse fifteen the command comes, “Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.”  Matthew Henry and Keil agree that this means it’s better to marry than to burn, as stated in 1 Corinthians 7:9.  A similar picture is seen in Isaiah 51:1, where we read that the wife is a pit from which children are born.  The ending of Proverbs 5 seems to confirm this meaning, as it talks about the righteous wife, who is manifested in contrast to the strange woman warned about earlier.  Verse 6 talks about this wicked woman whose ways are moveable, unlike the never-changing God.

Sing or pray Psalter #213.

 

May 24- Read Proverbs 6

Have you ever taken one of those personality tests that tell you which one of sixteen personality types you have?  One of the possible results of this test is the “duty-fulfiller.”  This type of person simply looks for whatever work needs to be done and does it, simple as that.  The ant is the ultimate duty-fulfiller.  In this chapter, the sluggard is commanded to take the ant’s example, for he works diligently, even without someone looking over his shoulder all the time.  In fact, the ant is so diligent in his work that he’s completely oblivious to his own needs.  I remember watching a documentary where ants just kept working during a wildfire until they finally succumbed.  Obviously, we don’t need that extreme, but we easily become focused on self.  I know that I can work hard when I enjoy the task, but I’m terrible at staying diligent when I don’t.  The question of whether he enjoys the task being done never enters the ant’s mind; he just does the work he’s called to do, with no prodding necessary.  How much prodding is needed for you to do the work God has called you to?

Sing or pray Psalter #36.

 

May 25- Read Proverbs 7

Throughout Proverbs, we see the contrast made between the virtuous wife and the strange woman.  Why do you think the Bible uses women here instead of men?  Two ideas came to mind when I thought this over.  First, man stands for the human race, so what’s contrasted should be considered in relation to him.  Second, no earthly thing has more power to direct man than a woman.  This is brought out all throughout scripture.  It was a woman that caused man to fall into sin (Gen. 3).  The hero of faith Samson had a great weakness for wicked women, and it was Delilah who led to his capture by the Philistines.  Genesis 6:2 says that the sons of God married the daughters of men and were led astray by them.  When Balak failed to curse Israel, he came up with a 2nd plan; he sent in the Moabite women to lead the men of Israel into adultery and idolatry, a plan which worked amazingly well for a time.  However, while the wicked woman is a deadly trap, the righteous woman is an immeasurable blessing, as evidenced by women like Sarah, Deborah, Ruth, Timothy’s grandmother Lois, Rahab, and many others.

Sing or pray Psalter #360.

 

May 26- Read Proverbs 8

According to my online dictionary, “prudent” means, “acting with or showing care and thought for the future.”  This word is used in verse 12, where wisdom says, “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.”  We are to be thinking about the future and laying up treasures in heaven.  That’s wisdom.  This is in direct contradiction to the “living in the moment” world of today.  Instead of being wise and considering the seriousness of their sins and its consequences, the wicked blow it off and just try to have as good a time on this earth as possible.

The “witty inventions” of verse 12 also stand in contrast to man’s.  According to Matthew Henry, the term here refers to the means and methods God has given us so that we can have a right understanding of God’s providence and to be able to fight against our three-fold enemy.  These are very different from the “witty inventions” of man, by which he seeks to glorify himself and undermine God.  We need to be on guard because it’s very easy for us to focus on these witty earthly inventions more than the spiritual ones we have been given.

Sing or pray Psalter #231.

 

May 27- Read Proverbs 9

In Luke 5:32, Jesus says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”  These “sinners” are the “simple” referred to in Proverbs 9:4. We see this from the fact that they “want understanding.”  These are the ones invited to wisdom’s house, that she might help direct them in the right way.  These are the ones who see their need for help.

The same word is used differently in verse 13.  Here, the foolish woman is said to be “simple.”  She does not see God’s handiwork and glory in the world around her.  She doesn’t see her need for reform.  She doesn’t see the things of heaven.  All she sees is hatred for God, and she seeks to instill the same in all that cross her path.

This woman is a great danger to the simple who seek understanding, as brought out in verse 16.  The foolish woman of the world is constantly trying to “cure” God’s people of their religious convictions, and we must pray for strength to stand true to the truth that’s been written in our hearts.

Sing or pray Psalter #301.

 

May 28- Read Proverbs 10

Should we forgive someone who sins against us and remains unrepentant?  I had this discussion not long ago and would like to open it up for your consideration as well.  I think there are a few different angles to look at it from, so it makes for an interesting discussion.

In Proverbs 10:12 we read that “love covereth all sins.”  Does that mean that we forgive and love anyone who sins against us, regardless of whether they show sorrow for sin?  According to Matthew Henry, this verse exhorts us to love those who sin against us unintentionally or against their better judgment.  It’s not a command to look the other way when impenitence manifests itself.  On the other hand, however, it’s vital that we’re able to move on after someone sins against us.  We do not know the heart, and we leave vengeance to God, as revealed in Romans 12:19.  Still, do you think there’s a distinction to be made between moving on and forgiving someone?  We must always move on when we’re sinned against, but do we forgive those who aren’t sorry?  Does God forgive them?  What do you think?

Sing or pray Psalter #143.

 

May 29- Read Proverbs 11

Proverbs 11:21 reads, “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.”  There’s only one thing that can unite the world, making “hand join in hand,” and that’s hatred for the truth.  We see this all around us today.  One specific example will suffice.

I ran across an article last week titled, “Shout Your Abortion Founder on Bible Belt Abortion Storytelling Tour.”  Apparently, the Bible Belt refers to the southeastern US, where conservative Protestantism still plays a major role in society and politics.  Anyway, there’s a very wicked woman who started an organization bringing women together to swap abortion stories.  In the picture below the heading, the lesbian founder is holding a sign that reads, “Abortion is normal.”  These events, purposefully held in conservative Christian areas, unite women who have in common the murder of their children.  Support of abortion logically leads to eugenics, which the founder also supports.  As we see the nations coming together in their hatred of all things true, it becomes all the more important that we in the church remain unified in the truth.

Sing or pray Psalter #157.

 

May 30- Read Proverbs 12

One of our class vocabulary words recently was “seamstress.”  When I type this into Microsoft Word, I get a line underneath, indicating that something is incorrect.  The first time this happened I was very confused.  When I clicked to see what was wrong, I was given “consider using gender-neutral language.”

In their concerted effort to destroy the family unit, the world is pushing what they call “gender equality.”  This movement is aimed at demonstrating there is no difference between men and women, although the Bible is very clear that there is a difference.  Man was created as the head, and the woman is to be his help in marriage, either for good or bad, as stated in Proverbs 12:4.  This verse reads, “A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.”  This verse shows that the woman has a very high calling, but the world wants none of it.  We need to pray for our girls and young women that they withstand temptation and remain true to their callings.  The church needs virtuous women.

Sing or pray Psalter #111.

 

May 31- Read Proverbs 13

In the parable of the ten virgins, told in Matthew 25:1­–13, five wise virgins and five foolish virgins are waiting for the bridegroom to lead them to the wedding feast.  By the time he arrives, the lamp oil of the five foolish virgins has been used up.  They go and buy more, but the door is already shut when they arrive at the feast, and they aren’t admitted.

I thought of this parable when I read Proverbs 13:9, which says, “The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.”  As the Holy Spirit works in us, we shine brighter and brighter.  In contrast, the wicked grow darker and darker as they fall deeper into sin throughout their life.  Isaiah 50:11 talks about how the reprobate should enjoy their little fire of life while they can because the darkness of death is coming.  When they try to enter the wedding feast on the judgment day, God will say, “I know you not” (Matt. 25:12).

Sing or pray Psalter #229.

 

June 1- Read Proverbs 14

Proverbs 14:4 reads, “Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.”  How does this verse fit with the theme of contrasting the wise and foolish?  Matthew Henry seems to think the verse is saying that the farm will stay nice and neat if you don’t have any oxen, but that you need the ox if you want to get any work done.  He goes on to say, “This shows the folly of those who addict themselves to the pleasures of the country, but do not mind the business of it.”  In other words, they want to live it up and are very low on assets, while high on liabilities.  All their money is spent on worthless toys instead of useful oxen.  Keil and Delitzsch have a little different approach.  They believe this verse is instructing us in the proper way of gaining something.  If the farmer doesn’t care for his oxen, then he will lose them, and he won’t be able to complete his work.  This verse, then, says that the wise man cares for the things that assist him in his labors.

Sing or pray Psalter #283.

 

June 2- Read Proverbs 15

Our Prayer Day service this year was on Proverbs 15:8, which reads, “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.”  Our pastor brought out that this verse contrasts the outward and the spiritual.  Sacrificing is an outward activity that only becomes spiritual when it’s sanctified.  Holy prayer is spontaneous and the highest form of thankfulness. One of the simple reasons why we should pray is that it’s pleasing to God.  In our new man, we want to do what pleases our heavenly father.

One point that stood out to me was that right prayer isn’t always synonymous with sincere prayer.  Sometimes we pray as if we just want to see what we can get out of God to please ourselves.  These prayers may be spoken very sincerely, but they are not done rightly.  Our prayers are only right when they seek God.  This means that our prayers aren’t centered around earthly things.  We pray for our earthly needs, but not prosperity.  Right prayer causes our thankfulness to be removed from our earthly situation.

Sing or pray Psalter #256.

 

June 3- Read Proverbs 16

Do you remember what happened to Uzziah, king of Judah?  His reign started out very well.  He walked according to God’s commandments and continued the reforms that his father Amaziah had begun.  He defeated God’s enemies and forced them to pay tribute.  He heavily fortified the kingdom and made Judah the greatest it had been since Solomon’s reign.  But then we get to verse 16 of 2 Chronicles 26, which reads, “But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar of incense.”  The priests told Uzziah to leave, which made him angry, and God struck Uzziah with leprosy in his forehead right in front of them.  Uzziah would have to live his remaining years in disgrace and misery outside the camp.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”  The sad story of Uzziah is a clear example of this, and there are many more throughout the Bible as well.  We need to recognize the ever-present danger and be on guard against the destructive sin of pride.

Sing or pray Psalter #104.

 

June 4- Read Proverbs 17

Verse 18 of this chapter reads, “A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.”  This verse was a little tough for me to understand.  After some studying, I think it’s saying, “Beware of backing up a fool, because fools get into trouble, and if you are backing him up then you will be in trouble as well.”  Upon doing a Google search, I learned that suretyship is a type of insurance where an agency agrees to use their own property to guarantee that someone else will follow through on their payments.  Scripture warns against doing this for a fool or anyone you don’t know very well, in this and other passages.

Matthew Henry seems to connect this to lending money to family and close friends, due to the potential strain on the relationship.  I’ve heard people say before that they thought this was ill-advised, but I never thought it was specifically mentioned in the Bible.  Do you think this verse can be applied in that way?  Do you think it’s unwise to lend money to loved ones?  Do the potential benefits ever outweigh the risk?

Sing or pray Psalter #279.

 

June 5- Read Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”  I have recently come to realize this two-edged power of the tongue more fully.  It’s so important that we recognize the damage that our tongues can do.  I would include here not only words that are spoken, but body language, and the communication environment that’s created.  Pain caused in this way can last a lifetime.  It can be forgiven, but it’s never forgotten.  We must pray to God for the grace that we deal with one another in love, not in anger, even (or especially) in the face of serious disagreements.

On the flip side, life is also in the power of the tongue.  We must never forget this as well.  I was talking to someone who had gone through a difficult trial, and he said that encouragement from those in the church was one of the main things that helped his wife and him through it.  Often these people had no idea what was going on, but they saw that the brother was struggling, and they did what they could to lift him up.

Sing or pray Psalter #147.

 

June 6- Read Proverbs 19

There’s been an anonymous lottery winner in the news lately.  This woman won millions of dollars, but she doesn’t want to reveal her identity to claim it.  This has resulted in a lawsuit since it’s great marketing to have the winner stand there and grin, holding a giant check as the cameras snap away.  The problem is that the woman knows the truth of Proverbs 19:4a, which reads, “Wealth maketh many friends.”  Someone who has lots of money in the world is bound to have many “friends” who are interested in tapping into it as much as possible.  The anonymous winner is understandably terrified of this and of someone trying to kill her for her new-found riches.

How do you make friends?  What are the criteria you use for identifying someone you’d like to be close friends with?  Just as the world clamors around the wealthy, so we should seek out those who are spiritually rich.  We should want friends who will help lead us in the right way, not pressure us to fall into ways of sin.  As Proverbs 13:20 states, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

Sing or pray Psalter #31.

 

June 7- Read Proverbs 20

Wicked men, like Ham (Gen. 9:22), finds great humor in drunkenness.  The internet is full of virally circulating videos that show someone staggering around in a drunken stupor.  Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.”  How is wine “a mocker?”  Drunkenness is often viewed as a sociable thing, but in reality it makes one unfit for society.  I remember the temptation to drink when we had big parties in high school.  People drank together, even though doing so made them completely embarrass themselves.  As I was told by someone for whom drunkenness was a besetting sin, alcohol doesn’t make you unaware of what you’re doing; it just causes you not to care.

It’s important to remember that the Bible clearly states that alcohol is a good gift of God.  This is brought out in verses like Ecclesiastes 9:7 and Psalm 104:15. In John 2:3­­–11 Jesus himself made the water into wine for the people at the wedding feast.  However, we must not abuse it or any of the other good gifts God has given us.

Sing or pray Psalter #287.