Friday, January 23, 2009


I have now posted my complete calendar of personal meditations in Proverbs. To go to any specific day of the year, use the 'Blog Archive' list at the left to open the month and the day you would lilke to read. Below is an appendix of all of the verses from the book of Proverbs that have been used in this meditations commentary, and the month and day on which they were featured. Thank you for joining me this past year, may God bless the years ahead as we endeavor to serve with Him in seeing His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.

Ken Sweers


1:1-4 January 1
1:2 February 1
1:5 October 1
1:7 March 1
1:10 April 1
1:17 April 1
1:19 May 1
1:20, 21 June 1
1:22 December 1
1:23 July 1
1:25 November 1
1:28 August 1
1:31 August 1
1:32 September 1
2:1-5 March 2
2:5 December 2
2:6 January 2
2:7 September 2
2:8 October 2
2:9, 10 February 2
2:11, 12 November 2
2:10 June 2
2:12-14 May 2
2:16, 17 July 2
2:20 April 2
2:21, 22 August 2
3:3, 4 September 3
3:5, 6 March 3
3:11, 12 February 3
3:13 June 3
3:13 December 3
3:16 November 3
3:21 May 3
3:24 April 3
3:25, 26 July 3
3:27 October 3
3:31, 32 January 3
3:34 August 3
4:1 August 4
4:2 November 2
4:3, 4 February 4
4:7 February 4
4:8 December 4
4:10-12 April 4
4:13 January 4
4:14, 15 June 4
4:18, 19 March 4
4:23 May 4
4:24 September 4
4:25 July 4
4:26 October 4
5:1, 2 March 5
5:3, 4 May 5
5:5, 6 August 5
5:8 November 5
5:11, 12 February 5
5:13 July 5
5:15 September 5
5:16 December 5
5:20 October 5
5:20, 21 April 5
5:21 June 5
5:22, 23 January 5
6:1-3 May 6
6:4 September 6
6:10, 11 July 6
6:12-14 November 6
6:16 March 6
6:16-19 December 6
6:20-22 January 6
6:26 February 6
6:26 April 6
6:30 February 6
6:30, 31 June 6
6:32 February 6
6:32 August 6
6:34 October 6
7:1, 2 January 7
7:5 November 7
7:6, 7 July 7
7:8, 9 March 7
7:10 May 7
7:11 April 7
7:13 August 7
7:14, 15 December 7
7:16-18 October 7
7:19, 20 June 7
7:21, 22 February 7
7:25 September 7
7:27 October 7
8:1-3 January 8
8:4 June 8
8:5 May 8
8:8 September 8
8:10, 11 March 8
8:12 February 8
8:13 April 8
8:17 August 8
8:18 October 8
8:22 February 8
8:30, 31 November 8
8:32 December 8
8:36 July 8
9 – overview December 9
9:1 June 9
9:1 November 9
9:1, 2 July 9
9:6 May 9
9:7, 8 February 9
9:9 September 9
9:10 January 9
9:12 October 9
9:13 April 9
9:13 August 9
9:17 March 9
10:2 August 10
10:5 October 10
10:9 November 10
10:12 July 10
10:17 April 10
10:17 June 10
10:20 March 10
10:23 May 10
10:24, 25 February 10
10:27 December 10
10:29 January 10
10:31 September 10
11:1 October 11
11:2 April 11
11:6 March 11
11:11 May 11
11:16 December 11
11:17 September 11
11:17 November 11
11:22 July 11
11:24 January 11
11:25 June 11
11:27 February 11
11:30 August 11
12:3 November 12
12:11 April 12
12:14 October 12
12:15 February 12
12:16 May 16
12:17 June 12
12:18 March 12
12:19 August 12
12:23 December 12
12:24 January 12
12:27 September 12
12:28 July 12
13:2 November 13
13:4 August 13
13:6 April 13
13:7 January 13
13:9 October 13
13:12 May 13
13:13 July 13
13:16 March 16
13:20 February 13
13:21 December 13
13:23 September 13
13:24 June 13
14:1 August 14
14:4 July 14
14:9 April 14
14:12 January 14
14:15 June 15
14:20, 21 March 14
14:23 February 14
14:27 December 14
14:31 September 14
14:32 May 14
14:35 October 14
14:35 November 14
15:1 June 15
15:2 March 15
15:3 September 15
15:8 July 15
15:10 December 15
15:12 February 15
15:17 November 15
15:22 October 15
15:28 March 15
15:29 January 15
15:33 April 15
15:26 May 15
15:30 August 15
16:1 August 16
16:2 May 16
16:3 December 16
16:4 March 16
16:7 September 16
16:8 July 16
16:9 February 16
16:20 June 16
16:20 October 16
16:21 April 16
16:26 November 16
16:28 January 16
17:1 October 17
17:3 September 17
17:7 January 17
17:8 December 17
17:10 February 17
17:14 April 17
17:15 August 17
17:16 March 17
17:17 July 17
17:19 May 17
17:21 June 17
17:23 December 17
17:24 November 17
18:1 December 18
18:2 May 18
18:7 July 18
18:9 January 18
18:12 November 18
18:13 April 18
18:14 June 18
18:17 April 18
18:18 February 18
18:19 March 18
18:19 September 18
18:21 October 18
18:23 August 18
19:1 September 19
19:2 October 19
19:3 April 19
19:6 March 19
19:11 January 19
19:12 July 19
19:15 November 15
19:17 June 19
19:19 May 19
19:21 December 19
19:27 February 19
19:28 August 19
20:4 February 20
20:5 April 20
20:8 November 20
20:14 March 20
20:15 August 20
21:16 April 21
20:17 May 20
20:18 June 20
20:19 September 20
20:22 October 20
20:23 December 20
20:25 January 20
20:26 July 20
21:5 March 21
21:7 October 21
21:8 January 21
21:9 February 21
21:13 September 21
21:15 December 21
21:18 November 21
21:19 February 21
21:21 June 21
21:22 July 21
21:27 May 21
21:30 August 21
22:1 July 22
22:2 October 22
22:3 December 22
22:7 November 22
22:9 February 22
22:10 January 22
22:13 May 22
22:15 June 22
22:24, 25 March 22
22:28 April 22
22:28 August 22
22:29 September 22
23:4, 5 July 23
23:6, 7 March 23
23:7 June 23
23:10, 11 September 23
23:13, 14 October 23
23:15, 16 July 23
23:17, 18 April 23
23:23 January 23
23:26, 27 May 23
23:29, 30 August 23
23:31, 32 December 23
23:33 November 23
23:35 February 23
24:3, 4 August 24
24:5, 6 April 24
24:7 February 24
24:10 January 24
24:16 March 24
24:17, 18 June 24
24:19, 20 May 24
24:21 November 24
24:23-25 December 24
24:29 September 24
24:30, 31 July 24
24:33, 34 October 24
25:6, 7 August 25
25:8 January 25
25:9, 10 May 25
25:13 July 25
25:14 February 25
25:15 September 25
25:19 April 25
25:21, 22 November 25
25:25 October 25
25:25 December 25
25:26 March 25
25:28 June 25
26:2 December 26
26:4, 5 June 26
26:7 May 26
26:8 April 26
26:9 August 26
26:10 July 26
26:11 September 26
26:12 October 26
26:13 March 26
26:15 March 26
26:17 February 26
26:20 January 26
26:22 January 26
27:1 April 27
27:2 July 27
27:5, 6 August 27
27:7 June 27
27:10 September 27
27:14 February 27
27:15 November 27
27:17 May 27
27:19 October 27
27:21 December 27
27:22 March 27
27:24 January 27
28:1 April 28
28:2 March 28
28:3 August 28
28:5 June 28
28:6 November 28
28:9 July 28
28:11 January 28
28:13 July 28
28:19 February 28
28:20 October 28
28:23 May 28
2825 December 28
28:26 September 28
29:1 January 29
29:3 November 29
29:4 March 29
29:7 December 29
29:9 February 29
29:11 June 29
29:12 July 29
29:13 April 29
29:16 October 29
29:18 May 29
29:19 August 29
29:20 September 29
30:2, 3 December 30
30:5 January 30
30:10 May 30
30:11 September 30
30:12 July 30
30:15, 16 June 30
30:17 September 30
30:21-23 November 30
30:24-28 April 30
30:29-31 August 30
30:32, 33 March 30
30:33 October 30
31:3 March 31
31:10 March 31
31:13 December 31
31:15 October 31
31:16 January 31
31:23 May 31
31:25 July 31
31:31 August 31

Thursday, January 22, 2009

January 23

Jan 23 - Today from Proverbs 23 we look at verse 23

"Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline and understanding."

To buy something is to barter or trade something that you have for something you desire even more. To sell is for you to give up something you have in exchange for something you consider to be of reasonably equal value.
It is strange that even in our slang vernacular 'buy' has come to be a positive term and 'sell' has come to be a negative term. When we hear something that we believe is credible, we say, "Yeah, I'll buy that". It seems to mean that we will trade our old concept of whatever the subject matter is for the new concept that we just heard. A Positive term. On the other hand, when someone betrays us we say, "He sold me out". It seems to indicate that the person valued something else above your friendship. A Negative term.Now let's apply this to today's verse.
To "buy the truth" means that we will practically discard unproven concepts for proven ones, even when the unproven seem more self-gratifying. Truth is to be valued more than pleasure. To obtain a valuable truth, we have to trade something - and to the flesh it may seem costly. Too abstract? Okay, let's throw out a concrete example: John grew up believing that the better he lived a moral life, the better his chances were of him getting to heaven. He worked hard to follow the Ten Commandments, to attend church, and to do good deeds. Whenever he 'fell' he became very insecure and worked all the harder to win back God's approval. John greatly valued heaven and pleasing God was his ticket to get there. Then one day he came across TRUTH; He discovered that his sin separated him from God, and there was no way he could ever do enough good to get to heaven - but he also discovered that God loved him and desired a personal relationship with him. So much so, that He Himself paid the price for John's sin by dying in his place on a cross. All John needed to do was to confess his sin, his inadequacy to overcome it, and to simply receive the gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus by faith. Now John saw something of greater value than heaven, and he was willing to gain that truth by giving up his old concept. What was of greater value for John? A personal relationship with the One who lives in heaven. John 'bought' it and gained what he had been struggling for his whole life. A Positive thing.
"Do not sell it." To sell something means that you would have to trade it for something of relatively equal value. There is nothing of equal value to the truth. You would have to be self-deceived in order to give up a truth you hold for anything else. In Genesis 25:27-35, Esau had the truth. You can be sure that his daddy Isaac told Esau of the great value of his birthright. But Esau 'sold' his birthright for something that only temporarily satisfied his fleshly appetite. It wasn't a 'just kidding' thing. God took it very seriously. Hebrews 12:16, 17 says that afterwards when Esau wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected - even though he sought it with tears. He 'sold out' his blessing (the truth), when he gave in to the immediate desires of his appetite. Pretty serious stuff - and definitely a Negative thing.

HOW do we hold onto the truths that we possess?
By getting wisdom,
by practicing discipline,
and by understanding why it is truth.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

January 22

Jan 22 - Today from Proverbs 22 we look at verse 10

"Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife; quarrels and insults are ended."

If you are ever in a gathering where there is arguing, insults and strife, you will find at least one mocker personality at the center of it. Wisdom says to 'drive out the mocker'.But doesn't the Bible teach that we should be peacemakers? That we are to love others and do all we can to restore them?
Yes, it does. When you 'drive out the mocker' from the rest of the folks, you have made a huge step toward peace. The love we are commanded to love with isn't an emotion. It is a decision to do what is best for the object of your love. Here we see two objects, the gathering and the mocker. If we love the gathering, we want to see that the strife, quarrels and insults are stopped. This is done by removing the source - the one or one's who have no respect for authority, and who have little or no regard for the feelings of others.
If you want to love and restore the mocker, that's fine. But do it outside of the fellowship of the gathering, where their arrogance will no longer be a threat to the rest.
A word of caution: This proverb is directed toward leaders - those with proper authority. In the context of the sum of God's Word, we are not to live in an anarchical society. There is to be order, and within that order there are appointed positions of authority. In a government, there are law enforcement agencies. In a business there are corporate directors and managers. In a church there are officers of the church (Bishops, Pastors, Elders, Deacons, etc.), and in the home there are parents. All authority comes from God (Romans 13:1). Those who abuse it will one day give an accounting to God. Those who resist or show no regard for it will also give an accounting.
I have observed that driving out the mocker by the proper authorities is a universal principle. It works in the family, in the work place, on mission trips, in the church and in government. It may not seem to be 'politically correct', but it is a principle of wisdom. It is preventative maintenance. By not driving out the mocker, you go into damage control, which is much more difficult and more costly.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 21

Jan 21 - Today from Proverbs 21 we look at verse 8

"The way of the guilty is devious, but the conduct of the innocent is upright."

Some proverbs seem so obvious at first that one wonders why they were even written down. This is one of them. In fact, The Living Bible states the obvious in its modern paraphrase:
"A man is known by his actions. An evil man lives an evil life; a good man lives a godly life."
See what I mean? But as we stop and think on a little deeper level, we see that there is more than first meets the eye here. I believe there is a lesson in discernment for us. As we go through life, we are to be discerning as to which people we allow to influence us. None of us wants to believe that we are influenced by 'evil' people. The problem is, evil people do not wear a sign around their neck which says, "I AM EVIL". The Bible says that even Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). Evil can be very subtle. To help us here, it might be good to define evil as a noun. The dictionary says, "Something that causes harm, misfortune, suffering or destruction." One of the two most common words for evil in the Hebrew agrees with this definition. The other most popular term relates to rotting - a degenerative term. Even with these definitions, it is somewhat difficult to discern evil in its early and deceptive stages at times. So this proverb turns the focus on the actors rather than the actions. Are the actions going to turn out to be productive - or destructive in the long run?
Again, Proverbs most often deals with the rule of life - not the exceptions. So, as a rule, when you are unsure of whether an idea or activity is proper, you should observe the character of the person who is trying to influence you rather than the idea or activity the person is attempting to get you to embrace. If it is a person of integrity, his conduct will be consistently 'upright'. The picture in the Hebrew here is 'straight'. We use it in our modern vernacular; "You can trust him. He will be straight with you." That is said of a man who has a solid reputation as being up front with you, regardless of the consequences. Another example is when one notices the Doctor hedging the diagnosis and the patient says, "Tell it to me straight Doc." The patient isn't interested in a dance of deception, even though the Doctor is trying to spare their feelings. Upright people deal straight, and they leave a legacy. Look at the trail they leave in life. Do people of integrity who have known them for a good period of time speak well of them? Have they made relationships, partnerships and fellowships better off because of their active influence? It's a good bet that you can trust the influence this person can be in your life.
On the other hand, you have the devious character. In the Hebrew, 'devious' is just the opposite of 'straight'. It means to turn about, to change, to pervert. It gives one the picture of one weaving and dodging, unable or unwilling to give a clear and concise answer. Devious people can be charming or they wouldn't be much of an influence. But they also leave a legacy. If you want to know whether you should follow their influence, look at the trails they leave in life. Is there a trail of harm, misfortune and destruction in previous relationships, partnerships or fellowships in which they were an active influence? You can bet that if you allow yourself to be influenced by this type, you will end up getting hurt, or even worse, you will end up being an agent of 'rotting' in your own spheres of influence.
There's more to this Proverb than first meets the eye. God wants us to be discerning as to what kinds of ‘influencers’ we take up with.

Monday, January 19, 2009

January 20

Jan 20 - Today from Proverbs 20 we look at verse 25

"It is a trap for a man to dedicate something rashly and only later consider his vows."

'Dedicate' - devoted to a special purpose. We can dedicate many things; time, money, energy, objects. . . the list is inexhaustible. How could we be 'trapped' into dedicating something? In the majority of cases, I would say through our emotions; anger, pity, desire, sorrow, pride, discouragement, and most of all greed. Emotional decisions are very tricky and often spontaneous. We usually don't logically think through what the long term consequences would be when we let our emotions rule in a decision. This is a great benefit to con artists. People who make important decisions by their emotions are known as 'suckers' - and as the old saying goes, "There is a sucker born every minute." Once the money is handed over or the contract signed - you're 'dedicated' to it. Later on, when emotions wane and logic settles back in, you begin to 'consider your vows', and you realize that you didn't make such a good decision after all.Wisdom and maturity go hand in hand. As one matures, they learn not to be emotionally manipulated into making important decisions. In fact, verse 18 fits along with this verse; "Make plans by seeking advice." If you are emotionally involved in a major decision, seek the advice of trusted friends or reputable professionals to see if it is a sound decision. When there are areas where you do not have the needed wisdom in a situation, you can benefit from the wisdom of others who do. One final thought, "Do not make critical decisions when you are emotionally unstable." Stick with the situation until your emotions are under control and you are able to begin to clearly reason through it. It takes practice - but wisdom is practical.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

January 19

Jan 19 - Today from Proverbs 19 we look at verse 11

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense."

"A man's wisdom gives him patience." How does that work? Again, we have to understand just what wisdom is. It is more than correct knowledge, although one cannot have wisdom without correct knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to apply correct knowledge. In order to do that, one must know how it fits into the greater scheme. I guess we could use a jigsaw puzzle as a limited analogy. If the pieces of the puzzle were correct knowledge, and you possessed all of the pieces, it still wouldn't do you much good unless you knew how they all fit together. As we grow in wisdom, we not only accumulate the puzzle pieces (correct information), but we practice putting them together in proper order. A little simplistic, but at least it gives some understanding.
Now perhaps we can better see how wisdom can give patience. Wisdom looks at the 'big picture', understanding that the situation one is currently dealing with is only a small piece of it. This is the foundational thought of the proverb; the second is built upon it. Without the understanding of a bigger picture, we want to immediately react to a personal offense. We want to be sure that the offender 'pays', so we often take matters into our own hand and retaliate. When someone insults, we lash back. When someone takes unfair advantage, we bristle and look for a way to get even. When someone gossips about us, we do all we can to discredit their character. When we can only see the small piece of life we are dealing with, and have no thought of God's greater scheme of life, we react to insure that personal justice is served. This is, of course, all 'self-serving'. Retaliation is almost always a pride issue.
In Jesus' Sermon on the Mount He was teaching kingdom principles. He was pointing people to the big picture. He was moving people from the limitations of personal justice to the liberty of mercy and grace. In Matthew 5:38-42 He says, "You have heard that it was said 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth'." Here Jesus was speaking about the limits of personal justice. People are prone to want revenge instead of justice - they want at least two teeth for a tooth. God limited 'natural man' to just punishment. You didn't have to demand a tooth for a tooth; it's just that you couldn't go beyond a tooth for a tooth. Then Jesus goes on to the big picture. He says, "But I tell you, if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." Jesus goes from limited personal justice to the power of mercy and grace. As a mature and wise believer, one has the knowledge and the capacity to forfeit their personal 'just rights' in order that it does not interfere with their witness. It is an 'ornament of splendor' (glory) to overlook an offense in order to promote peace and to give witness to God's mercy. The big picture also reveals that no offense goes unpunished. In the end, God will see that perfect justice is done. Either the offense will be paid through the shed blood of Jesus, in which case you have taken it upon yourself to 'punish' an innocent person, or, the offender will answer to God for the offense, in which case you will be vindicated.
It is to a man's glory to overlook an offense. Hopefully the offender will be influenced through such a witness as to draw near to God and find the same forgiveness as the offended did. If not, there is no ultimate loss - God will take up your case and in the end He will see that all wrongs are righted. Can't wait that long? You need to spend more time studying the big picture.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

January 18

Jan 18 - Today from Proverbs 18 we look at verse 9

"One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys."

On first read, the mind tends to think of occupation (which is applicable). But I would like to venture down another path. Much of our labors in this life consist of maintenance. If you are any kind of property owner, you have to spend time, energy and resources to properly maintain your property.
We live in a fallen creation whereby the second law of thermal dynamics has placed us in a constant battle with corruption. I don't have any resource books at hand to look up the technical wording of the law, but in the simplest terms, as I remember, it states that everything is in constant process of breaking down to its most base elements. This is why cars and bicycles rust (corruption). This is why wood rots (corruption). This is why paint fades and peels (corruption). Even 'environmental unfriendly' plastics and styrofoams will eventually break down - it just takes a very long time. When things are new, there are certain precautions we can take to delay the process of corruption. We can get our new car 'rust proofed' with a protective undercoating to keep salt away from the metal. We can keep our new car in a garage, protecting it from the other elements that expedite corruption. We can get floor mats (and sometimes seat covers), to protect the upholstery from excessive wear. Then we have to pull maintenance on the car to extend its limited life. We get it lubed and get the oil changed. We get it washed, and periodically get a protective coat of wax on it. We keep the tires properly inflated (under-inflation causes excessive wear - corruption). As the car ages we replace worn (corrupted), belts and hoses, worn tires, and other parts that cease to function as intended. This is all work. "One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys." We would be appalled if someone approached our new car, tore off a fender or two, slashed the tires, dumped sand in the crankcase, and tore out the carpeting. That would be one who destroys - easily identifiable. But if a person bought that car and never pulled any preventative maintenance, that car would look good and function properly for only a fraction of the time it was intended to last. For all practical purposes, that person 'destroyed' the car simply because he was 'slack in his work' in conducting proper maintenance. Oft times these types are a little harder to identify - especially when it is ourselves.
This isn't a lesson on car maintenance - we just used that as an analogy that can be applied to relationships. That's right - relationships take work. Our human nature has also been corrupted - by sin. And the root of sin is pride - 'me first'. The 'natural' base element of the fallen nature is 'my way'. When two or more people enter into a relationship, the 'natural' tendencies of the elements of that relationship are to break down to 'my way'. A destroyer is pro-active. Their demand is "My way or the by-way!" Potential long-term relationships are quickly destroyed by their demands
But there is a much more subtle way of destroying a relationship, and that is by the way of the 'corruption' of inactivity. Don't work on preventative maintenance. Let the small things go. Ignore the places where the relationship is worn thin. Stop listening to the other. Don't bother to work on understanding the other. Stop working on looking for the best in the other. Stop working on encouraging and nurturing the other. Yes, maintenance in a relationship is all work - but it's much more worth the effort than changing the oil and waxing your new car. When you work on a relationship, there are wonderful dividends. YOU are growing in character, and becoming more like the One who redeemed you - who never experienced corruption of the soul. Jesus, who is the express image of the Father, never yielded to the 'me-first' attitude when considering a relationship with you. He put you first. He died in your place, so that you COULD have a relationship with Him. We don't have to say to Him, "It's my way or the by-way" in order to destroy our relationship with Him. All we have to do is stop working on that relationship and it will gradually become so corrupted that it is no longer functional. He still puts us first in His relationship with us (His mercies are new every morning). That relationship reaches its fullest potential when we reciprocate by putting Him first by 'dying to self', and to living for Him. Yes, it's all work - but there are wonderful dividends. Have you considered having the Eternal Creator and Sovereign King as your friend? As One who desires to have a relationship with you? It's ALMOST incomprehensible - except He tells us it is true. And He NEVER lies.