Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 7:7

And I saw among the naive, and discerned among the youths, a young man lacking sense

The whole of the book of Proverbs is written to be a training manual for people just like the one that Solomon sees out of his window.

Remember that Solomon lives in the home that has the highest vantage point in the town other than God’s Temple. He, like David his father before him, can watch the activities of the town going on below him.

Solomon spots a young man going toward a home that he has no business approaching. He knows that this young man is not sophisticated enough to really understand what he is doing; he is just following a lustful impulse. He is following through on a glance or word or brief encounter in the market earlier. He believes that a beautiful woman wants him, and he is about to be gripped by lust and crushed for his naiveté.

Solomon cannot rush out of his palace and save this young man, but he can write down exactly why this happened and the insights that will be needed for other young men not to take the path that this young man has taken.

It is for the naive, the young, the person who can’t see how what they are doing right now affects the whole of their future.

naive: This is the Hebrew word pethi which means simple, open-minded, naive. It is interesting that this word which means lacking experience; lacking knowledge has a meaning of open-mindedness. This person is open to too much. This person is looking for experiences and information and is not discerning enough as to what to refuse to be exposed to.

In our culture we keep pleading with people to be open-minded. That is good up to a point, but there are a whole lot of things that we should not be open-minded about. We should be closed toward sin; not open-minded. We should be closed toward violence and dishonesty. We should be closed to blasphemy and demonic spiritual power. And yet in our day and age, these are just the things that our society is saying we should be open-minded about. The naive youth are being sucked into the vortex of these experiences and many will never recover from the exposure. Their whole lives will be changed and the direction of their lives will be altered.

As you are growing up you do not want to understand sin and perversion by experience. Listen to Solomon and do not go outside the Ten Commandments to try and get smarter; you will be warped and twisted by the experience. The future that you had as your potential will forever be changed by your embrace of iniquity and wickedness. It is not harmless.

It is like Solomon is screaming out of his window: “STOP DON’T MESS UP YOUR LIFE”! It may seem like those who break all the rules in high school are having all the fun but watch their lives for a longer time and you will see that they are paying a heavy price for their education in sin.

youths: This is the Hebrew word ben which means sons. It seems in this context to mean someone who is not completely out from under his parents’ shadow. He may be past the age of 13 and be a son of the Law; but he is not really independent, married, and existing as a separate family unit. He is in that period where many want to experiment with life. This is what we call the teen years, and now it extends through the mid-twenties. The person doesn’t yet have all the responsibilities of a full-blown adult even though they want all the respect of an adult.

It is during this period that a young man or young woman can make choices that can destroy their life. Often those choices involve romantic relationships. Young girls can give too much to a man who is not committed and get pregnant. Young men can be ensnared by sexually experienced or emotionally needy women. It is a period of time that parents need to prepare for much earlier as the child is growing up. Help them understand what not to be open to. Help them realize that there are temptations that will seem like a great deal – like everything they have ever wanted – but will destroy them if they give in.

lacking sense: This is the Hebrew word leb which means heart. It is translated sense but the word is the word for heart or soul. Solomon is saying that this young man is becoming an animal with no soul. He is just becoming a stimulus-response animal. There is no contemplation of the future. There is no realization of judgment day. There are no evaluations of the consequences. There is just a desire to fulfill a physical want. When you just do what the flesh impulses – whether that is sex, drink, food, hatred, bitterness, coarse laughter and jokes, violence, etc. – then you become more animal than man and you lose your soul. You just begin going through life waiting to be stimulated by the next impulse. You allow that to stimulate you until you are satisfied. But you give little or no thought to the meaning of life; your contribution to society; your reason for existence; a higher calling beyond your own gratification.

This brings up an important point. The cultivation of a soul takes work. To build an inner life which contemplates life – meaning God and others – is a process. We come equipped with the ability to develop a deep and rich soul life; but, alas, many do not ever develop it because they are too busy chasing after the next impulse in their life. Jesus says, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet loses his soul?”

Many people will never have a deep relationship with God or hear His gentle whisper in their spirit because they are too busy paying attention to the fleshly impulses that scream at them. Many people will never enjoy a deep and satisfying relational connection with another person – soul-to-soul contact – because they have never developed their own soul enough to connect with another.

The soul is the inner life. It is the development of what is called the soul and spirit of the person. It is the mind, will, emotions, creativity, connection to God, personality, conscience, meaning. To have an abundant life, one must have a rich inner life. Solomon points out that this young man that he is watching must have little or no inner life to just blindly go to a woman who is not his wife for physical relations just because she is pretty. He is allowing his fleshly impulses to rule his life.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 16:3

Commit your works to the Lord and your plans will be established

Commit is the word roll or we might say have God evaluate as well as make sure that He has approved and or has your permission to shut down these plans.

The idea seems to be that if you do not put your plans in the hands of or through the approval system of the Lord, then they will never really be solid; they will remain fluid and slippery.

Also, why would you want to work really hard on a set of plans for which God is not willing to open doors?

There is an interesting nuance in this verse that is often missed. He says that if you commit your works – the things that you already have done – to the Lord, honor Him out of them, glorify God through them, see God in the midst of them, then your plans for the future will be firm. But if you will not honor, commit, and glorify God with your present works, then your plans will remain slippery and inadequate.

There is backwardness in this concept. If you acknowledge God and give Him glory for what you have already done, then He will firm up and work with the plans that you have. It is the same idea as: In all your ways acknowledge the Lord and He will make your paths straight.

It must be clear that what you are doing and have done is for the Lord and to honor the Lord and in doing that He will make your plans firmed up. We don’t know whether that means that He will make sure you add the little parts to the plan that will make them work or whether He will make sure that the things that need to happen to make the plans work will happen or He will adjust your plans to the ones that will work out like in Psalm 37:4: Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.

The word plan is a word that means thoughts about a particular direction and can also mean motive or purpose. There is the clear idea that God will bring out of the swirling mass of your thoughts, certain ones, and will firm them up when your present and completed works have been dedicated to the Lord. If this is not done, then the implication is that the swirling mass of your thoughts will remain a swirling mass of potential directions. It is the firming up of thoughts into actual reality that is being promised here.

We also need God to take the good thoughts and provide some fixity to those and let the bad ones or evil ones pass by. Why does one idea that we have come to reality and another remain a thought? Why do some ideas seem so good and yet they will not fly in the real world? God is saying, I will fix that problem if you will learn to commit your works to Me. To dedicate to Roll on to… to Honor Me with…

Oh God, I give you everything and dedicate it to you and for your service. I want you to bring out of my mind the thoughts and dreams that should come out and would succeed. I want you to pass over the thoughts that flow through my brain which are not for me to do and/or are not good ones.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 15:3

The eyes of the Lord are in every place watching the evil and the good

This is a very important concept. Nothing escapes the purview of the Lord of the heavens. He does not fail to see the evil, and he registers every good.

This is one of the big things that we, who are truly Christians and theistic, must prove – that there is a judgment day coming; a time when every action of every man will be evaluated from a truly objective point of view.

One of the great problems for meaning and point to existence is where is the recorder of our deeds that is outside of us and beyond our universe? If no one sees what we do or the bravery or cowardice that we demonstrate, then it does not matter which one we do. If there is no ultimate recorder, then there can be little meaning to our lives except that which we live in front of others and that will perish with them.

But if there is an ultimate recorder that cannot perish and who sees and records everything that we think, say, and do, then life is full of meaning in every choice that comes before us. This is especially true if that recorder is somehow connected to a reward for the correct actions.

The one question that this verse does not address is: Why does God only watch the evil and the good? Why does he not immediately stop the evil or encourage the good? Numerous theories have been advanced throughout the ages. The one most often advanced which seems to make the most sense is that in this world – being a prelude to the next one – God must test our true choices to see if we would love Him and righteousness even if it is not immediately rewarded. He is looking for those worshipers and lovers of righteousness who will embrace truth and goodness even if it does not have an immediate temporal benefit. It is easy even for the unrighteous to be good when there is an immediate tangible benefit. God is testing us to see what is in our heart – whether we will call this world our home or continue to search for the better one which is beyond this one. Jesus does declare that those who follow Him will receive many times more for their obedience and suffering both in this world and the next.

It is clear that Christians are banking their lives, their destiny, and their choices on the fact that there is a next world in which the wrongs of this world are made right; that the wonder and splendor of the next world will marginalize any pain and suffering that we have experienced here in this one. This common theme that all justice will not necessarily be accomplished during our lifetime here in this world is important. It is a truth of the Christian faith which must not be abandoned to the “this is all there is” thinking of our modern day. If this world is all there is and there is no God in heaven watching and recording, then live as you please for there is no meaning to anyone’s existence except what little bit you can conjure up yourself. It will die with you and your meaningless life will have accomplished nothing, no matter what you did.

I am deeply saddened that many Christians in the West have diminished this truth or embraced its secular opposite. When we forget the basic truths of the Christian faith, it is almost impossible to live the Christian life with any vigor. I believe we have been sapped of Christian strength by the lie that this is all there is and when you die, it is over. It is not over; it is just beginning and the choices you made here will make all the difference about what you enjoy there.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 14:3

In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will protect them

in the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back

There are three possible directions that God could be going in this proverb. One, that the selfish and impulsive person says things that eventually act like a rod and punish him. As the foolish woman in 14:1 who has to live in the midst of the relationships that she destroyed, she has torn down her own home or dwelling place. If this is the idea, then the contrasting proverb would mean that the words of the wise man would not create the relational damage that foolish words create.

The second possible intent of the proverb is that it is the things that the foolish person says that can be used against him to discipline or punish him. The contrasting proverb would mean then that the wise man does not say things that will get him in trouble later.

A third possibility shows itself from a more literal translation of the verse. The most literal translation of the proverb is the lips of the fool is a rod of pride. This suggests that the fool really thinks of himself in a very high manner and believes that he is above others. And the contrasting proverb would be that the wise person’s words protect him from the foolish person’s verbal blows.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 13:3

The one who guards his mouth preserves his life; the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin

Oh how much this proverb needs to be taught, grasped, and applied.

The word guards is the Hebrew word nasar which means to watch, guard, or keep. The word preserves is the Hebrew word samar which means to keep, guard, watch. What Solomon is pointing out is that when you are careful about what you say, you are really protecting your life. Keeping watch over your mouth is keeping watch over your life. This is a very important idea and relationship that many in our day and age do not understand.

If a person says whatever they want to whomever they want, they are invariably damaging relationships. That relational damage will come back to haunt them. What God continually points out is that life is relationships and what damages relationships instead of building them up, damages your enjoyment of life.

We have this naive opinion of who we are in this world; that we are this disconnected, solitary person. And we should be able to say whatever we think or would like to say, whether that is about someone or something or really anything. Our culture has elevated free speech to a right. It is, in reality, the right to be foolish and the right to destroy the most important things in our life by our own hand. God gives us a more accurate perspective of who we are in the world. We are one person who is connected to lots of other people and every advance that we make in life is the result of one of those connections. If we knowingly or flippantly damage one of these connections with others, we damage our own potential.

Most of us have to admit how stupid we have been at times by saying something to our spouse or friend or boss or colleague that we shouldn’t have said. Then we have to go to the trouble of trying to repair that relationship when if we had just listened to this proverb and put a guard over our mouth, we would have guarded our life.

LIFE IS RELATIONSHIPS – the better your relationships, the better your life. If you have a lot of stuff but no deep, loving, and positive relationships, then your life is not much of a life. But even if you have very little stuff but have lots of deep, loving relationships, then you have a wonderful life.

the one who opens wide his lips comes to ruin

The word opens is the Hebrew word pasaq which means open wide. Let everything that is behind the partition out.  Or as my fourth-grade teacher used to say: “Does every thought you think have to just come out your mouth?”

The word ruin is the Hebrew word mehitta which means destruction, ruin, terror. In other words, your life can become a living nightmare – everything you hoped wouldn’t happen – if you don’t close your mouth. I wonder how many people have ever thought that the life they are presently living is often the direct or indirect result of whether they guarded their mouth or just let fly.

Too often we have just let fly with words that we can never take back. Once they are out there, they can never be taken back and the weight and damage they cause continues to crash around in the minds of those who heard it. Don’t say everything that you could. Don’t comment on everybody and everything; it doesn’t need to be done.

Every job you have received is because of a relationship with someone; it was nurtured through what you said. Every friendship you have ever had was nurtured through things you said. Every evening you have enjoyed at home with family was nurtured long before by things that you said. Realize that what you say is the bed you will sleep in your whole life.

Now it is best to say positive things; but if you are not at that point, then just cut down on the destructive things that you say. Stop gossiping; stop running people down; stop providing negative commentary about everyone or everything. You only destroy your own potential. Set a guard over your mouth.

If you argue with your parents each time they make a suggestion, it diminishes that relationship. If you have a sarcastic comment about everyone at school, pointing out the flaws and weaknesses in everyone, you don’t enhance how much people like you. If you let every opinion you have be known, you will run the great risk of having few friends and a limited potential.

Make a commitment today that you will set a guard over your mouth and not talk negatively today.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 12:3

A man will not be established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved

What an encouraging insight. It seems in our day and age that any business can go out of business; that no one’s pension is secure; that no one’s marriage is safe; that even one’s convictions can come under assault.

But this proverb declares that one never really built a lasting enterprise on the violation of God’s law or basic selfishness. Understand that wickedness is living outside of the Ten Commandments. Solomon is stating a truth that many do not think about: You may go outside of God’s moral boundary structure to establish your life, but it will not lead to much for your family, your legacy, and the society as a whole. The gaining by wickedness is a short-term proposition.

All of us would like our lives to have a lasting impact and count for something way past when we are alive. This is possible when your life is built on righteousness. This is how you build a lasting legacy. It is not quick nor necessarily fancy, but it is an unmovable root. You bless generations when you begin today to be righteous.

Too often we do not think about what we are doing to ourselves ten years from now; our children or grandchildren twenty years from now; or society thirty-plus years from now. But we need to do this kind of thinking. When anyone voluntarily lives within the boundary structure of the Ten Commandments, they begin at that point to establish a righteous root and develop a legacy.

It is your decision. Are you going to start a legacy today by living by God’s grace righteously or are you going to continue making the same selfish choices that you have been making – living largely only for yourself at the present time. Only thinking about today is a fool’s choice. Be righteous.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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Breakfast With Solomon: PROVERBS 11:3

The integrity of the upright will guide them.  But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.

The word integrity means wholeness or undivided oneness. The idea in this verse is that if you are always the same person in every situation and every relationship, that oneness – that undivided type of thinking – will tell you what to do in each new situation.

If you would not cheat in business, then you should not and will not in golf. If you would not utter swear words in the family, then you should not when your team loses the game or you hit your thumb with the hammer. It means when you don’t know what to do, you look at the decision before you and ask yourself if you would you do this kind of thing in another context. If the answer is no, then don’t do it. If the answer is yes, then move ahead.

There are too many people who are duplicitous – people who act one way at church or around friends and a different way in business and sports. What is amazing is that even though people try and play a deceptive game of “I will only be like this in one area of my life,” it always bleeds over and they cheat, lie, steal, swear, are unfaithful, and angry in every relationship.

Strive for wholeness… be the same way… always aim to stay in the Ten box – INSIDE THE 10 COMMANDMENTS

will guide you

The interesting thing is that this phrase will guide you can be understood in two ways. It could be the idea that when a person does not know what to do and is righteous, he/she should look to that which is full of integrity and in line in every way with the Ten Commandments. This is a reasonable application of this idea. What is consistent with righteousness is the right question when one does not know what to do and then do that particular thing.

The second way of looking at this phrase is what will happen. Your integrity will guide you. In other words, that which you do consistently will guide you. The only question is whether you will be guided by the best advice. I have watched person after person do what seemed right to them or what was consistent to them even though it made no sense. This is the principle that we make a series of choices and then those choices begin to make us. It is the accumulation of our choices that determine what we will do in almost every case.

Notice that integrity and crookedness are parallel to one another in this proverb. One either acts in a way that is consistent with the path of righteousness or one acts consistent with twisted or crooked, selfish dealings. It is the accumulation of these choices that will guide each person and seem right to them.

Ask yourself the question whether your typical solution to a problem results in good being accomplished. Does it have the ring of what is inside of the Ten Commandments? Or does it come out wrong consistently even though it feels like the right thing? You are either being guided by what is outside the Ten Commandments or what is inside the Ten Commandments. This guidance is either building your life or it is tearing down what is really wonderful about life.

*  This material is copyrighted © by Gil Stieglitz who retains all rights to the material.   The verses quoted are taken from the NASB Bible 1995 edition.

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