"So," they say, "nobody's perfect!"
But the Vinedresser won't buy that.
Given the opportunity, He will trim the unproductive suckers and shape the branches so each one will bask in Sonlight.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Odd Words From the King James Version
Reading Proverbs 8:12-21 from the KJV revealed some--shall we say--interesting words used to express common ideas. Are they better than modern renderings? Let’s see:
I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.
Prudence connotes the negative idea of prudishness. Indeed, the two words are related, but their meanings couldn’t be more different. A prude, at least in the contemporary vernacular, is someone who is uptight about anything involving bodily functions or appetites--except the appetite for food, of course. The prude considers sex and bodily waste elimination at about the same level of meanness.
The conventional prude isn’t completely bonkers, though. At least he allows the baser topics to remain firmly “between the lines” of conversation, preserving some semblance of civil sensibilities. Today’s libertine social environment leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination.
The word prudence, on the other hand, means: 1: Discretion in practical affairs. 2. Knowing how to avoid embarrassment or distress. (from WordWeb dictionary) And what could be wrong with that?
Did you catch that last sentence? Today we seem more concerned with coolness, than with sensitivity. We’re more likely to look askance at traditional moral standards, than the loosey-goosey morals portrayed in the entertainment media. Perhaps prudence is an archaic idea whose revival-time has come.
Then, there is witty inventions. On first take, the phrase sounds like a description for a joke machine. But as we probe its meaning we sense the King James translators’ sense of humor. Anyone who has observed a clowning drunk, while not themselves inebriated, will admit such alcoholic humor is usually pretty stupid. To the drunk, however, his jokes are the cleverest, most witty, imaginable. And even if the joker isn’t drunk, glib wit is often anything but wise, and appreciated only by a similarly “wise” audience.
So, we could safely transliterate witty inventions with stupid ideas, making the sentence read, “I, wisdom, find my home with prudence, and discern stupid ideas.” And the best thing about discerning stupid ideas is we won’t get caught up in them.

The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
If God is love, how can He hate “the evil way and the froward(attitude-filled) mouth?”
God is in the ideal position to know that, “the evil way” leads first to distraction, then to destruction. And because He does love us, He hates to see us entrapped by destructive behaviors and habits, because He knows such destruction is eternal. Yes, some may think eternity is way off in the dim future, but ask yourself, “How many people who die today know their minutes are numbered? And how many of them will be ready to stand in the judgment?”
Please note, God includes “pride and arrogancy” with “the evil way” and “the froward mouth.” Think about it; popular culture glorifies all four of these destructive behaviors. But arrogant pride rears its demonic horns even among the most sanctified--or sanctimonious--brethren.

Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength.
Interesting, isn’t it, that “counsel” is assumed here to be a good thing? And why is that noteworthy? Because advice is so often anything but good. But this is wisdom’s counsel--sound, understanding, and enduring.
Please note that the KJV translators chose “strength,” rather than “power.” Why is that? Power is what moves something, someone, or many someones. Strength, on the other hand, is what prevents movement. Picture a skyscraper. You ride the elevator down to its lowest basement and find several humongous, steel pillars. Would you like to see one of them move while you’re standing there? If you did, you would soon know the meaning of, “RUN!” But they won’t move because they are strong.

By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
No one can blame the person who balks at this one. We know of too many despots who rule cruelly. So, how can they rule by God’s authority and with His approval?
Just rulers, though rare, are what God intended when He looked at His creation and pronounced it, “Good.” We humans, however, had other ideas. First, we tried to usurp God’s sovereignty. Then, when He chose a people to convey His Law, they, still being people, decided they wanted a ruler like the peoples who lived around them. So they got what they demanded; King Saul began a long line of weak, fallible rulers who were, by our human specification, just like the peoples who lived around them.
God still owns the authority, even when human rulers misuse it. And they will stand before the Judge of the universe to account for their actions.

I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me. Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.
This last passage speaks of the treasures God will pour out on those who “seek me early.” It speaks of durable riches, better than “fine gold.” Someone has observed that in heaven, Gold is so valuable that it’s used for pavement. True riches, durable riches, are the treasure we lay up in eternity when we obey God. Once we give up these corrupting bodies, we will see everything we valued on Earth for what it is: cheap counterfeits of the real thing.

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