Watching Daily At My Gates

July 10 Read Proverbs 11:1-11

We have come to a section of Proverbs where the true meaning of a proverb is shown. A proverb is a short, pithy saying which portrays the wisdom that we should desire. In these devotionals it would be hard to examine each one so I ask you to consider any that appeal to you while I examine only a few of them. The first three verses deal with honesty. There is no area of life where honesty can be ignored. If we are not honest, we will find ourselves breaking many of God’s commandments. We must examine our lives and make sure that we are giving to our God a full measure of his glory. May this be our guide all of our lives. Sing Psalter 136.

July 11 Read Proverbs 11:12-21

This section of chapter 11 is a mixture of synonymous and antithetical parallelisms. They all have one theme. There is a certain way that the children of the heavenly Father must live. That way is to walk in wisdom. Notice verse 19. In that verse we see the end of the way that men walk on this earth. Some look to eternal life. Their way is replete with the good works of righteousness. Some pursue evil; their end is eternal death. What is scattered around us on our way? Do we see good works or the works of folly? May God grant to us wisdom to fear Jehovah and seek him all the days of our lives. Sing Psalter 301.

July 12 Read Proverbs 11:22-31

As I have pointed out before, Solomon wrote many proverbs concerning the treatment of the poor. Verses 24 and 25 again remind us of this fact. While Solomon’s kingdom was one of prosperity, he knew there were poor in it. Jesus in the days before he died reminded his disciples and the church of all ages that the poor are ever present among it. Poor is a relative term. The poor that are seen in an industrial nation are different than the poor in a third world country. The point of Solomon and Christ is that among us, where we live, are poor. We must make sure that we give of our abundance for them that they may truly know of the mercies of Christ. Sing Psalter 98.

July 13 Read Proverbs 12:1-8

In this section of antithetical parallelisms we have various contrasts between the righteous and the wicked. Verse 1 is not isolated from the rest, but it is the keystone upon which the others rest. The book of Proverbs is instruction. How we react to that instruction is the manner in which we live our lives. Our covenant God is always instructing us. Do we heed such instruction? Do we learn the way we should walk from the situations that he places before us? He has given to us a textbook that covers all situations of life. But the Bible is not a cold lifeless book, it is a living letter of love to those whom he loves. Let us seek instruction and live lives of thankfulness for not only that instruction but also the way of salvation found in God’s Word. Sing Psalter 333.

July 14 Read Proverbs 12:9-22

In this section of Proverbs there are many admonitions about the tongue. We can sin with our mouths in more ways than just simple lying. But as verse 22 states, even that is an abomination to God. How do we speak about others? What kinds of words come out of our mouths? James in his epistle also gives to us much instruction on this matter. Our mouths need to be fountains of praise to the almighty God. This is not just a matter of praying and singing. This is a matter of all that we say. Let us guard our lips as we interact with people each and every day. May those around us know that we truly love God by our speech. Sing Psalter 90.

July 15 Read Proverbs 12:23-28

The first five verses of this section are all antithetical parallelisms. Each of them addresses a different aspect of life. Each of them gives to us guidance on the various matters that make up daily living. Notice verse 25. Do we have a chance to help someone’s outlook on life? If we do, we should not fail to speak a good word to them. That good word will come from Scripture. In order to speak that good word, we must know the Word. The final verse is synonymous parallelism. It speaks not of life on this earth, but the life to come which will be in heaven. As we go through this book of wisdom, let us make sure that we are walking on the right path. That right path has eternal life as its end for the righteous. Sing Psalter 53.

July 16 Read Proverbs 13:1-12

We see that once again Solomon returns to instruction. This instruction concerns various aspects of our daily lives. One of these verses is different in construction. Can you find it? Verse seven is still antithetical in nature but uses a different form. Are we rich in this world but poor in what matters most? Or are we poor in the world but rich in what matters most? What matters most are things that are spiritual in nature. Do we “covet the best gifts”-the gifts of the spirit? As you read through these various nuggets of truth, seek what is spiritual. If we live in the ways of God, we will find blessing. May this be our goal today and every day. Sing Psalter334.

July 17 Read Proverbs 13:13-25

Notice verse 22. While Solomon mentions a man leaving an inheritance to his children, he means more than just that. First of all, there is the spiritual aspect to the verse. The inheritance mentioned is the spiritual inheritance of knowing and walking in God’s word. If fathers do not do that for their children, they leave their children nothing, even if they have much worldly goods. Parents must, like Amram and Jocebed, see the importance of this fact. Secondly, children must see what a true inheritance is. While you might want to be left many worldly goods, the best inheritance is the fear of Jehovah. Children and young people must be thankful when their godly parents put much energy in leaving them a good spiritual inheritance. All the work put into the local congregation and the local covenantal Christian school is for their inheritance. What more could you want? May God be thanked for the blessing of godly parents and grandparents. Sing Psalter 359.

July 18 Read Proverbs 14:1-7

If we would study the Proverbs one by one, we would definitely find much to guide our lives. This would be profitable. For our purposes we choose to look at groups of parables; we can profit by this method as well. Look at verse 7. As we live our lives in this earth we come into contact with many kinds of people. Some of them we need to; some of them we choose to. What kind of people are they? Are they people that fear the Lord? Do we go away from those who show themselves foolish, when we can? Solomon tells us that this is necessary for the child of God. Let us work at staying away from those who do not love God. In that way our steps will be directed on the right path. Sing Psalter 101.

July 19 Read Proverbs 14:8-14

A word that is seen throughout the book of Proverbs is the word prudent. A prudent person is a wise person. He is one who follows the way of God. He is prudent because he considers his path and applies the wisdom of God to that path. He is truthful in all his dealings with those around him. There is much blessedness in the way of the prudent. The ultimate blessing is, of course, eternal life. But in this life, as well, he finds the blessing of Jehovah. Because he does not walk in the way of sin, he finds the peace of Christ each day and each night. There are pitfalls along the way, but with the strength of Jehovah he is delivered from them. Let us be prudent in our daily walk as we look for the city that hath foundations. Sing Psalter 35.

July 20 Read Proverbs 14:15-21

Several of the verses in this section show to us how we must live out of the second great commandment, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Notice the last verse. If we despise those whom God has put on our paths, for they are our neighbors, we fall into sin. That is the negative aspect of loving the neighbor put very simply. When we have mercy on the poor, we are blessed. That is the positive aspect. This is not a hard thing. What is hard is going against our sinful human natures. We would rather leave the poor in his poverty, and see what we can do to further our own causes. As we live our lives on this earth, we must look for the opportunities placed in our paths to love our neighbor and thereby to love God. All of God’s people can do this from very young to very old. When we do, we can be assured of the blessing of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 24.

July 21 Read Proverbs 14:22-28

People of God, are you a true witness? Are we true witnesses of the faith once delivered to the saints? What does it mean to be a true witness? First of all, a true witness lives the gospel that he confesses. He shows to those around him that not only does he confess with his lips the word of God, but he also shows in his life that word in all that he does. Secondly, a true witness is always ready to give an answer to the hope that lies within him. He is ready by word and deed to show his love for the heavenly Father. Our beloved catechism reminds us that our walk may lead others to Christ. Are we a witness that delivers souls, or is our whole life a lie? Sing Psalter 113.

July 22 Read Proverbs 14:29-35

The antithetical parallelism of verse 30 points out two aspects of our spiritual life. We can have a sound spiritual heart, but we also can be envious of everything and anything around us. That envy will eat away, as it were, at our very bones. Are we content with the station and calling in which God has placed us? Are we convinced with Paul that godliness and contentment is great gain? As we live our lives on this earth, we first must be Godly. We must flee sin and the old man and cleave to God’s law and the new man. Secondly, we must be content where we are and with what the potter has made of us. Is this easy? No. Is this possible? Yes, by grace. Let us flee envy and live out of the sound heart given to us by God. Sing Psalter 95.

July 23 Read Proverbs 15:1-8

In this chapter from Solomon’s words of wisdom, we have many different pieces of, not advice, but admonition from God’s servant. Verse 1 is one that we should all remember all of the time. How many times are we tempted to snap at someone because of some perceived slight? Anger is a dangerous sin that leads to more sin. By having a quiet manner towards others, we can avoid many problems. As verse 4 tells us, our tongues can make all the difference in the world. Let us pray daily for the grace to control our tongues and by doing this glorify our Father in heaven. Sing Psalter 386.

July 24 Read Proverbs 15:9-17

In verses 16 and 17 we have a pair of verses which work together. It is most men’s goal in this life to amass great amounts of possessions. Whether it be recreational toys or that which makes a house look beautiful, many want to have much. Solomon, who had much, realized that possessions were nothing. He teaches us in these verse like Paul in I Timothy 6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.” The gain is not in this world but rather in the world to come. This gain goes to those who have obtained the fear of Jehovah and the love of spiritual things. Let us seek contentment with what we have been given by God. In this way we will find the blessing of Jehovah. Sing Psalter 97.

July 25 Read Proverbs 15:18-24

Let us take a look at verse 22. It is not in our nature to want counsel from others. A very young child will proclaim that he can “do it by myself.” Older children and teenagers want to go their own way. Young adults do not want parents “meddling” with their business. Even the rest of us do not want help very often. We want to be independent. God gives to us good counselors. We find those counselors in Scripture first of all. We find those counselors all around us. Yes, that counsel is often tainted by sin because that is human nature. However, we should look for the counsel of those God has placed in that position. We should not just want it when we are in trouble. Counsel is a good gift from God. Let us embrace it as if it comes from his mouth. Sing Psalter 51.

July 26 Read Proverbs 15:25-33

No one likes the last clause of verse 33. The world, even the church world, is concerned about being honored. To be humble is unthinkable, but yet that is the way that Solomon says we must walk. We must be receptive to instruction in the wisdom of Jehovah. We must, from that instruction, seek to fear God and keep his commandments. Then we must be humble. That is not the recipe for success of the self-help gurus today, but that is the Word of God. Can we walk in it? Will we walk in it? Only by God’s grace can we and will we. May our prayers today include requests for such grace. Sing Psalter 366.

July 27 Read Proverbs 16:1-7

In this section Solomon addresses man and the way that his life leads him. The first principle which we must heed is found in the first two verses. Our way in life is in God’s hand. We may make preparations for finding our way, but we must always remember to say, “If the Lord will.” Many will misuse verse 3. They like to say that if you commit your way unto God, you will get what you want. That is not the intent at all. First of all the first clause is a command. We must commit our ways unto the Lord. Secondly, the thoughts mentioned in the second clause are his thoughts that he has put into our hearts. As we go along life’s path, let us remember that all things are in God’s hands. He will bring them to pass for his glory and for his good for his church. Sing Psalter 362.

July 28 Read Proverbs 16:8-17

Solomon was a king, and from a king’s perspective he gave to us many words of wisdom. He did this both for the king but also for the king’s subjects. As citizens of a kingdom on earth as well as in heaven, we do well to study Solomon’s admonitions to us. Some of us occupy places of authority. There are words to us as well. Verse 9 gives a message to all of us. We think that our plans are the best. God knows better than we how we should go. Sometimes he upsets our plans by death. We must see that this way is best as well. Sometimes through calamities he causes us to see that he has a better way. He speaks to us in all that happens to us. Are we listening? Sing Psalter 223.

July 29 Read Proverbs 16:18-25

We can find many words in this section to guide us upon our pilgrimage upon this earth as we await our final destination in heaven. First of all, we have the admonition to be humble in all that we do. We live in a world characterized by “I did this!” We need to have a humble demeanor. Secondly, we need to gather words and ways of wisdom. There is only one source of this wisdom, and that is from our heavenly Father. Finally, we need to watch our tongues. By doing this we find we will have a pleasant life especially with those around us. Let us seek these virtues knowing that with them comes the blessing of Jehovah for they are blessings from him. Sing Psalter 80.

July 30 Read Proverbs 16:26-33

Solomon continues to instruct us in the right and wrong ways of life. You see in these verses vivid reminders of the antithesis. The summary to life is found in verse 33. Life is not about luck or chance. It is not about man making his own way. Life consists of a series of events directed by God’s counsel as expressed in providence. Do we see the providence of God directing all of our ways? Notice that the verse says the “whole” disposing is of the Lord. Not a part of our lives but all of our lives and the events in them are in his hands. What a comforting thought that is to the child of God! If our lives even had a tiny bit of us in them, they would end in disaster. Let us thank God for his guidance through every hour of every day of our lives. Sing Psalter 253.

July 31 Read Proverbs 17:1-7

Notice the reference to the covenant in verse 6. Solomon knew about disobedient children. He had several brothers and sons that fit that category. God has given to us the covenant of friendship with him. He has also given to us the sign of the covenant in the children with which he blesses us. A God-fearing family is a benefit to parents and children alike. Children and young people must heed their fathers and mothers. Fathers and mothers must bring up their children in the fear of Jehovah. When both of these take place, God’s name is glorified. May this be our goal throughout our lives on this earth. Sing Psalter 360.

August 1 Read Proverbs 17:8-14

Verses 9 and 14 are good ones to consider when seeking guidance in dealing with our neighbors. First of all, when it says in verse 9 that we cover transgression, it does not mean that we cover it up. Rather, the idea is that we not let others see it. We discuss it with the offender and him only unless it is of such a nature that we apply the way of Matthew 18 to it. Verse 9 warns us against breaking the ninth commandment by way of gossiping. In verse 14 we see good advice again concerning our neighbors. If we poke a small hole in a dam, eventually a torrent will pour out of it. If we poke at our friend with words, we may be opening up troubles that we cannot mend. We must seek good relations with those around us in order that peace may reign in God’s church. Sing Psalter 83.

August 2 Read Proverbs 17:15-21

The blessings of the covenant family relationship are brought forth in verse 17. The relationship may be by blood or by the Word. That which is by blood should also be by the Word. A friend in Christ is one that loves you whatever the circumstances are. If you are to be a friend, you must follow the same guidelines. Those who are spiritual brothers and sisters will care for their spiritual brothers and sisters. That is the type of relationship we must seek. We have a spiritual friend who loves us at all times. He is also our elder brother. As our elder brother, he went to the cross for us and showed to us the greatest expression of love. Are we that kind of friend and brother? Sing Psalter 408.

August 3 Read Proverbs 17:22-28

In this section of Scripture we find several verses dealing with life and our relationships with others. First of all, in verse 22 we see how we can affect those around us by our demeanor with them and toward them. The idea of merry is not the merriment of the world, but rather the joyfulness of the saved child of God. Those around us must see our spiritual joy, and seeing it, they too will be gladdened. In verses 27 and 28 we are admonished to watch our tongues. Sometimes we need to be silent, and in that silence we will, as it were, “speak volumes.” These are not easy behaviors sometimes. They take grace. We must ask for that grace each and every day of our lives. Sing Psalter 221.

August 4 Read Proverbs 18:1-8

Solomon in this part of his instruction of wisdom goes back to the subject of the tongue. We would do well to reread the words of this part of the Bible daily. We use our tongues often every day. From it must come words of truth. We must not be found guilty of breaking the third and ninth commandments each time that we speak. How often have our words wounded others and brought shame upon us? Let us speak words of grace “seasoned with salt” every day and in all situations. By doing this we will be truly wise and not be found a fool. Sing Psalter 336.

August 5 Read Proverbs 18:9-16

Verse 9 of this section is one to which we should pay attention. Throughout the world today there are many that rail at waste among the nation’s and world’s people. Following God’s Word would provide much guidance on this subject. We have been made stewards of this creation. We must use it wisely. Why? Is it so our planet does not wear out? Is it so we have natural resources for a long time? The answer to both of those questions is a resounding NO! We are not lazy and are not great wasters so that God’s name is glorified. That is the plain and simple answer. How do we measure up? Sing Psalter 309.

August 6 Read Proverbs 18:17-24

There are many verses in this section to which we should heed. First of all verse 19 reminds us that we should follow the words found in Hebrews, “Let brotherly love continue.” Secondly, we are again warned to watch our tongues in verse 21. Verses 19 and 21 are tied closely together. There will be no brotherly love when the tongue is not controlled. Young men, are you seeking a wife? Are you seeking one that is pleasing to God? Young women, are you seeking to be a wife pleasing to God? Finally, in verse 24 we have again words about love for the neighbor. All of these actions are possible because of that friend that is closer than a brother. That friend is Christ. Let us seek him and devote our lives to living a friendly life with him. Sing Psalter 371.