Perhaps 

“Now you, son of man, get your bags ready for exile and go into exile in their sight during the day. You will go into exile from your place to another place while they watch; perhaps they will understand, though they are a rebellious house.” Ezekiel 12:3

Perhaps is a descriptive word. It usually paints a negative picture, like there isn’t much of a chance. So when Ezekiel is given this task with this clarification, he has an interesting choice ahead of him. The choice is, what is his mindset going to be as he follows through.

From my experience, I’m not sure most, if not all, of God’s directives involving ministering to others shouldn’t be entered into with this mentality. Why? There are no guarantees. Just because you come in the name of the Lord doesn’t guarantee you or your message will be received at all, let alone as a message from the Lord. And how they respond, if your message is delivered as directed, has nothing to do with you.

Perhaps will keep you.

Perhaps will protect you.

Perhaps will direct you.

Perhaps will humble you.

Perhaps will focus you.

Perhaps leaves it all up to your director.

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31 Proverbs Highlights: #30-Bloody Noses

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

If you have been foolish by exalting yourself or if you’ve been scheming, put your hand over your mouth. For the churning of milk produces butter, and twisting a nose draws blood, and stirring up anger produces strife. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭30‬:‭32-33‬ HCSB)

A bloody nose doesn’t come because you said, “Good Morning. Have a nice day!

It’s usually the result of something like a crazy sports fan who doesn’t know how to enjoy the game and stirs it up with their comments. Their tongue led to bloodletting.

I’ve never literally had a bloody nose. But I have stirred it up with my tongue. Words may not draw literal blood, but they surely can create strife. Apparently Solomon knew this. That’s why the verse reads, “...put your hand over your mouth.”  Maybe another way of saying it is, “Stop the bleeding. Keep your mouth shut.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #26-Quit the Game

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Without wood, fire goes out; without a gossip, conflict dies down. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭26‬:‭20‬ HCSB)

This proverb is one of several in chapter 26 that have to do with words, and the results of not using them well.

Ask Californians during fire season what not to do and they’ll certainly include “don’t feed it.”

Ask recipients of damaging gossip what not to do and they’ll say the same thing. “Kill it. Don’t spread it.”

Remember the game “gossip”? What if you simply refused to play? What if the message never got to the last person just because you quit the game? 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #25-Gold and Cool Drinks

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray. A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold. To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day; he refreshes the life of his masters. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭11-13‬ HCSB)

Do you have a friend that knows what to say, it seems, all the time? Either they are just faster on their feet or they are just more in tuned? Verse 11-12 says they are gold. The Message paraphrase describes them as “custom made.” I can’t say I have many friends that are “gold,” but the one that comes to mind is definitely priceless. I would say his listening skills are what makes him gold.

How about friends that are reliable, that do what they say? Got many of those? Verse 13 calls them refreshing. The Message paraphrase describes them as “cool drinks in sweltering heat.” What I know is how unrefreshing unreliable “friends” are. To have “cool drink” friends, which I’m thankful to say I do, is one of the greatest blessings in life.

We should strive to be gold and cool drinks, not just receivers but givers. Who would call you gold or a cool drink?

The Value of Bible Translations

Taking a short break from the 31 Proverbs series to share a personal observation. 

The words of Proverbs 17:5 are stuck on replay in my mind. Actually, one word is. Well, one word from the HCSB translation is. If you read yesterday’s post, you can probably guess which word. 

As I’ve meditated on that word and the message of that verse, these questions came to me: How have I missed this verse for so long? Why did it stick out to me unlike any other time I’ve read it before?

One answer to that question is this: I’m reading the book of Proverbs in a translation that I don’t recall reading it before.

Some people devalue this practice-reading the Bible from various translations. I value it. To give you an idea what I’m talking about, compare this verse from these four translations: 

He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NASB

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NKJV

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NIV 

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 HCSB

With just one word highlighted, a Bible student could learn deeper truth and understanding, enough to stick with them for days, maybe even a lifetime. So here are some questions to consider regarding the value of Bible translations: 

  • What if we trusted man’s God-given gift of language and words to deepen our understanding of God?
  • What if we allowed various colors and imageries of words to deepen the convicting power of God’s truths?
  • What if we let go of trying to control God’s word and surrender to God’s message?

For some reason, the word insult went beyond my eyes and mind and reached my heart. I felt that word. 

That’s powerful. That’s lifealtering. That’s invaluable. 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #17-Insulting God

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished…The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬, 27-28 HCSB)

Who would dare insult God? Who would think that would bring peace to one’s heart?

Yet, our desire to be perceived somehow as better than can lead us to do exactly that, insult God.

We insult God by criticizing his creation. That includes people. 

We insult God by assuming we know the reasons behind his actions. We mere humans.

We insult God by thinking our words need to be heard. Even above his.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #15-The Tongue

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness…The tongue that heals is a tree of life, but a devious tongue breaks the spirit…The mind of the righteous person thinks before answering, but the mouth of the wicked blurts out evil things. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭15‬:‭2‬,4,28 HCSB)

Tongue Principles from these verses:

  • Our words can attract people to knowledge and wisdom
  • Blurting is unattractive
  • Our words can bring healing, nourishment, purpose, rejuvenation
  • Breaking another’s spirit is destructive 
  • Righteous words are preceded by thought
  • Blurting eeks our wickedness

31 Proverbs Highlights: #14-A Woman and Her House

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

​Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Proverbs 14:1 HCSB

This house is built using truths from this book such as: 

  • Living in the fear of the Lord
  • Following the path of righteousness 
  • Choosing words that instill trust and respect 
  • Giving to the poor
  • Correcting and rebuking the children 

This house is destroyed ignoring and rejecting truths from this book by:

  • Living for personal gain 
  • Following the “whatever feels good” path
  • Stirring up strife and contention with words of gossip and contempt
  • Hoarding 
  • Allowing the children to do as they please

Who is Really God Here?

When someone is attacking us, our tendency is to focus on them and their actions, even in our prayers. It is fair to say in some cases we take the actions of an enemy and make them an idol. “Look at me. Poor me.” Our prayers become all about them vs. me. With that kind of mindset, who is really God here? 

Consider what David had to say about this in Psalm 5:

But let all who take refuge in You rejoice; let them shout for joy forever. May You shelter them, and may those who love Your name boast about You. For You, Lord, bless the righteous one; You surround him with favor like a shield. ‭Psalms‬ ‭5‬:‭11-12‬ HCSB

David is suggesting that, because of the refuge God offers to those seeking righteousness, there should be rejoicing. Rather than focus on the enemy’s actions or words, David says boast about God. Rather than focus on the wrong thing, the wrong person, even the results of their actions, we can live in peace under the shield and favor that comes from the God of the Righteous. We must check our idol making by asking who is really God here.