You are invited to join Hillsdale’s Wednesday evening Bible studies, beginning with tonight’s Teen Bible Study\Activity at 6:00pm, AWANA Clubs for Preschool-6th Grades at 6:15 PM, and a time of prayer in our Adult Bible classes that also begins at 6:15 pm.
Around 6:35\6:40 pm, Pastor Smith’s Bible Institute Class series titled, Character Studies in Proverbs, will meet in Cox Hall and also be broadcast live on Hillsdale’s Facebook Page and at www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.
Tonight’s study is from Proverbs 6:1-19, and will focus on four topics: Financial Bondage (6:1-5), A Warning to Sluggards (6:6-11), The Character of the Wicked (6:12-15), and Seven Things God Hates (6:16-19).
The following are student notes for tonight’s study in Proverbs 6. 01 – Enemies of a Man’s Soul – Proverbs 6 – September 23, 2020 student blank notes without verses
A copy of Pastor Smith’s student notes with his word studies is available by emailing your request to HeartofAShepherd@gmail.com.
Although not live streamed, Hillsdale is also offering two additional Wednesday evening classes (6:30pm). Mrs. Sheilah Smith is teaching a Ladies’ class titled, “Ancient Paths.” a study of the Covenants of the Scriptures.
Travis and Tanya Henry are teaching a Family Life Class that covers marriage, family, and parenting.
Don’t forget to sign up or call the church office to enjoy Dinner with our church family each Wednesday ($4.00 ea) in the Friendship Hall (5pm-6pm).
With the heart of a shepherd,
Travis D. Smith, Senior Pastor
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
I overlooked attaching the student notes for tonight’s verse-by-verse study of Proverbs 4. The links below give you the PDF and the Microsoft Word format.
My class handouts include my own amplification of each verse in tonight’s study of Proverbs 4; however, I do not make an online distribution of those unabridged notes.
If you would like a copy of the student notes with my amplification of the verses, please email your request to HeartofaShepherdInc@gmail.com before 4:00pm EST.
Tonight’s class will be broadcast live on Hillsdale’s Facebook Page and at www.HillsdaleBaptist.org.
With the heart of a shepherd,
Pastor Travis D. Smith
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 30-31
Though not by design, it so happens that today’s Scripture reading falls on Father’s Day! I encourage you to read and savor these final two chapters of Proverbs as we continue our goal of chronologically reading through the Word of God this year. My focus for today’s devotional commentary is limited to Proverbs 31:1-2.
The “virtuous woman” is the subject of Proverbs 31, perhaps the most beloved of the chapters in Proverbs because it addresses the most central figure in life apart from our Creator—one’s mother. Like chapter 30, the authorship of Proverbs 31 has been debated down through the centuries; however, I feel there is much about this chapter that commends itself to having been authored by King Solomon.
Proverbs 31:1 – “The words [discourse; law] of king Lemuel, the prophecy [burden; tribute] that his mother taught him [instructed; discipline; chasten].”
There is no record of a king named Lemuel in ancient Israel or Judah and many scholars believe Lemuel might have been a nickname Bathsheba gave to her son Solomon. Having lost her firstborn son in infancy, the one conceived in an act of adultery with David, one can understand why Bathsheba would dedicate Solomon to God and, in her heart, name him Lemuel (The literal meaning of Lemuel is “unto God” –lit. dedicated to God). For the sake of our devotional studies in Proverbs, I propose we view this chapter as Solomon’s memorial to his mother.
Verse 2 of Proverbs 31 records the Queen mother’s appeal to her son in a three-fold question:
Proverbs 31:2 – “What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows [dedication to God; binding covenant between mother and God]?”
Allow me to probe the meaning of the three questions proposed by the king’s mother.
1) “What my son?” (31:2a) – i.e. – What more can I say to you my son and king?
2) “What, the son of my womb?” (31:2a) – She reminds the king that she knew him in her womb; before he drew his first breath. She gave him life and loves him as no one else could love him.
3) “What, the son of my vows?” (31:2a) – Like Hannah dedicated her son Samuel (1 Samuel 1:11), Bathsheba had dedicated her son while he was in her womb. She remembers the first stirring of life and how she had prayed for him. She had dedicated her son to serve the Lord!
We are not told what moved Bathsheba to make an impassioned plea to her son. Perhaps her motherly instincts sensed the moral dangers Solomon would face. She knew all too well the temptations that beset a man of power, possessions, and popularity. The plea of the Queen mother resonated in her son’s heart and he memorialized her virtuous qualities as an example for all women.
Someone has said: “The greatest moral power in the world is that exercised by a mother over her child.”
John Quincy Adams, the 6th president of the United States said concerning his mother, “All that I am, or ever have been, in this world, I owe, under God, to my mother.”
It is my prayer that the king’s praise of his mother will move husbands, sons and daughters to encourage wives and mothers with words of affirmation and move mothers to aspire to the qualities of a virtuous woman.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 27-29
Our Scripture reading continues in Proverbs, chapters 27, 28, and 29. For the sake of brevity, I will limit today’s devotional commentary to Proverbs 27:1-3.
What would you do today, if you knew there was no tomorrow? What would change in your priorities? Who would you call or visit to express a word of gratitude or affection? Who would you seek out to make right a wrong? Who would you forgive, putting off bitterness and embrace in love?
Procrastination is a terrible malady of man! Too many of us go through life putting off to tomorrow what should and could have been done today! I believe that is the point of Proverbs 27:1. Do not defer, put off, or procrastinate to tomorrow the good that you might do today.
Lost sinners procrastinate confessing their sin and trusting Jesus Christ as Savior (Hebrews 4:7; Acts 24:25; 2 Corinthians 6:2). Believers put off confessing their sin, serving others, singing praises, teaching, and witnessing to lost loved ones, only to be filled with remorse when they realize there will be no tomorrow.
Challenge: Make a list of things you hope to accomplish today, or one day, and set dates and goals for accomplishing them before you face no tomorrows. Turn off the television, stop surfing the internet, disengage from social media, and redeem today as though it were your last—it may be!
James 4:14, 17 – “14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away…17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”
Proverbs 27:2 – There are few things as repulsive as one who glories in boasting their own achievements.
Proverbs 27:2 – “Let another man praise [boast; celebrate; sing your praises] thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips [speech].”
The Book of Proverbs is a king’s instructions to his son who would one day be king. Fearing that his son’s heart might be lifted up with pride, Solomon urged him to be a young man whose demeanor was one of humility.
Having been born into a household of wealth and privilege, one might imagine the temptation for a young prince to be carried away by the grandeur of the palace, with servants ever ready to do his bidding. Solomon taught his son that it is uncomely for a man to praise himself [or as some say, “to beat his own drum”].
Few things are as repulsive as a man or woman who crow about their own achievements. Unfortunately, it is the nature of men to “proclaim every one his own goodness” (Proverbs 20:6). Such a man has forgotten the raw clay out of which he was taken. Though praise and accolades are rewarding, they ring hollow when expressed by one’s own lips.
Why is a braggadocio, self-asserting spirit so repugnant to God?
Because it is the spirit of pride and not the Spirit of God.
Think about it: How much of your conversations with others is focused on yourself? Are you given to bragging and boasting? Look at your social media page to find the answer.
Proverbs 27:3 – A fool’s wrath is a great burden to all.
Proverbs 27:3 – “A stone [building stone] is heavy, and the sand weighty [burden]; but a fool’s [silly, immoral] wrath [anger; indignation] is heavier [more grievous] than them both [a fools wrath takes a physical and emotional toll heavier than building stones and sand].”
What was Solomon thinking when he observed that the wrath of a fool is heavier than both a heavy stone and weighty sand?
Having undertaken the construction of the Temple and his palace, Solomon knew well the physical weight of sand and stone. The king was familiar with the design and use of heavy stones that were required for constructing an enduring place of worship for Israel.
The heavy stones mentioned in Proverbs 27:3 are most likely the great building blocks used in constructing the Temple and other public buildings. Estimates are that some of the stones weighed from a few tons to as much as 160 tons. Sand, like building blocks, is also heavy in volume and a great burden to move.
The fool is the subject of Proverbs 27:3. He is not intellectually deficient. This fool is one that is spiritually defiant, morally corrupt, and a hater of wisdom and instruction. He opposes God (Psalm 14:1; 53:1), hates spiritual truth (Proverbs 1:22), and is a grief and heaviness to his father and mother (Proverbs 10:1; 17:25).
Solomon observes that the wrath of a fool takes a physical toll and is heavier than building stones and sand. How so?
While stones and sand are physically heavy and difficult to move, the weight of a fool’s wrath is both a physical burden and an emotional weight to his family, friends and acquaintances.
Without question, the wrath of a fool takes a physical toll on all who associate with him. Many are the parents who go to early graves with heavy hearts, emotionally overwhelmed and physically devastated by the distress of a fool’s wrath.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 25-26
While today’s Scripture reading is two chapters in Proverbs, the focus for this devotional commentary is limited to the introductory verses of Proverbs 25, verses 1-3. I encourage you to read the Scriptures first and then consider this brief devotional commentary.
Solomon, a man whose passion for wisdom was uniquely blessed by God, was renowned for his knowledge and understanding. Because his wisdom was inspired by God, Solomon’s insights far exceeded the natural aptitude of men. We are blessed to have thirty-one chapters of Solomon’s proverbs; however, these are but a summary of the thousands of wise sayings he imparted to his family and subjects.
“These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.” (Proverbs 25:1)
It appears that Solomon compiled Proverbs 1-24 and that Proverbs 25 marks the commencement of an effort by King Hezekiah, who reigned a century later than Solomon, to preserve Solomon’s proverbial sayings and insights (Proverbs 25:1).
Proverbs 25:2-3 – “It is the glory [honor] of God to conceal [hide; keep secret] a thing [matter; word that is spoken; act]: but the honour of kings is to search out [explore; inquire; examine] a matter. 3 The heaven [heavens; sky] for height [to be exalted], and the earth for depth, and the heart [mind; wisdom; understanding] of kings is unsearchable [unfathomable].”
The subject matter of these two verses is necessarily political because they offer us a contrast between God, Who has chosen to not reveal everything about Himself and His ways, and rulers who choose not to reveal everything to their subjects.
Mankind is incapable of understanding all the ways of God (Isaiah 55:9); however, what He has revealed of Himself in His Word should be the subject of our thoughts and daily meditations.
As a practical, closing observation, take a moment to read the latter half of Proverbs 25:2 and consider,“the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
Our nation is riddled by political scandals and our leaders from the White House to the courthouse, have shown little interest in exploring, inquiring and exposing the truth. It is a dereliction of duty and a disgrace when lives are lost, bodies maimed, reputations ruined, and families destroyed and no one is brought to justice.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 19-21
Today’s Scripture reading challenges me with an impossible task: How to choose one or two proverbs when the chapters assigned are too rich to mine in a year, let alone, in one daily devotional! Today’s commentary will focus on Proverbs 19:3-4 and I pray its application will be a blessing.
Proverbs 19:3-4 offers us insight into the heart and mind a foolish person. Solomon observes two characteristics of a fool [one who is silly and whose path is folly].
Proverbs 19:3 – “The foolishness [silliness; folly] of man perverteth [distorts; overthrow] his way [journey]: and his heart [mind; thoughts; seat of his feelings] fretteth [rage; be troubled] against the LORD.”
The fool has a distorted view of life. His heart, thoughts and emotions rage against the LORD [Jehovah—Eternal God; Self-existent God]. He is double minded (James 1:8; 4:8), denying His Creator in his heart and thoughts (Psalm 14:1), while blaming God and others for his woes.
A second parable offers a lesson in friendship—contrasting the rich and the poor.
Proverbs 19:4 – “Wealth [riches; possessions] maketh [adds to; increases] many friends [companions]; but the poor [needy; helpless] is separated [scattered; dispersed] from his neighbour [companion; friend].”
“Wealth maketh many friends” and Solomon warns his son that riches and possessions are like magnets. Though wealth buys friends, they often prove to be temperamental, shallow friends. Friends whose aspirations are self-centered and motivated by what they hope to gain.
Poverty is not inviting and economic failure often breeds loneliness. While fair weather “friends” flatter the rich, the poor find themselves the bane of society and “separated from [their] neighbor.” The poor often find they are lonely and rejected by their friends and family.
The parable of the Prodigal son comes to mind when I ponder Proverbs 19:3-4.
The Prodigal was a proud, disobedient, rebellious son (Luke 15:11-32). Setting his heart on the world and its lascivious ways, he despised his father, demanded his inheritance and left home (Luke 15:12-13).
For a season he was the life of the party until he had wasted all his father had given him (Luke 15:13b-14). With no money, friends or hope—the prodigal found himself impoverished and estranged from his father and God (Luke 15:14-16).
Financially destitute and spiritually broken, a longing arose within the heart of the prodigal to return to his father’s house (Luke 15:15-19). Drawing near to home, the prodigal greeted his father with a confession of sin and unworthiness, but his father greeted him with grace, love, and forgiveness (Luke 15:20-24).
Lesson – There are some things money cannot buy, for they are too precious to affix a price.
Money cannot buy GRACE, for it is a gift that is GIVEN. Money cannot buy LOVE, for biblical love calls for an act of self-sacrifice. Money cannot buy FORGIVENESS, for it is imparted as an act of freewill.
If your life is graced by a friend whose love is enduring, matchless and true, you are blessed! For believers, such a friend is Jesus Christ whose love for sinners held Him to the cross as He died for the sins of the world.
Bad News: The gift of forgiveness and salvation exceeds more than all the world can afford.
Good News: Salvation is freely given to any who call upon the LORD to be saved.
Romans 5:8-9 – “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture reading – Proverbs 13-15
Our study of King Solomon and the wisdom he expressed in his proverbs continues with today’s Scripture reading, Proverbs 13-15. Our devotional commentary will consider two proverbs from Proverbs 13 that are taken from my devotions posted at www.HeartofAShepherd.com. As a reminder, brackets are used by this author to amplify meanings and definitions.
“A Biblical Perspective on the Cause of Class Envy” (Proverbs 13:4)
Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Honest hard labor has fallen out of favor in our nation. Rather than encouraging employees to give employers an equal measure of labor for wages paid, politicians and socialists provoke class envy asserting the “working class” is oppressed. Proverbs 13:4 reminds us that nothing has changed about the heart of an indolent man when it comes to fruit for his labor. His lot is to always be in want.
Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul [mind; heart; appetite] of the sluggard desireth [craves], and hath nothing [lazy, foolish men are never satisfied]: but the soul [mind; heart; appetite] of the diligent [one who acts decisively] shall be made fat [be satisfied].”
Notice the sluggard (lazy) desires and craves what others afford only through labor. He wants the same things, but he is too indolent to work and save to satisfy his passions. He “hath nothing” and becomes a burden to his family and society.
The contrast to the sluggard is the diligent man. The diligent man is by definition, decisive and quick to act. He is industrious, using his time, talents and resources wisely. While the sluggard is left wanting, the hardworking are made fat, satisfied and content with the fruits of their labor.
If your parents imparted to you the discipline of hard work in your youth—thank them! They have given you a gift that has shaped your life and character in a way you will only appreciate when you are older.
“A Friend’s Character Will Either be a Blessing or a Curse” (Proverbs 13:20)
The theme of Proverbs 13:20 is Influence [the sway or effect one has on another]. Notice the truth Solomon imparts regarding the influence of friendships:
Proverbs 13:20 – “He that walketh with [befriends; is a companion of] wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Every good parent will be concerned and vigilant about the friends and influences in their son or daughter’s life. Why? The power and responsibility to influence others is a fact we all share! People influence us Verbally by what they say or communicate [examples–letters, emails, social media]. In addition, a friend’s Actions and Attitudes have an influence on us.
Too few parents are willing to accept the responsibility of examining honestly their child’s friendships and understanding that friends have a powerful influence on a child’s character and ultimate destiny.
Solomon’s proverb is direct: A wise man will seek the company of likeminded men–those who evidence wisdom and discernment; however, a “companion of fools shall be destroyed” [the picture drawn by the word “companion” is of cattle that graze together. Ever notice how a herd of cattle grazing in a large pasture stand together, often feeding in the same direction?].
The apostle Paul warned believers in Corinth: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The word “communications” can also be translated “companions”; the word “manners” can be translated “morals”. Literally, don’t be misled: wicked, sinful friends will defile one’s moral judgment [i.e. spiritual discernment; the ability to discern right and wrong].
Lesson – The character of one’s friendships is a mirror of one’s own character.
Friendships have the power to edify or destroy. If you run with fools, you are a fool! If you choose the company of those who have godly wisdom and discernment, they will influence you to be the same.
Reflect on the people who bear influence upon your life, thoughts and values. Are your friends spiritually minded men and women? Is their influence edifying? Do your friends strengthen you spiritually? Are you under sound Biblical exposition and influenced by godly relationships?
Psalms 1:1 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Copyright – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 7-9
Proverbs 7 – The Calamity of Sexual Immorality
“Thou shalt not commit adultery,” the Seventh Commandment, states clearly God’s plan for humanity’s sexuality and the posterity of the human race. From the beginning, the companionship of one man and one woman for life has never been in doubt (Genesis 1:27-28; 2:18, 20-25).
Human history, however, reveals not only a rejection of marriage, but also the tragic toll of sexual immorality. Crushed dreams, divided hearts, broken families, physical disease, and despair has been the haunt of all who reject the sanctity of marriage. The lesson is indisputable:
Proverbs 7 serves as a graphic tale of a young man’s folly. Whether a personal observation of the sorrows that followed in the wake of his father’s adultery or a consequence of his own sinful choices, Solomon gives us a portrait that serves as a warning to all who reject godly wisdom and choose the path of immorality. The king warned his son, the house of an adulterer is “the way to hell” (7:27).
Proverbs 8 – Wisdom Anthropomorphized
My theme for Proverbs 8 is expressed in a word consisting of seventeen letters and five syllables. What is the definition of anthropomorphized? It means to take on human characteristics. Wisdom does that in Proverbs 8, and is in my interpretation, the embodiment of the pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Solomon introduces us to Wisdom in the first three verses of the chapter (8:1-3), and then she (Wisdom) begins to speak throughout the balance of the chapter (8:4-36). You will notice the personification of Wisdom expressed in personal pronouns throughout Proverbs 8.
Proverbs 8:4 – “Unto you, O men, I call.”
Proverbs 8:7 – “My mouth shall speak truth.”
Proverbs 8:12 – “I wisdom dwell with prudence.”
Proverbs 8:17 – “I love them that love me: and those that seek me early shall find me.”
Proverbs 8:34 – “Blessed is the man that heareth me.”
Proverbs 8:35-36 – For whoso findeth me [Wisdom personified in Jesus Christ] findeth life [spiritual and eternal life – 1 John 5:11], and shall obtain [get] favour [acceptance; good pleasure; goodwill] of the LORD. 36 But he that against me [Christ the Lord] wrongeth [violates] his own soul [life; person; mind; spirit]: all they that hate [to reject; are enemies or foes] me [wisdom] love death [pestilence; ruin; hades].”
Proverbs 9 – Wisdom’s Invitation
Solomon continues his personification of Wisdom in chapter 9 and we find her building a house described as having “seven pillars” (9:1). [In the Scriptures the number seven indicates completeness or wholeness.]
Consider this chapter as an offering of two spiritual scholarships to two opposing schools of thought and philosophy.
The first scholarship is to the University of Godly Wisdom (Proverbs 9:1-6) and the second to the School of Folly (Proverbs 9:13-18). You will notice that Proverbs 9:7-12 serve as transitional verses between the two schools.
As you read Proverbs 9, ponder this question: In what school of thought or philosophy are you enrolled?
Are you enrolled in the University of Godly Wisdom? Are you a student in the School of Folly where gullible, simple men dwell? [The “simple” are those who lack godly wisdom, are slaves to sin, and follow a course of sorrow, destruction, and eventual death.]
It is not too late to become a student in the LORD’S University of Godly Wisdom by humbling yourself and accepting Jesus Christ as your Savior. Christ taught His followers, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst… All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:35, 37).
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith
Scripture Reading – Proverbs 1-3
Continuing our study of the life and wisdom of King Solomon, our chronological reading of the Scriptures brings us to “The Proverbs of Solomon,” chapters 1-3.
To author a brief devotional commentary on three chapters of Proverbs is not just a daunting task, it is impossible. In fact, you will find six hundred individual devotional commentaries on my HeartofAShepherd.com website that I have written and hope to one day publish in an electronic book format for personal and group Bible studies.
Rather than attempt the impossible, allow me to share a few introductory thoughts that I hope will prove useful as you read and apply the Proverbs of Solomon to your life.
Solomon, the son of David, reigned as King of Israel in the 10th century B.C. According to 1 Kings 4:32, the king authored “three thousand proverbs” and his wisdom was so widely hailed “there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kings 4:34). Cherished for their godly wisdom and divine inspiration, many of Solomon’s proverbs were collected and included in the canon of Old Testament Scriptures.
The book of Proverbs is King Solomon’s instructions to his son, a prince of Israel, who would one day be that nation’s king. Inherent in its pages are teachings, admonitions, exhortations, and general guidelines for conducting one’s life in a wise, God-fearing manner.
What is a proverb?
Boyd’s Bible Dictionary defines a proverb as a “wise utterance.” Brown-Driver-Biggs Hebrew-English Lexicon describes a proverb as a “brief terse sentence of popular sagacity.” Webster’s 1913 Unabridged English Dictionary states a proverb is “an old common saying; a phrase which is often repeated; especially, a sentence which briefly and forcibly expresses some practical truth.”
Proverbs are, in essence, trite sayings, rules, and common truths. Some make the mistake of selectively choosing and applying individual proverbs as though they are universal promises when they are, in fact, simply stated principles that are general statements of truth (one such proverb oft quoted, but misapplied as an unassailable promise is Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”).
Solomon’s proverbs often draw upon the agrarian culture of his day and are sometimes simple enough a child might grasp its meaning with little or no explanation. Some proverbs are provocative in nature, the musings of a king all too aware of the temptations of the palace and the godless character of miscreants who haunted its courts in pursuit of lusts and carnal pleasures.
Like a loving father, twenty-three times the king arrests the attention of the young prince addressing him as “my son”. With the fervor of a passionate preacher, Solomon’s proverbs “reprove, rebuke, and exhort” (2 Timothy 4:2), sparing no words when describing the way of a fool and admonishing the tragic end of all who follow his path.
With pen in hand, I encourage you to take up your Bible and read Proverbs 1-3, underlining and noting in the margins the practical truths and their application to your life.
Pastor Travis D. Smith
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith