In Praise of Women


The final touches on Proverb 31’s portrait of the noble woman are an indicative and an imperative.   Here’s the indicative:   Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised (verse 30).   We live in a visual culture. Everyday, our eyes fall on countless advertisements that were designed to make us lust. I suppose you’ve never thought of advertising that way, but that’s its purpose, isn’t it? To stoke our desire to possess something or someone as the fulfillment of our desires.   If advertising were merely information, commercials … Continue reading In Praise of Women

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done


When my wife and I were first married, we both worked. I worked at the church, but my wife worked two jobs. Her primary job was at a Century City bankruptcy law firm. Her other job was at home. At the end of the workday, I would come home, kick off my shoes, turn on the TV, and veg out on the couch. She would come home from work after a 90-minute commute and cook and clean. Sociological studies indicate that our marriage was pretty typical for two-income homes.   A woman’s work, it turns out, is never done.   … Continue reading A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

Behind Every Good Man…


  Bill and Hilary Clinton were riding in the presidential limousine when the driver stopped to fill up with gas. Looking out the window, Bill noticed that the man pumping the gas was one of Hilary’s old boyfriends. He said: “Hilary, if I hadn’t married you, you’d be married to that gas station attendant.” To which Hilary replied: “Bill, if I hadn’t married you, that man would be the president of the United States.”   I don’t normally crack political jokes on The Daily Word, but that one always makes me laugh. And it serves a useful point vis-à-vis today’s … Continue reading Behind Every Good Man…

A Good Woman Is Hard to Find


My wife and I recently went to the library to pick out a few books to read. While browsing the shelves, I came across a copy of Flannery O’Connor’s novel, A Good Man Is Hard to Find. I thought about the title of that book when I read Proverbs 31:10:   A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.   Proverbs 31:10-31 is an acrostic poem. Each of its twenty-two verses begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet: aleph, bet, gimel, dalet, he, etc. The proverb writer is outlining the characteristics … Continue reading A Good Woman Is Hard to Find

The Real – But Limited – Value of Wealth


  All things being equal, I would rather be wealthy than poor. Wealth has real value. The Book of Proverbs notes some of its advantages.   For one thing, wealth brings a measure of security to life.   The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor (10:15).   The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall (18:11).   For another thing, wealth is a catalyst to friendship.   The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends (14:20).   … Continue reading The Real – But Limited – Value of Wealth

Healthy, Wealthy, and Most Especially Wise


   In the 1735 edition of Poor Richard’s Almanac, Benjamin Franklin wrote:   Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.   I don’t know whether I like the first line of that proverb, but I love the second line. It’s a great description of the lives most of us want to live: healthy, wealthy, and wise. Who, after all, wants to be sickly, poor, and stupid?   I don’t know why Franklin put healthy, wealthy, and wise in that order. My guess is that putting wise last made for the best rhyme. Whatever … Continue reading Healthy, Wealthy, and Most Especially Wise

Poverty and Generosity


To date, we have been studying the causes of poverty according to the Book of Proverbs. They include (1) the foolish behavior of the poor, which calls for reform; and (2) the oppressive behavior of the rich, which calls for repentance. Today, I would like to examine a final cause of poverty: (3) forces outside the power of the poor and the rich, which call for generosity.   The first and second causes of poverty are moral in nature. A person becomes poor because of his own foolish choices or because of the wicked choices of those who hold sway … Continue reading Poverty and Generosity

The Oppressive Behavior of the Rich


On May 2, 2008, Cyclone Nargis made landfall on Burma (officially, Myanmar). Its path of destruction was huge, with fatalities numbering well over 100,000. Unfortunately, Burma is ruled by a corrupt military junta that has so far outright blocked or otherwise interfered with the international delivery of relief assistance. Through its action and inaction, the Burmese government has exacerbated the suffering of its people.   If some people are poor because of their own foolish choices, it is also true that others are poor because of the wicked choices of the rich and powerful who hold sway over them.   … Continue reading The Oppressive Behavior of the Rich

The Foolish Behavior of the Poor


A majority of the world lives in poverty. According to United Nations statistics, roughly 2.7 billion people live on less than two dollars a day. What is the cause of their poverty?   The Bible teaches three basic causes of poverty. (1) the foolish behavior of the poor, which calls for reform; (2) the oppressive behavior of the rich, which calls for repentance; and (3) forces outside the power of the poor and the rich, which call for generosity. Over the next three days, we look at each of these causes in turn, beginning today with the foolish behavior of … Continue reading The Foolish Behavior of the Poor

The Causes of Wealth


   Why are some people wealthy and others poor? The Book of Proverbs outlines the causes of both. Let us consider the causes of wealthy today and of poverty tomorrow.   An obvious cause of wealth is inheritance. Some people enter life with a head start.   Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord (19:14).   Inheritance in and of itself is neither moral nor immoral. What a person does with his inheritance is important. According to this proverb, a good wife is more important than a lot of money.   A … Continue reading The Causes of Wealth