Words of Wisdom: Psalms 11-15, Proverbs 3

I started the Billy Graham Words of Wisdom Bible Reading Plan. It’s fantastic so far. Today’s portion is really fascinating to me, especially Proverbs 3. I typically only pick 3 verses to unpack but Proverbs 3 is full of really great stuff to ponder.

They say if you read Psalms, it will deepen your relationship with the spiritual. If you read Proverbs, it will deepen your understanding of the relationships of humanity.

So here are the verses that really stood out to me and kinda just my stream of consciousness thoughts on them.

Psalm 11 “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”

My husband and I were house shopping. We wanted a new home for our family. We found what looked like an amazing deal online. We toured the house. It was 2 stories and had a huge living room, great kitchen, lotsa bedroom space and even an in ground pool with a deck for BBQ out back. My husband took one look at the pool and said, yes!

Me, on the other hand, I get suspicious and check everything. We are like the odd couple really. He’s the sporty boisterous one and I am the anxiety-ridden artsy one. But we really love each other. That’s a side note.

Anyway, I found a huge crack in the foundation in the basement and it was worrisome to me. I asked about it and the realtor said something about it had shifted and a few years back they had to pour some concrete in for some big word term stuff (I really didn’t understand all the terminology but figured I better Google it later that night).

Turns out the house sits on an old abandoned mine shaft. We lived in a coal mining town. So basically what the realtor was telling me is that the house, although super fantastic, had the potential to one day, slide into an abandoned mine sinkhole. That night, I couldn’t sleep well, envisioning myself laying in bed only for the floor to give out underneath me and for us to drop 40 or 50 feet into a mine. So I told my husband no.

He was pretty bummed about it.

Everything we do in life has to be planned out first before executed and the right foundations have to be set in the beginning particularly with things like parenting or budgeting or our job trainings, etc.

Heck, you bake a cake. You forget a major ingredient at the beginning and make this fabulous looking cake that tastes awful in the end…..no one will let you bake anymore.

Foundations are key. General contractors know this. They invest a huge portion of time and energy into the beginning of building a giant skyscraper. Everything has to be planned and developed on project management gantt or pert charts to the very hour for each event and taking into account all sorts of variables like weather when pouring concrete.

Build your house on rock, not shifting sand. Plant a garden after having carefully prepared the soil. In Jesus’ parable about the Garden of God, some seed is thrown in good soil and other seed is thrown among weeds and on rock. Our life trajectory is hugely determined on where we grew up. That doesn’t mean a dandelion still can’t grow up in the cracks of a sidewalk or a mountain flower cannot grow on a desolate cold snow mountain or a tree cannot grow in the desert. Some of us are hugely resilient. Huge pat on the back, guys, if you survived some really rough stuff in childhood and still managed to blossom, bloom where you were planted.

“Some say, it doesn’t matter where you come from, it just matters where you go. I say it doesn’t matter where you come from, it just matters that you grow.” (anonymous)

Psalm 12 “the wicked walk on every side.”

Oh wow, this is a harsh statement and so true. Have you ever been the middle man? Have you ever considered that you actually might be the wicked one? Wow, that’s mind-blowing to me cause I was born a middle child. Middle men don’t survive by the way and the only thing in the middle of the road is dead armadillos. When you play both sides trying to keep them happy, you are only really playing yourself cause eventually they both will turn on you and you will get taken out in the crossfire like Call of Duty. Maybe they’ll even lob a grenade at you or shoot you with a rocket launcher. The two sides think your two-faced and eventually one or both will turn or create a final conflict showdown.

2 girls fighting in high school is a prime example of this where another girl is stuck in the middle running back and forth between Lisa and Marie and saying one thing to one and another thing to the other. Catfights, those are the worst. I’ve had my fair share of that, ugh. Better to just put the two of them in a ring and let them mud wrestle and then charge door entry and get your popcorn. Hey, at least the fight finally ends, you all hug, and you all can split the cash. Ok, I’m not sure I should write this on a Bible reading page.

The rest of Psalm 12 talks about “flattery of tongue”. Have you ever found out someone did something awful to you behind your back and reflect on all your previous encounters and how they seemed to be so sweet and how could they possibly do a betrayal that bad to you? Gosh, that cut is the deepest. It really is, cause you don’t see it coming and then suddenly, it’s like a side punch to the face and gut and knocks the wind outta you for a bit.

I guess the middle men really are the worst. Julius Caesar with Brutus. Jesus with Peter.


In the Passion of the Christ, Jesus is starting to get beat down by the crowd and led away for punishment. Peter lurks on the outskirts afraid. They ask Peter 3 times if he knows Jesus and that moment, that moment when Peter says no for the 3rd time, Jesus goes down on his knees in the crowd beating him. That is the worst moment when he looks towards Peter while still receiving blows.

In the story of the Good Samaritan, we hear about a man that got brutally beat up and robbed and left for dead by the side of the road. People were walking this way and that all over the road just like this passage says, “the wicked way on every side.” Some even walked on the other side to avoid the beat up man. But the Good Samaritan came along and helped the man to an inn and paid for his stay and said he’d return to help the man heal and pay his bills.

Jesus will do this. He will return to heal the beaten down and trod upon and pay the price. Murphy’s Law = Muir fee Law. What can go bad, will go bad. Man who received muir will pay the fee for humanity.

Psalm 13 “How long?”

This one hit me too. It is mentioned so many times in Psalm 13. 13 incidentially is significant. A victim of bad circumstances often laments to God, how much longer? I can’t take this no more. How long, God?

Joseph went 20 or 30 years. Can you imagine? 20 years. Not only 20 years but he kept getting thrown into worse and worse situations. Just when he thought he got outta slavery, he got thrown in prison. Just when he thought, he got away from that lady, more trouble came. He was constantly getting thrown into worse and worse stuff over a 2 or 3 decade period. I can imagine a 20 year jail sentence but what about expecting and hoping for good things only to be thrown into worse and worse. What the heck!! Why? In the Bible, we never really read that he asks, Why me?

Seems his character was getting molded or refined by fire. When he finally became an advisor, and his perpetrators, his own brothers came to ask for food during the famine….he not only received them but blessed them with the Pharaoh’s abundance and forgave them. Holy crap! Who does that???? Takes a really strong person to do that. Really strong. I mean to not even through a barb their way or a nasty joke or an “uh, hey, you guys coulda treated me better” statement.

He discovered providence and that was a game-changing shift in his mind. What was meant for his harm would be used for good in the future.

Psalm 13 “he hath dealt bountifully with me.”

Lately, someone asked me to set some goals. I looked back at my past and realized that every time I set a goal, it was little compared to what I received in comparison or what I achieved or accomplished in comparison. I set a goal to write one book. 4 or 5 years later, I wrote 5 books, 40 some short stories, dozens upon dozens of essays, and this blog, and started a podcast. Either God or the Universe always seems to show up big for me. In fact, I always oddly seem to level up even when folks around me assume I will level down. It’s like God is setting a table for me before my enemies. He always, always outperforms my expectations of my own life.

When I was a kid, I wanted adventure and looking back that’s exactly what I got and more. It didn’t seem like it when I was going through it but I traveled to over 20 different countries and most of the U.S. states. But it didn’t seem like it when I was in the daily trenches of work and struggle. Sometimes you gotta get outta the trench and look back and see how far you have progressed, and change your perspective on it, and be grateful for it and that you are still around and healthy and breathing.

Prov 3 “for whom the Lord loveth, he correcteth.”

Ok, Prov 3 is full of good stuff. I like this part.

What kind of parent would you prefer to have? A hands-on parent that instructs you correctly when you made an error or would you rather have a hands-off parent that kinda lets you go down a bad path for quite a while before saying hey, you’re going the wrong way?

At work, I don’t like a micro-manager for sure but what I really don’t like is receiving really poor training instruction to do my job and the absolute worst is when (and yes, this has happened to me) someone legit tells you the wrong way or the slow way to do the job to make you look like a royal idiot so they look better and you don’t taken their spot. Ohhhh. That chaps my hide, burns my biscuit, makes me see red…whatever….when someone does that kinda devious, clever, and intentionally misleading stuff and feigns innocence. Saboteur.

I had a love relationship with a guy that would intentionally mislead me. Asking him for the truth about something was like playing a continual game of 20 questions. He would answer things in a round-about way or sometimes even feign to not hear the question so that maybe you wouldn’t double down and ask again. Omission of truth I believe, is just as bad if not worse than outright falsehood. It turns everything into a circus. Some of these guys and gals y’all boo’d up with got you lookin’ like boo boo the clown at the family circus going through hoops and running in endless circles.

Tears of a clown. Poor boo boo. For real.

Prov 3 “She is a tree of life for those who take hold of her.”

I bought some medjool dates. Doing research online, the real “apples” of the Garden of God at the Euphrates River were believed to actually have been dates. In the later versions of the Bible, the Medieval Europeans didn’t know what dates were or the translation for them so they called them fruits or they got associated with the apple.

Medjool dates are said to have come from the Tree of Life. Eat one medjool date a day and it is supposed to help with cancer prevention. The fruit then of the Tree of Life could potentially really then be a life-saver.

I hugged a tree once. I did. It felt really good. I like trees. I got drunk and read it The Giving Tree and I hugged it.

Momentary pause of awkwardness……ok, moving on.

I feel weird now confessing that. Like a trippy, hippy, dippy tree lover. Oh well, trees are freaking awesome. Look on YouTube those videos of trees moving in the forest. That is so trippy! Like they got feet and actually get up and move to another spot. Crazy. Oh well, anyways moving on…

The mighty oak was once a little acorn. There’s a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson about trees I like,

“The creation of a thousand forests is in one little acorn.”

Or Mary Oliver,

When I am among the trees,
especially the willows and the honey locust,
equally the beech, the oaks and the pines,
they give off such hints of gladness.
I would almost say that they save me, and daily.

I am so distant from the hope of myself,
in which I have goodness, and discernment,
and never hurry through the world
but walk slowly, and bow often.

Around me the trees stir in their leaves
and call out, “Stay awhile.”
The light flows from their branches.

And they call again, “It's simple,” they say,
“and you too have come
into the world to do this, to go easy, to be filled
with light, and to shine.”

Prov 3 “do not envy the oppressor.”

Woah. Ok, yes I am extremely guilty of this one. Just sitting watching an episode of those old shows Cribs or remember Robin Leatch’s (how do you spell his name, is it like them actual leech things from that Stephen King movie Stand by Me….ew) Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous? Oh man, watching those shows and all that stuff fills me with something…..I wouldn’t say ambition, more like a twinge of unfairness and yes green with envy wanting what they got. I wanna be the chic in the hot tub in the back of the limousine in the bikini sipping champagne going down Las Vegas strip. Not fair! So not fair!

(Though again, nobody really wants to see that.)

But in those shows, everything’s rainbows and unicorns and sunshine, la dee dah, and we never see the seedy underbelly of it all. The stuff folks really don’t show.

I kinda like and I kinda abhor Facebook. It is set up so that I want to generate likes. The only way I can generate likes is if I post cool, sauve comments about how freaking awesome life is and look at my new snowmobile! But that’s not really how reality is and also posting all this amazing stuff to generate likes also has the unfortunate side effect of generating a lot of misunderstanding and envy and resentment and folks not really saying what they really truly feel about you and your new stuff.

I kinda like Facebook because I thrive on the human connection. But I abhor Facebook too cause sometimes it makes me feel real bad, especially when I post something sad or truthful and authentic and I get like one like or just crickets. That oddly hurts somehow.

We need technology to connect but technology with all the algorithms and such…..it is not full expression and is manipulative at times and sometimes I wonder if it can’t drive folks to suicide and depression and mental illness sometimes. When these narratives are controlled or altered or whatever…..is it really free expression and is it the same for everyone or are some people using technology more favored and treated better than others? Could some creepy maniacal evil villain government dude intentionally use technology to drive a person to self-harm? I just imagine him in his darkened room with his monitors and keyboard and petting a white fluffy cat and laughing. He’s probably got an eye patch. I bet he does. All bad guys got eye patches.

I don’t like technology. I really don’t. But it’s the future so I gotta go with it or be left behind. Sometimes I wonder if it would be better to be left behind instead of join the Brave New World.

Once I was doing inventory on a computer for a factory. I worked diligently counting and counting and endlessly counting. I worked hard on the computer for months and months and months. My numbers were off.

I know what I did was right. I know it. I started to question if it was a software issue rather than user error. I got taken off the job after a great deal of blame and self-doubt and lowering of confidence. To this day, I really think there was a glitch in the software.

We are moving towards a future where everything is run by computers and technology. But what if the computers turn on us? Can they be used to make someone lose a job or lose an account or lose this and that? Can they be used for bad intentions?

Yes, I think they can. I don’t really trust computers but I depend on them, sadly for my livelihood and connection to others.

Anyway, back to the comment about don’t envy your bully. Woah, that is really complex psychology there. This person treats us mean and we stick around and tolerate their meanness because we want what they got. The Bible is saying walk away, be content with your own stuff and lot in life. This will bring better joy, peace, and calm in your life.

I’m gonna try that. I’m gonna try that today. I have a bad memory and will probably forget to be conscious about it in a few days. But today, I will try that.

Just be happy with what you got…..like a kid in the toddler room at the daycare happy with their one toy while some other bratty kids are rampaging around taking up all the toys and creating a general muck of everything and making all the other kids cry.

I’m gonna be that one exceptional and calm, happy kid….at least for today.

I’ll probably forget tomorrow. I have the attention span of that Dog in the Pixar movie, Up.


Oh, I almost forgot (See what did I tell you? Squirrel.) Tomorrow is Day 4 and be sure to read Psalms 16-20 and Proverbs 4. If you want to reply or comment, please do so. Thanks!


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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