Words of Wisdom, Psalms 76-79 and Proverbs 16

Ah man, I’ve been slacking again.

Every time my husband has a break from work for a few days, I stop reading for a bit and focus on family. I guess that’s a good thing but I gotta get back to it. So, now I’m playing catch up on this Billy Graham Words of Wisdom Bible Reading Plan. I am officially on Day 16 and reading Psalms 76-79 and Proverbs 16. According to this Bible reading plan, reading Psalms will strengthen your ties to God while reading Proverbs will help you to understand other human beings better.

Ok, so here goes. These are just my impromptu, sorta stream of consciousness thoughts on some key parts of the readings today.

Psalm 77 “Will the Lord cast me off forever? And will he be favorable no more?”

Ok, so this passage makes me think of the words “long-suffering.” There’s a whole lot of great stories about long suffering in the Bible. So many folks out there in the biblical times and also in the world today deal with chronic illnesses and diseases and different challenges on a day to day basis. Listening to these stories from the Bible can fill you with hope and empathy, compassion, and just a general feeling that hey, you are not alone out there.

So, obviously, the first story from the Bible that comes to mind about long-suffering is the entire Book of Job practically. Job is being challenged by the devil himself with all sorts of horrible tests. He loses his family. He loses his home. He loses his business. He loses his dang mind. He loses his health.

Poor man, can’t get a break no how.

And worse than that, he’s got all these supposed friends that come along and tempt him to turn from God and condemn God and say all kinds of awful stuff about how he hates God for this bad thing or that bad thing that happened in his life. But Job, for his noble part, doesn’t partake in that kinda bitterness and stays above it and stays in faith. This is a testimony of how to act when we suffer trial after trial after trial after trial over and over and over again. Stay above it. Stay in faith. Eventually, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and good will eventually prevail.

Ok, so there’s lotsa great stories of folks suffering a long time that run into Jesus in his journeys too.

One great one, is the story of the woman that bled for 12 years. So Jesus is near the Sea of Galilee on the western shore and she comes up and believes him. She reaches for him and just touches the hem of his garment but her faith in him and what he preaches is so strong that Jesus immediately senses the power of healing going out from him towards her in the crowd although he cannot identify at first who touched his garments. When he does find her, she is cured after 12 long years of bleeding (good lord, I thought once a month was bad) and he simply says to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

Then, there’s the story of the man at the well in Bethesda. He’s been sick for some 38 years according to John 5. He can’t get to the water at the well either. He just sits on a mat all day long in misery and long-suffering for 38 years. I can’t even sit at the bus stop for 30 minutes without growing impatient. I can’t imagine sitting on a mat on the ground for 38 years. Forget that.

The elders and some of the other folks probably bully him a bit and they don’t take him to the waters. Jesus comes up and simply says to the man, “Do you want to be healed?” And the man says, “Heck yeah, you’re darn tooting…” (ok, he didn’t say it like that maybe but anyways, you get my point) and anyway, Jesus just tells him to get up and take his mat and walk away and he gets up finally and does……after 38 years.

I bet he had to stretch a bit. I’d be a bit sore after that. Maybe do some calf stretches and move those quads a bit.

Then we got the story of the adulterous woman who no doubt, probably endured some long-suffering too from being in a community where she was ostracized and everybody and their grandma thought they were better than her.

That would suck.

So this big crowd is gathered and they are about ready to stone this lady to death which would be a real bummer. Jesus walks up, draws some symbols in the dirt, and just says, “Ye without sin cast the first stone.” And then everybody looks around all guilty. They drop their stones and wander off.

Ok, if I was that lady I’d hug Jesus and probably pack my bags for a destination elsewhere. Get the heck outta dodge or Haifa or Golan Heights or wherever the heck she was living. Rough crowd. Really rough crowd. Move to Fiji. Tibet. Timbuktu. Anywhere. Just anywhere other than there.

Another person who also endures long-suffering in the Bible is St. Stephen. In Acts 7:60, we see this guy has been preaching for a while and helping out everywhere but folks just don’t seem to care for him much and then they stone the guy to death.

Ok, so most long-suffering stories have happy endings in the Bible. This one….not so much. But I guess, he went to heaven as the first martyr so ok.

So we have several passages in the Bible too from Paul about long-suffering and how to endure it. Paul had a “thorn in his side.” Though no one really knows what the thorn was……a goiter, a bad kidney, a bum knee, a skin rash, a hemmorhoid….who knows but it musta hurt. Poor guy.

Romans 5:3-5

“Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

1 Thessalonians 3:2-4

“We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.”

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Psalm 78 “I will open my mouth in parable.”

Ok, so if I had to choose my favorite parable that Jesus taught, it would be this one in Luke 15: 11-32. It’s my favorite.

The Parable of the Prodigal Son

11 Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’

28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’

31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’

Psalm 78 “Keep his commandments.”

Ok, here’s the 10 commandments from the Book of Exodus. Man, I don’t know about you but the ones I really struggle with are 3, 4, and 10.

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

2. Thou shalt not make gods or worship them (Idolatry).

3. Thou shalt not use the Lord’s name in vain.

4. Thou shalt keep the Sabbath Day holy.

5. Thou shalt honor thy father and mother.

6. Thou shalt not murder.

7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8. Thou shalt not steal.

9. Thou shalt not give false witness against thy neighbor.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors property.

Psalm 78 “the field of Zoan.”

Ok, what is Zoan? It sounds like that old PC game called Zork. Beware the Grue. Ok, one moment gotta look this up…..

So http://www.britannica.com online says this:

“Where is Zoan located today?

Tanis, biblical Zoan, modern Ṣān al-Ḥajar al-Qibliyyah, ancient city in the Nile River delta, capital of the 14th nome (province) of Lower Egypt and, at one time, of the whole country.”

So, I guess it is lower Egypt and supposedly the place where Moses told the Pharaoh to “let his people go” and worked all the miracles. It’s also mentioned in the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Ezekiel.

I was off on my geography again. I thought it was like the Sinai or something.

Hey, according to recent geography tests, a large percentage of Americans can’t even pick out Brazil on a world map so I’m doing above par, ok.

Psalm 78 “Anger also came up against Israel; because they believed not in God and trusted not in his salvation.”

This reminds me of a billboard sign I would always see driving towards the Joplin mall in Missouri. It read in big bold letters,

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

I think it’s a Romans passage maybe.

Psalm 78 “He gives their lives over to pestilence.”

This is a line shortly after the line about not trusting in God’s salvation. It implies that pestilence is a scourge of God brought on for not believing and trusting. In the story of the deaths of the firstborn in Egypt too and the Passover, we see the Angel of Death descend on Egypt overnight as a punishment from God. I presume this is an angel from heaven and not a fallen angel.

There are many different names for this avenging angel of death. Some say it is Samael and some say it is Thanatos and other such old names like perhaps the Grim Reaper or Charron, the ferryman.

When Covid hit, people were encouraging each other to pray Psalm 91 which prays for protection from the “pestilence that stalks at night.”

“Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

During the Spanish Flu Epidemic of the 1910s, people seriously believed that the pestilence could fly in through the window at night and the kids sang a nursery rhyme about it. They would keep their windows shut at night.

“I had a little bird, it’s name was Enza
I opened up the window and in flew Enza.”

Sorta in an eerie way, draws parallels to the plagues of Egypt where this angel of pestilence flew in to the homes. Creepy.

Other things that can help your family and home protection are to pray for Job’s hedge of protection around your home or to, as they did in olden times, plead the blood of Jesus.

Proverbs 16 “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes.”

Oh, this one is true. Perception seems like reality but my perception is different from your perception and we all are operating on different wavelengths from each other. You may perceive me to be a certain way and I may perceive you to be a certain way. Throw in our physical appearance in the mix or our way of speaking and what a mess.

I guess the point of this statement is that even the villain of the story perceives him or herself as the hero. And perhaps, from the villain’s standpoint and perspective the “hero” is really just a dastardly control freak that won’t leave him or her alone and always has to be the winner in every situation. What a jerk.

There’s also a statement in the Bible that I think Jesus says at some point about not judging others and that we should try to focus on the plank in our own eye before we criticize others for the sliver in their eyes.

A neighbor used to criticize another neighbor all the time for her housecleaning abilities and house management and care. She would look out the window at the neighbor’s house and complain about her inability to clean well until one day her husband explained to the woman that she wasn’t seeing the neighbor’s house well cause she hadn’t cleaned her own windows with Windex properly in a while.

Proverbs 16 “Better is a little with righteousness than vast revenues without justice.”

I’d rather make an honest day’s pay for honest work than be selling gimmicky stuff that just suckers people in and make a larger profit off their foolishness.

Proverbs 16 “Pride goes before destruction.”

I wonder if this is where that phrase, “Pride goeth before the fall” comes from?

Lot’s wife was told not to look back. She had left Sodom and Gomorrah and they had fled to the hills but something compelled her to look back. Maybe it was a prideful move or maybe it was just curiosity or concern for her former neighbors, but she turned into a pillar of salt for looking back.

Sometimes, we should not look back. It just doesn’t do us any good. Let pride go. Keep moving forward. Just keep livin’. Looking back sets us up for failure and doubt and hesitation and loss. Look ahead and focus on the path ahead.

So there’s this other story in the Bible about this guy named Nabal that was married to Abigail. He was a churlish and prideful guy that refused to help David’s soldiers even after David and his men had protected his wealth and lands and livestock. David decided to destroy all Nabal had and confiscate it but Nabal had a good wife, Abigail that stopped David and convinced David to not hurt her husband.

Pride can really mess things up.

In the Parable of the 10 Virgins getting ready for the wedding feast, some are not ready for the wedding either because they are lazy or maybe too prideful and not humble enough to trim their lamps and prepare for the moment of the bridegroom party’s arrival.

This is another lesson about pride in the Bible.

Proverbs 16 “A whisperer separates the best of friends.”

The snake whispered into the ear of Eve about the secret the snake said God was keeping from Eve and Adam.

Judas separated Peter and Jesus by whispering with others plans for traitorous actions to turn him over to the judges.

Thomas must have whispered quite a bit in the upper room where the disciples were staying right before the Pentecost. He probably spoke quite a bit about doubting their future and doubting the words of Jesus.

Pontius Pilate probably wanted to let Jesus go but probably some of his advisors whispered in his ear to do what the crowds recommended that day. Years later, they said that Pontius Pilate traveled to the land of modern day Switzerland. He climbed to the top of a mountain and upset about his past decision about Jesus, he was said to have thrown himself off the mountain to his death. That mountain is now known as Mt. Pilatus.

Gossip and whispering can wreck a lot of havoc both in the present moment and in the future.

Ok, that’s all I got for today for Psalms 76-79 and Proverbs 16. Tomorrow I read 80-85 and Proverbs 17 and you are welcome to join in and add any comments. Thanks and have a good night!


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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: