“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” – Proverbs 11:30.
          I remember when I was first a believer and beginning Bible College to study to become a servant of the Lord, this was one of the first verse in the Scripture that I ever memorized.  The Pastor of the church that I was attending at that time encouraged the memorization of Scripture on a regular basis and, as I’ve said, this was one of the first that I commended to memory.  In the process of memorization, I had good reason and opportunity to think on it work its’ meaning through and it was a quite a joy and an eye-opener for me.  
           As we have noted before, this chapter in Proverbs is a part of a section that sets forth a contrast in life and conduct setting it forth for us in matters of work, diligence, ambition, speech, truth, stability, honesty, integrity, fidelity, guidance, graciousness, kindness, etc.  It is, as one can see, quite extensive and thorough in giving instruction for us as to evaluating the worldly and life around us and giving us direction in living in a godly fashion.
         The Hebrew phrase translated in most versions as “He who winneth souls” might better be translated as “
whoever captures souls” and is used elsewhere in places in the OT where the sense is “to take life” or “to kill” (e.g., 1 Sam. 24:11; 1 Kings 19:10, 14; Jonah 4:3).  However, this proverb appears to be purposely playing off the usual sense of the phrase to focus on the effect of the fruit of the righteous
         The particular phrasing of the verse is interesting.
    
“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” – Proverbs 11:30.
         Solomon first talks about “the fruit of the righteous”.  The Word of God often speaks of the truth that genuine redemption ALWAYS produces what it calls “fruit”.  Just as the vine or the fruit tree, if it is healthy, brings forth fruit.  The point here is that those who are redeemed, called “the righteous” by means of their way of living, bring forth such truth that communicates the truths that will being redemption to the hearers.  It is one that happens some 10 times in the Scripture.

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 “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” - Proverbs 15:3.
          Interestingly, discussion of the phrase “the eyes of the Lord” is a major theme in Proverbs: the Lord knows the actions and hearts of all, so he is neither pleased with nor fooled by one who offers sacrifices while continuing in the way of wickedness (cf. vv. 8–9, 11, 26, 29).  This phrase appears (sometimes minus the ‘the”) some 20x in the whole of the OT and 1x (1 Pet. 3:12) in the NT.  It inevitably the result of having a relationship (or a call from) with God and thus, the vesting of some result as a result.  This is what we could call a “specific” sense of the watchfulness of God.  But there is also what some have called a “Synthetic” sense as well. David, for instance proclaims that God watches over the “sheep of His Pasture” and other like statements.  It can also be understood to refer to the perpetual and ongoing care that God exercise over His people.  (Deut. 11:12; Joel 3:2).  
         The chief idea used in the phrase, of course is that of seeing or watching.  There is no implication of the physicality of God or the possession of actual, physical eyes on His part.  Rather, He sees with the greater sense of the awareness that is a part of His omniscience.  Because this “sight” is omnipresent (as God is) it is frequently used to be the very definition of what is good and acceptable in His “sight”.  And so, it is safe, I think, to understand the phrase, as I have said, as a reference to God’s omniscience.
 
12 a land for which the Lord your God cares; the eyes of the Lord your God are always on it, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. (Deuteronomy 11:12)

2  I will also gather all nations,
And bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat;
And I will enter into judgment with them there
On account of My people, My heritage Israel,
Whom they have scattered among the nations;
They have also divided up My land. (Joel 3:2)
 

         Now, as a matter of further consideration, we should ask the question of just what is it that this phrase is speaking of? 

“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” - Proverbs 15:3.

They are “in every place”, which is difficult to misunderstand.  There can be few other ways in which to see the phrase.  We ought to see it as a continuation of the idea of omniscience we spoke of earlier.  The phrasing of the idea taught here implies a real place, though perhaps not a literal, physical place.  There is no place, David says, where one can go to hide or escape from the seeing awareness of our Lord, where God will not witness our actions.           
           
“The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” - Proverbs 15:3
         “Beholding” simply refers to the idea of keeping watch or guarding a thing to see, to scan, to look over whatever it is that happens.  The point is not so much that God is watching each of us but that He is watching and aware no matter where and/or what goes on.  Remember that we understand this to be speaking of God’s omnipresence and thus see this to be saying that is constantly aware of whatever goes on in His creation. 
         Many want to think that God watches “me” and there is surely a sense in which this is true.  But the larger sense is the idea that God watches, He scans or is aware of all that is happening.  The word translated “every” is one that refers to the whole of a matter as opposed to the individual parts.  Again, we note that it is not so much each individual part of the creation that God watches, but the whole of the creation that is under His scrutiny.  
         David goes on and points out that this is not a matter of God performing the function of a guard or one who watches a door to see that no one enters or leaves, so to speak.  Rather it is saying that God keeps an eye on each action, good and evil, that occurs in His creation.  We can see that this has bearing on the fact that all men in that creation will give account for his or her actions, good or evil while they dwell in God’s creation.  “The phrase “…the evil and the good” underscores this for us makes this a bit more general for us.  It tells us that God scans or watches to see each action, good or evil and sees each person that does such good and/or evil. 


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 To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Deer of the Dawn.” a Psalm of David. 
1      My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning? 
2      O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent. 
(Psalm 22:1-31)
          Psalm 22 is one of the more well-known Psalm having several verses that our Lord spoke while hanging of Calvary’s cross at the time of His great sacrifice for His people.  Just to make note, as we usually do, the Psalm is addressed to the “chief musician”, a term that is used a number of times throughout the Psalms and has given rise to infinite conjecture. It may be either upon the death (muth) of the fool (labben), as an anagram on Nabal, or as Gesenius, “to be chanted by boys with virgins’ voices,” i.e., in the soprano.  It may also refer to the more prominent section of the choir or to the stringed instruments that are more prominently heard.  It has also been thought to be the general term by which all stringed instruments are described. “The chief musician on Neginoth” was, therefore, the conductor of that portion of the temple choir who played upon the stringed instruments, and who are mentioned in Ps. 68:25. Whatever it’s true sense, it assuredly calls for special attention in order to draw the listeners attention to the text of the piece.
           This psalm presents David’s readers with a great contrast in mood. Lament characterizes the first 21 verses, while praise and thanksgiving describe the last 10 verses. Prayer accounts for this dramatic shift from lament to praise. It is the story of first being God-forsaken and then God-found and filled. It was applied immediately to David and ultimately to the Greater David, Messiah. The NT contains 15 messianic quotations of or allusions to this psalm, leading some in the early church to label it “the fifth gospel.”
           There are a number of commentators who have outlined the Psalm somewhat akin to the following:

  1. The Psalmist’s Hopelessness (22:1–10)
    A.     His Hopelessness and National History (22:1–5)
    B.     His Hopelessness and Natal History (22:6–10)
  2. The Psalmist’s Prayer (22:11–21)
    A.     A No-Help Outlook (22:11–18)
    B.     A Divine-Help Outlook (22:19–21)
  3. The Psalmist’s Testimonies and Worship (22:22–31)
    A.     An Individual Precipitation of Praise (22:22–25)
    B.     A Corporate Perpetuation of Praise (22:26–31)

           Rather than take the time to go over each point, let’s just take a walk-thru of the Psalm as a whole.  The “Chief Musician” may also be a reference to the individual who oversaw all of the musicians for David in the choir and instrumental aspect of the worship.  This was quite an influential position and referred to often by David and the rest of the Kings of Israel as what might have been called a “Chief Seat” in both the Temple and the Synagogue (after the Captivity).  The Hebrew could actually be translated in this fashion. This rendering makes some sense as it was one of the reproaches urged by Our Lord against the scribes and Pharisees that they loved the chief seats in the synagogues (Mt 23:6; Mk 12:39; Lk 11:43; 20:46). These were special seats set in front of the ark containing the Scriptures and of the reader’s platform, and facing the congregation. They were specially reserved for those who were held in the highest honor in the congregation. There were seventy-one such seats in the great synagogue of Alexandria, which were occupied by the members of the great Council in that city.  At any rate, it surely was something that David wished to use to draw the attention of his readers.  
           Note that David makes reference to “The Deer of the Dawn” in the Title… This unique phrase in the superscription is probably best taken as a tune designation.  There are several other Psalm that have similar (though not identical references as well.  Having referred, it seems to the leader of a group of musicians or the chief group itself, it makes sense that David would refer to the tune to which he wished the content placed.  
           We can also think about the flow of the Psalm is wonderful, speaking, as it does, of Christ’s sufferings and coming glory.

  1. The sufferings, 1–21, are a graphic portrayal of crucifixion (cf. Mt 27:27–50), 
  2. And are followed by the glory, 22–31 which is a bold statement of the glory that is our Lord Jesus’ alone.



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“My son, give Me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe My ways.”
  (Proverbs 23:26)
          Solomon had, as a favorite mechanism, the use of various family anthropomorphisms, to help his readers to grasp the fuller sense of his teaching in a passage.  Such is the case in this verse.  He begins by calling to his “son”, using the famous and well-known Hebraism, “Beni” speaking of a young family member; a son or grandson.  The emphasis is on one’s membership to the family group, their inexperience and need for guidance, not to mention the dearness of that member to the father figure speaking.  We must remember that as in any passage of the Bible, unless specifically and/or clearly speaking of the gender of a person, is making reference to people in general, not either male nor female.  This passage is addressing the youth of the one being spoken to and not any gender.  
         This is actually the Seventeenth saying a series that has been ongoing over the past couple of chapters.  
         ·    The prostitute has been compared to a deep pit or well (in that she entraps a young man and he cannot escape; cf. note on 22:14) 
         ·    Likewise, this prostitute has been compared to a robber (in that she will cost him dearly). 
         For Solomon’s purposes, prostitution is used as a striking example of those “personal sins” that, far from affecting the sinner alone, corrupt and bankrupt society and so ruin communities. The first part of the verse, “give me your heart”, guides parents, and so by implication, all men, in their nurturing task: their/our target must ever be the deepest core of the child’s (or those whom we are striving to disciple in spiritual things) inner life. The phrase following, “Observe my ways” further guides the discipler’s path in accomplishing our task.. They must aim to embody the virtues they commend.
         Solomon has two aims in the statement he makes here:
  1. First he urges his beloved “son” to yield his true affections and dedication to him, making him a sure and reliable relation in his family.  This determination will also aid in making him (the one referred to as a “son”) pliable and submissive in the discipleship process and further our ability to lead him to the goal of godliness.
  2. Likewise, he urges this “son” of his to see to it that he follows after him in the matters of behavior and his “ways” or manner of living.  The active sense here tells us that Solomon is not merely talking about attitude but also to the active pursuit of the goal.
          Notice that in both of these matter that he urges his “son” to submit to there is the hint that they are actions that the “son” has the choice and ability to do what Solomon is urging him to do.  We, likewise, must see that both we, and anyone that we are seeking to lead into godliness and following after Christ has the ability to make the choices and take the actions needed of his volition and will.  It is not merely a matter of being told what is necessary, it is also a matter of choosing to follow the path that Solomon (or the disciple) is laying out before him. 

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    For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20–21)
          The underlying motivation for pursuing Christlikeness is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Since Christ is in heaven, those who love Him must be preoccupied with heaven, longing for Christ to return and take them to be with Him (1 Thess. 4:17). Paul had little interest in the comforts and pleasures of this world, as the following passages indicate: 
         We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:8–10) In everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. (2 Cor. 6:4–10) Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? (2 Cor. 11:23–29) This view led him to the conviction that made him write, 

          The underlying motivation for pursuing Christlikeness is the hope of the return of Jesus Christ. Since Christ is in heaven, those who love Him must be preoccupied with heaven, longing for Christ to return and take them to be with Him (1 Thess. 4:17). Paul had little interest in the comforts and pleasures of this world, as the following passages indicate: 
         We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Cor. 4:8–10) In everything commending ourselves as servants of God, in much endurance, in afflictions, in hardships, in distresses, in beatings, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in hunger, in purity, in knowledge, in patience, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in genuine love, in the word of truth, in the power of God; by the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and the left, by glory and dishonor, by evil report and good report; regarded as deceivers and yet true; as unknown yet well-known, as dying yet behold, we live; as punished yet not put to death, as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things. (2 Cor. 6:4–10) Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. Who is weak without my being weak? Who is led into sin without my intense concern? (2 Cor. 11:23–29) This view led him to the conviction that made him write, 

“I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (1:23).
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  “There is that speaks like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.” - Proverbs 12:18 (13:17; 4:22).
          There are quite a number of Proverbs that speak to the use of the tongue.  Of course, this not talking about what we eat or licking our lips or the like.  It speaks of our speech as it is used towards others.  That is the case in this verse and is worth thinking of for a moment or two.  As it used in the Bible “speaking” can be used in at least three ways:
  • It can be used to speak of the normal, everyday thing that all of us do to communicate with others.
  • Likewise, it can talk about the use of our ability to speak to either persuade or dissuade other concerning our purposes or perception of a matter or course.
  • It can, thirdly, speak of a formal discourse given before others to elaborate or give information concerning some topic
         The word used, “bawtaw” basically means to “pronounce” (2x), to “speak” (1x).  The idea is to “speak unadvisely” (1x).  It can be used as to speak rashly or angrily, even to speak thoughtlessly.  In some forms it speaks of one that babbles, or speaks rashly (in its’  participle form). And even unadvisedly.  Though the word is not used a great deal of times in the OT, interestingly, it seems to be very, very applicable to our daily lives.  We are subject a great deal of temptation (and even habit!) to do this very thing in our daily lives, perhaps even a number of times!  It was even used, in ancient Hebrew to speak of the idea of “Babbling” or speaking in an ongoing, unthinking fashion more designed to satisfy ones’ need to speak rather than to communicate something useful.
         The reference here “There is that” is, of course, speaking in a general sense meant include everyone who communicates with another, and includes those who speak audible and, pretty much those who use any other kind of communication.
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