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Fishing in Deep Water

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What do we do with a proverb that could have several translations and meanings?

That’s the case of Proverbs 20:5 which is translated by the New International Version as, “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.

One reason that the meaning is not certain is that the word here translated “purposes” also has meanings of “counsel”, “advice” or “motives” depending on how it is used.

The result is that Bible experts are divided as to whether this is talking about something good and useful that lies deep in the heart, or something that is deceitful and evasive that a wise person will help to surface.

That brings us back to the question. What do we do with such a proverb if we can’t be sure about its meaning?

The answer that makes the most sense to me is that, as with many other wise sayings, the obscurity of the proverb is probably intentional. Its value lies not in one single thought, but in the many possible thoughts that a provocative saying like this can surface.

Because the big story of the Bible gives us reason to believe that good and evil are both rooted deep in the human heart (created in the image of God, but damaged by abuse and misuse), a wise saying like this gives us reason to reflect on a range of possible implications.

In the process we just need to keep in mind that any valid option needs to be considered in light of Christ and in the kind of love that proceeds from him. In other words, whatever we come up with while reflecting on such a proverb needs to be considered ultimately in light of (1) the One  who does know the deepest motives and purposes of our hearts, is also the One (2) who uses proverbs to cultivate our love for one another (Rom 13:8), (Gal 5:14).

Does such an approach to the Scripture make sense to you? If not, how would you resolve the lack of clarity and certainty? If so, what thoughts does Proverbs 20:5 surface in you?

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48 Responses to “Fishing in Deep Water”

  1. oneg2dblu says:

    Mart… I’m slowly learning here about context being king, so in the light of persumptive context, I’m looking at word associations proir and following that verse. I’ve dug up a few that may lend themselves to the greater meaning of that Deep water we are to discuss or find. These are found in verse 1-6: mocker, brawler, led asrtay, not wise,wrath seeking, quick to quarrel, sluggard, finding nothing, unfound faithfulness.
    Sounds like a bad wrap for the heart of man… is part of that context, so that may well be the deep water we find ourselves in, if we remain guided by that nature.
    But, give that question to a changed heart, a renewed heart, a all things are for the good of those who love Him heart, then we are looking for love, hope, faith,
    and we know that all scripture is for teaching, rebuking, and correcting and building up the saints.
    In that light, we know we were in deep water when Christ found us, and we had better not return to it, or it may catch us again. So, I see that verse as a warning about how deep and dark we were, and how deeply lost is the human heart by its own nature. But, I am a sheep by nature and easily led astray, unless I obey my master, constantly staying within the sound of his voice. I am unprotected when I wonder too far from him. He has developed a new and adibing heart in me, through being obedient to Him. Gary

  2. SFDBWV says:

    Mart I am going to look at this matter from my good old King James Bible, Proverbs 20: 5 “Council in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.”

    Council; Proverbs 12: 15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that harketh unto council is wise”
    Proverbs 19: 20 “Hear council, and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end.”
    Proverbs 20: 18 “Every purpose is established by council: and with good advice make war.”

    First of all where is the council found? It is found in this verse in the heart, with whom do we gather the advice of council found there in our heart?

    Clearly the Author of inspired scripture identifies the fact that He is present in the heart of a man of understanding. And he that seeks the council from Him that dwells within his heart is wise to do so.

    Why the word picture of deep water? What is like deep water? Council is like deep water, deep and mysterious filled with unknown information.

    Who is the council? Again clearly here in this verse God is the council and deep is His knowledge. Wise is the man who seeks God in all of his quests.

    Who or what is a man of understanding? Any who recognize that God dwells within the hearts of mankind and understands that all wisdom comes from God.

    Drawing out this wisdom and endless knowledge from God is where God wants us to go to. Like the well of living water it flows from Him and once we recognize Him it can flow from us.

    If you take purpose, advice, motive, and council and apply any of them to the *understanding* that they all flow forth from God *deep* within our hearts they all apply.


  3. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    I am happy that the discussion trending toward context. We usually hear a proverb out of context, since as you said, Mart, each offers “a range of possible implications” – and we apply it as desired.

    When Solomon wrote (Proverbs 10-22), deep waters often meant a source of chaos and unpredictable,
    uncontrollable forces. The Mediterranean was the prototype of the age. Israelites were not great ocean sailors, trading more by land, river or lake.

    The only attribute Solomon assigns to a human heart’s purposes at first is the attribute of deep waters. But a person of understanding is able, by that God-given wisdom, to draw out the truth of what dwells in the place of deep and chaotic purpose.

    Perhaps the person of understanding “fathoms” what lies in that deep place, whatever the motive and intent. It may be the person of understanding can “draw out” what is there for good and not evil.


  4. remarutho says:

    As I consider the old gentleman fishing off the dock, it may be he has a strike, and is just about to reel in a “good one.” Perhaps he is gazing out at the horizon — thinking, praying, considering something — or someone! Maru :-)

  5. pacafour says:

    One thing thou lackest – Hermeneutics – – Let Scripture interpret Scripture – other wise you will be throwing darts in a darkened room and hope yu can hit a target… Two good references might have been Jeremiah 29:11-14 and Romans 12:1-2… Guessing at a “purpose” would have left Daniel and his three friends at GREAT RISK as it would if you guess at the meaning of purpose. Objective truth is always to be preferred over a subjective attempt to decipher meaning…

  6. remarutho says:

    If a reader chooses to take chapter 20 of Proverbs (falling in the second traditional grouping of Solomon’s wise sayings) as a unit — the next climactic verse after verse 5, is Proverbs 20:24: “All our steps are ordered by the Lord; how then can we understand our own ways?” (NRSV)

    The wise king is shaping the behavior of those seeking wisdom. All wisdom comes from God. Solomon warns the receptive reader (or listener) away from foolishness and toward wisdom in all human endeavor.

    The major themes are light and dark, chaos and order, living by Torah (cleanly) or by our own judgment (uncleanly). These writings probably originate in approximately the 10th c. BC.


  7. Mart De Haan says:

    A bit of humility when studying Scripture can’t do too much damage :-)…

  8. remarutho says:

    Amen Brother! Do no harm, do good, stay in love with God…Proverbs 20:5 is a gem! :-) Maru

  9. tracey5tgbtg says:

    The purposes, motives, counsel, advice etc. of all men’s hearts are deep and impossible to see or understand with a quick glance. No one sees the heart except God, and He knows everything that is in us.

    A person of understanding will take the time to listen to someone. It does take time to hear what is in someone’s heart, especially since most of the time they keep the deeper things hidden.

    A person of understanding won’t make a snap judgment about someone, or take insult at a careless comment. He will take the time to listen and search for all the reasons that cause someone to act, talk and think like they do.

    You can’t judge a person unless you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.

  10. florida7sun says:

    Thank you, Mart, for your post this morning.

    As I thought about your question, my mind took me back 60 years to a rowboat in Moriches Bay. There my Dad and I fished for flounders. I guess we were floundering around, but what joy I had in being with him. He taught me how to set the line by attaching a sinker weight to the leader. That way I could tell when my line hit bottom. The hooks we used would pierce blood worms as bait. When we fished for fluke, we set our hooks with killeys.

    As I lowered my line I was amazed how deep it would go. “I don’t feel bottom yet,” I told my Dad. “Let some more line out,” he would say. Eventually I felt the sinker hit sand. (Sometimes I had to add more weight to the line, due to the wind and current.) Then I waited for some nibbles. Sensing what was below I tried to set the hook and reel in a fish. It was always great fun to bring up two-at-a-time: a double header Dad would say. On a rare occasion I would field a triple.

    How deep is the depth of God’s love? Will we ever be able to hit of the bottom of His Grace: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense?


    God is Love. Love has no bottom. Love has no top. As we embrace Him with all of our hearts He reveals to us some of His Majesty and Glory. He is I AM. The more of Him I take in, the more of Him He reveals. His fountain is always flowing.

    “As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him; and His righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts. – Psalm 103:13-18

    As we trust in the Lord with all our hearts and open His Word, His Spirit gives us understanding. And, as I picture the agony He endured on His Cross, I am bathed in my Father’s love.

    I also begin to understand my Lord’s statement in Luke 9:58 when He said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

    Like Jesus, is their anything in this world “the prince of the air” offers that is solid enough to lay our heads, giving us assurance and peace? Is there a bottom we can stand on to guide our thoughts and actions?

    Other than the Word of God, His Spirit and the fellowship of His Saints, everything else I observe is sinking sand.

    My Father’s Word is a boat. I have discovered His daily bread is sufficient for my needs. Each morning He wakes me up to go fishing; even on Sunday.

    Grace and peace, Ray

  11. poohpity says:

    When I was a child my parents used to ask me “Why did you do that?” little did I know that would put the desire in me to learn about people and what had happened in their lives to cause them to do the things they do. On the surface we may see one thing but hidden deep within someones heart is the reason why. As human beings we have to ask the right questions to get below the surface to discover what lays beneath. Like an iceberg we see only part of its mass on top of the water but upon further study the amount and magnitude that lies underneath the water usually is massive. It is hidden from the human eye but usually what is under the water is far greater than what is above. Proverbs 21:2 shows us that God cares about that hidden part while other people only care about what they can see. This is similar to what we discussed before about masks.

  12. bill34sl says:

    I found the Amplified Bible’s version much helpful in comprehending this seemingly indistinct proverb. “Counsel in the heart of man is like water in a deep well, but a man of understanding draws it out”. Job once asked, “Where does understanding dwell?” “The deep says,’It is not in me’, the sea says,’It is not with me’.(Job 28:14) Where then does understanding dwell? The answer is in verse 23. “God understands the way to it, and He alone knows where it dwells”. It is the Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty that gives him understanding. Going back to Prov.20:5, a man gifted with understanding will examine and come to know the intent of his heart, whether good or bad. Then he lets go of it if it is bad. Just like when he draws up water from a well and found out that the water is foul, he discards it. In contrast, if he determined that the intent of his heart is just and right, he lets it manifest and benefits himself and others. Very much like if he draws up water from that well and found it to be pure and clean, he will drink of it and satisfies his thirst and will also give to others. A man without understanding will not even care to draw out water at all.

  13. foreverblessed says:

    Mart I think it is good to see this verse on many sides, maybe that is why the obscurity is intentional.
    But the theme is love as you said.
    Reading all your comments gave me many more insights:
    A man’s wisdom gives him patience, Proverbs 19:11
    A man of understanding also has patience (like Tracey said)
    Like Bill34sl talked about Job 28:12 ,23
    If someone did dig deep in deep waters it was Job. And his patience,perseverance brought him to a deep understanding of God:
    He finally found Him as His loving Father, he was not the oldest son of the parable of the lost son anymore, Luke 15:11-32. The one who would obey God’s commands, but did not enjoy living with Him, for when he wanted a feast he would have it with his friends Luke 15:29, and not with his Father.
    But Job, found a heavenly relation he with His Father, and that was drawn out of deep water in his soul. Job 42:4-6
    Luke 15:31, 32 God’s purpose for us.
    God is looking for a relation with us, that supercedes the obedience, but a heart that is thrilled to live with Him, that is full of joy. Hallelujah, am I seeing that as an aim in my life: a life full of joy to live with my Father who loves me and I love Him.
    So yes, it is about love.

  14. bratimus says:

    If one looks at the heart of man as the door way to God or for God. And the deep water is the sins of man. That door for some can be in some might deep water.

    Though faith and keeping our eyes upon Christ we can walk on top of ther deep water.

  15. poohpity says:

    bill, I think that may be why David penned Psalms 139:23-24 NLT.

  16. poohpity says:

    I also thought of what Jesus said in Matthew 15:18-19. The things that we think are hidden in deep water at sometime will pour forth from our mouth. I did a word search on the mouth and wow how often the mouth is likened to what is in our hearts and our motivations.

  17. foreverblessed says:

    Last night when I was meditating on this deep water and the restoration of Peter by Jesus came to mind, in John 21:15-17.
    Oswald Chambers describes it very well, I cannot find which dates that is in My Utmost for His Highest.
    I shall try to recapture what he wrote, because reading his explanation of John 21 was an eye-opener to me, and it fits this theme Proverbs 20:5.
    As others wrote here: It is God, the Holy Spirit that can dig out what is deep down, under our sins:
    Jesus did this with his questioning of Peter, they sound probing, like a sharp two edged sword that cuts right deep into Peter’s heart.
    The first question : do you love Me, Peter says: Yes Lord, you know that I love You
    That might look enough, but to Jesus it was not enough, He had to search deeper into his heart:
    Peter, do you love Me. And Peter answers again: Yes Lord, you know that I love You.
    But Jesus knew it was not deep enough yet, so He asked a third time: Simon, son of John, do you love Me?
    Peter was hurt by this third question, but as Oswald explains, this probing question also brought to the surface to Peter’s own relief: how much he really loved Jesus. He looked deep inside, more then he could himself, but Jesus questioning brought him there, and what does he find: how great his love for Jesus really was.
    Out of deep waters, Peter had denied Jesus 3 times, and Peter knew how his great the fallen state of his old human nature was.
    But under these troubled waters, there deep down, he realised how much love he had for Jesus.
    We need not be afraid of our God, He goes deeper and deeper, we are hurt by this disection. But what do we find:
    we love God!
    The purpose of a man’s heart are deep waters,
    but a man of understanding (Jesus in us)draws them out: love.

  18. foreverblessed says:

    Love, there are some here who are uncomfortable when we speak of love.
    So I want to add:
    “If my relationship to Him is that of love, I will do what He says without hesitation. If I hesitate, it is because I love someone I have placed in competition with Him, namely, myself. Jesus Christ will not force me to obey Him, but I must. And as soon as I obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny.” this is from November 2 out of: My utmost for His Highest.

  19. xrgarza says:


    Thank you once again for a thought provoking BLOG. Every time I read this passage I am reminded of the book “The Purpose Driven life”

    I then think and ask what is my ultimate purpose? If it’s true that God carefully secured it deep within my heart at or before creation, knowing that I am not as shallow as I once was, my purpose is in fact rooted deep inside of me which could appear as deep waters. I find myself asking the question, “If this is my purpose, how does it get activated?”

    Whether it’s Counsel, Advice or Motives I believe they can all be rooted deep within our hearts. But like Faith being dead without works, or if we want to be transformed it’s done by the renewing of our minds, I believe this is where soul searching is very important, if we don’t search deep, we may never tap into our ultimate purpose.


  20. remarutho says:

    Rocky —

    You wrote:

    “…if we want to be transformed it’s done by the renewing of our minds, I believe this is where soul searching is very important, if we don’t search deep, we may never tap into our ultimate purpose.”

    I agree with you totally. The wise writer of the proverb before us is urging and encouraging each of us — even through all these millennia — to allow the Lord to “order our steps” and open up to the “lamp of the Lord” in our inmost parts. Blessings, Maru

  21. poohpity says:

    foreverblessed, I have tried to put myself in the place of Peter during the denial and I bet he was feeling confusion and fear. The one verse that really touched my heart is when Jesus turned, in the midst of going through this ordeal, to look at Peter right after his third denial in Luke 22:61-62. Jesus knew Peter’s heart and knew how that would effect him so when He went through the process of restoring him Jesus seemed to know exactly what it would take to bring him back to a place where guilt would not turn to bitterness in Peter’s heart. Isn’t it wonderful that even when the Lord knows exactly what we are going to do before we do it and knows that both good and evil reside in our hearts is willing to bring us back to a place of restoration if we are willing to have those secret, deep places brought to light.

  22. poohpity says:

    I think the importance of looking at scriptures like this is if we really see all that lies within our own hearts we can look upon others with compassion and grace. If we do not look deep within ourselves and the true condition of our own heart then we tend to sit in judgement or condemnation of others.

  23. yooperjack says:


    I believe this is talking about the Holy Spirit that dwells in the heart of every believer. John 7:37-39 The counsel in the heart of man is the Holy Spirit. A man of understanding is one that is a believer and relys on and walks in the Spirit in every part of his life. When he draws it out, it flows like a river of living water. We dam up that river when we “try” to live the Christian life by our own understanding instead of trusting in the councel we have in our hearts. It’s so hard sometimes to trust in his counsel when He’s a just in time God so many times.

  24. yooperjack says:

    The NKJV says “counsel” instead of “purposes”. My comment was from the KKJV I need to think more before commenting.

  25. foreverblessed says:

    Pooh, yes, isn’t it incredible how gracious en merciful and encouraging Jesus is. What would I have done, if I was a leader of a ministry, and knew beforehand what the next person in leadership would do? Would I act like Jesus, only warning him that he would deny him 3 times, and leave it there? Knowing that the reinstating of Peter would happen after he did it?
    But it the discussion of soul-searching, I agree that the Holy Spirit is doing that in us, we should follow the lead of the HS, and not start soul searching ourselves, on our own understanding. The Holy Spirit it much more patient then we are. I remember I went through sanctifiaction, a bitter spirit towards my old church, after that was over, I then said, now I want to deal with my relation with my dad. But the Holy Spirit did not lead me, He left me quiet, to regain strength and peace in Him. The reconciliation came much later. Not in my souls searching. but when the Holy Spirit saw it fit to happen.
    What I am trying to say is that soul searching is OK up to a point, but it is far better to be subject to the lead of the Holy Spirit, just as yooperkack wrote above.

  26. xrgarza says:

    Thank you Maro, I agree with you as well, we are on the same page.

    yooperjack, interesting thought, I too believe that the Holy Spirit lives in every believer, but to say a man of understanding is one that is a believer and relies on and walks in the Holy Spirit in every part of his life, Yes I believe this too but I have also seen so many successful people that are very wise and full of understanding that are not believers.

    I believe that there are so many resources available to humans and to Christians, but sadly as Christians with all due respect we have been taught to stay away from many of the resources, whether out of fear or ignorance.

    For instance I don’t know much about Christian Science, but my understanding is they rely on the power of the mind. Well God did create our minds, and we are told in scripture to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.

    We are taught that they are an occult and to stay away from those teachings, there’s yoga, Martial arts, so much that we could probably incorporate into our Christian philosophy and lifestyles, Jesus said that He came so that we could live life more abundantly, often times I see Christians that are so far from living an abundant life that it saddens me.

    Satan has always taken something that God has created and has perverted it and has destroyed people with it. For instance music is a beautiful way to worship God, yet music has been know to be full of hatred and has killed many of our children, so should we simply stop listening to music all together and be afraid of it? No we should never walk in fear.


  27. yooperjack says:

    Rocky: yes, there are many that have understanding of many things and the wisdom to do many good works but it is impossibe for an unbielever to understand the things of God or His word. I to have studied many ideas, there is none like God Jahova and his manual for life, the Bible.

  28. xrgarza says:

    yooperjack, Reading this now gives me a better understanding of what you were saying, It is impossible for the unbeliever to understand the things of God or His word.

    Unlike you, I have not studied other philosophies in any kind of real depth, But I have been a student of the Holy Bible for about 25 years, yet I only have more questions than I did when I first began to study, & have concluded that the most profound thing that I have learned from all of my studies, Is that I don’t have a clue.

    God Bless you yooperjack


  29. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and friends,
    Great insights on this topic…As most have stated only God knows the motives and intents of the heart.I believe that we are more like our heavenly Father when we look at the value of every person.This will require God’s wisdom especially when the person does evil things.

    The CEV states Prov 20:5 as “People’s thoughts can be like a deep well, but someone with understanding can find the wisdom there.”

    Job 28:28 – And to man He said,‘ Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.’”

    Every good and perfect gift comes from God including wisdom , (the reverential awe and recognition of God’s majesty and sovereignty) and understanding (the forsaking of all evil). Even our righteous desires and actions in dealing with others are not products of our own strivings but are gifts of the Holy Spirit.We are but earthen vessels for God’s purpose and glory.

  30. foreverblessed says:

    This morning I was singing Psalm 130 in Latin (Part of choral), and started to look for Proverbs 20:5 in Latin:
    sicut aqua profunda sic consilium in corde viri sed homo sapiens exhauriet illud
    in Latin Vulgate
    It seems that you are right, in all older translations it is not purpose but counsel.

    But then I looked into the Hebrew words of Proverbs 20:5,
    there is a website biblos which goes with a dot and a com.

    They give the hebrew, that is quite extraordinary, that you can find the Hebrew words of the bible!
    There the Hebrew word is: Plan (Strong’s concordance word nr 6098 )
    The following is what they give on the scripture, if you cannot find it yourself you can read it here:
    With the numbering of the Strong’s concordance it goes like this:
    4325 ma.yim water
    601 a.muq.qim is deep
    6098 ‘é.sah a plan
    3820 be.leb the heart
    376 ‘is of a man
    376 we.is a man
    8394 te.bu.nah of understanding
    1802 yid-lenah draws

    The word ‘e’sah occurs 20 times, mostly translated as counsel or advice
    but 3 times teh International Version translates it in Plan: Proverbs 20:5, Isaiah30:1, Jer 49:30

    Isiaiah 11:2 The Spirit of counsel,
    but the Hebrew word: Plan
    the Spirit of Plan
    It gives to a new insight into the work of the Holy Spirit,
    it is a Plan laid out, as someone wrote: from creation, or from beginning,
    and the Holy Spirit draws is out when the man is being born again of the Spirit,
    then man comes back to his original intention, to what he was made for.
    And we humans think we can plan it ourselves,
    CH Spurgeon’s morning meditation of november 21 is about the Holy Spirit, that our real life is only through the HS,
    “Open thou my heart and my whole being to thine incoming, and uphold me with thy free Spirit when I shall have received that Spirit in my inward parts.”

    Thanks all for your comments, this study made me even more firm in following the lead of the Holy Spirit.

  31. remarutho says:

    Hello Foreverblessed!

    I see your points — leading ultimately to the indwelling Holy Spirit — the only dependable guide for a person of understanding!

    It seems to me that the faculty of understanding, which the Lord bestowed upon King Solomon in abundance, is the divine force in life that brings order out of the deep waters.

    The person whose ways are ordered by the Lord (that person of understanding) can discern what’s what in the currents and tides of chaos. The very quality this wise one draws out of the deep is this amazing helper of humankind: understanding itself (Sophia in Greek).

    I suppose the keen insight of a godly ruler can be applied to self or to others…Solomon is that man, but in the end his great wisdom and knowledge did not save King Solomon from the sin of idolatry. His many foreign wives drew him away from complete obedience to God.


  32. yooperjack says:

    Rocky: I’ve been studing His word for 40+ years and am just begining to understand Gods ways. Oh! but allauya a day is coming, soon I hope, when Jesus comes we will all rejoys in His appearing, then we will know all things as He. Thanks for the blessing.

  33. florida7sun says:

    Good morning all,

    I put up the Christmas tree yesterday ready to hang ornaments after Thanksgiving. Miss Kately, our cat got engaged in a feline habit of nibbling the needles and climbing the branches. Instinctive behavior can be both a blessing and a curse.

    Our family’s tree is an artificial one. I have to encourage Kately not to be too inquisitive. I do not want her to be shocked by biting an electric wire or get sick for ingesting plastic needles. We feed her organic food, clean water; and she has a lot of other activities to focus on. But that brightly-lit tree still captures her imagination.

    As I read everyone’s comments, I too thought of Solomon and his wisdom as he tasted what the world offered to him:

    “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” – Ecclesiastes 1:2

    As we get older and grow in God’s Word, we gain some of Solomon’s wisdom by seeing the contrast that exists between good and evil, truth and falsehood. Much of what we see and hear from the world we live in is intended to enslave us by appealing to our flesh: money, power, fame, recognition, acceptance and love.

    The deceiver has much to offer on his artificial tree of lights that can also impale and shock us. He encourages us to “name it and claim it” without disclosing the real price of our dreams. The true cost (like a cheap suit or gemstones with hidden flaws) is always covered up.

    In his old age Solomon cautioned us to “Remember your Creator — before the silver cord is severed, and the golden bowl is broken; before the pitcher is shattered at the spring, and the wheel broken at the well, and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it.” – Ecclesiastes 12:6-7

    After the fruit of both trees (living and artificial) has been tasted and consumed, we can also attest to Solomon’s finding in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14.

    Jesus alone offers living water and nourishing bread that enriches mind, body and spirit. The more of the Word of God we consume, the deeper the Holy Spirit takes us into our sinful nature. He brings to our consciousness all that would draw us away from our Lord and Savior.

    There are many reasons to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

    First and foremost on my list is the Tree of Life, for there I have been blessed and forgiven.

    There is nothing artificial at all about Jesus.

    Happy Thanksgiving, Ray

  34. remarutho says:

    Good Morning Mart & Friends!

    Well put, Ray! Thanksgiving is the first “beautiful attitude.” Even great Solomon possessed nothing richer nor more precious than an obedient,humble and thankful spirit toward our great Creator God.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  35. oneg2dblu says:

    Good morning All… glad to see the floridasun is shining brightly this morning. :)
    Wise words from an old man reveal much wisdom, for he has traveled further on the road of life then most, but enough of me…
    But, from Solomon come words well tested and well healed
    by God,that is why they are written for us, in His Word Forever!
    I was engaged this morning in a five thousand meter row, Praising the Lord for the flatness of the water and a few minutes later, got swamped by one unseen wake! Take you guard down for one minute and wham, you pay the price for you actions or in my case inaction, as the world has distracting wakes waiting for us everywhere. That must be why my pastor says you morning commute does not qualify for quality quiet time with the Lord.Psalm 107:43, is great advice!
    Praise God as He provides all we need! Gary

  36. cgrichards says:

    Mr De Hann, I read a copy of Our Daily Bread while I was in jail and you or one of your contributors said he had a sign on his desk that said, Perhaps Today. That stuck in my mind and pressed on my soul until God gave me a song about it and the chorus says: “Perhaps today, he will split the eastern sky, perhaps today, we’ll be changed in the twinkling of an eye, the trump of God shall sound and we’ll be caught away, the King of Kings is coming back…PERHAPS TODAY!” I hope this is a blessing to you as it is to me, after all…Perhaps Today.

  37. poohpity says:

    It seems that Solomon possessed the wisdom from God to look deep within the soul of man maybe by examining the depths of his own life. He came up with the wisest sayings and thoughts that can be applied to humanity in general that prompt people to really look at themselves in light of God and life.

  38. oneg2dblu says:

    Pooh…it seems to me, that not all the answers are found within ourselves. To me, too many are already lost in themselves and drownding in the self examining pool of Narcissus, if you will.
    Thank God, that Solomon was given the true Wisdom of God, and instead of just reflecting on self his examination, that He through God’s Wisdom, shared it with us in His Word.
    Didn’t Solomon, when looking well within himself, also find the religious practices of man lurking there, and choosing those, ultimately caused his eternal loss of the kingdom? Just a thought… Gary

  39. poohpity says:

    Well Gary if one never examines their self then how would they ever come to ask the Lord to forgive them of their sins if they do not realize they sin. Without self examination how does one identify their need for constant cleansing through out this journey. It is very important to look at the motives we have for doing the things we do then we are less likely to be looking at others faults or sitting in judgment or criticizing because we are then aware of our own motivations and see and understand the amazing Grace and Mercy that we as individuals receive daily. If we do not look within we may become self righteous and start to feel we deserve everything from the Lord because of how good we are. There is nothing prideful about coming to an honest evaluation of what does lie within our hearts. It may not be pretty and it may be difficult to become aware of those things but it is necessary so that we can evaluate who we are compared to Christ and not to others. If we take a honest look within our hearts the deepest darkest areas that is what seems to prevent pride not produce it.

  40. jon614 says:

    What an amazing discussion has been going on these past few days! I have been amazed and enlightened, and even more so, humbled by the collective inquiring minds of this group. I have much to be thankful for this Thanksgiving – family, friends, church family, a country that allows us to freely discuss our beliefs – we have so much. The words of President Teddy Roosevelt resonate at this time. He said: “My fellow citizens, no people on earth have more cause to be thankful than ours, and this is said reverently, in no spirit of boastfulness in our own strength, but with the gratitude to the Giver of Good who has blessed us with the conditions which have enabled us to achieve so large a measure of well-being and of happiness.”
    –Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President US President,
    March 4, 1905
    Our lives are enriched by those around us but even more so by our Lord and Savior who is with us and allows us to think deeply upon what He has for us. Hebrews 12:28 — “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.
    Your discussion this Thanksgiving week has been what I needed to put into perspective what all we have.
    Perhaps Today! — jon

  41. oneg2dblu says:

    pooh… I beleive it is the sole work, or Soul Work of the Holy Spirit, not the work of the inward self-looking man, that finds he is guilty, lonely, and without a resolve. For finding those things man must look outside himself for the answers, and seeing there is a Savior in Christ Jesus, he must also Ask God to deposit in him this Jesus, or his search is only for and of himself, as he remains lost.
    Otherwise self work alone would save us, and looking within would answer all! Perhaps Today! Gary

  42. poohpity says:

    Gary we all have to recognize the truth about ourselves or else we stay in denial of our need for help. If we are not open to looking within the deep waters that lie within many may not see our continued need for the work of the Holy Spirit through out our entire life time. When David asked God to search his heart in Psalms 139:23-24 NLT he did not say and keep it a secret from me, he said and show me what makes you sad. Unless we are aware of the things that lie deep within our hearts, how can we ever ask for forgiveness and for the Holy Spirit to help us change. I am not saying in anyway that there is anything we can change on our own but awareness is essential for change. The Holy Spirit shows us continually as we walk with the Lord the areas that need work and with the help of those close to us who are able to speak the truth in love to those things hidden so eventually they will come to light then change occurs.

    We are even asked to admit those sins to each other so that others can pray for us. James 5:16 Everything about us is brought to light when we are in Christ Jesus. So looking at the inward man is a necessity for our spiritual growth or else we would remain the same day in and day out.

  43. yooperjack says:

    I believe what you are saying is found in 2 Corinthians 13:1-10 verse 5 is interesting.

  44. remarutho says:

    Pooh, you wrote:
    “If we are not open to looking within the deep waters that lie within many may not see our continued need for the work of the Holy Spirit through out our entire life time.”

    Thank you for stating this vital insight of understanding! As I have been about the daily stuff today, I have returned to this proverb in various moments. I agree that our calling is to understand ourselves better as we journey on with Jesus. I have a friend who has said from time to time, “Well, get over it because that’s just who I am.” We love this guy, but how long can we allow him to “get away” with that – knowing that he sometimes uses such reasoning to justify his actions? Nobody really wants to tell him how to live his life.

    Early in his ministry, Jesus was faced with people wanting to make him king; or those coming after him to stone him. The gospel writer John says, “But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.” (John 2:24-25)

    We must not despair over this fickleness in our human hearts! Even in Solomon’s understanding, long before Messiah had appeared, there is hope: our God supplies the power to discern our own sinful motives first — then others’. The Lord faithfully supplies our reason and our spirit the ability to face inner truth and choose obedience to his Law. The working of the Holy Spirit affords divine conviction. The covenant in Jesus’ blood can cleanse the most foul of our sins! What a wonder that transformation is possible!

  45. SFDBWV says:

    A blessed and warm Thanksgiving to all.


  46. oneg2dblu says:

    Since the beginning of human intelligence and thought, man has always looked at himself, and finds that within himself are all his needs. But, he is still empty, lonely, guilty, and unforgiven.
    God made us that way intentionally for a purpose, to know we are but dust and filthy rags inside ourselves.
    But, only through revelation given by God, do we find Him. Man being in the world, has always found things outside himself to worship, for he was built that way as well. But, only throught revelation by God, do we see Him and do we see Jesus as Christ. That revelation, the revelation that saves us from the world, and from its constant inward looking of self, where all sin abounds, does God reveal himself to us, where all hope, peace, freedom, and forgiveness abounds.
    It is not found within man by himself. Never was,never will be, or God would have made us totally self-suffient and not needing Him, or His Son, or His Holy Spirit.
    As Paul says in Ephesians 3:4, “In reading this then you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to men in other generations as it is now revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together in the promise of Christ Jesus.
    I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me throught the working of his power.”
    And so it is with all of us who will admit it does not come from within us, or by our learned inward looking.
    To end my point… I’ll close this with verses 20-21.
    “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” There are forms of “human effort” that produce something inside one’s self, transcendental leadings where a temporal form of peace through inward searching can be found, but they are not the gospel of God. They do not produce the revelation of God without the leading Spirit of God reigning in our inner being, we do not find Him. But, that is IMHO, and it is found within His Word as well! So, here we are back to Mart’s opening statement… “What do we do with a proverb that could have several translations and meanings?”
    In our flesh, we take sides and battle it out! In the Spirit given us, we then discuss different points, and with the Grace of God we “will find” He is contained in all our thoughts. But, if we look only inward, dust and filthy rags will we find, as no human effort can contribute to our resolving our empty, lonely, guilty unforgiven state, without salvation. It is a gift from God. Once you recieve God’s gift, then, you can look inside with God’s Helper to find your answers to all things! Any other searching is as Solomon, the wisest of all has said, “meaningless!” Gary

  47. oneg2dblu says:

    PS… Happy Thanksgiving Day!

  48. poohpity says:

    yooperjack, I think 1 John 1:5-10 works well too.

    If we do not know the difference between our own thoughts and what is from God we are unable to die to self, if we do not even understand what self looks like. It seems there are several people who say they hear the voice of God saying do this and do that, when in reality it is their own voice speaking, not God.

    There is a difference is a child who always wants to please him or her self and an adult who knows him or her self after they grow up they become self aware. While they are a child they are aware that everyone is around to take care of their needs and wants. 1 Cor 13:11-12. A child does not know what makes them tick they have no reasoning but an adult learns about their self then is able to put that aside and serve those around them rather than taking.

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