Resources by D. Marion Clark

Marion Clark was Executive Minister of Tenth Church until February 2014. He has edited Come to the Waters, a devotional featuring the writings of James Montgomery Boice and is the author of What Matters, Speaking the Truth in Love, and Jesus the Conquering King. Visit DMC Resources for all of his resources.

Proverbs 5:18-19

18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.

The answer to illicit pleasure is legitimate pleasure, that which rightfully and delightfully belongs to the one who is married. I find this embarrassing to read publicly because it is so…
Proverbs 5:12-14

12 and you say, How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.
These verses remind me of the old Roy Clark song, Yesterday, When I Was Young:
So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me…
Proverbs 5:7-11

7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
Proverbs 5:1-6

1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow
Proverbs 4:24-27

24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

Just don't do it. Don't try to fit in…
Proverbs 4:20-23

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

"Where did that come from?" we will ask when we…
Proverbs 4:18-19

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
Consider these words in light of Ephesians 5:8-14:
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit
Proverbs 4:16-17

For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
Here we are given insight into the psyche of the wicked. When we come across crime, especially something like vandalism, we ask how someone could do such a thing, as though the perpetrators' conscience should…
Proverbs 4:14-15

Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
Can the instruction from Scripture be any clearer regarding our attitude toward wickedness? Why then do we delight in entertainment that glorifies violence and immorality? Why do we put ourselves in compromising situations? Why do we…
Proverbs 4:10-13

Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.

All that the…
Proverbs 4:1-9

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
"Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
do not
Proverbs 3:35

The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.
The wise inherit the honor often received for showing good judgment, rendering fair decisions, and coming up with good solutions. It is one thing to be famous, yet another to be liked, and another to be honored. Fools can be popular and liked (as can foolish activities such as TV programs) even as they are recognized as fools (often…
Proverbs 3:34

Toward the scorner he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
The difference between God's scorn and that of the scorners is that God's is just and directed towards those who deserve it. The scorners in this proverb are those who scorn what is good. You see this everywhere in the world where the righteous and the moral are mocked. The Ten Commandments are ridiculed. The…
Proverbs 3:33

The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Rewards and trials fall on us throughout our lives. Consider then by what manner you most want to receive them and from whom.

One minister of a large, popular church has received many rewards. He has one of the largest congregations in the country and is one of the most…
Proverbs 3:32

for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
but the upright are in his confidence.
Do not choose the ways of a devious person, because in so doing you put yourself at odds with the Lord. The sinner forgets this all important factor. The person who loves to "stir things up," who finds it amusing to take advantage of others must stand before the Almighty God…
Proverbs 3:31

Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways.
Do not envy a person who violates the law of God. Our society exalts violence. TV shows are as popular according to the amount of violence, promiscuity, and rancor that can be displayed. Reality shows are only as interesting as the producers are able to manipulate conflict among the contestants. Shows awarded for…
Proverbs 3:30

Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.
Do not pick a fight. It seems an easy enough rule to follow, and yet we transgress it more than we may think. We don't consciously say to ourselves that we want to start a fight, but then our actions may reveal more than we care to admit. Just trying to have…
Proverbs 3:29

Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
who dwells trustingly beside you.


This is certainly a heinous act. It is terrible to do wrong to anyone, but especially against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Arent we glad we are not like that!
Have we never desired for our neighbors, when they have offended us, to get their just desserts? Are we guilty of imposing motivations and…
Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.

Break this into three parts. First, we are told not to withhold good. We tend the think that as long as we are not doing evil, then we are being good. But here we are commanded not to withhold good. Apparently, we are guilty of transgression simply by
Proverbs 3:28

Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it" - when you have it with you.


The previous proverb instructs us not to put off doing good. This proverb tells us not to delay doing what we can. The most effective means to avoid doing good for our neighbor is to procrastinate. Tomorrow usually ends up being never. But even if we…
Proverbs 3:25-26

Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.

It is the suddenness of destruction that strikes fear in us. One moment all is well; another moment and terror comes. And so will be the Day of Judgment. It will come suddenly, but it will
Proverbs 3:21-24

My son, do not lose sight of these -
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.


To lie down and not be afraid now that
Proverbs 3:19-20
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; By his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Consider this proverb from two perspectives. For one, we are to understand that creation is not a cosmic happen-chance. It is the work of God, the intentional work of God. He founded the earth; he established the heavens, and brought forth…
Proverbs 3:16-18

Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Wisdom proves her value. She provides long life. She keeps the possessor out of danger and provides discernment for knowing…
Proverbs 3:13-15

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Essential for a meaningful life is knowing what to value. The cause of much unhappiness is prizing things that are either of little value…
Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Are you experiencing trials at this time? Do you feel like you are going through a specially difficult time? Then consider the "devotional" written by the writer of Hebrews on this proverb.

It is for discipline that
Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
This proverb is referring to tithing the firstfruits of all your produce. We talk about giving all of ourselves to the Lord and yet somehow find it difficult to part with ten percent of our income. Surely it…
Proverbs 3:7-8

Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Verse 7 presents a good definition of humility. First, be not wise in your own eyes. This is not false humility but a recognition of your limits. The essence of wisdom is recognizing how little you know. There are many scholars…
Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Here is the guide to life for the Christian. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust God in all circumstances to know what he is doing, to keep his promises, to bring all things to a conclusion…
Proverbs 3:3-4

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
These are new words in the Proverbs - steadfast love and faithfulness. Note the overall focus on steadiness. We are to have a love that is steadfast. This same term for love…
Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you. How to live longer and healthier is vitally important in our society, especially to those entering retirement years. When we reach middle-age we begin to measure our life-span. We are at the halfway mark to death if we remain…
Proverbs 2:20-22

20 So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it, 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

What do you gain by walking the path of the good? You gain…
Proverbs 2:16-19

16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.

This is the first mention of…
Proverbs 2:12-15

12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Yes, there are men "out there" who want to harm you and take advantage of…
Proverbs 2:9-12

9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech.

For from being a burden, wisdom and its companions make great guests in your heart. Knowledge…
Proverbs 2:5-8

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.

If you truly seek wisdom, you…
Proverbs 2:1-4

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,

The precondition for wisdom is that you must desire it. You learn what you want…
Proverbs 1:26-33
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose
Proverbs 1:22-25

"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored
Proverbs 1:20-21

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
Two notes to make: first, wisdom is cast as a woman. She will be contrasted with the forbidden woman who leads men astray. Men are attracted to the latter, but it is Wisdom who will prove…
Proverbs 1:10-19

10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
11 If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot
Proverbs 1:8-9

Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.

This is a good lesson for parents and children. First to children: what you may regard as chains around your neck, burdening and holding you down are really garlands and pendants to adorn you. Their instructions and rules are for your protection…
Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

To have right knowledge, one must have a right perspective on reality. The skills of a mountain climber avail nothing if the climber is ascending the wrong mountain. Indeed, they take him further away from the goal. Reality is grounded in God. Thus, knowledge begins with a right understanding of God. And yet…
Proverbs 1:5-6

Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
the words of the wise and their riddles.

Note the supposition of Solomon. The wise can always increase in learning. They do not reach a stage of knowing all they need to know. Furthermore, it requires wisdom to learn. Two men may have the same mental…
Proverbs 1:2-4

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth-

It is not enough to know your goal, be it to obtain financial security or to win the world for Christ. Knowing the goal is essential, but one must also be wise to attain it…
Some of you may know that over three years, with the help of others, I wrote daily devotions through the book of Proverbs. I am bringing them back (though you can read all of them anytime at my DMC Resource site) as daily postings. I have updated them, writing the ones I had missed before.
Proverbs 1:1

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

This first verse…