"The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding, To receive the instruction of wisdom, Justice, judgment, and equity; To give prudence to the simple, To the young man knowledge and discretionóA wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel, To understand a proverb and an enigma, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Proverbs 1:1-7
The book of Proverbs is written to show how to handle the everyday practical things of life. Starting this week, I will be commenting on various sections of this book. Solomon tells us in 1:1-7, how to get wisdom, instruction, understanding, justice, judgment, equity, prudence, knowledge and discretion. How badly these attributes are needed in our world today, but they are need even more so by us if we desire to go to be with God forever.
Solomon starts this section with the idea that we have a part to play in gaining these wonderful gifts from God. A wise man is said to hear and to learn wise counsel which will increase his knowledge. Solomon has given us the wise counsel of God in his writings and we will attempt to increase our learning over the next several weeks as this series continues.
What is amazing is that we have the choice as to which group we wish to belong! The wise man is described as fearing God, both in the sense of respecting God and also in the sense of knowing His power to punish. The foolish man is described as despising wisdom and knowledge that comes from God.
Our study today will focus on finding out what pleases God. If I can understand what makes God angry and what pleases Him then I can begin to mold my life in a way that will allow me to be godly.
Letís look at Proverbs 3:32-35; "For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, But His secret counsel is with the upright. The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just. Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble. The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools."
Solomon uses some powerful words to describe Godís attitude toward the perverse, the wicked, the scornful, and the fool. He says they are abomination to God. He curses them and scorns them while providing a legacy of shame for them.
Solomon also uses some powerful words to describe Godís attitude toward the upright, the just, the humble and the wise. He says Godís secret counsel is with them and He blesses them while giving them grace and providing them with an inheritance of glory...
Are we perverse or upright, wicked or just, scornful or humble, foolish or wise? Do we desire to walk in Godís ways or manís. Are we fair and right in our dealings with our fellowman or do we take every advantage we can? Do we look down on others or do we see ourselves as equal? Do we allow our emotions or our intellect to guide our lives? These are not easy questions and even more difficult answers!
May God bless us as we try every day to mold our lives in such a way that we can live in a Godly way in this ungodly world.
As Jesus said in Matthew 5:14, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden."
One of the first things most people ask is what is the benefit in this for me. God gives us an answer in Proverbs 3:1-10. "My son, do not forget my law, But let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life And peace they will add to you. Let not mercy and truth forsake you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart, And so find favor and high esteem In the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones. Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the first fruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine."
He tells us that long life and peace will be ours if we do not forget His law. If nothing else was offered, this should be enough for peace is something that most people do not experience in their lives.
But there is more. We are told that we will have favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man if we do not let mercy and truth escape us. Who does not want to be highly thought of by his fellow man? An even greater desire should be to have God esteem us!
As most of us have learned by now our own understanding is often faulty. To have God direct our lives is the offer that is made with the condition that we trust Him and acknowledge Him in everything... If spiritual health is our desire, it is offered to those who depart from evil because we fear the Lord and know we are not wise enough to always know what to do. With these promises we can have the strength to live Godly lives in an ungodly world!
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." 17:17
"Ointment and perfume delight the heart: and the sweetness of a man's friend does so by hearty counsel." 27:9
"Do not forsake your own friend, or your father's friend, nor go into your brother's house in the day of your calamity: for better is a neighbor that is near than a brother far away." 27:10
"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful." 27:6
"A man who has friends must himself be friendly: but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." 18:24
These are but a few of the passages in the book of Proverbs concerning friends. From them we can learn that a true friend is one who is a companion for all times, even when we mess up. There is not a truer saying than, "just get into trouble and you find out who your friends are".
A true friend is also a trusted and honest counselor, one we can turn to for advice. We know we will receive help in figuring out what is best.
A true friend is a wise and loving confronter, not afraid to wound us if wounding is what we need. Sometimes the truth is very hard to face, but those who will not help us to see the truth are not friends. They are deceitful and harmful to have around us.
Proverbs 18:24, informs us that to have such a friend we must be a friend! Like everything else in life there is a price to pay. It will cost time, energy and compassion if we desire to have a friend.
Wealth with all its benefits and dangers was a very popular topic in the book of Proverbs. Today we will look at only a few verses in order to understand the attitude God wants us to have regarding the acquiring money.
Proverbs 10:22, "The blessing of the LORD, makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." As much as our pride would have us to think, it is God who gives us the good things of life. If we just would look at wealth in this way, we would never be arrogant or haughty.
Proverbs 11:28, "He who trusts in his riches will fall: but the righteous will flourish like the foliage." The danger is not in having wealth but trusting in it to the exclusion of God. The righteous will flourish whether he is wealthy or poor.
Proverbs 13:11, "Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished: but he who gathers by labor will increase." The methods by which we gain our wealth will determine whether we are accepted by God or whether we will eventually lose it all.
Proverbs 23:4-5, "Do not overwork to be rich: because of your own understanding cease. Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven." This passage points to one of the greatest problems of our day: Overwork. Solomon pleads with us to have the wisdom to show some restraint. We have all had the experience of working to set aside money for one thing only to have to spend it for something else.
Continuing our discussion from last week concerning the material things in life, we can learn from the wisdom of Proverbs in relationship to being the worker and manager that pleases God.
First letís look at the warnings of what we are not to be as workers. Laziness will quickly irritate your boss (Proverbs 10:26). Slothfulness will destroy a company as quickly as a competitor, and how long will your job last if your company canít compete (Proverbs 18:9)?
If in todayís competitive job market we desire to become that elusive "valuable commodity", we need these three qualities:
One must be both a wise manager and a good leader to succeed in the business world today. To be a wise manager one must be diligent in his planning and not too hasty in trying to get things done (Proverbs 21:5). It is also important to nurture and utilize counsel from others (Proverbs 15:22). Finally one must stay on top of his job and be aware of what is going on in all areas (Proverbs 27:23-27).
It is rare for one to be both a wise manager and a good leader, but the book of Proverbs gives us valuable insights as to what it takes to be a good leader.
First one can not oppress his workers, but must have understanding (Proverbs 28:26).
Secondly a good leader will be concerned for the rights of his employees (Proverbs 29:7). When one provides good treatment he will receive loyalty and love (Proverbs 29:21).
Finally one must help the employee see how his work benefits himself as well as the company, so he will be diligent in his efforts (Proverbs 16:26).
Thus far in this series of articles I have been writing to the adults, but in this article I am writing to the children in the congregation.
In Proverbs 1:8 we read: "My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;" and Paul explains this more fully in Ephesians 6:1-3, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother,?" which is the first commandment with promise: "that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth."
Colossians 3:20 makes it plain that this obedience is not just in things that pertain to Christian living, but it is in all things, "Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord". This relationship was perfectly illustrated in the relationship of Jesus to God the father.
Jesus was completely obedient even though this obedience resulted in His death. Philippians 2:5-8, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
They will have a happy life and they will have a long life. These are things we all want and they can be ours if we will just obey. That is why God said this is the first command with promise; all other issues of life spring from this one command.
One of the ways God helps us to live a godly life is to teach us how to establish a happy home. In Proverbs 24:3,4, He says, "Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established; By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches." It is only through wisdom, understanding and knowledge that we can hope to have the happiness God desires for us in our marriages.
Knowledge, the gathering of facts, wisdom, the proper application of those facts, and understanding, the comprehension of how those facts impact upon us and others all tell us there is much work to be done if we desire that happy marriage.
Proverbs 19:14 tells us, "Houses and riches are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." We need to recognize the dependence we have on the Lord.
We may receive our wealth from our fathers but only God can give us a good mate. In Proverbs 12:14 we learn both what can happen to us if we have a excellent wife and if we have one who causes shame, "An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones." Proverbs 21:19 makes it even plainer, "Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman."
Proverbs 5:1, "My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding", is Godís way of leading us to consider the leading destroyer of happy homes, unfaithfulness of our wedding vows of keeping ourselves only to our mate.
He discusses the topic from both the negative and the positive and ends with the warning in verses 21-23, "For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, And He ponders all his paths. His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin. He shall die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he shall go astray."
-- Don Treadway, December 2001 --