Proverbs 30

” There be  four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:”-Proverbs 30:24.

Greatness is often in miniature. The weak…..the little…the insignificant can teach us lessons unknown to the tiger or elephant or other mighty animal. Solomon uses four puny animals in verses 25-28 to prove this.

1. The ants….not strong. Yet with an instinctive motive to act.  To do the right thing at the right time.To lay up stores in summer for winter. PRUDENCE.

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2. The conies (rock badgers that look like rabbits)…not mighty. Because they are feeble they live in the rocks. They are forced into well-guarded fortifications. Wide awake is the man who has a true estimation of his assets and liabilities…..strengths and weaknesses. The wise man flees to the Rock and hiding place like David in Psalm 18:2. From the conies learn PERCEPTION.

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3. The locusts…not organized. They go forth to divide the spoil with no appointed chief. The keep together to do the job. They move like a mighty army, as one. A challenge to the one body of Christ. From the locusts learn PARTNERSHIP.

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4. The spider….not wanted. In kings’ palaces. Swept away and arraigned by arachnophobes! Even when their work is destroyed they start it again. Remember the story of King Robert the Bruce? From the humble spider learn PERSISTENCE.

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Proverbs 29

Proverbs 29

v1 “He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.”

Parents, pastor, teacher and friends continue to counsel but the bull-headed man sets himself against them and God. Then…..wham! The roof of circumstances caves in. The axe falls. The train comes off the track. No more opportunities to repent. “Without remedy” is written across the life of the man with a ” hardened neck.”

“….My spirit shall not always strive with man…” Genesis 6:3.

As obstinate as a mule, this man follows the pattern in Proverbs:

 

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5:12–His heart despised reproof.

10:17–He that refuses reproof erreth.

12:1–He that hateth reproof is brutish.

Refuse….despise….hate–the downward course of this fixed and unyielding heart. Is it any wonder that there comes a time when there is no possible remedy?

The hardened heart may be without remedy, like Pharaoh, like the apostates in Hebrews 6, like Esau who found no place of repentance (Heb.12:17). True repentance causes a turning from sin and a hatred of it. A confession and a forsaking (Prov.28:13). Someone reproves us for action or attitude. God’s men will reconsider; an act of the intellect tied in with an act of the will is the corrective needed.

v15 “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
v17 Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.”

v23 “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” Why? Because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble (I Peter 5:5,6).

v25 “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.” Lord expose that fear when we are guilty of it and help us as thy people, righteous in Christ, to be bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1).

Proverbs 28

Proverbs  28

28:1 The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion. ” Guilt of sin makes a man a coward.” I believe paranoia and panic attacks are also the result. We must learn boldness in the classroom of Christ.

1) Learn how to come boldly to the throne of grace in prayer, to get strength and help (Heb.4:16).

2) Learn how to be bold in sharing Christ with others. ” ..grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word…” Acts 4:29.

Holy boldness comes from holy living.

28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination. Neglecting the word read or preached will render our prayers abominable.

28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

28:20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. Surely gambling comes into this latter category.

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Proverbs 27

Proverbs   27

27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.  “Look sharp, feel sharp and be sharp….have a buddy.” We need friends who will sharpen us, with whom to share and pray. Caleb and Joshua. David and Jonathan. Paul and Barnabas. Saints are sharpened by other saints (by God’s grace).

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27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

27:1 Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Very important not to boast about tomorrow, rather we should say “If the Lord will(Deo volente DV) we will do such and such” (James 4:13,14).

27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. This is true of every unregenerate person till they come to know Christ and receive his soul-satisfying spiritual water of life (John 4).

27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. The duty of every elder in the church.

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Proverbs 26

Proverbs  26

26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

_RABSHEKAS_DEFIANCE_OF_GOD_BEFORE_THE_WALLS_OF_JERUSALEM_

Rabsheka, Sennacherib’s envoy  at Jerusalem’s wall.

Listen to John Gill…”Answer not a fool according to his folly,…. Sometimes a fool, or wicked man, is not to be answered at all; as the ministers of Hezekiah answered not a word to Rabshakeh; and when an answer is returned, it should not be in his foolish way and manner, rendering evil for evil, and railing for railing, in the same virulent, lying, calumniating, and reproachful language; lest thou also be like unto him; lest thou also, who art a man of understanding and sense, and hast passed for one among men, come under the same imputation, and be reckoned a fool like him. Answer a fool according to his folly,…. The Targum is, “but speak with a fool in thy wisdom;” and the Syriac version, “yea, speak with a fool according to thy wisdom;” which would at once remove the seeming contradiction in these words to the former, it must be the sense, that when a fool is answered, as it is sometimes necessary he should, that it be done in wisdom, and so as to expose his folly; he is to be answered when there is hope of doing him good, or of doing good to others; or of preventing ill impressions being made upon others by what he has said; when the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it; and when he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words or works were unanswerable, as follow; lest he be wise in his own conceit; which fools are apt to be, and the rather when no answer is given them; imagining it arises from the strength of their arguments, and their nervous way of reasoning, when it is rather from a neglect and contempt of them.”

Proverbs 26:6

26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.  Is not this so true of the sins of the unregenerate and EVEN of believers!

26:17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. Remember Moses when he killed the Egyptian. There is a time to step in and help , like the good Samaritan. Peter was shamed when he used his sword in the garden but used of God when he was used to heal a cripple at the beautiful gate. Meddling with strife-NO! Ministry of sympathy-yes!
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26:27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. Remember Haman!

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Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22

22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

“To what extraordinary limits men will go in order to get their names before fellow man. Human nature shrinks from remaining “anonymous.”

Have always a name that is associated with good things…God’s things.”

22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

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A Challenge to Men from Proverbs

PROVERBS

 

 

Notes and quotes from this poetic book of  wisdom in Scripture and the booklet by Robert D Foster.

 

The wisdom book for everyday life.

Wisdom is knowing right from wrong and choosing right.

Written by Solomon.

For young (and old) to know truth.

Balance between Psalms and Proverbs

Psalms Proverbs
Relationship of man to God Relationship of man to man
Songbook Guidebook
Worship Work
Closet of prayer Office of business
Doctrinal Practical
On your knees On your feet
Church Market place

 

Proverbs need to be sucked like a sweet, time needs to be taken over sucking it to take it in.

Substituting the name of Christ for wisdom is quite appropriate because..I Cor. 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

Proverbs 1

“The fear of the Lord (respect for, reverence for, love of God) is the beginning of wisdom.”

1:10 “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” Do not follow the wicked in schemes of violence, murder and theft or greed.

1:25,26 “But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;” God may rightly mock those who despise him and indeed he will destroy the impenitent.

1:32 For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.

Like the foolish man who built his house on sand their lives will crumble and they will end up in hell.

1:33 But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

 

The place to quiet a guilty conscience and to have peace in place of dread is with Christ.

Acts 24:16 “And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void to offence toward God, and toward men.”

I Peter 3: 6 “Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.”

Phil.1:28 “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.”

I Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

 

Proverbs 2

Dig

The need to dig. 2:4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.

Dependable wisdom and dependable protection and preservation are afforded by Christ. This wisdom is pleasant. It will keep us from copying evil men and falling in with evil women. The man who would know God must dig and it involves work. No treasure of gold or silver was found easily.

Acts 17:11 The Bereans ” were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Ezra 7:10 ” For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.”

Proverbs 3

In all thy ways acknowledge him

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

The stops and the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord according to George Muller. God opens some doors and closes others. We must trust him to meet our needs as he promises to do (Phil.4:19).

We need a reliable guide and God knows the way. For direction prayer, the Scriptures, our gifting, advice, leaning not on your own understanding are all important…..and waiting….”he that believeth shall not make haste”-Isaiah 28:16. Guidance is cumulative.

God is no man’s debtor..vv8,9. Give of your first-fruits to his cause in your church.

Wisdom is most precious vv13-19, because wisdom founded the earth, wisdom is found in a person, Jesus Christ. He is our confidence so do not fear v26. The reprobate’s house and all he has is cursed v33, there is no grace for unrepentant unbelievers.

Proverbs 4

 Keep thy heart

4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Listen to your father’s instruction, get wisdom because it brings honour, life and health.

Lord keep my heart free me from all fears, fear of persecution, ridicule, old age, death. Dislodge all pride, pride in the mere physical, pride in intellect, pride in how I may have excelled others-give me rather humble gratitude. Keep me from envy and help me to be content with your purposes for me. Give me heart victory over the flesh-extravagant appetites, all lust, laziness, self-indulgence, un-consecrated ambitions, misuse of the tongue. Give me a heart that overcomes anxiety.

Help me pray and plan ahead.

 

Proverbs 5

Don’t be ensnared

Cross reference John 8:34 “Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”

“Habits grip, evil deeds become evil habits. The ropes of a man’s own sin bind him. The lasso of lust, the lariat of laziness, the lanyard of loose Samson in the bosom of Delilah, King Saul consumed by envy, Esau. Only Christ can set free the elect captives of sin.

This chapter warns young men from being ensnared by seductive, wicked, strange women-women who do not love God but only lust and money and who take pleasure in entrapping the unwary. Samson was snared by lust for a pagan woman and lost his eyes, the vehicle of his lust, as a result. Stay well away from such girls or women, who flatter, seduce and trap the pleasure-seeking youth. Flee fornication is Paul’s injunction, just like Joseph in Potiphar’s house! This is the one sin you cannot resist, you must flee! Remember Samson in the bosom of Delilah, King Saul consumed by envy, Esau.

Flee fornication is Paul’s injunction, just like Joseph in Potiphar’s house! This is the one sin you cannot resist, you mus flee! What is the alternative, God-honouring way? Wait for him to bring a godly wife, someone from your own church or denomination, who like you (Amos 3:3) loves God, lives for Jesus Christ and will as a help fitted for you, meet your needs in covenant marriage.

Proverbs 6

Go to the ant.

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V6  “Go to the ant thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise.”

Man can learn much from the ant.

1)      “Be wise in foresight. They prepare their food in the summer. They are prudent in preparation. A spending time means there must be a saving or gathering time. To harvest I must sow. Prepare in plenty for time of need (Remember Joseph in Egypt).Provide in time for eternity. Lay the foundation in life for death. Only the foolish man lives like the grasshopper….singing, idling and empty hearted; when the winter comes he dies, while the ant is abundantly cared for. Work while you can….there’s coming a day when you can’t……Learn from the ant!”

2)      Be wise in organisation. They have no overseer but how hard they work. Living and working together, never quarrelling, continually pulling together…without bureaucracy! Learn from the ant.

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Massive ant metroplolis.

3)      Be wise in industry. They are always on the lookout for food, always caring for the queen, digging and making rooms….all day long busy, busy, busy! “No wonder the ant is one of God’s favourites….He loves the hard worker. The two men God will not use are the lazy and the coward. Learn from the ant for it is neither.”

“In this day of ease, idleness, slothfulness and indifference, may this be a challenge to learn from the animal kingdom of ants”…and be wise.

Proverbs 7.

7:1,5 ” My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee.  That they may keep thee from the strange woman.”

This is a warning to men against the lusts of the flesh. No doubt he remembered what happened to his father David and he warns concerning the dangers of playing with the fire of adultery (or fornication). The young man is simple, ignorant perhaps of God’s law, with idle time on his hands, easy prey for the tempting (satanically motivated) adulteress. There is only one safe way to deal with sexual temptation-flee! This man thinks he’s going to have a pleasurable time but he is pierced through-like a dart through the liver-extremely painful, perhaps fatal! To keep ourselves from this we must keep ourselves. The best defence against the fiery darts of lust of the flesh is the flesh is the shield of faith-my Lord is watching, he is worthy, He died for sin, I do not want to displease him, I have made a covenant with my eyes to not look (lustfully) on a maid (Job). Remember pure Joseph. Heed Peter’s admonition I Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

Proverbs 8

8:34 “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.”

Wisdom is given female personhood and she cries out. She could be equated with the gospel of Christ calling foolish men to repent. She speaks excellent things, truth and righteousness worth more than all riches. ” The immediate reason for these references is that the word wisdom in Hebrew is a feminine word. It is difficult to appreciate that in English, for we have few such words in our language, but many words that refer to inanimate things are masculine or feminine in Hebrew. The closest we come to that in English is in referring to an automobile or ship as “she.” Because the word is feminine in Hebrew, anyone who was talking about wisdom in that language would automatically refer to it as “she.” In most passages that refer to wisdom, therefore, the word she could be replaced in English by it or he without changing the meaning. ” Ron Hanko

The fear of the Lord is further addressed-it means to hate evil, pride and arrogance (v13).

Wisdom then goes on to explain how she enables men to rule and judge, brings men riches, and make them righteous. Wisdom then explains how she was the means by which God created all things, that she was eternal and that God delighted in her. Finally she declares how that the man who daily visits her will find life and favour. Now we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God (I Cor.1:24,30)so all that is said of wisdom applies to him and the application is to privately seek him daily in personal devotion.

Proverbs  9

 

V1 Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

Wisdom builds a substantial house and here is preparing her banquet and inviting guests, just like the king in the gospels inviting to his son’s marriage supper, both pictures of the gospel of Christ which makes one wise, causes one to feast on spiritual food and ultimately dine with the king’s son in glory. The writer then contrasts the difference between reproving a wise man and a scorner.  Foster majors on the negative injunctions of Scripture eg Thou shalt NOT, blessed is the man that walketh NOT, do NOT your alms before men, lean NOT on your own understanding. God commends men who will accept “no” from him and others and also say “no” to sin. A key verse is repeated v10  “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Then there is another description of the temptress who lures men with her “stolen waters” to their doom.

Here’s the logo of Maranatha Christian High School in the US

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Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn out its seven pillars… (Proverbs 9:1)

Humility

God first, others second, me third

Discipline

Training to improve strength and character

Integrity

Doing what is right even when nobody is looking

Courage

Doing what is right in the face of fear

Perseverance

Unwavering determination

Passion

Energetic and unyielding devotion to a cause

Stewardship

Generous guardianship of what we have been given

Proverbs   10

10:30 The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.

Contrast between righteous and wicked

Righteous Wicked
Wise son makes father glad v1 Foolish son makes mother’s heart heavy v1
 Delivered from death v2 Provided for v3 Their riches do not profit v2                            They are cast away v3
Diligence makes rich v4 Slackness leads to poverty v4
 Gathers/saves  and is wise v5 Sleeps in harvest v5
Blessings    v6 Victim of violence  v6
Blessed memory  v7 Name rots    v7
Receives commands (from God and man)  v8
   Maliciousness will cause his     fall v8

 

Walks uprightly and surely v9 Walks perversely and is known v9
His words bring life v11 Mouth is violent and receives violence  v11
Love forgives    v12 Hates and stirs up strife v12
Wise lips  v13 Lacks understanding and is punished    v13
Learn and retain  v14 Foolishly  are destroyed  v14
Labour enhances his walk with God (life) v16 Fruit of the wicked is sin  v16
Keeps (heeds) instruction v17 Refuses reproof   v17
Hides hatred, lies, slanders….is a fool   v18
Spares his words   v19 Multiplies word     v19
Valuable words   v20 Worthless words   v20
Words feed many  v21   (spiritually) Lack wisdom and die   v21
Desires granted  v24 Fears  realised   v24
Leaves a heritage  v25 Lives pass like a whirlwind     v25
Sluggard who irritates his master    v26
Prolonged days  v27 Life often shortened  v27
Wise words    v31Know what is acceptable  v32 Tongue silenced  v31Obstinate and disobedient  v32
Hope and gladness  v28   (eternity) Expectation perishes  v28  (no hope)
Strength is the way of the Lord  v29 Destruction   v28
Never be removed   v30 (inherit   earth) Shall not inhabit earth  v30

Foster speaks of the satisfaction of finishing tasks. Of starting with the aim of completion, not like the ploughman in Luke 9:62 who kept looking back. Count the cost and complete. Then we may say like Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:…”II Timothy 4:7

Proverbs 11

Proverbs  11:22 As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

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God hates cheating, whether it be in an exam, or in business or in sport or regarding paying taxes. An oft-repeated theme in this book is the folly of pride. It leads to shame, a fall, opposition by God and a proud look is hated by God. Think how much our thoughts and activity are dominated by self-aggrandisement , “look at me” or “don’t I deserve praise?” Righteousness , mercy and integrity bring delight to God, guidance, deliverance from trouble and death, needed supply, the good of your own soul, in leadership rejoicing in the city, reward and life. Perversity, cruelty and deceitful work lead to self harm, punishment, wrath and the curse, destruction, no hope and in leaders to the overthrow of civil rule. Don’t despise others or tell tales about them. Get counsel to make safe decisions. A beautiful woman with no discretion is like a gold jewel in a pig’s snout. Trust in riches is folly. He that wins souls is wise.

Proverbs 12

12:3 A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.

      Wise man                                                    Fool/wicked

Hates reproof

  •                                                                                                                       Easily removed

Plans violence

  •                                                                                                                       Overthrown
  •                                                                                                                       Despised
  •                                                                                                                       Cruel
  •                                                                                                                       Follows fools
    •                                                                                                           Snared by sinful words
    •                                                                                                            Justifies self
    •                                                                                                            Quickly angry
    •                                                                                                            Speaks lies-abomination to God.
    •                                                                                                            Hurtful words
    •                                                                                                            Mischief befalls
    •                                                                                                            Blurts out foolishness
  •                                                                                                                        Lazy and serves
  • Accepts reproof
    • Stability (rooted)
    • Stands
    • Commended
    • Cares for animals
    • Works the land
    • Justified
    • Rewarded
    • Listens to counsel
    • Speaks truth-delights God.
    • Health-giving words
    • No evil befalls
    • May spare his knowledge
    • Diligent and rules

 

The Lord wants steadfastness  and immovability (I Cor.15:58, Ephesians 6:13)

Cross references;  Psalm 1   Matthew 7:24-29.

Proverbs 13

13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Foster says, and rightly, that pride causes arguments and makes us impatient when we are contradicted. All competition and rivalry are outcroppings of pride (what does that say about all sports?).Pride covets praise and caters to applause.

Pride makes a god of self. We all have inflated ideas of our abilities…even pride of grace.  Paul and Barnabas who both had a case were unwilling to budge and are a case in point (Acts 15:39). God hates pride. It sows discord among brethren. Pray to be made humble.

Also in this chapter: Respect your parents and listen to them is an oft-repeated refrain in this book. This is also applied to all in authority. Wise, thoughtful words and hard work are rewarded. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished-this would include all forms of gambling and experience teaches that it is indeed diminished rapidly. Verse 13 teaches that our attitude to God’s word has to be one of reverence or we will perish. With whom we keep company is very important. Physical chastisement of our children is actually loving them. (Godly) hopes and desires fulfilled are a great blessing.

 

 

Proverbs 14

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14:3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

14:4 Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox.

The foolish proud man beats down others in an attempt to bolster his own ego. “Get rid of the means of production (oxen) and you’ve cut your workload to nil (clean crib and no manure to shift) but profits have also gone. Lean Christianity so often looks at the work in the barn and has no vision for the fruit in the field. Digging into Scripture, fervency in prayer, labouring for the hearts of men, and the daily exercise of being about your Father’s business: these are the golden oxen that make for a bountiful life.” Foster

II Thess. 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.

3:11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

3:12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

Once again we have the contrast between wisdom, wrought by grace and the folly of unregenerate man..

Wisdom Folly
A built house A broken down   house
Fear of the Lord Despising  God
Truth Lies
Right   understanding Self deception   and death
Flourishes Overthrown
Departs from evil Mocks at sin
Slow to anger Hasty of spirit
Contentment Envy
Cares for poor Oppresses poor
Hope in death Driven away (to   hell)

 

Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 15

Wisdom personified addresses many issues in this chapter eg in speech-thinking how you answer, the avoidance of strife, being slow to anger, wholesome and pleasant words, life-giving words, dispensing knowledge.

The necessity of listening to reproof and instruction is repeated. Being content with little and having a merry heart is healthy.

God sees all men and into hell itself. He hates the proud and wicked but listens to the humble righteous.

Getting counsel from many is wise.

Foster states that wise men, especially leaders seek advice, and good advice, not like Rehoboam (II Chronicles 10:8). Paul in Acts 15 courted counsel from the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Proverbs 11:14 echoes this. A band of men (a committee!) supply:

1) Encouragement

2) Objectivity

3) A sounding board.

He ends with this great truth, take everything to God in prayer, seeking his divine guidance and direction, because in Isaiah 9:6 we read that ” his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor…”.

 

 

Proverbs 16

16:9 “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.”

What we plan to say and what we do say is ordained by God! (v1). God knows our motives (v2). Pray about your plans, God will direct (v3). God has reprobate men and women to do his bidding (v4), even their own wickedness (to fulfil his purposes), an amazing verse on providence (think Gen.50:20). God hates pride, because it glorifies self rather than the Creator and though proud and wicked men may band together (think Herod and Pilate) they will be punished (v5). Pride will cause many falls in life and eventually to the destruction of hell unless there is repentance (v18).The cross of Christ, where mercy and truth kissed (Ps.85:10) is where iniquity is purged and the fear of the Lord, engendered by his Spirit, causes us to depart from evil (v6). Man proposes, God disposes!(v9). Wisdom and understanding make us prudent, lead us to use wise and pleasant words  and make us spiritually rich. Every false religion is included in v25. Sowing strife and gossiping are great evils (v28). Being not soon angry is a victorious grace (v32). A true lot (think Jonah, Matthias) gives God’s providential guidance (v33).

 

Proverbs 17

 

17: 22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

 

Foster says, ”good humour is refreshing, good wholesome joy and buoyancy.” The great physician said, “Be of good cheer.”  “Pills can never reproduce what God gives to his children….a merry heart!  This is ours continually, not dependent on weather, bank account, or health, but solely upon the promises of God.”

“ So your bones don’t dry up, try these simple directions:

1)      Keep on good terms with God. A merry heart is a clean heart. Walk in the light.

2)      Keep on good terms with your fellow man. Keep short accounts with all relatives etc.

3)      Never grumble. Be thankful.

4)      Be merry-smile, laugh  heartily, enjoy all God’s good gifts. Work cheerfully.

 

All this is a good testimony.” “ They looked unto him, and were lightened (radiant): and their faces were not ashamed.” Psalm 34:5.

God refines us like silver, to teach us the truth about ourselves and cause the dross to be skimmed off, so that we like the molten metal are made purer (v3).

Justifying the wicked and condemning the just is an abomination to God (v15). Happening in the UK right now with homosexuality and hoteliers and others who oppose it.

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” (v17) A great verse for caring fellowship.

Bribery is wicked (v23)-endemic in much of the third world.

 

Proverbs 18

18:13” He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.”

Proverbs has probably more to say about our words than any other aspect of life. This chapter is no exception.  v6 “A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calleth for strokes. 7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. 8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” 20 “A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

  v 9 Sloth and waste go together.

v10 “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” “God is my defence” Psalm 59:9

18:13” He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Prejudice is giving your verdict before you hear all the facts. Hear a person out before giving counsel. Beware of cutting others down to boost your own ego. “ Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth: keep the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

18:22 “Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD”. I often thought on this when I was single. What is good for one man, (marriage) may not be good for another (who has the gift of lifelong singleness, like Christ himself).

Matthew 7:11 “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him.”

 

Proverbs  19

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19:15 Slothfulness casteth into a deep sleep; and an idle soul shall suffer hunger.

“Honest hard work is exalted in the book of Proverbs. The sluggard is a drone. Sleep is easier than labour…..self-indulgence than enduring hardness. Brains….wealth….and personality are no substitute for perspiration producing work.

Nine other verses in Proverbs tell us the tragic story of the slothful man:

12:24……leadership shall never be his portion.

12:27……lazily he lives upon the earnings of others.

15:19…..problems and difficulties engulf him constantly.

18:9….trifling and careless in his responsibilities.

19:24….he hugs himself in ease.

21:25….refusal to produce is a trademark.

22:13    there are continual illusions of danger to his life.

24:30,31….total breakdown in management of business and home.

26:14….in love with his complacency.”

Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

 

A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall not escape. (v5). Every lie will have it’s shameful consequences, ultimately eternal loss (v9).

He that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good (v8). People who reject Christ and biblical morality are actually hating and damaging themselves.

The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression(v11). Discretion will teach you when it’s right to fight for truth or speak up about a personal slight.

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying (v18). And that’s while he is young.

 

Proverbs 20

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20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Alcohol deceives, promising social acceptance and forgetfulness of all problems and instead it may compounding the latter. Drunkenness and alcoholism are debasing sins. Drunkenness leads to violence, sexual sin, road deaths, family breakdown and a host of other evils and believers are easily snared. Alcohol is a good servant to make glad the heart of man but it is a bad master and alcoholism severely curtails your lifespan.

20:7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

20:10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

20:23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

Both these verse call for fairness and principle in business, a perfect and just weight (Deut. 25:13-16). The world is full of corruption. Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. In the New Testament the tax collectors were told to exact only what was due and the soldiers not to force anyone. Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Proverbs 21

21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

“God turns the heart of (world) leadership like a farmer turns water down an irrigation ditch. The unsearchable and unmanageable hearts of world dictators are not only seen by the eyes of the Lord but controlled by his hand. (Hebrews 4:13). Franklyn said, “if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?” Nebuchadnezzar learned this (the hard way!) Daniel 4:17,25,32……”until thou know that the most high ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Men moving nations for their own selfish purposes….man’s heart…God’s hand!” “Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3). So Kim Jong Un, Mugabe,Putin, Obama, Cameron and all the rest are under God’s hand.

 

Proverbs 22

22:1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

“To what extraordinary limits men will go in order to get their names before fellow man. Human nature shrinks from remaining “anonymous.”

Have always a name that is associated with good things…God’s things.”

22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. 22:15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

22:29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.

Proverbs 23

23:26 “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”

Pacesetting in life is foundational to all instruction. The one setting the pace in a race must keep ahead but not run the others following him into the ground-he pulls them towards the highest goal (a good time for the race). As believers we are to set an example and those following need an open heart and observing eyes- a heart that wants to follow and obey, and keen eyes to learn. Naomi was such to Ruth, Gideon to his 300 men and Paul to his Corinthian converts (I Corinthians 11:1 “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”) Men observing our ways should see the Lord as our pacesetter.

23:2 “And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” 23:20 “Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 23:21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” Temperance in eating (and every pleasure) is important to the Christian. Look at the graphic description of the drunkard (alcoholic)………………………………………. 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 23:31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 23:33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 23:34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 23:35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.

23:7 “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” This is the true test of our character. Do we question that we are totally depraved and that in our flesh (old man) dwelleth no good thing? Think what your thoughts actually reveal-they are the real you!

23:13 Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell. When they are young, discipline your children and do not withhold corporal correction-it will be instrumental in their salvation.

Proverbs  24

Proverbs 24:10 “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.”

A man’s character is seen when there is adversity-loss, deaths, tragedy, persecution.

Job had these in abundance. So did Joseph and Daniel and Paul but they all stood firm by God’s grace and their resolution to trust God’s promises and his covenant love. Indeed Paul said, ” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”(Phil.4:13)

Never quit! By grace and the Biblical teaching of God’s preservation of the saints and our perseverance we will go on to the end.

24:1 Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them (also vv19,20). This is what Asaph was tempted to do and wrote Psalm 73 realizing the truth when he went into God’s temple namely the wicked are on a slippery slope.

24:5 A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  Godly wisdom is spiritual strength which should grow, and it is sweet like honey (vv13,14). 24:6 For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.

24:24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: 24:25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them. This truth will more and more be a test of God’s people as wickedness increases and the world fills up it’s cup of iniquity.

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Proverbs  25

25:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. And let’s be honest there are many things God conceals which we have no idea about, things in the creation like how a baby forms in the womb, why so many “innocent” men women and children die in wars not of their making etc

25:4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer. This is a picture of God refining his people, making them vessels for noble use.

25:6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: 25:7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen. Jesus said something very similar in Luke 14:8-10 when instructing about humility at a wedding feast.

25:9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: In other words have it out with your neighbour rather than going blabbing behind his back.

25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. A beautiful picture.

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25:12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear. In other words reproof is something to treasure. 25:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint. There is great need for a faithful or dependable man. Psalm 12:1.

25:21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: 25:22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee. This is quoted by Paul in Romans 12:20 and is to be taken as a picture of shame being heaped upon the enemy leading him to repentance, by God’s grace pictured by the coals that have come from the altar of sacrifice which purify (remember Isaiah’s mouth!)

25:27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory. Temperance in every pleasure. And does the second part of this verse not cover almost every sporting and competitive event invented by man?

25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls. What a perpetual challenge this is to people, like me who so easily “blow their top!”

 

Proverbs  26

26:4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

26:5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

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Rabsheka, Sennacherib’s envoy  at Jerusalem’s wall.

Listen to John Gill…”Answer not a fool according to his folly,…. Sometimes a fool, or wicked man, is not to be answered at all; as the ministers of Hezekiah answered not a word to Rabshakeh; and when an answer is returned, it should not be in his foolish way and manner, rendering evil for evil, and railing for railing, in the same virulent, lying, calumniating, and reproachful language; lest thou also be like unto him; lest thou also, who art a man of understanding and sense, and hast passed for one among men, come under the same imputation, and be reckoned a fool like him. Answer a fool according to his folly,…. The Targum is, “but speak with a fool in thy wisdom;” and the Syriac version, “yea, speak with a fool according to thy wisdom;” which would at once remove the seeming contradiction in these words to the former, it must be the sense, that when a fool is answered, as it is sometimes necessary he should, that it be done in wisdom, and so as to expose his folly; he is to be answered when there is hope of doing him good, or of doing good to others; or of preventing ill impressions being made upon others by what he has said; when the glory of God, the good of the church, and the cause of truth, require it; and when he would otherwise glory and triumph, as if his words or works were unanswerable, as follow; lest he be wise in his own conceit; which fools are apt to be, and the rather when no answer is given them; imagining it arises from the strength of their arguments, and their nervous way of reasoning, when it is rather from a neglect and contempt of them.”

Proverbs 26:6

26:11 As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.  Is not this so true of the sins of the unregenerate and EVEN of believers!

26:17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears. Remember Moses when he killed the Egyptian. There is a time to step in and help , like the good Samaritan. Peter was shamed when he used his sword in the garden but used of God when he was used to heal a cripple at the beautiful gate. Meddling with strife-NO! Ministry of sympathy-yes!

26:27 Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him. Remember Haman!

All previous.