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Archive for the ‘Proverbs’ Category

I don’t know about you, but in this time of great confusion and conflicting views of the important truths of our day, I find the need to seek the truth that transcends–the truth of God. Wisdom is distilled into pithy, bite-size morsels in the Book of Proverbs. As usual, it keeps its promise to provide guidance for life.

My son, give attention to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20

In Proverbs 4:20, we receive the imperative, “Give attention to my words.” The Hebrew writing style is evident here, namely the second part of the couplet is a reiteration of the first, “incline your ear to my sayings.” The repeat of the information is an emphasis–as if the author is saying, “hey, this is important, so I’m going to repeat myself.”

If we are looking for wisdom, we need to listen to God. We need to listen to His Word. This will be the only way to survive the pandemic without losing hope or faith or our witness.

But even more than an admonition to listen, God is asking for intentionality and diligence in our approach to our relationship with Him. He is asking us to apply ourselves to the systematic study of His word.

Consider the exhortation of Paul to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15

In order for us to “rightly divide the word of truth,” we must know all of it. We must know the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) as well as the New Testament. We must know the Torah (first 5 books of the Old Testament) as well as the Prophets. We must know the history of both the Jews and the church.

If we are to rightly divide the word of truth, we must understand its nuance, its context, its geography, its characters. We must exert some energy–get outside of our comfort zone.

It is not a once-a-week passive attention to a sermon. It is not working through a book written about the Bible–it is reading and studying the Bible for yourself. We must let God speak to us. We must meet day by day with the Creator and Author.

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The Bible has plenty to say about stupid people.  The Bible calls them fools.  According to dictionary.com, a fool is “a silly or stupid person; a person who lacks judgment or sense.”

This post is not going to explore what stupid (foolish) is or what stupid does (fool’s behavior).  A detailed discussion of those topics can be found in the Book of Proverbs.

This post is aimed at the cure.  The cure for stupid is found in the Book of James.  A person who “lacks judgment or sense” is lacking in wisdom.  James1:5 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Some caveats and provisos:

  • Wisdom is available to all and will be given in generous portion (James 1:5 “who gives to all liberally“)
  • Wisdom is linked with faith  (James 1:6-7 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord)
  • Wisdom received will be from above ( James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.
Believe God.  Ask for wisdom in faith believing that God does all that He promises.  Receive His wisdom, the wisdom from above, and your stupidity (foolishness) will be cured.

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As we discussed in the last post, there is much to be learned in the Bible about the tongue, the lips, words, how we speak and related topics.  Last time, we looked at Proverbs 12,  and in Proverbs 15, we find more wisdom on this subject:

  • Gentle words can help diminish another’s anger  – “A soft answer turns away wrath, but  a harsh word stirs up anger.”  verse 1
  • Wise people use their speech to convey knowledge, but fools speak nonsense – “The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.”  verse 2   See also verse 7.
  • A those who speak health and benefit bring life, but those who speak perversion sap energy and enthusiasm – “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”  verse 4

The words that we speak and the way that we speak them can bring life or they can cause death and despair.  Shall we speak life or death.  It is a choice.  If we model our speech after our great God, we will speak life.  Consider the following examples:

  • Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.  Gen. 1:3
  • Then God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.  Gen. 1:9
  • Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb that yields seed, and the fruit tree that yields fruit according to its kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth”; and it was so.  Gen. 1:11
  • Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.   Gen. 1:14-15.
  • Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth the living creature according to its kind: cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth, each according to its kind”; and it was so.  Gen. 1:24
  • Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!”  And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. John 11:43-44
  • Then He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other.  Matt. 12:13
  • He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”   And he arose and departed to his house.  Matt. 9:6-7

Beloved, may we speak as our master spoke, and bring life to our listeners.   May God teach us the power of the well-disciplined tongue, fully yielded and bringing forth only pure, sweet water and with that water, life!

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Do you ever wonder how you could walk more closely with God?  Proverbs 4:20-27 gives us some valuable insights on the subject:

  • Listen to the Word of God – “give attention to my words; incline your ear to my savings.”  v. 20
  • Read/Study the Word of God – “Do not let them depart from your eyes.”  v. 21a
  • Meditate/memorize the Word of God – “Keep them in the midst of your heart.”  v. 21b
  • Don’t let your emotions/feelings rule you – “keep your heart with all diligence.”  v. 23a
  • Watch your mouth – “Put away from you a deceitful mouth, put perverse lips far form you.”  v. 24
  • Don’t let your eyes wander – “Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you.”  v. 25
  • Evaluate the way your are going and keep a steady course – “Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established.”  v. 26
  • Be steadfast and stay on the narrow way that leads to life – “Do not turn to the right or the left; remove your foot from evil.”  v. 27

Do not be discouraged beloved, the power to do all of these things and more lies in the Holy Spirit which has been freely given to those who call Jesus “Lord”.  We have all things that pertain to life and godliness.  Just step out!  Ask God to show you how to take the first step towards greater intimacy with Him.

May the LORD bless you and keep you.  May He hedge you in and protect you from harm.

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