Proverbs

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‘Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.’ (Proverbs 25:6-7 ESV)

October 11, 2016

Self-promotion often leads to being humbled, while humility leaves room for another to praise you. The world urges us to climb the ladder of success, but the Lord Jesus descended to greatness. He climbed down the ladder of love, leaving behind his robes of majesty and taking on the form of man and humbled himself to death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-8). Therefore, God exalted Jesus to the highest place (Phil 2:9-11). Follow Jesus. Stop edifying yourself and edify others instead. Humble yourself and let God lift you up.

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble” (Proverbs 21:23 ESV)

August 20, 2016

How many have wished they could take back their words? Yet, once said, they linger on. If only there were a delete button to erase ill chosen words. Instead, the more poorly spoken thoughts tend to linger the longest. Better to keep quiet and stay out of trouble. Fill you mind and mouth with God’s Word. Let the Spirit of Christ rule your speech.

“Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler” (Proverbs 20:19 ESV)

August 3, 2016

Do you know someone who is constantly telling you secrets about someone else? Or someone who slanders another? Do not associate with such people. For if they talk badly about others to you, they will talk badly about you to others. And if they share the secrets of others with you, they will reveal your secrets to others. Telling such a person a secret is the same as broadcasting it to everyone. A gossip is to be warned, and if they persist, avoided.

“Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war.” (Proverbs 20:18 ESV)

August 2, 2016

Do you seek wise counsel before making plans? No matter how wise you may be, there is always much to be learned from another’s perspective. We all have blind spots, so we need others to enlarge our vision. These counselors should not to be mere ‘yes’ men, agreeing with us. They are to be wise in the biblical sense and willing to disagree and confront. Having sought out wise advice, be sure to be humble enough to follow it.

‘Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?’ (Proverbs 20:9)

July 29, 2016

Solomon’s rhetorical question assumes a negative response. The sinfulness of humanity was an accepted reality in his day. Yet, even this basic wisdom has been thrown into question in our modern time by the tenets of humanism. The philosophy of humanism stresses the idea that humans are born basically good and that their potential for goodness is based on environmental factors. According to their thinking, with sufficient resources and education, all children should turn out well. A generation of this thinking has proven the theory untrue, yet the philosophy remains. However, God’s Word teaches us that our sin problem is more about the human heart than our behavior or the environment in which we live. This is a profound distinction. The real problem with humanity is the human heart. What is needed is heart change. Yet, who can make their “heart pure?” No one. What we need is a Savior. One who would give us new and holy hearts for God. But in order to know this, we must first admit that we are sinners. We must first accept this basic truth about ourselves, that we are sinful and powerless to do anything to change. We need help. We need Jesus. We need Christ to give us new hearts.

“Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV)

July 15, 2016

Are you easily angered or offended? If so, this is not the fault of others as you often feel, but it is your own self-disposition that perceives every word, a dig, and every look, a personal slight. Give your self-image to the Lord. Let Christ teach you of your own self. Find your identity in Him. Then, you will have His wisdom to be slow to anger. You will develop the reputation of being un-offendable. For you will have taken on the meekness of Christ. And meekness is not weakness, but strength under control. Meekness is not thinking less of yourself, but rather, it is not thinking of yourself at all. So, it is “good sense” to stop taking everything so personally. And to start living according to the unoffendable and glorious life of Christ.

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 ESV)

June 22, 2016

Modern medicine attempts to treat the body absent the soul and spirit, often failing to recognize the unity and connection of the whole. Yet, the Bible teaches that a cheerful and joyful heart is “good medicine.” And in like manner that a discouraged and depressed state of mind has a debilitating effect on the body. Those that lack a joyful heart should take this as seriously as any other heart condition. Remember the second attribute of the fruit of the Spirit is joy. Bring your heart condition to the Lord. He is the remedy.

“Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.” (Proverbs 17:9 ESV)

June 16, 2016

In Genesis 9, Ham saw his father, Noah, naked with a hangover from too much wine and he went out and told his brothers. But his brothers took a garment and walked into Noah’s tent backwards to cover his nakedness without seeing him. They exhibited love because they sought to help cover their father’s sin, while Ham did not. Ham was a gossip. Love helps the sinner get forgiveness. It does not seek to condemn or make matters worse. Nor does it attempt to enlarge the sin by repeating it to others.

“A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on” (Proverbs 16:26 ESV)

June 8, 2016

A wise observation by King Solomon: Hunger motivates work. In other words, an empty stomach can actually “work for” the worker to encourage greater effort. The opposite must also be true: Free food inspires lethargy. Forgetting this wisdom is detrimental to both the individual and the community.

“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22 ESV)

May 20, 2016

Get advice before you act. Cultivate a personal board of advisors for your life decisions. Choose those whose lives exemplify godly wisdom. Pray together with them, seeking direction from the Lord. Then, be humble enough to follow their counsel.