Lord, thank you for your love for us – thank you for making the choice to overlook these sins we have repented of. While we do not fully understand your ways Lord, we seek to grow in our relationship with you. We ask for your Holy Spirit to guide us in our studies, and for you to bless those joining us today to be bold in our walk with you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Christian Wisdom from the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 24
Pro 24:1 Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them,
Pro 24:2 for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble.
Pro 24:3 By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
Pro 24:4 by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
Pro 24:5 A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
Pro 24:6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Pro 24:7 Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the gate he does not open his mouth.
Pro 24:8 Whoever plans to do evil will be called a schemer.
Pro 24:9 The devising of folly is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
Pro 24:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.
Pro 24:11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
Pro 24:12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it, and will he not repay man according to his work?
Pro 24:13 My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
Pro 24:14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.
Pro 24:15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous; do no violence to his home;
Pro 24:16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again, but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
Pro 24:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
Pro 24:18 lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.
Pro 24:19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers, and be not envious of the wicked,
Pro 24:20 for the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Pro 24:21 My son, fear the LORD and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise,
Pro 24:22 for disaster from them will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
Pro 24:23 These also are sayings of the wise. Partiality in judging is not good.
Pro 24:24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,” will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
Pro 24:25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.
Pro 24:26 Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.
Pro 24:27 Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.
Pro 24:28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips.
Pro 24:29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
Pro 24:30 I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
Pro 24:31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.
Pro 24:32 Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.
Pro 24:33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest,
Pro 24:34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.
Notes regarding Wisdom in Chapter 24
14) Wisdom provides hope. I read a sad article written by “Penn” of “Penn and Teller”. He said that he chooses not to believe in God because it allows him to love and live more. Huh? How does that work? From his bio we can see that he is an intelligent man. Speaking from personal experience, intelligence is worth something just less than squat, and just slightly more than bupkus in the long-term.
Now, Penn is probably pretty happy with life. He is making a truckload of cash and has all the physical things he needs. He also lectures as prestigious institutions of higher-learning and his pride is assuaged on the mental level. What happens when tragedy strikes, though? Even more, what happens when he dies? For all we know we could get in a car wreck the next time we leave the house. What is our intelligence or bank account worth then?
I am more saddened by that letter than peeved (as I sometimes tend to get when reading denials of God). The belief that God seeks to take from us is 100% wrong. Well actually, I take part of that back. He does want to take from us. He takes our sins, our faults, our pain, and our sadness. He then fills us with love, abundant life, peace, and joy.
I certainly understand where he is coming from, though. This belief is one that I had too, before I turned to Christ. I don’t really know where it came from, since I do not remember anyone telling me this. I don’t ever remember any Christians having God take things away from them. Never… Ever…
This deception of painting God as a thief is just a lie from the evil one to get us away from God. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The devil does not show up in a red suit and pointy horns telling us to kill a busload of school children. We would tell him exactly where he could get off. Instead, satan offers a substitute that is acceptable to our flesh.
I’ll give an example. My wife and I are attending our Cleansing Stream retreat very soon. We have been very fortunate to not really have any plans on the weekends that may interfere, and we were psyched up to attend the retreat. Her new job called and tried to get her to work on that weekend. My wife likes her job and certainly wouldn’t mind extra money – what is the harm of just catching the retreat next time around, right?
Wrong! We brushed that temptation off. Next came my sister forwarding an invitation to her baby shower on the same weekend. Surely there is nothing evil about that. I love my sister, and she is having her first baby. We thought about this. When we do something in life, we are doing 1 of 2 things. We are either drawing closer to God, or moving further. This retreat is possibly the breakthrough we have been looking for in our Christian walk to move some of these stumbling blocks we have had all our life but have never known how to remove. We knew in our spirit that the shower could wait. After all, it is just a party.
Third temptation – my parents were coming up to give my wife and I some old family heirlooms. By this time we were pretty aware of what was going on and we could practically hear the devil saying to us, “You don’t want to be ungrateful, do you? After all those are your parents – doesn’t the Bible tell you to honor them?”
You and I may discern the devil’s work in several ways.
- The idea violates God’s word
- The idea perverts God’s word
- The idea comes with condemnation, guilt, or fear
God always sends ideas that build us up, and provide greater hope, faith, peace, joy, and love. I suppose you know what we chose, right? Yup, we asked them if they could come another weekend. As it turns out the weekend before that was just as good, and my brother could even visit as well – Bingo! Thanks, God!
17) Dealing with our enemies. We are supposed to show kindness to them. Sometimes I forget that just because I don’t like a person, that God doesn’t jump on my side. God will bring justice to a situation, but he does not want us gloating as if we are so perfect, or had anything to do with the justice being meted out. That is a tough verse. I can remember quite a few times when this happened in my life – actually, a bunch.
3-14) More about the value of wisdom. I love the comparisons. Wisdom is like honey. Mmm, wisdom… ; ) In all seriousness though, this series has implanted in me a thirst for wisdom that can only be satisfied by the Lord. My old way of living just does not “cut it”. Of couse I still return to my sin
Pro 26:11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly.
but I realize the Lord calling me away from it. Now, whether I listen or not is a completely different story. I repent quicker now. I used to hold off either so I could “get all my sin in,” or would shy away from God out of guilt. Things that God does not want us doing jump out at me when they were previously gray areas. I am now having to learn how to deal with rejection of sin without losing my witness and looking self-righteous or hypocritical. I would rather deal with that than the penalties of sin, though.
21,22) This includes everything from political situations, to the jobsite, or even the family. God places people in positions of leadership. We may not understand the reason, but look how much trouble we humans have understanding things like why Jesus had to die on the cross, faith, and understanding of the Holy Spirit.
By usurping the chain of command, we are essence saying to God, “We know better”,”we want it now,” or we say, “God I do not believe you will help my needs”. I’ve done it before and I can personally back up this passage. God will not be mocked.
27) Prepare the means before the resting place. This has several applications, but one that springs to mind is the “don’t eat the seed” principle.
If I have a bag of sunflower seeds, I can eat them and have quite a good time doing this. However, if I plant the seeds, each one will produce hundreds of other seeds. God uses this analogy all throughout the Bible to illustrate faith and sharing in love and obedience to his Word.
This analogy applies directly to both tithing and starting a business. God gives us a salary. If we have little faith, we only see the amount of money we have, and our needs. We spend it all on our bills and desires. In essence, we are eating the seed.
If we have greater faith, we tithe a portion to the Lord (I’m not getting dogmatic about the amount – the New Testament is pretty clear that we do as the Lord leads). We then begin to realize other’s needs. By pouring out into their lives, God joins with us and multiplies the seed.
Mat 13:8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
The “eat the seed” principle also applies to starting a business. My first Internet venture was selling a small golf product. I made little money, but it was great to see some coming in. As it did, I tithed on it, and applied the rest to bills. Great idea, but what if I sowed it back into my next venture in the form of well-prayed-through advertising? That would then multiply my seed and I would receive much higher of a return. Without faith in the business I take what I can get. With faith in God (and then, the business) I look for greater future gains and eventually succeed at a much higher level.
Pro 16:3 Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established.
30-34) God detests laziness. God doesn’t just sit around heaven, strumming a harp thinking of ways to test us. God works! Remember in Genesis that God rested on the 7th day? I’m not so sure that God gets tired, but he wanted to rest for some reason. Perhaps it was just to enjoy what he had done. Regardless, we need to follow similar principles. What we do – do it for the Lord and respect the wonderful blessings he has bestowed upon us.
I get particularly convicted about that. Sometimes I really take for granted what God has done for me. When that happens though, all we have to do is repent and turn from our sin. God is just and so wonderful to immediately (and eternally) forgive us : )
Thank you for joining us today. We sincerely hope you are enjoying this deeper look at Proverbs. As you can see, God isn’t hiding some big secret from us. Life is pretty simple if we do it God’s way. Believe, obey, love, live. Sometimes Proverbs can be a bit tough since it shines a light on our sins before God. Once we deal with those through repentance, it opens us up to grow in Christ and to be conformed more to the image of God.
See you again tomorrow – be sure to check the old posts if you missed any. You can add this website to your feed reader by clicking on the appropriate icon on the left. If you do not dabble in the blogosphere yet, you may receive new posts in your email – no worries – no spam!
Hey, be sure to share your stories of how God is working in your life just below this article. We would mutually benefit from the exchange of faith : )
Have a blessed day!