Tag Archives: God

A Fool Is a Fool

Proverbs 9:9

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”

A Different Angle

There are various commentaries that center on what is obvious about this proverb. However, what if we looked at it from a different angle? Let’s try to imagine it being written a little differently.

“Give betrayal, deceit, deception, falsehood, lie, misinformation, and misrepresentation (all antonyms of instruction) to a fool, and he will be yet more foolish: don’t teach a man, and he will increase in ignorance.”

When you look at it this way, do you see a contrast between the wise and foolish man? Do you sense any difference, other than what’s on the surface?

A Different Reaction

Given betrayal, deceit, deception, falsehood, lies, misinformation, and misrepresentation, what would the wise man do? Would he become foolish? “Give instruction to a wise man,” we are told, and he will become even wiser; but will his character be changed if given the opposite?

The real truth of Proverbs 9:9 is that no matter what instruction you give a fool, unless he has been transformed, he will always be a fool. Give instruction of any kind, true or false, to a wise man and he will be able to discern between good and evil. The key is whether or not the student loves Wisdom.

A Different Response

As a parent, I know that I will not always be able to manage what my children learn. One day they will go out into the world and receive instruction written by fools, for fools. But even in the midst of all that deception and falsehood, truth can be found. The key to success will be determined by instilled character and training in “the way [they] should go” (Prov. 22:6).

As believers, we should pray that God give us His Wisdom in ever-increasing portions. Because truth is so hard to find, we need Wisdom to give us discernment, allowing us to grow in wisdom, despite the misinformation of the world.

They say “the rich get richer, but the poor get poorer.” Profound observation, isn’t it?

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Reprove the Reprovable

Proverbs 9:8 

“Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.”

A Little Irony

In one way it seems counter-intuitive to be told not to reprove someone, but that is exactly what Solomon is saying. Some people refuse to be corrected.

It not only seems counter-intuitive, but ironic. Why would the “wise man” need to be rebuked? Shouldn’t we be rebuking the fool? It’s almost crazy, isn’t it? Don’t correct the fool, but do correct the wise: maybe we should dig into this a little further.

The Scorner

Let’s think about the scorner for a moment. Gesenius described the scorner as one who derides and mocks, maybe even by “imitating [the reprover’s] voice in sport.” In other words, the scorner could be thought of as someone who, when corrected, comes back with a “nah nah nah nah boo boo, I can’t hear you.” Trying to reprove someone like that is more likely to make you angry, rather than help him.

A scorner is also not likely to take kindly to the reprover’s suggestions. Scorners are proud and unwilling to hear instruction. They get offended at the mere notion they could be wrong. This kind of person is just as likely to become your enemy, calling you everything from “judgmental” to “self-righteous” in an attempt to hypocritically justify himself. Therefore, it is impossible to be a friend to a scorner, for they will only hate you when you wound them as a friend (Prov. 27:6).

The Wise Man

Isn’t it wonderful to encounter someone who accepts instruction and reproof? A wise man will accept rebuke because he wants to do what is right, not what is right in his own eyes. Instead of hating you, a wise person will say, “I love you!” They will see that by calling them out about a wrong only serves to keep them in the right.

However, we should be very careful when we attempt to rebuke others. If we don’t do it in love, then the wise will be able to discern our intent. Then, along with the fool who hates our reproof, we may end up losing a friend, as well.

A Prayer

Lord, help me to be teachable. Help me to love those who want me to succeed in life. Help me to never resent the one who loving points out my faults, so that I may change. 


Wisdom Was There

Proverbs 8:27-31

“When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”

A BAD RAP

Somewhere along the line, Wisdom has gotten a “bad rap”.  Ask the man on the street about finding Wisdom, and some will likely visualize a Buddhist monk sitting cross-legged, passionless, in a trance-like state.  If you want to discover wisdom, he would say, take your questions to those guys.  Of course the monk will never answer the question as you pose it; rather, you’ll get a Zen-like contradictory statement in reply.

Ask others about finding Wisdom, and they will bring to mind the scolding voice of a worrisome grandmother:  “Put on your hat or you’ll catch your death of cold!  Take an umbrella – it looks like rain!”

Frankly, I find both of those “visual images” for wisdom unattractive, unappealing, and unscriptural.  How different is the Wisdom of Holy Scripture!

 Wisdom was present at creation.  Yesterday we considered how the personified voice of wisdom in Proverbs 8 points especially to the Second Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ, by whom God the Father created the cosmos.  In today’s verses, Wisdom is present as God establishes the clouds above and the oceans beneath.

What is of special interest in today’s verses, however, is Wisdom’s demeanor in verse 30:  Wisdom rejoices in the work of creation!  Wisdom dances with delight!  And when the work of creation was completed, with mankind filling the earth, subduing it, and having dominion over all creation (Genesis 1:28, Proverbs 8:31), Wisdom is laughing and dancing for joy, delighted in all that God has done.

DOES JESUS LAUGH?

To even pose the question sounds, well, a bit sacrilegious – and therein lies our problem.  Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, took raucous delight in the work of Creation.  Jesus Christ, our Singing Shepherd, sings over the Flock with joy and gladness (Zephaniah 3:16-17).  What about His (and our) enemies?  Do they bring a furrowed brow of worry to his face?  Not at all!  Rather, “He who sits in the heavens laughs!  The LORD holds them in derision” (Psalm 2:4).

LIGHTEN UP, PEOPLE

The path of Wisdom is the path of laughter, joy, and delight.  Those who know the One who is Wisdom can afford a holy chuckle every now and then. We can laugh at ourselves, at our own foibles, silliness, neuroticism and mistakes.  We can chuckle at the goodness of Christ who somehow incorporates our screw-ups into his glorious redemptive plan.  We can even laugh the laughter of the Redeemed,

Then our mouth was filled with laughter,

            And our tongue with shouts of joy!” (Psalm 126:2)

Heavenly Father, we take ourselves so very seriously.  Forgive us, Father.  As we seek to know the way of Wisdom, fill us with joy, delight, and laughter!  Through Christ our Lord we pray:  Amen. 


Better Fruit

Proverbs 8:18-19

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.”
A Tear

As I was reaching up to type these words, I wiped a tear from the table in front of me. The odd thing about it was that I had to stop and think what it was. Evidently, it had been a while since I last saw one drop.

I am sure there will be more. And really, that’s a good thing.

Tears are valuable. They teach what happiness and indulgence never can. They teach us that we are weak, that we break, and that we are incapable of fixing everything, if anything.

They tell us we’re dependent on God. And really, that’s a good thing.

A Better Fruit

To many, a fallen tear on one’s table is nothing more than a drop of water. However, to the Christian, the one who loves Wisdom, it is a glistening jewel-like seed, the fruit of which far surpasses the earnings of any other investment.

The “durable riches and righteousness” of wisdom are far better than the rarest currencies on Earth. What grows from the tears of a humble heart cannot be purchased with all the money in the world.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Rev 21:4

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Seek and Find

Proverbs 8:17

“I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.”

The Simplicity of Wisdom

This verse appears to require little explanation. Perhaps we should consider it a blessing that there is such simplicity in wisdom. There is also wisdom in simplicity. It makes it easy when something isn’t difficult to understand. Put simply, “God loves those who love Him.” While Scripture teaches and Jesus demonstrates that God offers His love to this fallen world unconditionally, God’s love has to be received, and it has to be reciprocated.

How to Love?

When as a teenager I found myself falling in love with my wife all I wanted to do was spend time alone with her. This was difficult for much of the year because I was serving at sea. The long absences made our time together even more precious. When I was home on leave and Marilyn wasn’t at work we spent as much time in each other’s company as we could. The longer I spent with Marilyn the deeper my love for her became; to the point that we knew we wanted to spend our lives together. We were married on 14 April 1979.

Progressing from Honeymoon

For our honeymoon Marilyn and I spent a week in the beautiful island of Guernsey, where I grew up. Walking together one day through the quaint streets of St Peter Port I was suddenly and completely overwhelmed with love for my wife. It was an incredible experience, a unique honeymoon blessing.

Every honeymoon has to end, but love between marriage partners should continue to grow. As love grows it changes. If it does not then there is a risk it may fail. After thirty-three years of marriage our love is very different to how it was during those carefree days of youth.

Equally, it is essential that our relationship with God progresses from the honeymoon period when we first came to know Him. It is vital that our love for God grows and develops, strengthening our relationship with Him. It doesn’t matter how far we have traveled on our faith journey. Regardless of how much we think we have grown, we still need to be overwhelmed by God’s love every day. But in addition to us receiving love from God, I truly believe that Proverbs 8:17 is stating that God desires to be overwhelmed by our love for Him.

How can we show God that we love Him? The answer is the second part of the verse:

Those that seek me early shall find me.

Why early? Because setting aside distractions and committing to spending time alone with God early each day shows that our love for Him is more important to us than anything else in our lives. Perhaps only then will we realize how important we are to Him. The Father of Jesus loves us very much.

 

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God’s Words vs. Man’s Words

Proverbs 8:8-9

“All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.”
Man’s Words

All one would have to do is look at the average text message or Facebook rant to figure out the difference between the words of God and the words of man.

For one thing, every word of God is pure, as pure as silver refined seven times (Ps. 12:6). The average text message is about as pure as water in a ditch – next to a barn yard.

And what about knowledge? God’s words are plain to those who want to hear, and completely factual in all things. The average Facebook post has about as much objective truth as the National Enquirer.

So, why is it that we continually seek man’s wisdom, instead of the Lord’s? There is more than enough wisdom to be had if only we would ask (James 1:5) and do His will (Ps. 25:14). King David said, “I understand more than the ancients because I keep thy precepts” (Ps. 119:100).

God’s Words

Unlike the foolish, prideful, arrogant words of men, the Wisdom of God is trustworthy and plain. Unlike the wisdom of men which is limited to knowledge gained from a finite perspective, the Wisdom of God is unlimited, infinite, and enjoys an omniscient perspective.

You can select any number of works from off the shelf of your nearest Books-a-Billion, each one written by the wisest of worldly philosophers, but they will all sound similar. It matters not if the book was written by Plato, Socrates, Hume, Samuel Clemens, or Oprah and Dr. Phil – it’s all human opinion.

But pick of God’s Word and you will find something totally different. You will find wisdom inspired by the Holy One. You will find hope, life, and joy.

More importantly, you will find Truth.

A Prayer

OH, Lord Jesus! How much we need your wisdom to guide us in these troubling days! We need not the shifting wisdom of men. We need more than the unpredictable advice of our emotions. We need the pure words from your mouth. Give liberally and don’t hold back. Speak, Lord, for your servants are listening.


Old Tactics Still Work

Proverbs 7:21-23 

“With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.”
“The Devil Made Me Do It!”

Back in the 1960’s Flip Wilson made that saying famous. Whenever he was caught doing wrong, he would always try to shift the blame off of himself and onto the Devil. In reality, it was, as you can imagine, just an excuse. The Devil didn’t make him do anything.

However, if you were to hear it from most liars, cheats, thieves, adulterers, haters, gossipers, etc., the Devil is responsible for it all. If not the Devil, then there is always some extenuating circumstance, not personal choice, to blame. If not the Devil, somebody else is always responsible.

She Made Me Do It!”

In the book of Genesis we read of a man who blamed someone besides himself for his sin. Adam blamed his wife, Eve, for making him eat of the forbidden fruit. He said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat” (Gen. 3:12). Did he not have a mind of his own? Did he not know any better?

It is true that Eve gave the fruit to Adam, but it was Adam’s choice to listen to her offer to sin. She didn’t make him sin; he did it of his own free will. But even though she didn’t make him do it, look who was working behind the scenes – Satan. He worked through Eve, the most beautiful woman in the world (the only woman in the world) to snare Adam. Her convincing words were motivated by the Enemy.

“With her much fair speech…”

The key to today’s passage can be found in those simple words, “With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him.”

If one were to only look on the surface of this passage, one might come away with the notion that this poor young man would have been just fine, had he not been forced into sin. But it must be noted that the “forcing” came after the “yielding.”

Before this young man became an animal led to slaughter, a bird caught in cage, he was free to walk away. It was only when he “yielded” that he became a sacrifice on the altar of sin. But what caused him to yield? The beautiful, promising words of a woman influenced by the Serpent.

Nothing Changes

As David Welford mention previously, “The rocks are charted.” God has warned us of the dangers. He has warned us of the consequences. There is no excuse to be dashed upon the rocks, led to the slaughter, or caught in a snare. Yet, many will play with the Serpent’s lure, and yield.

Is it any wonder why the wisdom of Proverbs is still applicable in this day and age? It shouldn’t be. The same tactics employed in Garden of Eden are still being used today. Why? Because they still work.

A Prayer

Lord, David said, “How sweet are thy words unto my taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!” Help us, help ME, to desire the sweetness of Word over all else. When presented with any other option, may we be repulsed by the bait, and never yield.