Sunday, October 22, 2006

Proverbs 1:1-7, 20-2:11: On Wisdom

Pray & Read Proverbs 1:1-7, 20-2:11 in NASB.

Opening thought: Integrity and Wisdom
“My boy,” said the store owner to his new employee, “wisdom and integrity are essential to the retail business. By ‘integrity’I mean if you promise a customer something, you have got to keep that promise-even if it means we lose money.”
“And what,” asked the teenager, “is wisdom?”
“That,” answered the boss, “is not making any stupid promises.”[1]

Unfortunately for many in the larger family of the church, many confused and hurting Christians have found that it is not safe to confess to having too many problems. One observer noted, “The Christian army is the only one that shoots it own wounded.”

Others have been taught to pray their problems away. With enough faith or right doctrine, they can be free from problems stress, disappointment, and discouragement. Once we start believing this, spirituality starts being measured by our lack of problems rather than how we respond to them, and eliminating pain is equated with conformity to Christ.

Correcting Assumptions:

  • It is incorrect to think that once you become a Christian, all your problems will be solved.
  • It is incorrect to say that all problems are discussed in the Bible.
  • It is incorrect to believe that having problems is a sign of spiritual immaturity.
  • It is incorrect to assume that exposure to biblical instruction alone will remove your problems. It is living the faith, not merely listening. Matthew 7:24-27: 24

  • Textual Notes: Someone said that Psalms teaches us how to get along with God and Proverbs teaches us how to get along with each other. Psalms helps us in our devotional life. Proverbs helps us in our practical life. Most of the proverbs were written by Solomon.

    1. Benefits of wisdom (Proverbs 1:1-4)
    1. NASB, KJV uses infinitives; NIV, HCSB uses participles.
    2. Wisdom is looking at life from God’s point of view.
    3. Understanding is responding to life from God’s point of view.
    4. Receive instruction in wise behavior. Receive is a word of action or mobility, connotation of plucking fruit from the vine and eating it.
    5. Gain prudence, knowledge, and discretion, including youth.
    1. Observations about wisdom (Prov 1:20-25)
    • Wisdom is available (Prov 1:20-21, 23; 2:6)
    • Wisdom can be turned down. (Prov 1:24-25)
    • Rejecting wisdom brings bitter consequences (Prov 1:26-32)
    • Accepting wisdom brings victory and protection (Prov 2:7-8, 11)
    • Accepting wisdom makes life manageable and pleasant (Prov 2:9-10)

    Those who Reject Wisdom

    The Naïve or Simple
    – (1:4, 22) “wide open door.” Wide open, easily influenced, gullible, lacks discernment, easy target, unaware of danger. They are unable to look beyond the surface of things and see what is really there. They are easily enchanted by pied pipers and follow them without question no dishonesty, just not thinking (1:4). They risk death (1:32). Proverbs 22:3

    The Smart Aleck – (1:22 “mocker” or “scoffer”) “to turn aside, to mock, to reject with vigorous contempt, to refuse, to show disdain, ridicule and scorn whatever they do not like. Counseling will not change this person’s attitude. They have to change it. Proverbs 9:7-8

    The Fool – (1:7) not unintelligent, but using intelligence wrongly. Connotation of wickedness. Psalm 14:1

    Those who Embrace wisdom

    Wise people are willing listeners (1:5; 2:2) also Prov 12:5; 13:1; 15:31-32; 19:20. Most of the time we are busy trying to talk instead of listen.

    Western culture is a talking culture. Native American culture is a listening culture. The Cherokee spokesman Skigunsta upbraided his Euroamerican hosts during one council in North Carolina by reminding the crowd that it was “not our custom like the white people to talk altogether, but when one is done another begins.”[2]

    1. Wise people are life-long learners (1:5; 2:4) also (Prov 9:9; 10:14). Too often we think that once we’ve finished school, we can stop learning, and most people stop learning at age 30. But God calls us to be life-long learners, to continue to grow and develop.
    Wise people seek out wise counsel (1:5; 2:3) also Prov 11:14; 12:15; 13:10). They realize they don’t know everything and ask questions and get good counsel, not just anyone’s.
    1. APPLICATION: All of us need an occasional attitude checkup. Some of us, like Hank Williams, Jr., need an attitude adjustment. Before wisdom can enter our hearts (2:10), simplicity, scoffing, and foolishness must be dealt with. Then we can begin applying the salve of God’s wisdom to our lives. Its regular application will serve as a good preventative for life’s ills.
    How about you? How are you like a simpleton, a smart-aleck, or a fool? Are you being held back by a part of you which is simple, a scoffer, or foolish? Rather than condemning yourself or getting defensive, why don’t you just get honest with yourself for a moment and deal with it?
    When we face our shortcomings, our forgiving Lord always is faithful to give us a fresh start.
    James 1:5: 5If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.

    [1] 2000+ Illustrations, “Wisdom”, e-sword.

    [2] Hatley, Tom. The Dividing Paths: Cherokees and South Carolinians through the Era of Revolution, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 11.