Archive for the ‘Proverbs 01’ Category

 “Good doctrine”: There is no wisdom but that which is linked to good doctrine, which should be the focal point of all instruction.

Sometimes in the Proverbs, it seems as if we are covering the same ground all over again. Whether this is to drive home a lesson, or whether we are picking up extra fragments of truth and that is the reason for repetition is not clear. As we said in previous lessons, wisdom is the subject. We see here, also, that a doctrine (belief) has been established.

Instructions in God’s law came from father to son in these times. It was very important not to leave out even minor details in that law. We are told again here to remember in detail the law of God and to live by it (do not forsake it).  In fact, we should make it our doctrine or way of life as well.

One of the greatest responsibilities of parents is to encourage their children to become wise. Here Solomon tells how his father, David, encouraged him to seek wisdom when he was young.  This encouragement may have prompted Solomon to ask God for wisdom above everything else.  Wisdom can be passed on from parents and grandparents to children, from generation to generation.  Ultimately, of course, all wisdom comes from God; parents can only urge their children to turn to him.  If your parents never taught you in this way, God’s Word can function as a loving and compassionate parent to you.  You can learn from the Scriptures and then create a legacy of wisdom as you teach the next generation. 

Expanding the purpose and terms of verse 2, Proverbs engages in a process of schooling a son in the disciplines of (1) Wisdom (a different Hebrew word from that in v.2) which means discreet counsel or the ability to govern oneself by choice; (2) Justice, the ability to conform to the will and standard of God; a practical righteousness that matches one’s positional righteousness; (3) Judgment, the application of true righteousness in dealing with others; and (4) Equity, the living of life in a fair, pleasing way.

This is a beautiful description of the security and peace that comes when we are hidden in the Lord Jesus. Fear will not be a part of our vocabulary, because it is the opposite of faith. If we have faith in the Lord, there is no fear.

Sin is enticing because it offers a quick route to prosperity or pleasure and makes us feel like we belong. But when we go along with others and refuse to listen to the truth, our own appetites become our masters, and we’ll do anything to satisfy them. Sin, even when attractive, is deadly. We must learn to make choices, not on the basis of flashy appeal or short-range pleasure, but in view of the long-range effects. Sometimes this means steering clear of people who want to draw us into activities that we know are wrong. We can’t be friendly with sin and expect our lives to remain unaffected. 

Going after “ill-gotten gain” is one of Satan’s surest traps. It begins when he plants the suggestion that we can’t live without some possession or more money. Then that desire fans its own fire until it becomes an all-consuming obsession. Ask God for wisdom to recognize any greedy desire before it destroys you. God through his Spirit will give you wisdom and help you overcome it.  

Proverbs 1:10 “My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them.”

You see, we are a free moral agent. We decide whether we will sin or not. Just because the crowd is sinning, is no reason to get involved. Use your own free will and say “no” to sin, even if it is inviting. In the long run, we are responsible for our own decisions.

Sinners is a term reserved in Scripture to describe unbelievers for whom sin is continual and who endeavor to persuade even believers to sin with them. The sins of murder and robbery are used as illustrations of such folly.

Proverbs 1:11 “If they say, “Come along with us; lets lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul:”

“Come with us”. The intimidating force of peer pressure is often the way to entice those who lack wisdom.

Proverbs 1:12 “Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit:”

The wicked devise a plot of deception in which the innocent are captured and victimized like one who is taken by death itself, as with Joseph (Gen. 37:20); Jeremiah (Jer. 38:6-13); and Daniel (Dan. 6:16-17.

“The Pit … Shoel” is the place of death. For the wicked it is a place of no return (Job 7:9), darkness (Psalms 143:3) and torment (Isaiah 14:11).

Proverbs 1:13-14 “we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our house with plunder:” (14)”Throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse.”

This is the enlisting of the innocent without full disclosure of intent. Abundant spoil is promised by this outright robbery, which is made to appear easy and safe for the thieves and murderers.

Proverbs 1:15 “My son, do not walk in the way with them.  Keep your feet from their path.”

This directly confronts the invitation of v.11. Sin must be rejected at the first temptation, by refusing even the association that can lead to sin. Avoid the beginnings of sin (Proverbs 4:14 Do not enter the path of the wicked And do not proceed in the way of evil men).

Proverbs 1:16 “for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.”

This is warning not to keep evil company. There is guilt by association. You may not be guilty of their sins; but if you are caught with them, you will pay the terrible penalty with them. Many a youngster has gotten into serious trouble because he wanted to be part of the gang. Children’s favorite saying to parents is, “everyone is doing it”.  Sometimes peer pressure causes a youngster to join a gang. He probably has no idea they are stealing or killing when he joins; but the longer he stays, the more deeply involved he becomes. The only way to avoid this is just what the Scripture advises. Don’t go with them in the first place. The time to say “no” is before you get in deep.

Proverbs 1:17 “How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds!”

As a bird flies into a net and is caught, so will the sinner get caught if he goes head long into sin. We know the net is there, but get into it anyway.

It would be ineffective to set up a net for catching a bird in full view of the bird. Taken with v.18, this analogy means that the sinner sets up his trap for the innocent in secret, but in the end the trap is sprung on him (v.19). This greed entraps him. Stupid sinners rush to their own ruin.

Proverbs 1:18 “These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!”

A person laying in wait to kill someone else is actually sealing their own doom.

Proverbs 1:19 “Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.”

Greed for things that do not belong to you is certainly the cause of most sin toward your fellow man.

The Ultimate punishment is God’s giving a people up to the result of their wickedness. 

Romans 1:24-28 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.  25 For they exchanged he truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.  Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27 and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural functions of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent act and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28 And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.   

This is just another way of saying: If you reject the Lord, you will reap whatever you sow. Having your eyes and desires set on things of this world can do nothing but destroy you. There is no eternity in earthly desires. “And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them:” Willful carelessness or lack of appropriate care is intended here. 

Expanding the purpose and terms of verse 2, Proverbs engages in a process of schooling a son in the disciplines of (1) Wisdom (a different Hebrew word from that in v.2) which means discreet counsel or the ability to govern oneself by choice; (2) Justice, the ability to conform to the will and standard of God; a practical righteousness that matches one’s positional righteousness; (3) Judgment, the application of true righteousness in dealing with others; and (4) Equity, the living of life in a fair, pleasing way.

Wisdom is the key word of the book and basically means “skill in living.” It is used in the Old Testament to refer to a physical skill such as tailoring, metalwork and woodwork, spinning, engraving and designing, and warfare. Used metaphorically, as in Proverbs, it refers to the skill to live life successfully.

Instruction refers to moral discipline of one’s life, not to classroom instruction. It refers to the discipline of a moral nature.

Understanding means the capability to distinguish between true and false, good and bad, what matters most, and what does not matter at all. To the Hebrew mind, wisdom was not knowledge alone, but the skill of living a godly life as God intended man to live. This word looks at the mental discipline which matures one for spiritual discernment.

Solomon came to the throne with great promise, privilege and opportunity. God had granted his request for understanding and his wisdom exceeded all others. However the shocking reality is that he failed to live out the truth that he knew and even taught his son Rehoboam, who subsequently rejected his father’s teaching.

Proverbs contains a gold mine of biblical theology, reflecting themes of Scripture brought to the lever of practical righteousness, by addressing man’s ethical choices, calling into question how he thinks, lives and manages his daily life in light of divine truth. More specifically, Proverbs calls man to live as the Creator intended him to live when He made man.

The recurring promise of Proverbs is that generally the wise (those of righteousness who obey God) live longer, prosper, and experience joy and the goodness of God temporally, while fools suffer shame and death. On the other hand, it must be remembered that this general principle is balanced by the reality that the wicked sometimes prosper, though only temporarily. Job illustrates that there are occasions when the godly wise are struck with disaster and suffering.

What the book of Psalms is to prayer and devotional life, the book of Proverbs is to everyday life.  Proverbs gives partial suggestions for effective living.  This book is not just a collection of homey sayings, it contains deep spiritual insights drawn from experience.  A proverb is a short, wise, easy to learn saying that calls a person to action.  It doesn’t argue about basic spiritual and moral beliefs, it assumes we already hold them.  The book of Proverbs focuses on God, his character, works and blessings and it tells how we can live in close relationship to him.

Solomon the third king of Israel, son of the great King David, reigned during Israel’s golden age.  When God said he would give him whatever he wanted, he asked for an understanding heart (1Kings 3:5-14) God was pleased with this request, and he not only made Solomon wise but also gave him great riches and power and an era of peace.  Solomon built the glorious temple in Jerusalem and wrote most of the book of Proverbs.  His Profile is found in 1 Kings 4.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 1:14 Throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse

Unity is nothing without God’s approval. In fact, it is sedition and treason, unless God approves. Sinners want saints to agree with them and join their projects, but the LORD demands His children avoid and reject their close company (Pr 1:10,15). Sinners make great appeals for cooperation and friendship, but their hearts have very different goals.

Solomon here warned his son, and all young men, against the peer pressure of sinful men (Pr 1:10-19). Their goals were robbery and murder, and they would certainly be destroyed. Young men who fear the Lord should stay far from them and reject all appeals for joining together. Running with the gang is contrary to godliness and brings judgment.

Though it might seem safe to be united with the majority in some foolish or sinful endeavor, Solomon by God warned his son that no combined strength could protect from God’s judgment (Pr 11:21). It is the wide gate and broad way, with many travelers joined happily together in the majority, that leads to destruction and death (Matt 7:13-14).

There is no safety or sanctuary from judgment in associating with sinners. An approving God that delights in your rejection of sin and sinners is the real sanctuary (Is 8:9-15). When nations gathered together against God’s church in the Old Testament, He mocked their efforts, knowing He would empower His people to destroy them (Mic 4:11-13).

Fellowship and society with godly saints is wonderful (Ps 133:1; Phil 1:3-5), but it is horrible when saints are unequally joined together with unbelievers (Ps 144:11; I Cor 5:9-11). Communion and unity in Christ’s churches are great blessings (I Cor 12:12-27), but fellowship with sinners is damnable (Eph 5:11-12). Yet some good men with weak character cannot resist the invitations and pressure of wicked men to join with them.

Jehoshaphat was such a man. A grandson of David and king of Judah, he could not resist the invitations of Ahab, king of Israel, at joint projects and family intermarriage (II Chron 18:1-3). What saith the Lord? “And Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to king Jehoshaphat, Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the LORD? therefore is wrath upon thee from before the LORD” (II Chron 19:2).

King Ahab had 400 prophets in full agreement in his ministerial association, but these were no match for one man who feared God and would not join them. For one of the most interesting and powerful events in the Bible, read about the true prophet Micaiah rejecting their pleas for unity to declare God’s word (I Kgs 22:1-40). Jehoshaphat was judged for joining with Ahab, but Micaiah was blessed for defying Ahab’s 400 prophets.

The Tower of Babel was man’s first known effort at uniting all the peoples of the earth, but the LORD stopped the work in its tracks and confounded all the participants. Glory! At the same site two thousand years later, King Nebuchadnezzar took his stab at religious ecumenism and unity, but three faithful men would not compromise truth at any cost and turned the religious festivities upside down. All glory to God!

God’s children can only have true peace when purity is exalted – purity of truth and righteousness. “Come out from among them,” is the holy cry of apostles and angels (II Cor 6:14-17; Rev 18:4). God’s highest blessings and fellowship demand it (II Cor 6:16 – 7:1). There is no real peace where purity is sacrificed, only the peace of death (Pr 21:16). Churches must reject any holding contrary doctrine (Rom 16:17-18; Titus 3:10-11).

Godly men easily separate from those who do not fear God nor keep His commandments. Like Phinehas, they do not need to pray about the matter, they zealously take a javelin and end the party (Num 25:1-15). David did not want any compromisers near him (Ps 101:3-8), for he hated fools and sinners (Ps 26:5; 31:6; 139:21-22). Furthermore, he taught God’s blessing on those who would separate from evildoers (Ps 1:1-3).

Moses left Egypt’s pleasures and riches for the afflictions and reproach of Christ and His church (Heb 11:24-27). Could you make such a choice? Would you make it? There is comfort and reward, praise of men and human security, by staying in Pharaoh’s house. But the great reward – the riches of Christ and an eternal inheritance in Him – are found only in Canaan, with a separated life. Are you willing to go alone with Jesus Christ, if you must go to Him outside the camp even of professing Christians (Heb 13:12-14)?

What an offer! How can you resist? Unity with others! All precious substance! Houses filled with spoil! Beware! Death and hell are hidden in the words. The world does not entice you to sin by offering pain and trouble. It entices you by offering friendship, pleasure, and success. But all that glitters is not gold, and sin will bring your total ruin.

Here is a lesson in peer pressure. Solomon warned his son to reject sinners enticing him to participate with them in their folly (Pr 1:10). He warned against their promises of unity and good success (Pr 1:11-14). And he concluded by telling his son to stay away from their sins and the horrible judgment that would surely come on them (Pr 1:15-19).

A large part of wisdom is rejecting ungodly friends. It is a common warning of Scripture (Ex 23:2; Ps 1:1; 26:4-5; 101:1-8; I Cor 15:33; II Cor 6:14-17; Jas 4:4). But Solomon emphasized it for the safety of his son (Pr 1:15; 4:14-15; 9:6; 13:20; 14:7; 19:27). Good parents will be vigilant to protect their children from ungodly influences of evil friends.

Every sin offers a desirable motive, great pleasure, or promise of success; otherwise men would not sin. Eve thought she could become like God, if she ate the forbidden fruit. Samson thought Delilah would make him happy. Ananias and Sapphira thought they could keep some of the money and still be big givers in the church. Sin is a deceitful lie!

There may be some short-term pleasure in sin, as the Bible admits (Heb 11:25), but it will never come close to the damning and destroying consequences of sin. Lot was sure the nice subdivision with good schools near Sodom would benefit his family – in his worst nightmare he could not imagine what actually happened to his family of seven.

Sin lies! Lusts lie! They tell you the pleasure will be great and the consequences small. The Bible warns about the deceitful nature of lusts and sin (Ep 4:22; Heb 3:13). Amnon wanted sex with his sister Tamar so bad he fell sick, but after doing the heinous act, he was worse off than before, lived in constant fear, and was killed for it (II Sam 13:1-39).

The devil and his world make tempting offers. They seldom admit they hate God, want to violate His word, and cannot wait for hell. They appear as an angel of light and ministers of righteousness telling how to have your cake and eat it too. Satan comes as another Jesus, presenting a popular gospel, and oozing another spirit (II Cor 11:3-4,13-15).

It is the perilous times of the last days: evil seducers are worse than ever (II Tim 3:1-13). Carnal Christianity is full of them. One of their sweet lies to compromise truth is the offer of growth – you can have a mega-church – just like the cutthroats in this proverb. But Paul condemned the end-justifies-the-means crowd and their heretical measurement of godliness by gain (I Tim 6:3-5). He told Timothy to get away from such men (I Tim 6:5).

What is the cure for these lying tempters? “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Tim 6:6). Peer pressure cannot affect a man committed to godliness and content with what he has. Seducers have no opening in such a man’s life. Paul warned further about the grievous dangers of worldly ambition (I Tim 6:7-10). Moses should be your example: he forsook all the opportunities of Egypt to suffer with Christ’s people (Heb 11:24-26).

Sin lies! Lusts lie! What will you do when convicted and it is too late to undo your folly (Pr 5:12-14)? What will you do when you are gasping for your last breath (Pr 5:11)? The sins of your youth will punish your final thoughts – before God confronts you for your lusts over the blast furnace of a burning hell. Who will you believe today – God and His warnings in the Bible, or your lying sinful lusts? Flee youthful lusts – now (II Tim 2:22)!