Posts Tagged ‘instruction’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 17:24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

You have known fools. They bounce from one thing to another. They are excited with this and then that. They are always seeking happiness and success, which they never find. They love new things. They cannot focus on important matters. They are easily distracted from their duties like children. They look in strange places for answers. They dream. They talk a lot. They are not content. They are fickle, unsettled, and easily confused.

But a wise man is very different. He has understanding as the guide and rule of his conduct. He is focused on all aspects of life with the resolute purpose of keeping God’s commandments. He has not forgotten what he was taught, nor is he ignorant of the Scriptures. He searches the Bible for knowledge and wisdom, and he proves all things by it (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). He is content with life and confident in most any dilemma.

Fools are often scorners – resenting correction and instruction – so they learn very little (Pr 14:6). A fool is so thrilled with foolishness that he avoids wisdom and understanding (Pr 15:14). A fool is so lazy that he never applies the diligence it takes to acquire wisdom, for he would rather enjoy and tell his own thoughts (Pr 18:1-2). Fools are often arrogant, which makes it impossible for them to identify and learn wisdom (Pr 26:12).

Wise men do not daydream or speculate. They would rather muse than be amused (Ps 143:5). They prefer meditation over imagination, instruction over recreation, and self-examination over self-actualization. They want truth, and they define it as God’s certain words in the Bible (Pr 22:17-21). They have no regard for man’s opinions (Ps 119:98-100). They do not have to look for wisdom, because they know it (Pr 14:6). They have it hid in their hearts (Ps 119:11,128), and they meditate on it day and night (Ps 1:3).

You arrived on earth knowing nothing. You are here a short time, and your whole duty is to fear God and keep His commandments (Eccl 12:13-14). Your flesh, the sinfully depraved part of your being, sees with the lust of the eyes (I John 2:15-17). Satan and the world offer many things to see (Luke 4:5-7). The fool gives in to his lusts and wastes his life chasing illusions. But David prayed to be saved from looking at vanity (Ps 119:37)!

It is foolish to spend your life craving something better, while you race toward something bitter – death! Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). You cannot beat this simple rule for a successful life. Godliness is living prudently with wisdom as your great pursuit (Pr 4:5-9; 8:17). Contentment is appreciation for God being your friend and trusting Him for the things you have as being best (Heb 13:5-6). But fools must dream!

The fool is always seeking greener pastures near and far. His mind is an open sieve, receiving much froth from vain ideas and retaining nothing of value. Solomon warned of the vanity and vexation of a wandering desire (Eccl 6:9). But the fool would rather study U.N. politics, Ben Spock child training hallucinations, practice yoga, or watch lifestyles of the rich and famous on television than apply God’s word to the salvation of his family.

The fool’s mantra is, “I live life with an open mind.” His mind is so open that anything can fly in and nothing of value will stay. The world sends a steady stream of advertising, fads, public opinion, peer pressure, questions, and other forms of manipulation to bend his mind to the will of Satan, who grins with wicked glee at his foolish mantra that gives the father of lies entrance to his soul. Seal your mind with God’s word (Ps 119:128)!

There are important goals for life, and there are foolish wastes of life. Knowledge is better than ignorance, wisdom than folly, righteousness than wickedness, heaven than hell, and God than man. While Martha was worried about distracting details, Mary knew the one thing needful for her life was hearing instruction from the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 10:38-42). Reader, how would the Saviour classify you? Like Martha? Or Mary?

In order to save you from yourself and your wandering desire, the Lord of heaven has called, prepared, and sent men to be pastors and teachers (Ps 68:18; Eccl 12:8-14; Jer 3:15; Mal 2:7; Eph 4:8-12; II Tim 3:16-17). What is their job? Not social work! Not administration! Not weddings and funerals! Not monasteries! Not stuffy theological work! Their job is to keep your eyes in your head and your heart in the truth: they will perfect you from being tossed to and fro like the fool (Eph 4:13-14; Col 1:28-29).

Have you searched for one of these men? Can you submit to his instruction about the true priorities of life? If you can, you will be full of understanding, and wisdom is directly before you. He will reject foolish and unlearned questions, for he wants you settled in the faith once delivered to the saints. He will work with the Spirit of God to conform your every imagination and thought to the inspired and infallible words of God (II Cor 10:4-6).

But can you stay focused for the one or two hours a week of his instruction? Most cannot. Jesus Christ described them as wayside hearers. The preaching finds no lodging place in their unprepared minds and hearts, and the devil quickly takes it away. They leave every church assembly more ignorant than before. Literally! Read it (Luke 8:12,18)!

Because fools dislike insistence on correction, instruction, reproofs, and warnings, they look for flattering teachers. They want teachers to entertain them with fables and help them explore the cesspools of human imagination and education (Is 30:8-11; I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 4:3-4). Oh, how they love such junk! Teach me more, they cry! But God has promised to send them strong delusion to believe a lie (II Thess 2:9-12; II Tim 3:6-7).

Reader, you have a choice. It is a serious choice. You are reading one of many offers of wisdom in the Bible. God has again approached you with His word to make you wise. It is right in front of you, if you have an understanding heart. It is disgusting, if your eyes prefer the ends of the earth. Eliminate any distractions and seek wisdom (Pr 4:7; 18:1).

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 21:29 A wicked man puts up a bold front, but an upright man gives thought to this ways

You show your heart by how you receive instruction. Wicked men rebel and purpose to continue in their evil way. Righteous men receive correction and alter their lives. Your response to instruction may tell more about your character and future than anything else.

A wicked man hardens his face. Here is a metaphor for a rebel who has purposed to reject teaching. He chooses to rebel rather than to submit. Setting his jaw, steeling his eyes, frowning, or looking away are only symptoms of his wicked heart. He has resolved to ignore correction and instruction and stay put in his opinions, conduct, and habits.

The Lord knows faces and how they reveal rebellion, so He warned about them (Is 48:4; Jer 3:3; 5:3). Rebellious hardening is also used of the neck and heart (Pr 28:14; 29:1; Acts 7:51). He told His ministers to ignore such faces and preach the unvarnished truth without apology or compromise anyway (Jer 1:4-10,17; 23:28-29; Ezek 2:6-7; 3:7-9).

You cannot play with God. He knows your every thought; He knows your every intent (Heb 4:12-14). He knows how submissive or rebellious you are at the deepest level of your heart and mind. Get totally clean with Him by tearing out any resistance to any Bible doctrine or practice, and fill your heart and mind with eagerness (Ps 27:4; 122:1-4).

Ministers learn faces. There is a huge difference between the hungry, submissive, cheerful, and godly face of the righteous and the bored, stubborn, unhappy, and carnal face of the wicked. Some faces crave and devour instruction; others resent and reject it. Both are in every church. They cannot hide from men or God. Their hearts are revealed.

Sometimes a minister will see by the faces that his hard preaching is “out of season.” The people do not want to hear what he has from the Lord. Sometimes his preaching may be “in season.” But in either case, he has only one duty: preach the word insistently and press it upon all the hearers (II Tim 4:2). Only fearless men should ever be ordained.

A true man of God wages war against those faces, smashes through their walls, pulls down their strongholds, casts down their haughty imaginations, brings every thought into obedience to Christ, and readies himself to revenge any disobedience (II Cor 10:3-6). Do you understand this warfare, reader? Do you appreciate this kind of servant? It is a far cry from the effeminate, refined, cultured, and mannered pastor sought by most Christians.

God hates stubbornness and rebellion. He considers them comparable to idolatry and witchcraft (I Sam 15:22-23). And He judges them severely. Think King Saul rejected from the throne! Think Judah in Babylon! Think women eating their children in 70 A.D.!

Righteous men hear and change. The Thessalonians heard Paul and turned from their idols to serve the living and true God (I Thess 1:9-10). Cornelius begged Peter to tell him and his family all of God’s commandments (Acts 10:33). Harlots wept at Jesus feet.

Dear reader, the Lord Jesus warned you about your hearing (Luke 8:18). Do you receive instruction and rebuke meekly and thankfully (Neh 8:1-18; Acts 17:11)? Or do you stop up your ears and wish you could stone the preacher (Acts 7:57)? Why do some people never learn or grow? Because the Lord is judging them for how they hear (Luke 8:18)!

You can stay in your wicked rut received from childhood, the devil, your parents, tradition, religious training, or worldly education. Or you can eagerly desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby (I Pet 2:1-3). Wise men and great men say, “I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Ps 119:59).

Do you delight in understanding? Or rather to discover your own heart? Solomon warned against this folly (Pr 18:2). If you think your heart already has any light and wisdom, you will harden your face against godly instruction. God does not grant your heart any at all (Is 8:20; Jer 17:9). Wise men will hear, learn, and change (Pr 4:26; 8:33; 11:5; 23:19).

Some hearers do not harden their faces; they nod up-and-down in agreement; they tell the pastor it was a good sermon. They lie with their lips and their handshakes (Ps 144:8,11). But their hearts are hard and far away during the teaching and when they get home. How are they detected? Their lives are fruitless shells of hypocrisy. Their joy is gray death.

Jesus told of a father who told his two sons to work in the vineyard (Matt 21:28-32). One son said he would not, but later repented and went and worked anyway. The other son respectfully said he would, but he did not. Which one pleased his father? Consider it. If a wicked man will hear and turn from his wickedness, he shall live (Ezek 18:27-28).

Jesus Christ of Nazareth, the Lord of heaven and earth, kindly offers, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). But He also warns, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). Humble yourself today, dear reader!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 21:11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom; when a wise man is instructed, he gets knowledge

Different strokes for different folks! A word to the wise is sufficient! You cannot argue with dumb! These and similar adages and idiomatic phrases are taken from this proverb, which was written 3000 years before modern English. There are three kinds of men here, and there are only two actions that result in the proper treatment for all three (Pr 19:25).

A scorner is an arrogant and rebellious person that ridicules and shows contempt for authority, correction, and instruction. He is so conceited in his opinions that he cannot be taught (Pr 9:7-8; 13:1; 15:12; 21:24). He must be punished and rejected (Pr 22:10). Solomon said a scorner was worse than a fool, whose sins of folly, ignorance, and sloth are less than the scorner’s proud despising of reproofs (Pr 12:1; 24:9; 26:12).

A simple man is an ignorant man without abundant intelligence or character. He has little knowledge or wisdom, and he reacts to what he sees and feels more than what he can understand by prudent analysis and reflection (Pr 14:15,18; 22:3). Simple men can be taught, but it is a laborious process (Pr 1:4; Ps 119:130). Because they lack in discretion and understanding, they often learn better from object lessons and experience.

A wise man fears God and keeps His commandments (Pr 1:7; 9:10; Ps 111:10). He loves correction, instruction, reproofs, and warnings; he knows that such inputs are the only way to gain understanding (Pr 1:5; 12:1). These noble men receive teaching with a ready mind, search the Scriptures to prove what they have heard is truth, and then believe and obey it (Acts 17:11).  Though wise, they seek counsel for major decisions (Pr 24:6).

When dealing with people, especially those under your authority, there are two basic actions taught here. The two actions will effectively and wisely deal with the three kinds of men. You must identify the kind of person you are dealing with and apply the correct remedy. Here is the lesson: scorners cannot be taught and must be punished, which will deliver you from their strife and also give the simple an object lesson for their learning; and wise men can be directed and taught with simple reproofs or instruction (Pr 19:25).

Consider an office or home. You save yourself from contention and strife by punishing and rejecting the scorner (Pr 22:10). By punishing him before rejecting him, you give an object lesson to the simple to fear authority and avoid the scorner’s attitude and actions. Wise employees or children only need instruction or reproofs, for they will submissively learn from both. Your life has just been simplified: the scorner is gone, the simple is sobered and warned, and the wise loves you for making him wiser (Pr 9:8-9; 28:23).

he Lord Jesus Christ knew how to perfectly use these two approaches to drive away scorners, enlighten the simple, and instruct the wise (Matt 7:28-29; 15:12-14; 21:45-46; 22:46; Mark 12:37). Learn more about Him and His wisdom from the Bible, and then ask Him to help you be more like Him discerning your audience and rightly dealing with it.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. 

Failure or success? Poverty or riches? Shame or honor? Which do you prefer? Of course, you want success, riches, and honor! But it is far easier to desire them than to get them. There is a basic requirement to get them, and the vast majority of men will not meet this condition. They must humble themselves to regard criticism and accept instruction.

You are making a decision right now about your future. Some will presume they know the lesson, so they stop reading and go back to their little games. Others will read a little further and stop when the author implies they are likely a fool or scorner. Only a few will be thrilled to see an offer of honor and devour each word to gain the prize.

Most men are too proud, rebellious, and stubborn to take reproofs or accept instruction. They want to do things their way. They do not like to be told they are wrong. They love their own opinions.

There is a simple technique for success in a world doomed to failure. Find teachers that have the truth and wisdom of God and submit to their reproofs and instruction. It is that simple. God has revealed the wisdom of heaven to men. If you will find them and accept their correction and teaching, you can deliver yourself from failure, poverty, and shame.

Once you have a teacher, there is another obstacle in the way of success – your own thoughts, imaginations, and opinions. A man that arrogantly presumes he is right is worse than a fool. He is a scorner, and God will blind and punish that man. A fool is too lazy and distracted to learn, but a scorner refuses to be taught.

Learning requires change: either you must correct errors you have learned, or you must add new knowledge to your inventory. The first requires accepting reproofs, and the second requires accepting new ideas through instruction. Pride, rebellion, and stubbornness will not allow a man to do either of these two things. He is a certain loser!

A true teacher is an enemy of your thoughts and imaginations. He must destroy and pull down the strongholds of your mind, where you are holding false ideas and concepts. He must replace them with truth and wisdom, which you have not heard or accepted before. While the relationship is affectionate, the process is definitely conflict.

What keeps you from listening to your teachers – your parents and pastor? Are you too proud to accept correction? Too stubborn to admit you are wrong? Too rebellious to change by another’s order? These are marks of a scorner! You are doomed to poverty and shame, unless you repent immediately and humble yourself before God’s word.

Do you sleep in church? Do you resent being taught by a man younger than you? Do you attend the fastest-growing church in town to avoid preaching? These are marks of a fool! You are doomed to poverty and shame, unless you repent immediately and humble yourself before God’s word.

Jesus made the lesson very plain as He concluded the Sermon on the Mount. He said that hearing His doctrine and not doing it was like building your life on sand. The storms of time and eternity will wash you away! But a wise man will hear His sayings and build his life upon them. He will stand sure in both time and eternity!

Examine yourself in the light of this proverb. If you hear instruction and forget it before applying it to your life, you are a fool. You are heading for certain poverty and shame. If you hear correction and resent it, you are a scorner. You are heading for certain poverty and shame even faster. Wisdom is submitting to reproofs and accepting instruction, for that is the means of learning and growth. God and all good men will honor such a man.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 8:10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice silver

How important is financial gain to you? How much effort do you put into professional improvement? Do you have a personal plan to advance professionally and improve your financial situation? How much concern, study, and time into savings or investments? Is your ultimate goal to be financially independent because you have acquired all you need?

Lady Wisdom speaks here, and she advertises her instruction and knowledge as better than silver and gold. Great efforts are made to acquire money during a lifetime, but men make very little effort in comparison to obtain wisdom and understanding. Are the priorities in your life geared toward instruction and knowledge, or toward income?

This comparison is made often in Proverbs. Solomon saw that most men were eager and diligent to pursue money, and he more than any man realized that wisdom is greater than any financial asset or accomplishment (Pr 4:7; Eccl 12:13-14). Both he and his father David exalted wisdom above riches (Pr 3:13-14; 8:11,19; 16:16; Ps 119:72,127).

America is a carnal and materialistic society. The rich are viewed as successful – the higher the income, the better the man, most believe. They spend years preparing for a particular profession, and some work many more hours than necessary to seek riches and success. But they neglect wisdom, which could save their lives from pain and trouble.

Money is a good thing to have, as it can eliminate many of life’s small irritations. Solomon wrote, “Money answereth all things” (Eccl 10:19). But it is far inferior to wisdom. For He also wrote, “For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it” (Eccl 7:12).

Instruction and knowledge are found in the Word of God. Do you value the Bible more than financial success? Does this show in your desire to read and study it? David said of the Scriptures, “More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward” (Ps 19:10-11). Do you love Scripture like he did?

Men are happy to work overtime. Are you as happy when the pastor preaches overtime? Successful men go beyond expectations and competitors in performing their jobs. Do you read and study more than the bare minimum and what your peers are doing? Diligent men never miss a day of work. Are you as faithful in reading the Bible? Examine yourself.

There are 168 hours in a week. There are 1440 minutes in a day. You know how many of them are spent pursuing income. How many are spent pursuing wisdom? You cannot study the Bible even close to the hours you must work, unless you are in the ministry. But how many minutes or hours in a week do you give the fear of the Lord and the pursuit of wisdom? Finding wisdom takes the diligence of hunting for hid treasure (Pr 2:1-5).

Wisdom loves those who love her (Pr 8:17). Can she tell that you love her? Or do you appear to be in love with mammon – the world’s god of money and success? You cannot love both (Matt 6:24; I Tim 6:6-10; Jas 4:4). Set your heart on wisdom and God’s Scriptures as your heritage and joy instead of the things of this life (Ps 119:111).

“Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding,” Solomon wrote (Pr 23:23). You buy these things by giving up other activities and pursuits in your life. You give up the carnal ambitions of the world to put more emphasis on wisdom. Jesus commended wise men, who sold all for His kingdom (Matt 13:44-46).

What if you gain the whole world, but lose your own soul (Matt 16:26)? If your priorities are out of line, the consequences are costly! Tell Lady Wisdom right now that you love her and appreciate her offer by confessing your slothfulness to God, and then alter your schedule to make more time for wisdom. God will hear the words, see the effort, and He will bless you with more wisdom or both more wisdom and financial gain (I Kgs 3:5-13)!