Throughout Proverbs we’ve witnessed Solomon urging his son to gain wisdom. Wisdom is more priceless than silver and it’s worth far exceeds the value of gold. (Proverbs 3:14) We are told that if we will look for wisdom as we would for silver and search for it as if it were a hidden treasure then we will understand the “fear of the Lord” and gain wisdom. (Proverbs 2:4) In Proverbs 8:10-11, Solomon encouraged his son to “choose” instruction and knowledge, the components of wisdom, because wisdom is more precious than rubies. Solomon says,
10 Choose my instruction instead of silver, knowledge rather than choice gold, 11 for wisdom is more precious than rubies, and nothing you desire can compare with her. (Proverbs 8:10-11 NIV)
Silver, gold, rubies–all of these were evidence of a person’s wealth. The more silver and gold a person possessed the more prominent they were among the people of the community. The people of Solomon’s day were no different than the people of our day–status, having a reputation, toys and trinkets, and impressing others with what one possessed were highly prized. Continue reading “The Priceless Value Of A Good Name Proverbs 22:1-9”
People have always had to make decisions. “Where will I live?” “What do I want to do with my life?” “Who will I marry?” Throughout time people have also been faced with tough ethical and moral decisions. “How will I respond to what happens to me?” “How will I run my business?” “Will I cheat others or deal with them fairly?” “Will I lie or be a person who tells the truth?” “Will I be faithful to my husband or wife or will I choose to be unfaithful and tear my home apart?” Those are questions that people have had to address throughout time.
You and I are now living in a day when we are not only faced with important questions like these, but we are now being confronted with increasingly complex questions because of technological advances and the morally lax atmosphere of our society. You and I will have to make tough decisions about what is “right” and what is “wrong,” but how will we make those decisions? What will we base our decisions on? Continue reading “Solomon’s Wisdom on Making Good Decisions Proverbs 21:2-8”
We are going to spend our time this morning taking a look at Proverbs 20:3-7. As I have been studying this chapter of Proverbs this past week it has seemed to me that this section of Scripture holds a very important lesson for those of us who live in a land of illusion, a day of exceptional deception. Let’s read our Scripture together and then I will explain what I am talking about.
3 It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel. 4 A sluggard does not plow in season; so at harvest time he looks but finds nothing. 5 The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out. 6 Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find? 7 The righteous man leads a blameless life; blessed are his children after him. (Proverbs 20:3-7 NIV)
I have spent a lot of time this past week studying this section of Scripture because it seems to fit together to me; I see a connection between these five verses. I see Solomon giving his son, and those of us reading his writings today, a survey of humanity. This is not an exhaustive survey of humanity, but a survey of the different kinds of people that we will meet and have to deal with in life. Let me show you what I am talking about. Continue reading “Solomon’s Wisdom on Lives of Deception Proverbs 20:3-7”
Over the past several years we’ve become more and more familiar with fits of rage and anger infiltrating most every arena of life. On November 19, 2004, we watched the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers take on the fans at The Palace after a fan threw a cup of beer on Ron Artest. Nine players were suspended and some fans were banned from ever attending any events at The Palace ever again.
It was interesting to me that there was such an uproar over the brawl because our entire society has been becoming increasingly short-fused for many years. We are a nation that seems to be becoming more and more characterized by rage and anger. During the last two decades we have heard phrases like “road rage” and “anger management” for the first time. We’ve seen video of parents at little league baseball games fight one another like Mike Tyson in a bar room brawl. Studies have shown us that police officers are at their greatest risk when they are called in to deal with domestic disturbances. We’ve read reports of people going “postal” in their offices and killing folks. We are a nation of angry folks and the things that we fume and explode over are limitless. Continue reading “Solomon’s Wisdom on Anger Management Proverbs 19:11”
Rafik Hariri, Lebanon’s former Prime Minister, is a genuine, modern-day rags to riches story. Rakif was born on November 1, 1944, the son of poor farm workers from the southern city of Sidon in Lebanon. He attended elementary and secondary school in Sidon, and pursued his university studies at the Arab University of Beirut, where he majored in commerce.
After training to be a teacher he went to Saudi Arabia in 1965 to seek his fortune. This was typical for many Lebanese who wanted more than Lebanon had to offer at the time. In Saudi Arabia he worked as a school teacher, but decided that teaching wasn’t his thing. He took a job as an accountant for awhile before he decided to start his own construction business in the early 1970’s. Mr. Hariri’s construction company did good work so he became highly sought after in Saudi Arabia. He spent more than 20 years in Saudi Arabia and he did make a fortune. In 2003, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at $3.8 billion on its 2003 World’s Richest People list. Continue reading “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God Proverbs 18:10-11”
In Proverbs 17 there are some shady characters who exhibit shady characteristics in the way they live their life. Some of these folks, who evidently were alive and well in Solomon’s day, are still with us. We read about them in Newsweek, People, and in our local newspapers. We see their lives portrayed in movies at the local movie theater. We know these folks; they live on our block, work in our offices, and roam the hall at our schools. As a matter of fact, some of the destructive behaviors that I read about in Proverbs 17 are present in some of our own lives. They are, without question, a constant threat to each of our lives.
In Proverbs 17 we run into those who are arrogant. They look down their nose at others as they amble through life minding their own business. They are willing to use and abuse others because they think that they are superior to others. There are other folks found in this chapter who are looking to use their financial resources to bribe others, to get what they want. There are also those who are more than willing to lend an open hand to those who want to gain a favor under the table. The James-Dean-rebel-without-a-cause is roaming the lines of Proverbs 17 with a scowl on his face and a defiant air about him. These folks are still with us today and they are bent on rebelling against anything and everything in society. Lurking in the shadows of this chapter are the deceitful and deceptive. They are living a lie and they must deceive to try and continue their scam. Their entire lives are a ruse, a mirage, and you never know if what you get is what you bargained for with these folks. Continue reading “Uncommon Forgiveness Proverbs 17:9”
I have been so blessed throughout my life to have people in my life who have been willing to teach me. I’m not talking about lessons learned from books, although I’ve learned some good lessons from classes that I’ve had throughout the years. The lessons that have made the biggest impression on me are lessons that I’ve learned from people who were wise, not necessarily educated, but wise. They are people who have experienced life, the good and the bad. They’ve taught me lessons about life: How to relate to people, how to give my all regardless of how big or small the task, how to save for a rainy day, and avoid spending money on non-essentials. They’ve taught me to love people and use money–and never confuse the two. They’ve taught me to value and respect all people. They’ve taught me that the most important thing in life is to passionately pursue knowing Jesus each and every day.
As we move into the 15th chapter of Proverbs, Solomon addresses a wide array of topics and issues that he knew his son would face at many times in the years to come. Solomon helps his son know how to deal with angry people by saying, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (vs.1) He says those who are wise go around lifting others up and commending them for good rather than tearing others down. Solomon urges his son to pray with a sincere and seeking heart. He says that those who are lazy will always be in need. Solomon says, “A greedy man brings trouble to his family.” (vs.27) He warns his son that there are dire consequences for those who choose to turn away from godly wisdom and live life by their own desires. He says that those who don’t listen to correction and refuse to be disciplined really hurt themselves more than anyone else. Solomon says, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (vs.22) He tells his son that it is better to have the bare necessities of life with love in the house than to have a feast and great wealth where there is turmoil.
Where are the poor at this hour? Are they filling churches all across our city and nation? Are they finding refuge among the Body of Christ? Are they carrying their heavy loads through the church doors and having their burdens lifted by God’s people? In their dismal destitution are they finding hope in the Gospel or are they merely drowning under the pall of desperation? Where are the poor at this hour?
Where are the needy? Are they serving as deacons, elders, and ushers, or are they singing in the choir? Are they serving on committees, volunteering in the children’s ministry, or teaching a Sunday school class? Are they even in church this morning or have they been left out in the cold? Oh, some may say, “Well, they have every opportunity that I have to come to church. If they really wanted to come they could.”
I’ve been reading God’s Word this past week and noticing that the poor and needy hold a special place in God’s heart. I’ve also been thinking about the Church in America today and wondering, “Do the poor hold a special place in our heart?” Before we answer that question with a quick “Amen,” let’s think about it for a minute. I’ve watched new churches being built all across our city over the past 22 years and I’ve noticed that they are almost always built where new houses are going up, where projected growth is expected to take place. I’ve not noticed an effort to build churches where the poor live. I’ve watched church services on T.V. and noticed that the big mega-churches are filled with the popular, the high profile, and the influential. Superstars fill the pulpit and nationally known recording artists sing the special music. Everything looks so polished and perfect. I’ve not noticed too many folks dressed in jeans and a dirty t-shirt. I’ve not noticed trash bags full of someone’s personal belongings sitting in the aisle beside their pew. Continue reading “The Blessing Of Caring For Those In Need Proverbs 14:21; 31”
It has been said that the “pen is mightier than the sword.” In a day in which we see and hear about the horrors of war on a daily basis it may be difficult to believe that little saying, but if you will stop and really consider the thought then you will be able to understand the widespread devastation and loss that has been brought about because of this deadly weapon of mass destruction.
Abraham H. Foxman, the National Director of the Anti-Defamation League, is all too familiar with the deadly force of the tongue. Mr. Abraham lost family members in the Holocaust, an all out attempt to annihilate the Jewish people, an effort that was started with an army of rhetoric and weapons of hatred. He shared some of his thoughts at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Mr. Abraham said, Continue reading “Solomon’s Wisdom on the Power of Words Proverbs 10”