Reflections From PROVERBS 18: “SPEECH, WORDS, AND WHAT THEY REVEAL”

Proverbs-Series

As I sit on my balcony watching the cars roll by, it occurred to that those driving all have stories to tell of whether or not they are for or against the God of creation.  It also occurred to me that the voices they hear on the radio by song or “rants” also are helping to shape or enforce their worldviews.  The philosophers of the day through their rap music and the media talking heads are with one voice advancing a relativistic, nihilistic view of life that is shamelessly opposed to the WORD!

Jesus said that, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”  Proverbs has much to say concerning this topic of which only humans in all of creation can boast—namely the ability to articulate thought through speech.  Consider what Solomon reveals:

 “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.” (v.4)

Perhaps this is referring to the skill that is acquired through wisdom of knowing what to appropriately say in a given situation because there’s an abundance of knowledge and wisdom the righteous can possess.  Often, I’m frustrated in a given situation not knowing how to express myself.  Again consider:

 “To show partiality to the wicked is not good,
Nor to thrust aside the righteous in judgment.”
(v.5)

             Often with one’s speech justice can be averted from being executed as the truly guilty are acquitted and the truly just are condemned. This is not righteous judgement but the miscarriage of justice, an abomination before heavens’ court.  Consider:

“ 7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin, And his lips are the snare of his soul.

Those who mock Christians by saying, “Do you really take the Bible literally”, thinking their absurd notions prove how “stupid” believers are, can use texts like this one and completely miss authorial intent.  The point here is not that the physical mouth or lips are the instrument of ruin, rather the disposition of the soul revealed through speech is.  Snares are used by trappers to take the life of their prey, and like the unsuspecting doe, the fool’s life is a breath away.  Again:

“With the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach will be satisfied;
He will be satisfied with the product of his lips.”
(v.20)

This text not literally, but rather metaphorically reveals to us that when we have knowledge and wisdom, the delight we experience in the soul is like no other.  An apt answer given in season truly is a delight for it brings life, not death.

LORD, keep me from being a fool.  Instead, strengthen my resolve to order my life in righteousness.  And as you said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied”, so do that in my life as I trust in Your provision to grant my request.

(SDG)              

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Reflections From PROVERBS 24:30-34 “THE SLUGGARD AND I”

 

Proverbs-Series

“I passed by the field of the sluggard And by the vineyard of the man lacking sense, 31 And behold, it was completely overgrown with thistles; Its surface was covered with nettles, And its stone wall was broken down.  32 When I saw, I reflected upon it; I looked, and received instruction.  33 “A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest,” 34 Then your poverty will come as a robber And your want like an armed man.

The sluggard and I have much in common; let up a little bit in life’s affairs and the results will be seen in the pocket book, the yard, and in physical health.  Why is it that it takes so much effort to live well and such little effort to come to ruin?  Maintenance!  It’s been said, “Give the Devil an inch and he’ll take a mile”.  Frankly, it doesn’t take much for my life to go awry if I’m not paying attention to the simple daily details.

God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden to tend it not neglect it.  It’s from here the lesson must be applied: neglect God’s good gifts and they will perish.  As I see it, chaos is ever lingering at the threshold of our lives and it’s only a diligent soul that can stay it’s destructive force.

The will choosing maintenance rather than sloth is the soul embracing peace by keeping chaos at bay.  And it’s the “little things” that are the “big deals”.  I have too often missed it here in my life, and yet today is a new day that brings another opportunity to be diligent.  So soul, onward!

(SDG)

Reflections From PROVERBS 12: “KNOWLEDGE, TRUTH & LIES—CONTRASTING THE RIGHTEOUS FROM THE WICKED”

proverbs

          The Scriptures reveal among other things that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is the God of truth.  He cannot lie, is the grounds of all that is good and beautiful and despises that which opposes Him.  Solomon has several insights in this chapter that point to this Biblical theme:

“Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
But he who hates reproof is stupid.” (V.1)

 Here the object of what is loved or hated results in either the acquisition of knowledge or the lack thereof.  To acquire knowledge in Proverbs comes from, among other things, the fear of the LORD (1:4-7), the treasuring of His commandment (2:1-8), and the guarding of His instruction (4:5-13).  This knowledge instructs us in the way of righteousness always.  Thus, to hate this discipline/instruction will leave us foolish like a city without walls, a lamp without oil, and a sword that’s blunt.  The vulnerability that results is ominous because such attitudes cause a stupor of soul in those on the precipice of death.

Another Biblical theme which many in the 21st century deny is not that there’s such a thing as religious knowledge, but actual truth that’s objective.  This truth is grounded in the God of truth.  Consider here again the contrast between the righteous and the wicked:

17He who speaks truth tells what is right,
But a false witness, deceit.”

18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword,
But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

19 Truthful lips will be established forever,
But a lying tongue is only for a moment.
”   

First, we see that what is true has a moral quality of what is right.  Thus, to speak the truth is to demonstrate moral righteousness.  But a false witness (court room language) depicts what is morally wrong.  That is, he depicts what’s not true with the intent to deceive.  Thus, truth is equal to what is moral, and falsehood is equal to what’s immoral (V.17).

Second, words can either bring destruction or restoration.  The wise use their words to heal those around them, rather than to tear them apart.  The fool knows no such thing for when he opens up his mouth a reckless destruction follows; a maimed soul is left in his wake (V.18).

Third, those who speak the truth are not for a moment.  This quality of character shows the fruit of righteousness which has no end and thus this soul will never be forgotten.  Contrast the duration of a liar and its but for a moment, a vaporous instance.  The wicked will be forgotten and in their plight their silence will be eternal (V.19).

Thus, to champion knowledge and truth is righteousness displayed.  To squash or despise knowledge and to spin lies, results from the hands of the wicked.  Note that what grounds the good from the evil is the God of creation, not the creation itself. (SDG)

 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO CHOOSE A FRIEND WISELY?

quality-friends

Friendship is something that’s not only difficult to find but takes much work to nurture and maintain.  The relational types like my wife seem to have a knack at friendships that frankly eludes me.  Not because I don’t desire real authentic friendships, but because it seems to be an art that is difficult for me.  Perhaps the fact I’m a man is a factor that plays into this reality.

Nevertheless, God has much to say about this topic in Scripture.  For example, Proverbs 13:20 says, “He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm”, and again in 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals”.  What kind of friend ought you and I be and with what type of friend should we associate?  According to God’s word, if we don’t choose friends wisely, we will ultimately perish.

Listen to this week’s sermon offered—CHOOSING FRIENDS WISELY:  http://www.sovgracefellowship.org/sermons/sermon/choosing-friends-wisely and give us feedback on what you think.