Saturday In The Proverbs—Wisdom (Proverbs 1)

[Each chapter in the Book of Proverbs contains thoughts that fit into a theme; they are not just random thoughts gathered together. In this “Saturday In The Proverbs” series, I will share a theme that I see in each chapter. But the cool thing about God’s Word is that you may see an entirely different theme. That’s great! If you do, I would love for you to share it in the comments below.]

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:7).

Would you like to see things others don’t see? How about if you could have insight that others don’t have? What if you could keep on getting more, and more, and more knowledge that really mattered? That’s what this entire Book of Proverbs is all about, and the opening chapter sets the tone for the rest of the book.

You have to decide: do you trust God’s knowledge, or do you trust yourself more?

God is to be revered above all else.

God is to be delighted in above all else.

God is to be listened to above all else.

That is what defines pure knowledge: God’s knowledge.

The path to wisdom, then, is to accurately apply God’s pure knowledge.

Lady Wisdom—thankfully for us—makes herself readily available IF we will listen to her. If we do, we will have the best insights into how to use this purest-of-pure knowledge which God gives. When we operate in God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge, He is pleased and He is glorified.

There is always another option we could choose. We could listen to things that others say is “knowledge,” and we could try to figure out things on our own. But if we do, we also have to be willing to accept the consequences for applying that “knowledge” (see vv. 29-31). Ummm, no thank you, I’d rather not be called a fool! 

Saturday In The Psalms—Don’t Be A Fool

The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God” (Psalm 53).

You can choose this paradigm if you like. But if you do, here’s what you can expect—

Corruption … you will reap from others the corruption you sow

No one seems trustworthy … you will live your life untrusting and not being trusted

Limited understanding … “without God we’re just a lucky convergence of matter and energy, and after death there’s a vast nothing,” says the fool. But anyone who’s ever fallen in love knows there is something more than just matter and energy.

Everyone seeks his own self-interest … no one does good just to do good (we’re back to the untrusting lifestyle again!)

Fear and terror of the unknown … these lurk constantly in the back of your mind

Missing out on eternal blessings … what if you’re wrong? what if there really is a God who wants to be in relationship with you? If that’s true, you are squandering your life. You are living for the moment, and about to miss out on an eternity of pleasure in God’s presence.

A fool sticks his fingers in his ears, closes his eyes, and refuses to even consider an alternative—“There. Is. No. God!”

Don’t be a fool!

Will you at least be willing to consider the possibility that this Universe was created on purpose? Will you at least be willing to consider that the Creator made you to have a relationship with Him?

The fool tries to make all of life fit into his tiny box. The wise person knows there’s so much more.

Don’t be a fool!

Thursdays With Oswald—The Wisdom In Appearing Foolish

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

The Wisdom In Appearing Foolish

     A man can kill his own wisdom by living a part; he can atrophy his real life by keeping up a certain role. … It takes a tremendous amount of relationship to God for a man to be what he is. … 

     A wise man who has built his life in confidence in God will appear a fool when he is amongst people who are sleek and cunning. … If you stand true to your faith in God, there will be situations in which you will come across extortioners, cunning, crafty people, who use their wits instead of worshiping God, and you will appear a fool. Are you prepared to appear a fool for Christ’s sake? …

     If you are going to be true to God, you will appear a fool amongst those who do not believe in God, and you must lay your account with this. Jesus said, “Every one therefore who shall confess Me before men…,” and it tests a man for all he is worth to confess Jesus Christ. 

From Shade Of His Hand

Oswald Chambers is referencing Solomon’s words—Extortion turns wise people into fools, and bribes corrupt the heart (Ecclesiastes 7:7).

True wisdom comes from a trusting relationship to God as He is revealed in His Word, which to cunning people “who use their wits instead of worshiping God” sounds like pie-in-the-sky foolishness. Much like satan did with Eve, they will ask you, “Did God really say that?” and you are faced with a decision: will you stand true to God’s wisdom and look like a fool in their eyes?

Jesus said it would take the courage that comes from a sold-out relationship to Him to be able to endure the bribes and barbs of the world’s cunning people.

I pray we can all be wise enough to be willing to appear as fools in the world’s eyes!

8 Ways To Argue Correctly

8 ways to argue correctlyIf you argue your case with a neighbor… (Proverbs 25:9). Notice the first word of this proverb is “IF” which tells me I don’t have to argue. But if I do, then here are eight things to remember.

  1. Don’t betray a confidence (vv. 9, 10)
  2. Practice patience (v. 15a)
  3. Speak gently (v. 15b)
  4. Address foolishness without becoming foolish (26:4, 5)
  5. Stay out of arguments that aren’t my concern—don’t meddle (v. 17)
  6. Don’t gossip (v. 20)
  7. Tell the truth (v. 28a)
  8. Don’t flatter the other person (v. 28b)

Let’s try to keep this in mind IF an argument is unavoidable.

How To Be Wise With Your Mouth And Ears

A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)

One’s open mouth—and closed ears and mind—says a lot of one’s heart! In this 18th chapter of Proverbs, Solomon draws a pretty stark contrast between the mouth and ears of a fool and of a wise person. Check out the links on each of the verses to Bible Gateway to get a full picture of both the fool and the wise person.

Big MouthThe fool…

  • His lips bring him trouble, a smack on the jaw, and may even cost him his life. And yet he keeps on spouting foolishness. He’s not interested in getting any better (vv. 6, 7).
  • His ears gobble up the latest gossip (v. 8).
  • He fires off an answer before really listening (v. 13).
  • His quick, careless words creates the poison food that he continues to eat (v. 21).

The wise…

  • He is always learning how to use his words in a God-honoring, soul-benefitting way (v. 4).
  • He avoids “cheap candy” gossip (v. 8).
  • He listens fully before trying to respond (v. 13).
  • He asks good, clarifying questions (v. 17).
  • His wise words creates the healthy food that nourishes him (v. 20).

So… are you being wise or foolish with your mouth and ears?

4 Reasons Why God’s Way Is Better

Notice the contrasts (see the conjunction “but”) in these wise words from King Solomon—

For the Lord detests a perverse man but takes the upright into His confidence.

The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the righteous.

He mocks proud mockers but gives grace to the humble.

The wise inherit honor, but fools He holds up to shame. (Proverbs 3:32-35)

Solomon is inviting us to compare God’s way with our way.

God's way or man's way

Looking at this, it’s not too hard to figure out which way is the better way to live! 

Charles Bridges commented on these verses, “The value of our inheritance is beyond all price; its happiness unspeakable; its security unchangeable; its duration eternity. The wise shall inherit glory. ‘They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament for ever and ever’ (Daniel 12:3; Matthew 13:43).”

(To download a PDF version of the chart above, click here → God’s way or man’s way)

Links & Quotes

link quote

“Why did Saul obey the people instead of God? Because he feared the people instead of God. He feared the human consequences of obedience more than he feared the divine consequences of sin. He feared the displeasure of the people more than the displeasure of God. And that is a great insult to God. … To turn from Him out of fear of what man can do is to discount all that God promises to be for those who fear Him  It is a great insult. And in such an insult God can take no pleasure. On the other hand when we hear the promises and trust Him with courage, fearing the reproach brought upon God by our unbelief, then He is greatly honored. And in that He has pleasure.” —John Piper

“In the absence of any other proof, the thumb alone would convince me of God’s existence.” —Sir Isaac Newton

“No man knows how bad he is till he has tried very hard to be good. … We never find out the strength of the evil impulse inside us until we try to fight it: and Christ, because He was the only man who never yielded to temptation, is also the only man who knows to the full what temptation means—the only complete realist.” —C.S. Lewis

“What, sirs, is your wisdom? Your wisdom dwells in denying what your eyes can see—a God; in denying what your consciences tell you—that you are guilty; in denying what should be your best hope, what your spirit really craves after—redemption in Christ Jesus. Your folly lies in following a perverted nature, instead of obeying the dictates of One Who points you to the right path. You are wise and you drink poison; we are fools and we take the antidote. You are wise and you hunt the shadow; we are fools and we grasp the substance. You are wise, and you labor and put your money into a bag which is full of holes, and spend it for that which is not bread, and which never gives you satisfaction; and we are fools enough to be satisfied, to be happy, to be perfectly content with heaven and God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Seth Godin says, “Those critical choices you made then, they were based on what you knew about the world as it was.” Now check out his post New Times Call For New Decisions.

J. Warner Wallace, a cold-case detective, wrote, “I’ve worked more cases involving witnesses than I can even count. A career in law enforcement will put you in direct contact with eyewitnesses on a daily basis, starting with your very first night on the job. After interviewing literally thousands of witnesses over the course of twenty five years, I think I’ve learned something about reliable eyewitness testimony.” Check out more in his post Why We Should Expect Witnesses To Disagree.

Such a sweet video from a boy with Down Syndrome to his Dad on Fathers Day. I love the ending tag line: “Love doesn’t count chromosomes”—

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