Saturday In The Proverbs—Fools Talk A Good Game, But… (Proverbs 14)

[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.]

Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase come by the strength of an ox (Proverbs 14:4).

You can have something that looks pristine on the outside, but it is all show and no production. Eventually, it will all come crashing down. 

Or you can have the messiness of productivity which will result in lasting success. 

The wise make the productive mess, know that they are building something lasting. The fool only tries to make it look good on the outside, but they are undermining themselves (see vv. 1, 11). 

The fool talks a good game, but…

  • their perversity is despised by God
  • their pride injures themselves and others 
  • they lie to keep up appearances 
  • they never learn from their mistakes
  • they are deceitful 
  • they are on the path to death
  • they are self-confident and quick-tempered, which alienates them from others 
  • they will eventually serve the wise
  • they despise others’ needs 
  • they are poor
  • they are fearful of the future
  • they don’t leave a good legacy for their children
  • they rot with envy
  • the oppress poor people
  • then will end up in utter shame

…all for the sake of trying to make others think they have lives that are perfect! 

Keeping up appearances is hard, painful, unrewarding, and will ultimately end in disaster. 

Saturday In The Proverbs—5 Important Self-Examination Questions (Proverbs 6)

[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.]

If… (Proverbs 6:1).

This collection of proverbs prompts quite a bit of self-examination. 

  1. Have I made commitments that are going to entrap me (vv. 1-2)? If so, I should plead for mercy to get out of them (vv. 3-5). 
  2. Am I less-than-diligent in my work—what Solomon calls a sluggard? Consider the diligence and initiative of the ant (vv. 6-8), and then consider the outcome if I don’t make better decisions with my time and my work ethic (vv. 9-11). 
  3. Am I a person of integrity, or am I a fast-talking, double-dealer (vv. 12-14)? I better consider the “therefore” (v. 15)! 
  4. Is my heart pure? Consider that an evil heart is at the heart of what God hates—shedding innocent blood, doing evil, lying, pride (vv. 16-19). Do I want God’s anger directed at me?
  5. Do my eyes stray toward women who aren’t my wife (v. 25)? God’s wisdom can keep me pure (vv. 20-24), but I also need to consider the devastating consequences of continuing in this immorality (vv. 26-35). 

Are you willing to honestly ask yourself these questions in the presence of God’s Holy Spirit?

You should—because your life may be at stake! 

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?

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