Proverbs Chapter 1

by Rick
Proverbs Chapter 1

(1:1,2) God’s Wisdom is Attainable

(Proverbs 1:1,2 NIV) The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight;

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  The first six verses are the prologue of the book.  They set the table for what we can expect from this book of wisdom.  After identifying Solomon, the son of David, the first thing that God tells us in Proverbs is that the book was written “For attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight.”  This is important because this book is not talking about ordinary wisdom.  This is a reference to the wisdom of God.  The first thing we learn is that the wisdom of God is attainable.  This is a simple, yet powerful truth.  I say that because when I first became a Christian I was told things like, “Son, the ways of the Lord are past finding out,” “God’s knowledge is too wonderful for us,” “You can never know the mind of God.”  Although things like that sound very religious, they are simply not true.

God made sure that 66 Books were written so that we could know Him, His character, His attributes, His nature, and His wisdom.  Moreover, He also gave us His Spirit.  In 1st Corinthians chapter 2 Paul said, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.”  If we read just those words it sounds like God is some mysterious God and His wisdom is unattainable; that He is just so big that we could never comprehend ‘The things of God.’  But thankfully Paul did not stop there.  Paul went on to say, “But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God… We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.”  See, when we are Born-Again, God’s Spirit comes to live inside of us.  God Himself is inside of us, thereby giving us access to His wisdom, His leadership, and His guidance.  The same Holy Spirit that gave wisdom to Solomon, the same Spirit that inspired all the writers of the Bible, the true author of the Bible Himself, lives inside of every twice born believer.  Through His Spirit His wisdom is attainable and our text says that with His wisdom we can develop discipline and have understanding.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God is not some distant God that wants you to fear Him without knowledge, that wants you to stumble through life without a clue, or that expects you to trust Him without ever understanding His ways.  No, God is a loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father who ensured that we have access to His Book of Life and the author.  I often say that the Bible is not a textbook to study, but rather a life-book to live.  I will admit that everything is not in the Bible.  The Bible does not have instructions on how to change a spare tire or how to operate a computer.  No, everything is not in the Bible, but everything you NEED to live that life that God desires for you to live IS in the Bible and that, coupled with the author Himself living inside of you, give you access to God’s attainable wisdom.  God is not a dictator that withholds information so that He can be the only one that knows.  No, God is a Father who wants to teach His children so that they can make wise decisions, because He knows that at the end of the day your life is a grand-sum-total of your decisions.  If you make good decisions, Godly decisions, then you will get Godly results.  That’s why you have access to His attainable wisdom.  Why not tap into it on a regular basis?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I have access to Your Word and to the author.  The author of Your Book of Wisdom, Your Spirit, lives inside of me.  Holy Spirit, I ask You to speak to me, to reveal to me things about You, Your Word, and my life.  Things that I need.  I know that there are things that I can only receive by revelation; things that exceed anything I could ever learn any other way.  I declare, by faith, that You reveal those things to me.  Your wisdom is attainable and I have faith that You will release it to me.  I am a child of God and I am wise beyond my years.  God’s wisdom gives me an advantage in the workplace and in life.  With Your wisdom, Lord, I move up and the more You elevate me, the more I glorify You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:3,4) Learning to Live “Right”

(Proverbs 1:3,4 NIV) For acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young.

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  The first six verses are the prologue of the book.  Yesterday we looked at the first two verses, this morning we look at three and four.  Let’s break these two verses down into smaller groups:

For acquiring a disciplined and prudent life:  My definition for discipline is, “The ability to make the decisions that will take you towards a pre-determined destination.” Being prudent or to operate with prudence means: to exercise good judgment with resources; the ability to govern oneself wisely in practical matters.  Needless to say, discipline and prudence are lacking in our society today.  Solomon tells us that as we read, understand, and apply the truths contained in this book, we will develop the ability to live a disciplined and prudent life; a life full of wise choices.  I like the fact that the Bible not only tells us how to make it to heaven, but it tells us how to enjoy the ride.  God does not want us to receive Him and then live miserable in the earth.  No, He wants us to have and enjoy life.  If we apply His truths we are well on our path to doing just that.

Doing what is right and just and fair:  I have two teenage children and I don’t know how many times I tell them, “Do what is right, because it’s right, and then do it right!”  Last night a purchased office furniture for my new home office here in Washington (by the way, we move in today – Glory to God – we finally get out of hotels).  I rented a truck to get the furniture home and several employees came out to bring me the boxes and to help me load the truck.  When I got home I realized that they had loaded two extra filing cabinets in the truck that I had not paid for.  My wife liked them and wanted them for the house.  My son said, “I guess we just got them for free.”  I said, “No, we have to pay for them.”  I called the store, told the manager what happened, and paid for them over the phone.  The manager was amazed that I would actually tell them and then pay for something that they had no idea that I had, but I told him that I would not violate my integrity over a couple of filing cabinets.  I did what was right, but the manager was surprised because doing what is right is not the norm anymore.  As we apply the truths from this book we will learn that it is important to God and to us to walk circumspectly before Him.

For giving prudence to the simple:  God has called me to preach and I love preaching the Word of God.  I love standing before people (or sitting here like this) and sharing God’s truth.  There was a time where I wanted to look for ‘the deep things of God’ in His Word.  I wanted to share rare and exciting truths.  I wanted to share deep and mind-boggling thoughts.  Well, to be honest, part of that was pride.  Although I am thankful for the revelation God gives me about weighty things in Him, I also am very thankful for the simple truths found throughout His Word.  I have learned over the years that I need to master the simple things; that I need to be prudent (watchful and careful) to do the seemingly small things that God expects of me.  Giving prudence the simple may not be sexy, but it is sure necessary in our walk with God.

Knowledge and discretion to the young:  Our youth have so many inputs that it is hard to keep up.  Television (MTV, BET, etc.), the internet (You Tube, MySpace, etc.), radio, iPods, CDs, and the list can go on and on.  It is important to instruct our youth in the Word of God.  Although they may not always like it, our youth need to know that God’s Word, His instruction, His truth, must have a central role in their lives!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for leaving the Bible for me.  Not only do I need it, but I love it.  I enjoy learning more about You and how You expect me to live.  I declare, by faith, that as I read Your Word I grow and become more like You.  I am transformed into Your image and Your likeness, here in the earth.  By faith I declare that I live a disciplined and prudent life.  I do what is right and just and fair.  I give prudence to the simple.  I know that I need both the simple and the deep truths found in Your Word.  I will give due diligence to both and I will share what I receive with our youth.  Use me today, Lord, for Your glory.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:5,6) From Learning to Living

(Proverbs 1:5,6 MSG) There’s something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn — Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  I told you up front that the first six verses are the prologue of the book; they set the stage for what is to come.  We have already looked at the first four verses and this morning we look at the last two in the book’s introduction.  We have learned thus far that this book is sort of a ‘Manual for living.’  Within its pages we will learn how to live well and right, to receive God’s understanding for life, and learn what to share with our youth.  Solomon then tells us that, “There’s something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn.”  This is a good point and it comes from someone who is considered of the wisest men who ever lived.  Solomon understood that no matter who you are, no matter how much you have learned, no matter how many educational degrees you have attained, nor how much life experience you have racked up, there is always room to learn more.  If you are still living then God expects you to still be learning.

A common statement that I hear when someone is done with a degree is, “I am glad that I am done with school.”  But the reality is that life is a school.  Every day is an opportunity to learn from the classroom of life and to do hands-on training (Labs) in the earth.  No one was wiser than Solomon and he let us all know that even the seasoned and experienced can learn a thing or two from the Book of Proverbs.  So get ready to learn, to receive, to be educated by God’s wisdom, to expand your capacity to believe, to broaden your horizons, and to stretch your faith.

Solomon tells us that this book is filled with, “Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate.”  This book was written thousands of years ago, but its wisdom is still fresh.  It is new, because it is often new to us.  As we receive this wisdom, God’s wisdom, it will probe and penetrate us.  It will come up against what we think we know.  It will clash with our preconceived notions.  It will often directly conflict with human wisdom.  And it is then that we must make a choice.  We must choose between what we have learned from the world and what God expects of us.  God’s wisdom often penetrates us to the core.  It is sometimes hard for us when we realize that what we thought was right is actually not right in God’s sight.  We sometimes get emotional when we realize that what our Grandmamma or Granddaddy taught us does not line up with God.  No matter what we thought we knew, no matter how emotional we might get, no matter how deep the truth penetrates and probes, if we are going to grow in Christ then we must change and we must be determined to line up our life, thoughts, and beliefs with God’s Word!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that we must daily be ready to receive and respond to what God teaches us.  Receiving it is nothing if we are not committed to providing the proper response to what we have learned.  We must be determined to turn the corner from information to application.  We must turn our learning into living.  Does this require change?  Yes.  Will we have to sometime change what we believe?  Absolutely.  But you cannot grow without changing.  Dr. O. C. Jones once said, “Life is change, growth is optional!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for Your Word.  I thank You for Your wisdom.  I thank You for Your truth.  I declare, right now, by faith, that I will read, receive, and respond to what You teach me in Your Word and in life.  My learning turns into living.  I turn the corner from information to application.  I am determined to change to become more and more like You.  I am committed to line up my beliefs with Yours.  No matter how much I have learned in the past, I am ever-ready to learn more.  And more specifically,  to learn from You!  Your truth is the ruler by which I judge every decision.  I grow because I change!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:7) The Fear of the Lord

(Proverbs 1:7 NIV) The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  We have seen thus far in the introduction to this book that is was written to give prudence to the simple, understanding to the young, and to make wise men even wiser.  It is a sort of manual for living and its truths are very practical and applicable to every day life.  Our focus text this morning serves as a reminder that we should not attempt to get things FROM God without first having a relationship WITH God.  In other words, we should not attempt to tap into His wisdom and to glean from His understanding without first having submitted to Him.  The wisdom found in this book is based solidly on the fear of the Lord; not a fear where we are afraid of Him, but a reverential and respectful fear.  This fear runs the gamut from a mild respect that simply acknowledges God to a deep and powerful respect that seeks to obey Him wholeheartedly.  Whether deep or mild, Solomon tells us that true knowledge begins with fearing the Lord.

There are some very smart people in this world who don’t have a relationship with God.  Some believe that He does not exist.  Some claim that their high sense of reason and logic keep them from believing in a God that they cannot see.  Solomon calls them fools.  Not fools because they have not attained human knowledge, but because they believe that human knowledge is all they need; because they believe that they don’t need God, His instruction, nor His discipline.

I like the way the Message Bible translates this verse, it says, “Start with God — the first step in learning is bowing down to God; only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.”  Those that refuse to bow down to God may attain information, but they lack revelation.  They may accumulate human knowledge through human ability, but there is so much more available to us.  See, we are a Spirit, we possess a soul (mind, emotions, and will), and we live in a body.  Just like God is three-in-one (Father, Son, and Spirit), we are three-in-one (Spirit, Soul, and Body).  Human knowledge is important, but it only feeds our mind (soul).  It only gives us head-knowledge.  But God’s wisdom is able to feed our mind and our spirit.  It gives us both head-knowledge and heart-knowledge.  God’s Word penetrates our true being.  The writer of Hebrews told us that God’s Word is, “Living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (4:12).   No human knowledge is able to do that.  When we fear the Lord, when we have a relationship with Him, and when we walk with Him daily, He teaches us truths that far exceed anything that we could ever receive any other way.  Our text tells us that these truths not only provide us knowledge, but also wisdom and discipline.  Not only will God teach us the information, but He will lead us in the application of the knowledge and the discipline to carry it out and to receive the benefits of it in our lives.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that God’s truth is the highest form of truth, that a relationship with Him gives you access to His knowledge, that walking with Him will give birth to wisdom (how to apply the truth) in your life, and that He will help you develop the discipline you need to maximize the benefits of His wisdom.  Now, only a fool would choose to miss out on that!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I acknowledge You, Your existence, Your relationship with me, the validity of Your Word, and the reality of Your presence in my life.  I respect You enough to obey You.  I fear You and I know that my relationship with You gives me access to Your knowledge, Your wisdom, and Your discipline.  I receive them all, by faith, and I declare that I will develop into the person You desire me to be, because I respectfully fear You with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:8,9) Honor and Obey Your Parents

(Proverbs 1:8,9 CEV) My child, obey the teachings of your parents, and wear their teachings as you would a lovely hat or a pretty necklace.

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  The introduction is over, the prologue is complete, now we get into the proverbs.  The first thing that Solomon tells us is that we, as children, should obey our parents.  We should receive and not reject their teachings.  Furthermore, we should wear their teachings as a hat or a necklace; meaning that we should proudly put what they have taught us on display.

This translation says, “parents.”  Others say, “Father and Mother.”  Solomon is clear that our obedience and submission should be to both parents.  In the New Testament Paul taught something similar to the church at Ephesus saying, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  ‘Honor your father and mother’ — which is the first commandment with a promise — that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (Eph 6:1-3).  Paul reminds us that obeying and submitting to our parents is not a suggestion from God, but rather a commandment.  And not just that, it is the first commandment (of the Ten Commandments) listed in Exodus with a promise associated with it.  In Exodus it says, “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Ex 20:12).  Paul echoes the promise of long life to those that obey their parents.

It is interesting to me that the person who is considered the wisest man to ever live starts out his teachings to us with a reminder to obey our parents.  If you take a bird’s eye view of the Bible, if you zoom back for a broad view of this book of books, you realize that the Bible is a book about family.  The order of father to son is all the way through the Bible.  The Blessing is always passed down from father to son, from parent to child.  Disobedient children are never heralded in scripture. The positions of father and mother are positions of dignity and honor.  I like the way Paul said it when he said, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.”  Obeying your parents is just the RIGHT thing to do.  Even without the promise of long life, we should obey, submit to, and receive from our parents.

My mother may not have received advanced formal education, but she received wisdom from her parents and grandparents.  She passed that wisdom on to me.  I was raised in Brooklyn in a very rough neighborhood with all sorts of negative influences, but I was able to resist the impulses to do wrong, because I had a mother who was teaching me to do right.  She taught me things that were not popular (and are still not today), things that I did not learn on the streets.  She taught me about integrity, dignity, respect, loyalty, honestly, and hard work.  To this day I highly respect my mother.  I honor her every chance I get and her teachings have provided me countless material for sermons.  She may not have been able to quote the Bible, but she lived the scriptures in front of me, and I am eternally thankful for that!

So what does this mean to you today? It means that, as children, you should honor your parents and, as parents, you should live a life that is worth honoring.  Take time with your children.  Pour what you have learned into them.  Give them tools to live by.  Share with them what has been shared with you.  Make an impact in the lives of your children, so that they will pass on the Blessing of parenting to theirs.  

Confession for this day:  Lord God, as a child, I obey my parents.  I receive from them, I do not reject what they impart into my life.  I embrace their teachings and I proudly display them for others to see.  As a parent I am committed to my children.  I pour into them as I have been poured into.  I live a life that is worth honoring, so that my children can honor me without reservation.  I live the Word before them all the days of my life.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:10-15) A Warning Against Temptation from Sinners

(Proverbs 1:10-15 MSG) Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them.  If they say—”Let’s go out and raise some hell.  Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.  Let’s pick them clean and get them ready for their funerals.  We’ll load up on top-quality loot.  We’ll haul it home by the truckload.  Join us for the time of your life!  With us, it’s share and share alike!”— Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look; don’t listen to them for a minute.

This morning we continue the introduction to our new series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In verses 10 through 19 Solomon gives us a warning against submitting to the temptation to do wrong from sinners.  This morning we will look at verses 10 though 15.  Let’s see what God has to say to us through Solomon:

Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you, don’t go along with them:  Where this translation says, “bad companions,” other translations clearly say, “sinners.”  These are people that don’t have a relationship with or any regard for God.  Solomon warns us against giving in to negative peer-pressure.  I talk to my teenagers about peer-pressure all the time, but the reality is that peer-pressure does not stop once we leave high school.  There is a constant pull from those that you associate with to do what they do, right or wrong, godly or ungodly, holy or unrighteous.  That is why we must: 1) be very careful who we associate with, and 2) be strong enough in God to resist the negative peer-pressures of life; because they will come.

If they say—”Let’s go out and raise some hell.  Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.  Let’s pick them clean and get them ready for their funerals.  We’ll load up on top-quality loot.  We’ll haul it home by the truckload:  Now you may be thinking, “I will never do that,” but you Solomon is talking about attaining ill-gotten gains.  True, you might not go out and mug and old woman, but you might take something home from the office, or fudge on your taxes, or on an expense report.  Sinners will tell you, “Oh, we all do it.  Everybody does it.  Go ahead, it’s no big deal.”  But walking with God means walking in integrity.  It means doing what’s right, because it’s right, and then doing it right.  As tempting as ill-gotten gains may seem, we are warned by God (through Solomon) to stay away from them.

Join us for the time of your life:  Sinners are quick to paint a good picture of what they are doing.  They have no problem sharing with you how much fun they are having and welcoming you to do the same.  Now, let’s be honest, when you were out there, when you were a sinner, when you were in the world, you liked it!  You had fun sinning.  I know I did.  I served the enemy with all my heart.  I was a good sinner.  But now that I am a believer I no longer live that way and my heart and mind have been transformed to enjoy other things.  Being a Christian is lots of fun and since I am having the time of my life, I can easily turn down temptations to have fun in the wrong ways.  It would no longer be fun for me to live in sin.  That’s why it is important for you to get into the Word, to renew your mind, and to develop new desires in God.  Then you will like what God likes and dislike what He does not.

With us, it’s share and share alikeOh, friend, don’t give them a second look; don’t listen to them for a minute:  No matter how good of a picture they paint, no matter how tempting they make the offer, no matter how grand the scheme, we are to abstain from even the very appearance of evil (1 Thes 5:22).  We are called to be the light of the world.  How can we shine as light if we live in darkness?  How affective can we be in influencing others if we tell them we have moved, but they keep finding us at our old address?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am Your child.  I am secure in my salvation.  I am a believer and not a sinner.  I live like You want me to live.  I do what You want me to do.  There is a clear difference between my life and the life of sinners.  I influence them to do right and am not influenced by them to do wrong.  My mind and my heart have been renewed to desire what You desire and to long for what You want me to have.  I live my life as light in a dark, dying, and decaying world.  Use me today as a witness for You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:16-18) A Warning Against Temptation from Sinners (Part II)

(Proverbs 1:16-18 CEV) They are in a big hurry to commit some crime, perhaps even murder.  They are like a bird that sees the bait, but ignores the trap.  They gang up to murder someone, but they are the victims.  The wealth you get from crime robs you of your life.

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In verses 10 through 19 Solomon gives us a warning against submitting to the temptation to do wrong from sinners.  He knew that associating with the right people is a key facet to maximizing your potential.  Peer-pressure is a reality of life, but when you surround yourself with the right people then the peer-pressure you receive will be positive, influencing you to do right and not wrong.  Yesterday we looked at verses 10 through 15 of this passage and this morning we pick up the last three verses.

They are in a big hurry to commit some crime, perhaps even murder:  This translation says, “They are in a big hurry to commit some crime,” others say, “They rush to do evil.”  The point here is that sinners sin.  I really don’t expect them to do anything else.  It is no surprise to me when a sinner lives like a sinner.  I would be a fool to expect a sinner to live like the righteous.  They have a path and they are headed down it.  The reference here to murder is used to paint the picture of the extreme.  You and I were on that path – the path of unrighteousness – and I know that I walked down it with enthusiasm; sometimes even running.  The lesson here is that we must be aware whom we are around.  Sinners cannot make us do anything, neither can satan himself for that matter, but when you surround yourself with the wrong people and constantly seek the wrong company, you escalate your chances of doing wrong.

They are like a bird that sees the bait, but ignores the trap:  The world is so often blinded by their lustful desires that they ignore the pitfalls along the way to attaining them.  There are consequences to sin and many sinners understand that, but they choose to ignore the eternal consequences for temporary satisfaction.  Don’t live like them.  Know that there are consequences to all of our actions and we must choose wisely.  When we line up our decisions with the Word of God, when we allow the Word to be the ruler by which we judge our choices, when we walk in God’s counsel, we will find ourselves avoiding the pitfalls that snag others.

They gang up to murder someone, but they are the victims:  Worldly people often trample over others to seemingly get to the top, but they don’t realize that they are really hurting themselves.  They will eventually reap what they sow.  They think they are winning by mistreating others, but at the end of the day, they will find out that they are the victims.  As believers, we are to live to BE a Blessing to others, not a burden.  We are to help others and not hurt them along the way.  We are here to build up and not tear down.  By pouring into others we find ourselves growing.  By giving we find ourselves actually getting.  That’s love and that the life that God wants us to live.

The wealth you get from crime robs you of your life:  True life is more than ‘things.’  We live in a society that is ‘thing’ oriented; money is the god of many.  Solomon later wrote, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income” (Ecc 5:10).   Those that seek money the wrong way, at all costs, are really robbing themselves of true life.  Money makes a great servant, but a poor master.  Seek to grow financially – the right way – and seek to honor God with your finances.  This way money is not a problem, but rather a tool by which you can be a blessing.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am Your child.  I thank You for Your counsel.  I seek to surround myself with the right people; people that are living circumspectly before You.  I don’t ignore the consequences of sin.  I abstain from sin and the very appearance of evil.  I seek to be a blessing and not burden.  I help and do not hurt.  I build up and never tear down.  I walk in financial integrity.  Money is my servant, not my master.  I use money as a tool to be a blessing.  I am light in the midst of darkness; I declare that I shine brightly today!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:20,21) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God

(Proverbs 1:20,21 NIV) Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech:

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In verses 10 through 19 Solomon gave us a warning against receiving the wisdom of the world, against submitting to the temptation of sinners.  In verses 20-31 he gives us a warning against rejecting the wisdom of God.  Not only should we reject the ways of the world, but we should openly and consistently receive and respond to the ways of God.  When we ignore the God’s wisdom we become susceptible to worldly counsel.

The language used here is interesting.  Wisdom is personified with a Hebrew noun that is both feminine and plural.  It is as though Solomon was telling us that this wisdom, God’s wisdom, is the queen or the mother of all wisdom.  The wisdom of God is the greatest wisdom we can receive.  This book, the book of Proverbs, is a book of wisdom.  The title of this series tells us that if we are able to unlock the power that is found within it’s pages, we will be able to walk in the wisdom of God.

Our text tells us that God’s wisdom calls aloud in the streets, crying out louder than the noise of cities, raising her voice in the public, making her speech in the gateway of the cities.  The point here is that God’s wisdom is available.  God is daily and earnestly inviting sinners to repentance, believers to the reality of righteousness, the burdened to cast their cares upon Him, the weary to find rest, the brokenhearted to find healing, the downtrodden to find encouragement, and those that are living in faith to continue to grow in God from glory to glory; from faith to faith.   No, God is not some distant and despondent God that hides His wisdom, His will, His heart, or His power.  God is a loving, caring, and sharing heavenly Father that dearly wants close and intimate relationships with His children.  He desires that the lost would come to Him.  It is not His desire that any would perish, but that all come to repentance and accept the Lordship of Jesus the Christ.  Equally, it is not His desire that believers – people like you and I – stumble through life.  He wants us to access His wisdom.  He wants us to understand His purpose and plan for our lives.  He wants us to walk in knowledge and understanding.  He wants us to excel in every area of our lives: mentally sound, physically strong, relationally stable, financially prepared, and psychologically at peace.  All of this and much, much more is available to us when we receive and respond to the wisdom of God.  When we walk in His counsel, when we line up our lives with His Word, when we commit to His teachings, we release Him to work in our lives to the fullest.  However, when we reject His counsel, when we walk in the ways of the world, and when we ignore the leading of His Spirit, we hinder Him from releasing His best in our lives.  The key to all of this is wisdom, God’s wisdom, that is made available to us through His Spirit and His Word.

So what does this mean to you today? It means you must both reject wisdom of the enemy (the temptation to do wrong) and receive the wisdom of God.  Once you open yourself up to receive from God you will find that He is always talking.  What do you think He does all day?  He is seeking to relate to His children.  He will speak to you through circumstances, others, His Spirit, His Word, dreams, visions, and many other ways.  His wisdom is raising her voice.  Are you listening?

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am Your child, I am Your sheep, and You are my shepherd.  Jesus said that Your sheep would hear Your voice.  I declare that I am Your sheep.  I hear Your wisdom and I reject the wisdom of the world.  I take heed to Your instructions.  I obey Your commandments.  I walk in Your counsel.  I line up my life with Your ways.  I take the time to hear, receive, and respond to Your wisdom.  Your words are the words that I live by and because of it, You are able to develop me into the person You desire me to be.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:22,23) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God (Part II)

(Proverbs 1:22,23 NIV) “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?  If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.”

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  I have already shared with you that in verses 20-31 Solomon gives us a warning against rejecting the wisdom of God.  In these two verses we see the heart of God expressed through Solomon.  Let’s take a close look at this passage within the passage:

“How long will you simple ones love your simple ways?  How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge?” The Hebrew word translated “simple” in verse 22 is a word that refers to a person without moral direction; a person inclined to do evil; a sinner.  The question is, how long will the sinner remain in sin?  How long will mocker delight in mockery?  How long will the person that lives without God continue to reject His pleas, His calls, and His attempts to get their attention?  God is ever ready to receive the sinner and to bring him into a relationship with Him.  God does not desire for anyone, not one person, to perish (2nd Peter 3:9).  God desires for all to come to repentance and to accept His Son Jesus as their Lord.  I know that this is not popular today.  I know that people come by the multitudes to see what they can get FROM God, but many of that same crowd leave without giving themselves TO God.  They are seeking God’s hand, but He is seeking their heart. They want ‘things,’ but He wants them.

“If you had responded to my rebuke.” Solomon tells us that these people (sinners and mockers) have rejected God’s rebuke.  This word “rebuke” means: correction, reprimand, or warning.  God warns sinners not to continue in sin.  God warns the disobedient to come to repentance.  God warns the wicked from the consequences of rejecting His call to righteousness.  The wages of sin is still death, but the Gift of God is still eternal life through Jesus the Christ, our Lord (Rom 6:23).  To the sinner the message is clear, turn from your wicked ways.  To the believer the reminder is also clear, walk in the newness of life in God.  Respond to God’s rebukes.  Accept His correction.  Enjoy His instruction.  Line up your life with His Word, His will, and His ways.

“I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.” God, through Solomon, tells us that He is ready, willing, and able to pour out His heart, to make known His thoughts, and to impart His wisdom into those that obey Him; those that are dedicated to living the life He intends for them to live.  To the sinner this is an offer – repent and receive God’s heart and His wisdom.  To the believer this is a promise – Divine wisdom is available to those that accept and obey God.

So what does this mean to you today? A few things:

1.  God loves the sinner, but He hates the sin.

2.  God will not overlook sin, but He does offer a way out for the sinner.

3.  God tells us what He expects the sinner to do: turn, repent, convert, submit, obey.

4.  His offer still stands: accept His correction and have access to His heart and wisdom.

5.  For the believer (You and I), we have a promise to stand on in this passage.  God’s heart and His wisdom are available to us, because we have chosen Him, His path, and His way.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I don’t reject Your ways, I receive them by faith.  I am no longer a sinner.  I have been made righteous by the Blood of Jesus Your Son.  I walk as the righteousness of God by faith.  I abstain from sin, I walk in purity, and I am a conduit of Your love in the earth.  I enjoy when You correct me.  Your correction is a reminder that I am Your child and You are my Father.  I receive Your correction and because I do, You release Your heart and Your wisdom in my life.  I am wise beyond my years, because I walk with You!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:24-26) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God (Part III)

(Proverbs 1:24-26 MSG) As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear; I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.  “Since you laugh at my counsel and make a joke of my advice, How can I take you seriously?  I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  As previously stated, in verses 20-31 Solomon gives us warning against rejecting the wisdom of God.  God has ensured that His wisdom has been documented within the 66 books of the Bible.  He has provided a way for us to receive Himself, His Spirit, His presence and His counsel through accepting Jesus as Lord.  He freely offers us (creation) a personal and intimate relationship with Him (our Creator).  But even still, many reject the offer, and even attempt to make a mockery of the reality of God.  Our text tells us that they turn a deaf ear to God and His countless pleas for them to come to repentance.  As sure as I am alive, their time will eventually run out.  Our days on the earth are numbered.  We ought to make the most of the time that we have.  Running from God is not the answer.  Running to Him is the way.

As many of you know, I recently moved from Georgia to Washington.  The county I currently live in is one of the least “churched” counties in the US.  Only about 7% of this county goes to church on Sunday.  That is a VAST difference from Georgia.  Most people from the south claim to be Christians, whether they are or not.  Most people from the Bible-belt were raised in church and are at least familiar with the gospel message.  Many people out here have never heard the gospel message and truly don’t know anything about God.  But then there are some who have heard the message and find it ludicrous.  They look down upon those that believe as if we are the simpletons.  How can you believe in a God that you cannot see?  How can you believe in a God that does this… or that?  They turn a deaf ear to God.  They reject his counsel.  They ignore His way.  Surely, this practice is not limited to this county, but there are countless individuals all over the world you have put themselves in the place of God.  They believe their intellect, their understanding and their wisdom is enough.  They believe they can make it through life without God and they don’t believe in life after death.  Whether they believe it or not, they will spend eternity somewhere.  But since they choose to ignore God, Solomon reminds us that there will come a time where they will suffer the consequences.  There will come a time where they wish they had heeded His commands, been guided by His wisdom and had chosen to fear God.

Now, the reality is that if you are living, then it is not too late.  If there is air still flowing through your lungs and blood flowing through your veins, then God is no through with you.  It is not too late to repent and accept Jesus as Lord today.  But for those that continue to reject, ignore, and turn a deaf ear to God there will come a time where it is too late.  At the end of the day, they will have to reap what they have sown.  What they do in life will echo in eternity.  Paul said it best in his letter to the Galatians.  He said, “Make no mistake about this: You can never make a fool out of God. Whatever you plant is what you’ll harvest” (Gal 6:7).

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you WANT to accept everything that God makes available to you.  You don’t want to be part of the crowd that ignores God, because there will come a time where that crowd will wish they hadn’t.  You want to be part of the crowd that accepts Him, His counsel, His wisdom, and His offer for eternal life in Christ.  Make the right choice, be part of the right crowd, and reap the right harvest!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I am not like those that reject Your counsel, that turn a deaf ear to Your pleas, that ignore Your way.  I accept Your wisdom.  I obey Your commandments.  I live by Your ways.  I am submitted to Your counsel.  Since I sow the right seed, I declare, by faith, that I will reap the right harvest.  I live the life You intend for me to live.  I enjoy the benefits of a submitted life in Christ.  I walk in The Blessing of Abraham and The Blessing of Jesus.  I know I am going to heaven, but I will also enjoy the ride!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:27-29) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God (Part IV)

(Proverbs 1:27-29 NIV) When calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you.  “Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me.  Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD,

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  As previously stated, in verses 20-31 Solomon gives us warning against

rejecting the wisdom of God.  We have already looked at several scriptures in this passage (20-26) and as we continue through the passage we see that Solomon is adamant that we should accept and apply the wisdom of God to every area of our lives.  Choosing to ignore or reject God’s wisdom has consequences. Solomon tells us of the storms that we literally open ourselves up to when we choose to go against God’s wisdom, His instruction, His way.

There are many examples in scripture of people who both accepted God’s wisdom and were blessed and those who rejected God’s wisdom and experienced storms.  One man, who experienced a literal storm because of his decision to reject God’s instruction, was Jonah.  God told Jonah to go to Nineveh to preach to them.  Jonah had the opportunity to make the right decision, but he didn’t.  He chose his own wisdom, his own desires, and his own way.  The result was that he experienced a literal storm that endangered his life and the lives of those around him.  He almost died in an awkward journey that took him through the bowels of a big fish before he eventually repented, submitted to God’s instruction, and did what God wanted him to do.  Dr. Creflo Dollar identifies with Jonah in his book, 8 Steps to Create the Life You Want, saying, “Many people are like Jonah.  I know; I’ve been there.  God would tell me to do one thing, and I would do another.  I made decisions out of God’s will on many occasions as a pastor, father, husband, and businessman.  Eventually, I realized that I wasn’t as smart as God and made a quality decision to avoid making choices that were outside of His will for my life.  That decision has put me on the path to my destiny.  The moment I made the decision to repent and start doing things God’s way, He led me out of my error and into His will.”

J. Martin Kohe wrote in his book, Your Greatest Power, “The greatest power that a person possesses is the power to choose.”  To avoid the pitfalls of life, we must make the right decisions, decisions that are bathed in prayer and based in the counsel of God (His Word).  There is a Bible-based answer to every one of life’s questions.  Our challenge is seeking it, receiving it into our spirit, applying it, and living it out by faith.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that you WANT to use your power to choose wisely.  God has made you a free moral agent.  You have the right to choose to submit to Him or to reject Him; to accept His wisdom or to live by your own.  Just know that whatever you choose today will determine where you wind up tomorrow.  You are where you are today as a result of choices you have made in the past.  God has set it up so that truly the only person that can dictate what happens to you is YOU! The Kingdom of God operates by the system of sowing and reaping.  If you don’t like the harvest you are reaping, then it is time to check your seed (the decisions you have been making).  Change your seed and you will change your harvest!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I declare, by faith, that I sow the right seed.  I heed Your warnings.  I submit to Your Word.  Your Words are the Words I live by.  I line up my life with Your counsel.  I am not foolish enough to believe that I can live my life by my own counsel and wisdom.  I make the decision to do things Your way and this decision takes me down the path to my destiny.  Lord, you are free to lead me in the way that I should go.  I may not always know where I am going, but I know Who I am following.  I follow You Lord, by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:30-33) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God (Part V)

(Proverbs 1:30-33 NIV) Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.  For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  As previously stated, in verses 20-33 Solomon gives us warning against

rejecting the wisdom of God.  We have covered a great portion of this passage already (20-29) and this we look at Solomon’s final words in this warning against rejecting the wisdom of God:

v  “Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.”  Solomon drives it home here again.  He wants to make it clear that when the wicked choose to ignore God’s call to righteousness and when they consciously reject His advice (His Word), then they too will reap what they have sown.  They will eat the fruit of their ways and it will be no one’s fault but their own.  They made their own decisions, without the wisdom of God, and their life will be “filled with the fruit of their schemes.”

v  “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them.”  Solomon highlights two different areas here that merit further elaboration: waywardness and complacency.  The word translated waywardness here is a Hebrew word that means: a turning away, turning back, apostasy.  This is a reference to those who knew to do better, but chose not to.  They knew of the goodness of God, they knew what His wisdom instructed, they knew what His character expected, but even then they made a conscious choice to ignore, reject and turn away from it.  Their waywardness will result in death, sometimes a premature death.  They literally force themselves down a path of unrighteousness, because of their own lusts and desires.  Their ways trump God’s ways in their lives.  This call to righteousness, to the ways of God, is the theme of this entire passage.  So the first highlight here (waywardness) is just more of the same; it flows with what we have already been covering.  But then Solomon tells us that the “complacency of fools will destroy them.”  This is different.  You can heed the call of God, you can walk down the path of righteousness, you can abstain from sin, and still be complacent.  Yes, many believers today and throughout the course of history have been crippled by complacency; they have been setback by procrastination.  Solomon calls the complacent a fool.  This person accepts where they are as the final destination.  They stop moving, stop growing, stop expecting, stop anticipating, they simply stop.  The problem is that God has not stopped.  If you are still alive, then God is not through with you.  If He were done with you then you would be gone.  We are warned against being complacent, against giving up on progress, against throwing in the towel of expectation from God, because complacency will eventually destroy the fool.  As much as Solomon calls us to righteousness, he also calls us to diligence.  Life in God is a life of persistence, perseverance, determination, and dedication.  Look throughout all the books of the Bible and you will never find God doing mighty things through the life of a lazy person.

I did not get the to 33rd verse this morning.  We will take a look at that verse tomorrow.

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for Your Word.  I thank You for making it so clear for me.  The more I learn the more I live.  My learning turns into living daily.  Today I declare, by faith, that I sow the right seed and therefore, reap the right harvest.  I live a submitted and obedient life.  I judge my decisions upon the ruler of Your Wisdom, which is Your Word and what I receive from Your Spirit who lives in me.  I shun the path of the wayward and choose to overcome complacency and procrastination.  I am persistent, perseverant, determined, dedicated, and diligent.  Since I am still living, I declare that I am still learning and growing more and more like You daily.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(1:33) A Warning Against Rejecting the Wisdom of God (Part VI)

(Proverbs 1:33 NIV) But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”

This morning we continue the series entitled, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  As previously stated, Solomon gives us warning against rejecting the wisdom of God in verses 20-33.  Yesterday I attempted to finish with this passage, but I was unable to get to the 33rd verse, so we will cover that today.

After clearly giving us the warning, after laying out the consequences of rejecting God’s wisdom for 13 verses, after characterizing those that ignore God’s pleas as “simple” and “fools,” God through Solomon then says, “But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.”  This is a final reminder that we have a choice; a choice to live with God or without Him; a choice to walk in His way or our own; a choice to receive or reject His counsel; a choice make His Son our Lord or to continue to make ourselves the lord of our own lives.  Solomon reminds us this morning that when we choose God, His Son, His Spirit, His Word, and His counsel, we will enjoy the benefits of our decision.

I remember when I became a Christian at the age of 23.  After receiving Christ I was taught about what my decision meant.  My mentors led me through Bible verses that explained to me that I was no longer a citizen of the kingdom of darkness and how I had already been translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son (Col 1:13).  I was taught about the benefits I could and should now receive as a citizen of God’s Kingdom, things like: protection (angelic and otherwise), soundness of mind, peace of heart, authority over the kingdom of darkness, deliverance from fear, health and healing, the ability to find and follow my purpose, access to God’s wisdom, the leading of His Spirit, and the list can go on and on.  I knew that if I was a new citizen that I was SUPPOSED to receive benefits with my citizenship.  I knew that because I was the first of my family to be born as a US citizen.  Those that came before me came to this country seeking a better life and they became naturalized citizens – because they CHOSE to – and they made their decision because of the benefits package.  They knew that becoming a citizen of the US has benefits and there are people that will swim through rivers, traverse deserts in the middle of darkness, ride in the trunk of vehicles, or endure other hardships and dangers just to enter this country, albeit illegally, with hopes that some day they will be able to become a citizen and access the benefits.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that when you accepted Jesus as your Lord it opened up the door of possibilities.  Those without God have no reference point from which to make sound decisions.  They make decisions based on reason, emotions, or intellect.  They step out on a limb, hoping that things will work out.  When they do, they call it “good luck,” when they don’t, they call it “bad luck.”  Or they say things like, “It was just meant to be.”  But since you have been Born-Again you have access to God’s Word and His Spirit.  You don’t have to rely on so-called luck or being lucky.  You can train yourself to think like God.  Your mind can be renewed to make Godly decisions.  Renewing your mind and following the leadership of the Holy Spirit gives you advantage in the world.  This advantage should spill over to every area of your life.  Believe me, this is how you WANT to live; enjoying the benefits of walking in obedience!

Confession for this day:  Lord God, I thank You for translating me out of the kingdom of darkness and into the Kingdom of Your dear Son.  I am a citizen in Your Kingdom and I declare, by faith, that I will make a demand for and enjoy the benefits therein.  I don’t have to rely on luck, I renew my mind and line up my thinking with Your Word and Your Spirit.  You lead me in my decision making process and that leadership gives me an advantage in the world.  I enjoy Godly success in every area of my life, by faith!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!