In search of Wisdom
Greetings precious people, I do hope that you are doing well today and rejoicing in the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ. In our search for wisdom, we come to Chapter 12 of the Book of Proverbs. The Book of Proverbs is full of godly wisdom that can help you in your everyday life if you simply read and apply these precious truths to your life.
Solomon, the author of most of the Book of Proverbs devotes a number of verses to contrasting wickedness to goodness. It is important that we understand what these two terms mean before looking at the verses. Goodness is the practice of doing what is right and good, where wickedness is the choice to do and continue to practice what is wrong and against God. Now all of us choose to do what is wrong at times due to the natural condition of our heart which is as the Bible says in Jeremiah 17:9, "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.”
Though our heart is naturally like this, it can be changed by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ and allow Him to come into our lives and make the necessary changes, then we can choose to do what is good and right by the power of the Holy Spirit. This truth is seen in Romans 7 & 8.
Lets take all the verses in Proverbs 12 that contrast wickedness with good. In Proverbs 12: 2-3; 5-7; 10; 12-13; 20-21; 26 we read, “A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn. A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved. The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. The words of the wicked are, "Lie in wait for blood," but the mouth of the upright will deliver them. The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel. The wicked covet the catch of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit. The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble. Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy. No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil. The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.”
It is interesting how the doing of what is knowingly wrong, wickedness, is often portrayed in a positive light by the media and entertainment industry. Yet God’s Word, the Bible speaks to the contrary. Yes the pleasures of sin may be enjoyable for a season, but that season will come to an end one day (sooner than you think) and there will be a terrible price to pay. The choice and decision is yours. God gives each person the power and right to choose. As God said to His people Israel through Joshua their leader many years ago, He says to you and I today, Joshua 24:14-15 "Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Solomon also covers the contrast between the wise and the foolish. In Proverbs 12:1,4,8,11,15-16, 24, 27-28 we read, “Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge,
but he who hates correction is stupid. An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones. A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised. He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. A fool's wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame. The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor. The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man's precious possession. In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.”
One of the first tell tail signs of how wise a person is or is not, is their ability to receive instruction, in other words, their teach ability. If a person is teachable then there is no limit to the wisdom that they can attain. Teach ability is also a sign of humility.
The proud are not teachable, they think they know it all and have no need of instruction. It is interesting how when we are between the ages of 12 and 25 how smart we think we are and have answers to every problem, and think that there is no better way than our own. Then for some, by the grace of God, we wake up to reality and take note that there is a whole lot of what we do not understand and become teachable. Prior to being a parent, I thought I knew all there was to know about raising and disciplining children. Then after becoming a parent I began to realize just how little I knew about parenting.
One other area that Solomon covers in this chapter is the use and misuse of our lips (what we say, don’t say, and how to say it). In Proverbs 12:14, 17-19, 22-23, and 25 we read, “A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man's hands will be rendered to him. He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health. The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight. A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness. Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.”
It is important to note the amount of attention that the Bible gives to such a little part of our body, the tongue. It has been said that there is great power in the pen and this is true. The written page has had great influence upon both the hearts and minds of men through the ages, for both good and bad. This is also true when it comes to the use of our tongue.
Listen to what James 3:2-12 has to say about the tongue. “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.”
Only the Lord Jesus Christ can change our heart from which all that we say originates. I want to encourage you today to ask God to change your heart and give you control over your mouth. Many think that it is admirable to “speak one’s mind” but the Bible says that it is much more desirable to be slow to speak and quick to hear. Let the Lord do His work in your heart today.
Next time we will continue our search for wisdom as we study through the Book of Proverbs. Until then may the Lord richly bless you beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our web site to read all previous articles at www.calvarychapel.org/alpine/index.htm
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine