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 14 of the Book of Proverbs. This is one of the longest chapters of this book and as I have been doing in the past few chapters, I will place each verse in a category as it fits with other similar subject matter.
Verse one; though it deals with the area of wisdom, it is specific to describe a wise woman. “The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.” Although there are many ways in which a woman can tear down her home, there is only one way in which she can build it up and establish it.
Lets first consider the ways in which a woman can tear down her home. By choosing a ‘career’ and farming out her children to day cares rather than investing a few years of her life to be with her children, nurturing them as only a mother can. Hillary Clinton is wrong as she tells us that it ‘takes a village’ to raise children. That view is so worldly and against what God’s Word the Bible says.
To have a family is a great privilege and responsibility and should not be taken lightly. It is a tragedy to see the number of children from the age of a few months and up that are being raised by strangers today. They are missing that all important developmental time of the first 5 years that only a loving mother can give, and we as a nation are suffering greatly as a result.
A woman can also tear down her home by not loving, caring, and supporting her husband. Does this sound old fashioned? Unfortunately, it does to many, in fact for some it is foreign to them. They have neither heard of it nor seen it in a marriage of friend or family. Rather what many are seeing today are marriages that last 2-5 years, where one or both of the participants are self-centered, out for themselves, unwilling to sacrifice for the better of their spouse, speaking derogatorily to each other, lacking any honor or respect for one another.
The only way in which a woman can build her home up is first by having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ herself, and then through prayer and following the Word of God, build her home upon a sure foundation. The results will be like those of the parable that Jesus taught in Matthew24-25, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”
Another area that Solomon covers the contrast between the upright and the perverse, which takes up the majority of this chapter. “He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him. A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit. Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor. The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish. The simple believes every word,
But the prudent considers well his steps. The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. The evil will bow before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends. He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he. Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good. The crown of the wise is their riches, but the foolishness of fools is folly. In a multitude of people is a king's honor, but in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince. The wicked is banished in his wickedness, but the righteous has a refuge in his death. The king's favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.” These need little explanation so we will move onto the next area covered by Solomon.
In verses 3, 5, and 25 the mouth is the subject of discussion. “In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them. A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies. A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.” Our lips can be used for good or bad but we must understand that what comes out of our mouths originates in our hearts. For as the Bible says, “Out of the abundance of the heart does the mouth speak.”
It is amazing the amount of power and influence that our words can have. We can build someone up by encouraging words or tear them down and destroy them through criticism. I want to encourage you to do something this week, consciously think about what comes out of your mouth each time you speak. Is it good things that encourage or critical words that tear down and don’t really need to be said?
Now in verses 4 and 23 laziness is addressed once again. “Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; but much increase comes by the strength of an ox. In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.” Oxen represented the ability to plow up a field to plant crops, haul material to build or sell and meat to eat. Of course in having oxen, it meant you would have to clean up after them, feed them, and take care of them. The lazy person would rather not have to do any of that, resulting in lack of food and work.
In verses 10, 13-14, and 30 the subject of a troubled heart is addressed. “The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy. Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief. The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above. A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.” This life holds its share of heartaches and sorrow. But it is good to know that the Lord God Almighty has experienced sorrow also and is able and willing to comfort in our time of need. In 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
In verses 12, 29, and 31 the correct way and wrong way of doing things is covered. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly. He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.”
The first verse mentioned is similar to other verses that convey the same truth. They are found in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” Proverbs 12:15, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes.” And Proverbs 16:2, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.” Man in his pride and arrogance thinks that he knows so much, but compared to God he knows very little.
Finally in verses 16-17, 26-27, and 33 wisdom and the fear of the Lord are addressed. “A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident. A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated. In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death. Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known.”
If man would follow just these few truths, the world would be a radically different place. It needs to start somewhere, why not start with you right now. Read your Bible every day, ask God for His wisdom to apply His truths to your life, ask Him to give you the correct fear of the Lord, and start living by His Word and for Him. Next time we will continue going through the Book of Proverbs as we search for wisdom. 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