The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:2

  How much do you know about pride? I confess that I thought I knew the subject, and I expected that you knew it as well. But do you suppose that it was pride on my part which led me to believe that I understood pride? Looking over my records, I see that I have preached three messages with pride in their title. Only three? And then I opened up my concordance. I bet no one in this auditorium can guess how many times the word “pride” is used in the New Testament. In Mark 7 the Lord Jesus lists a group of sins. Beginning with evil thoughts He mentions, “thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” The word “pride” in this case is the Greek word which mean’s haughtiness or arrogance. Then Paul, in speaking of a bishop says that candidates for bishop should not be “a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.” This is a second Greek word which refers to highmindedness. And then John uses a third word when he says, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” The pride of life points to the kind of pride which manifests in boasting. Not all pride results in egoistical boasting; most pride is a lot more subtle than that. Those 3 verses are all there is in...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:1-31

  There are AS many great verses and proverbs in this chapter as any other in the Book. Each of them may stand on their own – and yet every one of them deserves their own lesson. For example, there is verse 12 – “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” How many professing Christians despise their neighbour? And don’t – like the Pharisee – ask, “Who is my neighbour?” You know who your neighbour is. Verse 14 – “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety.” I often refer to verse 21 – “Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered.” Verse 22 – “As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.” Verse 24 – “There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty.” Verse 29 – “He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind: and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.” And verse 30 – “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” While asking the Lord for something to highlight tonight, the Holy Spirit gave me a fifteen point message. So buckle up and slap some water on your face because we could be here a couple hours. We COULD be here a couple hours, but I will try...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:22

  Going back over Proverbs 10, there was only one verse which the Holy Spirit has lead me to address. It might not jump off the page toward your eyes, but it did to mine. And with the Lord’s blessings, I hope it will become something of interest to you for the next few minutes. “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich.” There are many Biblical examples and promises of this. To remind you, I’ll share just a couple of them. Hannah, in prayer, pointed out, “The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up. He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them.” And there is Deuteronomy 8 – “For the LORD thy God bringeth thee into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and depths that spring out of valleys and hills; A land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey; And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:8-32

  Assuming that the Lord will soon return to take away His saints, it could very well be that we will still be looking at the Book of Proverbs at His “parousia” – His presence or coming. And I might guarantee that if we continue to look at only one or two verses every week. If there are another 21 chapters of 30 verses each studied in pairs, we could be looking at the last verses of chapter 31 well into the year 2022. That would not necessarily be a bad thing, but I’m not sure how profitable it would be. As I say, I think the Lord will be here before we get to June 2022. So we may look at larger chunks of these proverbs, and then again we sometimes we may not. Tonight I’d like to follow a pair of thoughts as they proceed through the rest of Proverbs 10. In the process we may skip over verses which you think are more important than others. But next week we may come back to some of them, and then again, maybe we will not. Tonight let’s compare what Solomon says about “prating lips” versus the lips of the wise person. Once again, we will start at the low end before ending on a more positive note. The lips of the prating fool. Verse 8 – “The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.” When was the last time you used the word “prate” or “prating”? That’s the sort of word which requires an original Websters. Only voracious readers ever hear that...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:6-7

  Maybe I am stuck in a mental rut, but once again I find a group of contrasting pairs. And not only that but tonight I’m going to take each of the major words and split them into additional pairs. The just man and the wicked; blessings and violence; good and bad memories. I thought about reversing the order of Solomon’s two subjects for the sake of variety, but I’m sure we’ll have the opportunity for that again later. So we’ll begin with the just man. “Blessings are upon the head of the JUST – The memory of the JUST is blessed.” I don’t know if Solomon was thinking like the Holy Spirit when he used the term “just.” But it is not really important, because this is explained in the New Testament. The prophet may not have understood what he was writing, but without doubt the Lord did. There are two kinds of “just” people in the world. There are those who are just under the law and those who are just by grace. We can’t know exactly what was in his mind, but Solomon may have been thinking about the honest man – the fair and right-acting person. The law says, “Tell the truth,” and this person tells the truth. The law says, “Be generous and hospitable,” and the just woman is known to be a giving person. There is nothing wrong with this kind of behaviour – this sort of person is to be commended. So long as she doesn’t think that her good character is saving her soul. While Solomon might have been thinking of...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:4-5

  Once again, we have two parallels – repeated. A slack hand is contrasted with diligence, and productiveness is contrasted with laziness. There is poverty contrasted with riches and wisdom contrasted with shame. Verse 5 builds on verse 4. Here we have another example of Hebrew parallel poetry – no rhyme but plenty of reason – reasoning. There is a passing reference to fathers and sons here – “He that gathereth in summer is a wise son.” Christian dads should have at least two great hopes for their children – salvation and useful lives. I’m sure that we could add a great number of other things, but they would probably be lesser objectives. Solomon, a father, refers to diligence and usefulness many times in these proverbs. As a wise man himself and as lead of the Holy Spirit, I’m going to assume that these verses are important. And I’m going to use them as the two divisions of tonight’s devotional. Solomon wants his children to be useful members of society. We have already read his words in chapter 6 – “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.” Throughout the Proverbs we have these proverbs. “The hand of the...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:2-3

  I have been debating with myself about how deep to go in our study of these proverbs. I think by their very nature proverbs are meant to be quick and powerful. They are guerilla attacks for truth rather than long sieges against the strong position of the enemy. On the other hand, these proverbs of the Holy Spirit are not just quaint, pithy statements. These come out of the depths of the divine heart. If we wanted to, and if we had the minds and hearts, we could spend hours looking at many of them – comparing them to the writings of Paul or the statements of the Lord Jesus. So to answer my own question, I think I’ll let the Spirit guide us. One week we may look at a half dozens verses and the next week we will examine only one. Again this evening, I point to the poetry of these verses – a subject about which I am far from an expert. But it seems to me that we have a pair of interlocking parallels. Verse 2 contains a contrasting parallel – “wickedness” and “righteousness.” Then verse 3 gives us another – “righteous” people and “wicked” people. But verse 3 actually provides a parallel explanation of verse 2. Why do the treasures of wickedness profit nothing? Because God casts those treasures away. And why are the righteous delivered from death, because God will not suffer that soul to famish. Those are the short and quick statements, but are their more truths or blessings if we dig a little deeper? Proverbs 10:2 “Treasures of wickedness profit...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 10:1

Proverbs 10 begins the same way the Book of Proverbs began – “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel.” It is entirely fitting that we should find here “The proverbs of Solomon,” because this is where they actually begin. The first 9 chapters of this book are all introduction. So far Solomon has been describing the importance and benefits of “wisdom.” He tells us how simpletons, like us, might have wisdom. He compares the wise and the fools – and to what ends they come. He has already given to us dozens of important proverbial statements, in the context of his introduction. But now he proceeds into his vast collection of material. Solomon was a true wise man. That isn’t an editorial comment, or the interpretation of a Bible student, because the Holy Spirit tells us. “And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore.” “Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.” “There came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom.” “And the LORD gave Solomon wisdom, as he promised him.” The Book of I Kings gives us examples of his practical wisdom, like the case of the baby claimed by two mothers. I must conclude that Solomon was a child of God, and we shall kneel beside him some day in adoration of our mutual Saviour. Was he a sinner? Absolutely. Was he a...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 9:13-18

  I use a King James Version, Thompson Chain Bible for my study and preaching. It has marginal notes which can take me to topical studies at the back after the Book of Revelation. And beside first line of verse 13 is the number 3881 followed by the word “harlots” and a reference – 2:16. The editor of this Bible is telling me that the “foolish woman” of verse 13 is a whore, a harlot. And if I wanted to pursue this subject I just need to follow the chain of verses beginning with Proverbs 2:16 or I could turn to the back and find #3881 with a all the verses of #3881 printed out. But the point is – the editors think that this “foolish woman” is a harlot – an adulteress. And I am not going to disagree with Brother Thompson, whoever he was. But the context gives us permission to allegorize this wicked, foolish woman. The last verse tells us that the foolish man who listens to this woman “knoweth not that the dead are there (in her house) and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” The verbs are in the present tense – “the dead ARE there; and that her guests ARE in the depths of hell.” While many of her customers will indeed end up in hell for eternity, that is not what it says. And what is the opposite of “foolish”? What are some of that word’s antonyms? The first two offered by Google, the only two offered by Google, were “sensible” and “wise.” I can agree with those. The...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 9:7-12

  Last week our devotional came from the first part of a larger paragraph. We looked at Wisdom’s invitation to a meal which she offered to the simple. She was sending out her servants, her maidens, with certain instructions. We looked at only those positive instructions. This evening we shall consider what those servants were to do with those who scorned the invitation. We have a description of those who will not listen to Wisdom; those who are not hungry for truth. Verses 7 through 9 are such a contrast to the first verses that they almost seem out of place. Let’s begin at the end and finish the words which wisdom wants to share with those who are receptive. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Here is one of the many Proverbs which deserves to be memorized – MUST be memorized. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.” So many people think that fear of North Korea or the fear of ISIS is the beginning of wisdom. There are thousands of professing Christians who make a fear of the Tribulation a key ingredient to their outlook on life. I fear that those people lack a proper understanding of the sovereign, omnipotent God. Nothing which shall befall the earth will come without the directing hand of Jehovah – so FEAR HIM. There is no terrorist in the world who can touch a single saint of God without the permission of God. Ultimately, the blessing of the Lord commences with salvation – deliverance from sin....

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 9:1-6

  As I read this scripture with the hope of preparing a little devotional for you, I found my mind running wild. The words and ideas seemed, with one hand, to reach back a couple of chapters. And then with the other to reach forward into the New Testament. The message of these six verses provides a contrast with something we read earlier. And it provided a parallel with something which the Lord Jesus has told us. “Wisdom hath builded her house.” Who is it that hath built this house? “Wisdom,” you say? And who is that wisdom? You might say that she is the blessing of God which gives the simple believer an advantage over the unbelieving intellectuals of the world. She is that part of faith which makes the saint of God more wise than the Rhodes scholars and the professors who profess to teach those scholars. She is the divine blessing which can make the plow boy rise above the member of Mensa with his IQ in the 98 percentile. Or as we have often said, this wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness…” This wisdom is the wonderful person of whom we read last week. “She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.” “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.” “Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 8:1-36

  There are several occasions in the Bible, where prominent men stood before large crowds and preached Christ – or prophesied judgment – or simply gave their testimony. I suppose the first recorded was Moses; then besides the apostles, there were prophets and others. And here in Proverbs 8 we have perhaps the most unique speaker of them all. I have decided to look at this chapter – this testimony – as a unit. We could cut it apart and consider some of the more memorable verses, and perhaps we will next week. But tonight, I’d like us to rearrange some of the verses according to their subject and simply let the speaker tell her story. Who is it that cries out and puts forth her voice? She identifies herself as “wisdom.” I know we must not remove this speaker very far from the eternal Son of God. Christ is wisdom personified and perhaps even deified. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” But for the sake of this lesson, let’s think of wisdom as simply the highest and most practical form of knowledge. And that begins with the knowledge of God. And this wisdom is female; the Hebrew word is feminine, and the pronouns used here are feminine. Part of who she is can be seen in how she “cries.” There are two closely related Hebrew words translated “to cry”. One is basically, “Hey you over there, come listen to what I have to say.” But this word is more personal, intimate – she...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 7:6-27

  This may be the largest chunk of Proverbs that we have examined thus far. There are many preachers who have no trouble preaching through the details we find here. But it is contrary to my nature, a fault which I’ve not been able to overcome thus far in my ministry. And besides, the Holy Spirit has seen fit to make this warning as clear as crystal. There is little need for in-depth analysis by anyone. So, I’m changing gears just a little bit. As I was reading these two paragraphs yesterday, I was struck with Solomon’s opening comments. “At the window of my house, I looked through my casement” – the lattice covering the window – you might apply that to the blinds we have today. And I “beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding.” I know that Solomon was given an extraordinary gift of wisdom, for the Bible tells us so. But was there anything specific which helped him determine that he was looking at a simpleton – someone “void of understanding?” If perhaps we can understand the criteria he used that evening, we might be enabled to see foolish people among our acquaintances. We might even be warned about foolishness in ourselves. What sort of things give away the simpleton? By the way, “the simple ones” refers to foolish people, and some commentaries suggest – “seducible people.” “Void” is a word which speaks of emptiness. “Void of understanding” therefore suggests an empty head. What gives such people away? How can an observer spot the empty-headed fool? Well,...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 7:1-5

  Let’s say that the Lord came to you with a test – checking to see if you knew the condition of your soul. What would you answer if He asked, “What is your most common sin – your most troublesome temptation?” I’m not sure, but I think that most saints of God know the answer to that question. But would we pass the Lord’s test, by admitting and confessing to our greatest weakness? Often, people would rather deflect their true guilt to some “lesser sin.” So what is it? Pride? Perhaps deceit. Is it laziness and indolence? What about envy? If I had to guess I would say that SOLOMON’S most besetting sin involved immorality. Of course I Kings tells us a bit about his family life. I would say that a thousand wives and concubines reveals something about his weakness. But also, based upon the number of references here in Proverbs, immorality appears to be often on his mind. I picture this book coming from his pen later in his life, after a great deal of polluted water had flowed under the bridge. But he doesn’t speak about himself – all the references are made in regard to his “son.” Why is that? Don’t we all practice some degree of “transference” when we look at other people? We take what we find in our own hearts and transfer that to the next person. Some people believe they are hearing lies, because they themselves often lie, or if they were in that other man’s shoes they would lie. Why do some people always think the worst of others?...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:20-35

  I was between books Sunday night, so as I was getting ready for bed, I looked deep into the back of my little cabinet and well behind the first row of books, I spotted a volume which I haven’t opened in twenty years. It is called, “Encyclopedia of Men’s Heath.” It was published by Rodale in 1995, and Judy bought it for me shortly after it came out. The opening section gives some general guidelines for good health – eating, sleeping, exercise and avoiding certain lifestyles which we call “sins.” One of those lifestyles is exposed and condemned in our scripture for this evening. After the initial section, the book goes alphabetically through specific problems from acne and Alzheimers to warts and wrinkles. It describes each problem, mentioning causes, prevention and treatment. Perhaps, if the Lord hadn’t so blessed me over the last two decades, I would have found this book earlier. But I am reviewing it now, just to make sure I am still on the right physical path. Then yesterday, I looked at the first verses of our text – “My son, keep thy father’s commandment and forsake not the law of thy mother.” I was struck with the parallel between that secular health book and God’s spiritual health book. Solomon at this point doesn’t get into a list of the family commandments and laws. It was expected that the royal family – the princes and princesses of the king – already knew these rules. So what is Solomon’s simple exhortation? “Keep them” and “forsake them not.” Even though many of things in the first section...