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...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:16-19

  Knowing a week ago, what would be our scripture for today, I have been praying for the Lord’s direction. Many of us have these verses memorized – or if not stored in our heads, at least they are in our hearts. You’ve probably heard or read seven point sermons from these verses. My prayer has been – how can I present this familiar material in such a way as to keep physically tired saints alert for 20 or 30 minutes? I don’t know if I can, but the Lord did give me an approach that I’ve never considered before. If I gave this devotional a title it might be “What does God NOT say in Proverbs 6:16-19?” We should be struck with two words in verse 16 – “hate” and “abomination.” The LORD, Jehovah, “hates” things. There is nothing said in these verses about the love of God, which so many semi-literate Christians emphasize to the heights. I am not denying the love of God, but that cannot be found in these verses. God hates things; what things? It is safe to say that they are all forms of sin. God hates sin. Where does that leave us, about whom it is said, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God”? “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Either Jehovah/Elohim hates you and your sin, or for a time He hated His own Son who chose to stand in your place before God’s judgment. That is a thought upon which we should often meditate...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:12-15

  As I first read this paragraph the other day, first one, then another kind of person, came to my mind. Those of you who can remember public school can probably picture both of these people. And I suppose that anyone who has ever spent much time at the playground can as well. The first that came to mind was the “class clown” – “He winketh with his eyes, he speaketh with his feet and he teacheth with his fingers.” Then reading this a second time, my mind fell upon the class and playground bully, with his little entourage of corrupted pals. He is naughty, forward, sowing strife and discord among the smaller, weaker kids. Obviously, Solomon is warning about this kind of person; he doesn’t want any of his children joining them. And I suppose that the children of a king might be even more prone than others to become either person. I suppose there are few peers among the royalty – peers among the peers of the realm – But everyone’s eyes would be upon the children of the king, and they could become any number of different kinds of people – both good and bad. And so could we; so could our children and grand-children – leaders, trouble-makers – problems. We have four short and relatively simple verses, which some people might overlook – don’t do that. These clowns and bullies are described, explained and then condemned. And even though I often put these Proverbs in the context of Solomon and his children, remember that the real Author is the Lord, and these things apply to...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:6-11

  Not only does Paul tell us in Romans 1 that God has proven Himself through His physical creation, but throughout the Bible we are told to look at creation for specific lessons. The Lord Jesus, for example, tells us to examine the lilies in the field and the fowls in the air to learn of God’s love and provision. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” The Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a mustard seed. So what does the mustard seed teach us? David said, “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou art mindufl of him? And the son of man, that thou visitest him?” And then there is Solomon. Among other things, “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.” It does not take long to come up with things about ants which should instruct or rebuke God’s saints. Solomon’s lesson for his son at this point is – don’t be lazy. Didn’t Aesop have a fable about the ant and the grasshopper with a similar lesson? “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.” “Sluggard” isn’t a word often...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:1-5

  How would you define the word “friend?” The dictionary answers, “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” Is there a difference between a “friend” and an “acquaintance?” Don’t we often use “friend” a little too freely, especially when we are trying to impress people? Just because you shook hands with the Queen of England, that doesn’t mean that you are friends. We were talking about “the friend of God,” last Sunday – Abraham was a friend of God, but was Adam? Does the Bible ever say that Jehovah is the friend of any man? The holy angels are acquainted with the Lord, but are they His friends? But we aren’t thinking about friendship with God tonight. The Bible praises friendship between people, and it speaks about various qualities of that friendship. For example, “A friend sticketh closer than a brother,” and ” a friend loveth at all times.” Friends often sharpen one another; they help each other to grow in righteousness, and they rebuke each other’s sinfulness. And that is a part of this very practical Biblical paragraph. We have a friend who has a problem. Let’s call him “Dale.” Dale’s car has broken down, and it will cost more to repair it than it is worth – more than he has. But he needs transportation to get back and forth to work – and to go to church. He has found an adequate vehicle which costs $800, but he doesn’t have the cash. And his credit isn’t good enough for him to borrow even that small amount from the...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 5:15-23

  Two weeks ago, I was thinking that I would simply expound these verses, as I did the first part of the chapter. But as I was looking at it, it became obvious that an exposition might be more problematic than an outline. So, once again, we have a brief, devotional sermon. I haven’t been giving these messages titles, but I probably should have. If this was to have a title, I would call it “Arguments for a Godly Morality,” or something along that line. Leaning away from what I hope are obvious lessons, let’s think about the Lord and His will. First, consider God’s omniscience. Verse 21 – “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” Obviously there is a corollary to this thought, “the ways of women are also before the eyes of the Lord.” Even though Solomon may have been thinking about wayward leaning sons of his, there are lessons here for the “strange woman” who was introduced to us last week. As foolish as it is, fathers often think it is impossible for their daughters to fall into sinful immorality. But knowing their own hearts, they can picture their sons. It’s always other man’s daughters who tempt our sons into sin. But, as I say, it’s foolishness on the father’s part. Both sons and daughter must remember “the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” The “ways” and “goings” of God’s creatures are as clear to the Lord as the sun shining above the clouds. “Neither...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 4:23-27

  What is the Biblical definition of sin? I John 3:4 – “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” So sin makes itself known in outward ways. We might say that specific sins originate in the heart, but isn’t it true that we can sin with our eyes? Don’t our lips sin when we utter a lie or we spread gossip? If we pull a grape off a vine in the grocery store, popping it into our mouths haven’t our hands sinned by stealing? This may be a silly question, but is there any part of our body which CANNOT sin? Can our belly button sin? What if we expose our belly button to the eyes of strangers? Can our ear lobes sin? We know our ears can sin by willing listening to wicked words. But can our ear lobes sin? What if there are 1″ tall swastika stuck in each of them? Is it possible for our shoulders to sin? What if they are leaning on a tree when they should be swinging an ax or raising a shovel? And what about our bottoms? Isn’t it a sin when we should be working, we are sitting – especially sitting on our hands? I don’t think we have to stretch our imaginations very far to come up with sins that just about any external part of our body might commit. Of course, from time to time, the Bible refers to some of the more prominent aspects body parts. And that is what we find here at the conclusion of Proverbs 4....