The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 12:5-22

  It is possible to read though any of these chapters from Proverbs looking for a theme or subject and then to develop that subject into a study – all within that particular chapter. Because these are usually only an accumulation of statements we can’t necessarily create an orderly outline, but together they do provide some useful instruction. Last week we gleaned from this chapter several related points about good foundations and solid roots. We could probably pursue the same subjects in other chapters, but we probably won’t. And we could follow tonight’s theme over and over again in other chapters, but again, we probably won’t. Most of these proverbs speak for themselves, so once we have our hearts attuned to the right spiritual frequency, we can hear what is being said without any necessary amplification from my lips. And it is lips that I’d like you to hear tonight. There are seven verses in this chapter which speak of words and tongues. All but one of them compare the lips of the wicked to those of the righteous. Together, they reveal that we can judge the heart of the speaker by analyzing his words. And thus we have a standard by which to judge our own communication and to set as our own goal. Our first two verses tell us that our words can either ENTRAP or DELIVER us. Verse 13 – “The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.” Verse 6 – “The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 12:3

  We’ve all seen it, if we haven’t experienced it – the tree with a shallow root system blown over in the storm. I confess to a little worry about the larch which Jackie and I transplanted into our back yard. It is growing like a weed, sometimes as much as 3 or 4 feet a year. But it has the advantage of a sprinkler system, feeding it water every other day. Because it doesn’t have to struggle for water, it has no reason to sink its roots deep into the soil. As a result it might not have the stability many of its cousins have out there in the forest. The Bible speaks much about good foundations, because the problems of shallow roots affects human beings as much if not more than trees. Jeremiah 17 – ” Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ Colossians 2 – “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Root and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as yet have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Jesus’ parable of the seeds and the soils makes reference to a lack of root in one instance. And Matthew 7 – “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:4

  As I was re-reading this chapter yesterday, thinking about the verses we’ve skipped, I thought I could see a loose relationship between five of them. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Verse 28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” Verse 31 – “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” Don’t these verses speak of similar subjects from different points of view? Let’s consider riches versus righteous; life versus death; gain versus loss; and the theist compared to the atheist. One thing which links all of these is day-to-day earthly living. Even though Solomon often speaks about eternal things, these verses quite clearly refer to our three score and ten years in this world. First, he ties together two great parts of man’s existence – LIFE and DEATH. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” How much did Solomon know about death? Babies may die, but they don’t recognize death in others or understand...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:30

  There are a dozen great proverbs here in chapter 11. I plan, the Lord willing, to make a quick review of those which we have not yet considered. Many of them are so succinct and obvious, all we need to do is stop for a moment and let them sink in. One of the problems with our daily Bible reading, is we have three or four chapters scheduled for the day so that we sail right over the well-known or obvious verses and don’t let them soak into our souls. We will try to rectify that to a small degree, but that is on my calendar for next Wednesday. While first thinking we might finish the chapter tonight, my heart got hooked on verse 30. In my youth – in my Bible school days – this scripture would have been used to beat the lazy Christian into door-knocking and the necessity of Arminian evangelism. But since those early days in my life, I have matured just a little in my theology and in my desire to know what the Holy Spirit is saying here. Let’s try to understand and properly apply some of this verse. Beginning at the end – who is this wise person? Remember that as the Book of Proverbs began, Wisdom was personified in Christ, the Son of God. “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: How long, ye simple ones will ye love simplicity. Turn you at my reproof, behold I will pour out MY spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Then, with the entry of...

April 29

William Baskett was born in 1741 in Goochland County, Virginia. His parents were poor Episcopalians. When William was twenty he married Miss Mary Pace. They immediately began morning and evening devotions together and with their children as they began to arrive. When the Baptist, John Corbley, visited the area many residents began to openly talk about Bible doctrine. Confused about such things Mr. Baskett went to the local vicar, asking him what he must do to be saved. The man told him that he felt a comfortable hope in keeping the commandments. When this didn’t satisfy William’s questions or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the minister dismissed him, calling him deranged. Over the months to come William and Mary continued to search the scriptures eventually coming to the conclusion: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.” When Elijah Craig and David Thompson visited, William asked to be immersed upon his profession of Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Soon a small congregation was gathered and Philip Webber was called as pastor. When Webber emigrated to Kentucky, the congregation called their own William Baskett. For twenty-one years he faithfully served that congregation. On April 21, 1815 Mary Baskett died. One week later, on this date in 1815, William preached from the words: “We have no continuing city, but seek one to come,” and then the following day, at the age of 59, he followed his wife into the presence of the their...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:16

  I wont stress your exhausted minds with deep theology or detailed logic tonight. Here are a few simple devotional thoughts centered around four simple words. Isn’t it interesting how words can be arranged one way and they teach or bless, but then they can be rearranged telling us something else? Or if we replace one of those words there is another lesson? Those preachers who care little for words – even the little ones – are often making a huge mistake. The verse says, “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.” By the way, the word “and” is not in the Hebrew, leaving the door open to other connective words. And John Gill says that some people like to use “as” instead of “and.” “A gracious woman retaineth honour, AS strong men retain riches.” That certainly makes sense and doesn’t change the effect of two clauses very much. But it does make us focus on the gracious woman with the strong man helping us to understand her. Once again we are reminded how important even little words can be. But it’s always best to leave our English Bible alone, letting it speak for itself. We have four primary words in this verse, which I will mix up just a bit. Let’s start with the strong man. Being honest with you, I have to point out that technically, this might be an evil sort of word. It is often translated in a very negative sort of way. It is used in the Bible twenty times and only once is it translated “strong.” It is most frequently...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:12

  I suppose there could be a healthy debate about which book of the Bible is the most practical. For example, it might be said that Romans is the most practical because there is nothing more practical and important than salvation from sin. Another might choose Genesis as the foundation of the rest of the Bible. Or someone could say that since we are living in the last days, Revelation is the most practical. And then people simply have their favorite books. Taken from the standpoint of day-to-day life and the attacks upon it by the sins of society, some would insist that Proverbs must be the most practical of all the books of the Bible. Solomon seems to go from one temptation to another in successive verses. He briefly exposes one sin and immediately jumps upon another. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour,” introducing us to the common sin of hypocrisy. And then, still speaking of those two men he says, “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” I am not trying to be thorough in these devotionals. After all, this is Wednesday night and most of us are weary from three days of hard work or trips to the hospital. But the Lord is putting these practical subjects before us, so I feel obligated to address them, even if it is only lightly. But maybe I shouldn’t use the word “devotional,” because this isn’t particularly light, uplifting material. Solomon is meddling once again – “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” Who is my neighbor? Don’t we have neighbors and then...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:9

  As often as we hear outsiders and unbelievers talk about hypocrites in the church, we might think it should be a huge subject in the Bible, but that is not the case. The word “hypocrisy” is found once in the Old Testament and five times in the New Testament. The more common “hypocrite” is only used eight times in the Old Testament and three times in the New. And it surprised me that verse 9 is the only use of either word in Proverbs. More trivia on the subject relates to the two people who use these words most often – Christ speaks these words six times and so does the Book of Job. And one more point, of which I have told you before,“hupokrites” (hoop-ok-ree-tace’) was the first word the Greeks used to speak of “stage players” or “actors.” A hypocrite is an actor, playing a role – a fake, a fraud, a deceiver. And most of the time, everyone knows it. Despite its relative rarity in the Bible, and especially in Proverbs, let’s use this verse as an incentive to address the subject of hypocrisy. It really is a problem among church people and even among Christians. And the Bible condemns it as we see here. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour.” What else does the Holy Spirit tell us about hypocrisy? First, Hypocrisy is rarely a stand-alone sin. This is true of most kinds of sin, but it’s particularly true in this case. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour” – doesn’t that speak of at least two sins? One particularly heinous...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:5-6

  As I began reading through this chapter once again, asking the Lord for direction, it occurred to me that we might have sequel to last week’s lesson. Last week we spent a few minutes considering some of the consequences of one particular sin. We began with, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame,” and then moved on to related scriptures. Here in verses 5 and 6 we read – “The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way” and “The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them.” I thought to myself, if the Bible has another five or six statements which parallel these, I’ll have a profitable devotional. Alas, these are the only verses which directly speak of the profitability of personal righteousness. In order to reach that conclusion, I asked my concordance to search for the words: “the righteousness of.” It gave me an easily manageable twenty-two scriptures. And generally speaking, they could be grouped into five categories. Having failed in my original thought, I decided to go with plan B. Let’s consider each of these five groups. One verse speaks of the righteousness of GOD’S WORD. David says to the Lord in prayerful psalm, “The righteousness of thy testimonies is everlasting.” We could probably build a healthy sermon around that verse alone. The testimony of God, ie. His Word, is as eternal as God Himself. This should develop in our minds into the doctrine of the eternal preservation of His Word. God’s Word is available to us today, as much as it was to the twelve disciples when they walked with Christ and listened to His voice....

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...