Proverbs 25

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 29, 2004

Proverbs 25

:1 …the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.

Hezekiah lived about 250 years after Solomon.  He had some of his scholars pull out about 100 of Solomon’s proverbs and write them down.

:2-7 For Kings

:2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing…

(Prov 25:2 ICB)  God is honored for what he keeps secret. Kings are honored for what they can discover.

God has not chosen to reveal all of Himself or His plans.

Kings need to investigate matters fully before making decisions.

:3 …the heart of kings is unsearchable.

(Pr 25:3 The Message) {3} Like the horizons for breadth and the ocean for depth, the understanding of a good leader is broad and deep.

:4-5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

Silver becomes more valuable as the dross is removed.  A king’s nation becomes more valuable when the wicked are removed.  A king’s rule becomes more stable when wickedness is removed.

(Pr 25:4-5 The Message) {4} Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; {5} Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.

:6-7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither

Jesus said,

(Luke 14:7-11 NLT)  When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: {8} "If you are invited to a wedding feast, don't always head for the best seat. What if someone more respected than you has also been invited? {9} The host will say, 'Let this person sit here instead.' Then you will be embarrassed and will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! {10} "Do this instead--sit at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, 'Friend, we have a better place than this for you!' Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. {11} For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored."

:8-10  Neighborly behavior

:7whom thine eyes have seen…

:8 Go not forth hastily to strive…

The last part of verse 7 really belongs to verse 8:

(Prov 25:7b-8 NLT)  Just because you see something, {8} don't be in a hurry to go to court. You might go down before your neighbors in shameful defeat.

Be careful about making quick judgments about things.  Sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.


Looking Out (It’s not what it seems)

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.  One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour a day to drain the fluid from his lungs.  His bed was next to the room’s only window.  The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.  The men talked for hours on end.  They spoke of their wives and families, their home, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they’d been on vacation.  Every afternoon when the man in the bed next to the window could sit up, he would pass the time and entertain both of them by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.  The man in the other bed would really live for those one-hour periods.  His world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the outside world described by his new friend.  His descriptions of his perspective were great.  The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake with ducks and swans.  Sometimes children sailed their model boats.  The park had flowers of every color of the rainbow, and grand old trees, and squirrels played their games. There was a fine view of the city skyline in the distance.  As the man by the window described all this, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.  One warm afternoon the man by the window described a wedding party taking pictures in the lovely park below.  Later a parade passed by. Evidently a circus was coming to town, and he told about the elephants holding each other’s tails as they made their way down the street. Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his minds’ eye.  Then an alien thought entered his head.  Why should this other guy have all the pleasure of seeing everything while I never get to see anything?  It didn’t seem fair.  As the thought fermented, the man felt ashamed at first.   But as time passed, his envy eroded into resentment and soon turned him sour.  He began to brood and found himself unable to sleep.  He should be by that window and that thought now controlled his life.  Late one night, as he lay staring at the ceiling, the man by the window began to cough.  He was choking on fluid in his lungs. The other man watched in the dimly lit room as the struggling man by the window groped for the button to call for help.  Listening from across the room, he never moved, never pushed his own button, which would have brought the nurse running.  In less than five minutes, the coughing and choking stopped, along with the sound of breathing. Now, there was only silence - deathly silence. The following morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths.  She found the lifeless body of the man by the window, and he was taken away.  As soon as it seemed appropriate, the man asked if he could be moved next to the window.  The nurse was happy to make the switch and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.  Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up one elbow to take his first look. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it all himself.  He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank, bare wall.

Sometimes I get angry at people because of things I’m suspicious of.  I’m finding that I can’t be quick about drawing too much from my suspicions.  I’m often wrong and I’m a fool to put too much weight on my own suspicions.

:9-10 …Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame…

I wonder if this isn’t a continuation of the thought in verses 7-8 in talking about not being too hasty in our judgments of other people.

(Prov 25:9-10 NLT)  So discuss the matter with them privately. Don't tell anyone else, {10} or others may accuse you of gossip. Then you will never regain your good reputation.

Jesus said,

(Mat 18:15-17 KJV)  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. {16} But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. {17} And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican.

What’s important is that we learn to go to people directly when we have a problem with them.  Yet often what we do is to talk to everyone else about the person before ever dealing with them.

:11-15 Faithful words

:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

(Prov 25:11 NLT)  Timely advice is as lovely as golden apples in a silver basket.

:12 As an earring of gold…so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

reproveryakach – to prove, decide, judge, rebuke, reprove, correct, be right

(Prov 25:12 NLT)  Valid criticism is as treasured by the one who heeds it as jewelry made from finest gold.

Ears are made for hearing.  What makes an ear look really good is not just a nice piece of jewelry, but when a person pays attention to wise advice or criticism.

:13 …so is a faithful messenger to them that send him…

This is for those faithful guys who work at UPS, FedEx, and the Post Office to deliver all our letters and packages.

(Pr 25:13 NLT) {13} Faithful messengers are as refreshing as snow in the heat of summer. They revive the spirit of their employer.

Being a faithful employee.

(Col 3:22-25 KJV)  Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: {23} And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; {24} Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. {25} But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

In a sense, we’re kind of like contract employees.  We work for an outside consulting company, on loan to our present employer.  Jesus is our real boss.
I wonder what kind of a “faithful messenger” I am for my real Boss?  When I’m faithful, I “refresh” my Master.

:14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like …wind without rain.

A farmer looks forward to the rain.  When he sees clouds and feels the wind, he knows that rain is on it’s way – he hopes.

A person who claims they’ll do something, give something, or be something, but doesn’t follow through – they’re like those empty clouds.  Pretty disappointing.

:15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

long forbearing – (literally, “long” + “nose”, it takes a long time for your nose to flare in anger) patience

breaketh the bone – can overcome difficulties

Faithful words influence people.

Keys to influencing people:

Patience and gentle words.
I need to learn this because after all, these are the things that work best on me. You need patience because I’m kind of slow to get things.  You need gentle words because I tend to tune out or react negatively to harsh words.

:16-17 Dangers of “too much”

:16-17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

You don’t need too much of a good thing.

Too many candy bars (or honey) will make you sick.

Too much time at your neighbor’s house will make him sick of you.

(Pr 25:17 The Message) {17} And when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up.

:18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour…

(Pr 25:18 NLT) {18} Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

:19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble…

This is sort of the opposite of verse 13:

(Prov 25:13 KJV)  As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

:20 …so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

(Pr 25:20 NLT) {20} Singing cheerful songs to a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing someone’s jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in a wound.

Sometimes we feel like we need to cheer up those are depressed.  Be careful how you go about it.

(Rom 12:15 KJV)  Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.

:21-22 …For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.

Paul quotes this:

(Rom 12:17-21 KJV)  Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. {18} If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. {19} Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. {21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

I don’t think this means that we look with glee on someone who is our enemy and think to ourselves, “Oh boy, I get to heap burning coals on his head!”

I think the “coals of fire” speaks of conviction.
(Rom 12:20 NLT)  and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you."

Carrying grudges can be deadly.


Dr. S. I. McMillen illustrates in a chapter entitled “The High Cost of Getting Even,” from his book, None of These Diseases, how physical maladies including ulcers, high blood pressure, and strokes are connected to harboring resentment and hatred toward others. He says, “It might be written on many thousands of death certificates that the victim died of ‘grudgitis.’” Dr. McMillen describes how hating a person enslaves the one who hates:
The moment I start hating a man I become his slave. I cannot enjoy my work anymore    because he even controls my thoughts. My resentments produce too many stress hormones in my body; I become fatigued after only a few hours of work.  The man I hate may be miles from my bedroom, but more cruel than any slave driver he whips my thoughts into such a frenzy that my inner-spring mattress becomes a rack of torture. I really must acknowledge that I am a slave to every man on whom I pour out my wrath.

Hearts can be changed if I help the one that has hurt me.

Jesus said,

(Mat 5:43-48 NLT)  "You have heard that the law of Moses says, 'Love your neighbor' and hate your enemy. {44} But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! {45} In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and on the unjust, too. {46} If you love only those who love you, what good is that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. {47} If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. {48} But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.


When the first missionaries came to Alberta, Canada, they were opposed by a young Cree Indian chief named Maskepetoon.  But eventually he responded to the gospel and accepted Christ.  Shortly afterward, a member of the Blackfoot tribe who hated Maskepetoon killed his father.  The chief rode into the murderer’s village and demanded that he be brought before him.  Confronting the guilty man he said, “You shall ride my best horse and wear my best clothes.”

In utter amazement and remorse his enemy exclaimed, “My son, now you have killed me.”  The hate in his heart had been erased by Maskepetoon’s forgiveness and kindness.

Do you have someone that you’re angry with?  Is there someone at work that has made themselves your “enemy”?

:23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

(Pr 25:23 NASB95) {23} The north wind brings forth rain, And a backbiting tongue, an angry countenance.

:24 …than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

This is exactly like Prov. 21:9 and very similar to:

(Prov 21:19 KJV)  It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

In Bible times, they didn’t have telephones, Internet, cars, or much at all to hear about people who’ve moved far away.  It took time to get news from a far country.

Today I had a call from a gal that has been a part of our ministry for years.  She lives out in Temecula now.  She’s struggled with various physical ailments, but mostly depression over the years.  She called to tell me how well she’s doing.  She went off her depression medication and things are looking up.  Good news.

There are people who are in great need of help with their lives.  Sin has ravaged them.  Satan has troubled them.  They need some good news.  They need news from a far country, from heaven.  They need to hear about Jesus.

There are others who know the Lord, but they too are thirsty for encouragement.  They too need good news from heaven.  Jesus said,

(Mat 10:42 NLT)  And if you give even a cup of cold water to one of the least of my followers, you will surely be rewarded."

What are some things you could say to a discouraged Christian?

:26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

(Pr 25:26 NLT) {26} If the godly compromise with the wicked, it is like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.

As Christians, we are going to still sin from time to time.  Yet when we find our lives being lived continuously in compromise, our “spring” is polluted.  When we try and give the “cup of cold water” to those in need, something tastes a little funny.

Purity isn’t just something we want to do for our own sake, though that alone is a HUGE reason to walk in holiness.

Our purity (or lack of purity) affects those around us, even when they don’t know what we’ve done.

Jesus spoke harshly to the Pharisees because they had allowed their “cups” to become polluted:

(Mat 23:25-28 NLT)  "How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside you are filthy--full of greed and self-indulgence! {26} Blind Pharisees! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean, too. {27} "How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs--beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people's bones and all sorts of impurity. {28} You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

More than anyone, the Pharisees ought to have been wonderful vessels of God’s Word.  They ought to have had the words to bring comfort and help to people.  Yet they had become more worried about what people thought of the outside than what God saw on the inside.

:27 … so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

Too much honey will make you sick.

(Pr 25:27 NLT) {27} Just as it is not good to eat too much honey, it is not good for people to think about all the honors they deserve.

Thinking too much about all you deserve will make you sick.

How will it make you sick?

You will be thinking too much about yourself and not enough about God and others.  Because we are all pretty much selfish people, we all think we deserve far more than we get.  And as a result you’re never satisfied and never happy.

:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit …

A city without walls was a city vulnerable to attack.

In ancient days, one of the things a conquering army would do was to tear down the walls of the city it just conquered.  This would keep the people defenseless from further attacks from them.  This would keep the city from rebelling against they conquering king.

When we lack self-control, we too are vulnerable to the enemy’s attack.

How do I cultivate self-control?

1.  It is a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22)

One of the things that the Holy Spirit wants to produce in my life is “self-control”. I need to make a point of yielding myself to the Holy Spirit and the things He wants to do in my life.

2.  Just do it.

Paul wrote,
(1 Cor 9:24-27 NLT)  Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. {25} All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. {26} So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. {27} I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

We’ve seen plenty of examples this summer of Olympic athletes who exercised enough self-control to push themselves in their training.  They just “did it”.

I think sometimes we're looking for some kind of formula so that we relieve ourselves of all responsibility in our spiritual walk.
The Holy Spirit is there to fill us.
He's there to give us power and ability.
You have the car, the tank is filled with gas, so start the car and get going.
How to "Just Do It"

From    -- John MacArthur, Jr. - "These are some things that have helped me through the years: "

1. Start small.  Start with your room.  Clean it, then keep it clean.  When something is out of place, train yourself to put it where it belongs.  Then extend that discipline of neatness to the rest of your home.

2. Be on time.  That may not seem very spiritual, but it's important.  If you're supposed to be somewhere at a specific time, be there on time!  Develop the ability to discipline your desires, activities, and demands so that you can arrive on time.

3. Do the hardest job first.  Doing that will prevent the hardest jobs from being left undone.

4. Organize your life.  Plan the use of your time; don't just react to circumstances.  Use a calendar and make a daily list of things you need to accomplish.  If you don't control your time, everything else will!

5. Accept correction.  Correction helps make you more disciplined because it shows you what you need to avoid.  Don't avoid criticism; accept it gladly.

6. Practice self-denial.  Learn to say no to your feelings. Occasionally deny yourself things that are all right just for the purpose of mastering doing it.  Cultivating discipline in the physical realm will help us become disciplined in our spiritual lives.

7. Welcome responsibility.  When you have an opportunity to do something that needs to be done, volunteer for it if you have a talent in that area.  Welcoming responsibility forces you to organize yourself.