Morning Bible Study
Announce: Servant School in two
weeks – “Calvary Chapel Distinctives” - $8 for the book.
This Thursday is movie night: “Luther” – in honor of the 500th
anniversary of the Reformation.
The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.
Wisdom is not about knowing facts.
Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.
Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into
They are intended to help you lead a better life.
They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, and z your life will be perfect”.
They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be
generally better than if you didn’t do them.
I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through
I am not going to take time to stop and unpack every single proverb, or
we’d be in Proverbs for the next ten years.
God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak
to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.
It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.
The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…
Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.
Most of these proverbs are in two lines.
Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same
idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first,
but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.
:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a
just weight is His delight.
:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination
In ancient days, a merchant would typically buy or sell things according to
weight, using a balance scale.
A sneaky merchant would have two sets of weights, one for buying and one
Their “buying” weights would be heavier than their “selling” weights, so
when they buy a pound of grain from you for a shekel, they are buying a larger
quantity than when they sell someone else a pound of grain for a shekel. That’s how they made an unfair profit.
A week ago Friday Daniel and I went to the
Fullerton Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast and got to hear the testimony of Mark
Whitacre. In 1992, Mark became the whistle blower in the nation’s largest
anti-trust legal action.
The company he worked for manufactured many of the chemicals and additives
in much of the food we get at the grocery store.
What Mark’s company was doing was similar to the
principle of “dishonest weights”. They were ripping off their customers.
God thinks this kind of business practice stinks.
God wants His people known for their honesty and integrity.
Mark would end up serving a nine-year sentence for the crimes he committed,
but while he was in prison, he came to Christ.
:2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is
:3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the
unfaithful will destroy them.
(Proverbs 11:3 NLT)
guides good people; dishonesty destroys treacherous people.
:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But
righteousness delivers from death.
:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath
When you stand before God on the day of judgment, your wealth isn’t going
to be able to buy you out of hell.
:4 But righteousness delivers from death
The way to escape the “day of wrath”, is connected to “righteousness”.
Righteousness is about being right with God.
The problem that man faces is that on his own, he cannot be righteous
enough to avoid the judgment of God.
(Romans 3:10 NKJV) As it is
written: “There is
none righteous, no, not one;
God knows about this problem, and He has a solution.
(2 Corinthians 5:21
ESV) For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him
we might become the righteousness of God.
God offers to take our sin, put it on Jesus, and then take
Jesus’ righteousness and give it to us.
Doesn’t that sound like a fair exchange?
This is what happened when Jesus died on the cross.
Paul told Titus,
(Titus 3:5a NKJV) not by works
of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us
God wants to offer to you this salvation, if you will only turn to Him and
open your heart to Him.
(John 1:12 NKJV) But as many
as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those
who believe in His name:
I want to give you a chance at the end of the service to
do that very thing.
:5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the
wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
:6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful
will be caught by their lust.
:6 the unfaithful will be caught by their lust
The word for “lust” here is more than sexual.
(Proverbs 11:6 NLT)
godliness of good people rescues them; the ambition of treacherous people traps
:7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, And the hope
of the unjust perishes.
:7 the hope of the unjust perishes
Everything the wicked man aims his life toward will eventually come to
You won’t be able to take it with you.
There was a man who had worked all of his life, had saved all of his money, and was a real
miser when it came to his money. Just before he died, he said to his wife,
“When I die, I want you to take all my money and put it in the casket with me.
I want to take my money to the afterlife with me.” And so
he got his wife to promise him with all of her heart that when he died, she
would put all of the money in the casket with him. Well, he died. He was
stretched out in the casket, his wife was sitting there in black, and her
friend was sitting next to her. When they finished the ceremony, just before
the undertakers got ready to close the casket, the wife said, “Wait just a
minute!” She had a box with her, she came over with the box and put it in the
casket. Then the undertakers locked the casket down, and they rolled it away. So her friend said, “Girl, I know you weren’t fool enough to
put all that money in there with your husband.” The loyal wife replied,
“Listen, I’m a Christian, I can’t go back on my word. I promised him that I was
going to put that money in that casket with him.” You mean to tell me you put
that money in the casket with him!!!!?” “I sure did,” said the wife. “I got it
all together, put it into my account and wrote him a check. If he can cash it,
he can spend it.”
:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, And it
comes to the wicked instead.
:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble
This is a general principle, not an absolute rule.
Righteous people do go through difficult times.
:9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, But through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
The next two verses seem to be similar.
:10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the
wicked perish, there is jubilation.
:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, But
it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
:11 the blessing of the upright
Impacting the world
Jesus said we were to have an impact on the world around us.
(Matthew 5:13 NKJV)
are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be
seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled
underfoot by men.
Salt is a preservative. It has been used for thousands of
years to keep meat from spoiling.
There’s a fun video on YouTube where
an old fellow from Kentucky is showing how to cure and smoke your own ham. A process
starts with smothering the meat with salt to draw out the water.
Video: Salting Curing and Smoking
your own meat
God wants to work in our lives in such a way that we keep
this world from spoiling.
Mark Whitacre’s wife acted like that. She pushed her
husband to stop the evils of his company.
Joseph was sold to Potiphar as a slave in Egypt, but because he stayed
close the Lord, God blessed Potiphar.
(Genesis 39:5 NKJV)
it was, from the time that he had made him overseer of his house and all
that he had, that the Lord
blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the Lord was on all that he had in the
house and in the field.
The prophet Jeremiah lived during the time when most of the Jews had been
taken captive to Babylon. He wrote to them,
NKJV) And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be
carried away captive, and pray to the Lord
for it; for in its peace you will have peace.
Beloved, you have an impact on your world.
You have an impact on your family, your workplace, your country.
Some of that impact comes from you doing the right things and working as
hard as you can.
Some of it is simply your salty presence in a putrid world.
:12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, But
a man of understanding holds his peace.
:12 devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor
Your “neighbor” is the person around you, whether it’s the guy living next
door, or the guy in the cubicle next to you, or the person in line at the
grocery store in front of you.
It’s stupid to “despise” your neighbor.
despise – buwz – to despise, hold in contempt, hold as
You may not understand or like things about your neighbor, but don’t
God told the nation of Israel,
NKJV) You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the
children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am
Jesus called this the second most important commandment
In following the rules of Hebrew poetry, Solomon hints that one way we can
love our neighbor is keeping our mouth shut, “holding our peace”.
Don’t be quick to criticize your “neighbor”. I find I’m usually wrong with my initial
assessment and I look like a fool when I’ve been critical.
:13 A talebearer reveals secrets, But he who is of
a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
This is talking about gossip. Don’t
:14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude
of counselors there is safety.
:14 in the multitude of counselors there is safety
NLT) Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having
When you are facing a big decision, it’s good to get multiple opinions from
more than one advisor.
Some advisors may be wrong, and that’s why it’s important to have multiple
:15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, But
one who hates being surety is secure.
:15 surety for a stranger
This is about co-signing on a loan for someone you don’t know very well. Don’t do it.
:16 A gracious woman retains honor, But ruthless men
:17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, But
he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
(Proverbs 11:17 The
Message) When you’re kind to others, you help
yourself; when you’re
cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
You do yourself good when you show mercy.
A pastor was forced to stop by a traffic cop to pull over for speeding. As
the cop was about to write the ticket, the pastor said to him, “Blessed are the
merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” The cop handed the pastor the ticket
and said, “Go thou and sin no more.”
:18 The wicked man does deceptive work, But
he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
:19 As righteousness leads to life, So he
who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
:20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the Lord, But the blameless in their
ways are His delight.
:21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But
the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
:22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, So
is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
:22 a ring of gold in a swine’s snout
In Solomon’s day, women wore nose rings as a thing of beauty.
But comparing a lovely woman to a pig?
That’s quite a picture.
Rings were put in the snouts of pigs to keep them from rooting up a garden
looking for food.
But who in their right mind would waste money on a gold ring for a pig?
Our culture is obsessed with outward beauty.
I’m not opposed to guys and gals taking care of their outward appearance,
but real beauty is more than skin deep.
Real beauty involves “discretion”
discretion – ta‘am – taste,
David encountered a gal named Abigail who was married to a jerk named Nabal.
Abigail was a smart woman who was also beautiful (1Sam. 25:3).
David’s army had been protecting Nabal’s flocks,
but instead of showing gratitude, Nabal insulted and
threatened David. David got so angry he was going to kill Nabal,
but Abigail stepped in and smoothed things over with David. David realized
Abigail had saved him from doing something stupid and foolish. He told her:
Samuel 25:33 NKJV) And blessed is your advice and blessed are you,
because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging
myself with my own hand.
Abigail showed discretion (“advice” / ta’am) by acting wisely to keep
David from doing something foolish.
Anybody can be made to look beautiful on the outside.
Inner beauty is much harder to come by.
Peter 3:3–4 NLT) —3 Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles,
expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. 4 You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes
from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so
precious to God.
There’s a warning here for those of you who are attracted only to outer
It takes time to get to know what a person is like on the inside. If you
rush your relationships, you might end up with a pig and a nose ring.
:23 The desire of the righteous is only good, But the
expectation of the wicked is wrath.
I think the next three verses all deal with the same issue…
:24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one
who withholds more than is right, But it leads
:25 The generous soul will be made rich, And he
who waters will also be watered himself.
:26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, But
blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
:25 The generous soul will be made rich
God wants His people to be carefully generous.
Careful in that you probably shouldn’t be giving to every single person who
has their hand out.
Generous in that we give as God would prompt us.
19:17 NKJV) He who has pity on the poor lends to the Lord, And He will pay back what he has given.
:27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, But
trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
:28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish
:29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, And the fool will
be servant to the wise of heart.
:29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind
Yes, that play “Inherit the Wind” you had to read in high school was named
after this verse, but that’s another story.
The principle is about how you treat your family.
(Proverbs 11:29 The
Message) Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air; common sense
tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
Some of you might think that your family deserves to be abused a little for
what they put you through. Don’t do it.
:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And
he who wins souls is wise.
:31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, How much more the
ungodly and the sinner.
:30 he who wins souls is wise
This might be talking about helping people become friends with wisdom.
I can’t help but think that it’s equally wise to win souls by leading
people to a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Did you know you can do that by helping them to pray a simple prayer?