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Proverbs 12

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 29, 2017


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Video: The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

Video: Proverbs Introduction

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.

We are now in a new section of the book of Proverbs.

We’ve finished the “mini-lectures” that Solomon gave to his son in the first nine chapters.

The rest of the book are what we typically call the “proverbs”.

Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into everyday things.

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 each chapter.

Though we will read the entire chapter, I won’t be taking time to unpack every single proverb.

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.

Proverbs 12

:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, But he who hates correction is stupid.

(Proverbs 12:1 NLT) To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction.

instructionmuwcar – discipline, chastening, correction

knowledgeda’ath – knowledge

correctiontowkechah – rebuke, correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement

stupidba‘ar – brutishness, stupidity

:2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, But a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.

favorratsown – pleasure, delight, favor, goodwill, acceptance, will

:3 A man is not established by wickedness, But the root of the righteous cannot be moved.

:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, But she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.

:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband


A Good Woman

excellentchayil – strength, might, efficiency, wealth, army.
When this word is used to describe men, they are described as “men of valor”, “mighty” men, or “valiant” men.
This is a word that speaks of strength, not weakness.
It’s used to describe Solomon’s great great grandmother Ruth.  Boaz told her,

(Ruth 3:11 NKJV) And now, my daughter, do not fear. I will do for you all that you request, for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman.

Ruth was a hard-working woman.

This is the same word used to describe the “virtuous wife” of Proverbs 31.

(Proverbs 31:10 NKJV) Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.

The virtuous woman of Proverbs 31 is one that seems to be a business woman.

She gets up early and works hard.

She takes care of the needs of her family.

She helps the poor.

She is wise.

She fears the Lord.

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That kind of devotion and effort is not just for moms, but husbands and wives toward each other as well.
There is a sense that you “embellish” or “adorn” your spouse by how you work at your marriage.
Do you recognize the blessing that your spouse is to you?

:5 The thoughts of the righteous are right, But the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

:6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” But the mouth of the upright will deliver them.

:7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, But the house of the righteous will stand.

:7 the house of the righteous will stand



The word “house” isn’t just about a building, but a family.
housebayith – house; dwelling habitation; household; family of descendants
It can not only refer to the structure that you live in, but the people that live in it.
The phrase “house of David” occurs 25 times in Scripture, and it’s not talking about a building, but about a family, the descendants of David.
(Proverbs 12:7 NLT) The wicked die and disappear, but the family of the godly stands firm.
Jonathan Edwards was a famous Puritan preacher from the 1700s. His ministry was at the center of several revivals in the American colonies, including the Great Awakening (1731). He had a powerful ministry, but he also had an amazing family.

He and his wife Sarah had 11 children, and the “house” of Jonathan Edwards would be an awesome one.

Around the turn of the 20th century, someone decided to trace the descendants of Jonathan Edwards almost 150 years after his death.

Jonathan Edwards’ legacy includes: 1 U.S. Vice-President, 3 U.S. Senators, 3 governors, 3 mayors, 13 college presidents, 30 judges, 65 professors, 80 public office holders, 100 lawyers and 100 missionaries.

Parents, this is not a promise your kids won’t rebel, but it’s a general principle that your kids are way better off when you lay for them a healthy, godly, loving foundation.

:8 A man will be commended according to his wisdom, But he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.

:9 Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, Than he who honors himself but lacks bread.

:9 Than he who honors himself …

(Proverbs 12:9 The Message) Better to be ordinary and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.

(Proverbs 12:9 HCSB) Better to be dishonored, yet have a servant, than to act important but have no food.


Back in 1990, America led a coalition against Saddam Hussein in what was known as the “First Gulf War”.

The mastermind behind the military strategy was General Norman Schwarzkopf.

So the story goes that back in those days …

A newly promoted major had moved into a makeshift office during the Gulf War. He was just getting unpacked when out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a private with a toolbox coming his way. Wanting to seem important, he grabbed the phone: “Yes, General Schwarzkopf. Of course, I think that’s an excellent plan.” He continued: “You’ve got my support on it. Thanks for checking with me. Let’s touch base again soon, Norm. Good-bye.” Turning to the private he asked, “And what can I do for you?” “Uhhh, Sir, I’m just here to hook up your phone.”
By Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg; Becoming a Contagious Christian

Be careful about being the one who always tries to honor himself.

One day it will backfire on you.

:10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal, But the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

(Proverbs 12:10 NLT) The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel.

The nature of your relationship with the Lord can be measured by how you treat animals.

:11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, But he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.

:11 He who tills his land


Stay on task

In using the Hebrew poetry principle of contrast, the one who “tills his land” is the opposite of the one that “follows frivolity”, or leaves at every “opportunity” that comes his way.
This is not just about working hard. This is about not leaving with every new shiny opportunity that comes your way.
(Proverbs 12:11 The Message) The one who stays on the job has food on the table; the witless chase whims and fancies.
(Proverbs 12:11 HCSB) The one who works his land will have plenty of food, but whoever chases fantasies lacks sense.
(Proverbs 12:11 NLT) A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies has no sense.
Two friends who hadn’t seen each other in years met in a supermarket. One woman asked, “Tell me, Ruth, how is your son George?”
“He’s getting along fine,” Ruth replied. “He’s a poet. He just received his master’s degree in literature from the university.”
“And what about Mary?”
“She’s just as smart as George,” Ruth replied. “She graduated from college with a degree in modern art.”
“Wonderful. And how is little Freddy? What is he doing?”
“Well,” Ruth said, “Freddy is still Freddy. He wouldn’t go to college—he became a plumber instead. If it weren’t for him, we’d all be starving.”

-- Sunshine Magazine

William Carey only had an elementary school education, but by the time he was in his teens, he could read the Bible in six languages. He later became Professor of Oriental Languages at Fort William College in Calcutta, and his printing press at Serampore provided Scripture in over 40 languages and dialects for more than 300 million people. He was known as the “father of modern missions”.
He once wrote to his nephew Eustice, “if after my removal anyone should think it worth his while to write my life, I will give you a criterion by which you may judge of its correctness. If he gives me credit for being a plodder, he will describe me justly. Anything beyond this will be too much. I can plod. That is my only genius. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”

A “plodder” is one who is trudging through the mud. They are willing to get their feet wet in order to get to their destination.

-         Warren Wiersbe, “In Praise of Plodders”

Spurgeon wrote, “By perseverance, the snail reached the ark”.
Paul wrote,
(Galatians 6:9 NLT) So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

:12 The wicked covet the catch of evil men, But the root of the righteous yields fruit.

(Proverbs 12:12 NLT) Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot, but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.

The wicked person gets their “stuff” by plundering others, the righteous person produces their own “stuff”.

:13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, But the righteous will come through trouble.

(Proverbs 12:13 The Message) The gossip of bad people gets them in trouble; the conversation of good people keeps them out of it.

:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.

:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, But he who heeds counsel is wise.

(Proverbs 12:15 The Message) Fools are headstrong and do what they like; wise people take advice.

Be careful when you are the only one who thinks that your current choices in life are the right ones.

If it’s because you don’t want to listen to advice, what does that make you? (a fool)

:16 A fool’s wrath is known at once, But a prudent man covers shame.

:16 A fool’s wrath is known at once

(Proverbs 12:16 The Message) Fools have short fuses and explode all too quickly; the prudent quietly shrug off insults.



Got a quick temper? What does that make you? Solomon says it makes you a fool.
James wrote,
(James 1:19–20 NLT) —19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.

Some of us feel we have a right to be angry.

God doesn’t think so.

The Secret of a Happy Marriage
There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years, they had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoebox in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about. For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoebox and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box. When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $40,000. He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married,” she said,” my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily.” The little old man was so moved, he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness. “Honey,” he said, “that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?” “Oh,” she said, “that’s the money I made from selling the doilies.”
Your anger is not cool.

:17 He who speaks truth declares righteousness, But a false witness, deceit.

:18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, But the tongue of the wise promotes health.

:18 speaks like the piercings of a sword

(Proverbs 12:18 The Message) Rash language cuts and maims, but there is healing in the words of the wise.

How are you going to use your words?


Hurt or Heal

Your words can cut like a butcher knife or heal like a scalpel.
We actually have a choice in what we’re going to say and how we’re going to say it.
It’s like having two pockets in your pants. Are you going to pick from the pocket with words that hurt, or the pocket with words that heal?
James wrote,
(James 3:5–6 NLT) —5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
A Burst Of Confidence
When the employees of a restaurant attended a fire safety seminar, they watched a fire official demonstrate the proper way to operate an extinguisher. “Pull the pin like a hand grenade,” he explained, “then depress the trigger to release the foam.” Later an employee was selected to extinguish a controlled fire in the parking lot. In her nervousness, she forgot to pull the pin. The instructor hinted, “Like a hand grenade, remember?” In a burst of confidence she pulled the pin .... and hurled the extinguisher at the blaze.
How are you responding to the fires around you?

Your words can be like a fire extinguisher.

Are you going to use it to put out the fire, or are you going to just throw it at the fire?

One of the issues in our choice of words has to do with “buttons”. Big red buttons.
Big red buttons
The closer we get to somebody, the more “buttons” we uncover in their life.
I’m talking about those big red buttons marked “Warning, do not push except for nuclear attack!”
Those “buttons” are the areas in the other person’s life that are extra sensitive.

The closer you are to someone, the more you know about what has brought them pain or shame.

Some people choose to win the argument by pushing the other person’s buttons.

Anytime they feel they’re losing the argument, they trot out that piece of information that brings instant hurt or humiliation.

Make is your resolution to never fight by pressing those buttons. Never. Ever.

:19 The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment.

:20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.

(Proverbs 12:20 NLT) Deceit fills hearts that are plotting evil; joy fills hearts that are planning peace!

:21 No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil.

:22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.

(Proverbs 12:22 The Message) God can’t stomach liars; he loves the company of those who keep their word.


This guy sees a sign in front of a house: “Talking Dog for Sale.” He rings the bell and the owner tells him the dog is in the backyard. The guy goes into the backyard and sees a dog sitting there. “You talk?” he asks. “Yep,” the dog replies. “So, what’s your story?” The dog looks up and says, “Well, I discovered this gift pretty young and I wanted to help the government, so I told the CIA about my gift, and in no time they had me jetting from country to country, sitting in rooms with spies and world leaders, because no one figured a dog would be eavesdropping.” “I was one of their most valuable spies eight years running. The jetting around really tired me out, and I knew I wasn’t getting any younger and I wanted to settle down. So I signed up for a job at the airport to do some undercover security work, mostly wandering near suspicious characters and listening in. I uncovered some incredible dealings there and was awarded a batch of medals. Had a wife, a mess of puppies, and now I’m just retired.” The guy is amazed. He goes to the owner and asks what he wants for the dog. The owner says, “Ten dollars.” The guy says,” “This dog is amazing. Why on earth are you selling him, and so cheap?” The owner replies, “He’s such a liar. He didn’t do any of that stuff.”

Despite the joke, God seriously hates it when we lie.

:23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.

(Proverbs 12:23 The Message) Prudent people don’t flaunt their knowledge; talkative fools broadcast their silliness.

(Proverbs 12:23 NLT) The wise don’t make a show of their knowledge, but fools broadcast their foolishness.

:24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.

(Proverbs 12:24 NLT) Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.

:25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.

:25 a good word makes it glad


A Good Word

There can be lots of reasons for depression and anxiety.
These burdens don’t always have one magic bullet, or one magic word to end them.
But a good word goes a long way to ease the burden.
Right Words
Sometimes the good word involves news of something that God has been doing.

When I hear how God has answered somebody’s prayer, it lifts my heart.

Sometimes the good word is a well-reasoned response to a difficult situation.
500 years ago (on Tuesday), a monk named Martin Luther nailed his list of 95 issues he had with the Roman Catholic church to the door of the church in Wittenberg.

One of the things he argued against was the sale of indulgences – the thought that salvation could be purchased with money instead of through trust in Christ.

Martin would be arrested and put on trial for his beliefs.

Video:  Luther – Response at Worms

Martin’s response was based on Scripture, and certainly gladdened the hearts of the people.

Salvation comes by trusting Jesus, not by giving money to the church.

God’s Word
The greatest resource we have to gladden our heart is in God’s Word.

(Psalm 119:50 NKJV) This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.

Make sure you give yourself time each day to read.

:26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, For the way of the wicked leads them astray.

:26 choose his friends carefully

Who is going to influence your life?  You have some choices in that matter.

Paul wrote,

(1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV) Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

:27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, But diligence is man’s precious possession.

:27 does not roast what he took in hunting

In other words, the lazy man doesn’t finish what he starts.

:28 In the way of righteousness is life, And in its pathway there is no death.

:28 In the way of righteousness is life

Righteousness that leads to eternal life comes by believing in Jesus.

(Romans 3:25–26 NLT) —25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

My friend, give your heart to Jesus today.