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Proverbs 14

Sunday Morning Bible Study

November 26, 2017


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm

Our landlords, the Lutheran church known as Friends in Christ is going to be merging with another Lutheran church known as Searchlight. The new entity will be called “Searchlight”, and they will have their services at 8:30am and 10:00am.

This will take place next week, December 3.

There will be some impact on our usage of rooms, and on the parking lot, but I want to encourage you to be flexible and welcome this new flock to the property.

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 14

:1 The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish pulls it down with her hands.

:1 The wise woman builds her house

This isn’t talking about construction practices, but family life.

housebayith – house; home, house as containing a family; household, family

The word could be talking about a physical house, but it is also often used for a family, or “household”.
This is not talking about a woman construction worker, but a woman that takes care of her family.


Build up or tear down?

How do you influence those around you, especially your family?
Moms (and Dads), you have a choice as to how you will affect your family.
Are you building them up or tearing them down?
Meg Wallace  is a pastor’s wife and mother.  She writes,
I hear it all the time. Most often it’s when I’m waiting in line at the grocery store. I listen to the responses of the mamas in front of me. The overly chipper Trader Joe’s cashier will kindly ask, “How are you doing ma’am?” The mama replies, “Fine, I’m tired. These kids are driving me crazy.” The look on her face says it all. “I’m exhausted. I’m spent. I’m weary. And I don’t want to answer your questions right now. I feel frustrated, angry, and I just wanna get out of here.”
Meg also writes,
I was talking with a woman a few months ago who was sharing with me her plans for their summer break. She told me of all the activities she was going to put her girls into. From camps, to classes, to lessons, to sports, to VBS…overnight play dates, a trip to Grandmas and babysitters lined up for the rest.
I must have had a shocked expression on my face because she stopped and then said with a little laugh and an obvious edge of contempt, “I think I’m a 50% kind of mom. I honestly don’t like my kids. I try to sign them up for as much as I can because I just don’t want to be around them.”
Some parents will take it to an even uglier level…
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Meg Wallace writes about the danger of developing hardness of heart when it comes to your kids.  A hard heart includes:
-believing that being short tempered and easily angered is just a normal ‘mom-thing’ and excusing it because everyone else does it too.
-tearing your kids down with words.
-demanding your kids be perfect because their obedience directly correlates to your identity.
-thinking more of what you deserve instead of what you can give.
-treating your kids as though they are in the way and making sure they know there are far more important things you could/should be doing.
-spending more time trying to find an official clinical diagnosis to explain away their behavior issues than looking in the mirror to address your own.
-believing that sharing with all of your friends the dumb things your kids do is not actually gossip or slander because they don’t even know what those words mean yet, or better yet, justifying it because you birthed them. No matter how old they get you have full liberty to say whatever you wish to whoever you wish about whatever you wish because you’ve earned that right.
How do you build up your family?
(Jude 20–21 NKJV) —20 But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, 21 keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.

It starts with…

Learn to pray every day for your spouse and your kids.

Keep yourself in the center of God’s love.

If you are swimming in God’s love for you, you will do a better job of loving others.

(Matthew 7:24–27 NKJV) —24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

We want to “build our house” on the Rock.

Learning to truly obey God from the heart in your own life.

Don’t be a hypocrite who just listens to the things Jesus says, but who learns to put them into practice in your own life.

:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, But he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.

:3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, But the lips of the wise will preserve them.

:4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.

:4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean

(Proverbs 14:4 NLT) Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.


Messy blessings

The ox was one of the chief working animals – the tractor of the ancient world. But an ox also made a mess in its stall.
You can live your life in such a way that you always “play it safe” and you never get messy.
But you will probably also miss out on a lot of life.
Raising kids can be kind of messy.
Video:  Peanut Butter Baby

Yet raising kids can bring a great blessing.

Some people says, “A messy desk is a sign of genius.”
But to be honest, sometimes a messy desk is simply a sign of a disorganized person.
Are you willing to put up with a little bit of mess in order to produce a greater harvest?
Some of us can be a little OCD when it comes to messes.  We will do anything to avoid having a mess on our hands.
The issue is, are you willing to look at what you might gain if you allowed some of the mess into your life?

:5 A faithful witness does not lie, But a false witness will utter lies.

:5 A faithful witness does not lie

When you’re trying to figure out whether to believe someone, it’s not bad thing to consider the pattern of their life.

If this is a person who tends to lie or “fudge” with the truth from time to time, it should give you pause before you believe something important from them.

If you are a person who doesn’t fudge on the truth when it’s convenient, you’ll find it easier for others to believe you.

Mark Twain said,

“If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything”

:6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, But knowledge is easy to him who understands.

:7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, When you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.

:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.

(Proverbs 14:8 NLT) The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves.

It’s wise to think about the consequence of your actions before you take them.

:9 Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor.

:9 Fools mock at sin

sin‘asham – guilt, sin, trespass or sin offering

This might describe the kind of sacrifice you’d bring to God to make things right with Him.

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

(Proverbs 14:9 NLT) Fools make fun of guilt, but the godly acknowledge it and seek reconciliation.

(Proverbs 14:9 HCSB) Fools mock at making restitution, but there is goodwill among the upright.


Make it right

Some people have the idea that we Christians believe that all we need to do when we sin is to confess our sin to God, and everything moves along as normal.
That’s not quite true.
The problem comes when our sin affects other people.
You can confess your sin to God and find forgiveness from Him, but you still need to make things right with the other person, especially if you want to find “favor” with them.
Some Christians are downright obnoxious in their behavior towards others, thinking they don’t owe anybody anything.
Yet when Zacchaeus the evil tax collector met Jesus, he made changes that meant making things right with others.
(Luke 19:8 NLT)… Zacchaeus stood before the Lord and said, “I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have cheated people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!”
The Corinthian church had made some big mistakes.  They were rebuked by the apostle Paul himself.  They responded to Paul’s harsh words by making things right.
(2 Corinthians 7:11 NLT) Just see what this godly sorrow produced in you! Such earnestness, such concern to clear yourselves, such indignation, such alarm, such longing to see me, such zeal, and such a readiness to punish wrong. You showed that you have done everything necessary to make things right.

:10 The heart knows its own bitterness, And a stranger does not share its joy.

:10 The heart knows its own bitterness

Even though we ought to be compassionate and understanding towards each other, the truth is that no one really knows what you are going through.

Be careful when you say to someone, “I know exactly what you’re going through…”
It’s okay to say, “I’ve been through something similar…”, but it’s quite bitter to have someone say they know what you’re going through and then give you advice.

Here’s a slightly different take on this verse:

(Proverbs 14:10 The Message) The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends will be an outsider at their celebrations.

:11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown, But the tent of the upright will flourish.

:12 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.

:12 There is a way that seems right to a man


What seems right

Some things can look good to the eyes, but will cause nothing but trouble.
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When it comes to the most important thing in life, salvation, there is a way that seems right, but is most definitely wrong.
Jesus said,

(Matthew 7:13–14 NLT) —13 “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. 14 But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.

If you were to ask the ordinary person on the street what they thought it would take to get to heaven, most would say something about being “good enough” for heaven.
Video:  Good-o-meter
My friend, there is only one way that you and I are ever going to be “good enough” for heaven, and that’s when we learn to trust our lives to Jesus and allow Him to be “good enough” for us.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

:13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, And the end of mirth may be grief.

:13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow

(Proverbs 14:13 NLT) Laughter can conceal a heavy heart, but when the laughter ends, the grief remains.

This makes me think of the tragedy of many of the great comedians like Robin Williams, who have been very troubled people but learned to mask their troubles with being funny.

:14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, But a good man will be satisfied from above.

:15 The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps.

:15 The simple believes every word


Use your head

(Proverbs 14:15 The Message) The gullible believe anything they’re told; the prudent sift and weigh every word.
(Proverbs 14:15 HCSB) The inexperienced one believes anything, but the sensible one watches his steps.
Some people seem to be willing to believe just about anything.
The last few days there’s been a news item about a fellow who is planning to launch himself in a homemade rocket to prove to the world that the earth is flat. Wow.
I guess it’s because we place such an emphasis on “faith”, but it seems to me that Christians are some of the most gullible people on the planet.
I don’t think God wants you to “believe” everything you hear.
He wants us to test things and make sure they are true.

This is part of the great value of a trip to Israel (nine pics, ending with Gethsemane), where you start catching a glimpse of the fact that the Bible is talking about real people, real places, doing real things.

God wants you to use your brain.
After Paul was kicked out of Thessalonica, he traveled to Berea.

(Acts 17:11 NKJV) These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

:16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, But a fool rages and is self-confident.

:17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, And a man of wicked intentions is hated.

:18 The simple inherit folly, But the prudent are crowned with knowledge.

:19 The evil will bow before the good, And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.

:19 at the gates of the righteous

We had some good lessons about “gates” in Israel.

It’s where the kings and leaders would hang out.

:20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, But the rich has many friends.

This is a simple statement of fact. 

When a poor person wins the Lottery, they have friends coming out of the woodwork they never knew they had.

:21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.

You can be a “friend” to a wealthy person (v.20), but you will find happiness by being merciful to the poor.

mercychanan – to be gracious, show favor, pity

happy‘esher – happiness, blessedness

:22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.

:23 In all labor there is profit, But idle chatter leads only to poverty.

(Proverbs 14:23 HCSB) There is profit in all hard work, but endless talk leads only to poverty.

:23 idle chatter leads only to poverty


Talk is cheap

It’s better to be a person of action than a person who just talks a good talk.
Some people talk about doing things for the Lord, but others actually do them.
Don’t be so impressed by what a person says.  Be impressed by what they do.

:24 The crown of the wise is their riches, But the foolishness of fools is folly.

:25 A true witness delivers souls, But a deceitful witness speaks lies.

We talked back in verse 5 about the importance of whether a person is consistently telling the truth or not.

:26 In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.

:26 the fear of the Lord

A healthy respect for God.

:27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.

:28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.

:29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

:30 A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.

:30 A sound heart is life to the body

soundmarpe’ – health, healing, cure

heartleb – inner man, mind, will, heart, understanding

(Proverbs 14:30 The Message) A sound mind makes for a robust body, but runaway emotions corrode the bones.

(Proverbs 14:30 HCSB) A tranquil heart is life to the body, but jealousy is rottenness to the bones.

Oncologists will tell you today how important your emotional state is to your cancer prognosis.

:31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, But he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.

:31 reproaches his Maker

God is the Maker of all men.

We honor our Maker by showing mercy to His creation.

:32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness, But the righteous has a refuge in his death.

:33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known.

(Proverbs 14:33 NLT) —33 Wisdom is enshrined in an understanding heart; wisdom is not found among fools.

:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a reproach to any people.

:35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, But his wrath is against him who causes shame.  

:34 Righteousness exalts a nation


Making America Great

Does the phrase, “Make America Great Again” sound familiar?
Just what would make America great again?

Would it be a stronger military?

Would it be a stronger economy?

In God’s eyes, the only thing that makes a nation “great” is righteousness.
We need to once again learn to walk in the ways of God.

I don’t think that will come from electing leaders who will enact laws to force people to change.

It will only come when we as individuals turn our hearts back to God, and He helps us turn our society back towards His path.

It starts on the inside, in our hearts.

I find it fascinating that for the moment our media seems intent on exposing sexual abuse.
I found an article yesterday by USA Today titled, “Weinstein aftermath:  All the men accused of sexual misconduct”.

It listed 49 men who have been accused in the last month, all leaders in government or the entertainment industry.

I find it extremely ironic coming from the media, which continues to produce TV and movies that glorify sexual misconduct.

Paul saw something in the Roman world that resulted from men turning away from God:
(Romans 1:28–32 NLT) —28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
We have lost our way as a nation, but there’s a way back.
God told Solomon:

(2 Chronicles 7:14 NKJV) if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

It starts with us, as God’s people, to make sure that we have humbled ourselves and are following after God.

We lead the way.