Morning Bible Study
Video: Puerto Rico Outreach Nov.
Sharing about the trip…
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
They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be
generally better than if you didn’t do them.
:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.
:1 A soft answer … a harsh word
If you’re not careful, you can make the mistake of thinking that this verse
is talking about how “loud” your discussions or arguments are.
It’s not about volume, but about content.
soft – rak – tender, soft,
It’s a word used to describe the weakness of children in that they can’t do
as much as an adult (Gen. 33:13)
It’s what the officers were supposed to tell the army before going into
battle, to weed out those who were fainthearted …
20:8 NKJV) “The officers shall speak further to the people, and say, ‘What man
is there who is fearful and fainthearted? Let him go and return to his
house, lest the heart of his brethren faint like his heart.’
In our passage, Solomon is talking about a reply that is non-threatening.
harsh – ‘etseb – pain,
hurt, toil, sorrow
It’s the word used to describe the pain of childbirth (Gen. 3:16)
The “harsh” word is not a particularly loud word, but one that will cause
the other person hurt or sorrow.
Sometimes a “harsh” word can be said very calmly, but said in a way that is
intended to cause pain.
Some people are so good at the “harsh” word that they come
across kind, loving, but when they’ve had their say, you are cowering because
they’ve dropped hints about your guilt, weakness, or vulnerability, and you
don’t want to discuss anything more with them.
Here’s the deal – do you really want to bring an end to a disagreement with
someone, or are you out to simply win the argument?
You might win the argument, but lose the war because the other person no
longer wants to interact with you.
:2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools
pours forth foolishness.
(Proverbs 15:2 NLT)
tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing, but the mouth of a fool belches
I always appreciate teachers who leave you hungry to study harder and learn
:3 The eyes of the Lord are
in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
:3 The eyes of the Lord are in every place
What do you do when nobody’s watching?
Some people like to dance when nobody’s watching.
Video: Gorilla dances in zoo pool
Sometimes the things we do when nobody’s watching are not so funny.
The phrase “the eyes of the LORD” is found 21 times in the Bible.
It is often used to describe the character of a person, character decided
by what a person does when only God sees.
King David …
Kings 15:5 NKJV) … did what was right in the eyes of the Lord…
In contrast, wicked King Omri…
Kings 16:25 NKJV) Omri did evil in the eyes of the Lord…
God indeed sees when we sin. God
(Ezekiel 8:12 NLT) Then the Lord said to me, “Son of man, have you
seen what the leaders of Israel are doing with their idols in dark rooms? They
are saying, ‘The Lord doesn’t see
us; he has deserted our land!’ ”
I wonder if it would have changed any of those leaders’ behavior
if they not only knew that God saw what they were doing in the dark, but was
even giving the prophet Ezekiel a glimpse of it in Babylon?
God also sees when we are doing good.
(2 Chronicles 16:9a
NKJV) For the eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those
whose heart is loyal to Him.
Do you ever wonder if God truly knows that you’ve been
trying hard to follow Him?
:4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it
breaks the spirit.
:5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction
:6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, But
in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.
:7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, But the heart of the fool does
not do so.
:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But the prayer of the upright is
(Proverbs 15:8 NLT)
Lord detests the sacrifice of the
wicked, but he delights in the prayers of the upright.
If you are that person whose heart is not right with God, then going to
church, putting money in the offering, or doing some good deed is not what God
is looking for from you.
You can’t buy Him off with gifts.
He’s looking for you to turn your heart around, turn from your wickedness,
and follow Him.
:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, But He loves him who follows
:10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, And he
who hates correction will die.
:11 Hell and Destruction are before the Lord; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.
(Proverbs 15:11 The
Message) Even hell holds no secrets from God— do you think
he can’t read human hearts?
Just like in vs. 3, There are no secrets from God. He sees and knows
:12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, Nor will he go to the
NLT) Mockers hate to be corrected, so they stay away from the wise.
The folly of human nature is neatly summed up by the case of the
middle-aged school teacher who invested her life savings in a business
enterprise which had been elaborately explained to her by a swindler.
When her investment disappeared, and the wonderful dream was shattered, she
went to the office of the Better Business Bureau. “Why on earth,” they asked,
“didn’t you come to us first? Didn’t you
know about the Better Business Bureau?”
“Oh, yes,” said the lady sadly, “I’ve always known about you. But I didn’t
come because I was afraid you’d tell me not to do it.”
:13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart
the spirit is broken.
:14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth
of fools feeds on foolishness.
(Proverbs 15:14 The
Message) An intelligent person is always eager to take in more truth; fools feed
on fast-food fads and fancies.
:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, But he who is of a merry
heart has a continual feast.
:15 All the days of the afflicted are evil
NLT) For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart,
life is a continual feast.
Positive Mental Attitude
It’s not that all the days of the afflicted are really evil, but that
there’s this mindset we can adopt from time to time of being an “afflicted”
person. And when we adopt the attitude
of the “afflicted”, then everything looks bad.
If we’re not careful, we can tend to look at things through the colored
glasses of our moods.
Sometimes our perspective is a little off.
And it’s during those times that everything looks
bad to us.
When the great prophet Elijah was being threatened by Queen Jezebel, he
allowed his depression to color the truth.
He told God,
(1 Kings 19:10
NKJV) …“I have been very zealous for the Lord
God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down
Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they
seek to take my life.”
God had to correct Elijah.
God still had lots of people left who had not forsaken God.
There is a story of identical twins. One was a hope-filled optimist. “Everything
is coming up roses!” he would say. The other twin was a sad and hopeless
pessimist. He thought that Murphy, as in Murphy’s Law, was an optimist. The
worried parents of the boys brought them to the local psychologist.
He suggested to the parents a plan to balance the twins’ personalities. “On
their next birthday, put them in separate rooms to open their gifts. Give the
pessimist the best toys you can afford, and give the optimist a box of manure.”
The parents followed these instructions and carefully observed the results.
When they peeked in on the pessimist, they heard him audibly complaining, “I
don’t like the color of this computer . . I’ll bet this phone will break . . .
I don’t like the game . . .
Tiptoeing across the corridor, the parents peeked in and saw their little
optimist gleefully throwing the manure up in the air. He was giggling. “You can’t
fool me! Where there’s this much manure, there’s gotta be a pony!”
As a general rule, having a positive attitude in life allows you to enjoy
more of the things around you.
If all that ever comes out of your mouth is negative and critical, you may
be missing out on some of what God has for you.
NKJV) Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are
noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure,
whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report,
if there is any virtue and if there is anything
praiseworthy—meditate on these things.
:16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord, Than great treasure with trouble.
:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, Than a fatted calf
:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
In ancient days, most folk, poor folk, didn’t have meat to eat except on a
Eating a “fatted calf” was not only rare, it was extravagant.
Why would you kill and eat a calf when it could grow up and provide so much
more to you? You would only do it if you
were quite wealthy.
So, what is “better” to you?
If someone were to ask you, “What’s so good about your life?” how would you
Would you take an inventory on your bank accounts and property holdings?
Would you be thinking about how your salary compares with others?
Or would you be considering the value of your relationship with the Lord
(“the fear of the Lord”), or that there are people in your life who love you?
When Kenny Loggins was 18 years old he wrote a song for his older brother
who was going to have his first baby. It
was a song that all my generation knew…
“Even though we ain’t got money, I’m so in love with you
:18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, But he who is slow to anger
:19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, But the way
of the upright is a highway.
:20 A wise son makes a father glad, But a foolish man despises his mother.
:21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But
a man of understanding walks uprightly.
HCSB) Foolishness brings joy to one without sense, but a man with understanding
walks a straight path.
:22 Without counsel, plans go awry, But in the multitude of counselors they
:22 in the multitude of counselors
It’s good to have someone who can give you good advice.
When you have more than one counselor:
You will find that sometimes there are more than one answer to a problem.
You will also need to learn to weigh the differing pieces of advice you
In the end, you will be the one who makes the choice.
:23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, And a word spoken in
due season, how good it is!
:24 The way of life winds upward for the wise, That he may turn away
from hell below.
:24 The way of life winds upward for the wise
Heaven or hell?
In our text, “upward” is in contrast to “hell below”.
Where is your life leading you right now?
If you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity?
If your life heading towards heaven, or towards hell?
There really are only two choices.
There is only one road towards heaven, that’s in following Jesus.
(John 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said
to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through Me.
Jesus is the One who died on a cross to pay for your sins.
He is the only way.
:25 The Lord will destroy the
house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.
:26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord, But the words of the pure are
:27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, But he who hates
bribes will live.
:27 He who is greedy for gain
Greed can destroy the family.
The March 1988 Rotarian tells
about a bounty of $5,000 offered for each wolf captured alive. It turned Sam and Jed into fortune
hunters. Day and night they scoured the
mountains and forests looking for their valuable prey. Exhausted one night, they fell asleep
dreaming of their potential fortune.
Suddenly, Sam awoke to see that they were surrounded by about 50 wolves
with flaming eyes and bared teeth. He
nudged his friend and said, “Jed, wake up!
:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, But the mouth of the
wicked pours forth evil.
:28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer
Take time to think before you speak.
Especially when the conversation is a difficult one.
That might be an appropriate lesson for responding to emails or text
of the practices of President Lincoln was to write a letter in response to
a difficult situation, but wait before sending it.
When General Meade let Robert E. Lee escape after Gettysburg, Lincoln
initially wrote him a letter and poured out his anger in it. But he never sent it.
Other greats in history followed the same practice. Mark Twain, Harry Truman, and Winston
Churchill all wrote angry letters that they were glad they didn’t send.
:29 The Lord is far
from the wicked, But He hears the prayer of the righteous.
:30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, And a good report
makes the bones healthy.
:31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life Will abide among the wise.
:32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, But he who heeds
rebuke gets understanding.
:32 he who heeds rebuke
Nobody likes being corrected. Being
“disciplined” by another person can be quite painful at times.
HCSB) No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on,
however, it yields the fruit of peace and righteousness to those who have been
trained by it.
If we will learn the lessons we’re supposed to, we get “understanding”, as
well as the fruit of peace and righteousness.
:33 The fear of the Lord is
the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
:33 before honor is humility
If you want to be honored by others, you need to first learn what real
(Mark 9:35 NKJV) …“If anyone
desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”