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Proverbs 24

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 4, 2018


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

Video: The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

Video: Proverbs Introduction

Video: Daylight Savings reminder. Don’t forget to set your clocks forward…

Some of you might have been wondering where we were last week…

Video: 2018 Spring Training

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, then z will always happen and 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.

We are in a new section that covers Prov. 22:17 – 24:34.

These are most likely not sayings written by Solomon, but they are sayings collected by Solomon.

They tend to be a bit longer than Solomon’s short two-line sayings.

There will be thirty of these sayings through this section.

Proverbs 24

:1 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them;

:2 For their heart devises violence, And their lips talk of troublemaking.

:1 Do not be envious of evil men

Some of us find ourselves drawn to the wrong kinds of people.

I think some of us are thinking that “bad boys” have more fun.

Solomon reminds us that they are going to get into trouble.
He’ll remind us in a minute of just where their lives will lead to (vss. 19-20)

:3 Through wisdom a house is built, And by understanding it is established;

:4 By knowledge the rooms are filled With all precious and pleasant riches.

:3 Through wisdom a house is built


Wise House Builder

I don’t think Solomon is talking about building a physical “house”, but about building a “home”.
It takes wisdom, understanding, knowledge.
What kind of a “home” are you building?
How do you build your relationships?

Some people have this notion that marriage is all about “chemistry”, and that you will be okay as long as you are “compatible”.

Even “compatible” people will have problems.

A good marriage doesn’t just happen, it takes lots of work.

Read books. Take advantage of resources. Here’s just one example …
The Love Languages
Did you know that people look at “love” differently?
Author Gary Chapman wrote a book “The 5 Love Languages” that explains how we each tend to express love in different ways, as well as receive love in different ways.
Words of Affirmation

These folks express and feel love when there are good encouraging words going back and forth.

Quality Time

These folks feel loved when their partner spends quality time with them.

Receiving Gifts

These folks feel that love is all about giving or receiving that special gift.

Acts of Service

These folks express their love by doing good things for the other person.

Physical Touch

These folks express love through hugs, kisses, etc.

In understanding “Love Languages”, the goal isn’t to find someone with your same “Love Language”, but to instead find out what each other’s languages are, and then learn to express your love in a way they feel loved.

If you are a person who connects love to “Words of Affirmation”, you’re not going to feel very loved when your partner thinks it’s all about the Physical Touch.

I heard Gary Chapman speak once and relate a story where his wife found him late at night in the living room vacuuming the carpet. She asked him, “What are you doing?” His response? “I’m just makin’ love to you” He knew that her “Love Language” was “Acts of Service”.

It takes wisdom to learn how to take your relationships deeper and make them stronger.

:5 A wise man is strong, Yes, a man of knowledge increases strength;

:6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, And in a multitude of counselors there is safety.

:5 A wise man is strong

If you were a king getting ready to take your army out into battle, you might be tempted to think that you need to go out and recruit the biggest, strongest warriors you can find.

Solomon is saying that if you want to win your war, then look for wise men.

Wisdom will help you win your battles more than physical strength or money.

:7 Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.

The gate was where the leaders of a city hung out.

The gate was where court decisions and judgments were handed down.

(Proverbs 24:7 The Message) Wise conversation is way over the head of fools; in a serious discussion they haven’t a clue.

:8 He who plots to do evil Will be called a schemer.

schemermezimmah – purpose, discretion, device, plot

:9 The devising of foolishness is sin, And the scoffer is an abomination to men.

(Proverbs 24:8–9 The Message) —8 The person who’s always cooking up some evil soon gets a reputation as prince of rogues. 9 Fools incubate sin; cynics desecrate beauty.

:10 If you faint in the day of adversity, Your strength is small.

:10 Your strength is small

faintraphah – to sink, relax, sink down, let drop, be disheartened

adversitytsarah – straits, distress, trouble

strengthkoach – strength, power, might

smalltsar – narrow, tight


Find the strength

I don’t like this verse.
I did extensive research on the Hebrew here, and was hoping that a better translation would be …

“If you faint in the day of adversity, have your mother come hold your hand.”

But that’s not what it said.

(Proverbs 24:10 HCSB) If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited.
(Proverbs 24:10 NLT) If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.
(Proverbs 24:10 The Message) If you fall to pieces in a crisis, there wasn’t much to you in the first place.
The problem with “small strength” is not that we have it, but when we use it as an excuse to quit.
Jeremiah faced a rebuke from the Lord for his own lack of strength.

(Jeremiah 12:5 NLT) “If racing against mere men makes you tired, how will you race against horses? If you stumble and fall on open ground, what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?

God was warning Jeremiah that what he was facing wasn’t even the worst of it. Things would get tougher. And if he felt like quitting now, what would he do when things got worse?

What are you going to do with your “small strength”?
You may feel like quitting.
I would love to tell you that God wants to take away all your problems, but that’s not what God wants to do.

God wants you to run with the horses.

Video: LOTR – I can carry you
Though there may be times when we are able to carry each other, let me remind you that there is One above all that you can and should rely on. He will be there when all others fail you.
God’s desire is not always to take your problems away from you, but to carry you. He wants to show the world that He is real by how He carries you.
(Isaiah 40:29–31 NKJV) —29 He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
The apostle Paul even grew to enjoy his times of weakness because it was at those times that God’s strength was the strongest.
(2 Corinthians 12:7–10 NKJV) —7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.

:12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?

:11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death

(Proverbs 24:11–12 The Message) —11 Rescue the perishing; don’t hesitate to step in and help. 12 If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,” will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know— Someone not impressed with weak excuses.


Rescue the perishing

When you’ve been a Christian for a while, the number of people you know who do not know Christ gets smaller and smaller.
We can fall into the trap of forgetting that there are people in this world all around us who are “perishing”.
Every person you know who has not put their life in Christ’s hands is perishing.
They are on their way to hell because their own sins have separated them from God, just like our sins used to do.
And even though Jesus died on the cross to pay for their sins and make it possible for them to be saved, they are going to hell because they have not yet received the gift that God offers them – eternal life.
A week ago our generation lost one of its shining lights. Billy Graham led a life sold out to the preaching of the gospel – sharing with the world around him that God loves them and wants them to go to heaven.
Video: Passion Tribute to Billy Graham
Do you know someone who doesn’t know Jesus Christ?
Without Jesus, they are “perishing”.
Will you rescue the perishing?
Will you share the gospel with them?
Be careful about the excuses you might offer.
He is not impressed by your weak excuses.
God wants to use you.

:13 My son, eat honey because it is good, And the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste;

:14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, And your hope will not be cut off.

:13 eat honey because it is good

Some Christians live as if it’s a bad thing to enjoy life, or it’s a bad thing to be happy.

Eat honey and enjoy it.

When we learn to enjoy the good things around us (like honey), we will be able to have a greater appreciation for the deeper things like wisdom.

:15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not plunder his resting place;

:16 For a righteous man may fall seven times And rise again, But the wicked shall fall by calamity.

:16 a righteous man may fall seven times


Get up again

Even the righteous person falls.
That means that even you will fall from time to time.
What do you do when you fail? When you fall? When you do the wrong thing?
Do you stop going to church?
Do you withdraw and tell yourself that God is finished with you?
No.  Get back up.
God is not the one saying, “You’ve disappointed Me once too many times.” That’s Satan’s voice.
(1 John 2:1–2 NLT) —1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;

:18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, And He turn away His wrath from him.

:17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls

Jesus told us to treat our enemies differently than how the world treats its enemies.

(Matthew 5:44 NKJV) But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you

We shouldn’t be secretly hoping for our enemies to fall.

We should be praying that they turn around.

:19 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the wicked;

:20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.

Just like vss 1-2, the “bad boys” are trouble.

And they’re not headed in the right direction.

Solomon’s father David wrote,

(Psalm 37:1–2 NKJV) —1 Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. 2 For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb.

:21 My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those given to change;

:22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, And who knows the ruin those two can bring?

:21 those given to change

(Proverbs 24:21–22 NLT) —21 My child, fear the Lord and the king. Don’t associate with rebels, 22 for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the Lord and the king?

There are times when leaders and governments need to change.

But be careful about jumping on every new bandwagon that comes along banging a drum.

:23 These things also belong to the wise: It is not good to show partiality in judgment.

:24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” Him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him.

:25 But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, And a good blessing will come upon them.

This is one of the many ways that our nation has gone astray.

Things that God has declared are wicked, men are saying is okay.

:26 He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.

(Proverbs 24:26 NLT) An honest answer is like a kiss of friendship.

(Proverbs 24:26 The Message) An honest answer is like a warm hug.

:27 Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.

(Proverbs 24:27 NLT) Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.

(Proverbs 24:27 The Message) First plant your fields; then build your barn.

Sometimes we can get a little ahead of ourselves.

It’s like the guy who goes out applying for jobs and is so excited for one of his job prospects he goes out and buys a new car … before actually getting the job.

:28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, For would you deceive with your lips?

(Proverbs 24:28 The Message) Don’t talk about your neighbors behind their backs— no slander or gossip, please.

:29 Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.”

(Proverbs 24:29 The Message) Don’t say to anyone, “I’ll get back at you for what you did to me. I’ll make you pay for what you did!”

:30 I went by the field of the lazy man, And by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding;

lazy‘atsel – sluggish, lazy

:31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down.

:32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction:

:33 A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest;

(Proverbs 24:33 NLT) A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—

:34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler, And your need like an armed man.

(Proverbs 24:34 NLT) then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.

:30 the man devoid of understanding

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

His “inner man” is lacking. 

He has no “heart” when it comes to work.

:33 A little sleep, a little slumber


Heart for Work

The lazy man is one who has lost his “understanding”, his “heart” for work.
He doesn’t see the purpose of working hard.
And then he shouldn’t be surprised to live a life of poverty.
A local business was looking for office help. They put a sign in the window, stating the following: “Help wanted. Must be able to type, must be good with a computer and must be bilingual. We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.”
A short time afterwards, a dog trotted up to the window, saw the sign and went inside. He looked at the receptionist and wagged his tail, then walked over to the sign, looked at it and whined. Getting the idea, the receptionist got the office manager. The office manager looked at the dog and was surprised, to say the least. However, the dog looked determined, so he led him into the office.
Inside, the dog jumped up on the chair and stared at the manager. The manager said, “I can’t hire you. The sign says you have to be able to type.” The dog jumped down, went to the typewriter and proceeded to type out a perfect letter. He took out the page and trotted over to the manager and gave it to him, then jumped back on the chair.
The manager was stunned, but then told the dog, “The sign says you have to be good with a computer.” The dog jumped down again and went to the computer. The dog proceeded to enter and execute a perfect program that worked flawlessly the first time. By this time the manager was totally dumbfounded!
He looked at the dog and said, “I realize that you are a very intelligent dog and have some interesting abilities. However, I still can’t give you the job.” The dog jumped down and went to a copy of the sign and put his paw on the sentences that told about being an Equal Opportunity Employer.
The manager said, “Yes, but the sign also says that you have to be bilingual.”
The dog looked at the manager calmly and said, “Meow.”

Now that’s someone driven to work hard.

It’s not that rest is bad or evil.
God created the Sabbath so that man would rest.
Yet the pattern that God established was for man to work six days a week, and rest one.
The problem comes when you are resting when you should be working.
From time to time we will run into people who feel like everyone else ought to pitch in to take care of them.
They feel that the “world owes them a living”.
They will come to the church looking for a handout. And then come back again for more. And then come back again for more.
There is nothing new about this. In one of the earliest written letters of the New Testament, Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about this kind of person:

(2 Thessalonians 3:10 NKJV) For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.

Work hard at your job and the general principle is that you won’t be surprised by poverty.