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Proverbs 27

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 25, 2018


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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 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 now in a section of that dates to 250 years after Solomon. King Hezekiah had a group of scholars collect an additional group of 100 of Solomon’s proverbs.

Proverbs 27

:1 Do not boast about tomorrow, For you do not know what a day may bring forth.

:1 Do not boast about tomorrow



It’s good to make plans.
We’ve seen much in Proverbs about how to go about making good plans for the future.

(Proverbs 15:22 NLT) Plans go wrong for lack of advice; many advisers bring success.

The problem with plans comes when we don’t leave room for God to move and change our plans.
James writes,
(James 4:13–15 NKJV) —13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit”; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.”
One of my good friends who helped us start the church years ago was a fellow named Jon Osmundsen. Jon was one of our elders, and for the first couple of years he was our sound man. He taught our son David how to run the sound board when David was in 8th grade. Jon was just a couple of years older than I was.
Jon and his wife Pam eventually moved up north and we lost touch for a year or so until we got a phone call from Pam. Jon and Pam were lying in bed together on the Tuesday morning of October 12, 2004, when Jon rolled over in bed and fell on the floor. He was dead. Just like that. Don’t know what happened.
I don’t mean to sound morbid, but you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
It may bring great blessing. Your plans might come about beyond your wildest dreams. Or not.
We ought to say, “If the Lord wills…” and learn to be happy with what God will do in our lives.

:2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.

:2 Let another man praise you

We all like it when we receive a pat on the back for something we’ve done. Just don’t give yourself the pat on the back.

Our president could learn from this.


Two geese were about to start southward on their annual autumn migration, when they were begged by a frog to take him with them. The geese were willing to help, but the frog needed to figure out a way for them to carry him. The frog got a long stalk of grass, had each goose take an end, and he clung to the middle of it with his mouth.
As the three flew along, some men on the ground noticed them and yelled up to them that they were astounded at such an amazing thing. They asked who had been smart enough to think of such a thing, and the proud frog opened his mouth to say, “It was I,” but lost his hold, fell to the earth, and died.
Moral: When you have a good thing going, keep your mouth shut!

:3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, But a fool’s wrath is heavier than both of them.

wrathka’ac – anger, vexation, provocation, grief; frustration

(Proverbs 27:3 NLT) A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.

So when a fool is angry with you, drop it. Let it go.

:4 Wrath is cruel and anger a torrent, But who is able to stand before jealousy?

Jealousy is worse than wrath and anger.

:5 Open rebuke is better Than love carefully concealed.

(Proverbs 27:5 The Message) A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed.

Communication is a good thing.

It’s better that someone who is upset with you tells you about it, than wondering what’s going on in their mind.

It’s nice that someone loves you, but it doesn’t do you much good if they never tell you.

So talk.

:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend


Loving wounds

Don’t be quick to get upset at a friend who says something that hurts your feelings.
Hopefully they said what they did because they care about you.
It’s a scary thing if people only say nice things (kisses) to you. Some of them might be “kissing up”.
Don’t forget that Judas betrayed Jesus with a “kiss”.
Norman Vincent Peale: “The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.”
Jay Leno’s first encounter with the man he would eventually replace was less than auspicious. “You seem like a very funny young man,” Johnny Carson told him after catching his act at The Comedy Store. “But you don’t have enough jokes.” Leno was devastated. He recalls:
When I watched the Carson show I saw him do 15 or 20 jokes. I realized I’d been doing only three and relying on clowning and gestures for the rest of the laughs. I resented what Johnny had said, but I took it to heart and began honing my material.
A few years later, Carson asked me on his show. I’ll always be grateful to him for giving me real advice—hard as it seemed at the time.

-- Peter Swet, Parade Magazine, as reprinted in the Reader's Digest, September 1992, p. 31

Listen to the pacing of Leno’s jokes after Johnny’s advice:

Video: Leno on Carson 1987

As we’ve seen in Proverbs, being given good advice doesn’t do us any good unless we pay attention to it. Leno paid attention.

:7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.

It’s not a bad thing to be hungry.  You’ll appreciate more in live.

We should be hungry for the things of the Lord

:8 Like a bird that wanders from its nest Is a man who wanders from his place.

A bird has a nest because it’s raising its offspring.

If a bird spends too much time away from it’s next, the babies might pay the price.

A man who spends too much time away from home is setting his family up for trouble.

:9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, And the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel.

heartynephesh – soul, self, life

sweetnessmetheq – sweetness; frommathaq – to be or become sweet or pleasing

(Proverbs 27:9 NLT) The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.

:10 Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, Nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; Better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.

(Proverbs 27:10 NLT) Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.

Cultivate friendships because your friends may be the ones to help you when others can’t.


Cultivate friendships

It’s not that you should never go to your family for help.
Paul told Timothy that family ought to be the first place people go to for help.
(1 Timothy 5:8 The Message) Anyone who neglects to care for family members in need repudiates the faith. That’s worse than refusing to believe in the first place.
Solomon’s encouragement is to make sure you also cultivate friendships.
Sometimes family members aren’t able to help right away, while a friend might be just down the street.
Emperor Caracalla (r. AD 209-217) was one of the most ruthless emperors of the Roman Empire.
He lived by two rules: Take care of the army, Disdain all men.

In other words, as long as you have the army on your side, you can get through life being a mean to anybody.

How mean? He had his brother killed so he wouldn’t have to be co-rulers with him.

When the people of Alexandria put out a play mocking Caracalla’s claim that he killed his brother in self-defense, he had 20,000 people of Alexandria killed.

He made a peace proposal to the Parthian empire by offering to marry the king’s daughter. When the wedding party showed up, he had them all killed.

Caracalla’s rule ended when he was 29 years old. He was of course assassinated. Nobody cried when he died.

So how about you? Do you live like you don’t need people?
We need to cultivate friendships.
That means that we need to pay attention to the needs of others and do something about it.
Don’t expect others to help you out in your time of need when you haven’t helped them.

:11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, That I may answer him who reproaches me.

(Proverbs 27:11 The Message) Become wise, dear child, and make me happy; then nothing the world throws my way will upset me.

:12 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; The simple pass on and are punished.

This is identical to Prov. 22:3

(Proverbs 22:3 NKJV) A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, But the simple pass on and are punished.

Pay attention to those warning signs.

:13 Take the garment of him who is surety for a stranger, And hold it in pledge when he is surety for a seductress.

seductressnokriy – foreign, alien; foreign woman, harlot

We’ve seen this word many times before.

This is identical to Prov. 20:16

(Proverbs 20:16 NKJV) Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, And hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress.

(Proverbs 27:13 NLT) Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.

Solomon has warned about the dangers of co-signing on another person’s loan because you may end up having to pay for the entire loan yourself.

Now he warns against financial dealings with others who have a habit of co-signing on loans.

:14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, It will be counted a curse to him.

:14 a loud voice, rising early in the morning



Years ago when I was a youth pastor, my friend Craig Campbell and I would play a prank on the other young campers in our cabin.
We’d get up super early in the morning, stand in the middle of the room, and belt out the song, “Oh What A Beautiful Morning”.
We would get lots of pillows thrown at us.
This verse is painting a picture similar to this, but it’s talking about the person who does this without having a clue that they are bothering everyone else.
Are you aware of the people around you?
I get the notion every once in a while that some people live in their own little world.
Whether they’re having a great day or having a horrible day, they are unaware that there are other people around them and what they’re going through.
Do you take time to notice the people around you and think about what is going on in their lives?
The person who gets up early in the morning and decides to wake up everyone else with a great big “God Bless You” is a person who is not aware of those around them.

:15 A continual dripping on a very rainy day And a contentious woman are alike;

:16 Whoever restrains her restrains the wind, And grasps oil with his right hand.

:15 continual dripping … a contentious woman

(Proverbs 27:15–16 NLT) —15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. 16 Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.



Ladies, when you complain, it’s hard to listen to.
Of course us guys never complain.
God is “married” to His people.
Israel was married to Yahweh.

So how do you think God felt when Israel was constantly complaining in the wilderness.

We don’t have enough food! We don’t have enough water! We’re tired of this manna! We don’t like Moses! Are we there yet??

(1 Corinthians 10:9–10 HCSB) —9 Let us not test Christ as some of them did and were destroyed by snakes. 10 Nor should we complain as some of them did, and were killed by the destroyer.

We are the “bride” of Christ. I wonder if we are that constant dripping sound to Jesus sometimes.
If we’re not careful, we can all fall into the rut of complaining or griping about everything.
A new doctor had arrived in town. He could cure anything and anybody. Everyone was amazed with what he could do - everyone except for old Mr. Thompson, the town skeptic.
Grumpy old Mr. Thompson went to visit this “miracle doctor” to prove that he wasn’t anybody special. When it was time for his appointment he told the doctor, “Hey, doc, I’ve lost my sense of taste. I can’t taste nothin’, so what are ya goin’ to do?”
The doctor scratched his head and mumbled to himself a little, then told Mr. Thompson, “What you need is jar number 47.”
So the doctor brought the jar out, opened it, and told Mr. Thompson to taste it. He tasted it and immediately spit it out, “This is horrible!” he yelled.
“Looks like I just restored your sense of taste, Mr. Thompson,” said the doctor. So Mr. Thompson went home...very mad.
One month later, Mr. Thompson decides to go back to the doctor and try once again to expose him as a fake, by complaining of a new problem. “Doc,” he started, “I can’t remember anything!”
Thinking he had the doctor stumped now, he waited as the doctor scratched his head, mumbled to himself a little, and told Mr. Thompson, “What you need is jar number 47, it’s...”
But before the doctor could finish his sentence, Mr. Thompson was cured and fled the room!
Paul wrote,
(Philippians 2:14–15 NLT) —14 Do everything without complaining and arguing, 15 so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people.

:17 As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.

:17 As iron sharpens iron


Friendship’s secret

We don’t cultivate friendships just because they may help us out later in life (vs.10).
We become better through our friendships. We ought to learn from each other.
Video:  Dear Kitten: Beginnings
 Some people only want friends who will say nice things to them.
The problem with this is that these may not be your true friends.
A true friend will care enough for you to “wound” you (v.6)
(Proverbs 27:6 NKJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

We would do well to pay attention when a friend cares enough about us to hurt our feelings in order to warn us about a problem.

You and I are like a sword or an ax. Like an ax, we have work to do. We will work better the “sharper” we are.
(Ecclesiastes 10:10 NLT) Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade. That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.

How do you “sharpen” your ax?

By rubbing the iron against iron.  That means rubbing up against your friends. 

It might even create a little friction at times.

Friction in relationships is not always bad.

God may be sharpening us.

:18 Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit; So he who waits on his master will be honored.

:18 Whoever keeps the fig tree

In other words, don’t expect something for nothing.

Some people will expect to eat the fig fruit without ever having helped to cultivate the fig tree.
Some people will expect to be honored by someone important without ever having done anything to deserve it.

If you want to eat, if you want to be recognized, then do your job.

:19 As in water face reflects face, So a man’s heart reveals the man.

(Proverbs 27:19 NLT) As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.

My question is, how can you “see” a person’s “heart”?

Perhaps it might have something to do with paying attention to what a person says. Jesus said,

(Luke 6:45 NKJV) A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
So, in our passage, just as you can see what a person’s face looks like by looking at it’s reflection in a pool of water … listening to a person’s heart by listening to their words gives you an idea of who that person is, of what their personality is like.

Both are not perfect pictures, but the pool’s reflection and the man’s words give you a glimpse.

:20 Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied.

(Proverbs 27:20 The Message) Hell has a voracious appetite, and lust just never quits.

There are two parts to this verse that complement each other.

:20 Hell and Destruction are never full


Hell’s depths

Hell always has room for just a few more.
Nobody is going to arrive at the gates of hell and see a “No Vacancy” sign hanging on the door.
There is room in hell for even you.
But God doesn’t want you to go to hell.
God has love you so much, and wants you to be in heaven so badly, that He chose to allow His Son to die in your place, making the payment to keep you out of hell.

(John 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

All you need to do is turn from your sin, turn to God, and trust in Jesus.

:20 the eyes of man are never satisfied



In 1965, Mick Jagger sang,
Video:  Rolling Stones - Satisfaction - 1965

When you hear Mick Jagger sing, “But I tried…”

He’s been trying for fifty years.

He’ll get no satisfaction apart from Jesus.

One of the areas we struggle with satisfaction is in sex, and that can lead to sexual immorality.
Paul wrote,

(1 Corinthians 7:2 NKJV) Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

There is a sense in which your spouse is “enough”. Your spouse is a part of your “satisfaction”.

Solomon wrote,

(Proverbs 18:22 NKJV) He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the Lord.


Winston Churchill once attended a formal banquet in London. A number of dignitaries and celebrities were present. The question was asked, “If you could not be who you are, who would you like to be?”

Everyone was curious as to what Churchill would say. When it was his turn the old man stood to his feet and gave a classic answer. “If I could not be who I am, I would most like to be” here he paused to take his wife’s hand “Lady Churchill’s second husband.”

Love your spouse.  Appreciate your spouse.

An area we don’t find satisfaction is in the amount of money we have.
Someone once quipped,

“To figure the cost of living, just take your income and add 10 percent.”


A wealthy employer once overheard one of his workers exclaim, “Oh if I only had a hundred dollars, I would be perfectly content.”  Knowing that his own money had not given him inner peace, he told her, “Since I would like to see someone who is perfectly contented, I’m going to grant your desire.”  He gave her the money and left, but before he was out of earshot, he heard her remark almost bitterly, “Why on earth didn’t I say 200?”  The boss smiled, for he had made his point that money doesn’t make a person “perfectly contented.”

John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil, the wealthiest man in the world in the early 1900s and the first billionaire, was supposedly asked, “How much money is enough?” To which he is reported to have replied, “Just a little bit more.”
The author of Hebrews gives us the ultimate source of satisfaction:
(Hebrews 13:5 NKJV) Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

We have Jesus.  He is more than enough.

:21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, And a man is valued by what others say of him.

(Proverbs 27:21 NLT) Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.

(Proverbs 27:21 The Message) The purity of silver and gold is tested by putting them in the fire; The purity of human hearts is tested by giving them a little fame.

How you respond when people say to you, “You are awesome!” will say a lot about your character.

:22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.

Some people will never stop being foolish.

Is that you? What does it take for God to get your attention and make you turn your life around?

:23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, And attend to your herds;

:24 For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations.

(Proverbs 27:23–24 NLT) —23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, 24 for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.

:24 For riches are not forever

Solomon is painting a picture of a person who owns a flock of goats.

They also have other financial prospects.
This person might also either have some money in the bank, or they might have some wealthy relatives that just might one day leave them an inheritance.
Solomon is warning about counting on something else to help you in later years when you have something you ought to be taking care of now.

:25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,

Or, when all the crops are harvested and there’s nothing left growing in the fields…

:26 The lambs will provide your clothing, And the goats the price of a field;

:27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, For the food of your household, And the nourishment of your maidservants.

:27 the food of your household

Caring for your flock, will meet your needs.

:23 know the state of your flocks


Present Responsibility

You don’t have to own actual goats to have a “flock”.
Our flocks are the things we have responsibility for now.
It might be your marriage.
It might be your kids.
It might be school.
It might be your work.
It might be your ministry.
A good shepherd doesn’t just hope his sheep will be okay out there in the field by themselves, he shepherds his flock.
He will be with his flock.

In Ethiopia they do it a little different…

Video:  Ethiopian Shephard and Two Sheep

He will lead his flock.
He will feed his flock.
He will protect his flock.

When you take care of your flock, God will see to it that you are taken care of.

Be careful about leaving your flock, your responsibilities in order to win that “big one”, like getting a “crown” or “riches” (vs. 24).
When David was called to be king, what was he doing?

He was out tending his father’s flock.

When Elisha was called to be a prophet and follow Elijah, what was he doing?

He was out plowing with his oxen.

Tend to the flock you’ve got.  Let God take care of the future.