Proverbs 1-31 - The Bible from 30,000 Feet - Skip Heitzig - Flight PRO01
The Bible from 30,000 feet, soaring through the scripture from Genesis to Revelation.
Father, as we begin, that is the heart and mindset that we begin with. We are talking about and examining and then applying eternal truth written down to our contemporary lives, so that by doing so we would be changed, we would live above reproach as lights in a dark world, firmly tethered to you. Give us grace, give us wisdom as this book is so famously known for.
Help us not only to understand things about this book, but may we understand and know you through this book, in Jesus' name, amen.
Well, we've made it to week 22 in the Bible from 30,000 feet.
When we began, I used sort of a little proverb-- give me a year, and I'll give you the Bible. The idea being rather than teaching every verse of scripture this time around, I want to give you the principles that are found in every single book of the Bible. I'm going to give you a working knowledge of the great principles that are found in the books of the Bible.
Last week we passed our halfway point in the scriptures. What I mean is this-- Psalm 118 marks the literary middle of the Bible. There are 1,189 chapters in scripture, and the middle chapter is Psalm 118. So now we're in Proverbs. We're well past that.
So we begin looking at the book of Proverbs on this journey through scripture. We live in what is called the information age. It's been called that for a long time. But information has gotten to a place where knowledge is ubiquitous, and we're cranking out prolific amounts of knowledge every single day. I read an article about this. I just wanted to share a couple of sentences with you.
The article said prior to 2003 mankind had generated a sum total of five exabytes of content historically. Now let me just explain that. An exabytes happens to be a billion gigabytes. So five exabytes of content from the beginning of humanity until 2003-- five. Today it is estimated that we generate this amount of content measured in days.
As Google CEO Eric Schmidt said, "Between the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created. We now create five exabytes every two days." We are on information overload. You can get anything you want. Right now, IF you are so distracted that you just have to look at your Instagram, or your Twitter, or you've got to get on Google and search something, you can just find it instantaneously.
It's everywhere, it's anywhere. But information is not the same as wisdom. You can have lots of knowledge, but not necessarily an equivalent amount of wisdom to know what to do with all that knowledge. Learning is not the same as living. You might have money, but if you don't have wisdom to go along with that bank account, you will lose it.
You might have fame, but if you don't have wisdom in your life, your fame will ruin you. You might even have a long life. A lot of people want a long life. But if you don't have wisdom in that, what good is that long life? In fact, when it comes to knowledge and wisdom without God, you got nothing.
The Bible talks about those who are always learning and never coming to the knowledge of the truth. So having knowledge is important, but having wisdom is all important, as this book has as the grand theme. Now by now hopefully you've discovered something about your Bible. Your Bible is intensely practical.
Oh yes, it has depth. The depth of doctrinal teaching is found throughout the pages of scripture. It has the heights of prophecy to titillate and exhilarate even the most bored individual. It has great depth, it has great height. But more than that, it is intensely practical for daily life.
After Psalms in your Bible comes Proverbs. If Psalms tells us how to get along with God, Proverbs teaches us how to get along with our fellow man. In the book of Psalms it tells us how to get alone with God on our knees. In the book of Proverbs it tells us how to stand on our feet, how to walk through life through the byways, and highways, and roadways, and sidewalks of life. Psalms teaches us to praise God in private, whereas Proverbs teaches us how to take our relationship with God into the public square.
And to do that, you need wisdom. There are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. Don't you find that interesting? Because our longest month will have 31 days. I like its division. I like the fact that there are 31 of them. And some people make it a practice to read one proverb every single day corresponding to the day of the month.
I'm one of those. I like to read Psalms. I like to read at least one Psalm. Billy Graham liked to read five Psalms a day. I like to read a Psalm or two a day. I also like to add a Proverb every day, and I like to add my regular Bible reading on top of Psalms and Proverbs.
But I like to read a Proverb a day, and some of you also have made that practice. If you don't have that as a practice, let me commend it to you. Start tomorrow in Proverbs chapter 9. Add that to your Bible reading. If you want to, just read a Proverb at night before you go to bed. And when I say a Proverb, I mean a chapter of Proverbs.
There are several Proverbs per chapter. But when you read them, you're going to be slowing down to understand them. Because it's different literature, as I'm going to explain in a moment. Now, we come in our Bibles to the third of five of the books of wisdom or poetry, the poetic books of the Bible. There are five poetic books-- Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon. Job, Psalms, Proverbs-- we're in the third poetic book.
But we also come to the very first book penned by Solomon, the third King of Israel, of the united monarchy. Solomon is mostly, if not solely, the author of this book. I'm going to explain that in a moment. We know that Solomon was prolific. According to 1 Kings chapter 4, he wrote lots of proverbs and lots of songs. He was a songwriter, as well as a poet.
He wrote, according to that chapter in the Old Testament, 3,000 proverbs. Not all of them are listed here, just some of them, probably his most important. And he wrote 1,005 songs. Wouldn't you like to hear Solomon sing a song? Proverb, our English word, proverb, comes from a Latin term that sounds very similar to it-- proverbum, or proverbium. Proverbium, proverb.
That Latin word is a telling word. It comes from two words stuck together in the Latin language-- pro and verbum. Pro is a word that means for, or instead of, or on behalf of, and the second word, verba, or verbum, or verbium, which means word or words. So instead of words.
In other words, a proverb is a few words instead of a lot of words. That's a proverb. We would call it an adage, or an epigram, or an axiom, or a saying. That is a proverb. It is a short saying based on long experience.
I didn't make that up. Cervantes, the Spanish author, said that. But it's a good definition. A short saying based on long experience. They are concentrated nuggets of truth that you have to mull over, think about, turn over in your mind as you read them.
Every culture has proverbs. Our own culture has such adages, things like this-- nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or, don't throw the baby out with the--
--bathwater. Or, look before--
--you leap. Or, don't make a mountain out of a--
--molehill. We've learn them since we were children. They are axiomatic truths, or they're epigrams, they are adages, they are proverbs in our language. What makes the book of Proverbs different from all those little common adages of our own language is simple. It's called inspiration.
This isn't just good advice, this is God's advice. This is inspired by God. And the book of Proverbs is thus holy scripture. Now as you have gone through Proverbs, there's people in it you recognize, like the scoffer. I bet you know one, or two, or three, or 20.
A friend is mentioned and described in this book. I hope you have a lot of those. The fool is described in the book of Proverbs, a wise man, a wise woman, a sluggard. We looked at that in the little skit, and we'll look at it again in our study.
Now, the book of Proverbs does have an outline. I'm going to mention to you sort of a consecutive outline, but that is not the one I'm going to take you through tonight. Because I see this book sort of defying, outlining, and I'll tell you why also in a moment. But there is a consecutive-- that is, from beginning to end-- way to divide the book. I would divide the book by saying there are principles, there are proverbs, and there are precepts in this book.
Allow me to explain. Chapters 1 through 9 are principles from Solomon chiefly to the young, chiefly to his own son. The term "my son" appears 10 times in these chapters. My son, do this. My son, look at that. My son, my son. So these are principles from Solomon to the young, especially his son. That's Proverbs chapters 1 through 9.
Then there is another section. I would say these are Proverbs of Solomon, Proverbs of Solomon, chapters 10 through 24. Largely, he compares the righteous person with the wicked person. These are the Proverbs of Solomon. Then there are precepts by Solomon, and that's chapters 25 through 29. They are by Solomon, but they are not compiled by Solomon.
Because chapter 25 will say these are Proverbs compiled by King Hezekiah. So Hezekiah, the King of Judah, and his royal court put together other proverbs by Solomon, or precepts, and gives them to us. So we have principles from Solomon, proverbs of Solomon, and precepts by Solomon, composed by Solomon, but compiled by Hezekiah.
Then I would even add a last section, and that is Proverbs by Agur and Lemuel, which may be a couple of different other guys, but maybe not. As again, I will explain when we get there. That is chapters 30 and 31. But let's begin in Proverbs 1.
Let's look at a few of these Proverbs, just to get our feet wet in them. The Proverbs of Solomon, the son of David, the King of Israel. "To know wisdom and instruction, to perceive the words of understanding, to receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, judgment, and equity." Solomon begins by giving to us his purpose statement, his goal, his aim in writing these Proverbs.
He continues, "To give prudence to the simple." A term for simple or another word is naive, those who may be younger, and they don't have the life experience of somebody who is older, who has walked a few more miles, who is at that point not naive. So "To give prudence to the simple, to the young man, knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel."
Now, why is it that those of us who have read the Bible keep reading it? Have you ever met a person who said, oh, I've read the Bible, and as if to say, I'm done now. I read it once. I get it.
Why is it that we keep studying it? I mean, I've taught it over, and over, and over again, and why do you keep coming back? I know why. It says again in verse 5, "A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel."
I've noticed something about great people, wise people, smart people. They never feel like they've arrived. They never feel like, been there done that, I've heard it before. They want to hear it again. They want it reinforced.
That is indeed a mark of wisdom. The Jewish Talmud even says, he who adds not to his learning diminishes it. Anybody who says been there, done that, have arrived, heard enough, simply betrays the fact that they would wallow in their ignorance rather than attain to wisdom. Verse 6, "To understand a proverb and an enigma, the words of the wise, and their riddles." Now there's a word that is used over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again in this book.
I had to do it that way, because it's repeated 125 times. Aren't you glad I stopped when I did? 125 times, the word wise or wisdom shows up in this book. It's about getting wisdom so that you can be a wise individual. 125 times the word is repeated.
It is the aim of the book to acquire and to apply wisdom. But I have to add a word to that. To acquire and to apply God's wisdom. God's wisdom. The word wise is the Hebrew word chakam. Chakam. You might want to write that down, you might not.
The word wisdom in Hebrew is the word chokmah. Chokmah. it actually, literally, in its root form means to be skilled at something. Like a trades person would be skilled at laying brick, or mortar, or building something, or designing something. A skill. Or the word chakam and chokmah doesn't just mean to have a skill, but it means to be an expert in something.
So the meaning of wisdom in the context of the Bible, it means this-- to have a skill to live well. The skill to live well, or to be an expert in godly living. I keep putting God in that. I keep putting godly in these descriptions.
Because in the Bible, wisdom and knowledge always begin with God. True knowledge begins with the knowledge of God. True wisdom always begins by having God in the middle of your thinking. It always begins with God. David said-- we didn't read it, but in some 14-- last week we didn't read it. "The fool has said in his heart, there is no God."
Or literally, the fool has said in his heart, no God. The fool says, I don't want God in my life. I don't want to place him at the center of my life. A wise person says, I want God. Doesn't say, no God. He goes, yes God. Yeah, God. More God. Always begins with God. That's a wise person.
I've also made this discovery. Wisdom isn't always directly proportional to age. Yes, there is the young, naive, simple person who hasn't walked long in life and needs to know certain things. However, I've found some very young people who are very wise. And I've found some very old, dumb people.
And I don't mean intellectually. I mean unwise. So wisdom isn't always proportional to age. We wish it were. But I know people who make bad calculations and bad course corrections as they age.
I love what Spurgeon said. Let me quote it to you. "In the Church of God, there are children who are 70 years old. Yes, little children displaying all the infirmities of declining years. One would not like to say of a man of 80 that he has scarcely cut his wisdom teeth, and yet there are such. On the other hand, there are fathers in the Church of God, wise, stable, instructed, who are comparatively young. The Lord can cause his people to grow rapidly and far outstrip their years."
And when you find that person, young or old, that's a wise person. It's a wise man, it's a wise woman. Now, what I'd like to do is look at the Bible from 30,000 feet in the book of Proverbs, not by looking at it consecutively, consistently, from chapters 1 to 30 in the outline form, but I want to-- here we are flying over the landscape of Proverbs, and as we look down we notice there are four mountain peaks that get our attention. Four mountain peaks that get our attention.
We might call the first one mind. It's what you think. It's the very foundational core of who you are. It becomes sort of your world view of life in your mind. The second mountain peak we might call motivation. Some of you have it, some of you don't.
Some of you are motivated, some not so much. After mind and motivation come mouth. How you use what you say-- not just what you think, but now what you say. And then the fourth mountain peak, we might call it mistake. I'll show you why.
Let's begin with the first one. There are several things the book of Proverbs addresses-- multiple things-- like the tongue, the treatment of the poor, common sense, finances, taking a pledge, or not taking a pledge, moral purity, and social protocol. All of those are mentioned and more in the book of Proverbs. I just want you to look at four, however.
And the first one I mentioned is mind, but now let me bring it out and widen that for you. The fear of God versus the fear of man. The fear of God versus the fear of man. If you fear the Lord, you don't have to be afraid of any person. When you don't really live under the fear of God, you're living in fear of everyone and everything.
And so one of the great secrets of the book of Proverbs is the fear of the Lord over and against the fear of man. I brought that up first, because it's the next verse, verse 7. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instruction." If you remember last week's study, you know this is an antithetical parallelism. Right?
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. But fools despise wisdom and instruction." Solomon begins where you ought to begin, to give you a grid for keeping your mind for the rest of your life. And the grid is the fear of the Lord.
Here he says it's the beginning of knowledge. In Proverbs 9:10, he says, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." What does that mean? The word beginning means the most important part, the uppermost part, the chief part. The most important aspect of knowledge and wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Did you know there are at least 18 references to the fear of God in the book of Proverbs alone?
18. Fear of the Lord, fear of the Lord, fear of the Lord. It is mentioned 50 times in the Bible altogether. What is it? What does it mean to fear the Lord? Let me tell you what it doesn't mean. It doesn't mean that you tremble and shake like Toto, and the Straw Man, and the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. It does not mean that you have a superstitious dread of God, that you always see God in heaven as wearing a frown ready to pounce on you if you make one mistake so you live in morbid fear.
It does not mean that. It is a word the means to revere, to respect. The Hebrew wording of fear of the Lord are two words-- yirat Yahweh. Yirat Yahweh. Fear of the Lord, or reverence of the Lord. Same word used for children in the book of Leviticus, saying you ought to revere your father and mother, your parents.
You respect them. So the fear of the Lord, my definition, my working definition is this. The fear of the Lord is a reverential awe that produces humble submission to a loving God. Reverential awe that produces humble submission to a loving God. It is based on relationship. It is not based on repercussion.
It's based on the fact that you love him and you know he loves you, not he's going to beat me up if I do something bad. It's based on relationship, not repercussion. You are so in awe of God, you don't want to displease the Lord. So that's the first mountain peak, the fear of the Lord versus the fear of man.
What will the fear of the Lord do for you? It will do two things at least. It'll do more, but let me give you two in Proverbs. It will keep you from evil. If you need some kind of guardian in your life, some sort of governor-- that's what they used to have on cars so they wouldn't go too fast, certain engines. When you teach a kid to ride a motorcycle they put a governor on it so it can only go so far, so fast, rev up so much.
If you need that in your life, the fear of the Lord is that little governor. In Proverbs chapter 16 verse 6, we read by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil. What keeps a person from doing certain things? The fear of the Lord, a reverential order that produces loving submission or humble submission to a loving God.
Also, Proverbs 8:13-- "the fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride, arrogance, and the evil way." Let me give an example of how the fear of the Lord keeps somebody from evil. In the Old Testament, the older part of the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis there is this character named Joseph, this young kid, favored young kid, kind of a spoiled young kid, but a young man that we discover has a depth of commitment to the Lord that really only shows its strength when he is sold by his brothers to the Midianites, brought down as a slave into Egypt, finds himself as a servant in Potiphar's house.
And one day, Potiphar's wife comes onto him. She sees this handsome, brawny, Mr. America or Mr. Egypt standing before her. Potiphar is gone most of the time, doesn't spend much attention. He is attending to her and to the household. And so she not so subtly says hey, Joe, hop into bed with me.
And his response is telling. He says, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against the Lord?" What does that tell you? It tells you that he is conscious of the fact that God is watching him more than his boss Potiphar. He cares more about what God thinks, more than what Potiphar thinks, or even what she thinks. It will cost him dearly, the fear of the Lord.
But the fear of the Lord kept him from a moral evil. So it'll do that. It will keep you from evil. A second thing the fear of the Lord will do, it will just increase the quality of your life. You want a good life? You living sort of a flat, insipid, kind of ho-hum, life is OK. How's life? OK. How you doing? Oh, all right.
You want to amp that up? You want to go to the next level? Didn't Jesus say, I have come that they might have life and have it--
--more abundantly. Not I have come that they might have bummer and have bummer more abundantly.
I just want you to live a real drag life. I want you to have an abundant life. As The Message puts it, "better than you dreamed of." How do you do that? The fear of the Lord.
Proverbs 14:26, "In the fear of the Lord is strong confidence. And his children will have a place of refuge." It will bless your life, and the next generation. Proverbs 14:27, the very next verse, "The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life to turn one away from the snares of death."
The fear of the Lord brings life up to a higher wattage. More excitement, more joy, more peace-- everything gets amped up, heightened, in the fear of the Lord. Think back in your Old Testament again, this time to a guy by the name of Abraham. God told him to do something any parent would be horrified to hear.
Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love. Kill him. He goes through with getting the wood, building the altar, taking out his knife after his son is bound on the altar, lifting his arm to plunge that knifed implement into the chest of his only son, and the Angel of the Lord stops him and says, "Don't lay a hand on the lad, for now I know that you fear God."
The fear of the Lord enabled him to live such a life of faith and confidence, knowing that if I kill him, God will raise him up. That's what the New Testament tells us. That life at a whole new level. The fear of the Lord.
So that's the first mountain peak, and I call that mind, or fear of the Lord versus the fear of men. The second mountain peak, motivation. Now, this is the diligent person versus the lazy person.
I hope you don't squirm while I teach some of these verses.
But I like what one person said. He goes, I love work. It fascinates me. I can sit and watch it for hours.
Well, a lazy person would say that, but not a diligent person. Not somebody who's motivated. So in Proverbs chapter 6, turn there. Verse 6, and Proverbs speaks a lot about this, but this is just the seminal verse. "Go to the ant, you sluggard." You know, there's certain words that are just-- you can't really translate them better than that.
Sluggard is such an onomatopoetic word. Just hearing the term, it just packs a punch. Another word for a sluggard is lazy person or slothful. The New Living Translation uses the translation lazy bones. I like that too. "Go to the ant, you lazy bones."
"Consider her ways and be wise, which having no captain, overseer, or ruler, provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest. How long will you slumber, oh sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep, so your poverty will come upon you like a prowler and your need like an armed man."
Now, I'm going to flesh this out a little bit and show you some other Proverbs so you don't get the mistake that it's bad to sleep in on Saturdays or whatever. It's not what it's talking about. But let me put it this way. As believers, we should be concerned not just about what kind of work we do, but what kind of worker we are in the work we do.
It's good to sort of dream about what profession best suits us, what kind of work work we're going to get into. But once we land on that, the big question is what kind of worker will we be at the work we do? Now, let me tell you something about work, because I hear this all. Well, you know work is part of the curse.
You need to dig into that Bible just a little more. You'll discover that's not the case. Work was something that began before the fall, not after the fall. And in fact, that the first thing God did to Adam is give him a job, employed him. He sent him in chapter 2 of Genesis to go into the garden to till it and to tend it.
I've given you this, now go to work. Work is not a curse. What is a curse? The sweat of the brow that is the result of God given work. It's not going to come easy, it's going to come difficult to you. Part of the Ten Commandments even says six days you shall do all your labor and your work.
It's interesting we have a five day workweek. In Israel they have a six day workweek. They sort of take that literally. They work six days, have one day off. And that's what I've followed. I have one day off, I work six days.
Not because I'm better than anybody else, it's just the way my schedule works out. And that happens to be part of the commandments. But whatever you do, whatever work you do, what kind of worker you are at the work you do is all important. Let me tell you a little story that's true.
My father-in-law, Rod Farley, is a foot surgeon, was a foot surgeon, a podiatrist, a podiatric surgeon. And I first met him in Southern California when I dated Lenya, who's now my wife, as you know. But when I met him, we both listened to this same radio station in Orange County together, this Christian radio station.
And I told him, I said, yeah, I heard you advertise on that radio station, but I don't hear you advertise anymore. Why is that? He says, I won't advertise on Christian radio anymore. Now, he was a believer.
Because I won't advertise on Christian radio. I said, why is that? He goes, well, the kind of people that I would get from those ads I wanted to hire because they were Christians. But I discovered that hiring Christians was bad for my work, because they're like the worst workers ever.
I go, Rod, you really don't mean that. I mean, you're a believer. You're a brother in Christ. He goes, that's my point. They want to work for me and go, oh, brother, why are you so hard on me? You know, give me a break, brother. They would use the bro card to do the no work thing.
So he goes, I won't hire them anymore. I'd just rather hire a pagan who will have a high work ethic.
And I thought, oh man, we've got to do a lot to change that. So as we compare the diligent to the lazy, let me tell you a couple of things about a lazy bones, a sluggard. Two things. Number one, he won't finish things. Proverbs 12:27, the lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting.
Now, just let that seep into your head a little bit. This guy has enough motivation to get up and go, I'm going hunting. Antonio, where are you? Yeah, you love that, right? So imagine Antonio going out elk hunting. And you have enough motivation, and then you bring the elk home, you've done all that work, and then you go-- [YAWNS] OK, I'm done.
You don't have enough energy to eat and roast what you took in the kill. Well, that's a sorry, sad state. That's a lazy bones. He's not, don't worry about that. He's a hardworking pastor. It gets worse. In Proverbs 19:24, a lazy man buries his hand in the bowl and will not so much as bring it to his mouth again.
Can you picture in there a breakfast, he's got oatmeal, and he can't even get a spoon. He just kind of puts his hand in the bowl, and-- it just sort of sits there and gets cold. So the thing about a lazy man that Proverbs paints this picture of is he does something, but he won't finish it. He didn't finish the projects he starts to do, doesn't bring it to completion.
A second tell tale mark of a lazy person is not only will he not finish things, he won't face things as they are. He always has an excuse. He won't really face it head on. It's too cold, it's too hot, it's too dangerous, it's too risky, it's too hard.
So listen to Proverbs 22:13. "A lazy man says, 'There is a lion outside. I shall be slain in the street.'" Who says that? Who says that? Somebody who didn't want to go outside. Well, why don't you get up and go down the street and go to the store? There's a lion outside and I might get killed, like, paranoid to even move because they're not facing reality.
Here's another, Proverbs 20:4. "The lazy man will not plow because of winter. He will beg during harvest and have nothing." This is a person who not only is lazy, but rationalizes why he should be lazy. He's always got an excuse.
Now you've heard the definition of an excuse before. I've said it many times. It's the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. The skin of a reason stuffed with a lie. Listen to Proverbs 26:14. "A door turns on its hinges, so does a lazy man on his bed." In other words, a lazy bones is like a door, only in the fact that it swings back and forth on its hinges and he turns back and forth on his bed, period.
Like the kid who said, I do my exercises every morning. As soon as I wake up it's up, down, up, down, up, down. I do that for three minutes straight. And then I say, OK, now for the other eyelid. Up, down, up, down, up, down.
That's it. Compare the person always looking for an excuse to do bad work, shoddy work, play video games, get on Instagram and social media and waste time away in a number of exercise, like, compare that to somebody like the great violin maker you've all heard of Stradivarius, Antonius Stradivarius. Why do we love his instruments so much?
Why do violin players sometimes pay over a million dollars for such an instrument? Because Antonio's Stradivarius lived with the idea that music was a gift from God, and if he didn't make the very best instruments, people would be deprived of God's music. So he put all the energy and effort into learning about wood, and resonance, and shaving it here and there so that the instrument would play the very best of God's music to the world. How's that for motivation?
So after mind, and after motivation, let's take another M, and that is mouth. The mouth. Now this is the-- I heard an uh-oh over there. It's the difference between a wholesome mouth and a polluted mouth. Words like tongue, lips, mouth, words, all of those are found in the book of Proverbs about 150 times.
It's one of the mega themes of the book, what you do with your mouth, what you do with your mouth. So chapter 6:16, "Six things the Lord hates." You know, just stop right there for a minute. You know, if you ever wonder, how could I ever find out God's will? This is a good place to start.
Because, you know, it's one thing when God says, I love this, I like that. But when God says, I hate something, don't you want to sit up and take notice of what he hates so that you never do that? Because if you ever did that, you know that you're going against God's will. Right?
So here's something God hates is this. "Six things the Lord hates. Seven are an abomination to him." That's just a Hebraism of adding one to another-- six, no really seven. Here they are. "A proud look."
I'm not going to drill deep down. But you know, when we're young, looking cool is so important to us. I just don't want to look a certain way, I want to look cool a certain way. And so you'll see it in the way we post on social media. It's not just a look. It's is it cool?
Oh, good, congratulations. God hates that. You just succeeded in doing something God absolutely hates, a proud look. He hates "A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among the brethren." There are seven things in that list.
Three things in that list out of the seven are about misusing your words. And God says he hates it. Now, fortunately we know the solution. If God hates the wrong use of words, then God loves the--
--right use of words. Like Proverbs 25:11, "A word fittingly spoken is like apples of gold and settings of silver." I'm going to encourage you to do something. I'm going to encourage you to increase your vocabulary. You don't have to become a wordsmith.
You don't have to get all technical. But learn to add words to your vocabulary. There's apps for that, by the way, that can just give you a word a day. I get one sent to my phone every morning, just a new word. And I think about how it's used.
Because words fitly spoken are like apples of gold and settings of silver. And you can learn to speak into a person's lives certain words that elevate, and educate, and encourage by the use of your mouth. A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold and settings of silver. I often quote what Mark Twain said.
He said, "The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."
Lightning bug and lightning are very different in their display of dazzle and power. Almost right word versus right word. Oh, you know what I mean. Well, just find out what you really mean. And then say that. Say the right thing.
When an ambassador wants to represent our nation abroad, she uses words. When a teacher wants to stretch the mind of students, he uses words. When a lawyer wants to defend his client against things that have been accused of that client, she uses words. The night I asked my wife to marry me, I used very disjointed words.
I fumbled over myself. The day I responded to the gospel, I was responding to the words spoken by an evangelist. Words. Proverbs chapter 18 verse 21 says, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue." You can lead a person to Christ with words. You can send a person away from ever wanting to go to church by words.
Words fittingly spoken or not fittingly spoken. Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Well, what do words do? They do a couple of things. Words can affect emotions, and words can affect relations. Words can affect emotions. Some children will tell you of their parents using words over and over again that demoralized them, took away confidence from them.
You idiot. You're so worthless. You keep doing the stupidest things. Those kind of words affect emotion. And they can impact emotion for an entire lifetime. Proverbs 12 verse 18, "There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health." Sharp words wound.
Proverbs 12 verse 25, "Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes you glad." Words can affect emotions. Words can also affect relations. How many relationships are destroyed by, hey, have you heard about so-and-so?
You know what? Oh, listen, and I'm only saying this so you pray about it. [WHISPERING] Proverbs 16 verse 28, "A perverse man sows strife, and a whisper separates the best of friends." Have you ever experienced this, somebody that's typically, hey, how you doing, very warm to you, then suddenly you see them one day, and they're very cold.
They act cold toward you. They don't want to really talk to you, they don't want to engage. They sort of brush you off. What happened? Probably they heard something about you-- maybe true, maybe not true. But they heard a report, and they took that report to heart. Proverbs 16 verse 24, "Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones."
Encouragement is the nectar of life. You can watch a person's eyes light up as you speak words of encouragement. Now, be careful. Genuine encouragement is different than flattery, and you need to learn the difference. Flattery is spoken also about in Proverbs. We don't have enough time to get into it.
But genuine words of encouragement, where you find some good trait about that person, something you have noticed, and you mention that, and you praise a person for doing that, that kind of encouragement is the nectar of life. There was once a preacher who was preaching out of Proverbs 16, quoting that very verse that I just quoted. And he summed it up by saying, you know, folks, more flies are caught with honey than vinegar.
And so a man's wife turned to her husband and whispered in his ear, honey, I just love to watch your muscles ripple when you take out the trash.
She thought she'd try it. I'll sweeten it up instead of nagging him, saying, how come you never take out the trash? Take out the trash. I just love your muscles ripple when you take out the trash. You know he's going to go home and take out the trash, put it back, and take it out again with his shirt off.
OK, fourth mountain peak. I termed this mistake. Mistake. That is isolation versus fellowship, or isolation versus friendship. Proverbs chapter 18, if you don't mind, just turn there. I want you to look at a verse. I know we're kind of skipping around, but we're trying to keep it at least consecutive. Proverbs 18:1, "A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire. He rages against all wise judgment."
That's the New King James version. Listen to it in the New Living. "A recluse is self-indulgent, snarling at every sound principle of conduct." There are people, there are some of us who don't want to get close to people, because we've been hurt in the past. And it's too painful to risk it again.
So we just think, why bother? I've been hurt by people before. I'm not going to trust you. And you put on this hard, harsh exterior. And yet, didn't God say it is not good that a man should be alone. God hard wired us for relationship, not isolation. You'll never grow emotionally, you'll never grow spiritually alone. You need others to help you.
Iron sharpens iron, another Proverb. A man sharpens the countenance of his friend. Now I'm going to give you three versus that speak of the value of a friend. Proverbs 17:17, it's one chapter before chapter 18, "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." Back to chapter 18 verse 24, a man who has friends must himself be friendly. But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."
And Proverbs 27:17, here it is. "As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of a friend." One of the best titles you can give another person is friend. A true friend is fortifying, satisfying, a strengthening. A friend is safe.
You feel safe with a friend. Now, go back to Proverbs 18:24. "A man who has friends must himself be friendly." I know it's put differently in different translations, but I do prefer this one, and I happen to think this is the most accurate. "A man who has friends must himself be friendly."
Friendship is like Rome. It isn't built in a day. It takes investment. It takes time. It takes motivation, takes initiative. Ruth went back to Naomi when Naomi said, I'm leaving, go back home to Moab. Ruth said, where you go, I will go. Where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people, your God will be my God.
She became friendly. She took the initiative. Jonathan did the same thing with his friend David when King Saul wanted to kill David, swore allegiance to him as a friend. Now, some of you are thinking, but I'm not the friendly type. I'm shy.
So are 3/4 of the people sitting next to you. But it works best when somebody takes the risk to just be friendly. A man who has friends must himself be friendly. There's an old Arab proverb that goes like this. I saved it to share with you. "Oh, the beauty of being at peace with each other, neither having to weigh thoughts or measure words, but spilling them out as they are, chaff and grain together, certain that a faithful hand will keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness blow the rest away."
Don't you love a person like that? You can just say anything to, and they won't check you on it. How could you say that? You're a Christian.
They just-- [BLOWS] let it blow, let you vent, know who you really are. You feel safe with that person. And one of the greatest examples of friendship is Proverbs 31. A godly marriage, a husband and wife. I want you to look at verse 1 really quick. I want to get to this, and then we'll close.
The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him. A lot of people have tried to guess who King Lemuel is. Let me just tell you that the word Lemuel is a Hebrew construction that means belonging to God, or beloved of God, belonging to God, Lemuel. There is no King that we know of named Lemuel.
We don't find it in secular history. We don't find it in the Bible. So many Bible teachers, scholars, believe Lemuel is a pseudonym for Solomon, another term for Solomon. Because the name God gave to Solomon at birth, even though he was called Shlomo, Solomon, the name God gave him through the prophet, 2 Samuel chapter 12, is the name Jedediah, which means beloved of the Lord, beloved of the Lord.
So, I'm just guessing Bathsheba, his mother, gave him the pet name, Lemuel, belonging to God. And I think it's just another name for Solomon. My opinion, I don't know. Go down to verse 10. Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her so he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." Verse 28, "Her children rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also, and praises her. Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all."
You out do them, you surpass them. He's saying, there's a lot of women out there, but you're the best one for me, and I would marry you all over again. That's my rough rendition of that. Verse 30, "Charm is deceitful, beauty is passing. But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the fruit of her hands, and let her own words praise her in the gates."
As we close, a warning. Solomon was the wisest man alive. God gave him wisdom more than any other ruler. The sad thing about Solomon is that he departed from it. He started well. He ended poorly. Like Saul, started well, ended poorly. He didn't take the advice he gave in this book.
He ended up with multiple wives, multiple concubines, over 1,000 different women. And his heart went astray. So the life of Solomon is a warning not to just be hearers of the word but doers only. Well, we're almost a minute over, so let's pray.
Father, thank you for our time together. May we be wise with our knowledge. May we be wise with our finances. Help us to be wise with our status. And with whatever days we have, whether long or short, to use them wisely. As Paul said, to walk circumspectly, or wisely, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Lord, in this book, Proverbs in chapter 8, wisdom cries out like a person in the gates of the city, in the streets of the city, saying to anyone who would listen, come to me, and listen to me, and your life will be different. Lord, I pray that you would make us wise in finances, in relationship, in our relationship with you. May we live it in such a way in the public arena that we attract people rather than repel them, in Jesus' name, amen.
We hope you enjoyed this message from Skip of Calvary Church. For more resources, visit CalvaryNM.church. Thank you for joining us for this teaching from the Bible from 30,000 feet.