Proverbs 10:5 He who gathers in summer is a son who acts wisely, but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who acts shamefully.
At first glance this looks like a common proverb concerning agrarian matters – or something along the lines of an admonition about hard work. Let’s begin our look at this proverb in this way.
Anyone in agriculture will agree that there are only certain times when a person can plant, grow, cultivate, and harvest crops. The wise farmer takes this into account when planning when to work and when to take his leisure. Summer is the time for a farmer – or in this case his son – to work hard at producing a crop. The words used here are interesting though. One does not gather in the summer. One usually is working hard in the field on things like weed control or maybe some type of irrigation if the growing year is particularly dry. Yet God is saying to us that a person who is gathering in the summer is acting wisely. Here is the lesson for us. Summer is a time when the sun is hot – and it is easy to slack off in our work. But it is a very important time for the farmer. It is when the crop is being watched. It is when the farmer is showing great care on matters such as weed and pest control – and drought. Working at this time is exhausting and hard. But – it is also a time where if you do what you are supposed to do – you will guarantee a harvest.
The word “wisely” here is the Hebrew word “sakal” which means to act with prudence, insight, and understanding. For the wise son – he sees hard work – even hot, difficult work. But what he also sees is work that WILL be rewarded if he sticks with it. He may have to remind himself that the hard work now pays off later in the harvest.
The second part of the proverb speaks of the shame coming to the son who sleeps during harvest time. The word sleep here indicates a deep sleep – even a sleep with snoring. The harvest is crucial to a farmer. He MUST work hard and gather the harvest because if he does not, there is great risk of having it rot on the vine or stalk. There is a risk of losing it all if he does not work hard to gather it. A son who leaves all the work to his father is a truly shameful son. What we learn from the proverb on the surface level is that there are only certain times when work can be done – and it is a wise person who works hard during those times. The one who decides to be lazy, undisciplined, and slothful in those times is a fool. There is great value in hard work – and that value is only increased when the one working realizes the times when applying yourself to the work is even more important.
It would be a disservice to not mention the spiritual parallels that this proverb has with the New Testament call for us to be involved in a spiritual harvest. In Luke 10 and John 4, Jesus reminds His disciples that the fields are white unto harvest spiritually – and that we are to cry out to God that He would send out laborers into His harvest fields. You see, now is the summertime and harvest for men and women to be cultivated for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now is the acceptable time to go forth weeping, sowing our precious seed – knowing that we will surely come again rejoicing with our sheaves (i.e. those whom we’ve seen God draw and save as a result of our obedience). To be asleep spiritually in this – or any generation is a shameful thing. We should be working with our Lord – sowing the gospel among those who are lost. We should be speaking to them and praying for them that the wicked one would not blind their eyes to the glory of God in the face of Christ. We should be laboring in the Lord’s vineyard knowing that a harvest is coming if we do not faint. Oh to be the wise, prudent sons who see the end from the beginning and labor to rescue those shoes sins will destroy them. Oh to be about the work of sharing Jesus with the lost so that a glorious harvest of righteousness, peace, and men and women who are born again may be gathered on that wonderful day when He comes for His own at the end of the age! Let us therefore work while it is still the day – for the time is coming when no man can work.
Proverbs 5:2 That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge.
One of the ways that we know that we are being discreet in life is by what comes out of our mouths when we speak. What is fascinating about this passage is that the overall gist of the fifth chapter of Proverbs is that it deals primarily with the issue of immorality and those who fall into the trap the adulteress.
One of the reasons why we need to gain wisdom and understanding is so that we may watch out to be discreet. The word "observe" in this passage means to guard and be careful. Zhodiates states that this word basically means to be on your guard. What you are guarding is "discretion." Yet the word is different than the discretion that is mentioned most often in the book of Proverbs. It means a thought - or the thoughts in our minds that are used to make up our plans. There is one major point though that needs to be distinguished about this word. It most often means evil plans and schemes that are contrary to God's ways. What Solomon is warning his son to watch out for in life is evil plans and schemes that begin to formulate in his mind.
When it comes to maintaining purity in our lives, what happens in our heads is vitally important. We need to watch over our minds and what is running through them. Actions begin as thoughts - which in time turn into plans and schemes. The reason we watch and guard our minds is to make sure that when lust and immoral thoughts try to push in - we deal with them. It is not just enough to push these thoughts out - we need to bring them to the cross. The Word tells us to mortify these things - and that means to kill them! Nothing short of this will do.
The second half of this proverb says that when we watch over the development of evil plans and schemes in our heads - it will help us to watch over our mouths. Our mouths will speak "a knowing" when we guard our minds. This knowing is once again primarily a discernment - but one that is specific to the situation. Remember that here this refers to sexual immorality and the wiles of the adulteress. We are warned in the very next verse that the adulteress captures men with her words and her flattery. These things often cause men to be deceived in their hearts and minds. The flattery of a woman giving them attention strokes their pride and their ego - something very dangerous to a man who doesn't watch what enters and walks through his mind. In time his pride and ego can lie to him and fill his mind with thoughts of further flattery. He begins wanting to spend more time with this woman - at lunch and eventually at secret meetings he keeps from his wife. We all know where this is going - toward an eventual adulterous relationship with this woman. Yet the real danger started with the thoughts that ran through his mind - and the words he began to speak to this woman because he didn't watch and guard against the adulterous thoughts that were fostered in his head. He may not wake up until the damage is irreparable.
It is vital to our spiritual progress and protection to keep a close eye on what is going through our minds. This is the stuff that can cause us serious problems. What begins in just a seed form in our minds will eventually sprout and bear disastrous fruit. Better to deal with seeds by being wise - than have to cut down entire forests because of a lack of watchfulness.
Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks wisely will be delivered.
One of the phrases I hear all the time is that I need to trust my heart in order to make a right decision. I know that this is popular - and that it makes for a good wall plaque (you know, Laugh, Love, Trust Your Heart), but it is unwise counsel for us to follow from a Biblical worldview. This is because one of the pillars of a Biblical worldview is the fall of man and the subsequent damage that has done to our ability to reason wisely. Our hearts are not trustworthy - and any decision based on what is in them is going to be an unwise one most likely.
Before we move on I want to review the state of the human heart for us. Since we live in a worldview that says that we are basically good, it is wise for us to do such a review. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us, "The heart is deceitful above all else, and is desperately wicked, who can understand it? After the fall of man in the garden the world was plunged into sin. By Genesis 6:5 we read the following summation of the human race. "Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." David helps us understand our hearts when he writes in Psalm 51:5, "Behold I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me." Our condition - and the state of our hearts - is that of being sinful and rebellious toward God. Just one last Scripture to bring this truth home. Romans 3:10-12 has a very damning indictment toward the human race. We read the following there. ". . . as it is written, There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understand, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one." It doesn't get any worse than this for us - and this is simply a biblical conclusion to what Paul had been teaching for three chapters in Romans. So, to trust our hearts - without conversion - without the Holy Spirit to guide and teach us - without Scripture - is very foolish.
The one who does this is called a fool. He is a fool because he walks and thinks with utter self-dependence. He lives apart from input, counsel or wisdom from others - and most importantly independent from God and His Word. As always, the fool here only wants to air what is in his own heart and in his own mind, thinking, and reasoning. He will consistently make decisions that are silly, stupid, and foolish. These kinds of decisions will actually cause great harm if they are followed fully.
Solomon warns us that it is the one who walks wisely that will be delivered from the harm that comes from foolish thinking. If you are wondering what we would need to be delivered from - here are a few examples.
- Samson trusted in his own heart - and rejected God's counsel on moral purity and sexual sin. In time his foolishness is truly astounding. Each night after a sexual romp with Delilah, she would probe him for information on where his strength was - and each night he would lie to her. He would not get that whatever he told her would happen to him - and he would be awakened by her to find men ready to harm him. Did that deter Samson and bring him to repentance? No - he continued to trust his heart and his romantic (more like lust-starved) feelings. In the end - he was NOT delivered - and it cost him his eyes and a radically different hairdo - which, by the way, cost him his strength.
- Saul trusted in his own heart - and therefore let his jealousy run rampant. He distrusted David, thinking that he wanted to overthrow him and take his kingdom. That jealousy so warped his mind that he killed 70 priests and put to death an entire village because he believed a lie. In the end, he was not delivered. He trusted his own heart - which eventually led him to inquire of a witch what to do in battle. That was the last straw for God - who allowed Saul to die in battle the next day.
- David trusted in his own heart - which was led astray by his loins when he saw Bathsheba naked as she bathed on a rooftop. His own heart decided to hatch several lame plans to cover his tracks when his adultery led to her pregnancy. The ultimate foolishness was having ordered Joab to act foolishly in battle so that Bathsheba's husband, Uriah, would be killed in battle. David was not delivered from the destruction his adultery would bring to his family. Two sons were killed, a daughter and 10 concubines were raped, and two costly rebellions killed thousands as a result.
- Peter trusted his own heart - that he truly did love Jesus more than all the other disciples. That kind of foolish arrogance led him to follow Jesus - but only at a distance. Jesus warned him that denials - three to be exact - would come from him before others. But Peter knew better than the Christ - he trusted his own heart and strength to stand. He was not delivered as he heard a cock crow after his third denial. He was restored later by God's grace - but he never forgot what trusting his own heart cost him.
Hopefully these four examples will help seal the deal for us in believing this Proverb. I know that I have far more than four examples of what trusting in my own heart has cost me. It is a foolish thing to do and one that always ends with a disaster. Walking wisely means walking in dependence on The Lord. Walking wisely means first coming to salvation by God's grace. Then it means walking in continued daily fellowship with God as we read His Word and desire the work of His Spirit within us. May God bless you and help you to walk wisely - and never do something so foolish as trust your own heart.
Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it. Proverbs 25:16
Overindulgence is something to be avoided in life. Here we have an admonition to be careful when we find honey. This most likely refers to wild honey that is found in the forest areas around Israel. It would be much like the honey that Jonathan found after the battle with the Philistines in the forest. The counsel is to eat only what you need of this honey. The problem comes when our desire for something sweet and tasty goes beyond our stomach's ability to handle it. Then we will have a reaction from being too full - and we will vomit due to having an excess. But this proverb goes beyond a dietary warning and restriction. It refers to the problem we all have with excess in any area of life.
Having good things is profitable to us. It is when we allow these good things to go beyond where they should that good things become a problem - and possibly even an addiction. Moderation is wise in just about every area of life. To moderate ourselves makes us take time to consider what we really need. Yet, because of the fall of man into sin, we are no longer wired for moderation. We are wired for the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of life. That kind of wiring can get us in serious trouble. When we overindulge our desires - we can build that desire into something that we no longer control. Our desires control us. We see this in every kind of addiction. The addict can no longer control their desires. Their desires control them - and dominates them to the point of being able to command them what they WILL do. This leads to an "out of control" lifestyle - which becomes horribly destructive to the one caught in it.
The wisdom of God is to live life in moderation - especially when it comes to anything that flies in the "lust" zones of our lives. What is good can become what is overdone. When it reaches these levels it then can become that which makes us sick - sick in body, but also sick in our minds and our spirits as well. Knowing this the wise man approaches all things with a desire that they remain under the control of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of Scripture. This is how he avoids trouble that comes from fallen desires gone wild.
The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the innermost parts of his being. Proverbs 20:27
Here is a proverb that wisely reveals to us the workings of the Spirit of God within a man. One might ask how this imparts wisdom to us. We must remember though the definition of wisdom. That definition is seeing things as God sees them - and thus making decisions that are in concert with His will and purposes. With wisdom defined in this way we can easily see why a verse showing us the workings of the Holy Spirit in man is very valuable to grasping wisdom in our lives. Such information allows us to better understand how God imparts and gives us His wisdom.
The first thing we learn is that the "spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord." A lamp is something we use to give us light. What is being said to us is that the lamp of God is the spirit of man. When God wants to reveal Himself and make Himself and His wisdom known to man, He does so in and through our spirit. By the working of the Holy Spirit - Who speaks in our spirit - we are made aware of the mind and heart of God. Watchman Nee in his amazing volume on the working of the Holy Spirit, The Spiritual Man, spoke of how the Holy Spirit worked in us through our intuition, our conscience, and through something I'll call "our knower." Let's take a look at these three features of our spirit in concert with God's Spirit.
God reveals Himself to us primarily through His Word. As we read and know His revelation of Himself in the Word, the Holy Spirit will speak to our conscience. This might also be referred to as conviction. We are convicted of truth and our conscience speaks to us. This is not some kind of "devil on one shoulder - angel on the other" kind of experience. Instead is it a settled understanding of some things. First is might be that soemthing it true - true about God - true about who we are in Christ - true morally - true in any number of ways. Our conscience speaks to us and we know that it is true (because we see it in God's Word). We also might see that something is sinful. God's Word points out an action, an attitude, a word spoken - and our conscience bothers us as we come to the settled conviction that either we have sinned, or that something is sin. Another way this works is when we are convicted about something as the will of God. Our conscience prods us to act - to speak - to turn away from some temptation or toward an act of obedience - serving in some way - witnessing - and any number of other aspects of walking in obedience with God.
The second tool used by the Holy Spirit is our intuition. This really also fits the idea of our "knower." This is when the Spirit of God works in our spirit to help us just 'know' that soemthig is true. This would speak to the working of God to simply through an intuitive knowledge - to bear witness with the truth. One thing about this 'intuitive' aspect of God's working must be said. That is that God's Spirit will NEVER contradict God's Word in what He grants us as intuitive knowledge. Probably the best way I can describe this working is that we have a sense that someting is wrong - or something is warning us that we are about to sin. There is also a way where we just know that something is God's will and that we should act. Again - this is one of the more subjective ways the Spirit of God works - so this must be tested with God's Word - and a working knowledge of it.
We need to note how God's lamp works in this proverb. We read that it, "searches all the innermost parts of our being." God's lamp - our spirit as the Holy Spirit reveals truth to us - searches us out. Even to the very innermost parts of our being this lamp lights things up within us. The reason this is needed is at least in part because sin has made it difficult to know our own hearts. Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that the heart is deceitful above all else and is dsperately wicked. We are told immediately afterward, "I the Lord search the heart." Thus this working by God's lamp is vital to us knowing the truth.
It is wise to regularly - even daily or hourly - submit to the teaching, leading, and searching of the Holy Spirit of God. This work that God does is so very important if we want to know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to teach us - we know the truth. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to lead us - we will walk in the will and ways of God consistently. When we surrender to Him and allow Him to search us - we will be delivered from sin and from deceiving ourselves by following our hearts instead of being led by the Spirit and the Word. Wisdom - yes this proverb gives us great wisdom indeed.
The first to plead his case seems right, Until another comes and examines him. Proverbs 18:17
Today we will see a proverb that gives us wisdom when it comes to hearing the case of someone who is seeking to convince us of something. It is also a day when we will see where our forefathers learned about the wisdom of cross-examination in a court of law. We hear people say that we are a godly nation founded upon biblical principles. I can imagine that the average person would have to think at some point where they could see these biblical principles in black and white. Here in Proverbs 18:17 we see such an example.
This proverb probably was spoken to those who had to deal with legal issues - matters of justice in a community. They were warned that when a court case ensues, there is a normal tendency in all of us to believe the things we are told by someone. This is especially the case when we have someone who is "pleading" their case with us. This is someone who is passionate about what they are saying. It is also someone, at times, who is facing a very real loss of money or even freedom if they lose. In some severe cases it can even be that the one pleading his case may forfeit his life. Therefore we are dealing with someone who will make a very impassioned plea.
If the truth were known (and I guess now it is), I tend to be someone who believes what is said to me. Early in my life as an adult, I was somewhat of an easy target for those who wanted to deceive me or take advantage of me. Growing up with my father I saw a man whose word was his bond. As I got older, I was shocked to learn this was not always the case with people. Therefore needed the wisdom shared here in Proverbs 18:17. I needed to examine the person before me - and not always just accept what they say as the truth.
The fact is that we live in a fallen world - which means that not everyone is honest, forthright, and has integrity. Believe it or not - and I did not at first - some people will lie to your face to steal from you. They intend to deceive you, take your money, take your stuff, and can have a straight face as they weave their lies they tell you in the process.
This is why we need to cross-examine what folks say to us. Please do not take this as a call to be jaded and think everyone is on the take. There are many who I do not even have to question. Their integrity is not suspect. But with someone I do not know - or - someone who has serious character deficits - I need to be wise and ask questions.
I am a pastor - and as such have people who come to ask me for money to help in various situations. Early in ministry I'd get taken about 98% of the time. This was because I'd believe every word they'd say as they "plead" their case with me. Now, I've learned to ask questions. I've also learned to ask for phone numbers and people who can verify their story. This had led to a huge drop in the number of times I've been taken.
God wants us to love people - and be people who tend to believe others. But . . . He also wants us to be wise as serpents as well as innocent as doves. That requires some basic cross-examination of others. We do it in court because we need to have evidence of the truth - not just statements. By doing this the facts in a case become much clearer over time. Does this always insure a perfect outcome? No, but it does at least help us to be wise and understanding about the nature of people - and about how we need to respond to their requests and problems.
He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Proverbs 17:27
Talking when we should not say anything is something that can keep us from a world of trouble. Most of us, myself included, have a difficult time restraining our words. This is especially the case when we are being provoked or treated unjustly. Those are the times when we are tempted to speak - and to speak out of emotion and anything other than a
"cool spirit" as mentioned here. Wisdom tells us that it is better to use few words than many. Wisdom tells us to use no words at all when we are angry and bitter. Wisdom reminds us that such words are usually spoken out of our flesh rather than having the Holy Spirit empowered self-control that is needed.
We are told that a man of insight and discernment - a man who knows as he should and who understands things well - that man will hold back words. He will restrain himself from speaking and from saying what comes to his mind. He may want to say something, but wisdom tells him to keep his thoughts to Himself. The reason for this is found in the second half of today's proverb. He maintains a cool spirit. The word for "cool" here is the Hebrew word "qar" which means to be cool or even-tempered. The word refers to a cold refreshing drink of water - which was though to soothe the soul of the one who drank it. In the arid, hot middle east - such a drink would truly refresh the soul and cool the heat of the moment. The wise man maintains a cool spirit and does not allow provocation and rage to send him over the edge emotionally.
Such a man is one who has understanding. He understands that such outbursts do nothing to calm a situation. He understands that one act of anger and agression usually leads to another. Circumsntances like this can cause a man or woman to lose their temper and result in far worse damage and grief than just remaining quiet. Jesus was abused before the Roman rulers, the Jewish rulers, and the entire Sanhedrin - yet He held His tongue through it all. It is one of the most amazing displays of self-control ever known to mankind. The result of His self-control was the salvation of mankind. He said in the garden that God would make 12 legions of angels available to Him. But He never reacted - and maintained a cool spirit. He fulfilled God's purposes in the crucifixion, even though such purposes demanded several ridiculously illegal trials. He also fulfilled a prophecy that said he would be like a sheep silent before its shearers (Isaiah 53:7).
Many in our day think a powerful man is one who demands his rights and does not take anything from anyone. It takes no real strength to be a fool after this order. This fits perfectly with the fall of man and the conduct that such men carry out daily. The powerful man is the one who can exercise great self-control in the face of problems and even terrible miscarriages of justice. Such self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit who works powerfully to grant a man such strength to keep his mouth shut. Such a man also shows by his silence the wisdom of his actions and heart - rather than the other man who speaks rashly and proves to all around him that he is nothing more than a fool.
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. - Proverbs 15:28
Look before you leap. There is a proverb outside Scripture that reminds us to seriously think about the steps we take, because once we take them we cannot get them back. Our proverb today is similar to this except it deals with what we say. One might say that this proverb could be said this way, "Think before you speak!"
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer. We should note right from the start that the "heart" of the righteous is what is pondering his answer. The godly man does not allow his mouth to run its own course without the management of the heart. He wants to speak from the heart - not shoot from the hip. The problem about shooting from the hip when we speak is the carnage that results from drive-by speaking. This wise man thinks and considers what he is about to say. He takes the time to meditate on God's Word before he speaks his own. He discerns what is needed for the situation and speaks according to what God wants. This godly man speaks as God directs in Ephesians 4:29, "Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth, but such as is good for edifying as the need may be, that it may give grace to them that hear." Ultimately this man speaks those wonderful, edifying words that are like "apples of gold in settings of silver" which are words spoken at just the perfect time.
The wicked allows his mouth to have free reign in his life. This is a dangerous thing because left to itself a mouth can be dangerous. We read in the third chapter of James, "So the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See, how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fireon fire! And the tongue is a fire: the very world of iniquity, the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, ans set on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell." These verses warn us in the starkest terms of the danger of allowing our mouths and tongues to gho unchecked in what they say. When we do this it is inevitable that our mouth will "pour out evil things." The heart of the wicked man will be fully expressed by his words. The result of this will be much evil and pain in the world. Consider how many horrible things started with evil words pouring out of a wicked man's mouth. Think for a moment how Adolph Hitler mesmerized entire crowds in Germany by his wicked words. Then consider what the end of his leadership brought to the world. We may not ever do the damage of Hitler, but much harm can come from unwise, un-considered words.
Precious ones, God wants us to think before we speak. It will bring blessing to us - and will benefit those who are the recipients of our words. May we submit what we say to our Lord every morning. May we ask the Holy Spirit to bridle our tongues so that they do not speak of themselves. May we surrender all we say for God's purposes and God's specific leadership so that they can truly edify those who hear them.
Where there is no guidance the people fall, But in abundance of counselors there is victory. Proverbs 11:14
How do you make good decisions in life? Even better said, "How do you make decisions that will not end in you falling on your face? That is what is addressed in the proverb for today. There is a way to be confident that your decisions will not come back to haunt you later. Let's take a look at what God's wisdom has to teach us today about this.
This proverb is all about being willing to seek and take advice. This does not mean that we cannot know what to do ourselves and do it, but it does warn against the person who thinks in all matters that what is in his own mind will suffice. This man does not seek counsel at all. When we read the passage it speaks of having "NO" guidance. The problem here is that we have a decision maker with an excessive amount of pride in his own thinking. The willingness to seek and accept advice is a plus - because godly counsel is a must if we are going to walk in God's ways. We even need to be able to hear and consider advice that we don't want. Some think that anyone they consider inferior to themselves is unable to offer counsel. That is a sure way to fall. It is when we have an abundance of godly counsellors in our life that we will have victory. The word for victory is "tesuah" and it means to have deliverance, safety, or victory. It speaks of a military context, of course, but goes beyond that one to also speak of deliverance from sin and from making foolish decisions that harm us later.
When thinking about this verse two examples come to mind. The first is that of Balaam. He sought after and received God's counsel (even though he did it by divination). But after receiving God's counsel - he decided after seeing the possibility of a huge payday from Balak, to ask God if He had any other ideas concerning cursing Israel. When God allowed Balaam to go (but only speak what God says) Balaam took it as far more freedom to do what he wanted (which was to make a lot of money from Balak). Since he would not take counsel from God - the Lord intended to kill him. Were it not for the counsel of his donkey - he would have been killed that next day. Balaam had what he wanted to do in his mind - and would not listen to God's counsel. Fortunately for him the advice the donkey he had just beaten got through to him for a while. Unfortunately for him - his donkey was not able to speak a second time to keep him from counselling Balak to send his women among the Israelites to get them to commit sexual immorality with the men - to get God to curse Israel. In the end, Balaam's desire for money and power cost him his life - and eternity in hell.
The second example is that of king Nebuhadnezzar from Babylon. His pride and arrogance was leading him down a very destructive path. He felt "he" was sovereign over his own life - and that all his power and authority had come from himself. First God sought to counsel him by giving him a strange dream - then Daniel interpretted it. Daniel let Nebuchadnezzar know that if he did not repent of his pride and arrogance, admitting that God alone was sovereign, he was about to experience life as a beast. Nebby listened, but did not take the advice. He fell from being king to being an ordinary beast of the field for 7 years. He ended that time by lifting his eyes and finally taking counsel to admit that God alone was sovereign. It took a while, but he learned that in the abundance of counsellors (God and Daniel) there is victory.
Where are you? Are you one who thinks that your own understanding is sufficient? Do you shun the offer of advice and counsel of godly men and women? If you are, I would encourage you to seriously consider today's proverb. It warns of a fall that is coming your way. It also gives you advice about having an abundance of godly counsellors to help you know wisdom - know victory - and know the favor and blessing of God. A wise man would take this counsel. A foolish man would seek no other guidance than that which his own mind produces - oh - and he will fall flat on his face eventually.
On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding. Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. Proverbs 10:13-14
A godly mouth can be a great blessing to anyone who has one granted to him by the grace of God. Such a mouth, though given by God, must be disciplined to follow Him only - and not the foolishness of the natural man.
The wisdom of God is found on a certain kind of man. He is called a discerning man. The Hebrew word used here is "bin" and it speaks of someone who through the use of the Scriptures is able to determine the difference between what is of God and what is not. This discerning heart and mind instructs the lips of the wise man. We learn later in verse 14 that this man stores up knowledge. This knowledge is a practical knowing of God and of the world that is around him. Thus this wise man instructs his mouth with this knowledge. He learns to know much, but not always speak what he knows. He has learned that he can NOT say things and be a blessing. Thus he seeks to quell within himself words and statements that will unnecessaily disburb the peace in relationships. Many an argument and fight could be prevented if one or the other of the two combatants would have practiced this wisdom. They would keep their words to themselves - knowing that sharing their "knowledge" would be done more from pride than from love. We know from the New Testament that knowledge puffs up - but love edifies. We can share all our knowledge - and by doing so cause a disturbance as others react to our pride. The wise man stores up knowledge within - and only brings that knowledge out at the direction of the Holy Spirit - Who will direct him to use that knowledge to build up and encourage others.
We are also told of the fool - and his mouth. These two verses go together because they speak of the speech of one - and then the consequences of the other. The next verse reverses this order - trading the wise man for the fool in his speech - and the fool for the wise man in the reward or retribution that results. The consequences of the fool is a rod for his back. His words are the source of his punishment - for they evidence his foolishness and lack of regard for what is right. A proverb from the Talmud expresses this wonderfully when we read there, "that which a wise man gains by a hint, a fool only obtains by a club." The wise man learns - instructs his mouth and heart with that wisdom - and therefore avoids problems and public discipline. The fool chooses to let his mouth run - and with that overactive mouth - ruin comes to him.
Biblically we can remember the difference between Solomon and his son, Rehoboam. Solomon began his reign seeking God and requesting wisdom from Him. His son Rehoboam had an opportunity to win over the people - but chose the foolish counsel of his friends. That led him to speak harsh, unkind, oppressive words to the people. In the end he lost all but one tribe - which God granted to him because of His promise to David. But how the foolish mouth granted him much destruction and difficulty. The wise mouth, though, was blessed in many wonderful ways. So take the time to listen - and allow God's wisdom to sink deep enough into your heart so that it instructs your mouth on what to say. Doing this promotes blessing.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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