Adventure in Wisdom – Proverbs would be easier to teach if its wisdoms were collected into chapter topics, but it’s not how God designed Proverbs. Life doesn’t come at us in topics. Life hits us scattered. In a one-day period, you may need wisdom on finances, marriage, children, work, integrity, truth telling, etc. This is how Proverbs is laid out for us. The things you read today are actually things you may face today.
ADVENTURE IN WISDOM
By Pastor Delbert Young
Adventure In Wisdom
Scriptures: Proverbs 26:22, 15:15, 27:14, 26:11, 11:17, 20:4, 31:10-11, 3:13-18, 9:13-16, 17:6, 31:28-29, 15:20, 22:29, 22:15, 13:2
Have you heard about the series of books called “(something) For Dummies”? I’m certain you have. The series is a multitude of books intended to make complicated things simple. It attempts to remove the intimidation of doing anything, and according to Wikipedia, they published over 1,600 dummy titles. The number of subjects is breathtaking. There’s “Parenting for Dummies,” “Personal Finances for Dummies,” “Investing for Dummies,” “Computers for Dummies,” “Catholicism for Dummies,” “Spanish for Dummies,” “Home Buying for Dummies,” “Bipolar Disorder for Dummies,” “Golf for Dummies,” “Boating for Dummies,” “Auto Repair for Dummies,” “The Internet for Dummies,” “Fishing for Dummies,” “The Bible for Dummies,” “Grilling for Dummies,” and on and on. There’s even a “Sex for Dummies 3rd edition.” (I didn’t think anyone was this dumb.) The typical customer comment and reason and great success for the “Dummy” books is no matter what the issue, it’s spelled out in simple terms making the complex understandable so even regular people like you and I can get it.
I say all this because the Book of Proverbs takes the ageless Wisdom of God and, no matter what the subject matter, spells it out in plain language so the complex is understandable and even regular people like you and I can get it. You don’t need a theological degree. You don’t need to investigate the Greek and Hebrew. It’s life’s truths put on an eye level reachable shelf. How many people could have been saved from doing some of the dumbest things and instead made genius decisions if only they had reached into the Book of Proverbs?
Some dominate themes are scattered throughout Proverbs. It would be easier to teach if they were collected into chapter topics, but it’s not how God designed it. Life doesn’t come with specific “chapter issues” either. Life emanates scattered. In a one-day period, you may need wisdom on your finances, marriage, children, work, integrity, truth telling, etc. This is more how Proverbs is put together. Proverbs is more what you read today is actually about things you may face today.
The Book of Proverbs is one of the most colorful condensed explanatory books in the Bible. Let me show you what I mean.
(NLT) Proverbs 26:22 What dainty morsels rumors are – but they sink deep into one’s heart.
We hear a rumor or gossip. It may be true or false about someone. We gobble the dainty small morsel about a person like a piece of candy not realizing it’s going down deep into our own heart and from this moment on the individual is defiled in our hearts. We allow one thing, true or false, to damage the person’s reputation and cause us to lose respect for the person. Proverbs expressed this specific truth in twelve colorful words. It took me seventy-one words to attempt to say the same thing. Wisdom condenses it down colorfully for us.
(NIV) Proverbs 15:15 All the days of the oppressed are wretched, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
It’s a proverb about our attitudes toward life. If we go through life allowing stuff to oppress us getting us down, then all our days are wretched and bondage. If we have a proper happy attitude with joy, then every day is a party. You determine how every day of your life comes out with your attitude. Proverbs colors life as being wretched or a party according to your wisdom concerning your approach.
Proverbs 27:14 If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.
If you want your neighbor to cuss you, crank up your lawnmower to cut your grass when he’s trying to sleep. This helps me understand why I like to be left alone in the mornings. You laugh at me, but some of you won’t even talk when you first wake.
Proverbs uses graphic illustrations to get across its wisdom.
Proverbs 26:11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.
Have you ever seen this? Gross! However, some people never learn. Something makes them sick, but what do they do? They go back and eat it again and again. Wisdom uses graphic graphics.
Proverbs is deep.
Proverbs 11:17 Your own soul is nourished when you are kind, but you destroy yourself when you are cruel.
You destroy whom? We think when we do an act of kindness we are helping others, and we are, but Proverbs takes a deeper cut at this. Something happens deep inside us when we do an act of kindness. When we do something mean then something sours, something decays, and something dies inside us. The wisdom of Proverbs goes deep.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Proverbs is its practicality.
Proverbs 20:4 If you are too lazy to plow in the right season, you will have no food at the harvest.
If you are too lazy to go to work when work is available, don’t be surprised if you can’t pay your bills or enjoy seasons like Christmas and vacations. Wisdom is practical.
Proverbs 31:10-11 Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies.
How important is spousal selection husband of wife? How precious is a good spouse? Sadly, they are not very available, so when you have one, it’s precious.
Wisdom is colorful. Wisdom is graphic. Wisdom is deep. Wisdom is practical, and the topics in Proverbs are innumerable. No other book of the Bible is like Proverbs. Therefore, if you want to be a wise person, this is the book for you.
I want to spend the remainder of our time today talking about the dominate theme of Proverbs: Pursuing Wisdom. Wisdom must be pursued and developed. We are not born wise. You do not become wiser because you become older. We become wise because we pursued wisdom. If you engineer and navigate your life around becoming a wise person, the payoff will exceed anything you can imagine.
Proverbs 3:13-18 Blessed is the man who FINDS WISDOM, the man who GAINS UNDERSTANDING, for SHE is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. SHE is more precious than rubies; NOTHING you desire can compare with HER. Long life is in HER right hand; in HER left hand are riches and honor. HER ways are pleasant ways, and all HER paths are peace. SHE is a tree of life to those who EMBRACE HER; those who LAY HOLD of HER will be blessed.
Solomon initially wrote Proverbs to give instructions to his son (1:8). He wrote it in the context of his son pursuing a woman called “Wisdom,” thus “Blessed is the man who FINDS wisdom” and “Nothing you desire can compare with her.” He also warns his son concerning whoring woman, “the woman Folly.”
Proverbs 9:13-16 THE WOMAN FOLLY is loud; she is undisciplined and without knowledge. She sits at the door of her house… “Let all who are simple come in here!” she says to those who lack judgment.
There is the layout of Proverbs. Pursue, find, embrace, lay hold of – have an ADVENTURE with Lady Wisdom, or be seduced, ruined, and made a fool by the whore Folly. (More about this later.)
Is obtaining wisdom better than obtaining a fortune? It says wisdom will bring long life, and honor. Wisdom makes your life pleasant and takes you down the paths of peace. So, according to wisdom/Proverbs, when life is continually not good, when there is no peace, when there is no money, we can comfortably say someone, at some point, has pursued folly, not wisdom.
Scroll through some people you know and see if this is true. You know many people and so do I. Do you know any wise fathers? I mean wise fathers who conduct their own lives wisely, operate their homes wisely, and raise their children wisely. Do you know dads who distinguish when to be gentle and when to be firm, when to encourage and when to admonish when to teach and when to be taught? Do you know any wise dads? Put a value on this. How much is a dad like this worth? What would you give to have a father, or husband, like this?
I know many men, dads, whose lives are not working very well. It’s not as if they are not smart enough, but their lives are not working well because they had a foolish father. It’s made everything in their lives more difficult. Spin it around. I know many dads doing really well. They have peace, great families, great children, a little money. What’s the common denominator? They grew up under a wise father. What’s this worth? Gold? Silver? A fortune?
Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the GLORY OF CHILDREN ARE THEIR FATHERS.
If you have or had a wise dad, you had something more precious than gold, silver, or rubies. You are set to do well in life. Children can fail or succeed because of their parenting.
Proverbs 31:28-29 Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!”
Many women are capable and even virtuous, but the wise mom surpasses them all. So I ask, what’s the value of wise parents? It’s better than gold, silver, or rubies.
Let’s turn it around and ask parents how valuable is it to have wise children. Talk to me parents. What is better than having wise children, meaning children who made and make wise decisions during their lives – didn’t do drugs, didn’t succumb to peer pressure, studied in school, selected the right friends, etc.? Talk to me. You know there’s nothing better.
Proverbs 15:20 A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother.
Wise children make their parents happy, but there’s not much sadder than a foolish child who brings nothing but grief and sorrow. Judy and I have two amazingly wise children, and they both make Judy and me incredibly joyful. I communicate with Lance frequently through long e-mails. I told him about doing this series knowing he’s read a chapter of Proverbs a day for years. He figured it up and found he had read the entire Book of Proverbs through approximately 240 times. Sometimes when I get around my children, I am caught up in what great children they are. I’m not saying they are/were perfect. However, what are wise children worth? Is it better than gold?
Do you know anyone who works wisely? They are diligent to go to work, consistent, and conscientious in the marketplace.
Proverbs 22:29 Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men.
A person who is wise at work is esteemed highly by their superiors and is rewarded. He or she will rise in promotion and go to the top in their occupation. I know people, and you do too, who may not have “Oxford” degrees, incredible talent, or charismatic personalities, but rose to the top in their professions. They arrived there for one reason. They handled themselves wisely. “Folly People” who lay out of work, do a sloppy job, talk negatively about their superiors or workplace, etc. fell by the wayside, and perhaps changed jobs 50 times serve in obscurity. Folly seduced them. Think about this: what would happen tomorrow to the world economy if every person went to work and simply worked wisely? It would change everything. Most of the world’s problems would be settled. How good is it to have wisdom? Is it better than gold?
Wisdom is telling us how no matter what the subject: parenting, children, the workplace, attitudes, how we care for our physical bodies, how we train our mind/soul, how we treat our spirit, name it, to do it correctly, wisdom is necessary.
Now, let’s flip it. There are consequences if you neglect wisdom. As I said, Proverbs calls the lack of wisdom “folly,” or “foolishness,” or being a “fool” and it stings. I’ve thought, I wish Proverbs didn’t use the word fool. Why? I’ve been down the path of the fool many times myself. I don’t like to think of myself as a fool, but I’ve been one. Let’s look at folly and being a fool.
Proverbs 22:15 FOLLY IS BOUND UP IN THE HEART OF A CHILD, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Ingest this and allow the far-reaching implications sting you. We are not born with a clean slate and pointed to go down the path of the wise. This verse says we are all born with a severe case of the follies. We will all go this way unless folly is driven out day by day, month by month, year by year and replaced with wisdom. What drives it out? Discipline drives folly out, which we will talk about next time.
Think about a baby. All a baby knows how to do is act on its impulses. If the baby experiences an impulse, it attempts to gratify it immediately and often foolishly. The baby sits in the sandbox feeling the impulse of hunger. What does it do? It grabs a handful of sand for lunch. If sitting on the grass, it’s grass for lunch. Babies will play in a commode. Life is all impulse and foolishness. A toddler has an impulse. The toddler want a toy another child has. What happens? It wrestles for the toy taking from another what is not theirs. My point is we’ve got to replace impulse with wisdom. If we don’t, life becomes a zoo.
There are horrible consequences to folly. Addictions are responses to impulses of folly making a fool of the person. Robbery and shoplifting are impulses. People make commitments, then on impulse wreck their own marriages and the marriages of others. People become angry and say hurtful words from impulse injuring and destroying others. Over-spending is folly. We see something we want and impulsively get it with money we don’t have. If folly, any folly, is not driven far from us, we experience the lives of fools. Life becomes a zoo.
I talk to people every day in a fool’s crisis because in impulse they took the path of folly and became a fool. In their self-pity, they tend to spew out how bad life is to them. They feel God singled them out. Of course, it’s never their fault. The truth is they are merely being stung. They never used the rod of discipline to drive folly far from them.
God is saying take my hand today, right now, and I will lead you down the path of wisdom. You don’t have to be a fool.
Ask, “Where am I folly prone?” Read the Book of Proverbs. Find the proverbs that apply and take it as God giving you wisdom. Write it down. Place the proverb where you will see it frequently and begin implementing it. If you will, your life will change.
Another thing you must do to avoid folly is not hang out with wise people. It’s been said, “You can’t run with dogs and not get flees.”
Proverbs 13:20 Whoever walks with the wise WILL BECOME wise; whoever walks with fools will suffer harm.
People think they are solid enough to get around foolish people and not allow folly to hurt them. Walk with a fool of folly, and you will suffer harm. If you want to become wise, walk with wise people. IT’S BETTER THAN GOLD.
I want to challenge you to read at least one chapter from Proverbs every day for the next month. Let’s do this as a church. Let’s be a church of wise people.
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