Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Proverbs Chapter Twelve (Ancient Wisdom for Everyday)

Proverbs 12:1-7  (NIV)

A lot of these can take me by surprise.  In my human arrogance I can tend to just pass over certain lines thinking "well that's obvious" but in speaking to a friend recently I was reminded of an old truth.

 We were sitting on Rib mountain together at a rock quarry, looking over the waters wondering what tomorrow might bring.  And we prayed together.  I was telling her about the Bible, saying that as a writer the Bible blows my mind.  It's incredibly expertly written.  Every line in the Bible consists of truth that someone could write a book on.  Zeroing in on one single verse and searching through it, you can find so much to live by.  

Today I was thinking, I better live that.  So let's take a look at one single chapter of the book of Proverbs, Chapter twelve, and the first seven verses of that chapter. 

12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
    but whoever hates correction is stupid.

Proverbs is all about wisdom, wise sayings.  Do you know anyone who loves being disciplined?  I can't say that I do.  But 12:1 says that if I respond positively to discipline, learn to receive it and learn from it, then at the same time I love knowledge.  Because when God disciplines me, he's making me into a better person.  

Good people obtain favor from the Lord,
    but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.

Good people, people who are in Christ, who do good works are favored by God.  Well duh right?  How often do I devise wicked schemes?  If I can just do this, buy this, or get that I'll then have this.  Nope, self seeking never helped anyone.  Those are wicked schemes.  I meet a lot of people like that, saying one thing but having other plans.  I've been that person.  We're all guilty of that.  But, if I seek to do good works in the sight of my heavenly Father, I will have the things I thought I would get by self seeking.

No one can be established through wickedness,
    but the righteous cannot be uprooted.

This is amazing truth.  None can be established through wickedness.  This can take us by surprise!  While studying online at Liberty University, at times I'm tempted.. maybe I could cheat on this test, just a little.  And it seems so harmless, right?  Well, just this once.  I know what Proverbs 12:3 says, but this is a unique situation.  Is it really so unique?  It's not that the one single act of cheating once will change much of anything.  But, but, but, it sets a terrible precedent.   It triggers a new line of behavior, and pretty soon I'm taking another test and that urge to cheat is just a bit stronger.  And just a bit harder to resist.  Eventually what God says comes true down the line, maybe I'm caught for cheating later on and I'm expelled from the entire education process.  Just because of one little slip, right?  God's word is always true.  Sometimes we just don't factor in the time element.  I tend to think in "now" terms.  But there is always later.

A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
    but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.

I've witnessed this one first hand.  A man I know is dating his former wife's best friend.  She is terrible.  And I can see the ache on his face, the quiet pain in his life, because it is a slow decay within him of remorse and pain, and the character of the friend insults his soul day and night.  Once again God's word is true.

The plans of the righteous are just,
    but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.

If I'm setting out some plans, a basic framework for my life then it ought to be a plan that is full of justice.  I've gotten some good advice from Christians, some bad advice from Christians, and some really bad advice from non-believing friends.  I have a friend who is a meth addict, and yes, I am still his friend because that's what Christians do, we befriend the lost.  But the stuff that comes out of his mouth.  It's very hard at times to simply stand the insane things he says.  So negative, so repulsive, such sexual thoughts, and demented philosophies of living.  That advice he gives is just plain deceitful.  "You gonna tap that"  "No I'm not."  "Meth isn't so bad, it's really a misunderstood drug."  "Meth is really that bad man, it really is."  Or another man I was working with recently "How many DUIs do you have?"  He replied, "five."  I prompted him, "Do you think, maybe, alcohol could be the problem?"  And he replied, "No, I don't have a problem with alcohol."  That's the same reason pro-choicers can't see that they actively participate in the murder of children.  Their thinking is too clouded to see the obvious in front of their eyes.  

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
    but the speech of the upright rescues them.

Verse six here seems like a continuation of verse five.  What's the solution to the problem of the deceitful advice of non-believers?  Well, the speech of the upright rescues them.  Point proven, we should not shun non-believers and sinners, we must continuously share the truth with them, because it can rescue them.

The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
    but the house of the righteous stands firm.

Again and again I see mega corporations and banks scamming good people out of so much money every year.  It's detestable.  Companies like Wal Mart, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, GM, General Electric, it's deplorable what these mega institutions do to the natural environment, to infrastructure, to entire economies, and to the people they step on daily to raise the profit margins.  But God's word says they will be overthrown and not remembered.  The righteous, those in Christ, their house will stand firm.