Archive for January 1st, 2019

Proverbs 14:1-4

In Proverbs 14:1-4 Solomon begins by talking about wisdom. Wisdom builds. It looks at what is and wisely considers how to make it better. Many homes have been made by a godly, wise woman who looks after the home and builds it. “The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down”. Folly tears things down. Instead of supporting and building what is, folly shows its destructive nature. The woman of a home has tremendous power to make it a better or worse place. Solomon again contrasts wisdom with folly.  The outcomes are extremely different.  And most sadly of all, the destruction comes from within, not an external enemy.

How we choose to live day to day matters. One who is upright through their heritage, past habits, and general course of life still has to make the decision to walk in their uprightness. Doing this demonstrates that they fear the LORD. “Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is devious in his ways despises him”. The disobedient man shows that he really despises God and His authority. They say, we will not have God reign over us. This displays their sinfulness and deep sin; it is often not only weakness, it often deep-seated rebellion against God. We must learn that God is God and we are not.  He alone sits on the throne and we need to walk in obedience to Him.

Solomon contrasts the fool and the wise again. The fool deserves the rod of correction. In the word picture used here, the rod of correction is made of the fool’s pride, and it comes from his own mouth. Scripture is clear that pride comes before a fall. “By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them”. The mouth of a fool brings punishment to the fool, but the wise man or woman is rescued (preserved) by their own wise words. In the same way that how we live matters based on our obedience to God’s ways, the same is true about our words.  They too matter and can bring us blessing or punishment.

One of Solomon’s oft spoken of topics is the importance of hard work.  He addresses it here again. Where there is no work being accomplished, there is no mess or disorder to deal with. If you have oxen, they will bring a good measure of mess and work with them. “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox”. But there is a good outcome that comes with the mess of an ox. This is an important principle when it comes to church life and Christian community. There are some who, out of good intentions, are obsessed with making sure there is never any kind of “mess” to address among believers. Each and every expression of spiritual life must be controlled and managed tightly to prevent anything from going awry. Unfortunately, this creates an environment where, spiritually speaking, there is little increase – because no one will tolerate any mess in the trough.

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