Proverbs – Life Skills
God led me to this study of Proverbs. He is using His Word, (He does that!), a Proverb a day, to help me navigate what is going on in our world right now and specifically in our community. God is leading me to listen more to what HE wants and how HE wants me to behave. God is opening my mind and helping me to assume nothing.
God is love, not hate. He hates the behavior of those who live hate. Why? Because He knows that when we hate, we suffer. He knows that hate has no place in His Kingdom, therefore those who hate will not reside there.
Hate cannot coexist with His created purpose for us. He wants His best for us and for all the other believers around us. But, alas, we seem to be driven to all that is not His best. Fools hate. Fools say there is no God. Fools assume the worst in others. Fools only love themselves. Fools do not listen to anyone but themselves and other fools. Evil drives fools to eternal destruction. It is a quick, easy trip.
God is wisdom. Jesus displayed God’s wisdom. Jesus is wisdom. Wisdom shows us the path to understanding all that God is and all that God wants to give His children who believe Him. Wisdom gives insight that trumps our human assumptions of what we think is really going on around us.
Evil is using our current circumstances, corruption, seeds of hate already planted in men and women, and our deeply rooted impatience that quickly leads to anger, to more hate and violence for Satan’s glory and our destruction. Satan, the fallen angel, wants to be the god in our lives. He wants to play with our closed minds and hard hearts until we die and are of no use to him any longer. He is not love. He is not life. He is only death. He is limited in power.
God is using all the above circumstances to turn hearts to Him. He is declaring that He is God and we are not. God delights in all the details of our lives because He loves us. He created us. He wants to give us His best. Every one of us! God is using these same life situations to bring our attention to our own sins that we have passed off as trivial or “that’s just how life works”. God is causing us to repent, love from the inside out and rise up against all that is not God.
Hate, pride, foolishness, prejudice, selfishness is not God.
Proverb 14, The Message
A Way That Leads to Hell
Lady Wisdom builds a lovely home;
Sir Fool comes along and tears it down brick by brick.
2 An honest life shows respect for God;
a degenerate life is a slap in his face.
3 Frivolous talk provokes a derisive smile;
wise speech evokes nothing but respect.
4 No cattle, no crops;
a good harvest requires a strong ox for the plow.
5 A true witness never lies;
a false witness makes a business of it.
6 Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!
7 Escape quickly from the company of fools;
they’re a waste of your time, a waste of your words.
8 The wisdom of the wise keeps life on track;
the foolishness of fools lands them in the ditch.
9 The stupid ridicule right and wrong,
but a moral life is a favored life.
10 The person who shuns the bitter moments of friends
will be an outsider at their celebrations.
11 Lives of careless wrongdoing are tumbledown shacks;
holy living builds soaring cathedrals.
12-13 There’s a way of life that looks harmless enough;
look again—it leads straight to hell.
Sure, those people appear to be having a good time,
but all that laughter will end in heartbreak.
Sift and Weigh Every Word
14 A mean person gets paid back in meanness,
a gracious person in grace.
15 The gullible believe anything they’re told;
the prudent sift and weigh every word.
16 The wise watch their steps and avoid evil;
fools are headstrong and reckless.
17 The hotheaded do things they’ll later regret;
the coldhearted get the cold shoulder.
18 Foolish dreamers live in a world of illusion;
wise realists plant their feet on the ground.
19 Eventually, evil will pay tribute to good;
the wicked will respect God-loyal people.
20 An unlucky loser is shunned by all,
but everyone loves a winner.
21 It’s criminal to ignore a neighbor in need,
but compassion for the poor—what a blessing!
22 Isn’t it obvious that conspirators lose out,
while the thoughtful win love and trust?
23 Hard work always pays off;
mere talk puts no bread on the table.
24 The wise accumulate wisdom;
fools get stupider by the day.
25 Souls are saved by truthful witness
and betrayed by the spread of lies.
26 The Fear-of-God builds up confidence,
and makes a world safe for your children.
27 The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water
so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells.
28 The mark of a good leader is loyal followers;
leadership is nothing without a following.
29 Slowness to anger makes for deep understanding;
a quick-tempered person stockpiles stupidity.
30 A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.
31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless;
when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God.
32 The evil of bad people leaves them out in the cold;
the integrity of good people creates a safe place for living.
33 Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
fools never even get to say hello.
34 God-devotion makes a country strong;
God-avoidance leaves people weak.
35 Diligent work gets a warm commendation;
shiftless work earns an angry rebuke.
The more we pause to realize the incredible, unconditional, relentless love God has for us, only then will we begin to love like He loves.
We have learned in our wisdom study that the fear (respect and awe) of the Lord brings understanding. May our fear of God bring on the knowledge of His deep, passionate love for all of us.
May we then love like His loves us. Love God. Love each other. The two greatest commandments of God says Jesus when asked. Jesus clarified our love for each other; “love like I have loved you.” Jesus willingly laid down His life for us. Love like that. (See Phil 2) We love like that when we lay down what we want and run after what God wants. We love like that when others interests and situations lead us be there for them without thinking of our own lives. We love like that when we see others like God sees them. We love like that when we seek to understand and avoid mindless advice to “fix it”.
“Lady Wisdom is at home in an understanding heart—
fools never even get to say hello.”
Love leads to Life, the Life God intended for His created to live from the beginning of Creation. Seek wisdom that comes from God’s heart of love.
Reread this proverb and list all the ways we honor God with our hearts, minds and souls and ultimately our behavior.
Do you discover that life is not about you but about God? And others?
How open minded are we? Right now? Seriously.
“Cynics look high and low for wisdom—and never find it;
the open-minded find it right on their doorstep!”
Dear Lord and Savior,
When I look to you first each morning, all my assumptions about life and others melt away. When I seek wisdom and ask for your insight, you give it. Help me to think more like you think so I will walk in your ways and teaching. You are God and I am not. I need your help every hour of every day.
Thank you for Your Presence that calms my earthly fears and settles my soul. Thank you, dear Jesus, for saving our souls. Thank you for being the way to an intimate, loving relationship with you. Help us to listen to You, hearing Your voice above all others. Then give us boldness and courage to obey quickly.
In Jesus Name, Amen