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Chapter 12 of Proverbs continues with a compilation of to-the-point statements such as, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. (v.1)”  Not much left to interpretation on these clear sayings. We pick up in Chapter 13.


Proverbs 13

A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
    but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.

From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,
    but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
    but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.

The righteous hate what is false,
    but the wicked make themselves a stench
    and bring shame on themselves.

Righteousness guards the person of integrity,
    but wickedness overthrows the sinner.

One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
    another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.

A person’s riches may ransom their life,
    but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.

The light of the righteous shines brightly,
    but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.

10 Where there is strife, there is pride,
    but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

11 Dishonest money dwindles away,
    but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
    but whoever respects a command is rewarded.

14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
    turning a person from the snares of death.

15 Good judgment wins favor,
    but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.

16 All who are prudent act with knowledge,
    but fools expose their folly.

17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
    but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.

18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
    but whoever heeds correction is honored.

19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
    but fools detest turning from evil.

20 Walk with the wise and become wise,
    for a companion of fools suffers harm.

21 Trouble pursues the sinner,
    but the righteous are rewarded with good things.

22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,
    but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

23 An unplowed field produces food for the poor,
    but injustice sweeps it away.

24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
    but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.

25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content,
    but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.


Questions:

 Verse 20 emphasizes the reality that the people we spend the most time with will rub off on us.  Hang out with someone with an accent long enough and you might even start talking like them.  Who do you spend the most time with?  Would you consider them to be more wise or more foolish?

What are you currently doing to walk with the wise?  Are you in a small group?  Do you have people in your life who are wiser than you that also have permission and proximity to speak into your life?

Pray for clarity to see who might be a negative influence in your life and who might be a positive influence.  If you can’t think of many positive influences, pray that God would help you to find some.

Respect the Beard – Re$pect Your Bu$ine$$

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Join us this weekend at one of our campuses as Chad continues to share the wisdom of Proverbs.  Proverbs is full of practical wisdom on how to manage our finances in a way that is simple and effective.  If you can’t make it to a campus join us online at http://live.sunvalleycc.com on Saturday at 4:00 or 5:30pm; Sunday at 9, 10:30, or 11:59am.

What Matters

old clock

Proverbs 10-29 contains “The Proverbs of Solomon”, a collection of short sayings full of deep truth.  These sayings cover a multitude of subjects and often contrast the wise or the righteous with the fool, the scoffer, or the sluggard. Here we pick up these proverbs in Chapter 11.


Proverbs 11

The Lord detests dishonest scales,
    but accurate weights find favor with him.

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
    but with humility comes wisdom.

The integrity of the upright guides them,
    but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity.

Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
    but righteousness delivers from death.

The righteousness of the blameless makes their paths straight,
    but the wicked are brought down by their own wickedness.

The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
    but the unfaithful are trapped by evil desires.

Hopes placed in mortals die with them;
    all the promise of their power comes to nothing.

The righteous person is rescued from trouble,
    and it falls on the wicked instead.

With their mouths the godless destroy their neighbors,
    but through knowledge the righteous escape.

10 When the righteous prosper, the city rejoices;
    when the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy.

11 Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
    but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.

12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense,
    but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

13 A gossip betrays a confidence,
    but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

14 For lack of guidance a nation falls,
    but victory is won through many advisers.

15 Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer,
    but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.

16 A kindhearted woman gains honor,
    but ruthless men gain only wealth.

17 Those who are kind benefit themselves,
    but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.

18 A wicked person earns deceptive wages,
    but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.

19 Truly the righteous attain life,
    but whoever pursues evil finds death.

20 The Lord detests those whose hearts are perverse,
    but he delights in those whose ways are blameless.

21 Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished,
    but those who are righteous will go free.

22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
    is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.

23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good,
    but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.

24 One person gives freely, yet gains even more;
    another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty.

25 A generous person will prosper;
    whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.

26 People curse the one who hoards grain,
    but they pray God’s blessing on the one who is willing to sell.

27 Whoever seeks good finds favor,
    but evil comes to one who searches for it.

28 Those who trust in their riches will fall,
    but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf.

29 Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind,
    and the fool will be servant to the wise.

30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
    and the one who is wise saves lives.

31 If the righteous receive their due on earth,
    how much more the ungodly and the sinner!


Questions:

Right now, what do you want most?  If you could have anything, what would it be?

Will that thing matter to you in 100 years?

Solomon contrasts several things that won’t matter in 100 years with several things that will.  Things that matter include humility, righteousness, kindness, trustworthiness, and investment into people.  The lives of those around you will matter in 100 years because those lives will spend eternity somewhere.  The choices you make will have either a positive or negative impact on everyone around you.

Pray for the people in your life and the people you will cross paths with today.  Pray that God might use you to play a part in something that truly matters.

Wisdom and the Seductress

sign direction right - wrong

In Chapters 7 & 8 Solomon describes the seductress who invites men over to her house and they blindly follow her to their own destruction.  He then contrasts her with wisdom who is also inviting men over.  Rather than wandering into destruction, those who follow the voice of wisdom find the greatest of blessings.  He concludes his contrast here in Chapter 9.


Proverbs 9

Wisdom has built her house;
    she has set up its seven pillars.
She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine;
    she has also set her table.
She has sent out her servants, and she calls
    from the highest point of the city,
    “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
    “Come, eat my food
    and drink the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways and you will live;
    walk in the way of insight.”

Whoever corrects a mocker invites insults;
    whoever rebukes the wicked incurs abuse.
Do not rebuke mockers or they will hate you;
    rebuke the wise and they will love you.
Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still;
    teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
    and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
11 For through wisdom your days will be many,
    and years will be added to your life.
12 If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you;
    if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

13 Folly is an unruly woman;
    she is simple and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house,
    on a seat at the highest point of the city,
15 calling out to those who pass by,
    who go straight on their way,
16     “Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
17     “Stolen water is sweet;
    food eaten in secret is delicious!”
18 But little do they know that the dead are there,
    that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.


Questions:

Our biggest issue isn’t finding wisdom. Wisdom is calling, crying out, at the highest points, at the city entrance.  Our issue is listening to it.  Chances are, right now in this moment, you know what the right thing to do is.  The challenge is having the courage to do it.

At Sun Valley we often pray the prayer, “God give me the wisdom to know the right thing to do and the courage to do it.”  Take a moment to pray that prayer.

Don’t let wisdom stop at just being heard.  Listen to it.  Take action.  Whatever it is.  If you need to put something in the calendar, do it now.  If you need to call someone, do it now.  Now is always the right time to follow Jesus.

Consequence

Grain ears in wheat field

Proverbs 6:20-35

20 My son, keep your father’s command
    and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.
21 Bind them always on your heart;
    fasten them around your neck.
22 When you walk, they will guide you;
    when you sleep, they will watch over you;
    when you awake, they will speak to you.
23 For this command is a lamp,
    this teaching is a light,
and correction and instruction
    are the way to life,
24 keeping you from your neighbor’s wife,
    from the smooth talk of a wayward woman.

25 Do not lust in your heart after her beauty
    or let her captivate you with her eyes.

26 For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread,
    but another man’s wife preys on your very life.
27 Can a man scoop fire into his lap
    without his clothes being burned?
28 Can a man walk on hot coals
    without his feet being scorched?
29 So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife;
    no one who touches her will go unpunished.

30 People do not despise a thief if he steals
    to satisfy his hunger when he is starving.
31 Yet if he is caught, he must pay sevenfold,
    though it costs him all the wealth of his house.
32 But a man who commits adultery has no sense;
    whoever does so destroys himself.
33 Blows and disgrace are his lot,
    and his shame will never be wiped away.

34 For jealousy arouses a husband’s fury,
    and he will show no mercy when he takes revenge.
35 He will not accept any compensation;
    he will refuse a bribe, however great it is.


Questions:

Solomon speaks of a principle that is also mentioned in Galatians 6:7-8

Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.

What we do matters.  What kind of seeds will you sow today? Are your plans focused on your own desires or on God’s desires?

This principle is about more than just bad consequences for bad decisions, it is also about good consequences reaped from our wise choices.  Pray for actions today that are pleasing to the Spirit, that your actions would have positive consequences, and praise God for His ultimate gift of eternal life.

The Ant

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Proverbs 6:1-19

My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    if you have shaken hands in pledge for a stranger,
you have been trapped by what you said,
    ensnared by the words of your mouth.
So do this, my son, to free yourself,
    since you have fallen into your neighbor’s hands:
Go—to the point of exhaustion—
    and give your neighbor no rest!
Allow no sleep to your eyes,
    no slumber to your eyelids.
Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the snare of the fowler.

Go to the ant, you sluggard;
    consider its ways and be wise!
It has no commander,
    no overseer or ruler,
yet it stores its provisions in summer
    and gathers its food at harvest.

How long will you lie there, you sluggard?
    When will you get up from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest—
11 and poverty will come on you like a thief
    and scarcity like an armed man.

12 A troublemaker and a villain,
    who goes about with a corrupt mouth,
13     who winks maliciously with his eye,
    signals with his feet
    and motions with his fingers,
14     who plots evil with deceit in his heart—
    he always stirs up conflict.
15 Therefore disaster will overtake him in an instant;
    he will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.

16 There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
17         haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
18         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
19         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.


Questions:

In the midst of these warnings Solomon refers to the ant as a source of wisdom.  Throughout nature we see reflections of God’s character and His principles.  In this instance he acknowledges the wisdom of the ant for working with the future in mind without having to be prodded and told what to do.

What are you currently doing with the future in mind?

Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

What are you doing now to help you get there?

Although the future is uncertain and we aren’t to spend our days worrying, we are to work intelligently knowing that what we do today effects tomorrow.  Pray for God to reveal where He wants you to be in 5 years (this can be in any area of life).  Pray for wisdom of what you can start doing today to help get you there.

The Adulterous Woman

Water abstract

Chapter 4 of Proverbs is a plea from Solomon for his son to listen to his advice and wisdom for his protection and well-being. Solomon tells of his father (king David) who gave him the same plea when he was a child.


Proverbs 5

My son, pay attention to my wisdom,
    turn your ear to my words of insight,
that you may maintain discretion
    and your lips may preserve knowledge.
For the lips of the adulterous woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil;
but in the end she is bitter as gall,
    sharp as a double-edged sword.
Her feet go down to death;
    her steps lead straight to the grave.
She gives no thought to the way of life;
    her paths wander aimlessly, but she does not know it.

Now then, my sons, listen to me;
    do not turn aside from what I say.
Keep to a path far from her,
    do not go near the door of her house,
lest you lose your honor to others
    and your dignity to one who is cruel,
10 lest strangers feast on your wealth
    and your toil enrich the house of another.
11 At the end of your life you will groan,
    when your flesh and body are spent.
12 You will say, “How I hated discipline!
    How my heart spurned correction!
13 I would not obey my teachers
    or turn my ear to my instructors.
14 And I was soon in serious trouble
    in the assembly of God’s people.”

15 Drink water from your own cistern,
    running water from your own well.
16 Should your springs overflow in the streets,
    your streams of water in the public squares?
17 Let them be yours alone,
    never to be shared with strangers.
18 May your fountain be blessed,
    and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 A loving doe, a graceful deer—
    may her breasts satisfy you always,
    may you ever be intoxicated with her love.
20 Why, my son, be intoxicated with another man’s wife?
    Why embrace the bosom of a wayward woman?

21 For your ways are in full view of the Lord,
    and he examines all your paths.
22 The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them;
    the cords of their sins hold them fast.
23 For lack of discipline they will die,
    led astray by their own great folly.


Questions:

Solomon warns against being enticed into sexual pleasure outside of marriage.  When trying to find satisfaction outside of marriage it only leads to greater dissatisfaction.  Where in your life are you distracted or enticed?  Perhaps it is an individual, your thought life, through the computer, books, music, media, etc.

Take a moment to confess the enticement to God.  Pray for protection against being “ensnared” and “led astray” by the enticer.  Consider someone you can talk to about your enticement to help disarm its power.

If you are single, what can you do to preserve and protect the springs of your sexuality for the context of marriage.

If you are married, what can you do to invest into the sexual satisfaction of your marriage today?