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How to live wisely
Thoughts from Proverbs 9-15

This morning we are going to continue our study of the Book of Proverbs

-Written and compiled by Solomon, son of David, king of Israel- a man gifted by God with wisdom
-A book that is just as relevant today as it was 3000 years ago
-While known for its hundreds of short and pithy statements on how to be wise it has a definite structure and it tends to repeat on certain subjects (coming at the same subjects from a variety of different angles in a kaleidoscopic sort of way)
-Structurally Proverbs begins with chapters 1-9 as a unit, then there is chapters 10-30, and finally it closes with the wise woman of Proverbs 31
-The offer and repeated call of Proverbs is this: You can be wise! Choose wisdom. Pursue wisdom and you will reap her reward. Ask the LORD for wisdom and He will give it to you.
-Throughout the Book of Proverbs wise living is contrasted with foolish behavior. Proverbs as a whole is built on contrasts. Wise/foolish. Righteous/wicked. Poor/rich. Industrious/lazy. Upon these contrasts a profile of each is built by means of the many varied Proverbs that Solomon employs (this is the beauty of Proverbs unique structure). These profiles allow us to stand back and say "ah, a wise person is known by... and vice versa, here are all the qualities of one who is foolish" - and so forth.
-The key to being wise is to be in right relationship with God. Proverbs 1:7 which serves as the key verse of the Book of Proverbs says; "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction". This repeated in Proverbs 9:10
-The ultimate end of Proverbs- with its theme of wisdom- is Christ who is the embodiment of wisdom-- God in the Flesh.

In getting ready for our jump into the swirl of the many short statements on how to live wisely in Proverbs 10-30 I took a look at Proverbs 9.

In Proverbs 9 we are introduced to 2 women. The woman wisdom and the woman folly. They are representative figures, symbolic figures, for the right way of life, the wrong way of life, the wise way, the way that will lead to destruction; so they are symbolic figures.

In Proverbs 9:1-6 the woman wisdom is depicted as setting up her house at the highest point of the city. Her call and promise is this "Let all who are simple come to my house!" To those who have no sense she says, 5 "Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. 6 Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight."

This call is expanded upon in Isaiah 55:1-7. Such is the invitation of Christ to us-- "Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls." Matthew 11:29

It is the voice of Christ that we must turn our ears to

The second woman in Proverbs 9 is the woman folly. Proverbs 9:13-18

Her voice is one of great appeal. Hers is the call to pleasure and immediate gratification. Her voice calls us to chart our own path, to make our own rules for living, to do as we please. Her voice is one we hear everyday but must discipline ourselves to reject.

As the woman wisdom, she too is depicted as setting up her house at the highest point of the city. Her call is this " "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!"

As sweet as her voice may be, her voice is the voice of hardship, suffering, and death for as v.18 says; "But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead."

We are to choose the path of wisdom. We are to choose the way of Christ. God calls us to life. Satan has come to kill and destroy. We must say no to the flesh and yes to God and his righteousness.

Wise living, foolish living is not something that can be divorced from seeing it in the bigger picture of where we are at with God.

All counsel of Proverbs on how to live wisely is connected to the LORD and the topic of righteousness, whether the topic be on work, money, relationships, conflict management, the use of our tongue, humility, how we respond when we are corrected, etc.

Wisdom and righteousness go hand in hand as does foolishness and wickedness. The Book of Proverbs connects these dots

To truly live wisely is to live righteously and that can only be found in relationship with God. Live wisely, follow Jesus!

Before we take a look at how to live wisely...

THE PROFILE OF A FOOL -which is equated to being wicked

Note these are just thoughts gleened from Proverbs 10-15

-one who acts in such a way as to dishonor their parents and show does not listen to the instructions of their parents
-one who steals and who is dishonest
-a lazy person who will not work
-those who are violent
-one who speaks without thinking and when they do speak they lie, they slander, they tell stories about others that are private, they tear down, they advocate what is evil in the sight of God
-those who hate others seeking their harm, not willing to forgive or promote peace and unity
-those who mismanage and waste money and who pretend to be rich when they are not
-those who ignore correction and refuse to take it- even mocking the one who gives it
-those who dream up ways of doing wrong and getting away with stuff. They enjoy doing what they know is wrong
-those who deny God exists and who ignore His ways, making no time for Him
-they are under Judgment. They will be punished by God
-they are proud
-they trust in their money
-they are greedy and not share or help others
-they are unfaithful to spouse and sexually immoral-Proverbs 2 5,6,7
-they are ruthless, they are not gentle or compassionate but self seeking and don't care about others
-they do not take care of their animals. They are cruel to all
-those who covet and desire the good things that others have
-those who do not seek or take advice
-A person who is easily offended and shows it right away
-A person who hangs out and associates with people who are fools/wicked
-Those who deny, pervert, corrupt justice
-One who is quick tempered and flies off the handle easily. A hothead


HOW TO LIVE WISELY- a profile

1. Those who are wise and have righteousness as their goal honor their fathers and mothers

Proverbs 10;1 says; "A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish son brings grief to his mother."

Note: Our behavior as children affects our parents.

I was talking to the a man on Friday morning who I hadn't seen in a while. The last time we talked (about 2-3 years prior) he had talked enthusiastically about his son and his job prospects. When I saw him I asked him how his son was making out. I had to change subjects fairly quickly because all that came back on the matter was sadness and regret.

When a person has godly parents who love the ways of the LORD wise and righteous living will bring/should bring joy

Listening to our parents and obeying them is a big part of Proverbs 1-9

Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
9 They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck. Proverbs 1:8-9

Proverbs 4:1-9 says;

"Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction; pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother.
4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, "Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will give you a garland to grace your head and present you with a glorious crown."


2. Those who are wise and have righteousness as their goal work hard and honestly for their money

Proverbs 10:2 says; "Ill-gotten treasures have no lasting value, but righteousness delivers from death."

Proverbs has a lot to say about money

-Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4
-Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in forced labor. Proverbs 13:24
-The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with him. Proverbs 11:1
-A kindhearted woman gains honor, but ruthless men gain only wealth. Proverbs 11:16
-Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow. Proverbs 13:11 (this makes one think about their investing style- While its nice to hit a financial home run, slow, well researched, ethical, steady, disciplined is the way)
-A wicked person earns deceptive wages, but the one who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward. Proverbs 11:18
-Those who trust in their riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. Proverbs 11:28
-Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. Proverbs 11:4

Proverbs 11:4 is very much like Proverbs 10:2, teaching us that money is temporary. Money cannot save a person from disaster and from the Judgment of God.

What can save a person from Judgment and death: Righteousness. Peace with God. Christ, who took sins penalty upon himself that we might have the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

God's favor is upon those who seek after holiness. God is not impressed or swayed by how much money a person has. God looks at our hearts and while He is gracious to all, He acts for those who seek His face and are living for Him.

-"A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed." Proverbs 11:25

The thing about money: It belongs to God. We stewards of it. We to be wise with it. We to be generous with it. We not to trust in it


3. Those who are wise and have the righteousness as their goal tell the truth and are careful with the words they use

"Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue." Proverbs 10:12

"A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret." Proverbs 10:13

"The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them" Proverbs 12:6

An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies. Proverbs 13:17

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 13:18

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 13:19

The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy. The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves, but a fool's heart blurts out folly. Proverbs 13:22-23

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 13:25

Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. Proverbs 13:3


CONCLUSION: Those who are wise put God in everything they do- putting Him first

To put God first and in everything we do requires intentionality on our parts. It will show up in our thought life and prayer life and then in our actions

-Wisdom begins with the fear of the LORD
-Continually in all the counsel of Proverbs the LORD is in the equation

In Proverbs 10 "The LORD" 4 times
In Proverbs 11 "The LORD" or God 3 times
In Proverbs 12 "The LORD" 2 times etc

One cannot be truly wise unless they are right with God.

One can be right with God through faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and LORD (who is the embodiment of wisdom). As Jesus said to those who asked him "The work of God is this, to believe in the one he sent"