Today we are going to take a few moments and look at the book of proverbs.
Someone once said that a proverb is a short sentence based on long experience.
Again, in our short time together I cannot even begin to cover all that is in the book, but hopefully I can give you some insight into better understanding the book and also peak your interest so that you will go home and discover for yourselves the great wisdom in this book.
In 1860, the philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, said, "If we can get universal and compulsory education by the end of the century, all our social, political, and moral problems will be solved."
I believe it is safe to say that we have learned that education does not equal wisdom. By almost anybody's standard we are the most educated people, yet also by almost anyone's standard, we are the most wicked people.
According to John Nesbitt, in his best selling book, Megatrends, there are between 6,000 and 7,000 scientific articles written every day. Scientific and technical information now increases 13% per year, which means it doubles every 5 1/2 years. This rate, however, will soon jump to 40% per year because of new and powerful computers, and an increasing population of scientists. That means that we are approaching a day where knowledge is going to double every twenty months.
There is not a shortage of knowledge in today’s society, but there is a severe drought of wisdom.
WISDOM, n. s as z. [G. See Wise.]
1. The right use or exercise of knowledge;
Webster's 1828 Dictionary
Now compare this quote from the Earl of Shaftesbury, who was a strong supporter himself of education, and during a campaign for education, said this:
"Education, without instruction in religious and moral principles, will merely result in a race of clever devils."
Turn with me if you will to Proverbs.
Proverbs 1:1-9 (KJV) 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and
discretion. 5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: 6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: 9 For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
Most people have heard of the Babylonian Empire, the Roman Empire, the Assyrian Empire, but there is on Empire that ruled without equal. This empire did not conquer as much land mass, but it had wealth and power and influence beyond any other nation, for a brief period of time. That would be the Israelite Empire, if you will, under the reign of King Solomon.
1 Kings 4:32 (KJV) 32 And he spake three thousand proverbs: and his songs were a thousand
Solomon: Proverbs is divided into seven sections (see Outline). Proverbs 1:1 suggests that Solomon may have authored the entire first section (Proverbs 1-9), although that verse may be an introduction to the book as a whole (Solomon may have compiled the entire book). The second major section (Proverbs 10:1-22:16) is directly attributed to Solomon, as is the fourth (Proverbs 25-29). Proverbs probably includes at least 800 of Solomon's 3,000 proverbs (see 1 Kings 4:32).
Solomon may also have written many of the proverbs in the third section, the "Words of the Wise" (Proverbs 22:17-24:34), whose compiler and authors are anonymous. Many scholars also assume he wrote the final section, the tribute to the worthy woman (Proverbs 31:10-31).
Agur, apparently a non-Israelite, is credited with the proverbs of the fifth section (Proverbs 30).
Lemuel authored the sixth section (Proverbs 31:1-9). He was a king (Proverbs 31:1), presumably a non-Israelite. Some scholars believe, however, that Lemuel was actually Solomon.
Willmington's Bible Handbook.
The book was written mostly by Solomon and it is a book of proverbs, now what is a proverb?
The radical signification of mashal is “comparison” or “similitude,” and in this sense it is applied generally to the utterances of the wise.
The predominant idea of the term, however, is that of comparison or similitude, and as such it is better represented by the Greek parabolh> (from paraba>llw, “to set or place side by side”), literally, a placing beside, or comparison,
Matthew 13:34-35 (KJV) 34 All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Proverbs are snapshots of truth, little pictures of truth.
You will notice that Proverbs is written in parallelism.
This is a literary device. The second clause restates, usually, what is given in the first clause.
You notice the synonymous parallelism and that is, he says one thing in the first clause and he says the same thing in the second clause in a different way. We call that synonymous parallelism.
Proverbs 19:29 (KJV) 29 Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools.
And sometimes he uses contrast parallelism. And that is where a truth is stated in the first clause then it is made stronger in the second clause by a contrast,
Proverbs 13:9 (KJV) 9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
Then thirdly there is synthetic parallelism and that is where the second clause develops further the thought of the first clause.
Proverbs 20:2 (KJV) 2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.
I want to take a moment right here to make something clear.
A proverb is not a promise, sometimes people misunderstand and they get discouraged or disappointed and blame God for promises He has never made.
Proverbs are general statements of truth rather than invariable promises or laws, and an individual proverb normally captures a tiny cross-section of truth rather than making a comprehensive statement about a topic. For example, "A gentle answer turns away anger" (15:1) constitutes one
component of the broader topics of using words wisely and dealing with angry people. This single principle is one small piece of a much larger mosaic, and the task of the student is not only to put together the broader mosaic piece by piece but also to learn to apply these principles skillfully to the complexities that one encounters in life. The goal of the wisdom in Proverbs is to develop
skill in living according to the order that is embedded in God's creation.
The Apologetics Study Bible: Understanding Why You Believe.
A proverb is not a precept. A precept is a truth stated in absolute terms. An illustration may help here. Suppose we are making statements of truth about engineering students at a particular university. One statement might be, "A student must take and pass calculus in order to graduate as an engineer." That statement of truth is in precept form. There are no exceptions. But suppose we said, "Students who do well in calculus make better engineers." That is also a statement of truth, but it is in proverb form. It is a general truth stated in general terms. But there may be some exceptions. There may be a few engineering graduates from that university who are very good engineers but never did well in calculus. And by the same token, there may be a few graduates who were A+ students in calculus but have not made very good engineers. These exceptions, however, do not make the statement false, because it is a general truth stated in general terms. Exceptions do not make a proverb false. Proverbs are proverbs! Proverbs are not precepts. They are general truths stated in general terms. Proverbs 22:6 is a proverb. The occasional case which proves to be an exception to the general truth does not make this proverb false.
A brief look at a few of the other proverbs in this chapter further demonstrates the nature of a proverb. The truths of verses 4, 11 and 29, for example, are not always binding. They are usually true, but a little reflection on these proverbs will bring to mind a number of exceptions. Humility and the fear of the Lord do not always bring riches and honor and life (v4). Rulers are not always friends with the gracious and pure of heart (v11). And there are skilled people who have remained in obscurity, unrecognized by kings (v29).
Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) 6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
Proverbs 22:4 (KJV) 4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
Proverbs 22:29 (KJV) 29 Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. (mean – low in dignity)
Now there are proverbs that are promises, now the question becomes how can I tell when a proverb is just a proverb and when it is also a promise.
Actually its very simple, does God's word speak to the proverb anywhere else?
Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Ps 25:8 — Good and upright is the LORD: therefore will he teach sinners in the way.
Ps 25:9 — The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way.
Ps 32:8 — I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
Now that we hopefully have a better understanding of what a proverb is, it is general truth, not an absolute truth, unless confirmed somewhere else in scripture.
I want us to talk just a minute about wisdom. Proverbs are general truths, but they are general truths that are supposed to teach us wisdom.
1 Corinthians 1:24-31 (KJV) 24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27 But God hath chosen
the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Christ is made our Wisdom. Today for us, Jesus Christ is our wisdom. He is for us our all. An intersting thing about Christ, you can go back to the book of Proverbs and replace the word Wisdom with the word Christ and the sentence makes sense and applies.
Proverbs 1:7 (KJV) 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise CHRIST and instruction.
Proverbs 2:10 (KJV) 10 When CHRIST entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
Proverbs 3:13 (KJV) 13 Happy is the man that findeth CHRIST, and the man that getteth understanding.
Proverbs 3:19 (KJV) 19 The LORD by CHRIST hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.
Proverbs 4:7 (KJV) 7 CHRIST is the principal thing; therefore get CHRIST: and with all thy getting get understanding.
Proverbs 4:11 (KJV) 11 I have taught thee in the way of CHRIST; I have led thee in right paths.
Proverbs 8:11 (KJV) 11 For CHRIST is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.
Proverbs 19:8 (KJV) 8 He that getteth CHRIST loveth his own soul: he that keepeth understanding shall find good.
Proverbs 24:3 (KJV) 3 Through CHRIST is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
One last thought, Proverbs has within its pages a great contrast.
The Wise man and the foolish man.
Today I will give you the short version, the cliff notes if you will.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (KJV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
The wise man is seeking the Lord, is Seeking wisdom, is seeking Christ, the foolish man is not.
The beginning; Hebrew, tyviare (reshith). This word has been understood in three different senses:
(1) As initium, the beginning; i.e. the initial step or starting point at which every one who wishes to follow true wisdom must begin (Gejerus, Zockler, Plumptre).
(2) As caput; i.e. the most excellent or principal part, the noblest or best wisdom. This sense is adopted in the marginal reading (comp. Also <200407>Proverbs 4:7) (Holden,
(3) As the principium (Vulgate); i.e. the origin, or basis, as in <330101>Micah 1:12, “She is the origin, or basis (reshith) of the sin of the daughter of Zion.”
Sin always deceives, and its baits artfully hide the hook; but the cruel barb is there, below the gay silk and colored dressing, and it —not the false appearance of food which lured the fish — is what sticks in the bleeding mouth.
God creates life
Genesis 1:26-28 (KJV) 26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
Think of all the beauty of God's creation.
The Rocky Mountains
The Grand Canyon
The great Red Wood trees
The smallest form of cells and atoms
All of these point to God, point to a creator,
But only God's special creation, people, reflect the image of God.
We are God's greatest achievement, we are his crowning glory, we are made in His image and in His likeness, now there is great debate in the theological world as to what all that intells, but let me keep it simple this morning, we are like Him.
He did not say that of the great and majestic mountains, we are like Him
He did not say that of the great polar bears, we are like Him
He did not say that of the stars in the skies, we are like Him
He did not say that of any other of his creation, we are like Him
I don't know if we will ever define exactly how, but we are!
Jeremiah 1:4-7 (KJV) 4 Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. 6 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. 7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
Stages of life of a child
At the moment of conception a unique human's DNA is created, DNA that has never existed before and will never be repeated.
At the moment of conception all of the babies physical features are determined, the sex of the child, hair color, eye color and so on.
A baby's heartbeat begins only 20 to 22 days after the moment of conception, before most women even know they are pregnant.
At week three you can begin to see the childs eyes and ears.
At week six the child has fingers and toes.
Between week 6 and week 11 the child will grow 5 times in size.
By the 11th week the child can frown and smile, wiggle their fingers and toes, and even such their thumb, as soon as thumb sucking begins the child will show a preference for either their right or left thumb.
At week 13 their ears begin to hear and they are comforted by the constant beat of their mothers heart.
After 6 months of pregnancy everything has developed and is functioning.
At week 38 to 42 she is born.
Genesis 29:31-32 (KJV) 31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived, and bare a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.
Genesis 30:22 (KJV) 22 And God remembered Rachel, and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb.
Exodus 4:10-11 (KJV) 10 And Moses said unto the LORD, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man's mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD?
Job 31:15 (KJV) 15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
Psalm 127:3 (KJV) 3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
John 1:3 (KJV) 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
God creates life
Therefore Life is Valuable
This is the heart of the argument for or against abortion. The question, how valuable is life.
Peter Albert David Singer AC (born 6 July 1946) is an Australian moral philosopher. He is currently the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University, and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He specialises in applied ethics and approaches ethical issues from a secular, preference utilitarian perspective.
In 2004 he was recognised as the Australian Humanist of the Year by the Council of Australian Humanist Societies, and in June 2012 was named a Companion of the Order of Australia for his services to philosophy and bioethics. He serves on the Advisory Board of Incentives for Global Health, the NGO formed to develop the Health Impact Fund proposal. He was voted one of Australia's ten most influential public intellectuals in 2006.
In Chapter 4 we saw that the fact that a being is a human being, in the sense of a member of the species Homo sapiens, is not relevant to the wrongness of killing it; it is, rather, characteristics like rationality, autonomy, and self-consciousness that make a difference. Infants lack these characteristics. Killing them, therefore, cannot be equated with killing normal human beings, or any other self-conscious beings. This conclusion is not limited to infants who, because of irreversible intellectual disabilities, will never be rational, self-conscious beings. We saw in our discussion of abortion that the potential of a fetus to become a rational, self-conscious being cannot count against killing it at a stage when it lacks these characteristics - not, that is, unless we are also prepared to count the value of rational self-conscious life as a reason against contraception and celibacy. No infant - disabled or not - has as strong a claim to life as beings capable of seeing themselves as distinct entities, existing over time.
The difference between killing disabled and normal infants lies not in any supposed right to life that the latter has and the former lacks, but in other considerations about killing. Most obviously there is the difference that often exists in the attitudes of the parents. The birth of a child is usually a happy event for the parents. They have, nowadays, often planned for the child. The mother has carried it for nine months. From birth, a natural affection begins to bind the parents to it. So one important reason why it is normally a terrible thing to kill an infant is the effect the killing will have on its parents.
Infants are sentient beings who are neither rational nor self- conscious. So if we turn to consider the infants in themselves, independently of the attitudes of their parents, since their species is not relevant to their moral status, the principles that govern the wrongness of killing non-human animals who are sentient but not rational or self-conscious must apply here too.
Taking Life: Humans
Excerpted from Practical Ethics, 2nd edition, Cambridge, 1993, pp. 175-217
Judith Jarvis Thomson
Argues that even if the unborn entity is a person with a right to life, this does not mean a woman must donate her body to keep it alive.
Luke 12:6-7 (KJV) 6 Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? 7 But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.
God creates life
Therefore Life is Valuable
You can be forgiven
Psalm 51:1-19 (KJV) 1 Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. 5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. 6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. 7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. 8 Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. 9 Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. 10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. 12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. 13 Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee. 14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, thou God of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness. 15 O Lord, open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise. 16 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise. 18 Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem. 19 Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.
Well let me share this with you.
There is all the difference in the world between being forgiven and being justified. Suppose a woman were to incur a debt at a branch store of a large company over and above her means to pay. If after hearing her case the store were to cancel her debt, that would be forgiveness.
Under these circumstances, the woman would be no longer liable for the account, but would always have a feeling of personal discomfort about the whole transaction.
If, on the other hand, the legal department of the company decided to press for payment, that would be justice. Suppose that while awaiting trial for her undischarged account the woman were to marry the wealthy son of the store owner who personally assumed responsibility for her account and paid it in full.
There would be no legal claim against her any more and in the unlikely event of her case ever getting to court, she could plead "not guilty" to all charges on the grounds that her debts had been fully paid by her husband. The court would say that she was justified in pleading "not guilty" and her case would be dismissed.
If a person is to be forgiven, he must plead "guilty" and sue for mercy.
If a person is to be justified, he must plead "not guilty" and show that the opposition has no case against him at all. Of course both forgiveness and justification enter into our salvation, but it is the higher truth of justification that Paul is presenting in Romans. The Lord Jesus has fully discharged all our obligations so that there is no legal ground for charges to be pressed against us anymore. Moreover, He has given us a perfect standing before God so that we are fully acceptable in His sight.
John Phillips Commentary Series, The - The John Phillips Commentary Series – Exploring Romans: An Expository Commentary.
Please note that the sermons that I post online will often be different than the message I preach on Sundays. Often the Spirit guides (that is my hope) and leads me to say and mention thoughts that are not in my notes. What I am giving to you through this site is access to my notes that may hopefully encourage you.
I will from time to time, I hope to become more consistent with this endeavor, post my Sunday morning sermon notes on this site. This will be for mine and your benefit. For those that may have missed the message you can read the message from Sunday. For those that were there but maybe got a little distracted you can review the message. For me you can always comment on how this message affected you or give your critical thoughts. Please enjoy.