Proverbs: Life In The Details- A Crucial Confrontation

Proverbs: Life In The Details- A Crucial Confrontation 

Opening Illustration: Make Big Plans
David Burnham was an American architect who developed the master plans for a number of cities including Chicago and downtown Washington D.C. He also designed several famous buildings in New York City and Washington D.C. During his career Burnham said:

“Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men's blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans. Aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will never die, but long after we are gone will be a living thing, asserting itself with ever-growing insistency. Remember that our [children] and [grandchildren] are going to do things that would stagger us.”

Point:
That’s the sort of advice I love.  Dream big or go home.  Make big plans.  Set lofty goals and just maybe you might actually reach one.  Of course we have received some bad advice over the years.  I was reading an article that gave some of the worst advice that we could follow:

1. Nag him and he’ll be by your side longer.
2. If you are hosting a dinner party and don’t have a lot of cash, make alternative after dinner mints.  Simply freeze a tube of toothpaste, then cut it open and slice the contents into wafer-thin pieces to produces your very own treats. They look cool and will also leave your guests with fresh breath.
3. Can’t tell if a woman is pregnant, just congratulate her anyways.
4. To save time, iron your clothes while wearing them. 

Now that’s some pretty bad advice. That is not the sort of advice that we are receiving from Solomon today.  Quite the opposite.  Today, Solomon is advising his son on a number of issues.  From finances, to work ethic and more.  Solomon does not mince words.  He desires for his son to be successful so he develops a system of proverbs to encourage his children to stay on the right path.  

What Is Your Reaction To Godly Advice, Open or Obstinate?

Background:
Proverbs accomplishes something no other biblical book does: it simply compiles numerous short instructions for living an effective life on earth. While other books articulate profound theological truths, lengthy narratives of triumph and failure, or prophetic preaching to a disobedient people, Proverbs concerns itself completely with instructing people in the path of wisdom. The writers of the book recognized the varied circumstances of a person’s life and provided principles to apply in a variety of situations rather than instructions to follow in only a few specific instances. 

In writing the Proverbs, Solomon hoped that his readers would attain practical righteousness in all things and that we would do this by living our lives under the authority and direction of God. He specifically explained the book’s purpose in 1:2–6, focusing on imparting understanding that would impact every facet of our lives. Much of the book emphasizes listening to others so that we might learn from them and apply the combined knowledge of those who have gone before us—such as parents and elders—to the unique circumstances of our own lives (1:5, 8). Wisdom then involves appropriating a measure of humility, first before God and then before others. If instead, we decide to speak rashly rather than listen attentively . . . well, Proverbs deals with that too (12:15; 13:3).

Proverbs 6:1-15 ESV
1 My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself,
    for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
    go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;
5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the hand of the fowler.
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
    continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

For His Son, Solomon Gives Advice On…

I. Wealth vs. 1-5 
Proverbs 6:1-5 ESV
1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
    have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
    caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself,
    for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
    go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no sleep
    and your eyelids no slumber;
5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter,
    like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Illustration:Lottery Winners File For Bankruptcy 
If you happened to win the lottery, your financial situation would improve, right? Actually, according to a recent study, the answer is maybe not. Three economics professors wrote a paper titled "The Ticket to Easy Street? The Financial Consequences of Winning the Lottery." Their research tried to address the following questions: Does a lottery windfall have a permanent impact or does it merely postpone financial pain? Does getting a "boatload of money" solve people's financial problems or just push those problems down the road?

The professors obtained a list of winners for a Florida lotto game called Fantasy Five. Then they compared those names to Florida bankruptcy records to see how many winners filed for bankruptcy and when. In the first couple of years after winning a jackpot, people who won small amounts were more likely to file bankruptcy than people who won larger amounts. That makes sense. Someone with a large amount of money can initially weather a bad time or keep creditors at bay.

But after three years, large lottery winners were more likely to file for bankruptcy than small winners. The people who won larger sums did not use their new wealth to pay down debt. Financial consultant Don McNay concludes, "Winning the lottery did not help people increase their net worth. They needed to have set goals and an understanding of finance to make their lives better. It appears that [the lottery winners] did not have those fundamental tools."

Solomon Sense For Dollars And Cents!

Illustration: Solomon’s Stupid Wealth
According to www.wealthresult.com Solomon was wealthier than any human that ever lived.  He was so wealthy that it was not even close.  Solomon was wealthier than Bill Gates.  Solomon was wealthier than Steve Jobs.  He was wealthier than Henry Ford, Rockefeller, Vanderbilt.  As a matter of fact, he was wealthier than all of those men put together.  Let me give you the facts about Solomon Sense for Dollars and Cents.  

King Solomon Worth = $2.1 Trillion (Reign 970 to 931 BCE)

The Bible states that King Solomon had a fortune that dwarfed any person who had lived before him, making him the wealthiest person in the world.

King Solomon reigned for 40 years. Each year, Solomon received 25 tons of gold.

1 ton of Gold is worth $64.3 Million dollars at $2000/oz Therefore, 25 tone times 40 years of his reign amounts to $64,300,800,000

This did not include income derived from business, trade, nor the annual tribute paid to him by all of the kings and governors of Arabia. King Solomon's throne was coated in pure gold and inlaid with ivory. It had 6 stairs, 12 lion statues (1 on either side of each step) and a solid gold foot stool. Two larger lion statues stood on either side of the throne.

All of the goblets and household articles in Solomon's palace were pure gold. King Solomon was reportedly so rich, that during the years of his reign over Jerusalem, his immense wealth caused silver to be considered of little value and as common as rocks. As such, nothing in Solomon's palace was made of silver. 

The same devaluation was noted of cedar wood, a lumber which at the time, was considered to be of great monetary value and cultural significance by many societies at the time. 

Point:
So, Solomon is giving his son, and us advice about money.  Considering his economic impact, it would be wise to listen to his words.

A. Watch Your Loans vs. 1
1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor, have given your pledge for a stranger,

Point:
This is just saying you are responsible for the note this other person has made. The foolishness here is making one’s self responsible for another’s debt and pledging to pay if the other defaults. While there is a precedent for such a practice, it is far better to give to those in need or lend without interest.

Young people, many times, do not realize that they could have to pay the whole debt for something they did not receive by just signing an innocent looking piece of paper. Our society has gone debt crazy. We buy things on time that we should not have bought at all, because we do not have the money to pay for it. The #1 cause of divorce in America is debt.

Proverbs 19:17 ESV
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

B. Watch Your Lips vs. 2
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth, caught in the words of your mouth,

*Your Mouth Is Writing Checks That Your Body Can’t Cash!

Point:
This is very good advice about to be given in verses 3 through 5; get off the note.The situation is so serious that it is imperative to take control of one’s own God given resources and get out of such an intolerable arrangement immediately “deliver yourself”, before coming to poverty or slavery. When this chapter of Proverbs was written, a hand shake was just as binding as notarized notes are today. A promise to loan and pay off debt could be done verbally.  

Ecclesiastes 5:5 NIV
It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.

C. Watch Your Legacy vs. 4-5
4 Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; 5 save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler.

Point:
This is just saying, don't even wait until tomorrow, go today and beg your friend to let you off of this note. Just as a deer escapes from the hunter or a bird from a net, you will be free and not responsible for someone else's note.We are seeing in these parables just good rules for living successful business lives. These parables are to help us prosper in all that we do.

It is also important to note that our debt can be passed on to others leaving a legacy of resentment especially among family members.  Do you want to be known for being irresponsible with your finances.  That is why we should commit to using our wealth for God’s Kingdom.  When we give we should give with no expectation of payment.  Give out of the generosity of our hearts.  

After all…

2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

For His Son, Solomon Gives Advice On…

I. Wealth vs. 1-5 

II. Work vs.  6-11
Proverbs 6:6-11 ESV
6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
    consider her ways, and be wise.
7 Without having any chief,
    officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
    and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
    When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

Illustration: Honest Abe And A No Good Brother

In 1850, Abraham Lincoln's step-brother, John D. Johnston, wrote to him and asked, yet again, for a loan so he could settle some debts. On previous occasions Lincoln simply gave Johnston the money. But this time Lincoln responded with a "tough love" letter that included a helpful proposal.

Dear Johnston:
Your request for eighty dollars I do not think it best to comply with now. At the various times when I have helped you a little you have said to me, "We can get along very well now"; but in a very short time I find you in the same difficulty again. Now, this can only happen by some defect in your conduct. What that defect is, I think I know. You are not lazy, and still you are an idler. I doubt whether, since I saw you, you have done a good whole day's work in any one day…. This habit of uselessly wasting time is the whole difficulty; it is vastly important to you, and still more so to your children, that you should break the habit ….



You are now in need of some money; and what I propose is, that you shall go to work, "tooth and nail," for somebody who will give you money for it …. and, to secure you a fair reward for your labor, I now promise you, that for every dollar you will, between this and the first of May, get for your own labor … I will then give you one other dollar …. Now, if you will do this, you will be soon out of debt, and, what is better, you will have a habit that will keep you from getting in debt again. But, if I should now clear you out of debt, next year you would be just as deep in as ever.

Affectionately your brother,

Abraham. Lincoln

Point:
A warning against laziness is appropriate after the discussion on the folly of guaranteeing someone else’s debt, since it is often lazy people who want others to provide for them. The ant is an example of industry, diligence and planning and serves as a rebuke to a sluggard (a lazy person who lacks self control). Folly sends a lazy man to learn from an ant.

God does not like for us to be lazy (sluggard). The ant throughout history has shown great industry. It is wise to follow someone or something that teaches us good habits. The ant works without another ant over him and, yet, gets his work done and done well. The ant prepares ahead and is never short of food. We can learn a lesson from the ant. We should not have to be driven to work, but should do our work, because it needs to be done. We should work hard and prepare ahead for the winter.

This lazy person (sluggard) loves to sleep late rather than to work. This lazy person uses every kind of excuse to avoid work. He says," I have to sleep a little, I do not have time to work right now".

Poverty will come upon a person who does not want to work. Money is earned by the sweat of the brow and with busy hands. People, who do not like to work, receive no money. This is just a warning against being lazy and a sleepy head.Just as a victim is overcome by a robber, so is the lazy man with his devotion to sleep rather than work, is led to poverty.

Point: The Origin of Work
The origin of work is depicted in the book of Genesis. In the opening passage, God is the primary worker, busy with the creation of the world (Genesis 1:15). The Bible states that God worked for six days and rested on the seventh day. These passages reveal that God was the first to do work on the earth. Therefore, legitimate work reflects the activity of God. Because God is inherently good, work is also inherently good (Psalm 25:8; Ephesians 4:28). Furthermore, Genesis 1:31 declares that, when God viewed the fruit of His labor, He called it “very good.” God examined and assessed the quality of His work, and when He determined that He had done a good job, He took pleasure in the outcome. By this example, it is apparent that work should be productive. Work should be conducted in a way that produces the highest quality outcome. The reward for work is the honor and satisfaction that comes from a job well done. 

Point: Man’s Role In Work
God created man in His image with characteristics like Him (Genesis 1:26-31). He created man to work with Him (Genesis 2:8 and 15). Additionally, Adam and Eve were to subdue and rule over the earth. What does this original work mandate mean? To cultivate means to foster growth and to improve. To maintain means to preserve from failure or decline. To subdue means to exercise control and discipline. Rule over means to administer, take responsibility for, and make decisions. This mandate applies to all vocations. The 15th-century Reformation leaders saw an occupation as a ministry before God. Jobs should be acknowledged as ministries, and workplaces should be considered as mission fields.

How Should We Work?

A. Creatively 

B. Cheerfully

Point:
Simply put, God worked and continues to work.  Jesus was dedicated to the work of His Father. We are created in God’s image therefore we should work.  God’s work involved creativity.  His work was complex.  God took joy in HIs work and found it to be good.  God’s work can still be seen today.  When we work, we should strive for the same expressions.  We should work creatively and joyfully leaving a long lasting legacy of excellence behind us.  True, there is a limit to our work.  However, while we work we should work giving God glory for our diligence.   

Psalm 90:17 NIV
17 May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us-- yes, establish the work of our hands.

For His Son, Solomon Gives Advice On…

I. Wealth vs. 1-5 

II. Work vs.  6-11

III. Witness vs. 12-15
Proverbs 6: 12-15 ESV
12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
    goes about with crooked speech,
13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
    points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
    continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
    in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

Illustration: Pete Rose
The case of Pete Rose remains an enduring scandal 25 years after the Cincinnati Reds player and manager agreed to a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball on August 23, 1989. In 2014, the conversation about him often harkens back to images of Rose’s grit and on-field excellence during the 1970s.  Rose, now 73, seemingly remains hopeful of being reinstated into the sport, despite a life in “exile” that was recently explored by Tyler Kepner in the New York Times. Many pundits support him in that hope.     

But MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s review of Rose’s application for readmission to the game has remained under review at least a decade. Selig is set to retire as commissioner in January 2015 and has given no indication that a re-evaluation of Rose is imminent.

Despite the goodwill towards Rose, his transgression in betting on games remains as serious today as it was in 1989. Which is to say, very serious.



I remember when Pete Rose was banned from baseball.  Back then I saw the punishment not fitting the crime.  I am not going to try to debate that point.  I will say this about Pete Rose, he lied.  Pete lied over and over again.  He lied to the media.  He denied wrongdoing.  He stuck his finger in the camera and said that he was wrongly accused.  He did this for more than a decade before finally coming clean.  However, the damage was done.  Pete will forever be remembered for his off the field shenanigans than his Charlie Hustle persona.  

Point:
We see from this description and other descriptions of winking with the eye that it is used to trick people. This speaking with his feet shows that he is running to mischief. This talking with his fingers indicates evil gestures of the fingers. We have talked before about the mouth speaking from the issue of the heart. As the man thinketh in his heart, the mouth speaketh.
Apparently this was common in the East. Fearing detection and to hide his intention, the deceiver spoke lies to the victim while giving signals with his eyes, hands and feet to someone else in on the deception to carry out the intrigue.

Point:
That’s the problem with people.  We have such a propensity towards lies and slander.  In this Scripture, Solomon warns us against people who for their own personal gain slander other and lie about themselves.  This man winks his eye because he is hiding something.  His motivations are not clear.  He shifts blame and creates quarrels to give himself positions of higher prestige and authority.  

The only problem is that this person will be met with destruction and brokenness.  His motivations will be brought to light.  

Friend, do you know people like this?  I do.  I have even gone to church with some of them.  You know, a pastor gave me some wise words long ago.  He said, “Stuart, you don’t have to get you enemies to like you or respect you.  You don’t have to convince them of your way of thinking.  All you have to do is OUTLAST them.”  At the time I didn’t understand those words but there is real truth in that statement.  Brothers and sisters, let me tell you I have been lied about and slandered but Im still here.  You have been lied about and slandered too.  Guess what, remain.  God will reveal the wickedness of evil people.  It may take days, months or even years.  However, the truth will come to light.  If you can wait and be patient, God will display Himself in your life through love and perseverance.  

Solomon compares the wicked to the faithful and there is a huge canyon between the two of them.  

Colossians 4:6 NIV
Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.


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