This is the Wednesday night sermon for October 29th, 2008.
Everyday Wisdom part 10
We are continuing our series in the book of Proverbs entitled, “Everyday Wisdom.”
In my years of living on this earth, I’ve discovered that life is full of contrasts and contrasting phrases. Phrases like, “You either in or out; its either black or white; your either hot or cold.” These phrases are used to show the difference between events, people, or things.
I’m sure that you’ve probably heard many phrases like these spoken as well, plus a few others. Have you ever wondered what contrasts are anyway?
Well the definition for contrasts is, “To show differences when compared; to set in opposition in order to show or emphasize differences.”
You may be wondering what contrasts have to do with Proverbs 12. Well, everything actually; because the entire chapter is full of contrasts. Solomon contrasts the way of the wicked and the way of the upright and wise.
Proverbs 12 contrasts the way of the righteous/wise and the way of wicked this way: Those who walk the way of the righteous/wise find favor with God; those who walk the way of the wicked are foolish.
1. The words of the wicked deceive; the words of the upright deliver.
Proverbs 12:6 NET – The words of the wicked lie in wait to shed innocent blood, but the words of the upright will deliver them.
Wicked people not only try to destroy by actions, but even their words set up an ambush to destroy and deceive.
They may use smooth talking words and flattery as an ambush to get what they really want, and that is their way at whatever cost. In our days, people will do whatever is necessary to exalt themselves, even to the point of tearing others down. What they say may sound appealing and pleasant at first, but they are just laying a trap, an ambush. And if you are not discerning and asking the Spirit of the Lord for wisdom, you can get caught up in their trap before you know what has hit you.
In fact, Proverbs has a warning for believers not to even envy them or long to be with them.
Proverbs 24:1-2 NET – 24:1 Do not envy evil people, do not desire to be with them; 24:2 for their hearts contemplate violence, and their lips speak harm.
How will the words of the upright or righteous deliver?
By Acquiring Truth. In Hebrew “Acquire” means, “To buy, to invest in.” The one truth we have in this world is God’s Word itself, so invest your life into it.
Proverbs 23:23 NET – Acquire truth and do not sell it – wisdom, and discipline, and understanding.
John 17:17 NET – Set them apart in the truth; your word is truth.
By quieting yourself to listen to God’s truth.
Ecclesiastes 9:17 NET – The words of the wise are heard in quiet, more than the shouting of a ruler is heard among fools.
C. Let’s look at our next set of contrasts.
2. The thought out plans of the righteous leads to good decisions; the advice of the wicked brings deceit.
Proverbs 12:5 NET – The plans of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
These plans of the righteous in Hebrew are thought out plans.
The righteous are not just flying by the seat of the pants, but they have thought through what they say, and what they are planning to do. This thinking through also involves prayer and seeking the face of the Father. They have sought out the counsel of God’s Word concerning situations. They have sought out the counsel of other trusted believers as well. They test and try everything before decisions are made – these lead to good decisions.
The wicked may receive counsel, but they do not receive counsel from God’s Word, nor do they truly seek the wisdom from the Father in private prayer, nor do they seek the advice of the godly.
The counsel of the wicked cannot be trusted, it only brings deceit.
3. The words of the wicked cuts like a sword; the words of the wise bring healing.
Proverbs 12:18 NET – Speaking recklessly is like the thrusts of a sword, but the words of the wise bring healing.
To speak recklessly is to speak without thinking, just saying what you feel, not worrying about the consequences.
In fact, in Hebrew “to speak recklessly” also means, “To speak rashly, thoughtlessly, and carelessly.” It is to speak words out of hurt and anger. They are like thrusts of a sword. They cut and hurt the intended victim. Sometimes these victims are people who are already hurt, and the continued thrusts causes more and more pain.
The words of the wise on the other hand do not cut like the thrusts of a sword, but they are intended to bring healing.
Because their words are thought out, prayed over, received counsel from God’s Word and other believers, their words are faithful and true, gentle and kind, uplifting and encouraging, thereby, their words bring healing.
4. The wise put off their old way of life and put on the new man created in God’s image.
Ephesians 4:22-24 NET – 4:22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, 4:23 to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 4:24 and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.
As Christians we have been redeemed and freed from living the old way we lived before Christ.
We have been redeemed and taught by Christ through His word to put on the new man created in God’s image. This is done by the renewing of our minds in Christ Jesus.
Our thinking is no longer of the impure variety, but the pure.
As we have looked at the contrasts between the upright/wise and the wicked, do you see some areas that you need growth in? Then I’d encourage you to grow in those areas. Remember, we’ve been redeemed and freed from our old way of thinking. God has and is continuing to renew our minds. We are now a new creation, created in God’s image of righteousness and holiness that comes from His truth.
In light of this speak words that bring deliverance and healing; words that are not rash and thrusts through like a sword and hurt and damage, but words that are thought out, planned, prayed about, under the authority of God’s word and counsel and tested with the counsel of other believers.
There are many people in the word today that need the upright and wise to begin speaking words of life in their situation. Let us take up this challenge from this sermon and be the words of Christ in our world of darkness today.