I want to thank you all for being here today. Whether you’ve followed this series for the past nearly three weeks or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in a month-long study of wisdom as taught in the Book of Proverbs. If you’d like to know more about The Passion Translation and why we are using it for this undertaking, you can find a recap near the end of today’s conversation.
We are continuing forward as we have now met up with day 18 of our extended odyssey. Our search and rescue mission for wisdom.
Understanding that enlightenment is within our reach we shall seek and find the knowledge and inspiration necessary to uplift, support and enhance our collective journeys as well as our own personal paths.
Yesterday our discussion centered around “Wisdom’s Virtues”. Chapter 17 opened with some kindly offered advice, “A simple, humble life with peace and quiet is far better than an opulent lifestyle with nothing but quarrels and strife at home”.
Sure sounds very “Becoming” to me.
As a way of explaining for us what to expect when seeking to live virtuously, verse three cautions, “In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire, the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life”.
This is a lesson also instructed in 2nd Timothy 3-12, “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,…”. However, as we’ve previously studied in Proverbs 3 verses five and six, as written in the N-I-V, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”.
In The Passion Translation, verse five was recorded as, “Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make”.
So while our lives will never be without challenges, we shall become empowered to overcome them. How? By accepting the wisdom offered in Phillipians four, “Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic and real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind”.
As we continued reading together we see in Proverbs 17 verse 15 another reference that has timely impacts on our current realities, “There is nothing God hates more than condemning the one who is innocent and acquitting the one who is guilty”.
There are any number of instances, ‘ripped from the headlines’ in which we see these actions occurring. There lies a challenge.
It’s not ours to seek retribution as the often misquoted scripture in the King James Version is actually, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”.
Too often we hear the edited retort used as a justification for revenge or attack as ‘vengeance is mine saith the Lord’. Those editing some important words whether through malicious intent or false knowledge, believe it gives them an authority to be judge and jury.
However that is simply not true as the NIV version reads, with more modern language to aid our shared understanding this same verse of Romans 12:19 is written as, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord”.
Still clinging onto to the false interpretation, well as further evidence here is how it is explained in the T-P-T, “Beloved, don’t be obsessed with taking revenge, but leave that to God’s righteous justice.For the Scriptures say: “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay,” says the Lord”.
Ultimately He is the final authority and wisdom teaches us that God is our Vindicator.
Now we’ll further consider the search for justice, truth and wisdom as we continue today with our study of Proverbs Chapter 18.
Today’s reading is titled as:
Wisdom Gives Life
An unfriendly person isolates himself
and seems to care only about his own issues.
For his contempt of sound judgment makes him a recluse.[a]
Senseless people find no pleasure in acquiring true wisdom,
for all they want to do is impress you with what they know.
An ungodly man is always cloaked with disgrace,
as dishonor and shame are his companions.
Words of wisdom[b] are like a fresh, flowing brook—
like deep waters that spring forth from within,
bubbling up inside the one with understanding.
It is atrocious when judges show favor to the guilty
and deprive the innocent of justice.
A senseless man jumps headfirst into an argument;
he’s just asking for a beating for his reckless words.[c]
A fool has a big mouth that only gets him into trouble,
and he’ll pay the price for what he says.
The words of a gossip merely reveal the wounds of his own soul,[d]
and his slander penetrates into the innermost being.
The one who is too lazy to look for work
is the same one who wastes his life away.
The character of God is a tower of strength,[e]
for the lovers of God delight to run into his heart
and be exalted on high.
The rich, in their conceit, imagine that their wealth
is enough to protect them.
It becomes their confidence in a day of trouble.[f]
A man’s heart is the proudest when his downfall is nearest,
for he won’t see glory until the Lord sees humility.
Listen before you speak,
for to speak before you’ve heard the facts will bring humiliation.
The will to live sustains you when you’re sick,[g]
but depression crushes courage and leaves you unable to cope.
The spiritually hungry are always ready to learn more,
for their hearts are eager to discover new truths.
Would you like to meet a very important person?
Take a generous gift.
It will do wonders to gain entrance into his presence.
There are two sides to every story.
The first one to speak sounds true until you hear the other side
and they set the record straight.[h]
A coin toss[i] resolves a dispute
and can put an argument to rest
between formidable opponents.
It is easier to conquer a strong city
than to win back a friend whom you’ve offended.
Their walls go up, making it nearly impossible to win them back.[j]
Sharing words of wisdom is satisfying to your inner being.
It encourages you to know
that you’ve changed someone else’s life.[k]
Your words are so powerful
that they will kill or give life,
and the talkative person will reap the consequences.
When a man finds a wife,
he has found a treasure!
For she is the gift of God to bring him joy and pleasure.
But the one who divorces a good woman
loses what is good from his house.[l]
To choose an adulteress is both stupid and ungodly.[m]
The poor plead for help from the rich,
but all they get in return is a harsh response.
Some friendships don’t last for long,[n]
but there is one loving friend who is joined to your heart[o]
closer than any other!
Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.
Everyday it seems we find more and more people who need to consider verse two of today’s reading. “Senseless people find no pleasure in acquiring true wisdom, for all they want to do is impress you with what they know.”
Constantly we are bombarded with messages from self-proclaimed experts who want to fill our heads with their so-called beliefs, whether or not they actually believe them.
As the same verse is translated in the N I V, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions”.
Too often the talking heads are just spouting off for a ratings point, a click, another faceless follower or a random thumbs up irregardless of what the potential impacts of their rants may be.
It’s our responsibility to be aware of that and remain vigilant. To guard our minds and hearts from their manipulative, divisie chatter and focus on true enlightening wisdom. It’s our choice what we choose to accept or not, so we need to make our choices wisely.
Words are very important and as we’ll examine next are extremely powerful.
Verse four notes the beauty of wise words, “Words of wisdom are like a fresh, flowing brook— like deep waters that spring forth from within, bubbling up inside the one with understanding”.
However when words are not coming from a place of wisdom verse eight points out, “The words of a gossip merely reveal the wounds of his own soul, and his slander penetrates into the innermost being”.
Hurting people hurt people. It doesn’t make it right, and it does nothing to heal them, rather it just adds to the pain when they are ultimately held accountable.
That’s why it’s best to take a moment and breathe before you lash out. A mere moment can prevent a lot of pain as is shared in verse 13, “Listen before you speak, for to speak before you’ve heard the facts will bring humiliation”.
Another piece of cautionary advice echoes this need to listen first in verse 17, “There are two sides to every story. The first one to speak sounds true until you hear the other side and they set the record straight”.
Just because you hear something before you hear another take on it does not make it correct. Being first is not necessarily always best. You need to wait until you have the facts and not the hype in order to make informed decisions. Go beyond the headline and yes details in the fine print are always very important.
As we look ahead to verse 20, we see that reaching an informed understanding has it’s benefits as we read again, “Sharing words of wisdom is satisfying to your inner being. It encourages you to know that you’ve changed someone else’s life”.
Yes we also have the responsibility to share what we learn along the way. It’s how change is empowered. Unlike some of the examples we’ve discussed today I’m not talking about just spouting off, rather doing so in a balanced respectful manner.
Listening and responding from a place of peace and love is how we can effect change. Not just in ourselves but in our lives, our communities and our world.
Choosing our words carefully and learning when and what to share, or not is a requirement. It’s our responsibility, as verse 21 reminds it is one that can not be taken lightly nor should it be ignored.
“Your words are so powerful that they will kill or give life, and the talkative person will reap the consequences”.
Truth, understanding, enlightenment and wisdom are all very “Becoming” traits. They empower us to grow and learn to be who we truly were intended to be. Which in turn enables us to continue moving on, with our momentum fully powered forward and upward.
I hope you have enjoyed the first two weeks, yes 18 days already of this odyssey. Plus there is much more to come.
As always I encourage you to actively participate. Please post your comments, questions, suggestions or concerns below. This is a safe space to share and there are protections in place to keep spammers out. I will respond to all who choose to participate.
If you do not feel comfortable sharing below, remember you can always reach out privately through the easy to use form on our Contact page.
I pray each and every one of you enjoys a safe and blessed day. Then join us tomorrow as we continue our proverbial search here along this shared journey we call “Becoming Today”.
For those that have been here for a while I hope some of the repetitive nature of these posts is not too distracting. Not only are some of these points to remind us of our focus this month, it is also designed to also be welcoming.
We never know when a fellow traveler may walk along with us, or need to take a diversion.
This is especially true since I have no idea what algorithm directed you, what search method may have pointed in our direction or how many of you find us on any given day. Therefore it’s necessary to recap some of the outline for our combined purposes.
I appreciate your patience and understanding, so I’ll now mention we’ve come to that point in this conversation and if you’ve already heard this, then you can skip the next few paragraphs and pick up with the next image.
Now for those of you listening to the podcast I know that makes no sense, since you can’t hear any of the beautiful graphics we create each day, so you’ll just have to listen along; again… (insert audible giggle here) understanding that I’m laughing with you not at you.
As I am apt to do, even if you have studied Proverbs before, our undertaking may be a bit different, as we’ll be adding some passion to it.
I am being called to focus this teaching around the The Passion Translation® book of Isaiah and New Testament with Psalms, Proverbs, and Song of Songs translated from Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic texts.
Done so by Dr. Brian Simmons who believes the” message of God’s story is timeless; the Word of God doesn’t change. But the methods by which that story is communicated should be timely; the vessels that steward God’s Word can and should change.
Thank you again for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”.