I want to thank you all for being here today. Whether you’ve followed this series for the past three weeks or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in a 31-day 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 20 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.
On Saturday our discussion centered around “Extreme Exaltation”,A feeling of achieving a state of extreme happiness. What could be more exalting than that? Well as we discussed,the answer is achieving it by lifting up others.
Chapter 19 was like a greatest hits album. It included wise sayings attributed to Solomon, a man many consider among the wisest to ever live.
His love for wisdom, both gaining it and sharing it came from his deep abiding love for his fellow man. It was his desire that those in his kingdom live meaningful happy lives. That’s why many of his teachings deal with everyday living, like relationships, practical matters, and how to deal with obstacles.
In verse two of the reading he makes this point very directly, “The best way to live is with revelation-knowledge, for without it, you’ll grow impatient and run right into error”.
This passage takes our understanding of knowledge to a different level. It goes beyond information or just knowing something. Revelation-knowledge is more than an intellectual comprehension of something. It is wisdom gained directly from the Source. It is the realization of truth coming directly into your heart from God. When you truly know something you must embrace it in your heart. Our minds will play tricks on us, even try to deceive or mislead us.
When God puts it in our hearts, we can trust it and should live it. Should you choose not to, as Solomon cautions in verse three, “There are some people who ruin their own lives and then blame it all on God”. Nothing good can come from that. Being wise involves the free acceptance of personal responsibility for our choices and thoughts.
The attitudes and beliefs we have are not anyone else’s doing.
So as chapter 19 verse eight instructs, “Do yourself a favor and love wisdom. Learn all you can, then watch your life flourish and prosper!
Now we’ll further consider the search for justice, truth and wisdom as we continue today with our study of Proverbs Chapter 20.
Today’s reading is titled, “Are You Living Wisely?”. Hmm seems like I’ve heard that question already today. Anyway this discourse is like a greatest hits album volume two. It’s more of a collection of Solomon’s wise sayings grouped together for our consideration.
So let’s read together:
A drunkard is obnoxious, loud, and argumentative;
you’re a fool to get intoxicated with strong drink.
The rage of a king is like the roar of a lion.
Do you really want to go and make him angry?
A person of honor[a] will put an argument to rest.
Only the stupid want to pick a fight.
If you’re too lazy to plant seed,
it’s too bad when you have no harvest on which to feed.[b]
A man of deep understanding will give good advice,
drawing it out from the well within.
Many will tell you they’re your loyal friends,
but who can find one who is truly trustworthy?[c]
The lovers of God will walk in integrity,
and their children are fortunate
to have godly parents as their examples.
A righteous king sits on his judgment seat.
He scatters evil away from his kingdom
by his wise discernment.
Which one of us can truly say,
“I am free from sin in my life,
for my heart is clean and pure”?[d]
Mark it down:
God hates it when you demonstrate a double standard—
one for “them” and one for “you.”
All children show what they’re really like by how they act.
You can discern their character,
whether they are pure or perverse.
Lovers of God have been given eyes to see
and ears to hear from God.
If you spend all your time sleeping, you’ll grow poor.
So wake up, sleepyhead! Don’t sleep on the job.
And then there will be plenty of food on your table.
The buyer says, as he haggles over the price,
“That’s junk. It’s worthless!”
Then he goes out and brags,
“Look at the great bargain I got!”
You may have an abundance of wealth,
piles of gold and jewels,
but there is something of far greater worth:
speaking revelation-words of knowledge.
Anyone stupid enough to guarantee a loan for a stranger[e]
deserves to have his property held as security.
What you obtain dishonestly may seem sweet at first,
but sooner or later you’ll live to regret it.[f]
If you solicit good advice, then your plans will succeed.
So don’t charge into battle without wisdom,
for wars are won by skillful strategy.
A blabbermouth will reveal your secrets,
so stay away from people who can’t keep their mouths shut.[g]
If you despise your father or mother,
your life will flicker out like a lamp,
extinguished into the deepest darkness.
If an inheritance is gained too early in life,
it will not be blessed in the end.
Don’t ever say, “I’m going to get even with them
if it’s the last thing I do!”
Wrap God’s grace around your heart
and he will be the one to vindicate you.
The Lord hates double standards—
that’s hypocrisy at its worst![h]
It is the Lord who directs your life,
for each step you take is ordained by God
to bring you closer to your destiny.
So much of your life, then, remains a mystery![i]
Be careful in making a rash promise before God,
or you may be trapped by your vow and live to regret it.
A wise king is able to discern corruption
and remove wickedness from his kingdom.[j]
The spirit God breathed into man[k] is like a living lamp,
a shining light
searching into the innermost chamber of our being.
Good leadership[l] is built on love and truth,
for kindness and integrity
are what keep leaders in their position of trust.
We admire the young for their strength and beauty,
but the dignity of the old is their wisdom.[m]
When you are punished severely, you learn your lesson well—
for painful experiences do wonders to change your life.
Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.
Much of today’s chapter is short to the point observations. If it helps, you may want to hear them in the voice of an observational comic. Someone like Jerry Seinfeld, Bill Engvall, Jeff Foxworthy or even the late Andy Rooney.
Let’s begin with verse four in the voice of Seinfeld, “If you’re too lazy to plant seed, it’s too bad when you have no harvest on which to feed”. To which Jerry might add, ‘it really is a show about nothing’…
Next on stage on our light hearted look at common sense philosphoies is Bill, who after reading verse 16, “Anyone stupid enough to guarantee a loan for a stranger deserves to have his property held as security”. Followed by here’s your sign……
As we approach verse 19 Foxworthy steps forward we could hear, ‘you may be’ “A blabbermouth (if you) will reveal your secrets, so stay away from people who can’t keep their mouths shut.
And I can hear Andy Rooney pondering, ‘have you ever wondered why…’ verse 24 asks if “It is the Lord who directs your life, (and is responsible) for each step you take bring you closer to your destiny. (Then how is it) So much of your life, then, remains a mystery”(?)
Submitted for your consideration not to make fun of these verses, father to have some fun with them. There is indeed wisdom in each of these short expressions, and I hope this translation makes them straight forward enough that you can accept them without effort. Seems like good common sense ideas to live by.
Continuing on I now want to explore a few more verses. So if you have a pen, pencil, stylus or however you electronically take notes, let’s highlight verse 10 and do as it instructs:
“Mark it down: God hates it when you demonstrate a double standard—one for “them” and one for “you.”
I hope you made note of this because there is much good advice contained here. Double standards do nobody any good.
Whether you are holding yourself above another or allowing poor behaviors, by making excuses for those you see as lesser, these double standards don’t help you or the other person.
If you’re holding yourself above, then you’re guilty of pride and need to do some work on humbling yourself.
If you’re justifying inappropriate conduct, then you are not only not being of service to the individual, you’re subjecting yourself to their continuing to demean or even be abusive towards you. Enabling such behaviors is a lose-lose situation.
I also wanted to revisit one of the verses we took a lighthearted look at early. Just like the Scriptures I want to repeat verse 24 again, because it truly is important.
“It is the Lord who directs your life, for each step you take is ordained by God to bring you closer to your destiny.So much of your life, then, remains a mystery!”
Simplifying a bit, when you allow the Lord to direct your steps, you really don ‘t need to know what may happen next. Faith, our belief in the unseen proves for us that with God all things always end in ‘all is well’… well as long as we trust Him.
I shared some thoughts on this in an earlier post, “No Need To”.
It really is true, sometimes you really do not need to know.
On our shared path of “Becoming Today”, we all must deal with our own consequences, the result of our actions, decisions, attitudes and beliefs. So why not make it so we are celebrating the outcomes rather than trying to repair, overcome or run away from?
As we lovingly detach from things that no longer serve us, among those is the need to know everything. There really is no need to understand all that we encounter and endure.
It was a tough lesson for me, and at times is still challenging. As throughout my life and professional endeavors I have always been involved in uncovering information.Bringing issues to light of day and seeking truth, justice and liberty for all. More than a cliche it was a credo, my motto, part of an oath affirmed for my life to be of service for the greater good.
While I have no regrets about that, I have come to the realization that when it comes to the future and details about my own life I really do not need to know. Furthermore my struggle to uncover these elements has led to delays, obstacles and heartbreak.
As uncomfortable as it remains at times I have had to learn to accept not knowing. I have come to see that God has the solutions and my demanding answers often only interferes with His plans for me.
It’s part of His desire for us to be patient and live our lives steadfastly in faith. To trust in Him and worry not. As Jesus instructed,in Matthew 6:34, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
God has the solution you need, even before you knew there was a need or perceived a problem. When you accept this as the Truth and allow yourself to receive His promise, God will show up with the answers,
When? Soon. Suddenly…… now!
We have to find the strength to at times realize that not only do we not have all the answers, we also don’t need to know.
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 20 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”.