How To Be Wise

I want to say thank you again for being here today. Whether you have been following this series for the past three plus 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 arrived at day 22 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 we discussed “Your Source”.  It was a series of short to the point quotations about wisdom. In fact we can call these one liners as every verse is a single sentence.

Because these teachings are so concise and finely crafted there is not a lot of analysis to undertake. Rather I offered a few personal observations to some of the verses that really rung true with me today.

The first of those was verse two: “We may think we’re right all the time, but God thoroughly examines our motives”. WE can’t even get away with lying to ourselves when God is involved. There is no hiding and there is no way we can justify believing or proclaiming how right we think we are before the only omnipotent, perfect One.

Then the next line, verse three reads as, “It pleases God more when we demonstrate godliness and justice than when we merely offer him a sacrifice”. You can’t just write a check. It takes commitment, dedication and perseverance to truly please the Lord.

Then I wondered what was on Solomon’s mind when he came up with verse nine? “It’s better to live all alone in a rickety shack than to share a castle with a crabby spouse!”

Which is also a lot like he repeated in verse 19, “It’s better to live in a hut in the wilderness than with a crabby, scolding spouse!”.

Both can be described as ‘if mama ain’t happy nobody’s happy!” Or another common saying, ‘happy wife, happy life’. However ladies remember it works the other way too. We have our responsibility to wisely maintain balance and peace in the home. 

Next we’ll press ahead to Proverbs Chapter 22.

Today’s chapter is divided into two sections. The first sixteen verses are like yesterday, one line nuggets of wisdom. Then in the second part we’ll begin an exploration of the “Sayings of the Wise Sages”. Beginning today and continuing as we press ahead, these are called in other translations Thirty sayings of the Wise. Today’s study includes the first six of those. 

Let’s read together:

How to Live a Life of Wisdom

A beautiful reputation is more to be desired than great riches,[a]

    and to be esteemed by others is more honorable

    than to own immense investments.[b]

The rich and the poor have one thing in common:

    the Lord God created each one.

A prudent person with insight foresees danger coming

    and prepares himself for it.[c]

    But the senseless rush blindly forward

    and suffer the consequences.

Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord

    will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.

Twisted and perverse lives are surrounded by demonic influence.[d]

    If you value your soul, stay far away from them.

Dedicate your children to God

    and point them in the way that they should go,[e]

    and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.

If you borrow money with interest,

    you’ll end up serving the interests of your creditors,[f]

    for the rich rule over the poor.

Sin is a seed that brings a harvest;

    you’ll reap a heap of trouble with every seed you plant.

    For your investment in sins pays a full return—

    the full punishment you deserve![g]

When you are generous[h] to the poor,

    you are enriched with blessings in return.

10 

Say goodbye to a troublemaker and you’ll say goodbye

    to quarrels, strife, tension, and arguments,

    for a troublemaker traffics in shame.[i]

11 

The Lord loves those whose hearts are holy,

    and he is the friend of those whose ways are pure.[j]

12 

God passionately watches[k] over

    his deep reservoir[l] of revelation-knowledge,

    but he subverts the lies of those who pervert the truth.

13 

A slacker always has an excuse for not working—

    like “I can’t go to work. There’s a lion outside!

    And murderers too!”[m]

14 

Sex with an adulteress is like falling into the abyss.

    Those under God’s curse jump right in to their own destruction.

15 

Although rebellion[n] is woven into a young man’s heart,

    tough discipline can make him into a man.

16 

There are two kinds of people headed toward poverty:

    those who exploit the poor

    and those who bribe the rich.[o]

Sayings of the Wise Sages

17 

Listen carefully and open your heart.[p]

    Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.

18 

You’ll become winsome and wise

    when you treasure the beauty of my words.

    And always be prepared to share them at the appropriate time.

19 

For I’m releasing these words to you this day,

    yes, even to you, so that your living hope

    will be found in God alone,

    for he is the only one who is always true.

20–21 

Pay attention to these excellent sayings of three-fold things.[q]

    For within my words you will discover true and reliable revelation.

    They will give you serenity[r] so that you can reveal

    the truth of the word of the one who sends you.

22 

Never oppress the poor

    or pass laws with the motive of crushing the weak.

23 

For the Lord will rise to plead their case

    and humiliate the one who humiliates the poor.[s]

24–25 

Walk away from an angry man

    or you’ll embrace a snare in your soul[t]

    by becoming bad-tempered just like him.

26 

Why would you ever guarantee a loan for someone else

    or promise to be responsible for someone’s debts?

27 

For if you fail to pay you could lose your shirt![u]

28 

The previous generation has set boundaries in place.

    Don’t you dare move them just to benefit yourself.[v]

29 

If you are uniquely gifted in your work,

    you will rise and be promoted.

    You won’t be held back—

    you’ll stand before kings!

Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.

Touching upon the first half of today’s reading I’ll just briefly take note of a couple of the insights shared, beginning with verse one: “A beautiful reputation is more to be desired than great riches, and to be esteemed by others is more honorable than to own immense investments”.

Our name should stand for something. It should be a symbol to all of what we are and who we are “Becoming”. To tarnish our name is in a sense to bankrupt ourselves.

And I also wanted to point to verse 16, “There are two kinds of people headed toward poverty: those who exploit the poor and those who bribe the rich”.

This is one that could very easily be ripped from today’s headlines. While many seek to be divisie and think they can buy their own regulations, rules and even laws, ultimately the Vindicator will step in and what seemed like riches to them will be an eternity of quite the opposite. 

The next section, which will continue for several days, steps away from the quick conversational common sense idea and step back into the storytelling vein of the times in which they were recorded.

The first of these 30 wise sayings, which come from a  variety of unattributed wise sages, is found in verses 17 through 21:

“ Listen carefully and open your heart. Drink in the wise revelation that I impart.

18 You’ll become winsome and wise when you treasure the beauty of my words. And always be prepared to share them at the appropriate time.

19 For I’m releasing these words to you this day, yes, even to you, so that your living hope will be found in God alone, for he is the only one who is always true.

20–21 Pay attention to these excellent sayings of three-fold things. For within my words you will discover true and reliable revelation.They will give you serenity so that you can reveal the truth of the word of the one who sends you.

So you can see it’s a return to the poetic prose we shared in earlier chapters plus it restates the promise that if you listen to what I say and take it to heart, you will be rewarded.

The second saying reiterates the thoughts we saw expressed in verse 16. In  verses 22 and 23 we read, “Never oppress the poor or pass laws with the motive of crushing the weak. For the Lord will rise to plead their case and humiliate the one who humiliates the poor”.

Looking ahead to the fifth saying, it’s one line that delves into a lot of meaning. Verse 28 as it is translated here is, “The previous generation has set boundaries in place. Don’t you dare move them just to benefit yourself.”

In the N-I-V, it is written as “Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors”.  In Biblical times removing these landmarks was a severe penalty, To do so one was attempting to defraud another attempting to steal land, property and the inheritance of another.

However I think the wisdom here goes beyond the protection of personal property. It even entails more than not coveting what another has. It speaks to not destroying laws, traditions and beliefs. 

Too often we embrace today as a disposable society. Not only are landfills overflowing and oceans filling with trash, we dispose of people just as easily. Rather than listening  and learning then putting that wisdom to use, too many have adopted the modus operandi of using them and abusing them. 

That’s the case we are seeing everyday here in the U.S. but refusing to address openly. As for worker shortages, those in power want to say no one wants to work or choose to attack potential employees as lazy. However what we are realizing is that people are tired of being treated poorly, in negative environments for short pay.

In fact one young woman I spoke with recently defined her job search by saying “why would I want to work a crappy job for minimum wage, when I can find another crappy job for $18 an hour?” 

While not the best attitude it does point to the fact that those who have treated workers as less than for decades are now seeing their profit margins slip away, because they can not get the job done.

Empty platitudes of “essential workers” without compensating people for exceptional above and beyond performance are being rejected and it’s the ones opposing the workers that are paying the price.

As we read earlier, “the Lord will rise to plead their case and humiliate the one who humiliates the poor.”

This is also echoed in today’s closing verse: “If you are uniquely gifted in your work, you will rise and be promoted. You won’t be held back—  you’ll stand before kings!”

The N-I-V phrases it as, “Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank”.

Continue to bury your heads in the sand and wish for things to go back to what you perceived as normal and you are rejecting wisdom. Embrace the learning experiences of the past nearly two years and press ahead and the rewards will be yours as we all continue “Becoming Today”. 

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 22 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”.

Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to above are available here and include underlined study links:

Footnotes

22:1 The Hebrew is simply “name preferred to wealth.” The Aramaic indicates it could be “the name [of God].”

 

22:1 Or “silver and gold.” Remember, it is Solomon, one of the richest men to ever live, who penned these words.

 

22:3 Wise people solve problems before they happen.

 

22:5 Or “thorns and snares.” This becomes a metaphor for demonic curses and troubles. Thorns are associated with the fall of Adam. Jesus wore a crown of thorns and took away our curse. The snares picture the temptations of evil that the devil places in our path.

 

22:6 Or “train them in the direction they are best suited to go.” Some Jewish scholars teach this means understanding your children’s talents and then seeing that they go into that field.

 

22:7 The Septuagint reads “the servant will lend to his own master.”

 

22:8 As translated from the Septuagint.

 

22:9 The Hebrew word translated here as “generous” actually means “to have a bountiful eye.” It is a figure of speech for generosity, a life of helping others.

 

22:10 As translated from the Aramaic.

 

22:11 As translated from the Septuagint. Followers of Jesus enjoy a relationship with our holy King as we live in the light and love to please him.

 

22:12 Or “the eyes of the Lord [watch].” In the church today, prophets become eyes in the body of Christ. They see and reveal God’s heart for his people.

 

22:12 Although the concept of a reservoir is not found in the Hebrew, this translation adds it for poetic nuance.

 

22:13 This humorous verse uses both satire and a metaphor. There’s always an excuse for not working hard. The Aramaic text adds “And murderers too!”

 

22:15 The Aramaic word used here means “senseless.”

 

22:16 The Hebrew is literally “Oppressing the poor is gain; giving to the rich is loss. Both end up only in poverty.”

 

22:17 From this verse to 24:22 we have a collection of proverbs that lead to virtue. They are especially designed for the young person about to enter a career and start a family.

 

22:20–21 As translated from the Aramaic. Most translators find this verse difficult to convey. The Hebrew can be “I have written excellent things,” “I have written three times,” “I write thirty sayings [proverbs],” “I have written you previously,” or “I have written you generals.” The Septuagint reads “You should copy these things three times.” If the Proverbs contain keys to understanding riddles and mysteries (see Prov. 1:2–6), then we have one of those keys given to us here. God speaks in threes, for he is a triune God. We have a body, soul, and spirit. God lived in a three-room house (the outer court, the Holy Place, and the chamber of the Most Holy Place). These three-fold dimensions are throughout the Bible.

 

22:20–21 Serenity is only found in the Aramaic.

 

22:23 As translated from the Aramaic. The Hebrew is “he will rob the soul of the one who robs the poor.”

 

22:24–25 As translated from the Aramaic.

 

22:27 Or “bed.”

 

22:28 This refers to moving property lines of your neighbors to take more land, or it could mean moving landmarks and memorials placed there by ancestors. It also speaks to the moral boundaries that the previous generation modeled—they are to be upheld.

The Passion Translation®. 
Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2020 by Passion & Fire Ministries, Inc

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