Welcome back as we are continuing, now on week 12 of our extended odyssey, having undertaken a search and rescue mission for wisdom.
The last few weeks we’ve focused on how righteousness and living a righteous life walk hand in hand with wisdom. That message is one that will be echoed in today’s discussion as well.
When the Bible keeps talking about the same thing over and over,that’s because it is important. That’s why Solomon continues on the themes of loving wisdom and treasuring her.
Along with that we choose to understand that honoring the commandments of God will prevent us from making complete messes of our lives. They are our service, protection and give us life, joy, and everlasting blessings.
A timely message I hope as in preparing our conversation for today I came across a quote that I found to be very relevant to our topic.
I’ll share that next on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
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.
I want to thank you all for being here today. Whether you’ve followed this series, or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in a 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.
As I alluded to moments ago, here’s something I was led to, from Andy Stanley, who shared,
“Your character determines your legacy. You can lead without integrity, but character is what makes you a leader worth following.”
Poignant. Direct and very “Becoming”.
Last week we spent our time together examining the strengths gained by “Living Righteously“.
Realizing the need for each of us to do so is something that too many can simply put be explained as something that should be accepted. While it ’s easy to make that statement sometimes, I think the concept is not always easily understood.
Each of us is different. We come from varied backgrounds and we are all at differing levels of development. This includes where any of us may be concerning our own life lessons and experiences on any of the four levels; physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual.
Therefore to further develop our common understanding of what it is to be living in righteousness, I believe we should accept the term as meaning to always be trying to do is good just and correct. Plus what is in accord with the Lord’s will.
Those who live righteously are not to consider themselves better than others or try to enforce an air of superiority. We should always be becoming humble, loving and at peace.
Plus we need to be open to learning and accepting gentle corrections. Yes, note that I said corrections, plural, with an “s” on the end. Because we all will fail, we all will make mistakes; however if we embrace the wisdom found in each opportunity, then we can continue our momentum forward and upward along our shared path of “Becoming Today”.
That’s where we’ll pick up today with our study of Proverbs Chapter 12.
Let’s read together from The Passion Translation, this chapter which begins with:
It’s Right to Live for God
To learn the truth you must long to be teachable,[a]
or you can despise correction and remain ignorant.
If your heart is right, favor flows from the Lord,
but a devious heart invites his condemnation.
You can’t expect success by doing what’s wrong.
But the lives of his lovers are deeply rooted and firmly planted.
The integrity and strength of a virtuous wife[b]
transforms her husband into an honored king.[c]
But the wife who disgraces her husband
weakens the strength of his identity.[d]
The lovers of God are filled with good ideas
that are noble and pure,
but the schemes of the sinner
are crammed with nothing but lies.
The wicked use their words to ambush and accuse,[e]
but the lovers of God speak to defend and protect.
The wicked are taken out, gone for good,
but the godly families shall live on.
Everyone admires a man of principles,
but the one with a corrupt heart is despised.
Just be who you are and work hard for a living,
for that’s better than pretending to be important
and starving to death.
A good man takes care of the needs of his pets,
while even the kindest acts of a wicked man are still cruel.
Work hard at your job and you’ll have what you need.
Following a get-rich-quick scheme is nothing but a fantasy.
The cravings of the wicked are only for what is evil,[f]
but righteousness is the core motivation for the lovers of God,
and it keeps them content and flourishing.[g]
Wisdom Means Being Teachable
The wicked will get trapped by their words
of gossip, slander, and lies.[h]
But for the righteous, honesty is its own defense.
For there is great satisfaction in speaking the truth,
and hard work brings blessings back to you.
A fool is in love with his own opinion,
but wisdom means being teachable.
Learning to Speak Wisely
If you shrug off an insult and refuse to take offense,
you demonstrate discretion indeed.[i]
But the fool has a short fuse
and will immediately let you know when he’s offended.
Truthfulness marks the righteous,
but the habitual liar can never be trusted.
Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword,
cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt.
But the words of the wise soothe and heal.
Truthful words will stand the test of time,
but one day every lie will be seen for what it is.
Deception fills the hearts of those who plot harm,
but those who plan for peace[j] are filled with joy.
Calamity is not allowed to overwhelm the righteous,
but there’s nothing but trouble waiting for the wicked.
Live in the truth and keep your promises,
and the Lord will keep delighting in you,
but he detests a liar.
Those who possess wisdom don’t feel the need
to impress others with what they know,
but foolish ones make sure their ignorance is on display.
If you want to reign in life,[k]
don’t sit on your hands.
Instead, work hard at doing what’s right,
for the slacker will end up working to make someone else succeed.
Anxious fear brings depression,
but a life-giving word of encouragement
can do wonders to restore joy to the heart.[l]
Lovers of God give good advice to their friends,[m]
but the counsel of the wicked will lead them astray.
A passive person won’t even complete a project,
but a passionate person makes good use
of his time, wealth, and energy.[n]
Abundant life is discovered by walking in righteousness,
but holding on to your anger leads to death.[o]
Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.
This passage is broken down into three sections, beginning with the statement “it’s Right To Live for God”. Evidence is then given to aid testimony for this bold declarative statement that includes as we read in verses two and three, “ If your heart is right, favor flows from the Lord, but a devious heart invites his condemnation. You can’t expect success by doing what’s wrong. But the lives of his lovers are deeply rooted and firmly planted.”
Have I mentioned, “when the Bible keeps talking about the same thing over and over,that’s because it is important”? Well it is. That’s why the themes of opening our hearts to enlightenment and pure Divine love are again echoing in today’s topic.
As are some common sense principles such as outlined in verse nine: “Just be who you are and work hard for a living, for that’s better than pretending to be important and starving to death”.
A solid truth and really I don’t see any way for the idea to be debated unless of course you believe starving to death is a good idea.
Skipping ahead for a moment to verse 11, “Work hard at your job and you’ll have what you need. Following a get-rich-quick scheme is nothing but a fantasy”.
Could Solomon have had prophetic dreams about my emails? The ones I receive, not send. Every day there are dozens of them attempting to lure me into no effort, totally automated making a million dollars in 10 minutes nonsense.
Works and the integrity and character we invest in them are vital. Too often I see people fall prey to those trying to resell the same nonsense someone else sold them all based upon the principles of not needing to do anything but put your life on auto-pilot.
Life is meant to be lived. It is an ongoing experience that requires our participation. You can’t set an auto-responder and walk away.
There are far too many of these false messages, robbing many of hope, when the schemes ultimately fail. I was especially outraged earlier this year when I watched for a week as one such huckster spent hours everyday teaching the opposite of wisdom and righteous living.
Even sadder for me this individual is associated with an individual who has been well known for decades in the motivation and personal development fields, but as his disciple and “business partner” kept repeating the message, “just steal what you can and move on”, it got even worse.
As the days went on he provided others who bought into his system and they were proudly declaring his false advice as a mantra, “just steal what you can and move on”.
It’s just wrong. Unwise and the opposite of living righteously.
The next section in today’s chapter is just three sentences, but they are very valuable ones.
Reminding us that, “Wisdom Means Being Teachable”, verse 13 notes that individuals like the ones I just mentioned will receive the appropriate recompense. As the passage quotes, “The wicked will get trapped by their words of gossip, slander, and lies,…’ as well as a note for those that refuse to be deceived with the promise, “ But for the righteous, honesty is its own defense”.
Is that the basis of justice? Honesty is the best policy? Being true and truthful is far easier to defend that maliciousness, hate and fraud.
As Solomon continues in verse 14, “For there is great satisfaction in speaking the truth,
and hard work brings blessings back to you”.
This concept can also be reinforced by reading Galatians 5:22 and 23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”
The middle section of today’s reading is a warning for those that seek to prey on the righteous, as we read in verse 15, “ A fool is in love with his own opinion, but wisdom means being teachable”.
The final section then touches upon something we’ve looked at in depth before. The power and importance of the words we choose to use. We’ll touch briefly upon this here, but I’ll include links to our earlier conversations to help you develop your own speaking plan.
As the final passages in today’s reading are defined as “Learning to Speak Wisely”, we are being prompted to remember that words have meaning. And in those meanings are the power to create as well as the power to destroy. Use your power wisely.
As Solomon had learned and is shared with us in verses 18 and 19, “Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal. Truthful words will stand the test of time, but one day every lie will be seen for what it is”.
Plus let’s add an excerpt I think is a strong one to wrap up today’s topic. Verse 22 espouses much wisdom as we note, quote: “Live in the truth and keep your promises, and the Lord will keep delighting in you, but he detests a liar.
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 12 weeks of this odyssey. 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.
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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.
Also I’ll remind you that the footnotes referred to are available below and include underlined study links.