We are continuing, moving forward with week 17 of our extended odyssey, having undertaken a search and rescue mission for wisdom. Seventeen down, 14 more to go…
When the Scriptures bring up points about the same issues over and over it is because of their importance. 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. Which we’ll discuss next on this virtuous 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 for the past 16 weeks or if this is the first time you are joining us. We are involved in an ongoing weekly 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.
Last week as we discussed, “Living Like A Queen”, we spoke about how speaking the truth, setting the standards, raising the bar of excellence- not only for our own lives but also for all those around us is a shared responsibility.
Chapter 16 began with a cautionary reminder, “Go ahead and make all the plans you want, but it’s the Lord who will ultimately direct your steps”.
We can wish for or talk about our ideas all we want however if they are not in accord with the Lord, they will not come to pass. Failing to seek his guidance, insights and counsel on the paths we choose to undertake can not only delay things, but allow us to be steered off course many times with painful results.
That’s why it is so important to remain humble and surrender ourselves daily to God’s will. That way we can rest assured that our motives are true. As we heard in verse, “2 We are all in love with our own opinions, convinced they’re correct. But the Lord is in the midst of us, testing and probing our every motive”.
When we pass those tests we are rewarded with wisdom, enlightenment, satisfaction and personal growth. So as the chapter continues in verse “3 Before you do anything, put your trust totally in God and not in yourself. Then every plan you make will succeed”.
Humility, being open to instruction and choosing to accept honesty as the best policy are also themes that we’ll further consider as we continue today with our study of Proverbs Chapter 17.
Today’s reading is titled as:
A simple, humble life with peace and quiet
is far better than an opulent lifestyle with nothing
but quarrels and strife at home.
A wise, intelligent servant will be honored above a shameful son.
He’ll even end up having a portion left to him in his master’s will.
In the same way that gold and silver are refined by fire,
the Lord purifies your heart by the tests and trials of life.
Those eager to embrace evil listen to slander,
for a liar loves to listen to lies.
Mock the poor, will you?
You insult your Creator every time you do!
If you make fun of others’ misfortune,
you’d better watch out—your punishment is on its way.
Grandparents have the crowning glory of life:
And it’s only proper for children to take pride in their parents.[a]
It is not proper for a leader to lie and deceive,
and don’t expect excellent words to be spoken by a fool.[b]
Wise instruction[c] is like a costly gem.
It turns the impossible into success.
Love overlooks the mistakes of others,
but dwelling on the failures of others devastates friendships.
One word of correction breaks open a teachable heart,
but a fool can be corrected a hundred times
and still not know what hit him.
Rebellion thrives in an evil man,
It’s safer to meet a grizzly bear robbed of her cubs
than to confront a reckless fool.
The one who returns evil for good
can expect to be treated the same way for the rest of his life.[f]
Don’t be one who is quick to quarrel,
for an argument is hard to stop,
and you never know how it will end,
so don’t even start down that road![g]
There is nothing God hates more
than condemning the one who is innocent
and acquitting the one who is guilty.
Why pay tuition to educate a fool?
For he has no intention of acquiring true wisdom.
A dear friend will love you no matter what,
and a family sticks together through all kinds of trouble.
It’s stupid to run up bills you’ll never be able to pay
or to cosign for the loan of your friend.
Save yourself the trouble and don’t do either one.
If you love to argue,
then you must be in love with sin.
For the one who loves to boast[h] is only asking for trouble.
The one with a perverse heart never has anything good to say,[i]
and the chronic liar tumbles into constant trouble.
Parents of a numbskull will have many sorrows,
for there’s nothing about his lifestyle that will make them proud.
A joyful, cheerful heart brings healing to both body and soul.
But the one whose heart is crushed
struggles with sickness and depression.
When you take a secret bribe,
your actions reveal your true character,
for you pervert the ways of justice.
Even the face of a wise man shows his intelligence.
But the wandering eyes of a fool will look for wisdom everywhere
except right in front of his nose.
A father grieves over the foolishness of his child,
and bitter sorrow fills his mother.
It’s horrible to persecute a holy lover of God
or to strike an honorable man for his integrity!
Can you bridle your tongue when your heart is under pressure?
That’s how you show that you are wise.
An understanding heart keeps you cool, calm, and collected,
no matter what you’re facing.
When even a fool bites his tongue[j]
he’s considered wise.
So shut your mouth when you are provoked—
it will make you look smart.
Take a moment to reflect, and then we’ll begin to break down some of today’s concepts.
This chapter opens 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 continue reading together we see in verse 15 another reference that has timely impacts on our current realities. The verse is quote, “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.
The closing lines in the chapter also include some wise advice to note. These teachings are along the lines of you need to know when to speak and when to keep your mouth shut.
Verse 27 asks, “Can you bridle your tongue when your heart is under pressure?” It then continues that being able to control the words you choose to use, is “… how you show that you are wise. An understanding heart keeps you cool, calm, and collected, no matter what you’re facing”.
Another example of this from the Scriptures comes from the Apostle Paul. When he was instructing the church at Corinth, he wrote specifically to them “women should remain silent in the churches”.
Now he was not speaking about all women, but theologians widely agree he was trying to be gracious while assisting local leaders in dealing with one particularly rude, offensive woman, who was disruptive to the services and teaching sessions.
Paul did not say that women should never speak in church, nor should they be prohibited from the ministry. Rather he was giving one of several instructions including common sense wisdom like only one person should be speaking to a congregation at a time.
In fact even in this same epistle Paul recognizes the leadership role of a woman anmed Prisca, sometimes also translated as Priscilla. He lauds her accomplishments as he does for several others .
Phoebe, the only woman described in the Bible as a “deacon” as well as in the book of Romans, where Paul cites five women by name for their accomplishments. They were Mary, Junia, Julia, Tryphaena and Tryphosa. And the list in the Scriptures does not end there.
All wise women, living righteously seeking to teach and instruct the enlightened insights they had learned and witnessed.
The final line of this chapter also echoes the idea of knowing when to speak:
“When even a fool bites his tongue he’s considered wise. So shut your mouth when you are provoked— it will make you look smart”.
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 17 weeks 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.
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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.
Thank you again for joining us on this edition of “Becoming Today”.