For some reason whenever I hear that word warning, I hear it as a phrase.
“Warning, Warning! Danger! Will Robinson.” Then I see that robot flapping his arms around.
While today’s conversation has nothing to do with androids or artificial intelligence, our discussion will focus on the dangers of not seeking wise advice that’s been available throughout the ages.
Again I want to say thank you to each and everyone of you for joining us here. 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 24 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.
Last Wednesday our discussion focused upon “Self Protection”.
Vigilance is important and so is personal responsibility, so as we continued the exploration of the “Sayings of the Wise Sages”, we began by analyzing the wisdom shared in chapter 23 verses four and five, “Don’t compare yourself to the rich. Surrender your selfish ambition and evaluate them properly. For no sooner do you start counting your wealth than it sprouts wings and flies away like an eagle in the sky— here today, gone tomorrow!”
We spend too much time trying to compare ourselves to others. That’s something that we’ll especially take a look at when we get to Proverbs 31, which has been a difficult one for many women. However as we consider this idea today, comparing ourselves to others does absolutely no good. It can lead to envy, jealousy or even depression.
When we try to hold ourselves up to others we either think we need more, as in the old expression, ‘trying to keep up with the Joneses’, or we falsely believe ourselves to be inadequate.
Another translation of the verses in the N I V phrases it as, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle”.
Notice both explanations point to the fleeting nature of material things, as they take flight like an eagle and are gone, gone, gone…
The Apostle Paul spoke about the futility of making such comparisons in 1st Corinthians 4:7, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?”.
Next we’ll press ahead to Proverbs Chapter 24.
Let’s now read together this offering found under the heading of:
Don’t envy the wealth of the wicked or crave their company.
For they’re obsessed with causing trouble
and their conversations are corrupt.
Wise people are builders[a]—
they build families, businesses, communities.
And through intelligence and insight
their enterprises are established and endure.
Because of their skilled leadership,
the hearts[b] of people are filled with the treasures of wisdom
and the pleasures of spiritual wealth.
Wisdom can make anyone into a mighty warrior,[c]
and revelation-knowledge increases strength.
Wise strategy is necessary to wage war,
and with many astute advisers
you’ll see the path to victory more clearly.
Wisdom is a treasure too lofty for a quarreling fool[d]—
he’ll have nothing to say when leaders gather together.
There is one who makes plans to do evil—
Master Schemer is his name.
If you plan to do evil, it’s as wrong as doing it.
And everyone detests a troublemaker.
If you faint when under pressure,
you have need of courage.[e]
Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior!
Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death?
And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”?
The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive
is also the keeper of souls—and not just yours!
He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible
for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.
Revelation-knowledge is a delicacy,
sweet like flowing honey that melts in your mouth.
Eat as much of it as you can, my friend!
For then you will perceive what is true wisdom,
your future will be bright,[f]
and this hope living within you will never disappoint you.
Listen up, you wicked, irreverent ones—
don’t harass the lovers of God[g]
and don’t invade their resting place.
For the lovers of God may suffer adversity
and stumble seven times,
but they will continue to rise over and over again.
But the unrighteous are brought down by just one calamity
and will never be able to rise again.[h]
Never gloat when your enemy meets disaster,
and don’t be quick to rejoice if he falls.
For the Lord, who sees your heart,
will be displeased with you and will pity your foe.
Don’t be angrily offended over evildoers or be agitated by them.[i]
For the wicked have no life and no future—
their light of life will die out.[j]
My child, stand in awe of Yahweh!
Give counsel to others,
but don’t mingle with those who are rebellious.
For sudden destruction will fall upon them
and their lives will be ruined in a moment.
And who knows what retribution they will face![k]
Revelation from the Wise
Those enlightened with wisdom have spoken these proverbs:
Judgment must be impartial,
for it is always wrong to be swayed by a person’s status.
If you say to the guilty, “You are innocent,”
the nation will curse you and the people will revile you.
But when you convict the guilty,
the people will thank you and reward you with favor.
Speaking honestly is a sign of true friendship.[l]
Go ahead, build your career and give yourself to your work.
But if you put me first, you’ll see your family built up![m]
Why would you be a false accuser and slander with your words?
Don’t ever spitefully say, “I’ll get even with him!
I’ll do to him what he did to me!”
One day I passed by the field of a lazy man,
and I noticed the vineyards of a slacker.
I observed nothing but thorns, weeds, and broken-down walls.
So I considered their lack of wisdom,
and I pondered the lessons I could learn from this:
Professional work habits prevent poverty from becoming
your permanent business partner. And:
If you put off until tomorrow the work you could do today,
tomorrow never seems to come.
Take a moment to reflect and then we’ll continue our conversation on some of these wise ideas.
The first 22 verses of today’s reading wrap up the “Sayings of the Wise Sages”, in other translations called “Thirty Sayings of the Wise”.
Then the final 12 entries, continue to offer insights and while noted as “Revelations From The Wise”, apparently they do not involve the aforementioned ‘wise sages’.
I have no idea what the requirement is to officially be considered a “sage”, (giggle) or why these final offerings today do not ascend to that level, but nevertheless they seem to me to be equally as important.
In verses three and four, we are given insights into the benefits of establishing firm foundations based upon truth.
“Wise people are builders—they build families, businesses, communities. And through intelligence and insight their enterprises are established and endure. Because of their skilled leadership, the hearts of people are filled with the treasures of wisdom and the pleasures of spiritual wealth.”
These two sentences are a good example of why I like to teach from The Passion Translation. It does not leave much doubt as to what we are talking about. While the N I V is concise if we compare verse four, you’ll see how it can cause some to accept a false understanding.
“...through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
The reading we shared today makes it clear that what we are rewarded with are valuable spiritual insights and a heart filled with wisdom, whereas the other translation can cause some to see the rewards as more worldly such as material gains or wealth.
As we have studied multiple times over the past 24 discussions, in the Lord’s eyes wisdom is far more valuable than silver or gold.
Jesus defined the abundant life that is promised as being one of spiritual nature. It’s described as having and being sustained by the fruits of the Spirit. As it was recorded in Galatians 5:22-23, “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control…”
With wisdom we can not only seek, but also find peace, joy and love.
The next saying I’d like to consider entails verses 10, 11 and 12.
It begins with a helpful reminder “If you faint when under pressure, you have need of courage.”
All the courage and strength we need is readily available at all times as it is taught in Philippians 4:13, “ I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”.
Knowing and accepting that we should no longer be faint- off balanced, uncertain or stifled; rather we should be ready to press ahead as described in Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
Which is where today’s insight picks up in verse “ 11 Go and rescue the perishing! Be their savior! Why would you stand back and watch them stagger to their death?”
Lend a helping hand whenever you can. Be the change you want to see or as we say around here, ‘Always Be Becoming’.
Then in verse 12, the unnamed wise person seeks to eliminate objections when they pose this question, “And why would you say, “But it’s none of my business”?”
Good question. And it’s followed by a nudge, that in refusing to help or trying to turn a blind eye to someone or a certain situation that has been brought to your attention, you are not fooling “The one who knows you completely and judges your every motive is also the keeper of souls—and not just yours!”.
If God is shining His light for you to take notice of something, consider that your assignment and freely give of yourself to assist, as the verse continues, “He sees through your excuses and holds you responsible for failing to help those whose lives are threatened.”
Wise words indeed.
Now because I could go on all day about these enlightening lessons, and some of you may feel like I already am, let’s skip ahead to note some thoughts shared in the final section of today’s reading.
Verse 26 reads, “Speaking honestly is a sign of true friendship”. Sometimes the truth can hurt, but withholding it can be more painful. If you truly want to be a friend, honesty is the best policy and when asked to share remember this verse as it appears in the N I V, “ An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.”
The next passage also gives a quick insight as to what is important in life. Yes we need to work and make money, it is a necessary tool in life, however it should not be our primary focus. Work-life balance is a concept that is definitely ordained by the Creator as we read in verse 27, “Go ahead, build your career and give yourself to your work. But if you put me first, you’ll see your family built up!”
And one more note before we wrap up today’s conversation.
The closing lines we shared are, “Professional work habits prevent poverty from becoming your permanent business partner. And: If you put off until tomorrow the work you could do today tomorrow never seems to come”.
Don’t put off till tomorrow what can be done today. Someday never comes. So what are you waiting for?
Realize who you really, really want to be and don’t delay your path towards “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 24 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.
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”.
- 24:3 Or “A house is built by wisdom.” The house is more than a structure with roof and a floor. It becomes a metaphor for families, churches, businesses, and enterprises.
- 24:4 Or “inner chambers.”
- 24:5 Or “Wisdom makes anyone into a hero.” The Aramaic and the Septuagint read “It’s better to be wise than to be strong.”
- 24:7 The Hebrew is actually “Wisdom is coral to a fool.” That is, it is unattainable, deep, and hidden.
- 24:10 Or “your strength is limited.” Our weakness often becomes an excuse to quit, but strength and courage come as the result of faithfulness under pressure. Some interpret this to mean “If you fail to help others in their time of need, you will grow too weak to help yourself.”
- 24:14 The Septuagint is “your death will be good.”
- 24:15 Or “the righteous.”
- 24:16 Implied in the text, as it completes the parallelism.
- 24:19 The Septuagint is “Don’t rejoice with those who do evil or be jealous of them.”
- 24:20 Not only will they die out, but the implication is they will also have no posterity.
- 24:26 The Hebrew is literally “An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips.” In the culture of the day, kissing was a sign of authentic friendship and a mark of relationship, which was often expressed in public among friends.
- 24:27 As translated from the Septuagint.
The Passion Translation®.
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