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RCCG Miracle Land Dundalk
Wednesday, January 31 2024

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

The theme of the entire book of Proverbs is centered around wisdom for living in the world, guided by righteousness and biblical principles, as opposed to the folly the world offers. In last week’s study, we explored Chapters 18 -24 as we sought for additional wisdom while contrasting the ways of the wise and unwise and how this impacted on our daily living and relationships with God and men. Today’s study continues in the same light as we bring the Proverbs challenge of this year to an end. Chapter 25 began a series of wise sayings attributed to Solomon and collected from other sources by Hezekiah's men. (Proverbs 25:1) This list continues through to the end of chapter 29. Chapter 30 are the words of Agur the son of Jakeh, (Proverbs 30:1) and Chapter 31 are the words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. (Proverbs 31:1)

Proverbs Chapter 25 offers practical insights for virtuous living and cultivating positive qualities. It talks about . . .

• Refining Character: Verses 4-5
These verses make use of metaphors like removing impurities from silver to illustrate refining a person’s character
“Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice; Remove the wicked from leadership and authority will be credible and God-honoring.”

It advises on the following:

• Wisdom & Humility: Verses 6-7
“Don’t work yourself into the spotlight; don’t push your way into the place of prominence.
It’s better to be promoted to a place of honor than face humiliation by being demoted.” (MSG). Humility opens doors to honour. See the story told by Jesus in Luke 14:7.

• Reliability & Trust: Verses 13 & 19
“Reliable friends who do what they say are like cool drinks in sweltering heat—refreshing!”
“Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.”

The ear mark of reliable friendship is meaning and doing what one says.
Prayer: “Lord Jesus, please surround me with reliable friends and grant me the grace to be a reliable friend myself”

Proverbs 25 also highlights the importance of:

• Self-Control: Verses 16-17
“When you’re given a box of candy, don’t gulp it all down; eat too much chocolate and you’ll make yourself sick; And when you find a friend, don’t outwear your welcome; show up at all hours and he’ll soon get fed up.”

We must humbly accept wisdom, because it is what enables us apply tact and discretion when dealing with others and to have a consistent lifestyle guided by biblical principles and self-control.

Proverbs Chapter 26 contrasts the foolish and the wise. It underscores the importance of discernment and prudence in various life situations. Such as:

• How to Answer a Fool: Verses 4-5
“Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool; you’ll only look foolish yourself. 5 Answer a fool in simple terms so he doesn’t get a swelled head.”
Never stoop low to the level of fools in order to make a point or retaliate.

“Never Wrestle with a Pig. You will Both Get Dirty and the Pig enjoys It”
To wrestle with a pig is to engage in a struggle with an opponent that benefits from the struggle even without winning it.

Prayer: “Lord Jesus, please help me to always be the bigger person and not respond to the words of a fool with more foolish words. Instead, I will answer with words of wisdom seasoned with salt and grace.”

The Chapter also cautions us against:

• Undeserved Honor for fools: Verses 6-10.
“You’re only asking for trouble when you send a message by a fool. 7 A proverb quoted by fools is limp as a wet noodle. 8 Putting a fool in a place of honor is like setting a mud brick on a marble column. 9 To ask a moron to quote a proverb is like putting a scalpel in the hands of a drunk. 10 Hire a fool or a drunk and you shoot yourself in the foot.”

In this chapter, Solomon uses vivid imagery, like a dog returning to its vomit, to stress the folly of repeating mistakes (verse 11). He also discusses the lazy person (verses 13-15) and warns against meddling in others’ disputes. (verse 17) gossip, flattery, slander, etc. (verses 20-26)

We must not join with those who make outrageous excuses for their lack of effort. Giving reasons and justifying why they fail to meet their obligations. This is not only lazy, but it's also a form of arrogance.

Proverbs Chapter 27 advises against . . .

• Self-praise: Verses 1- 2
“Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. 2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth—a stranger, not your own lips.”
Arrogance of any kind is risky. (James 4:13–15), king Nebuchadnezzar, the rich fool. etc.

The chapter delves into themes of . . .

• Friendship: Verses 6, 9, 10
A friend who loves and who fears God is well-equipped to give godly counsel, and his friend will receive it gladly. The wounds “inflicted” by such a friend are for our good because they will only rebuke us if we need it. However, those who hate us will gladly enable and empower our own foolishness because they know it will harm us in the end. It stresses the value of genuine friendships, comparing them to iron sharpening iron (verse 17).
The more we have “spiritual interaction” with one another the more we are sharpened, strengthened and encouraged. People influence one another whether they are trying to or not, and this is why evil communication corrupts good manners (1 Corinthians 15:33). It is also why being around wise people can be beneficial to one’s heart, mind, and soul if any humility is present.

It spells out
• The Benefits of Service: Verse 18
“Tend an orchard and you’ll have fruit to eat. Serve the Master’s interests and you’ll receive honor that’s sweet.” TPT

It highlights . . .

• Humility, Purity and Sincerity: Verses 19, 21
The heart of man is the real man, and what is in the heart will be reflected by what is said and done. The fruit from a persons’ life will reveal whether a person’s heart is good or evil (Matthew 7:20, Mark 7:20).

• The fleeting nature of life, Commitment and Good Stewardship: Verses 23-27
“Know your sheep by name; carefully attend to your flocks; (Don’t take them for granted; possessions don’t last forever, you know.) And then, when the crops are in and the harvest is stored in the barns, You can knit sweaters from lambs’ wool, and sell your goats for a profit; There will be plenty of milk and meat to last your family through the winter.” (MSG)

A diligent farmer cares for his flock, doing his best to ensure a prosperous future. Current wealth does not guarantee future wealth, so it's wise to plan ahead. A lazy or irresponsible person risks falling behind and failing to provide for their family.

Those who have faithfully tended to the little things day after day will find that they have what they need in the day of trouble. It is never good or wise to neglect the little things while presuming on one big thing to work out. Similarly, spiritual fruit is often a result of daily investments made and service done rather than one big accomplishment or event. Luke 16:10 says, “one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much”

Proverbs Chapter 28 offers guidance on ethical living and the consequences of moral choices. Teaching us that:

• The consequence of wickedness and evil is fear. Verse 1
“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

• Moral integrity is worth far more than material wealth. Verse 6
“Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.”

• Flattery and dishonesty have no long term benefits: Verse 23
“If you correct someone with constructive criticism, in the end he will appreciate it more than flattery.” TPT
The NLT says: “In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.”

• It is foolishness to make the same mistake others have made: Verse 26
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others”

We must always be future-thinking and concerned about what truly matters and not become someone who massages another’s ego or expects someone to massage ours. So we must tell, expect and accept the truth even if it hurts now for the sake of the future.

Proverbs Chapter 29 highlights

• The importance of discipline and heeding correction: Verses 15, 17 & 19
Verse 19: “Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” NLT
Discipline a child early enough in life to avoid heartache in the future

Severally in the book of Proverbs we are admonished to discipline our children. Many restrain from discipline and indulge them indiscriminately because they think they love their children too much but Proverbs 13:24 (TPT) says: “If you withhold correction and punishment from your children, you demonstrate a lack of true love. So prove your love and be prompt to punish them.”

Proverbs 19:18 (TPT) says: “Don’t be afraid to discipline your children while they’re still young enough to learn. Don’t indulge your children or be swayed by their protests.”

”Indulgence is not a mark of love but a bait for destruction”

Proverbs Chapter 30 contains the sayings of Agur, offers reflections on humility, gratitude, and the awe-inspiring nature of God. The writer expresses a sense of inadequacy and marvels at the wisdom of God (Verses 2-4).

• Every word of God is tried, tested and proven true: Verse 5
“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” NLT

Psalm 12:6 tells us that “The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times”
We must never doubt God’s Words; especially what it says about us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus please grant us the grace and strength to continually trust in Your unfailing Word

Chapter 30 also includes observations about nature and the mysterious aspects of creation, showcasing the limits of human understanding. Verses 18-31
The chapter ends with a warning about natural consequences. Whether one intends to, or not, churning milk will turn it into butter. Punching someone in the nose will make them bleed. And provoking others to anger results in anguish and controversy. For that reason, a person who realizes they've been acting like a fool should take steps towards self-control: even if it means clamping a hand over their own mouth.

Proverbs Chapter 31 is split into two interesting sections
• Part 1 (verses 1-9)
Consists of godly advice for kings or those who have the ambition to be successful in life around women and drink. Verse 4: “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;. . .”
“Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor; keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.”
MSG 8:19 Proverbs

The Bible does not say “Thou shall not drink” But it points us in the directions of the consequences of drinking. Read Proverbs 20:1 and 23:20-21, 29-35

• Part 2 (verses 10-31)
Presents the “virtuous woman,” extolling her qualities and contributions. It describes her industriousness, kindness, and wisdom, emphasizing her value in both household and community. The chapter provides a vivid portrait of an ideal wife and mother, highlighting virtues such as diligence, generosity, and fear of the Lord. Ultimately, Proverbs 31 serves as a tribute to the capable and virtuous woman, offering a model of character and strength.
Verses 10 – 31 describes the "excellent wife." She is remarkable, in part, because of how rare it is to find such qualities (See Proverbs 20:6). Over the course of the passage, she is noted with traits directly opposed to the "fools" mentioned in earlier passages. Many men read these verses and pass them off as being for women only, but I do not believe qualities such as trustworthiness, hard work, diligence, preparedness, care, kindness, wisdom, and honor are reserved for women, only. Rather, they speak of attributes any person would benefit from, and aspire to possess.

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