Are you wise or simple? Proverbs- Week 7- Day 1

(8) The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit...(15) The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Proverbs 14:8, 15

Explanation:

The passage in Proverbs this week has a particular kind of poetic or narrative structure that was somewhat common in ancient near-eastern literature.  It’s called a “chiasm” or “chiastic structure”.  Chiastic structure, or chiastic pattern, is a literary technique in narrative motifs and other textual passages. An example of chiastic structure would be two ideas, A1 and B1, together with variants A2 and B2, being presented as A1,B1,B2,A2.   Let me give you an example from the New Testament:

A1  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs,

            B1        neither cast ye your pearls before swine,

            B2        lest they trample them under their feet,

A2  and turn again and rend you.

Matthew 7:6 

In this example it is obvious that the dogs are the ones “rending”, and the swine are the ones who “trample”.  The first phrase (A1) corresponds to the last phrase (A2) and the two phrases in the middle (B1 and B2) correspond to each other.  Traditionally the innermost part of the Chiasm is what is being emphasized.  Chiasm’s can be as small as one verse, and as large as whole chapters.  It has even been suggested that Luke and Acts, 2 parts of one work by the same author, are written as a chiasm.

The scripture we are studying this week in Proverbs 14:8-15 are written in chiastic structure.  Consider the text this way:

  • A1(8) The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.  
    • B1 (9)  Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.  
      • C1 (10)  The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy.
        • D (11)  The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.   (12)  There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
      • C2 (13)  Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.  
    • B2 (14)  The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.  
  • A2  (15)  The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.
    Proverbs 14:8-15 

Now that you see the way the text is structured, you can see why I have highlighted the verses as I have.  Most of the time we “walk through the passage” verse by verse.  This week we are going to walk through the passage according to this pattern.  Today we have highlighted verses 8 and 15 (A1 and A2).

Notice that verses 8 and 15 both talk about two kinds of people.  Let’s look at what these verses say about each one.

First, we meet the prudent.  The prudent person seeks to “understand his way” in verse 8.  And in verse 15 the prudent man “looketh well to his going”.  These verses explain that a prudent person thinks about how they are living and what they are doing.  The prudent person is not haphazard about decisions and direction.  They take it very seriously.  They think and plan considering and seeking for what God wants, and how He has designed the world.

Next, we meet the simple and foolish person.  These are 2 descriptive names that describe the same kind of person.  In verse 15 you see the simple person as one who “believeth every word”.  In verse 8 the fool’s folly is deceit.  The idea is that they believe people who tell them lies, not looking to their way because they want to believe the lies they are being told.  They may believe every word because they don’t take the time to think about what they are being told and are therefore naive.  In contrast to the prudent who thinks carefully about their way, the fool does not and suffers for it.  It is their folly.

Application:

I think the application to today’s text is pretty clear, but can be as profound as you make it.  Which person are you?  Prudent or simple? Wise or foolish?

Are you a simple person?

  • A simple person does not take time to plan their lives.  Life happens to them and they react.  They do not think about the way they are living.  There is no introspection, evaluation or planning.  
  • A simple person takes what they are told only at face value.  A simple person never investigates or verifies what they are being told. They are easily deceived.  Have you ever questioned any of your basic assumptions?  You see, everyone has faith in something.  No person can know everything, but that does not mean you cannot know anything.  Do not become easy prey for the enemies of God.

Are you a wise person?

  • What habits or processes do you have to investigate your life?  Do you think about how you are living? 
    • Do you have a daily “quiet time” in which you talk to God and let the Word of God discern the thoughts and intents of your heart?
    • Do you have a plan for your time, called a schedule?  
    • Do you have a plan for your resources, called a budget?

Response:

As you have read the contrast between the simple and wise person today what actions do you need to take to begin to live wisely?

Week 13: Day 2- Deuteronomy 32:50-52

And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people: Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin; because ye sanctified me not in the midst of the children of Israel. Yet thou shalt see the land before thee; but thou shalt not go thither unto the land which I give the children of Israel.

(Deu 32:50-52)

Explanation:

As we studied yesterday, Moses was commanded to go into the mountain to die because God had forbid him to come into the promised land. Why? Because of what happened at Meribah.

And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also. And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them. This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

(Num 20:10-13)

It may seem to some a strict punishment that God was laying on Moses and Aaron.  God is just in His judgement, and sees not only our behavior but also our hearts.  God is right to hold his people accountable, and the Bible is clear about God’s expectation of leaders.

My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

(Jas 3:1-2)

Application:

Leaders are influencers.  They influence with their words, attitudes, actions and resources.  As the leader goes, so tend to go those who the leader leads.  With this stewardship comes a greater accountability.

Response:

  • How are you leading with your words, attitudes, actions and resources? 
  • If you were being perfectly imitated by those you influence, would your family/organization/church/business be better or worse? 
  • Take some time to evaluate your influence today! 

What Good is my Giving? Part 1

Sermon given by Bill Bales
Sonshine Baptist Church
January 8, 2012

Luke 6

Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. (Luke 6:38)

1. Giving makes me more like God. (John 3:16)

2. Giving draws me closer to God. (Matthew 6:21)

3. Giving is an antidote for materialism (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
You make a living by what you get, but a life by what you give.

4. Giving strengthens my faith. (Malachi 3:10)
Do I really believe that God can take care of me?

5. Giving is an investment for eternity. (1 Timothy 6:18-19)

6. Giving blesses me in return. (Proverbs 11:25; Psalm 112:5a; Acts 20:35)

6 Key Terms for Good Time Stewardship

  1. Perspective-What is an accurate view (God’s view) of my time?
    Romans 13:11-14, Ephesians 5:15-16, Psalm 90:12
  2. Priorities- What are the most important things to do with my time?
    Matthew 6:33
  3. Goals- getting specific with my priorities
  4. Scheduling- Pro-actively deciding what to do with my time by writing it down.
  5. Communication- Sharing my priorities, goals and schedule with those who it affects. (Tip-systematically schedule communication)
  6. Margin- understanding that I can’t do everything, I must have time to rest and recharge. Genesis 2:1-2