A STUDY OF WISDOM FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
God is pleased with the Righteous
Proverbs 15 SCC 10/4/15
The Lord is the subject of this chapter. We learn that the eyes of the Lord v 3 are in every place watching the evil and the good. The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord but the prayer of the upright is His delight v 8. We learn that the grave and all those in it are open before the Lord v 11. We observe that the fear of the Lord brings satisfaction and motivation for godliness v 16 and 33. We discover that it is the Lord tears down the house of the proud but champions the cause of the widow v 25. The Lord is pleased with plans that have righteous intentions v 26. The Lord detests the wicked but hears the prayer of the righteous v 29. God is pleased with the righteous. Solomon explains the righteous conduct God is pleased with.
WISE PEOPLE ALWAYS COMMUNICATE KNOWLEDGE THAT IS PROFITABLE
Their answers are conciliatory not derogatory 1
The wise use a gentle or soft answer to turn away wrath. This would be a potentially divisive situation that dissolves rather than arouses anger and rage. The wise know how to soothe people’s souls with pleasant words without compromising the truth.
They make knowledge appealing 2
The words of the wise make truth acceptable. A wise man is not just one who knows the truth but one who can convince people of the truth. Fools are uninterested in knowledge and continuously spout their ignorance.
Their words bring healing not harm 4
Wise words deliver life to one’s spirit rather than perverse, twisted words that crush the spirit. There is therapy in the words of the wise. Like a tree of life their words contribute to one’s emotional health.
Their words spread knowledge 7
Wise people share helpful facts when they speak while fools cannot since they have no comprehension of knowledge. Knowledge is necessary because it is preliminary for understanding, which is essential for wisdom.
Their words are timely and fitting 23
To say the right thing at the right time is satisfying. This is true for both the hearer but also for the speaker. Appropriate words spoken at the right time requires knowledge and wisdom if it is going to be beneficial.
They are cautious when they answer 28
A righteous person weighs carefully or muses over his answers before giving them rather than blurting out vicious things. The advice here is to say fewer but better things. What the wicked do is add fuel to the fire or make things worse and is painfully wicked.
God says we should have a vested interest in the words we use, the
conversations we have, and the communication we provide. The point is that this
is the way we share knowledge with others. It should be conciliatory,
appealing, healing, dispersed and appropriate.
THE NATURE OF GOD IS INCENTIVE FOR GODLY CHARACTER FOR THE WISE
The Lord knows everyone completely 3
God sees and knows what everyone does. The wicked should be warned and the righteous can be comforted in such knowledge. God is also everywhere present. Solomon uses eyes as a figure of speech for God’s omnipresence. Then he reminds us that those omnipresent eyes are watching the evil and the good. The omnipresence of God is not the same as the pantheistic idea of an impersonal god-force, which is everywhere. Pantheism says everything is God and God is everything. The pantheistic God is everywhere but isn’t anywhere. The God of the Bible is everywhere but is also somewhere. He has a localized presence. The point is, nothing we do escapes His notice.
The Lord knows every intent of every individual 11
God is all knowing. God knows all things actual and possible. He knows what has gone on, what is going on, what will go on everywhere, and what could have possibly gone on which did not go on, and will not go on anywhere. The omniscience of God extends even into the hearts of us all. The first phrase says God also knows the afterlife. Since God can see the dead in their graves surely he can see living people’s hearts, their motives, thoughts and desires. The point here is that God knows what is going on in the afterlife and so you too, your heart, your thoughts and your motives lay open before Him.
NB: God’s omnipresence and omniscience motivate the godly and righteous to live their lives blamelessly, without fault before God here knowing everything about them is noticed by him.
THE WISE ARE DEVOTED TO THEIR SPIRITUAL LIVES
Prayer from the righteous pleases God 8, 29
Prayer should only come from upright people, not wicked people v 8. Prayer demands a moral context. Solomon wants his son to know that, although people sacrifice and pray neither are necessarily good. Wicked people pray, too, especially when they get in trouble or when they are suffering. But their prayers are not welcome in heaven. They participate in outward rituals that are unacceptable because they are insincere and blasphemous. Prayer is a private and inward act and is not usually fabricated by unbelievers. God also hears the prayers of righteous people v 29. This does not say that every prayer of the righteous will be answered but that God gives attention to them. God is aware of our prayers when we communicate them.
The wise pursue a righteous life 9
Offering sacrifices, which is an external act, is not substitute for a life of righteousness, which God obviously loves. Not only is the sacrifice of the wicked an abomination but so is the way of the wicked. God loves those who follow the righteous way. The idea is to ‘pursue’ a righteous life. This one is not putting on a spiritual show to cover up any deficiency. He or she is determined to appropriate all of the available resources to conduct life consistent with God’s will, purpose and plan.
The wise are diligent about their lives 19
Diligence normally determines progress in life. Here we learn that the slothful seem to find obstacles along the way—blocked by thorns. The life of the upright though is a well-made road—a highway of sorts having no reason to swerve or detour that well worn path. Instead of being kept from getting what he wants in life due to obstructions—sinful baggage, laziness, and folly—diligence to stay the course overcomes potential obstacles.
The wise preserve their lives by wisdom 24
The ways of the wise are preventative. They prevent the wise from going down to the grave, which is a reference to physical death. Wisdom can keep a person from premature death which is a point often made in Proverbs (3:2, 16; 4:10; 9:11. 10:27; 14:27). The more foolish you live your life the more you jeopardize your life. The more chaos you invite into your life, the more you play the percentages, and the more you must do damage control and invite peril.
Here is the outcome of a righteous life:
1. This life has righteous intentions v 26. The wicked scheme to harm other people and is an abomination to the Lord while the intent of the righteous is pure—without hypocrisy.
2. This life has honest designs v 27. Dishonesty causes collateral damage. The consequences of sin are rarely restricted to the sinner. Rejecting bribes and dishonest gain preserves one’s values.
3. This life has uplifting quality v 30. Encouragement is helpful and often brings relief that is joyful to the helpless. Its health delivered all the way into the bone.
4. This life is teachable v 31-32. Wisdom understands how life works v 31. Accepting discipline is part of this process v 32. Acquiring understanding of oneself is needed to grow in every way.
5. This life has a fear of God v 33. It motivates one to obey when they disagree with God. One may respect God but respect is on his terms. Fear is on the terms of the one feared. Fear God!
NB: God’s attention is upon the one who is obsessed with one’s spiritual and eternal welfare.