A STUDY OF WISDOM FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS

A Lifestyle of Wisdom

Proverbs 16 SCC 10/18/15

 

A component of wisdom includes acknowledging Godís sovereignty over oneís life. Ignoring this reality is the example of a fool. He forgets God. He says in his heart there is no God (Psa 14:1; 53:1; Rom 1:31) but wisdom remembers God and brings God with him into the details of his or her life. Solomon teaches his son God is ultimately in charge. He emphasizes Gods sovereignty not denying our responsibility.

 

WISDOM ACCOUNTS FOR THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

God sovereignly enables people to put their thoughts into words v 1

The idea here is that while we may make plans by arranging things in a particular order whether it has to do with schedules, responsibilities, or management of some sort, it is God who ultimately prevails in the outcome of these. This is especially true when someone is trying to speak in front of others, the Lord directs the words according to his sovereign will.

God sovereignty evaluates our behavior because he knows our motives v 2

A person may reason that there is nothing wrong with his or her actions or they may seem innocent. However, when the Lord evaluates them the persons motives may be far from pure. The point is that we can deceive ourselves so easily with self-deception or rationalization and so we cannot correctly evaluate ourselves. God by His Spirit and the Word provides this penetrating evaluation.

God sovereignly establishes our plans when we depend upon Him v 3

People should commit their plans to the Lord so He may enact them. Of course, not every plan will be achieved the way we desire because they might not be pleasing to Him. But our job is to make the plans and Godís responsibility he has had is to establish them. That is a promise and a comfort to us as we step out and take charge of our lives. This portrays complete dependence upon the Lord.

God sovereignly ensures everything in life receives the justice that is required v 4

There are no loose ends in Godís economy. The point is that God ensures that everyoneís actions receive corresponding consequences. This is certainly true as well for the wicked who will receive their just dues for the day of calamity. In Godís order there is a day or reckoning in which every act will be answered for. There is no such thing as free sin.

God sovereignly engineers the demise of the arrogantly proud v 5

Here is a description of one whose arrogance is manifested by presumptuously setting himself up against God. Pride is the sin of presumption. When we presume upon God we assume the responsibility for what is in our best interests. We say to God we know better than Him what that is and we assume that we know how and where to get it. Itís the sin of our parents and theirs too. Itís independence from God, His sovereignty, His character, and it will not go unpunished by God. God hates this abomination because we have a alternate rebellious view of reality.

God sovereignly elicits fear of him as a motive to avoid evil v 6

Faithfulness to the Lord brings freedom from sin. On the one hand, a believer can avail himself of the benefits of atonement and then payment for sin by confessing and repenting. This turns away the wrath of God. On the other hand, a believer can apply the fear of God so he or she can avoid sin. It is the fear of God, both terror and reverence, that prompts the person to do an about face when the option to sin is presents itself. Again, the fear of God works when one disagrees with God. This fear acts as a motivator to keep oneself away from evil.

God sovereignly engulfs the hostility of enemies when ones life is pleasing to him v 7

Pleasing the Lord, like avoiding evil for instance, makes it possible for God to disarm oneís enemies. The life that is pleasing to God is above reproach and can find favor with others. It could be that a godly life has an inbuilt mechanism that diminishes the hostility of potential enemies throughout life. This could also be Godís plan for rewards in this life as well. One that avoids hostile enemies tat can jeopardize oneís life and prosperity.

God sovereignly executes the outcome of our plans v 9

The point of this contrast is between what we plan and what actually happens. God determines that in the circumstances that ensue. In v 1, that had to do with what we said to people. Here it is in the steps we take and the action necessary to fulfill our plans. We are not in charge of the future so we often have to make adjustments as we take each step. God is sovereignly in charge of that. He executes in the circumstances, through the circumstances, to what actually does happen as we move forward.

NB: Wisdom is a vertical focus with a horizontal responsibility. Wisdom looks up while it looks out. Wisdom knows that both the person and God are at work together. Wisdom takes action while cognizant of complete dependence upon God.

 

WISDOM IMPACTS THE WAY LEADERS LEAD

Wise leadership should be based on accurate judgment v 10

Leaders are judges in the sense that they represent godly discernment to their followers. They must constantly be making decisions, which help those they lead to recognize false teachers in the schools, churches, and throughout their community. If you donít want to be judgmental, then donít assume a place of leadership.

Wise leadership should be honest in all enterprises and transactions v 11

While it is true that a king who leads with wisdom establishes weights and measures, it is the Lord who is behind those standards. Therefore they should be honored. So leadership impacted by wisdom will not try to skim off of the top or cut corners or use improper techniques for an advantage.

Wise leadership hates injustice while valuing integrity v 12

Here the idea is that a righteous administration determines the stability of a government. Wise leadership is founded upon and motivated by integrity and honest rule. This kind of leader will never take advantage of those he or she is leading. This is unthinkableóan abomination he says.

Wise leadership believe honest people are valuable v 13

People who are honest and candid are valuable to governments or companies. Leaders of all kinds of domains know that otherwise there is anarchy. So they value honesty not only in themselves but also in those they are leading.

Wise leadership tempers its power over others when aroused v 14

A kingís power is irresistible. If he is angered it could be that heads will roll. At those moments oneís only recourse is to seek to pacify that power. The wise person knows what is required to pacify unexpected or irrational anger of leaders. A wise leader knows how to temper that anger appropriately.

Wise leadership encourages people with his favor v 15

Since a wise leader values honesty, for instance, it can be welcomed as rain needed for a good crop. Itís good all the way around for both the leader and the colleague. A kings favor signals much better fortune than his wrath. Favor from a leader is encouraging to his people.

NB: Solomon is writing Proverbs for his son who will one day be king. Most of us are not kings or governing officials. But we are leaders in other waysófamily leaders, business leaders, church leaders, or discipleship leaders. Leadership is influence. Leaders lead with this understanding and wise leaders do so in a way that multiplies the wisdom that influences their leadership.

 

WISDOM IS BUILT UPON HUMILITY NOT PRIDE

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before stumbling v 18

Pride leads to things like dishonor, destruction, and stumbling. In fact, pride is the first step down. One thing Solomon tells his son about pride is that it has practical disadvantages. It will ultimately destroy you. And that is hard for a young man to understand. For example, in our culture, sport heroes, movie stars, business leaders, all successful people seem to be people of pride. Everywhere you turn, somebody is proud of somebody. Pride is even taught as a basis for success. But Solomon says, donít listen to them. Pride will lead you away from wisdom and end in your destruction.

It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud v 19

Humility is better than pride, even if it is connected with a lowly lifestyle. Actually, humility is always connected to mentally seeing ourselves as lowly. This attitude is better because it leads to wisdom and gives glory to God. It promotes reality while avoiding fantasy. Beliefs and values like evolution are fantasy, adult fairytales, because they envision an alternate reality without God in it. Pride.