LIFE ISSUES FROM PROVERBS
Moral management: Staying Clean in a Dirty World
Jerry A Collins
Ø How can I stay wise in a foolish world?
Ø What are the implications for wealth vs poverty?
Ø Why should I watch the way I talk?
I often worked in warehouses in my younger years. That included appliance warehouses, surgical supply warehouses, food and grocery warehouses, and general merchandise warehouses. There was one common denominator to all of these jobs. At the end of the day I had to remove my dirty clothing and take a shower to rid myself of the dirt and grim and dust that had accumulated on my clothing and skin. This filth was a natural result of working in places where it attached itself to freight that made its way from other warehouses onto trailers and then back into another warehouse. Along the way it got just plain dirty. The same is true as we live in this world. Our culture and society is a natural place to pick up the dirt and grim of an immoral world. This moral filth attaches itself to us and we may find ourselves living with it’s perspective. Proverbs teaches us of the ways of the wise who learn and apply God’s wisdom and contrasts the ways of both while teaching us the better path to live. Proverbs ten contrast the way of the moral ways of righteous and the way of the worldly thinking & immoral and here we can learn of the implications should we choose to morally manage our lives.
1. BE RIGHTEOUS AND LIVE
In 3 verses this theme is repeated. 10:2 & 6 & 16 tell us that the righteous person will reap life and blessing. In vs 2 the righteous person delivers himself from death. In the verse this is contrasted with the wicked who acquire wealth dishonestly (Ex). The righteous then live since they avoid acquiring any wealth they have this way. The wealth of the righteous is not profitless and it will not destroy their lives. In vs 6 the righteous are blessed or it is on his head meaning that it encompasses all of is life—a full and life-giving favor. This again is in contrast to the wicked whose conversation is characterized by violence. While this righteous person’s memory can continue to bring favor to those who remember him, the wicked, people will want to forget. Not only heir character but also their name is corrupt to others Vs 7. (I watched a new film titled ‘downfall’ a German movie on the last days of Hitler and I was again repulsed by a wicked man who horribly pursued a disgusting agenda and this man and this name is corrupt in history). In vs 16 again the righteous have earned a return for the kind of life they live. The result is a meaningful life while the wicked will only reap trouble. There are consequences to our choices. The world will say it is better to get what you want any way you can. They will acquire wealth dishonestly and conceal violence in their conversation and be paid with punishment and consequences for these. But the righteous will live a life that safeguards against these death dealing kinds of consequences and will be blessed and rewarded with a meaningful life. This is the contrast between the dirty ways of the world and the righteous ways of God.
2. BE DILIGENT AND NOT SLOTHFUL 3-5
In vs 3 it is literally the soul of the righteous that the Lord satisfies. This emphasizes the whole person. So God is saying that He meets all this one’s needs including the needs of his body for food. This is in contrast to the wicked one whose evil cravings will bring about his destruction and disaster. God can keep them from carrying out such plans. In others words the wicked will usually not get all that they desire. In vs 4 if a person refuses to work he will be poor but the hard worker, the righteous person, eventually is rewarded. Negligence verse diligence is the point. One example of diligence is harvesting in the summer while the crops are ripe vs 5. An example of laziness is a son who sleeps rather than works during harvest. In fact such a person brings shame & disgrace most likely to his parents. So work when you should work. Take the responsibility to supply for your family and don’t wait for it to happen. Slothfulness and laziness bring ruin. One of the most important things you can teach your children is to take the responsibility to work. One of the worst things you can teach your children is to get hand-outs.
3. BE TEACHABLE AND DISCERNING
In vs 8-9 a wise person is teachable-willing to become wiser. It is the fool who does not stop chattering long enough to learn anything. In Proverbs needless talking is associated with the hardened thick-headed person. Such a person will come to ruin it says. The same is repeated in vs 10. In contrast an honest person, that is one who is not attached to the filthy
ideology of the fool and society, will be secure in his walk
in life. In contrast to this person of integrity, the worldly whose paths are
crooked and twisted, whose conduct is wicked, will be discovered for what he actually
is. Dishonesty will only be discovered. In 13-14 the wise and fool are
contrasted further. The discerning person is characterized by his wise
statements. It is the one lacking judgment or understanding who experiences
trouble-the kind of trouble that requires punishment because of his
senselessness. Be discerning so that you can spare yourself some pain in life. Vs 14 reminds us that the wise person stores up knowledge—he
holds it for the right occasion without spouting off his knowledge. (At
(1) If you desire God’s favor in your life then live righteously—in other words, according to the Bible no matter how the world says you should live.
(2) Start working—not to meet your needs, God does that-but to avoid being lazy.
(3) If you want to avoid wasting time learning lessons the hard way, then remain teachable—willing to listen and learn from the wise.
(4) Avoid insinuating gestures and talkativeness and you will stay out of trouble.