Proverbs 1:24-31

Beware The Laughter Of God’s Wisdom

24) But since you rejected me when I called and no one gave heed when I stretched out my hand, 25) since you ignored all my advice and would not accept my rebuke, 26) I in turn will laugh at your disaster; I will mock when calamity overtakes you — 27) when calamity overtakes you like a storm, when disaster sweeps over you like a whirlwind, when distress and trouble overwhelm you. 28) Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. 29) Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the Lord, 30) since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, 31) they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their scheme.

There is a real sense in which God gives every man and woman on this earth exactly what he or she wants. God plants in some a desire to know Him and His wisdom. For these, every event in their lives moves them closer to that desire being fulfilled, as they draw closer to their God (Romans 8:29). But God allows some to follow the natural desires of their own hearts and even though He holds out His hand to them and tenderly calls (v. 24 above), they “ignore His advice and reject His rebuke” (v. 30). In the end, they will “eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes” (v. 3). God will laugh at their disaster (v. 26). Don’t be like them. “Choose to fear the Lord” (v. 29), and receive His free salvation.

Scriptural Examples

The Idolators. This huge group of people refuse to worship the Creator, preferring instead to worship objects that they have created themselves. Why? Because they want to be in control—to be a law unto themselves. Idolaters pick and choose the attributes of God that are appealing, then form an idol which bows down to them instead. They attempt to cast off all knowledge of the Creator, and hence His restraints, even though they know they invoke His laughter and His sentence of death (Romans 1:18-32).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign Lord, enable me to heed wisdom’s voice, and by it to warn those who would reject You. Strengthen me to tell them of the certain doom toward which their paths move inexorably.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 1:20-23

Heed The Shouts Of God’s Wisdom

20) Wisdom calls aloud in the street, she raises her voice in the public squares; 21) at the head of the noisy streets she cries out, in the gateways of the city she makes her speech: 22) “How long will you simple ones love your simple ways? How long will mockers delight in mockery and fools hate knowledge? 23) If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.”

Who is this “Wisdom” who calls? It is the very voice of the God of creation. David speaks of the elements of the created order literally shouting of God’s existence, of His personhood, omnipotence, oneness, reason, holiness, and beauty (Psalm 19:1-4). Many people choose not to hear this voice that goes out even to the uttermost reaches of the universe (Romans 1:20).

If, by grace, you respond to God’s natural revelation, God will make more of His thoughts known to you (Proverbs 1:23). He will reveal His special revelation to you: Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. These Words make people wise unto salvation (2 Timothy 2:15). But even the knowledge of this higher level of revelation is despised by fools.

How long will the simple love their ways? Until the Spirit of God gives them new birth. I thank God that He did that for me. How about you? Have you responded to Wisdom’s shouts?

Scriptural Examples

John the Baptist. John urged people to turn from their simple ways and their foolish mockery. Likewise, the whole creation shouts of the One who brought it all into being, and sustains it by His powerful Word (Luke 3:4; Hebrews 1:2-3).

The Truth Suppressors. These people know the truth of God but suppress it in unrighteousness. So God gives them over to their own ways and they enter a downward spiral of their own making. They reject Christ (Romans 1:20-32).

Prayer of Application

Creator God, for many years I chose my own simple ways which mocked You and dismissed Your very being. Thank You, Lord, for opening my spiritual ears and giving me new eyes to see Jesus.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

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Proverbs 1:17-19

Don’t Set A trap For Yourself

17) How useless to spread a net in full view of all the birds! 18) These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves! 19) Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it.

“What goes around, comes around” is a modern-day secular proverb that speaks to this principle. It means that whatever you do, your behavior will eventually catch up with you. Establish this principle early on in life: “You can never, ever get away with sin.” The one we truly hurt when we sin is ourselves. You spread the net in full view of the one bird it will catch — you! Remember this and don’t be deceived: “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows(Galatians 6:7). Hosea 8:7 says of sinners, “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.”

Today in our land, many who have sown the wind of sexual sin are reaping the tornado of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. What those who disregard God’s law against adultery and fornication fail to see is the advent of new diseases like AIDS and some strains of herpes that thwart the efforts of modern medicine to find a cure. Stay on the straight path, and don’t follow those who only set a trap for themselves in their disobedience of God’s law.

Scriptural Examples

Ahab and Jezebel. This wicked pair conspired to take Naboth’s vineyard. By false witnesses they had Naboth stoned to death. Both reaped the tornado of death (1 Kings 21:4-24).

Haman. This vile character built a gallows on which to hang Mordecai. Ironically, King Xerxes used the same gallows to stretch Haman’s neck (Esther 7:9)
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Judas. Spreading what he thought was a net to catch the Lord Jesus, Judas only netted himself, and became a paradigm throughout the history of the world for treachery and deceit (Matthew 26:14-16; 27:3-5).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign Lord, help me to fully understand that any sin in my life is cosmic rebellion against You. Help me to warn others of the foolishness of wandering from Your righteous pathway.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 1:10-16

Don’t Get In With The Wrong Crowd

10) My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. 11) If they say, “Come along with us; let’s lie in wait for someone’s blood, let’s waylay some harmless soul; 12) let’s swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; 13) we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; 14) throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse” — 15) my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; 16) for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood.

I saw a TV show some time ago about Sicily, the island at the southern tip of Italy. Young men there will sometimes commit murder to prove themselves worthy to join organized crime. I thought of the gangs here in America, the membership requirements of which often include sinful acts. I also thought back over my own life and the influences of youthful “friends” that led to habitual sin in my life.

When God took the nation Israel into the Promised Land, He told them to be careful to drive the pagans that were there out of the Land (Numbers 33:53-55). If they didn’t, the pagans would become a snare, and lead Israel astray. So also we Christians should beware of developing intimate friendships with non-Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14). We should be diligent to teach our children to choose their friends carefully. Today’s choices will bear tomorrow’s fruit.

Scriptural Examples

The crowd in the desert. Aaron foolishly went along with the crowd and made a golden calf. After they had worshipped the calf, they indulged in pagan revelry (Exodus 32:1-6).

The crowd in Jerusalem. Many who welcomed Jesus as a king now turned against Him and shouted, “Crucify Him!” They were swept along by the others, not realizing what they were doing (Matthew 27:15-26).

Prayer of Application

Father, help me to discern evil paths and avoid them. Instead, help me to walk the pathways of Your wisdom and find my close friends and associates only among Your people.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

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Proverbs 1:8-9

Heed Your Parents’ Instruction

8) Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. 9) They will be a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.

I have a younger sister who used to live in Hawaii. One of the great joys of visiting her there (besides the water and warmth!) was to receive a beautiful, delicate lei. These are chains of aromatic flowers, strung together as garlands to grace the neck of the wearer. This proverb likens our parents’ instruction to such fragrant and colorful leis.

The God’s fifth commandment, found in Exodus 20:12, is the first that deals with our relationships with other humans. It is the foundational commandment requiring obedience to all those in authority over us, whether they are in the family, the church (Hebrews 13:17), or in the secular government (Romans 13:1). Those in authority over us are God’s earthly representatives to us.

As adults we are no longer under parental authority. Still, we should not forsake our parents’ wise counsel. I grew up in a Christian home, and though my parents are now with the Lord, their teachings still echo in my ears.

What a responsibility we have both as parents and children. As parents, we are to raise our children in the knowledge and admonition of the Lord, and as children, we are to obey the teaching of those who raise us. May God help us and have mercy upon us as we commit this process to Him.

Scriptural Examples

Hophni and Phinehas. These wicked men disgraced their righteous father, Eli, by their ungodliness. They would not listen to their father’s rebuke, so God eventually put them both to death (1 Samuel 2:12, 22-24; 4:11).

Adrammelech and Sharezer. These wicked sons of King Sennacherib committed the ultimate sin against their father when they cut him down with the sword (2 Kings 19:37).

Prayer of Application

O Lord, thank You for godly parents who raise their children in Your ways. Help their children to be obedient to their teaching, and to the instruction of all those in authority.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 1:7

Fear The Lord

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.

In verses 1 through 6, we looked at decision making. Here we come face to face with our first decision. What shall we do with the Lord Jesus? If one doesn’t get this decision right, all the decisions that follow will be wrong as well. As people study the Bible they begin to see something startling about our Creator. There is no middle ground with God. On the one hand, He is a God of ultimate wrath, and on the other, a God of ultimate love. Our God is altogether righteous and holy, and He demands that we reflect His character.

What does it mean to “fear the Lord?” That day many years ago when His Spirit opened my spiritual eyes and I first beheld His holiness over my sinfulness, I shivered at the realization that there was nothing I could do to avoid His wrath. Then, when I understood that God Himself had provided the solution in Jesus Christ, and He lovingly held out His salvation to me as a free gift, my trembling fear turned to an affectionate, reverential awe.

Many who are in pews today are practical atheists. They don’t tremble at God, and neither do they hold Him in affectionate awe. They are the fools of whom this proverb speaks. Don’t walk with them. Fear the Lord, and be obedient to His every commandment. That fear is the beginning of wisdom’s path.

Some years ago, I developed an acronym, F * E * A * R, that is designed to be a tool to help us to remember what “the fear of the Lord” is. Here it is briefly: F = Faith.Without faith it is impossible to please God(Hebrews 11:6). E=Enjoyment. We are to “Glorify God and enjoy Him forever’ (WCF Shorter Catechism, Q#1). A=Active obedience. We are to do what Christ commands us as a natural reaction to His Word. And finally, R=Reverential awe. Jesus is our Friend, but He’s not our buddy. He’s the awesome Creator and Sustainer of all that exists.

Scriptural Examples

Korah. This Levite and his followers despised the leadership of Moses and Aaron. In their insolence, they showed their lack of fear of God. God opened the earth and swallowed Korah, as his followers faced fire from heaven (Numbers 16:1-34).

Judas. There has never been a greater fool than this. He walked with the Lord throughout His earthly ministry, and yet despised His wisdom and discipline (Matthew 27:3-5).

Prayer of Application

Dear God, thank You for Your Word that makes us tremble at Your power and wrath. But thank You most of all for Your Son who gives us His righteousness and saves us completely from sin. May I follow Him always.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

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Proverbs 1:1-6

Decide to Walk the Road of Wisdom

1) The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: 2) for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; 3) for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; 4) for giving prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the young— 5) let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance— 6) for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise.

Many roads in life promise a future of success and happiness. But only one road of sure success exists. It is found in God’s Word — and particularly in the proverbs of Solomon. Other roads lead ultimately to difficulty, defeat, and despair. They promise excitement, peace of mind, and fulfillment, but they can deliver just the opposite. Only the wisdom that our Creator has for us bears the ultimate fruits of joy, peace, and life.

Many benefits of godly wisdom are listed in the verses above. They all boil down to one: good decision-making. An older person looks back to see that life has been a progression of many decisions. Some seem unimportant, but even those “small” decisions are extremely important, because they team up with other decisions to become pathways, then highways of our lves.

Study the proverbs and hide them in your heart. Put them into practice daily, praying for God’s guidance. Your godly decision making will put you onto the higher road of obedience that leads to the joy and peace that pass all understanding.

Scriptural Examples

Rehoboam. As Solomon was David’s son, Rehoboam was Solomon’s son. What a difference a generation can make! Faced with a decision that would determine the future of Israel, this foolish young man tossed aside the wise teachings of his father, and of the elders, and traveled his own road to ruin (1 Kings 12:1-24).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for Your Word that speaks its truth so clearly to us. Please send Your Spirit, Lord, as we begin this study of Proverbs, to the end that Jesus may be glorified.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Wisdom: What Is It And Why Do We Need It?

Godly wisdom brings joy. It’s as simple as that. I define godly wisdom as “doing the law of God.” James said in 1:22, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” Likewise, Jesus said, “If you love me, you will do what I command(John 14:26). Why? So that we might be burdened with a bunch of rules and regulations? No. Jesus came that we might “have life, and have it to the full(John 10:10). In other words, Jesus came that His sheep might experience the freedom and joy of fellowship with God. That is the greatest joy imaginable and the only joy really worth having. This joy comes through obedience to God’s law.

In Old Testament days, many people got the false notion that one had to keep the law of God perfectly in order to be saved. Paul calls those who believed this way “prisoners” of the law (Galatians 3:23). But Christ came to set us free from such slavery (Galatians 5:1). If we “are led by the Spirit, [we] are not under law(Galatians 5:18).That’s the same as saying “we are not under sin and therefore the law’s burden.” Those who belong to Christ are saved by faith and not by the works of the law (Romans 3:20, 22). Therefore, the law is no longer our master. Rather, the law is our friend. It is our trusted guide to a life filled with indescribable joy. As you travel the pages of Proverbs, I pray that you will do so in anticipation of the joy that is yours in Christ Jesus.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 31:28-31

Finally, Learn the Reward of Wisdom

28) Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29) “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” 30) Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. 31) Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

Whoever is placed next to the “Proverbs woman” will suffer in comparison. That’s because she is an idealized woman given to us as a goal. Matching her abilities, energy, and grace isn’t the bottom line. The bottom line is in these last four verses.

Notice that she is praised by the people who know her best. Although she is praised at the city gate, it is praise from her children and her husband that really counts. One may receive praise from friends or acquaintances, but have a spouse and children who remain silent. Here, the people who know this woman best rise and call her “blessed.” But you know, sometimes we can do our best at home and never get this kind of praise. Perhaps you are in that situation and feel cheated or defrauded. If so, read on.

I believe this woman is a metaphor for Christ’s bride—His Church. The church is comprised of people with different gifts and energy levels. There is only one Husband, Jesus Christ, and one bond of marriage, the new birth (John 3:3, 29). Our Husband knows us far better than we know ourselves. After all, He created us. It is only from Him that we should seek praise.

As we began our study, we read that the “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom(Proverbs 1:7). Here at last, we see that this woman fears the Lord. So the fear of the Lord is also wisdom’s ultimate destination. It isn’t your charm, talent, energy, service, or intelligence that count. The bottom line is: Do you fear the Lord and allow Him to shape your life as He pleases? Live only for Christ, and look for your reward only in Him. That, beloved, is ultimate wisdom and ultimate freedom.

These are the last verses of the book of Proverbs. Some of you dear followers have been with us since we began over two years ago. Stay tuned! We begin all over again tomorrow with the first chapter. Frank Sinatra sang a song called “Love’s more wonderful the second time around.” Maybe the same is true for Solomon’s book of wisdom. Join us!

Prayer of Application

Father God, Proverbs has taught me that the pinnacle of wisdom is in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing Him and His righteousness is the only real wisdom worth having.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

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Proverbs 31:21-27

Finally, Learn the Joy of Wisdom

21) When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22) She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23) Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24) She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25) She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26) She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27) She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.

The sluggard is a person who lacks freedom. Ironically, his restrictions are self-imposed. On the other hand, the person of discipline, integrity, strength, and love is free to experience the joy and excitement of an unrestricted life.

In verses 13-20 we see this woman is as at-home in the wool market as she is in her own home. She goes to the supermarket and prepares her food in the early hours. She’s an entrepreneur who dabbles in real estate and agriculture. She works hard. Even though her charity starts at home (v. 21), she doesn’t forget the poor and needy of her community (v. 20).

Notice in the verses above that she provides for her family in the winter, when it snows, so her mind is free from worry. She dresses in fine clothes and her husband is happy. This woman is full of joy! She is one happy camper because she doesn’t eat the “bread of idleness” (v. 27).

One seems to know intuitively that the kind of love this woman displays for others is the very essence of agape love. Ironically, although Christian love does not start out with a self-serving motive, the ultimate beneficiary of love is not just the receiver, but the giver as well. In Acts 20:35 we are told, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, how precious is Your joy. But in disobedience, joy quickly turns to pain and I lose my vision and my strength. Instill in me discipline and love that keep me on track.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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