Proverbs 15:1, 2, 4, 7, 23, 28 ESV
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.
A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
The lips of the wise spread knowledge;
not so the hearts of fools.
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
and a word in season, how good it is!
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
As a general rule, I do believe that a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger, yet this is not always the case.
For, we will be hated and persecuted, as believers in Jesus Christ, merely for what we stand for, and merely because we share the truth of the gospel of Jesus. It may not matter how gentle our answers are, for if the other people don’t like the message, it will not necessarily turn away their wrath. In fact, their wrath may even be stronger because we said what we said with such gentleness.
The tongue of the wise does praise knowledge, but not head knowledge only; not just books smart. The kind of knowledge that the wise speak well of is the kind that leads to action – the kind of action that is helpful, beneficial, wise, discerning, productive (in a good way), and that is full of mercy and good fruit. Head knowledge only can lead to pride. What we need is heart knowledge, which applies the good that we know to our lives.
If we have perverse tongues, we are obstinate, stubborn, rebellious, and wicked in our hearts and speech, for we have turned away from what is right to follow after what is wrong (corrupt, vile). It is good to stand strong on some things, such as our faith in Jesus Christ, but it is not good to be headstrong about following the ways of this world and of our sinful flesh.
If we want the right kinds of things to come out of our tongues, we have to have the right attitudes, thoughts, and feelings instilled in our hearts. For, out of our hearts our mouths speak.
So, daily we need to put off the wrong attitudes and thoughts and desires, and we need to put on Christ and his Word and his righteousness and holiness. And, we need to pray for the right words to say to people, so that we don’t respond in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Then, what we say will be proper, suitable and helpful instead of harmful. It takes much spiritual discipline, too, to control the tongue.
The Unwise vs. The Wise
Proverbs 15:18, 19, 21, 24, 31, 33 ESV
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honor.
Anger is a natural human emotion. We can feel anger for many different reasons.
The Bible says that in our anger we should not sin, so the emotion of anger, in and of itself, is not sinful, but it may come from sin in our hearts or it may produce sinful responses (reactions and actions).
Anger can be a good thing to show us what is in our hearts or to drive us to some kind of action. It is a great motivator, or it can be. But, it can also be very destructive.
Also, there is such a thing as righteous anger, which is the kind of anger God has with regard to the things which he hates. We can be angry about abuse, lies, deceit, the murdering of innocents, and injustice, etc., but we must use that anger as a motivator to do what is right, not what is wrong.
We, too, are not to be people who are lazy, slothful, and selfish, just thinking about how we can entertain ourselves or bring ourselves pleasure. We are to be people who love God and our fellow humans and who follow our Lord and his ways, who fill the roles he has for us, and who care about other people and their needs.
We should not be people who follow our own way of thinking, doing what we want, to please ourselves, without concern as to whether or not what we do is harmful to others and to ourselves. We should be people who follow the way of holiness, instead. And, we should be those who honor, value, esteem and respect our Lord by heeding his counsel and doing what he says to do.
Proverbs 15:13, 16, 17 ESV
A glad heart makes a cheerful face,
but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
We are glad of heart either when things are going well for us or when we are following in the ways of the Lord, and our trust and our hope is in Him.
But, we are sorrowful in heart, oftentimes, when we go through times of trial, tribulation and testing, which try our faith, or when we are not following the Lord and our consciences are bothering us.
Yet, it is possible to go through hard times, and cry them out to the Lord in our misery, and then to rest in the Lord, and to be refreshed in spirit, so that we do have glad hearts. We can experience the joy of the Lord even in some of the most trying of times when we learn to rest in Him.
Having money and things may bring some temporal gladness, as opposed to struggling to know how we are going to eat and pay bills each month. But, money and the things of this world don’t satisfy the deep longings of our souls. In fact, sometimes having much can lead to a path of destruction.
If we walk in the fear of the Lord, giving him honor and glory, doing what he says to do, we can be satisfied even with very little. In fact, when we realize we are dependent on him for everything, it can draw us even closer in our walks with Christ and in His Word.
Some people measure success by possessions and wealth, etc. But, we can have all of this, and have the appearance that all is well, when we may be going through hard times in other ways. We may live in abusive environments, lacking in love, and so all the “things” that we have do not bring joy to our hearts. More is not necessarily better. What is better is to live where we are loved by others, even if we have little.
Proverbs 15:3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 29 ESV
The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
keeping watch on the evil and the good.
The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him.
The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord,
but he loves him who pursues righteousness.
There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way;
whoever hates reproof will die.
Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the Lord;
how much more the hearts of the children of man!
The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
Our God is completely sovereign and in control over all things. He is not surprised by anything which is going on in our lives, nor is he lacking in power to do something about it. But his ways and his thoughts are not like our human ways and thinking. He has reasons for the things he allows in our lives and purposes for his seeming slowness in answering our prayers, too.
The ways of the wicked have not escaped God’s notice. He is just very patient and slow to anger, not willing that anyone should die in their sins, but that all people would turn away from their sins and have eternal life with God. He allows evil in this world because he allows us to exist, and sometimes he uses even evil for his good purposes in people’s lives.
The Lord is not impressed with what we, as humans, decide we will give to God or do for God. What he desires is our lives dead to sin living to righteousness, all in the power and working of God’s Spirit living within us. He wants us devoted to him, following his lead, doing what he says. He wants us dead to the world of sin, too, separated from the world of sin, and separate unto him and to his service.
The Lord disciplines, chastises and rebukes those who he loves. But, he does this so that we might share in his holiness, becoming like him in his death, and that we might bear fruit for his kingdom in keeping with repentance.
But, there is also severe discipline (judgment) that God has in mind for those who forsake the ways of the Lord, and who do evil, and who follow the ways of the flesh, instead of the ways of the Spirit. They will die in their sins. So, if that is where you are, repent of your sins today, and find your chains to sin broken, and find freedom in Christ to now walk in holiness, instead.
Power Of The Cross
Once in darkness now in light
Once blind now you see
Once a sinner now a saint
Once bound now free.
That’s the power of the cross
See the chains fall…
Sunday, June 3, 2018, 6:30 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for these words of wisdom from the Proverbs. May we all take them to heart and apply these truths to our daily lives.