Safety in Wisdom

Proverbs 28:26

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.

Truthfully, we can’t do much on our own.  Sure, we like to think that we’re pretty independent but when it comes right down to it everything that we are is a result of God. 

Proverbs 3:5 instructs us to trust in the Lord with all our heart and lean not on our own understanding.  Wisdom says to trust that God will take care of us even when common sense tells us to hoard our money during financial difficulties and cut back on our giving to the church or charities.  Common sense tells us that being kind to the verbally abusive guy at work will only make us a doormat. 

But God’s ways are better than our own.  When we do as God wants us to it often goes against our own common sense.  There are times that doing the right thing will require sacrifice but God does not sit idly by while we suffer for doing right.  When we walk in wisdom we will grow spiritually and be able to face difficulties better in the future.  And many times walking in wisdom will not only be for our benefit.  God will use our example to either convict others of wrong doing or spur people to action.

We can’t always understand what God is doing or why He allows something to happen.  What we can know is that God is in control and if we continue to rely on Him, He will see us through any difficulty.

Greed and Dissension

Proverbs 28:25

A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.

In 2008 we watched as the housing market collapsed.  Then came the banking industry.  Finally stocks on Wall Street followed.  Economists and historians will debate about the cause for years if not decades but one of the root causes is greed at many levels.

We like to think of greed as a sin that the fat cats at the top of corporate ladder are guilty of.  But greed amounts to anytime that we aren’t satisfied with what God has given us.  Greed causes a person to cheat on their spouse because what they have isn’t good enough to satisfy their emotion, physical, or spiritual needs.  Greed makes us want what our neighbor has when two days earlier we didn’t even realize it existed.

This proverb does not promise us riches.  God does not promise to give us everything that our heart desires.  But He does promise to give us everything that we need.  We often have great difficulty distinguishing between our wants and our needs . 

When we trust in the Lord, we can count that He will take care of our needs.  When we closely evaluate and distinguish between our wants and our needs, we will keep greed at bay and be able to be happy with what God has given us.

Blameless Walking

Proverbs 28:18

He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.

Doing God’s will should have some pretty obvious advantages.  This one is one of the more obvious.  Like most proverbs this is not a guarantee that makes us invincible but a general rule that we need not fear harm when we’re walking according to God’s ways.

Sin often brings about guilt and fear.  A very simple example is to watch people as they pass a cop on the highway.  A thief lives with the fear of being caught.  Someone who is cheating on their spouse not only lives with the fear of being caught but ends up having suspicions of being cheated on themselves.

Many people look at God as some sort of cosmic killjoy but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  God wants us to live life to the fullest but He wants to protect us from ourselves.  A lot could be said about the benefits of keeping sex within marriage but one of the obvious ones is there is no need to fear STD’s or pregnancy when it is kept to the marriage bed.

Those who are living outside of the will of God don’t know when disaster may strike.  God is not waiting for us to slip up so that He may crush us and prove a point.  God takes no delight in punishing us.  But when we are doing wrong, we know that the rug may be pulled out from under us at any time and we will fall.  God will be there waiting to pick us up but it will still hurt when we hit the ground.

Praise from Another

Proverbs 27:2

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips.

There are some people who seem to have everything in life and they don’t mind letting you know about it either.  They are smart, good looking, athletic, financially blessed – you name it, they have it.

There’s a simple truth that many don’t acknowledge about their success; it’s God given.  There are things that we do to earn what we have and others that are simply a result of genetics.  But even what we accomplish, we do with the abilities that God has given us. 

There are a few athletes and entertainers that are known as Christians.  And many others who give lip service to God as they hold up an award but pay no attention to their maker at any other time of their life.  It is ok to speak about your accomplishments if you do so by acknowledging that they’re not really your accomplishments.  What we do, we do only by the grace of God and the gifts that He has given us.

There’s another reason why we don’t need to call attention to how great we think we are.  If we’re really that great, other people are going to know anyway.  It means a lot more to hear words of praise come from someone else than to repeat them to yourself for the thousandth time.

Applying Your Heart

Proverbs 23:12

Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge. 

Unlike many other proverbs, there is no promise for those who apply their heart to instruction, nor any threat for those who do not.  Rather, instruction and knowledge are desirable in and of themselves without further incentive.

Some people love school while others can’t stand it.  This isn’t just about school however.  There are many ways to learn outside of formal education.  All of them take a bit of work however, they don’t come free and easy.

Application takes some work.  A lot of Christians hear God’s Word and they know it.  However, they don’t apply it to their lives.  We can know about God, His love, mercy, justice, righteousness, etc.  But it takes more than just knowledge for it to effect us.  We must ask difficult questions like, “Because God is love, how should I live my life?”

Even a lot of sermons lack application.  Spiritually deep teaching must be accompanied by what we’re supposed to do with this knowledge.  Knowledge for knowledge sake won’t get us anywhere.  We must work at applying what we’ve learned if we are going to spiritually enhance our lives.