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(#179) The Proverbs of Solomon 26:4-5-The Contradiction of Fools

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 26:4-5: Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Lest you also be like him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, Lest he be wise in his own eyes.”

“Do not answer a fool” and “answer a fool” seem to be a contradiction of terms, but they are not! These commands are detached from each other by separate and different purposes. A “fool” is everyone who: rejects God’s Wisdom and lives wickedly (Psalm 53:1); “spreads slander” (Proverbs 10:18); does evil for fun (Proverbs 10:23); “troubles his own house” (Proverbs 11:29); thinks he is right, regardless of the Bible (Proverbs 12:15); never listens to his father (Proverbs 15:5); can’t have wisdom beaten into him (Proverbs 17:10)!

“Do not answer a fool according to his folly” put in other terms would be “don’t get down on his level.” We must not accept a fool’s method of reasoning in a lame attempt to reply “lest you also be like him,” that is, we also become foolish! Jesus Christ is, of course, our example, “who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23), and therefore so should Christians do (1 Peter 3:8-9). Moses answered rebels rebelliously: “it went ill with Moses on account of them; Because they rebelled against His Spirit, So that he spoke rashly with his lips” (Psalm 106:32-33; read Numbers 20:1-13). (a) It does no good to argue the “age of the earth” to Evolutionists who continually make up “millions and billions” of years with absolutely NO proof, whatsoever! The issue is whether God Created, not when! (And He did! Genesis 1:1; Hebrews 11:3) (b) It is useless to argue the pain and suffering of women to those who cold-bloodedly murder babies by abortion. The weeping prophet, Elisha, predicted that the Syrians would “dash their children, and rip open their women with child” (2 Kings 8:12), which came true (2 Kings 15:16). The issue is respect for each human life because God made us (Genesis 1:26-27; Psalm 139:13-18). (c) It is senseless to argue the bad effects of political policies to power-mad politicians who are determined to control every aspect of individual life! God delivered Israelites from slavery in Egypt (Leviticus 26:13), delivered them from oppression repeatedly (Psalm 62:8-11; 2 Kings 13:1-9), and Christians should “not become slaves of men” (1 Corinthians 7:21-23).

“Answer a fool according to his folly” when silence would be mistaken for proof that he is right! Zophar thought Job was wrong and asked: “Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be vindicated?” (Job 11:2). Truly there is “A time to keep silence, And a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:7). When a possessed “slave girl” proclaimed the truthfulness of Paul, he “greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, ‘I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.’ And he came out that very hour” (Acts 16:16-18). When truth can be shown to be contradictory to error, Christians must speak! Jesus said that the world hates Him “because I testify of it that its works are evil” (John 7:7). Compromising with false teachers of the Bible lets them think they also are true (1 Timothy 4:1-7); bargaining with kidnappers lets them think they have some leverage; making a deal with terrorists lets them think they have won!

Jesus sent His disciples “out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). No fool has a truthful answer against the Gospel of Jesus Christ which says: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bargaining, #bible-study, #compromise, #conceit, #folly, #fool, #making-a-deal, #proverbs, #rebellious, #terrorists, #wisdom

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(#140) The Proverbs of Solomon 19:10-Robbing Hoods

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 19:10: “Luxury is not fitting for a fool, Much less for a servant to rule over princes.”

“Luxury” describes the pampered life one would expect in someone who has the power of office, but may have little regard for God. Jesus contrasted the Prophet John the Baptist who preached God’s Word to “those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury [but] are in kings’ courts” (Luke 7:25). “A fool” disregards God’s Word and Way, for “He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered” (Proverbs 28:26), thus “a fool” living in “luxury” is unexpected or unintended.

The same can be said for “a servant” to have “rule over princes,” it upsets the natural order. Of the four things that are disturbing on earth, one is “a servant when he reigns” (Proverbs 30:21-23). Solomon later will say such a condition is “folly” (ridiculous): “I have seen servants on horses, While princes walk on the ground like servants” (Ecclesiastes 10:7). Revolution can overturn the order in society, and there are consequences that must be faced. “Class Warfare” seems to always have existed, and is based upon false arguments: (1) zero sum philosophy=the amount of natural resources and wealth are fixed, so no one may become rich without taking away that wealth from someone else. This motivates the “poor” to resent the “rich” and feel they are being left out of a “fair and equal” distribution of wealth. Solomon said there is wealth for everyone blessed by God: “As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor-this is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 5:19). There is no limit as to whom or how much God will bless. (2) envy and covetousness=lusting for what the “haves” have without doing their work to achieve it. When those who “have not” train their eyes on what others “have,” desiring to obtain it by evil means, we have an example of what God calls “covetousness,” which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5). Jesus said, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Satisfaction with what we “have” comes from trusting God to be in charge: “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).

When the “poor” are encouraged to covet what the “rich” have, they become “robbing hoods,” whether or not they are members of a political party, labor union, man-made religion, or underworld brotherhood!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #class-warfare, #covetousness, #folly, #fool, #luxury, #practical-lessons, #princes, #proverbs, #servant, #zero-sum

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(#114) The Proverbs of Solomon 16:22-Expanding the Mind

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 16:22: “Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.”

Another proverb says, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook” (Proverbs 18:4). “Understanding” is a constant “flowing book” providing “deep waters” of knowledge. A person of “understanding” always has information to share that has been influenced by God’s Wisdom, studied with an open mind, and reflected in conversation.

In the wilderness wandering, Moses was advised to get men to help him judge the people’s problems: “Moreover you shall select from all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them to be rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens” (Exodus 18:21). Moses commanded the people to “Choose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men from among your tribes, and I will make them heads over you” (Deuteronomy 1:13). Only by carefully studying God’s Wisdom can anyone accurately “understand” human behaviors and know how to guide them to a proper solution! Solomon, himself, asked God to “give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Wisdom and understanding are closely associated, so it is not surprising, then, that wise Solomon’s Book of Proverbs refers to “understanding” in more than 50 verses! Meeting His Apostles after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ “opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45). Christians know about life and the life to come! “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5:15-17).

Since inspired Scriptures provide “correction” (2 Timothy 3:16-17), only “fools” will refuse to hear them. The Old Testament Prophet, Jeremiah, wrote: “O LORD, are not Your eyes on the truth? You have stricken them, But they have not grieved; You have consumed them, But they have refused to receive correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to return. Therefore I said, ‘Surely these are poor. They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD, The judgment of their God’” (Jeremiah 5:3-4). Fools feed on “folly” and have nothing positive to add to “understanding.” Until and unless they repent and turn to God’s Word, a fool may refuse to be corrected by God’s Word!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #folly, #fools, #jesus-christ, #open-mind, #proverbs, #understanding, #wisdom

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(#80) The Proverbs of Solomon 14:8-Who’s Fooling Whom?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 14:8: “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, But the folly of fools is deceit.”

A “prudent” person uses good, sound judgment, certainly based upon God’s Wisdom. “Wisdom” and “understanding” go hand in hand: the Prophet Daniel and his 3 friends stood out because their wisdom and understanding was “ten times better” than all the other sages (Daniel 1:19-20); and the question for Christians is, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom” (James 3:13). Being wise and using good judgment (“prudent”) shows, with proper actions, “understanding.” Other proverbs that express these thoughts include: “The simple inherit folly, But the prudent are crowned with knowledge” (Proverbs 14:18); “Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, But what is in the heart of fools is made known” (Proverbs 14:33); “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, But the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness” (Proverbs 15:14); “The wise in heart will be called prudent, And sweetness of the lips increases learning” (Proverbs 16:21); “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 18:15). Notice there is a definite distinction drawn between the actions of the “wise,” and the actions of the “fool!”

“The folly of fools is deceit” means fools are deceived if they think their folly is acceptable. John, to Christians, says: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). No one is more deceived than he who is self-deceived, so even the Apostle Paul said, “I know nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord” (1 Corinthians 4:4). “The crown of the wise is their riches, But the foolishness of fools is folly” (Proverbs 14:24). How much more ridiculous, empty, or vain could fools be described? Of the 7 times Solomon refers to “folly” in the Book of Ecclesiastes, he shows how obvious the choice is that is placed before us: “Then I saw that wisdom excels folly As light excels darkness” (Ecclesiastes 2:13). Wisdom is far better than folly. Don’t any longer be among the fools following folly!

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #folly, #fools, #proverbs, #prudent, #understanding, #wisdom

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(#29) The Proverbs of Solomon 10:23-Are We Having Fun, Yet?

Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Judgments Solomon made about individual cases brought to him for Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10), or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

10:23: Only a “fool” makes fun of doing “evil,” whereas “a man of understanding” possesses “wisdom.” Proverbs 14:9: “Fools mock at sin, But among the upright there is favor.” Proverbs 15:21: “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.” Only an evil person enjoys sin. Moses chose to refuse “to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25) offered to him in Egypt. Proverbs 21:17: “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.” Pleasure derived from wickedness is a waste of time, effort, money, and souls. There is nothing at all wrong with real enjoyment and fun, but to “love” it means it has taken a place within the heart that crowds out the loves that should be greater: God, Jesus Christ, Word of God, husband or wife, children and family. Even a 12-year-old Jesus understood that He “must be about My Father’s business” (Luke 2:49), while today, 12-year-olds are so occupied with ball games, social activities, iphones, ipads, parties, proms, texting, sexting, Facebook, Instagram, tweeting, and the like, they don’t know which Father, or whose business they should be about! A young widow who has no home responsibility, but “lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1 Timothy 5:6). Male or female, “those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime” will “receive the wages of unrighteousness” (2 Peter 2:13). Truly, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), and sinners will pay those wages, either with: bodily dissipation, destroyed lives, ruined families, isolation and loneliness, and/or eternal punishment. There is no joy, pleasure, fun, or folly associated with any of these, and nothing to “love.”

The wise will listen to the experience of one wiser, Solomon, who’s “been there, done that:”

“I said in my heart, ‘Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. I said of laughter-‘Madness!;’ and of mirth, ‘What does it accomplish?’ I searched in my heart how to gratify my flesh with wine, while guiding my heart with wisdom, and how to lay hold on folly, till I might see what was good for the sons of men to do under heaven all the days of their lives. I made my works great, I built myself houses, and planted myself vineyards. I made myself gardens and orchards, and I planted all kinds of fruit trees in them. I made myself water pools from which to water the growing trees of the grove. I acquired male and female servants, and had servants born in my house. Yes, I had greater possessions of herds and flocks than all who were in Jerusalem before me. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the special treasures of kings and of the provinces. I acquired male and female singers, the delights of the sons of men, and musical instruments of all kinds. So I became great and excelled more than all who were before me in Jerusalem. Also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, For my heart rejoiced in all my labor; And this was my reward from all my labor. Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done And on the labor in which I had toiled; And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11). The real “pleasure” in life costs less, is far more enjoyable, lasts longer, and helps more people see the better way: “fear God and keep His commandments” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#12-year-olds, #bible-study, #evil-fun, #folly, #lives-in-pleasure, #mock-at-sin, #pleasure, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #wisdom