Memphis Belle

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Proverbs 1-1:33 Proverbs 2:1-22 Proverbs 3-4 Proverbs 5-6:16 Proverbs 6-7
Proverbs 8-9 Proverbs 10-11 Proverbs 12-13 Proverbs 14-15 Proverbs 16-1-33
Proverbs 17-18 Proverbs 19-1-29 Proverbs 20-1-30    

 

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Proverbs 8:1-36

 

“Doth not wisdom cry?  and understanding put forth her voice? She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths. She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors. Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man. O ye simple, understand wisdom:  and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart. Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things. For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips. All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there isnothing froward or perverse in them. They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge. 10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it. 12 I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions. 13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil:  pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. 14 Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom:  I am understanding; I have strength. 15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. 16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth. 17 I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me. 18 Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. 19 My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver. 20 I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment: 21 That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures. 22 The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. 23 I was set up from the everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24 When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25 Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26 while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27 When he prepared the heavens, I was there:  when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28 when he established the clouds above:  when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29 when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment:  when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30 Then I was by him, as one brought up with him:  and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; 31 rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. 32 Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children:  for blessed are they that keep my ways. 33 Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. 34 Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. 35 For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD36 But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul:  all they that hate me love death.”

 

Introduction

 

“Chapter 8, we kind of shift gears a bit, and we’ll do 8 and 9, Lord willing, and then 10 one of the next sections of the Book, begins.  Chapter 8 begins by saying “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?  She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” notice,“She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.” (verses 1-3) because one of the main things that was placed before us here, in regards to wisdom, and the major topic, major portion, is ‘to deliver thee from the strange woman,’ chapter 2, ‘her that flatters with the tongue, with her words, she forsakes the guide of her youth,’ and so forth, just a picture, ah ‘her house inclineth unto death,’ those things brought before us.  Then again in chapter 5, there’s a challenge about looking out, you know, the lips of the strange woman, they drop as a honey comb,’ so forth, ‘for her end is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a sword, her feet go down to death,’ that she’s unstable, it’s hard to measure out and figure what she’s doing, ‘remove thy way far from her, don’t come near her, don’t let your honour be given to others, that strangers be filled with your wealth,’ and so forth, and you end up saying ‘How have I hated instruction,’ it says ‘to be satisfied in your own home with your own wife’ and forth.  Then we come to chapter 6, it begins a whole section on the adulteress, and how to stay away from her, and the damage that’s done, irreparable, the stain that comes on the soul, that won’t be wiped away, it says it’s a reproach that’s never wiped away that comes, and so forth.  ‘Anybody who does this destroys his own soul.’   And then chapter 7 takes us into a longer dissertation, ‘I looked out the window of the house, I looked through the easement, the casement, and beheld among the simple ones, I discerned amongst the youths a young man void of understanding,’ and it’s talking about how she cries out, this strange woman, this adulteress, how he’s drawn into her house and so forth.  And it gives a terrible picture at the end, chapter 7, again, ‘it leads to the paths of death, it leads to, like an ox going to the slaughter.’  And then chapter 8, wisdom is almost personified.  Wisdom says, ‘Look,’ it’s not like you’re out there and you’re fair game, and you have no instruction, no ability, and whatever bait is thrown in front of you, you’re just going to fall to that, because here wisdom says, ‘Does not wisdom,’ the idea is, ‘also cry, understanding puts forth her voice,’ and it pictures wisdom here in the feminine, and understanding.  “She standeth in the top of high places, by the way in the places of the paths.  She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.” (verses 2-3)  She is seeking us, wisdom is crying out in the streets, wisdom lifts up her voice.  It isn’t just there’s seductive things, it isn’t just that there are carnal things, it’s saying here ‘Wisdom herself, understanding cries aloud in the streets, at every corner, everyone wants to listen and pay attention, that voice is also being lifted up.’  Verse 4 says whose she’s crying to, “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of man.” to humankind.  And she says, “O ye simple, understand wisdom:  and, ye fools, be ye of an understanding heart.” (verse 5) remember there in the chapter before, he says ‘I beheld among the simple ones,’ same word, ‘I discerned among the youths a young man void of understanding,’ here’s wisdom crying and she says “O ye simple, understand wisdom:  and, ye fools,” the idea is ‘dull or stubborn,’ “be ye of an understanding heart.” (verse 5) and we find wisdom crying out, the invitation is being given to all mankind, it says.  It says here, “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.” (verse 6)  So, it says in the world we live in, in the culture that we live in, the society we live in, the time that we live in, close to the coming of Christ, return of Christ, in a world that the Scripture tells us would be turning away, you know, men would be giving themselves over to evil, it says (in Matthew 24:12-13) that love would grow cold, just, iniquity would abound, like the days of Noah, the days of Lot and so forth.  But here in the middle of all that, wisdom cries, understanding is crying out, and she is not taking a position of being benign,  she’s actually being very active, wisdom out seeking mankind, crying aloud, offering wisdom, crying to human beings, lifting up her voice.  The things that she has to say, she says, are good things, they are right things. 

 

There Are Things That Are Wrong, There Are Things That Are Right, And There Are Consequences

 

Verse 7 says, “For my mouth shall speak truth; and wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”  you know, ‘It’s not gonna come from me, I haven’t withheld anything that’s beneficial,’  “All the words of my mouth are in righteousness; there is nothing froward” ‘arrogant’ “or perverse in them.  They are all plain to him that understandeth, and right to them that find knowledge.” (verses 8-9)  So, wisdom here, it says ‘What I’m crying out is right, it’s not hidden, you don’t have to deal, ‘Wow, this is difficult to find out, where there’s some kind of truth that’s complexity here, like God is hiding his will,’ no it says, ‘It’s advertised, it’s being cried out, it’s being offered to mankind.’  Look, for you and I, as believers, Jesus tells us even more plainly, he says ‘When my Spirit comes, he’s going to convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment,’ he just says that, the Holy Spirit is going to convict the world of sin, that there are things that are wrong, of righteousness, there are things that are right, of judgment to come, there are consequences.  And the Lord says every human has that innate testimony that there are just things that are wrong, there are things that are right, and there are consequences.  And there are consequences.  And here wisdom personifies ‘all the things I say are plain, to the one who has understanding, they are right things, I’m crying out, bringing these things forth,’ verse 10, “Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold.  For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.” (verses 10-11)  I think if the whole parking lot was filled with gold and silver and rubies and gems, and somebody came to me and said ‘And the deal is this, Joe, you can have all of this loot, you can be the richest man in the world, monetarily, but it’s gonna cost you your marriage, your children, it’s gonna cost you your walk before the Lord, it’s gonna cost you those things, think about how you’re going to be able to live,’ I wouldn’t have to think for a second, no deal, no deal, I wouldn’t think for a second.  Because look, here’s the truth, the poor man worries about what he doesn’t have, and the rich man worries about what he does have.  The old truths don’t go away on either side of the bargain.  The deal is, if God gives us wisdom and understanding, you have a deeper peace in your being, that’s what he’s talking about here, as he speaks these things.  In verse 12 he says “I wisdom dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.” “I dwell with prudence,” the idea is ‘good sense.’  Now, as we move in here, where we’re going to hear wisdom personified, “I,” “me,” “my,” sixteen times in ten verses now, interesting to hear wisdom like that, and much of what wisdom says about itself reminds us of the Lord Jesus.  And of course we’re studying Colossians on Sunday, and it’s interesting there in Colossians in chapter 2, verse 3 when it’s speaking of Jesus, it says In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,’ in Jesus Christ, all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.  So you can hear his voice in these things.  “I wisdom dwell with good sense,” there isn’t anything too tricky, the idea is, to figure these things out. 

 

Wisdom Presents Herself As Truth Plus Power

 

Here’s what wisdom says, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil:  pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.” (verse 13)  He’s gonna mention “hatred” here twice.  So, the fear of the LORD, first place, to hate evil, what’s wrong.  The description of evil here, “pride,” “arrogancy,” “evil way,” “the proud mouth,” “I hate these things.”  “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom:  I am understanding; I have strength.” (verse 14)  Listen to what wisdom says, ‘I am understanding,’ personified, it’s interesting.  ‘I have strength.’  So wisdom says, ‘I am understanding, I have strength,’ so it’s truth plus power, here the way wisdom is presenting itself.  Verse 15, notice, “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice.  By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” (verses 15-16) and of course Solomon, the son of a shepherd, a warrior, the wisest man that ever lived, because he asked for it, for understanding, an understanding heart, to guide his great people.  And God said, he granted to him then, because he didn’t ask for silver and gold or the heads of his enemies, all of those other things.  But Solomon telling us, by wisdom, Abraham, a friend of God, a shepherd, and Joseph, a shepherd out in the fields, his brothers took him and sold him, David, you know, some of the great men in the Old Testament, Moses, God-given wisdom, ‘By me kings reign, princes decree justice, by me princes rule, nobles, judges of the earth,’ he says this, “I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.” (verse 17)  Isn’t it interesting, wisdom speaking of an emotion, ‘I love them that love me,’ certainly personified in Christ, “and those that seek me early shall find me.” (verse 17b) you’re thinking ‘Rats, what about, can’t we find any wisdom in the afternoon or late at night, I’m not a morning person, you know.’  [I’m thinking that, in the evening or late afternoon of my life.]  It’s interesting, the Hebrew word here, “those that seek me early” has the sense of earnestly or sincerely, just because anybody who would get up early was sincere, ah, anybody who would get up early was earnest.  So it’s a Hebrew word that doesn’t just mean “early,” it can insinuate that, but the idea is here, it says “I love them that love me; and those that seek me sincerely or earnestly” that may be early, it may be late, ‘but those that seek me sincerely shall find me.’  Look at verse 18, “Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.”  Because the interesting thing is, you can have riches without wisdom, you can have riches, look, it says “Riches and honour” so there are a lot of people in this world that are wealthy, they manipulate politics, they manipulate things, but they’re not honourable.  You can have riches without honour, and you can have riches without righteousness.  But it says here if you have riches and wisdom, wisdom says this, “Riches and honour are with me,” that if a man is wise, or woman is wise, and they become wealthy, that wisdom does the right thing with that position in life, and it says “riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness.” (verse 18)  “My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.” (verse 19)  What wisdom produces in our lives.  “I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of judgment;” (verse 20) isn’t that interesting, in this world, we want to make sure we’re following the LORD in the midst of the paths of judgment, he says, “that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.” (verse 21)  his will, wisdom here, “that I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; and I will fill their treasures.”  How interesting.

 

‘The LORD Possessed Me, Wisdom, Before Creation’

 

“The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” (verse 22) this really kind of in a wonderful way personifies the Lord, you know, Jesus, Jehovah, the LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.”  before anything existed.  What wisdom is going to say to us here is, look, ‘I’m not asking for some blind, mindless allegiance,’ you know, because people say You’re going to a Bible study, you’re studying the Book of Proverbs!?  Are you kidding me?  You know, that’s ancient, that’s old Victorian stuff, that’s even worse than that, what is that, Old Babylonian or something?  What do you mean, in the world that we’re living in?’  What wisdom is going to say here ‘I’m not asking for blind allegiance, or mindless allegiance.  I’m going to put out for you the truth of all of this.’  “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.” (verse 22) before anything existed.  Wisdom is infinite.  “I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was.” (verse 23) we can hear the Lord speaking here.  It’s just an interesting idea.  Look, you and I tend to think, I tend to think, much of my time in regards to eternity, in regards to eternity future, because I’m getting out of here, and I have an inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved for me in heaven.  So I think a lot about eternity, future, I don’t think a lot about eternity past.  Everlasting, beyond, literally in the Hebrew means “beyond the vanishing point.”  You think back as far as you can, you think back before the Book of Genesis, you think back before the first sentence in Genesis in the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, you think back before that, there was nothing [i.e. before the Big Bang where God started up the entire physical universe as we know it], when you get to nothing, your mind checks out, ok, before the first verse ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,’ there was nothing.  It wasn’t empty outerspace without stars and planets and all that, that wasn’t nothing.  Nothing is nothing, it’s not even space, it’s not even empty space.  What is nothing?  We can’t comprehend it.  That’s where you go back to this point, the vanishing point, and wisdom is saying ‘I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning or ever the earth was, before it was ever in existence, wisdom.’  It’s not something that’s not relative to our age, it’s not something that is Victorian, wisdom is eternal, it’s everlasting. 

 

When The Earth Was Liquid Rock

 

He says “When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water.” (verses 24-25) [that would have been when the earth was at the molten/liquid rock stage of its existence] ‘before the oceans were brought forth.’  70 percent of the earth’s surface is water, there’s a hundred ninety five million square miles of earth’s surface, and a hundred forty five million square miles are ocean.  And then because of the depth of the ocean, 330 million cubit miles of water, that is the perfect balance, it’s genius [and filling the top 100 feet is a biologic layer of C0-2 scrubbing plankton, which as it goes through it’s life-death cycle, scrubs about 95 percent or greater, of all the earth’s excess C0-2, taking it on a one-way trip to the bottom.  That in itself prevents a runaway buildup of C0-2 gases and subsequent acidification of the oceans, that would kill all life on the planet.  This is only one aspect of the biochemical complexity that exists in the earth’s oceans.]  It’s genius, of earth and water, so that the whole thing keeps spinning correctly, it creates the proper hydro-system, evaporation of 1.5 trillion tons of rain every day on the face of the earth, keeps the whole thing alive.  He’s saying, Before any of that happened, before there was any depths, before any of that, wisdom says I was there.’  So wisdom evidently played a great role in all of the perfect balance of all of that, that happens all around us in regards to the water in the oceans and so forth. 

 

Mountains Are Earth’s Balance Weights

 

He says “Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth:” (verse 25) the mountains take up one-fifth of the earths surface.  Mountains, you know you go, spring has been terrible lately unless you are in the tire business, because of all the pot-holes.  So you go in, they’re out of alignment, and they hammer those lead things on there so that, so it says here what God did, he started spinning the earth, and he put mountains here, put mountains there, you know, he balanced it.  And that’s what it’s saying, one-fifth of the earth’s surface are mountains.  70 percent of the earth’s surface is water, deep gauges, the Marianna’s trenches and so forth, wisdom is saying, ‘I was in all of that.  I was in all of those monstrous, gigantic things.’ 

 

The Dust Of The World

 

And then wisdom says this, “While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world.” (verse 26)  Now it is interesting “nor the highest part of the dust of the world.”  The highest part of the dust of the world, my wife hates dust, ah, we were just talking about it last week.  And I came to this verse and started to study dust a little bit.  So I could give her some information, I don’t think it made her happy [chuckles].  The average home in America produces 40 pounds of dust a year, 40 pounds of dust.  That’s why you dust, 40 pounds of dust a year in the average home.  The United States of America produces 43 million tons of dust a year.  The oceans produce 300 million tons of salt-dust a year.  In one cubical mile of ocean there’s 166 million tons of salt, in one cubical mile.  So the oceans spew 300 million tons of salt-dust into the air every year.  It purifies the atmosphere.  It’s all necessary.  In terms of dust, there is dust that is good and there’s dust that’s bad.  It’s not causing global warming, I’m not even going to go there, that doesn’t have anything to do with it.  Because when this was written, we weren’t worried about the kind of dust that causes lung cancer and these other diseases.  We have toxic stuff, we have chemicals.  When you’re sitting at your window and watching the sun coming in and kind of see the dust in the air, isn’t it fascinating?  I think when we were little kids I really appreciated when I was a kid, more than I do now, because I didn’t have to dust anything when I was a kid, and I could just see that dust.  It has to be at least 50 microns for you to see it floating in the air.  And if you breathe in dust, this is free information, it is really important, if you breathe in dust that’s 50 microns, you usually breathe it back out again, you get it out of your lungs.  If a 50-micron particle of dust can sit on your hair, on your head, you won’t see it, it’s that small.  But if it’s 2.5 to 10 microns, it settles to the bottom of your lungs, then it’s absorbed into your system and gets filtered out by your liver, or it gets into your sweat glands and you get rid of it.  If it’s bad stuff it gets stored up in your liver.  That’s just free information here in regards to dust.  But what we’re discovering about dust, like Mount Saint Helen’s, there’s always been that kind of Carbon Dioxide, that kind of carbon stuff spewed into the atmosphere, and it effects the weather around the entire globe for several years after something like Mount Saint Helen’s takes place.  In this respect, I’m not saying global warming,scientists are discovering that it’s necessary for there to be dust particles in the atmosphere to produce rain and snow.  [plus volcanoes cause global cooling.]  There’s several very important types of soil dust, from rich soils that come from the United States, parts of Africa, South America, they find those all over the world.  They find dust all the time from southern California in New England.  But that dust creates an electrostatic buildup in the atmosphere, water vapor needs the dust particles, to then cause condensation, and then the lightning from the electrostatic charge from the dust, it helps with the droplets coming together.  Without dust there wouldn’t be any rain, there wouldn’t be any weather patterns.  I haven’t convinced my wife, you may hate dusting at home, you might have 40 pounds of dust a year in the house, but this is necessary. Just enjoy it, let’s stop worrying about stopping the process that’s been going on for thousands of years [billions of years, since the oceans formed and the hydro-system got started].  This is what wisdom’s saying here, ‘It isn’t just that I was with the LORD as he laid out the heavens with the span of his hand,’ as it says remarkably in Isaiah.  It says in Isaiah, ‘Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, he has meted out the heaven with the span, measure out the heavens with the span of his hand, he has comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in the balance.’  What wisdom is saying here, ‘It isn’t just the millions of cubical miles of ocean that’s unfathomable, and the mountain ranges around the world that I rule over, that I’m intricately involved in, you can trust me because dust is part of my genius in my work.  And I care about the small things in your life, and if I can manage the dust of the world into electrostatic charges to produce rain and blessing on the earth, then I can exercise that wisdom in the small things in your life.’  There is no loosing here, trusting God’s wisdom, trusting what he has to say to us.  Remarkable idea, “While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there:  when he set a compass upon the face of the depth:” it seems he drew it into a sphere, “when he established the clouds above:  when he strengthened the fountains of the deep:  when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment:  when he appointed the foundations of the earth:  then I was by him, as one brought up with him:  and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” (verses 26-31)  You can never go wrong trusting God’s wisdom, because he manages down to the dust, but his delight is in the sons of men, his delight is in the habitable, the living part of the earth.  And he says ‘more particularly, his delight is with the sons of men.’  You think of the genius of what’s being said here, what’s being put before us, just wisdom, from the smallest particle to the largest thing, he created an environment where there would be life, and his delight is in the sons of men. 

 

‘Listen Up, Kids’

 

“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children:  for blessed are they that keep my ways.” (verse 32)  so, this is what we say to your own kids at home. therefore hearken unto me, O ye children:  for blessed are they that keep my ways.” anyone who can exercise wisdom on someone else’s behalf does it because they love them.  “Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.  Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” (verses 33-34) not these other women, not this other sensual attraction that’s in the world, ‘blessed is the man that heareth me, not those other voices that are out there, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.’  It says ‘you see the sensual, sexual things, stay away from it, don’t go near the doors of that house, but blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors,’ “For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul:  all they that hate me love death.” (verses 35-36)  It’s nobody else’s fault, “wrongeth his own soul.”  all they that hate me love death.” (verse 36b) nobody’s that clear about anything anymore.  Since wisdom, to say it that plain, because that way we don’t get confused, I appreciate that. 

 

Proverbs 9:1-18

 

“Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens:   she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:  as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame:  and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blotReprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:  rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:  teach a just man,and he will increase learning. 10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:  and the knowledge of the holy is understanding11 For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased. 12 If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself:  but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it13 A foolish woman is clamorous:  she is simple, and knoweth nothing. 14 For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, 15 to call passengers who go right on their ways: 16 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:  and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, 17 Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. 18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.”

 

Two Invitations, Two Feasts

 

“Wisdom hath builded” there was no chapter break when he wrote it, “she” and this is all in the feminine here, “she hath hewn out her seven pillars” just completeness, her home, her structure, what she puts forth.  “She hath killed her beasts” remember this adulterous woman said ‘I’ve made my sacrifices,’ she says ‘I’ve made my peace offerings today and I’ve paid my vows,’ and she’s seducing this young man, and here’s wisdom saying “she hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table.”  The adulterous woman had done all these things.  she hath furnished her table.  She hath sent forth her maidens:  she crieth upon the highest place of the city,” (verses 1-3) the invitation is there.  Look, there are two feasts.  There are invitations to both of those.  Wisdom determines which invitation you’re going to seek.  We go out in the world every day, there are two invitations.  You know, every day in traffic there are two invitations in my mind, you know, act like a Christian or run this guy off the road, every day, every circumstance there are invitations made out.  Wisdom determines which one we accept.  “Whoso is simple,” listen to what it’s saying, it’s encouragement to me, because that’s me.  “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:  as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” (verse 5)  ‘Let him turn in here,’ you know, she, this adulteress, saw a young man, he was simple, she took him in.  It says here earlier in chapter 8 and verse 5, ‘O ye simple, understand,’ now wisdom says, ‘Who is simple, let him turn in hither, let him turn in here.’  “as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.” (verses 4b-5)  Each one of us can live beyond our own wisdom.  Because we say ‘I don’t understand, I’m trying to study the Bible, I don’t understand how this works, I didn’t do good in school, I can’t figure this out, I’m a dummy, give me a shovel, that’s the only way…’ no, he says ‘You can live beyond your own wisdom, the supply that’s necessary comes from heaven, it doesn’t come from you, it’s being offered, there’s a voice crying out every day, it’s crying out to us.’  But the world we live in wants what’s carnal, sexual fulfillment, wine, you know, drugs, money, power, rubies, gold, silver, and all the while here’s wisdom saying ‘There’s more than that, there’s something that involves from everlasting to everlasting, there’s something that endures beyond death and the grave.  There’s something that puts you in a position where you’re cared for and loved and secure in eternity.’  And it doesn’t depend on your own IQ.  Here, the offer, ‘Whoso is simple, let that one come hither,’  the person who wanteth understanding, that’s me, I’m simple, I want understanding.  She says to that one, “Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.” (verses 5-6) there’s a path that you can take, you know.  The Psalms tell us ‘The fool has said in his heart There is no God,’ forsake the foolish, and live.  [And some of our friends and family in the world are foolish by this definition.  We are not supposed to abandon them, or else how would we be a constant loving witness to them of God’s existence.  But forsake their ways and beliefs, which are worldly and unsound, atheistic.]  Is that the challenge?  In the world we’re living in, the angst against Christianity and the Bible is growing, in our culture, in our legislation, in the battles over in Arkansas and Indiana, ‘We’re not gonna let the NCAA playoffs happen there, because they actually said we want to do something nice for people who have faith.’  Are you kidding me?  What are we doing, we’ve lost our minds, you know, the whole world is crying out one thing, the whole world is screaming one thing, and without any belief, here wisdom days “Forsake the foolish, and live; go in the way of understanding.” (verse 6)  You may be the minority in this process, on the road less traveled.  You may be lonely sometimes [how about all the time].  You may feel like nobody cares about you and nobody’s praying for you.  The truth is, at the right hand of the Father, there is the Son who ever liveth and maketh intercession for the saints.  I would rather have that going on in my behalf than anything money can produce down here.  Just my personal bent.  “Forsake the foolish, and live;” and “go in the way of understanding.” (verse 6)

 

You Can Discern A Scorner From A Wise Man By Their Response To Reproof

 

“He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame:  and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.” (verse 7)  The idea is, look, it’s hard, you forsake the foolish, and live, you’re going to take a stand about Christ in the world that we live in, it says ‘Well if you reprove a scorner, you’re going to get shame,’ “and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot.” (verse 7) a black eye, you may just get whacked for rebuking someone whose wicked, they’re wicked so they don’t have any problem swinging at you.  The idea is, look, ‘Not all who are invited will come.  Wisdom is crying out to the simple, wisdom is crying out to those who lack understanding, wisdom is saying ‘Forsake the godless and live,’ but not everybody is going to hear.  If you reprove a scorner, a scoffer, a mocker, you’re going to end up in shame, because they’re going to make fun of you.  And if you rebuke a wicked man, you’re going to get a blot.’  “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee:  rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee.” (verse 8)  Both need instruction, but you can tell by the way they respond their identity.  [There is one member of my adoptive family, that whenever I have tried to correct that person, I get loudly yelled at. I have since quietly backed away from that person, and I’m now praying for God to intervene and level the correction himself.  Don’t give up, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, as the saying goes.]  Both need instruction, the way they respond tells you whether they’re a wise man [or woman] or a fool.  If you rebuke a wise man [or woman] he will love thee.  Give  instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:  teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” (verse 9)  I was just thinking about that as a matter of fact this morning for awhile, where Peter says ‘Grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,’ and I thought, you know, you can’t ever grow in the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour unless you grow in grace, and you can’t ever grow in grace unless you grow in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you know, they’re both necessary.  To grow in Christ, and to appreciate him, to grow in grace, because that’s how it all comes.  And to grow in grace, you think, that comes freely, you have to be growing in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, because he paid for it, we made no contribution.  “Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser:  teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.” (verse 9) and that’s what we’re to go on in the process of learning and moving forward. 

 

“The Fear Of The LORD Is The Beginning Of Wisdom

 

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom:  and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” (verse 10)  I don’t know how much you think there is of that in our culture these days, the fear of the Lord.  So, it would seem that within the world that lacks understanding, if the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, I don’t know how much of that is around.  And if the knowledge of the holy is understanding, it’s a pretty bleak picture of what’s around us.  Wisdom says, “For by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” (verse 11)  I have a note here that says ‘Not by fiber alone,’ that’s encouraging, isn’t it?  by me thy days shall be multiplied, and the years of thy life shall be increased.” the idea is living wisely is living more easily, you know, if we live wisely, life doles itself out to us in a more even easy manner.  It doesn’t say there are not difficult days or not hard things.  But living wisely is living easier, in general.  “If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself:  but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.” (verse 12)  ok, if you’re going to exercise wisdom, you’re going to be the beneficiary, “If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself:  but if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it.” you stand alone in this in a remarkable way.  You decide ‘I’m going to apply my heart to wisdom,’ that doesn’t benefit those necessarily around you, you want to be salt and light, you want to be an influence, certainly on behalf of Christ, but if you’re going to be wise, you’re going to be wise unto yourself, it’s a self-benefit, you’ll reap the benefits of that.  If you’re a mocker, it says you’re going to reap, it’s nobody else’s fault what ends up happening in your life, if you’re a mocker, thou alone shall bear it. 

 

The Other Invitation That Is Offered

 

“A foolish woman is clamorous:  she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” (verse 13)  Solomon says now, it seems he transitions at the end, one more time, from wisdom, the picture of a wise woman, to that of a foolish woman.  “A foolish woman is clamorous.”  Now he knew, he had 700 wives and 300 concubines, that’s a thousand mother-in-laws right off the bat, which can’t be a good day.  And with 700 wives and 300 concubines, we know he had some clamorous ones.  Right?  he’s got a special place for those.  The clamorees stayed in their own dorm, in China.  “A foolish woman is clamorous:  she is simple, and knoweth nothing.  For she sitteth at the door of her house, on a seat in the high places of the city, to call passengers who go right on their ways:” (verses 13-15) now the picture here of course is, in contrast with wisdom, wisdom said ‘I’m at the high places, I’m crying out, I’m offering what I have,’ a clamorous woman is simple, she doesn’t know anything, she doesn’t realize the end of all of this, she’s sitting at the door of her house, she takes a seat in the high places of the city, “to call passengers who go right on their ways:”  Her cry, her invitation is, “Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither:  and as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (verses 15-17)  Look, it says earlier, wisdom says, ‘Whoso is simple, let him turn in here, at my place, as for him that lacks understanding, she says, Come eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled, forsake the foolish and live.’  He says here is this other invitation that is offered,  She sits at the door of her house, she sits at the high places of the city, and she calls to the passengers who go right on their ways, ‘Whoso is simple,’ that’s exactly what wisdom said, ‘Whoso is simple,’ she cries the same thing.  “Whoso is simple, naive, without understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (verses 16-17)  ‘As for him that wanteth understanding,’ that’s exactly what wisdom said. Now wisdom said For him that wanteth understanding, she says Come eat of my bread, drink my wine that I have mingled, forsake the foolish and live.’  Here is what this other invitation says, “Whoso is simple, let him turn hither:  and as forhim that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Stolen waters are sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.” (verses 16-17) something that we shouldn’t involve ourselves in.  It’s something in any culture, you know that when Abraham went down into Egypt, his faith failing, and he said to Sarah, ‘Tell Pharaoh that you’re my sister,’ and she was his half-sister.  Some say that’s a half-truth, a half-truth is a full-blown lie, there’s no such thing as a half-truth.  It’s like half-cyanide, don’t worry.  Because he said (to Sarah) ‘If he finds out you’re my wife, he’ll kill me,’ and the reason why, is because the Egyptians believed adultery was wrong, so if Pharaoh saw an attractive woman that was married, and he knew adultery was wrong, he murdered her husband, and she was a single woman.  That’s true, that’s what they did.  Murder wasn’t wrong, adultery was, evidently.  But the world we live in cries out, ‘Stolen waters are sweet, forbidden things taste the best.’  She said in the chapter before this, ‘Nobody’s going to know, my husband is gone, he’s going to be gone for at least several weeks, we’ll enjoy each other all night long, nobody will know,’  and that’s the deception, that’s the deception.  And again, in the middle of these chapters, it said ‘Guard your heart with all diligence, because from it flow the issues of life.’  Desire is the deeper thing.  What is desire?  What is desire?  It’s hard to understand [it is emotion based, for one, and the part of your brain that controls emotion is far, far larger and more powerful than the part of your brain that controls logic, that’s simple brain physiology], it isn’t intellectual [i.e. logic based] it’s seated much deeper within us.  Again, I just at times, me personally, I know gluttony is wrong, but there will be times that I will eat, and I’m a carnivore, one of the creatures that God in his wisdom put under heaven, earlier in the chapter talked about that, he delights in the sons of men, he said ‘Kill and eat,’ and sometimes you eat to the point where you’re just uncomfortable, you can’t breathe, you’re full, you’re kind of happy, but you’ve overdone it, you hope that you’re not ripping inside and you have to go to the hospital and get stitched up, you know, you can’t eat anymore, and yet there’s something in you, it’s desire.  You have no physical capacity left, you sit there and you look at the pie, or the ice-cream, you look at what comes at the end, you’re already in sin, you’re already in pain, you’re already in the verge of death [he’s being humourous here] [laughter].  And what is it then, what is it then?  That’s the same thing with sex, it’s the same thing with alcohol [the abuse of alcohol, drinking in extreme moderation is not wrong], it’s the same thing with drugs, it’s the same thing with money, desire is deeper than capacity.  We say ‘Oh, his eyes are bigger than his stomach.’  There’s a measure of truth, that’s a proverb by the way, not in here.  But the idea is, desire says, ‘Stolen waters are sweet,’ and some people get caught in it.  And you play with that, and you play with that, and you play with that, and you convince yourself ‘We can do this, husband’s not here, nobody’s going to get caught, nobody’s going to get hurt, we can enjoy this for right now, it doesn’t have to go anywhere.’  And you enter into it, and you step across that line, and you would give your arm to be able to step back one step in time, and you realize ‘What have I done?’  But there’s an invitation, it finds an ally in our fallen nature.  And the plea is ‘Stolen waters, they’re sweet,’ and they are, to a certain taste, ‘bread eaten in secret is pleasant,’ that’s the world’s wisdom.  God knows in the day you eat thereof, you’ll be like him, knowing good from evil, you know, what’s eaten in secret is pleasant.  But look what it says, to the one whose being invited, here’s the secret, “But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” (verse 18) this is what this inviter is keeping secret.  ‘Come on in, it’s going to be a great party, you and I can be together, you’ll really love it,’ he finally gets convinced, he opens the door and there’s corpses all over the living room.  he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.” 

 

In Closing:  Wisdom And Folly, Whose Guest Will You Be?

 

So wisdom and folly, they spread their tables, they invite their guests.  The Book of Proverbs says ‘Whose guest will you be?  Whose guest will you be?’  Now look, I’m thankful, many us before we came to Christ, when we were in darkness we tried to fill our lives and our hearts with so many of these things, and wonderfully God allowed the emptiness in some ways to bring us to him.  But I remember that emptiness.  And some, after they’ve come to the Lord, have been lured back into those things, Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived involved himself in things he should never have involved himself in.  But we’re not under the covenant he was under, we’re under a better covenant, the New Covenant, under the blood of Jesus Christ.  So even for us here this evening, those of us who are the Lord’s who have been lured into things, we’ve accepted an invitation at some point at a table we should never have gone to, and it leaves us broken and remorseful, I believe the blood of Jesus Christ is sufficient when genuine repentance is there, his arms are open, when genuine confession is made, the heart turns back to the living God, he restores and renews.  He’s a reconciler, he’s a restorer, he’s a redeemer.  He binds up the brokenhearted, he sets the captives free, he opens the eyes of the blind, and I am so thankful.  Look, that’s no excuse for us to be stupid.  ok?  Because we are the objects of his grace and his forgiveness, we are blood-washed sons and daughters.  And when we fail and when we make a mistake, as we go back to our Saviour, in genuineness and we ask for God’s forgiveness, all that’s imperfect inside of us has to bow before the glory of Jesus Christ and his completed work on the cross.  That’s a wonderful thing.  But he saved us, and he’s filled us with the Holy Spirit, not the cool spirit, not the culturally relevant spirit, not the let’s go party spirit, he’s filled us with the Holy Ghost, and it should make it easier for all of us as these invitations are laid out.  Whose guest will you be?  Folly is inviting, it’s all around us.  I look at what’s happening in the world, and I can’t, I don’t understand, I don’t understand what they’re saying with children now.  They teach them whatever they want to teach at the earliest age.  I saw a child, before they were five years old, they were telling their parents what gender they decided they were.  That’s the world we live in.  And that’s applauded.  And do we have the right to raise and to instruct and to teach and to love and to steer, do we have the right to tell somebody what love really is and forgiveness is, do we have the right to tell somebody that God’s Word is the Word of God and that there is a risen Saviour and he’s coming back, and he’s going to rule this world???  Isn’t it interesting, all of the opposition to that now?  None of that bothers me, in the sense that it doesn’t make me think, I never think of slowing down or throwing in the towel.  You know, I may end up in prison before this is over, and I trust you guys enough, if they come in here and drag me outa here for teaching the Bible, I know that within a week the next guy will be up here.  [In World War II, if an officer were shot, the next in rank would step into his place, and so on down the ranks to buck private, the command structure could not be broken.  The same applies to God’s chain of command.]  I’ve got a bunch of them that are paid that better be up here, but after all those guys are drug out, I trust you to get up here and do that.  I only hope there are some good cooks that will get arrested too, and be in prison when they put me there.  But who knows where this world is going.  Just talking about the love of Christ and about morality may be illegal in a year or two, I mean it’s insane.  And folly is offering, like this is better, this is wiser, but this is non-discriminating.  Right?  I have news for you, not for you, for them.  Death is non-discriminating.  It’s gonna take everybody down, not just the Christians, death is non-discriminating, disease is non-discriminating, AIDS is non-discriminating.  Jesus is discriminating.  Those that are washed in his blood are not subject to death, disease or hell [i.e. what Revelation terms the 2nd death.  We all may die physically before Jesus’ 2nd coming, but then comes the resurrection to immortality which comes for us believers who are washed in the blood of Christ is what he’s saying].  And I’m glad he discriminates.  And the rest of the world can be mad at me for discriminating, I’m right in the middle of it, I’m happy as a lark.  So, my encouragement to you is if you’ve accepted a wrong invitation, first of all if you’ve gotten an invitation lately, and it says in the invitation Stolen Waters Are Sweet, don’t go there, please, don’t go there.  ok?  If you’ve got an invitation that says ‘Hey, are you simple, you lack understanding? Come to my house, my table’s set, forsake the foolish, forsake the godless, and live.  I’ve withheld nothing, you are not disqualified in any measure.  I’m crying out to you, come the way you are, come and answer the invitation of Jesus Christ, come just as you are.’  So if you leave with anything tonight, just remember that.  ok?  are we on the same page?  Look, if you get an invitation in the mail, and it says “Stolen Waters Are Sweet” don’t go to that party.  It says “he knoweth not that the dead are there,” that’s the secret they’re not telling you on the invitation, and all the ways are the ways of death.  If you get an invitation that says ‘Whosoever will may come,’ and it’s from Jesus, always go to that Party.  Ok?  Go to that table that’s set, let’s stand, let’s pray together…[transcript of a connective expository sermon on Proverbs 8:1-36 and Proverbs 9:1-18, given by Pastor Joe Focht, Calvary Chapel of Philadelphia, 13500 Philmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA  19116]

 

 

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