Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Proverbs 1:20-23 NASB

Wisdom shouts in the street, she lifts her voice in the square; 21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing and fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel and did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 when your dread comes like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord. 30 “They would not accept my counsel, they spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way and be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the naive will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil.”

Though the Proverbs are a compilation of sayings that have to do with wise living, in contrast to senseless and/or godless living, written down by various people and, perhaps, at various times in that period, the introduction to the book affixes King Solomon's name to the main body; perhaps for no other reason than to acknowledge, because of his renown in matters of wisdom, his influence, inspiration and input on this great theme.  Whether he compiled most or not is, finally, not the issue.  In that day, King Solomon's name bears the authority and acclaim in this area.  But could it be that his name is also ascribed to Proverbs because his name bore, as no other, the contrast we see in this book between wisdom and foolishness.  As we know, King Solomon himself experienced both in a very real way. He went from sense to stupid over a period of bad choices, forfeiting the fruit of wisdom and plunging into the fires of foolishness.  Choices have powerful results, able to change, establish and reinforce good or bad character, depending on the direction we choose.  And choose we will, one way or another, for, from the beginning, as with Adam and Eve, the world is a world of choices. Kevin Brown (Associate Professor-Howard Dayton School of Business, Asbury University)  commenting on the North American world, said, “Amazingly, we see on average anywhere between 3500 to 6000 mini-advertisements or ‘impressions’ for a given day.  These…aren’t innocent…they clamor to tell us what to do, buy, believe, choose…” (written in an email from Dr. Brown to me, 1/17). The cry of The Proverbs is “Choose well!  Don’t go stupid!  Listen to wisdom!”  A key verse, and the reason given for bad moral choices, is verse 29:  they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord”.  Proverbs 1:7 says, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”  When we bond knowledge with the fear of the LORD (a theme that runs through the Proverbs), we enter the current of wisdom which, as Steve DeNeff (Senior Pastor of College Wesleyan Church, Marion, Indiana) says, “Will determine a desirable destination” (as preached in a series called “Currents”).  "That desirable destination," says DeNeff, "is not attained by hoping so, but by choosing the right current way before the hoped for destination."  That is the wisdom of choosing Wisdom.  It is Wisdom who  says, “…he who listens to me shall live securely and will be at ease from the dread of evil” (1:33).  Listen to her my friend!  Listen to her.

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