Monthly Archives: April 2014

Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 12:1-5

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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[learn_more caption=”Proverbs 12 ESV”]

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.
3 No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.
4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the mouth of the upright delivers them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous will stand.
8 A man is commended according to his good sense,
but one of twisted mind is despised.
9 Better to be lowly and have a servant
than to play the great man and lack bread.
10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.
11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.
12 Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous bears fruit.
13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
but the righteous escapes from trouble.
14 From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.
16 The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.
17 Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.
18 There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.
21 No ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.
22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.
23 A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.
24 The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.
25 Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
26 One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 Whoever is slothful will not roast his game,
but the diligent man will get precious wealth.
28 In the path of righteousness is life,
and in its pathway there is no death.
[/learn_more]

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Solomon: Talk is Cheap

 

Proverbs 12:1 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.

Proverbs 12 is a study in contrasts. This is at the heart of becoming wise. If one does not perceive differences between those who do right and do not, those who think right and those who do not, those who are diligent, and those who are not, etc., then reason in action goes out the window, and we live as fools. Ultimately though, it is a study in two portraits: Fallen man, given over to our own plans, purposes and reasoning, and Christ – showing us the life man was made for, and His redemption, returning us to pursuing original purposes. To live without thinking about who we are as created, and what we are here for in God’s plans – is – STUPID. Living like a mere beast.

Proverbs 12:3 No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved. 

If you are looking for stability in the midst of trying situations – keep in mind that sin will never bring it. Better to suffer some measure of continued discomfort than to take the course of the wicked. You will only add to the destabilization and chaos if not. Things will be truly “out of control.” You cannot bring stability to your life or home or mind by the pursuit or accommodation of any sin.

Proverbs 12:4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Firstly we need to consider – as the Bride of Christ, are we His crown?

Or do we more often bring rottenness to His bones? Oh Father, rule us by your Spirit, that Christ might be “crowned” by us. Do we bring Him honor by the way we live and think and act – or bring Him shame? Is He proud to have us on His arm? Can He trust us in bearing His name?

Secondly, in our homes, we can see this in terms of wives who may act shamefully.

Who perhaps dress provocatively in public, or are brash and brazen or even a busybody (preoccupied with other people’s business). These bring shame upon her husband.  In the natural, wives need to take heed whether or not their discussions – especially with their close confidantes – leave their husbands open to ridicule and shame? Do they reveal things which would make others think less of him, or things HE would rather keep private? Unless there is a compelling reason in terms of bringing actual help, confidences need to be kept.

Thirdly, we can see how these two overlap.

Just as husbands honor Christ when they love their wives sacrificially, and when honoring Christ in all their ways – bring blessing to their wives; so too wives honor their husbands in growing in their Christlikeness, and honor Christ in treating their husbands respectfully and in a godly manner. The two are never separate. We cannot mistreat others without shaming Christ, nor neglect Him without hurting others.

Proverbs 12:5 The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

There are those who give counsel out of the flow of who they are and how they think all the time. They live on principles in the inner man. It is how they think about their own actions, how they see truth and the world.  And then there are those who give counsel based on manipulation and trying to achieve certain ends. Their counsel will be self-contradictory at times. It does not spring from an established, principled way of thinking but purely out of expedience. The former are “righteous” – in that they bear the image of God. He only thinks and acts in accordance with His own holy, just nature. Always. The latter are “wicked”. They do not think and act on holy principles, but perverse desires and goals. Father, let me be a man who lives as Christ – serving your holy nature, and not driven by unprincipled goals and desires. Let me share your constancy in Christ by the Spirit.

~ Reid

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.

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