Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 10:17-25

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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1 The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
2 Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4 A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
and a babbling fool will come to ruin.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.
13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
14 The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.
17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.
23 Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
but the righteous is established forever.
26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
28 The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers.
30 The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

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Solomon: The Wise of Heart (II)

Solomon’s provision for his son is priceless.

Priceless because it constantly refreshes the heart and mind as to what true Christianity looks like, as opposed to dead religion by whatever name. The religion of Christ is living and vital and affects the entire person. It kindles love in their hearts, compassion, tenderness – all the while checking cowardice and instability at the same time.

Christianity is a religion fueled by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. God’s Spirit who is with us everywhere at all times, committed to bestowing upon us the highest honor and gift which can be given – to made more like the Son of the Living God. It is with that backdrop in mind that we re-visit a few more portions of Proverbs 10 today.

Proverbs 10:17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

Comment: Notice that this verse does not imply that we are to enjoy reproof and correction. But what it does note is that the wise, listen to sound instruction, and that when we reject correction and admonition, such rejection goes beyond just ourselves – we lead others astray. For it is certain that those who do not accept correction and rebuke, invariably are trying to lead others in some way. They want always to be the leader – if only of themselves – and never a follower. And they will certainly lead those astray around them – after the same path they are on.

The truth is, one who cannot receive reproof or instruction, is one who is not fit to lead – for they will lead others only after themselves, and not after Christ. This again is a timely word to those who hold any position of authority – in the home or in the world. As a parent, if you are beyond correction, you will lead your children down that same path eventually. As an employer or manager, if no one on your team can point out an error without their heads being bitten off, you will lead that group into misery.

Father, forgive me for the hardness of heart and the pride that has so often made it difficult for others to reprove me, and for me to receive it. Teach me the gentle ways of Christ.

Proverbs 10:18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips, and whoever utters slander is a fool.

Comment: There is a strange perversity among Christians, that knowing we are not to live in hate with others, we will simply cover that hatred up with nice speech and false friendliness. And this, we think, is a high road. It is a deception. It is to live a destructive lie. What then, ought we give full vent to our hatred? No. That is not the correct answer either. The answer is to not deny that hatred is in your heart. Rather, it is to acknowledge it, so you can repent of it. Knowing that while you must acknowledge your sin – at the same time, you cannot give permission to it. To act upon it compounds the sin. Confess and repent before you break out into sin which harms others beyond yourself. To fail in this, will lead into a most horrible duplicity. You will imagine that you can harbor hatred in your heart, while outwardly pretending there is no hatred there – and then find yourself in fact uttering slanders behind the back of the object of your hatred (either inwardly or to others) – which renders you the fool you genuinely are.

Proverbs 10:25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more, but the righteous is established forever.

Comment: Trials and storms weed out the imposters. Note well, such “tempests” come to the righteous and the wicked alike. And they prove which is which – when before, they might have been indistinguishable. We often want to spare one another trials and tribulations. The sentiment is proper enough, compassion bids us to want no one to suffer. And yet, trials and tribulations not only do come, they must come. This is how the genuine are proved, and the false uprooted.

In Jesus’ parable of the soils in Mark 4, each soil is subjected to the same sun, the same rain and the same wind. The soil that is fruitful, is the one that endures, not the one spared the exposure. So it is with spiritual fruitfulness. The tempest tries us all. And in the final tempest of God’s judgment upon sin, the wicked will in fact be no more, but the righteous in Christ will know eternal safety. Which are you?

~ 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.