Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 12:8-13

 

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: Good Sense

 

Proverbs 12:8 A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised.

Everyone, especially Christians, are responsible for what they hear and believe. No one will be able to appeal to God in the Day of Judgment and say “but they told me…” That might be deemed the “Eve Defense.” It didn’t work for her, and it won’t work for us. Why? Because we already have God’s Word available to us, to use as the means to measure what others tell us. Even preachers. AND, because though there are times when God’s wisdom outstrips our own, He never fails to make sense. He does not spout nonsense. Hence we have the warning here – DO NOT give ear to those whose mind is twisted (warped, crooked, distorted, out of proportion) no matter how “Biblical” they sound. If it is not “good sense” – it isn’t commendable by treating it like it has merit.

Jesus demonstrated this very means to repel the argument of the Pharisees when they accused Him of casting out demons by the Prince of Demons (Satan). In effect His response was: “Your argument is nonsense. A house divided against itself cannot stand. It is ludicrous to think that Satan is casting out Satan. It doesn’t make sense.” It may sound deep, or spiritual, or use Biblical language, but sift it carefully. And if it doesn’t make sense on the face of it – toss it out. The most underutilized spiritual gift He has given us is our grey matter. We are responsible to use it.

Proverbs 12:9 Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread.

It is better to have what is useful in truth, than to live the lie of outward appearance and in truth have nothing. This is true in spiritual matters as well. Many a humble person spiritually seems to have little – but what they do have is useful. And many who make a show of their spirituality are in fact, bankrupt of Christ’s Spirit. Let us never strive to be thought “spiritual” or high in the eyes of other saints. Instead, let us seek after Christ with all our hearts.

Proverbs 12:11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

As will happen again and again in Proverbs, diligence rises before our eyes. Diligence in prayer. In the Word. In worship. In fighting sin. In growing in Christ’s image. In every pursuit in the Christian life. We must remain diligent if we would have the fruit OF diligence. We will not have that fruit if we follow get rich quick schemes – spiritually or materially. Running from conference to conference, special meeting to special meeting to get some sort of spiritual leap forward is not diligence – it is worthless. It is in the day to day divine drudgery of following Christ that progress toward Heaven is made. There are no shortcuts.

Proverbs 12:12 Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.

Few things so highlight the difference between the spirit of the age, and the Spirit of Christ as this: Evil doers get their gain by external means – plundering others, getting “spoil.” While the righteous enjoy gain which is the fruit of the life of Christ within them. Oh, how long will we long for “spoil” instead of fruit? And how empty, indeed poisonous it is. Father, forgive us.

Proverbs 12:13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble.

Sooner or later, the wicked will betray themselves by their speech. Listen carefully. Watch. Wait. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Where they want to go verbally will ultimately demonstrate where their hearts are. Give it time. If you would really KNOW people, let them talk. Invite them to talk. Be a better listener than speaker.  How do we best know God Himself? By His Word – the Christ incarnate – Jesus.

~ 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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