A devotion on Proverbs 24 – 8/5/21
I. The Honey of Wisdom, Knowledge, & Understanding
3 A house is built by wisdom,
and it is established by understanding;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with every precious and beautiful treasure.
Henry Drummond said, “As you have seen a man of science take a beam of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colours—red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colours of the rainbow—so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements.” Let’s emulate Paul and pass the common yet somewhat obscure concepts of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge through the crystal prism of our intellect.
Wisdom – chokmah – skill, shrewdness, prudence, wit; instruct.
Understanding – tabun – skill, intelligence, insight, the object of knowledge, discretion, reason, prudence, wisdom; separate mentally – pay attention, consider diligently, regard, discern, give heed, distinguish, note, mark, perceive.
Knowledge – da’ath – perception, skill, discernment, understanding, wisdom, awareness, (yada) learn to know, find out and discern, discriminate, distinguish, recognize, know by experience, consider, discover, regard, be sure.
5 A wise warrior is better than a strong one and a man of knowledge than one of strength;
6 for you should wage war with sound guidance— victory comes with many counselors.
7 Wisdom is inaccessible to a fool; he does not open his mouth at the gate.
13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to your palate;
14 realize that wisdom is the same for you.
If you find it, you will have a future, and your hope will never fade.
Two other passages come to mind regarding these lofty yet very practical and attainable matters. The first is Proverbs 9:10, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” The second is Colossians 1:9, “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives.”
The knowledge of wisdom is to your soul
what honey is to your palette.
II. How Strong am I, Really?
10 If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength!
Any claims to strength we make will eventually be tested. We may think ourselves rather patient, courageous, eloquent, wise, kind, persevering, loving, joyful, unrattled, or self-controlled. The moment of truth comes soon enough. I am only as patient as I am with the person that I am least patient with. I am only as loving as I act towards a person I despise. I am only as self-controlled as when the last cookie sits on the plate before me and no one else wants it.
“In times of trial we should endeavour to be doubly courageous; when a man loses his courage, his strength avails him nothing.” Adam Clarke
III. ‘Social’ Justice
11 Rescue those being taken off to death,
and save those stumbling toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we didn’t know about this,”
won’t He who weighs hearts consider it?
Won’t He who protects your life know?
Won’t He repay a person according to his work?
We cannot ignore the evil around us, and say we are not responsible for it. We cannot shut our eyes and avert our faces from wrongdoing, and tyranny, and oppression.”F. B. Meyer
IV. Evil or Wicked?
1 Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them,
2 for their hearts plan violence and their words stir up trouble.
Evil – ra – bad, displeasing, hurtful, vicious in disposition (thoughts and actions).
wicked – rasha – criminal, guilty of crime, hostile to God, guilty of sin, morally wrong, bad person, ungodly, condemned.
15 Wicked man, don’t set an ambush,
at the camp of the righteous man;
don’t destroy his dwelling.
16 Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up,
but the wicked will stumble into ruin.
19 Don’t be agitated by evildoers and don’t envy the wicked.
20 For the evil have no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent”—
people will curse him, and tribes will denounce him;
25 but it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
and a generous blessing will come to them.
V. Priorities at Home
27 Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field;
afterward, build your house.
This is a wonderful challenge to be producers and not just consumers.
30 I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of a man lacking sense.
31 Thistles had come up everywhere,
weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined.
32 I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction:
33 a little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the arms to rest,
34 and your poverty will come like a robber,
your need, like a bandit.
Commentator Guzik astutely expounds, “This is what the wise man saw when he looked at the field or the vineyard of the lazy man. The lazy man did not plant the thorns or nettles, and he did not deliberately break down the stone wall. Yet his laziness made these things happen just as much as if he had deliberately done them… The wise man learned from the tragedy of the lazy man. He didn’t have to suffer the same things the lazy man did to learn the lesson. This is one of the marks of wisdom.”