Pastor Bill Farrow
“Wisdom is before him that hath understanding: but the eyes of a fool are in the ends of the earth.” - Proverbs 17:24.
       Solomon often spends time speaking of the contrast between the wise and the fool.  Many times, he speaks of focus and result of what the two pursue.  In particular he ties wisdom with proper and full understanding of the world around us.  Set against this is often set the differing and contrasting aspects and results of the actions and perceptions of what he calls fools.
       Here he ties together the gaining or possessing of wisdom with the having of understanding.  “…him who has understanding” is a single word in the Hebrew text. It is “me̅bȋn” (mee beuhn) which speaks of the basic idea of seeing, perceiving of arriving  at a conclusion as a result accurate perception.  The idea that Solomon is seeking to get us to “perceive” is that there is a difference between the world view of the wise and that of the fool.
       This is what he means when he adds such a broad statement after the two definitions:





  • He says, first, that “wisdom” is in the “eyes” of the one who understands.        
  • We’ve looked several times before this at the basic idea of wisdom as Solomon uses it.  It refers basically to technical skill or the basic to work through a thing and accomplish a goal properly and effectively.  In other places it speaks of shrewdness or experience, both of which lend the ability to do a thing, or accomplish one’s goal or desire effectively.
  • “Eyes” of course refers to the capacity to see; and, in this context the mental perception and understanding that is a function of that seeing.  In this case the implication is that this “seeing” is both accurate and proper.
        That is why Solomon says that “understanding” is the result of it.  The individual in view has understanding and, because of that understanding, he/she realizes and is able to make use of God’s wisdom.  It is this that enables them to view all that is around them in a godly fashion.  
        By contrast, Solomon sets a contrast with the world view of the fool.  Notice that this second part of the verse begins with a “contrastive” conjunction, one that contrasts the two sections of the verse against each other.  He refers to their “eyes” as well and in this context, this speaks of the same basic idea as it did earlier in the verse.  This idea is here connected with the perceptions and realized knowledge; but in this case, it is those of a fool and not a wise person. 

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   To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David The Servant of the Lord, Who Spoke to the Lord The Words of This Song on the Day that the Lord Delivered Him from the Hand of All His Enemies and from the Hand of Saul. And He Said: 

  1 I will love You, O Lord, my strength.
2  The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer;
My God, my strength, in whom I will trust;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 
(Psalm 18:1–2)
          This wonderful Psalm has several unique and memorable characteristics.  The first that we notice is that this Psalm has one of the longest “introductions” present in any of the 150 Psalm in the Book.  We see the phrase “To the chief Musician” in 56 different place in the OT; 55 of them in the introductions to various Psalms and one other place, and that is Habakkuk 3:19:
19     The Lord God is my strength;
He will make my feet like deer’s
feet,
And He will make me walk on my high hills.


To the Chief Musician. With my stringed instruments. 
          The concept of “…loving the Lord” is one of David’s favorite and most mentioned topics. The two words “love” and Lord are tied together is 18 different verses throughout the Book; either in the form of God loving us, or men (often David) loving God.  
           This last idea is what we see here in Psalm 18.  David declares here in verse 1 - “I will love You, O Lord, my strength”.  The verb “love” here is interesting to think through.  The meaning is not that which we often think of as romantic love or affection.  It is actually closer to the love for children or perhaps close friends.  We should also see that it is a very active word, referring not merely to a thing “felt” but to a the affection that causes action.  We don’t just “feel” this kind of love, but we “do” this kind of loving.  Now, we remember quickly, that there is a compassion or “kind affection” involved, but is not a mooning kind of affection, but a doing kind.  With the “love” present we cannot “not” do what it demands to be done to demonstrate it.  
         One interesting added idea is that it is a love that can be done in “degrees”.  David says that he will love God “with all of his heart”.  The implication here is there is the possibility of doing less than that, and that, perhaps, the “less” refers to what may indeed be the normal state of David’s love for God.  This is not to say that David’s normal condition was some weaker degree of love.  Rather it is to say that David recognized that he could work hard and even desperately to love God in a way that was appropriate and suitable to God, the One who was the object of that love.


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Pastor Bill Farrow

The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.” - Proverbs 14:11 (3:33; 10:25; 12:7).
         As is true any number of times in the Book of Proverbs (and is actually seen in many of the other Books of the OT) the writer shows a real concern that his readers see and understand that in God’s eyes (remember that the writers of the Books of the Bible were acting as Prophets of God in the delivery of their written message).  there was a functional difference between Solomon here calls wickedness and uprightness.  For other writers, it can be seen to be called goodness verses evil and other like it.  
           Solomon especially calls his readers to consider the effect that wickedness and/or goodness (or, here, “uprightness”) has in the general sense the persons’ entire life and path of living.  This is what he means when he makes reference to the “House” and the “tabernacle” of the two groups.  
         “House” is the Hebrew word, a common one, “bêt”, a singular noun and functions as what is called a “construct”, which means that it is tied, grammatically, to the object it has in view, here, the word “wicked”.  It is not referring simply to wickedness done in a house, but rather to the one who gives the house its’ “color” as referred to.  It can speak, either of the house itself, or of the household that occupies that “house”.  It is even used to speak of a Palace or a Temple, or even, in couple places, of a prison. 
           On the other hand, the word for “tent” in the verse is the Hebrew word “́o̅hel” which is rendered in a couple different ways defending on the version you are looking at is in much the same grammatical form and so is likewise tied to its’ object, the righteousness of those occupying it.  Like the prior picture of a “house”, it is speaking of the nature of those within the tent.  Now, notice that, with regard to the physicality of both the house and the tent, we are not talking about the aspects of the two that can be seen.  Rather we are talking about the habits and characteristics of those who call it home.
           In the prior verse, Solomon spoke to us and told s that, at its depth, suffering and rejoicing are personal and private. No one is able to communicate them fully (Cp. 1 Sam 1:10; 1 Kin. 8:38; Matt 2:18; 26:39–42, 75).  Solomon’s point here says that, though each person lives their lives personally and privately, there are still bearing on them the results of righteousness and wickedness that he speaks of in a variety of other contexts in the Book.  
         First, he tells us that the “The house of the wicked shall be overthrown…”.  As we’ve looked at in other studies, Solomon speaks of the wicked in two ways:

  • It speaks of the nature of the unredeemed at different times, they are wicked.
  • It speaks of the acts that men indulge themselves in from time to time, in the indulgence of their flesh.
          Here, Solomon enlarges the idea a bit, and speaks of what is, really, a combination of the two ideas.  He speaks a “house” or those who are together in some fashion, whose life or “path” is characterized by sin and wickedness.  He is underscoring for us that there are consequences for the wicked things that characterize such a “path” or life. 


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 “All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the Lord weigheth the spirits.” - Proverbs 16:2 (Cf. 12:15; 21:2).
          Proverbs 16 is an extremely interesting chapter in the Book.  There are quite a number of passage or groups of verse throughout the Book that one might “swear” were written by an author from our own day and age.  This verse is one of the truths that is put forth that we might be convinced came directly out of the headlines of the past few days.  With our Presidential election last Tuesday and all of the turmoil that has gone on day in and day out I have become increasingly convinced (or is it reminded?) that the vast majority of people are far more enamored of their own thinking that they (or is it we?) have any right to be. 
2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the
Lord weighs the spirits. (Proverbs 16:2)
          Solomon was very clear, here and in other places, that it is essential that we recognize two things as believers: 
  • First, it is clear that the implication, or the intended application of the verse has to do more with the actions a man takes and where they “come from” or what in the prompting force from inside of them; more than just a question of thinking the right thoughts. 
  • Second, I believe he also wants us to see that in and of ourselves, we are without resource to do and act in a fashion that is acceptable to God and profitable to those around us.  We need to pursue God and His Word in order that our “ways” be what they ought to be. 
  • Third, I think we need to recognize the we are not “naturally” right in what we are faced with or are considering/grappling with.  Rather, we MUST recognize that it is in our natural makeup to need be instructed and corrected by the Word of God.  This what is implied  by “But the Lord weighs the spirits
          To take this thought just a bit further… “But” is a contrastive conjunction.  It ties the first part of the verse to the second part of the verse in a “contrasting” fashion, implying that there is a real difference between the two, different in a virtually opposite fashion. 
2  All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the spirits. (Proverbs 16:2)
          The idea is that men trust their own thinking on a matter; BUT it is God Who both has and exercises the evaluation of the promptings and motivations of men.  What Solomon is seeking to put forth to his readers is that those two evaluative methods are in conflict with one another.  The obvious implication that there is a path to be taken here, that being that men OUGHT to keep an awareness that their own opinions and evaluations are suspect and often in error. 

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"Then shall they call upon Me, but I will not answer; they shall seek Me early, but they shall not find Me.”  (Proverbs 1:28)
          Verses 20-27 lays out what can be called for us “The Call of Wisdom”.  Extending through v33, Wisdom is personified and speaks in the first person, emphasizing the serious consequences that come to those who reject it. Similar personifications of wisdom occur in 3:14–18; 8:1–36; 9:1–12.  Seen as a total passage - wisdom is seen as a prophetess and teacher. She shows the folly of those who reject moral instruction and discipline.
         Once Solomon reaches verse 28 we see God’s rejection of sinners carefully detailed. This is the aspect of God’s wrath expressed in His abandonment of sinners. Paul discusses this in Rom. 1:24–28. No prayers or diligent seeking will help them (cf. 8:17).  While this is an awful concept, it is one that needs be preached and witnessed when the opportunity is given with the unredeemed.  Sadly, it is all to often put forth that because off God’s love, he is never willing to “close the door”, despite their continual resistance, rejection, rebellion and persistent rebellion against Him.  The truth of the matter is often that if a person has not sought wisdom before calamity strikes, it is often too late to learn.  Whereas for the unredeemed this is disastrous; but for the redeemed, it results in the chastening hand of God, even severely administered, but no final casting aside and out.  Those who are God’s children, purchased by the blood Jesus, there is security and safety, even from self!
         The “
Then” at the beginning of verse 28 calls for a conclusion drawn from the truths proclaimed in the prior section.  The point there was that Wisdom has called and called, counselling a turn from wickedness and a submission to God.  It is almost as if Solomon is saying “You had many, many chances to straighten this manner out.  I called and called, but you resisted and refused.  
27     When your terror comes like a storm,
And your destruction 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.
(Proverbs 1:27–28)
        We need to understand the conclusion stated in verse 28 to be as a result of what was said before verse 27.  Solomon lays out that conclusion as a result of what was laid out pretty much through the entire chapter before.  As a result of what he has said, when real disaster comes, God will turn a deaf ear and virtually hide from them as they cry out.

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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” - Proverbs 16:24 (10:32; 15:26).
          The entirety of Chapter 16 speaks or a better way of life through serving the Lord.  It is interesting how different this idea is than the common perception and mindset of our present culture.  Even those who profess Christ sometimes believe that the purpose of God in redemption is to give to us, though they often condition this “giving” on how much we give and believe.  How very silly and downright heretical this idea is.  I believe it to be a stench in the eyes of our Lord and virtually the act of treading on the mind and will of God in the accomplishment of redemption.  Rather, it is our goal, our responsibility, our duty is to seek, to follow after and obey He and His Word.  
           Fortunately, Solomon saw and understood this to be true and incorporated it into his Prophetic message to men here in the Book of Proverbs.  He knew it to that which would fill the hearts and minds of Gods’ people with joy or happiness/fulfillment and what he here calls “honey”.
  
_“Pleasant words are as a honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.” - Proverbs 16:24 (10:32; 15:26).
_          The word “Pleasant” is the Hebrew word “No̅’am” and speaks of that which is lovely, pleasant, delightful, or friendly.  We can readily see what Solomon intends the words in view to have as their character.  We should note that this is not talking about the things we say to others, or that which is said by others to us.  We’ll address this idea in just a moment.
          But we probably should understand it to refer to the speech characteristic of the
wise of heart (Cp. vv. 21a, 23a): the wise consider their words carefully (vv. 20a, 23a) so that their words are both persuasive (vv. 21b, 23b) and good for body and soul (v. 24); they exhibit faithfulness to God (v. 20b) and are considered discerning by others (v. 21a). Such wisdom is a fountain of life, and foolish speech is empty of any such benefits (v. 22).
          It seems more likely, or at least tangential in their likelihood to be referring to the pleasantness and profit of the words that are a part of Biblical preaching, study, reading, witnessing, etc.  It is the taking in of God’s message and instruction that is this great pleasure to the believer.
          These “pleasant word” is like “a honeycomb” to the hearer.  This, of course, speaks of the place where honey is stored; either where it is made by bees, or where it is kept for further us once harvested.  We can see that this is so because the word Solomon uses for “honeycomb” speaks of “honeyed words” and they words,” are they that which reflect intelligence, judiciousness, and discernment in speech. This refers to eloquent discourse from the wise (cf. v. 24).  It is NOT simply speaking of words and please the ear.
 
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To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.
1  How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?
How long will You hide Your face from me?


2   How long shall I take counsel in my soul,
Having sorrow in my heart daily?
How long will my enemy be exalted over me? 
(Psalm 13:1-2)
        There are many in the body that struggle with the fact that they have negative thoughts and/or feelings about their experience with God and the manner or schedule with which God gives aid in their difficulties.  There’s quite a few thoughts in the Scripture that speak to fact that we often display a willingness demonstrate our impatience with how God is working out our particular case in a particular time.  
         The Bible speaks quite fully and explicitly about the idea, the character quality of patience often:

1.  First, and quite obviously, it tells us that our God is characterized by the quality of Patience. Rom 15:5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus,
        It surely seems as though we are to understand that one of God’s chief characteristics is that He is willing to “sit” on His Heavenly Throne and patiently wait for His purposes and goals to be accomplished no matter what length of time it ultimately takes. 
2.     The primary and ultimate example of our Father’s exercise of patience  is the Lord Christ Himself. Is 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
        The patience of God extends itself to the time that Christ walked among men and headed towards His purpose for being here - He underwent all that men could sling at Him and yet did not exercise that power that was naturally His and the One true God.  He could have, at any moment, simply uttered a word and destroyed His enemies.  But yet, He patiently waited for the time of the fulfillment of the purpose for which The Father had sent Him arrived.  Until then, He was silent and did not so much as open His mouth, let alone to exercise His power and wrath.  This is likewise borne out in both Matt. 27:4 and Acts 8:32.  
Matt 27:14 But He answered him not one word, so that the governor marveled greatly.

Acts 8:32 The place in the Scripture which he read was this: “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
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 “The heart of him that hath understanding seeks knowledge: but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.” - Proverbs 15:14 (Cf. ver. 21; 18:15).
          It has always struck me that one of the most common traits that all men (not merely males btw) share is the idea that they understand and have a grasp on what is going on (here or there, now or then, etc.).  We just had a national election in our country and I was, as always, both stuck and saddened by the sheer number of people who saw fit to paint themselves as one who were in the know and had a great grasp on the facts of the situation.  The frustrating part was that as they opened their mouths and proceeded to make commentary it was made clear that they really DIDN’T have the grasp that they thought they did.  Oh, there were surely some who seemed to have at least a bit of a grasp, but as they spoke, it because clear that their understanding was, at least in part, because they had invested the necessary time to gain the foundational understanding that lay at the root of what they were saying.  They weren’t just making it up as they went.
           What is interesting about this whole thing is that the Bible speaks clearly when it addresses the basis of what we chose to speak of to others.  Solomon was said to be perhaps the wisest man who ever lived.  Of course, a part of this reputation/truth was because of the great gift of God given at the very beginning of his ministry.  But we have to assume that he had followed a studious path throughout his life and that passages that speak as this one does were not just empty advice.

          Just to note a couple things to lay more of a foundation for us as we think through this great verse.  “Heart”, as always in the Book of Proverbs, is the Hebrew word “le̅b” (leeb) and speaks of the essence of the inner person, including everything from the mind, to the will, to the emotions; and can address any one or all of those things depending on the context of its’ use in the given verse.  Here, it would, given the rest of the verse, it would appear, at the least, to speak of the mind, and perhaps would include the will as speaks of the desire and willingness to do what is needful to learn.  
          We’ll note also that the verse is speaking of the result of the exercise of the subject here, the building on what knowledge is already possessed.  It is upon this basis that Solomon draws and commends us to continue to build and seek for more understanding.  When we think about it, this makes perfect logical sense.  The gaining and possession of knowledge/wisdom both stands as a basis for more and urges and leads to the desire and striving for more.  This is what he means by “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge…”.  As we have said, it is the “having” of knowledge that serves to prompt the seeking of more of the same.  Now, this does not mean that one cannot seek knowledge in an area that he (or she) knows nothing about.  This is especially true in the area of Biblical spirituality.  Truth be told, there are multiple areas in the coming to know and understand the things of the Lord that we are ALL deeply lacking in.  There are actually quite a number of principles about knowledge that are contained in the Scripture.  Without going into any real depth of explanation for each, let’s think about some of them:

1.  Knowledge of the Law (and thus of the entire Scripture) is commanded.

Deut 4:1–9 “Now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the Lord God of your fathers is giving you. 2 You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you
5 “Surely I have taught you statutes and judgments, just as the Lord my God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land which you go to possess. 6 Therefore be careful to observe them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who will hear all these statutes, and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 “For what great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God is to us, for whatever reason we may call upon Him? 8 And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as are in all this law which I set before you this day? 9 Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren, 

Hos 6:3 Let us know, Let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.
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4  The wicked are not so,
But they are like chaff which the wind drives away. 

5  Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. 

6  For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, 
But the way of the wicked will perish.  (
Psalm 1:4–6)
          Of course, the next section of Psalm 1 is built upon and is really a continuation of the first 3 verses.  The theme of those first three verse was the blessedness of the righteous man.  David gave us 3 negative and 3 positive reasons why this blessedness is so.  
         In verse 4 here David begins the contrasting section of the Psalm, telling us that the wicked are not so.  He begins with a graphic description of just what the wicked are actually like from God’s point of view.  The righteous are blessed from His perspective as well as from the view of other believers around them.  The end of the above section told us that they prosper by God’s hand like a tree by a good water source.  It is such that its’ intended function, producing fruit at an appropriate season, is accomplished.  He finished up, at the end of verse 3, by suggesting the fact that this tree would never wither, with the implication that it would not happen no matter what circumstances came to pass.  
         Verse 4 sets up the contrast by carrying on the picture from the end of verse 3.  They will not prosper and they indeed WILL wither with the implication, against what the very end of verse 3 said, that no prospering will occur.  It is interesting that David does not leave the matter to have its’ conclusion drawn by the reader.  He puts the conclusion in very definite terms, as well as quite personal terms:

  • He says the wicked “are not so”.  The language here is very personal.  He is talking about the group defined as the “wicked” but the statement about what is their destiny is more direct and personal.  Drawing from the personal and singular nature of the end of verse 3, we ought to conclude that the same singular nature that the prior statement had.
  • He carries on the same individual sense that he finished the prior verse with.  Regarding the righteous…given the circumstance given in the first 3 verses, at the end of verse 3 David concludes that “…he prospers”. 
  • In verse 4 He starts talking about the wicked, a general form that speaks all of the “wicked”.  David is speaking of and describing is generally so regarding all of those who fall into that category. 
          He then goes on further and makes a very dramatic and visual description of the specific end of these wicked ones.  They are not planted near any source of water and thus cannot draw any of the sustenance so desperately needed in order to be able to accomplish the function for which they were/are intended.  Thus, David says, they end up like “chaff”.  Chaff was the husk of wheat once it was harvested and dealt with to enable the farmer to have access to the core of the wheat, the only valuable part of what had grown. 

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 “I will pour out My Spirit unto you.”   (Proverbs 01:23)
          Solomon had taken up the idea of Wisdom personified making her cries, and her reproof know to all around “her”, even to those who (in verse 20) are “on the street”.  Solomon insists that this voice of wisdom “shouts” for all to hear with the implication that it has the sense of insistence and even, to some degree, a demand that those who hear her cry submit themselves to her demand.  God, being Who He is, has every right to make what demands He desires to make.  We are His children, believers and unbelievers, and MUST subject themselves to that which God desires for them.  What is wonderful is that God makes His (wisdom’s) advice known to all. 
Wisdom calls aloud outside;
She raises her voice in the open squares.

          Wisdom is available to all and all hear and can discern what “she” is saying and communicating to them.  This is not to say that anyone and everyone, willy- nilly, saved or unsaved, can fully or completely understand God’s Revelation When the read it.  One must have God’s Spirit in order to do any more than take in the words.  But the invitation stands and God’s Spirit draws those who hear it and they are responsible to respond rightly and in submission.  In the few verse before our selected passage, Solomon is clear that wisdom made her wisdom known even in the most public places.  
           It is interesting that one of things that she cried out, loudly, is Israel’s responsibility to hear and give themselves to the ongoing call of God:

“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?
For scorners delight in their scorning,
And fools hate knowledge. (v22)
          Solomon does this often… He challenges God’s people by reminding them of the foolishness (“How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity?”).  As we’ve said before; “simple”, in Proverbs especially, reefers to those who are foolish and do not have the capacity to think of thins rightly or clearly.  Solomon’s point here, fairly dramatically and even harshly, calling them to think, really think about what is is that they have done.  He tells them that, in reality, they have been “scorners” (of God’s truth) that have taken “delight” in their scorning.  This is a phrase that, in essence, means that they have followed after their own desires and thinking, even when it directly and terribly, cast aside what they knew to be what God wanted.  God’s way is NOT the way to follow, they thought; much rather I should follow my own way!  God had made knowledge of the truth available to them, even clear to them as it is declared in the streets.  It is interesting that Solomon describes such as “fools” that “hate knowledge”.  It is harsh language indeed, but true none the less!

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