Pastor Bill Farrow
“Whoso loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is brutish.” - Proverbs 12:1 (13:1).
Here in Proverbs 12 Solomon makes a contrast in relation to various conditions, namely in thought, words, in domestic relationships, and so on.  It begins by encouraging the reader to be one who loves knowledge and not one who hates reproof or moral correction (v. 1); he goes on and that such an attitude produces a life that will never be moved (v. 3).  It is interesting that he uses what might, in some contexts, be called an insulting term.  The KJV term “brutish” is a word that we would render “stupid”. It comes from the Heb. term literally meaning “to graze”; and should be taken to see that Solomon is saying that the one in view is as stupid as the brute cattle (cf. Pss. 49:20; 73:22).
20  A man who is in honor, yet does not understand,
Is like the beasts that perish. (Psalm 49:20)

22  I was so foolish and ignorant;
I was like a beast before You. (Psalm 73:22)

It is not only that the one in view is not the wisest person around.  He/she is one who is deliberately or even purposely ignorant in knowing and doing.  We can say this because “brutish” is set in contrast to the word at the beginning of the verse: “instruction” which speaks of a training gotten/given by word or deed.  The one who is referred to as “brutish” is one who has been exposed to real and meaningful “instruction” given in a solid fashion.  This one has not just received this instruction which has resulted in knowledge, he has done so because he recognizes that it is the way to real and valuable knowledge.  The reference here is given some 90+ times in the OT.  As here, it is used to speak of knowledge, as well as perception, skill,  discernment, understanding, and even wisdom.  and  we see Solomon saying to us that…
“Whoso loves instruction loves knowledge: but he that hates reproof is brutish.”
“Whoso” (or Whoever - depending upon the translation) sets the general parameters within which Solomon has set what he is speaking of.  The Hebrew word is actually the “’o̅he̅b” and is used to speak of the idea of “to love” and at times refers to love for another, and includes family, and even, at times to sexual love.  Interestingly, it is often used for the human appetite for objects such as food, drink, sleep, or even wisdom.  In the spiritual realm it can speak of human love for or to God.  Humanly speaking it is sued of the act of being a friend, or a lover (when a participle) or in a somewhat lesser sense to a friend (participle).  Again, in the spiritual realm, but in the opposite “direction” we see it referring to God’s love toward man as a whole or to individual men.  Frequently, it speaks of God’s love to His people Israel.  

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Pastor Bill Farrow
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 1:7)
          Last time, we began to think our way through this wonderful and profound Proverb of Solomon.  At the very beginning of the verse we noted Solomon’s reference to “the fear of the Lord” and thought it wise to begin by considering just what the scripture says about this term “the fear of the Lord”.  We began thinking through this profound idea by considering Isaiah 8:13 and saw that he had tied the holiness of God with this thought of fearing God and even seeing to it the “dread” of the Lord colored all that we do.
         Another OT verse that speaks of this truth is found in Jeremiah 32:39–40 where this great Prophet ties the making of the Covenant of God with the fulfilling and reliability of that coming fulfilling.  He says that He has given them the necessary manner of life that leads to the fulfilling of His covenant with them.

“…then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me.”

         Notice the manner in which he words this bringing forth of His covenanted promise.  He will “give them” what He paints as needful.  God has been using Jeremiah to give them “God’s Assurance of His People’s Return”.  You’ll remember that, sue to their failure to obey and submit to the commands and leading God, that God was allowing Babylon to come (between 605 and 586 BC) and take them into captivity in Babylon because of their sin.  
         Jeremiah, along with a number of other Prophets, spoke of God’s desire and plan to bring His people back to faithfulness and into His blessing.  Jeremiah is wonderfully and completely specific about just what the requirements for this return to God’s blessing were and that they would fulfill those things after He gave them “one heart and one mind”. 

37 Behold, I will gather them out of all countries where I have driven them in My anger, in My fury, and in great wrath; I will bring them back to this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely. 38 They shall be My people, and I will be their God; (Jeremiah 32:37–38)

         Jeremiah sets the stage for what he will shortly say by rehearsing the truth that He WILL INDEED observe the Covenant that he made with their fathers on more than one occasion.  Even though it was the expression of His anger that had resulted in their being taken away into captivity (both Northern AND Southern Kingdoms) God, time and again reminded His people that He had made covenant with them and that He would be faithful to those promises and bear them BACK to their home.
         We need to remind ourselves that IS a promise keeping God.  He not only made Covenant with Abraham and with the nation of Israel as a whole in the OT Covenants, but He has also included them in the “whosoever will” may come of the New Covenant established through the Finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary’s cross.  This is the very idea that Jeremiah had in mind in his prophecy here in Jeremiah 32. 

They will be brought to fear the Lord by His graceful and merciful interaction in their national lives.

         Thinking a bit more about this matter of the “fear of the Lord” we need to understand that it is really only understood through the Scripture.  It is not something that man comes to see by his own wisdom or accomplishes through his own effort.  The Scriptures MUST be the means by which this essential quality of man comes to be. Solomon told us (and Israel) this over in Proverbs 2:2–5:

2  So that you incline your ear to wisdom,
And apply your heart to understanding; 
3 Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, 4 If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; 5 Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God.

         We’ve seen this passage before and noted that what Solomon is speaking of here is NOT merely the exercise of the mind and abilities of that mind to perceive what is true and right.  Solomon is speaking of the Word of God, though not entirely the written Word (though there was quite a bit existent at that time (Moses, David and a number of other writers prior to Solomon had written as Prophets and their writings we available and usable).  Solomon himself was a recognized Prophet of God and so what he held forth in this manner was to be heard and sought as that which could be embraced as wisdom and that which gives understanding from God’s point of view.  
         He tells his people that they to…

         ·        “Incline” their ears
         ·        “Apply” their hearts
         ·        “Cry out” for discernment
         ·        “Lift up” their voices for understanding
         ·        “Seek ‘her’” as silver
         ·        “Search for ‘her’” as hidden treasures”

         Were they to do so, he tells them that THEN, as a result of those things, they will understand just what it is to “fear the Lord” and also “find” the knowledge of God.  The fear of the Lord, which leads, so we see, to understanding the reality of Who God is and what He is truly like comes as a result of giving heart and effort to hearing and pondering what God has said through His prophets.  It is very interesting and challenging when we remember that it is not merely through our efforts, but it is when we put effort and diligence into hearing and taking this revelation of God into of hearts and minds that can recognize this Holy God we serve and can come to know just it is to pay proper worship and submission to His Holy nature.  Let us see to it that this becomes (or continues to be) one of the true focuses of our lives.

         Next time we will pay some effort to just how the Bible describes this “fear of the Lord”.  Aloha until we meet again!
 
 
Pastor Bill Farrow
“He that is void of wisdom despises his neighbor: but a man of understanding holds his peace.” (Proverbs 11:12)
          It is interesting to see how very much the Bible, Old and New Testaments, has to say about the way in which we are think about and interact with those around us, our “neighbors”.  One of the ways that Solomon addresses this topic is by telling his listeners how a wise man addresses those around him, and the reverse of course.  This is what we see here.  
         As we have already mentioned, chapter 10 and 11 are used by the King to make a contrast in life and conduct in various matters of living: namely work, diligence, ambition, speech, truth, stability, honesty, integrity, fidelity, guidance, graciousness, kindness, etc.  He basically says that a man of understanding remains silent rather than spreading harmful information that he might know about his neighbor because of that neighbors’ living so close to him.
         Just to try and set our thoughts in the right direction we want to note that verses 10–11 are an obvious pair in parallel, whereas vv. 9 & 12 are bound by the theme of the slanderous gossip of the wicked against the restrained silence of the righteous. The four proverbs together thus form what is called, in poetry, a chiasmus; namely a rhetorical or literary figure in which words, grammatical constructions, or concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form; e.g. ‘Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.’.
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Pastor Bill Farrow
“A tale-bearer reveals secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit conceals the matter.” - Proverbs 11:13.
          A Talebearer is one of the single most negative “characters” we see in the Bible; whether called by name or simple seen in practice.  The word used here is especially illustrative for us.  It is the Hebrew word “ra̅kȋl” (ray-kewl) and basically refers to one who slanders another, damaging his perception by those around them both.  The tales he bears, then, are ones that affect the way his standing is seen in the public’s eye or in the long term.  
           We should note, also, that the clear statement here is that is a very definite action on the one who “bears the tale”.  It is a chosen thing for the one in view.  This very clearly sets up the contrast that we have here:
  • Our “Tale-bearer” is seen to be a negative and even sinful one.
  • The one with the “faithful spirit”, discussed in a minute, is portrayed positively.
  • The implication of the one, the talebearer, is that we are NOT to be thus.
  • The implication of the other, the one of faithful spirit - discussed in a moment, is to be emulated by believers.
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Pastor Bill Farrow
“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” - Proverbs 1:10.
          I’ve always thought that the many, many times that Solomon refers to the readers of this wonderful Book as “My Son” are a great encouragement.  It isn’t merely a manner of speaking, but rather is a method of drawing the readers into a deeper and more familiar form of reading and considering what he was saying to them.  As we know, what is taught throughout the Book is a collection of things that Solomon had learned from a long life of failing and falling away from the things of God and being drawn back into fellowship with his God.  
         We should also remember that Solomon was used by God as a Prophet and speaks in the Books that he wrote for inclusion in the Bible as the very voice of God to man.  In a manner of speaking we can hear what he says as if God we speaking it to us, His children in the faith!  We ought to take what he says in as the advice from our heavenly Father that it is!!

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By Pastor Bill Farrow
“If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; if thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” - Proverbs 2:3, 4, 5.
          Interpretation.—To lift up the voice for Understanding is to call her to thee, invite her, not only to heed her when she calls thee. The search must be as diligent as the tireless search of the miner after the hid treasures of metals, etc., concealed in the earth, following up the vein discovered. Such real efforts will be rewarded by that knowledge of God, His nature, His ways, His revelations, which is of all treasures the most valuable.
          Illustrations.—Our Lord’s parable of the man who, finding a treasure hid in a field, went and sold all that he had and bought that field, illustrates the earnestness of purpose here recommended. Examples of it we meet with in the story of the Ethiopian (Acts 8:27, etc.), and of the Bereans (Acts 17:11, etc.), who, seeking diligently for the truth, found it and made it their own.
          Application.—How much of life is spent in the search after things which are of comparatively small value and very perishable! But the knowledge of God, the understanding of true religion,—these are treasures worth seeking for, they are satisfying and eternal. I may not hope to acquire them, however, without painstaking and self-sacrifice. But is not this true of any human service or any worldly emolument? How much more, then, is it reasonable in regard to “theology,” or the science of God, and to the possession of God Himself! Of that treasure-house God keepeth the key in His own hand! For this He will be inquired of, wouldst thou have Him open it unto thee. “Surely there is a vein for the silver” (Job 28:1). Yet what miner would be satisfied not to pursue it below the surface? Wouldst thou get the best treasures? Go down on thy knees, and dig for them. Pursue the vein, bring all skill and appliances to bear upon thy undertaking. Only by earnest prayer, only by patient meditation, only by diligent study, and not without self-sacrifice, is divine knowledge to be won. The heart, too, must be purified, examined by the candle of an enlightened conscience, and swept with the besom of reform. The life of Christian obedience is a life of continual progress in spiritual understanding. To follow on to know the Lord is the way to know Him now. To know Him now by faith prepares the way for revelations which shall never cease.
O God, incline my heart to seek after, that I may find, Thee!
 
 
 Proverbs 4:14-15
Pastor Bill Farrow
“Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.” - Proverbs 4:14, 15 (Cf. 13:20).
          The immediate section in which we find this verse speaks of what we cold speak of as “wisdom practiced” and tells us that wisdom is productive of life, health and personal integrity.  The entire section actually, and these two verses specifically warn against turning to the path or way of the wicked (vv. 14–15).  The following couple verses describe such a turning creates an insatiable and destructive hunger (v. 16). Solomon then goes on to tells that the hunger alluded to is perpetuated by what the path offers those who walk along it: the bread of wickedness and the wine of violence, v. 17.
         He starts with one of the general references to a “path” meaning the general way that one walks and conducts his life.  It is interesting that he seems clear that even for believers, the “path” of the wicked can be chosen and embarked up, perhaps temporarily or even in an ongoing fashion.  The first two phrases are really speak basically of the same idea, just described in subtly different fashions.  We might see the first phrase as suggesting individual behavior as the reference to the “wicked” can be taken as singular and suggests that we consider the particular things that can make their appeal to us as individual people.  
         The second phrase seems to be directing us to think in a more general and even group fashion.  “…and go not in the way of evil men” can be seen to encourage us to think in terms of the basic path that those around us have taken to following  The encouragement is for us to think our way through our individual behavior and tendencies and also take a close and analytical look at the society amongst whom we dwell with an aim toward seeing to it that wicked and evil ways are forsaken and, by implication, that the ways of holiness are embraced. 
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Proverbs 4:25–27
Pastor Bill Farrow
25     Let your eyes look straight ahead, 
And your eyelids look right before you.


26     Ponder the path of your feet, 
And let all your ways be established.


27     Do not turn to the right or the left; 
Remove your foot from evil.

          Verses 20-27 of this chapter  speak (and not for the first time) about the matter of wisdom practiced and tells us that this, in our experience is that which is productive of life, health and personal integrity.  4:25, as we see it here, advances the idea that the eyes should look directly forward and in doing so, suggests resolution about remaining in the right way (as if we are, in the process of looking, taking in a path in which we are walking. Metaphorically, it suggests that when a person turns his eyes away from the path, he is apt to stumble.
         This would seem to upheld when we consider what went immediately before this.  In verses 21-23 see reference to the “heart”, which, as we have seen in other studies, commonly refers to the mind as the center of thinking and reason (3:3; 6:21; 7:3), but also includes the emotions (15:15, 30), the will (11:20; 14:14), and thus, the whole inner being (3:5). The heart is the depository of all wisdom and the source of whatever affects speech (v. 24), sight (v. 25), and conduct (vv. 26, 27).
         It would seem clear that, here in verse 25, Solomon’s intention is to direct our thinking toward the natural way that people make their way down a pathway or street, while seeing to it that there is nothing there for them to stumble over or to cause them to fall and injure themselves.  This seems to be a perfectly natural and even normal habit for someone to undertake.  We might suggest that this is the clear way to understand at least this first phrase because of the use of “let” meaning “allow” and seeing that it suggests that we are talking about something normal.  How many people walk a path, even what they might know is a clear and straight path without “letting” their eyes scope out the path in which they are walking - I suspect that the answer here is virtually none!!


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Proverbs 11:3
Pastor Bill Farrow
The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” - Proverbs 11:3.
          The verse here is divided in to two sections, each addressing a different “kind” of individual.  The first uses the Hebrew word “tummȃ” (toom maw) which is a relatively uncommon word in the OT, being used but 5 times.  It carries the idea of purity, innocence, respectability and the like.  It is what is known as a “construct” form of the noun.  The idea is that the form given of the noun is tied in a definite way to  the verb hat follows (shall guide).  There is, in this statement, a definite and sure relationship between the “integrity” of the one in view and guidance that this “integrity” yields or provides to him/her.  There is also the implication here that (or shall) guide them as they walk through life and face life’s issues and trials.
         I think that we all have at least a bit of a grasp on the idea of integrity and the way that this character trait has the profound effect on a person.  For many, this concept of human integrity and the effect that it can have (and hopefully DOES have) on our behavior is fairly common.  It is commonly thought of as a positive and valuable quality, to be seem with esteem and developed with some real zeal.  The word is one rarely used in the Hebrew OT.  “Toom-maw” being used only 5 time in the OT.  It could be rendered as purity or innocence and so, in the context of one’s character carries the idea of innocence or respectability, speaking of a spotless character.  

          Solomon, in this particular place, has this spotlessness in character in his view in this first part of our verse.  He does not seem to be speaking of the idea of innocence so much as the idea of that moral capacity which has led to the innocence in the first place!  As we have seen as we have considered other, nearby passages, King Solomon has been making clear a contrast in life and conduct in matters of work, diligence, ambition, speech, truth, stability, honesty, integrity, fidelity, guidance, graciousness, kindness, and so on that he began back at the beginning of chapter 10 and will continue through to the end of chapter 11.  
         Many commentators to note (here and many other places in Proverbs) that what Solomon describes in terms like he uses here speak in numerous fashions of the path of righteousness and, Solomon being a Prophet of God, is ultimately descriptive and prophetic of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the perfectly Righteous One (John 14:6). Here and in other places in the Book, we can clearly see that all other ways lead to destruction (cp. Matt. 7:13–14; Acts 4:12).
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Proverbs 1:28
Pastor Bill Farrow
 “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.
          This verse is a part of a section that has been referred to as “The Call of Wisdom”.  We’ve mentioned before that the chapter can, for convenience sack, be thought of in three sections:
  • v1–7. To promote wisdom and godly living. Verse 7 strikes the theme of the entire book. Reverence toward God is the essential prelude to all wisdom and successful living.
  • v8–19. Home discipline is a moral safeguard against a life of crime.
  • v20–33. Wisdom personified as a prophetess and teacher. She shows the folly of those who reject moral instruction and discipline.
           Wisdom declares that when calamity falls upon the scoffers, they will call upon me, but I will not answer. Although the language is similar to texts such as 1 Sam. 8:18, we ought to note that actual prayer is probably not in view here. “Lady Wisdom” in this place (and remember that this is personification and NOT a reference to any gender in particular) is not God but simply a personification, it is describing a non-human thing/quality in human terms so as to make it more easy to perceive and/or understand on the part of the reader.  The meaning is that what Solomon has described as fools and scoffers, when disaster overtakes them, will frantically seek the wisdom to get out of trouble. This is a completely understandable and perceivable thing.  I don’t think that many will argue but it will be too late for them.          
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