"STUDIES IN THE PROVERBS" Wisdom In Our Relationship With God INTRODUCTION 1. In this brief survey of "The Book Of Proverbs", I have tried to stress... a. That this book contains inspired wisdom that relates to every relationship we face in the course of life (family, friends, work, etc.) b. That as Christians who are to conduct themselves with wisdom (Ep 5:15-16 ), this book can serve as a valuable guide in such areas of daily living 2. But of all the relationships that we have, the one in which it is most imperative that we possess wisdom is our relationship with God Himself! - Ep 5:17 3. Here again, "The Book Of Proverbs" has much to say that can benefit the Christian, even though we live under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, and not the Law of Moses [For example, in our relationship with God, we learn from Proverbs that...] I. TRUE WISDOM RECOGNIZES A NEED FOR THE FEAR OF THE LORD A. WHY IS THERE A NEED FOR "THE FEAR OF THE LORD"? 1. It is the beginning of wisdom itself - Pr 1:7 2. Unless a person has a proper "fear of the Lord", he will not be receptive to the Word of Lord - cf. Pr 1:7 b ("...fools despise wisdom and instruction") B. THE VALUE OF "THE FEAR OF THE LORD" AS DESCRIBED IN PROVERBS... 1. It prolongs life - Pr 10:27 a. By keeping one away from evil - Pr 16:6 b. And thus keeping one untouched by evil - Pr 19:23 c. People often shorten their lives due to wickedness... 1) For some illnesses are directly caused by wicked behavior (e.g., STD's) 2) Emotional stress as a result of the emotional guilt of sin takes it toll on the body 3) But one who fears the Lord and heeds His Word is spared from all this! 2. It increases the quality of life - Pr 22:4 a. By giving one a strong confidence - Pr 14:26 a (life is one of confidence, not despair, knowing that one is being led by the Lord) b. By providing refuge - Pr 14:26 b (we have help in troublous times, unlike those who face them without God's help) c. By making life an overflowing experience - Pr 14:27 a (every day can start afresh, for in God we have forgiveness, joy, and peace) d. By helping us to avoid the pitfalls which destroy so many - Pr 14:27 b (thus "quality of life" as well as "quantity of days") [So from the Proverbs we learn the value of the "fear of the Lord" in our relationship with God (something which Christ and His apostles continued to recognize - cf. Mt 10:28 ; Ac 10:34-35 ; Ph 2:12 ). From Proverbs we also learn that...] II. TRUE WISDOM RECOGNIZES SOME THINGS ARE AN ABOMINATION TO GOD A. DEFINING THE WORD "ABOMINATION"... 1. Something which is "worthy of or causing loathing or hatred; something which is detestable" 2. In other words, true wisdom understands... a. That there are some thing which God hates with a loathing disgust b. That one would not be wise in his or her relationship with God if they continue in things described as an "abomination" B. SOME THINGS WHICH ARE ABOMINATION TO THE LORD... 1. Seven are listed in Pr 6:16-19 a. A proud look ("pride") - cf. Pr 16:5 b. A lying tongue - cf. Pr 12:22 c. Hands that shed innocent blood (murder) d. A heart that devises wicked plans - cf. Pr 15:26 e. Feet that are swift in running to evil (i.e., quick to do evil rather than good) - cf. Pr 15:9 f. A false witness who speaks lies (and thus perverts justice) - cf. Pr 17:15 g. One who sows discord among brethren 2. Other abominations to the Lord... a. False weights, by which others are cheated - Pr 1l:1 b. A king committing wickedness - Pr 16:12 c. The sacrifice (worship) of the wicked - Pr 15:8 d. The prayers of those who ignore the law of God - Pr 28:9 [Understanding these things are that which God detests and loathes, a Christian walking in wisdom before his God will certainly avoid such! Finally, consider that from the Proverbs we also learn that...] III. TRUE WISDOM RECOGNIZES OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS AFFECTED BY OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OTHERS - Pr 21:3 A. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE POOR AND NEEDY... 1. How we treat them reflects how we treat God! - Pr 14:31 2. If you make fun at their plight, beware! - Pr 17:5 3. The Lord will bless those who are gracious to the poor - Pr 19:17 4. And the Lord recompense His anger on those who rob the poor - Pr 22:22-23 B. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH WIDOWS AND FATHERLESS... 1. God is concerned for the widow - Pr 15:25 2. And He will redeem the fatherless who are abused - Pr 23:10-11 C. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH OUR ENEMIES... 1. The Lord is not please when we rejoice over the defeat of our enemies - Pr 24:17-18 2. And the Lord will reward those who show kindness to their enemies - Pr 25:21-22 CONCLUSION 1. What wisdom can we therefore glean from "The Book Of Proverbs"? Simply that if... a. We have the fear of the Lord in our hearts so as to do those things that please Him b. We avoid those things which the Lord hates c. We treat others with righteousness and justice ...our relationship with God is on a solid foundation! 2. I hope that this brief survey of "The Book Of Proverbs" has stimulated you to study it more on your own, to let its wisdom guide you in your life As we close this series, I leave you with both a promise and a warning from the Proverbs themselves... The promise: "He who heeds the word wisely will find good, And whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." (Pr 16:20 ) The warning: "Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar." (Pr 30:5-6 ) Have you placed your trust in the Lord by humbly submitting to His Words...?