WORDS OF WISDOM FROM PROVERBS

Pastor James J. Barker

Text: PROVERBS 3:1-10




INTRODUCTION:


  1. The book of Proverbs is a very practical book, as we see here in chapter 3.
  2. "Proverbs are short sentences, drawn from long experience, a truth couched in a form that is easy to remember" (J. Vernon McGee).
  3. I trust this outline will be easy to remember:

 

  1. FORGET NOT THE WORD OF GOD (3:1)
  2. TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART (3:5)
  3. HONOUR THE LORD WITH ALL THY SUBSTANCE (3:9)

 

or

 

  1. REMEMBER THE LORD
  2. TRUST IN THE LORD
  3. HONOUR THE LORD

 

I. FORGET NOT THE WORD OF GOD (3:1-4).

  1. Over and over again, the Bible tells us not to forget God's Word (3:1).  Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (cf. Joshua 1:8).
  2. Our lives must be governed by God's Word.  Just glance at the newspaper and you will see the destruction, the confusion, the disorder, the heartbreak, the devastation, and the chaos of lives that are not governed by God's Word.
  3. Just a few examples: Greg Kelly, the son of the NY police commissioner's, was recently accused of rape by some immoral floozy. After an investigation, the charges were dropped. Mr. Kelly returned to work at Fox 5's "Good Day New York," and was greeted by applause.  This is a man who by his own admission committed fornication with this woman. And she allegedly became pregnant and had an abortion.  And yet the man was applauded when he returned to work to his television program.
  4. Another recent story involves Yankee general manger Brian Cashman. After reports that he has given up as much as $20,000 to his accused extortionist and mistress, prosecutors subpoenaed his bank records.   His wife has finally had enough of his adultery and has filed for divorce.
  5. These are just two recent stories.  They are typical of lives that are not governed by the Word of God.
  6. In order for our lives to be governed by God's Word, we must know God's Word. Matthew Henry said we must acquaint ourselves with the Word of God, "for we cannot be said to forget that which we never knew" (3:1).
  7. Furthermore, we must obey God's Word.  "But let thine heart keep my commandments" (3:1b).
  8. James 1:22 says, "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves."
  9. Sadly, America is becoming a nation of Biblical illiterates.  George Barna recently did a survey and the results are frightening.
  • Fewer than half of all adults can name the four gospels.
  • 60 percent of Americans can't name even five of the Ten Commandments.
  • Eighty-two percent of Americans believe "God helps those who help themselves" is a Bible verse."
  • Back in November, White House spokesman Jay Carney quoted that familiar statement and referred to it as "Scripture."  Someone had to explain to him that it is not found in the Bible.
  • You may recall a few years ago, Howard Dean said the book of Job was his "favorite book in the New Testament."
  • Twelve percent of adults believe that Joan of Arc was Noah's wife.
  • A survey of graduating high school seniors revealed that over 50 percent thought that Sodom and Gomorrah were husband and wife.
  • A considerable number of respondents to one poll said that the Sermon on the Mount was preached by Billy Graham.
  1. Hosea 4:6 says, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge."
  2. We need to read our Bibles, and study our Bibles.  And bring our children to Sunday School -- on time.  "My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments" (Proverbs 3:1).
  3. Our wills and our affections must be subject to the Word of God, and must in every thing conform to them.
  4. The son is instructed to listen to and keep Godís law, as he was advised as a child in the home to obey his father and mother (3:1; cf. Proverbs 1:8).
  5. As a general rule, those who obey the Word of God, and who honour their parents live longer and better lives (3:2, cf. verse 8).
  6. This is a general rule (and there are exceptions to the rule).  "Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee" (Ex. 20:12).
  7. "Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth" (Eph. 6:1-3).
  8. The "first commandment with promise" is the fifth commandment.
  9. Obeying the LORD and following Him leads to good health.  William MacDonald said, "Here again we are brought face to face with the close connection between man's moral and spiritual condition and his physical health.  It has been estimated that fear, sorrow, envy, resentment, hatred, guilt, and other emotional stresses account for over 60% of our illnesses.  Add to that the terrible toll taken by alcohol (cirrhosis of the liver); tobacco (emphysema, cancer, heart disease); immorality (venereal diseases).  Then we realize that Solomon, by divine inspiration, was way ahead of his times in the field of medical science" (Enjoying the Proverbs).
  10. Proverbs 3:3 teaches we should be careful in applying these Biblical principles and thinking them over and over (cf. Psalm 119, especially verse 16).
  11. "Write them upon the table of thine heart" (3:3b; cf. 7:3).  It is one thing to have God's Word in our head; it is another thing to have God's Word written in our heart!
  12. One preacher said, "When the mind is engaged, it is 'I ought to.'  When the will is engaged, it is 'I have to.'  But when the heart is engaged it is 'I want to'" (John Phillips, Exploring Proverbs).
  13. Carl and I have been praying that the young people in our church, and the older ones too, will serve God, not because they feel they ought to, or because they feel they have to, but because they want to!
  14. "Write them upon the table of thine heart" (Pro. 3:3b).  Note the emphasis on the "heart" (3:1, 3, 5; 4:4).
  15. If our relationship is right vertically (with God), it will be right horizontally and we will get along with others (3:4).  God must come first, and then He will make a way for us as He did with Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, the apostle Paul, and many, many others.

 

II. TRUST IN THE LORD WITH ALL THINE HEART (3:5, 6).

  1. We are to remember the LORD, and we are to trust in the LORD.
  2. God is trustworthy!  God is dependable!  God's wisdom and His love are limitless!  So we must trust Him at all times.
  3. God's will is an expression of God's love.  And God has promised to show us His will for our lives (3:5, 6).
  4. Ephesians 5:17 says, "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is."
  5. Following God's will involves total submission and dependence upon God -- "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart..." (3:5).
  6. Our Lord said in Matthew 22:37, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
  7. The phrase "trust in the LORD" is found often in Scripture.  It literally means, "to cling to the LORD" and to depend totally upon Him.
  8. For example, II Kings 18:5-7 says King Hezekiah "trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.  For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments, which the LORD commanded Moses.  And the LORD was with him; and he prospered whithersoever he went forth."
  9. This is a picture of a man who "trusted in the LORD."  "For he clave to the LORD, and departed not from following him, but kept his commandments" (II Kings 18:6).
  10. God can be trusted in every way and at all times.  He knows what is best for us.  His love is limitless.  So we must trust Him.
  11. Job said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him" (Job 13:15).
  12. "And lean not unto thine own understanding."  God is all-wise.   We have limited understanding, so God says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding."
  13. Like Abraham when he was willing to sacrifice Isaac.
  14. Like Moses when he followed the LORD through the Red Sea.
  15. Like Joshua when he led the Israelites around the walls of Jericho.
  16. Like Peter when he was come down out of the ship, and he walked on the water, to go to Jesus (Matthew 14:29; cf. vss. 30, 31).
  17. Proverbs 3:5 says, "and lean not unto thine own understanding."
  18. Our reasoning is fallible.  We are prone to making mistakes in judgment.   So the Bible says, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding" (3:5).
  19. We must learn to depend upon God at all times, and we must allow Him to guide our steps.   "In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (3:6).
  20. To trust in the LORD means to "fear the LORD"  and to "depart from evil" (3:7).  Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge."
  21. Proverbs 9:10 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom."
  22. This is the theme of the book of Proverbs.
  23. Proverbs 1:29 says wise men "choose" the fear of the LORD.
  24. Proverbs 2:5 says wise men "understand the fear of the LORD."
  25. Proverbs 3:7 says that when we fear the LORD we will depart from evil (cf. Pro. 8:13; 16:6).
  26. Proverbs 10:27 says, "The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened" (cf. 3:2; 19:23).
  27. Proverbs 14:26 says, "In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence."
  28. Proverbs 14:27 says, "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death."
  29. Proverbs 15:16 says, "Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith."
  30. When we consider all of the problems facing our nation today, we could summarize it all by saying, "There is no fear of God."
  31. Proverbs 3:7 says, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."  But today nearly everyone is wise in their own eyes!

 

III. HONOUR THE LORD WITH ALL THY SUBSTANCE (3:9, 10).

  1. God wants us to be good stewards.  All we have belongs to God. The LORD is honored when we put Him first (3:9).
  2. Our Lord said "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (Acts 20:35).
  3. Furthermore, our Lord said in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
  4. With the same measure!
  5. This is what the apostle Paul means, when he says in II Corinthians 9:6, "But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully."
  6. Since God is honored when we give (Pro. 3:9), He is dishonored when we do not give.
  7. Malachi 3:10 says, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
  8. The great British soldier, General Charles Gordon was born near London, England in 1833.  He distinguished himself as a great soldier during the Crimean War (1853-56), and then he volunteered to join the British forces in China.
  9. General Gordon was present during the occupation of Peking in 1860 and defended Shanghai during the Taiping Rebellion.
  10. He returned to England in 1865, where an enthusiastic public had already dubbed him "Chinese Gordon."
  11. When the British government tried to reward him for his magnificent service in China, General Gordon declined all money and titles, but did accept a gold medal on which his name and a record of his 33 engagements were inscribed.
  12. After he was killed by Muslim rebels in Sudan, the medal could not be found.  After a thorough search, it was finally discovered that he had sent it to Manchester during a famine, with a request that it be melted and used to buy bread for the poor.  In his diary he recorded that the medal was the only earthly thing he valued and that he had given it over to the Lord Jesus Christ.
  13. Oh, if we only had more Christians like General Gordon today!
  14. Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
  15. Proverbs 3:9 says, "Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase."
  16. General Gordon honored the LORD with his substance!

 

CONCLUSION:


  1. The book of Proverbs is very practical.  We are to honor the LORD by reading His word, and not forgetting it (3:1).
  2. We are to honor the LORD by trusting Him and allowing Him to direct our steps (3:5, 6).
  3. And we are to honor the LORD with our substance (3:9, 10).


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