e-Booklet in the Spotlight

The Golden Thread Series: E-Booklet Seventeen

 Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the subject of the Bible?” If we were to pose this question to any number of people, responses would be numerous. But what if we could honestly find one single thread of truth in the Bible that would satisfy the question and prove the subject beyond any doubt? We would benefit immensely by having the clearest understanding of God’s opened will when reading the Scriptures. The Golden Thread answers the question: Jesus Christ is that one thread, and is thus the illustrated subject and theme throughout both the Old and New Testaments. This thread carries the reader on an uplifting spiritual journey to Christ and, in turn, reveals the loving embrace of his Father.

When we look to Christ Jesus, he begins leading the way for us to follow through the straight gate to his wisdom. Jesus is the way to the Father of lights, and along our way, Jesus reveals himself as our Path of Righteousness that leads all the way up to God and revealed to us through the proverbial wisdom from the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs – Reveals Jesus Christ as the Path of Righteousness

Written by Larry M. Jaynes:

“. . . The Book of Proverbs has thirty-one chapters with over 560 separate proverbs. Many people read Proverbs on months that have 31 days, a chapter per day. In Proverbs, we find the wisdom of God who is Jesus Christ and he reveals the passageway to the Father of Lights. When we discover Jesus Christ in Proverbs, he lights our pathway through life and begins revealing himself as our Path of Righteousness, leading directly to our heavenly Father, and to His motivating wisdom.

The Book of Proverbs contains so much more than simple common sense knowledge and daily calendar quotations, for the Book of Proverbs reveals the way to Jesus Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life. When we come to him in Proverbs, he is recognized as the light of the world and in him we will be further enlightened with his true spiritual wisdom and be directed onto the pathway of God’s righteousness.

Some question the validity of proverbial wisdom because many of the so-called religious and philosophical calendar quotes will often contradict themselves. Such as: “two’s company and three’s a crowd,” yet “the more the merrier,” or “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” yet “live and learn,” or “nothing ventured, nothing gained” yet “it is better to be safe than sorry.” The list goes on and on, so this is why some question the truisms of proverbial wisdom.

However, none of the above quotations are parts of the biblical Proverbs, but rather are manmade and may or may not be true words of wisdom, or only fit into one niche, whereas God’s Proverbs are perfect in every respect ― Always.

Many times there are biblical quotations “said” to be true proverbs and are often posted on refrigerator magnets and on coffee mugs and on doormats, yet they are taken from other Books of the Bible, and though they are statements of truth (when quoted correctly), they are not necessarily true proverbs. For illustration, one so-called word of wisdom that I see misquoted a lot is, “and the truth shall set you free.” I will guarantee you that the truth never “set” anyone free. That statement is an empty platitude based on absolutely nothing biblical. If they were trying for a Bible verse it would read as follows, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make {not “set”} you free”; this quotation is from John 8:32. The word “set” implies the letting go of something, while “make” implies the holding onto something with effort, and that something is Jesus Christ; he has given us the ability to hold onto him (Philippians 4:13), and this endeavor is what makes one free.

Verse 32 begins with the word and, and in the preceding verse Jesus said “If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and {AND then} ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,” and Jesus is “the truth” (John 14:6).

Only by continuing with Christ and his words does one become made free, but not “set free” to simply wander off aimlessly without our Savior, but made free to choose to become his disciple, and freely able to follow him to our heavenly Father. That is the truth, and this is what makes one truly free! “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36), and apart from Jesus one is distant from the truth that genuinely makes one free. Galatians 5:1 reads that, “Christ hath made {not “set”} us free,” because it took a lot of work on his part, for with him we are made free, allowing us to unreservedly walk with him to his heavenly Father on our Path of Righteousness.

God’s Proverbs are unchangeable and eternal. They will inspire anyone from any walk of life, nationality, race, religion, or geographical location, in all situations, and at all times.

Proverbs 1:5–7:
-5: A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels {direction as well as guidance from the many teachings from the Book of Proverbs}:
-6: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation {the idea or point presented in a proverb are}; the words of the wise, and {contain} their dark {or figurative} sayings.
-7: The fear {respect} of {or from} the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools {or people who do not respect the Word of God ― will} despise {His} wisdom and instruction {from Proverbs, and consequently are set free to wander aimlessly}.

Proverbs are divinely given rules and standards that help govern men and women who adhere to them on the Path of Righteousness. They give aid to help inspire those who harbor a deep loving respect for the LORD, and are willing to receive His paramount respect in return, and thus men and women will have the keys to begin a wonderful journey through life with God in Christ.

Proverbs provides enthusiastic youthfulness for the mature and wisdom for the youth.

Proverbs 2:1–6:
-1: MY son, if thou wilt receive my words {the words of Proverbs}, and hide my commandments with thee {for commandments See the Book of Ecclesiastics, in this series};
-2: So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding;
-3: Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; {in prayer, James 1:5 says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.”}
-4: If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures;
-5: Then shalt thou {truly} understand the fear {the reverent respect} of {and from} the LORD, and {the result is, you will} find the knowledge of God.
-6: For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.

There are three conditions given in verses 1, 3, and 4, each beginning with the word if, and only if these conditions are met will one truly understand the fear {respect} of the LORD. The further we look into God’s Word, the more we will discover His own respect for us ― this comes to a man or a women as they begin believing that through Christ, God respects us completely. When one truly finds the knowledge of God, he will be lead to God through Christ who is the “wisdom of God” (I Corinthians 1:24), for in Christ are “hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). Christ is inseparable from God’s Word, for the Scriptures are the inclusive revelations of Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:12).

Proverbs offers encouragement and provides many spiritual principles to directly uplift and help people confidently walk with God. One of my personal favorites in Proverbs is “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” (Proverbs 27:17), and this is my inspiration and theme for writing this series. Proverbs provides encouragement to the believer so that he may walk before others with dignity and confidence.

Often proverbs demonstrate comparisons between two parallels or two opposites to drive a definite point home, as in “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer {behind the back – tattler}, the strife ceaseth {two parallels}” (Proverbs 26:20), and “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn {two opposites}” (Proverbs 29:2).

The Book of Proverbs also counsel the believer to watch out for the pitfalls, stumbling blocks, and enticements that this world lays out to catch the believer off guard which ultimately will lead away from the Path of Righteousness.

Proverbs 2:7–22:
-7: He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.
-8: He keepeth the paths of judgment, and preserveth the way of his saints.
-9: Then shalt thou understand righteousness, and judgment, and equity; yea, every good path.
-10: When wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul;
-11: Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:
-12: To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh forward {perverse} things;
-13: Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;
-14: Who rejoice to do evil, and delight in the frowardness of the wicked;
-15: Whose ways are crooked, and they froward {are devious} in their paths:
-16: To deliver thee from the strange woman {or strange loves that are ungodly and takes one away from God and His Word, See I John 2:15, below}, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words;
-17: Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
-18: For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead {i.e., no life along her paths}.
-19: None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life.
-20: That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.
-21: For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.
-22: But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

I John 2:15:
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Proverbs encourages the children of God to stay on target by inspiring clear, level-headed thinking. Jesus is the way (John 14:6), and as we travel with him, he breathes spiritual knowledge and direction into our understanding to help us stand fearlessly on the path that leads to a peaceable life.

Proverbs 18:10:
The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it {without being hindered}, and is safe.

The name of the LORD represents everything that the LORD’s name stands for, such as His strength, His relationship with man, and His power that gives the believer a refuge. The LORD is our strong tower, leading us into our elevated position with Him in the tower of His strength. The word safe means to be set up on high, for this is where the righteous safely abide with God in Christ (Ephesians 2:6).

We have been given the righteousness of God through the completed work of the righteous one, Jesus Christ.

Philippians 3:9:
And {that I may} be found in him {in Christ}, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law {via the works of the flesh}, but that which is {free, and without works} through the faith {believing faith} of Christ {given to men and women ― it is}, the righteousness which is of God by {Christ’s own} faith:

Once our lives were lost, being “without Christ . . . having no hope, and without God in the world” (Ephesians 2:12), but now in Christ Jesus we have been (thankfully and gratefully) found. Believers have hope, Christ, and God, and the “believing faith of Jesus Christ,” which has given us God’s very own righteousness (Romans 10:9–10).

On the path of our God-given righteousness, we can come to know Him as our strong tower of strength. The more we recognize Christ in the Scriptures the greater our God-given righteousness will shine in our hearts.

Proverbs 12:28:
In the way of righteousness is life {life eternal}; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

In the way of righteousness is life, because with the righteousness of God we can know that we have received eternal life. In the pathway of righteousnessthere is no death,” this means that we, being righteous, will receive a future immortality and know the certainty of this even in the present tense. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead {or has died}, yet shall he live {again in resurrection}” (John 11:25).

Today we have the absolute guaranteed promise of receiving our complete redemption, our total immortality, and our heavenly home in the eternity of love to live forever with God, and with our Lord and Savior (Ephesians 1:13–14, Romans 8:23), for we have thankfully found the Path of Righteousness through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 4:14–15, 18, and 26:
-14: Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
-15: Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away {go another way}.

-18: But the path of the just is as the shining light {the dawning of day ― ever continuing to be brighter}, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

-26: Ponder {deeply consider} the path of thy feet {feet represent our standing with God}, and let all thy ways be established {by following Jesus Christ who reveals the way to our God}.

The perfect day means the brightest time of the day when the sun seems to pause still in the sky above as it reaches the highest point on the meridian around noontime. What an excellent illustration of our elevated position on our pathway as it leads us into the light, for we are the children of light and of God.

The Book of Proverbs can be likened to being a personal barometer because it contains hundreds of personal indicators that help the believer to visualize his or her personal and spiritual growth in practical living, and gives us ways and means to improvement with clearly marked parameters. Once a believer begins to take in a Proverb and is inspired by that Proverb’s unique personality (every separate Proverb has its own disposition), he or she will begin emulating its inherent instruction as he or she becomes the personification of its incarnate truth(s). A Proverb once placed in the heart helps us critique our personal disposition through individual situations that come up in our life. A Proverb can point out when we are walking with the Lord on the Path of Righteousness as well as when are off base and are being ill-inspired with the wrong concept in mind, and then stimulate us with the correct thoughts as well as revealing the correct actions to take to get ourselves back into fellowship.

I believe that there are Proverbs specific for every situation that could possibly confront us in everyday living, and finding the correct Proverb to be applied at any given moment is the joyous challenge that will last a lifetime. There are Proverbs from giving to receiving, from acceptance of reproof and correction to offering reproof and correction, from being charitable to proper reception of charity, from turning the other cheek to standing your ground, from when to speak up and when to keep silent, and much, much more. Most always there are several Proverbs for any situation under the sun which can be applied in one’s personal life-living.

As an example: we have already read Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” So we can ask ourselves, “Well how is this verse to be used as my personal barometer?” First recall Proverbs 2:1–6 that we read earlier which contained the three “ifs” concluding with this one, “If thou seekest her {Wisdom} as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures” and then we find that when biblical wisdom is sought with the mindset of a treasure hunt, then godly promises are granted to the seeker and “Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God.” Oh, what a precious and inestimable find!

Proverbs 8:17:
I love them that love me {me is God’s wisdom, See context of whole chapter}; and those that seek me {wisdom} early shall find me {wisdom}.

Matthew 7:7–8:
-7: Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
-8: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

James 1:5:
If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

You see, when you or I actually reach out of self to bless another with the Word, then you or I personally receive the blessing as well, that is iron sharpening iron. You and/or I get sharpened in the process, meaning that one gets keener, more alert, or built up, becoming ever more ready to build up our friend(s). Do you see the benefit in speaking and/or doing something to bless a friend? It all comes back to you and/or to me. This of course can work either positively or negatively depending whether or not one wants to sharpen or dull a friend, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity” (Proverbs 22:8), and positively “for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians 6:7)!

We can enjoy the good reaping when sharpening a friend: “Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Ephesians 6:6), and not with lip service “but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:19). There is nothing wrong with being a blessing to others, in truth ― it pays! I do not mean to just give flattery for flattery’s sake, “A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet” (Proverbs 29:5), but we can offer genuine compliments when they are called for, and we are inspired to do so. I know that when these blessings come my way I am always thankful, and I respond in kind. “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).

By practicing kind acts and being courteous or generous in our compliments we may bring to light someone’s inner qualities that are worth pointing out and we receive manifold for our thoughtfulness. Not only that, but our friend(s) will in turn cherish genuine praise and most always will react positively, shine even more, and try to be more worthy of the compliment to the point that we will experience the greatness and reality of a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend because both can then give and receive the benefit.

“My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off” (Proverbs 24:13–14). Your reward and expectation shall be a sweet treasure, as sweet as honey, and always will give one dividends that will last for years and years because sharpening the countenance of a friend builds lifelong habits that will belay your friend to you and to the others you may be inspired to reach out to even beyond your circle of friends. And if, perchance, the person you have blessed does not respond ― God will (Mark 9:41). It is only after the action is taken, not before, (“blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”― John 20:29). Then shalt thou understand the fear {awe and respect} of {or rather, from} the LORD, and find the knowledge of God!

Psalms 45:1:
My heart is inditing {pulsating on, overflowing with} a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made {my own} touching the king {David’s Savior and King, Christ the Lord}: my tongue is {like} the pen of a ready writer {to speak of biblical blessings, such as saying, “God loves you, and Jesus gave his life for you!”}.

Job said, “I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage {hold back, restrain} your grief” (Job 16:5). Job’s intent was for speaking to bless his friends, and if at any time they would have a cause to grieve over a loss he was already prepared to step in the gap and offer his support. Job was already primed to speak words that would strengthen his friends because he had practiced this throughout his lifetime. He must have held verses and concepts such as Proverbs 24:14 in his heart, “If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small,” and he needed great strength to overcome the situations that came up in his life or in the lives of his acquaintances, like we studied from the Book of Job in this series. “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). “There is {or There are people} that speaketh like the piercings of a sword {i.e., such as Job’s three friends once spoke to him}: but the tongue of the wise is health” (Proverbs 12:18). Speaking words that give aid and comfort is a healthy, lifelong adventure that supplies health to the bones ― to both the recipient and the presenter!

Years ago I followed a program to read through the whole Bible in one year, but at the end of that year I was only grateful that the year was over because the task of reaching the goal became tedious and the bane of my existence. When I finally finished, I found that I really did not retain much of anything, had even more questions, and certainly was not equipped with words to comfort another. One thing I did realize is that I experienced very little quality time with God. The next time I read the whole Bible it took me twenty-eight and a half years but I did not find it tedious or burdensome because each day I spent much more time contemplating and asking God direct questions. I really learned so much more the second time around because I read with the purpose of learning about my Savior and my heavenly Father. I read with a real purpose in mind and found a treasure (Matthew 6:33) and I gained so much more than I could have ever imagined (Ephesians 3:20). You see, I began walking with my Savior and Him Who said, “I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1), and I can attest “that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6), not just for a year but for a lifetime.

I have realized that when studying the individual Proverbs instead of whole chapters for one’s own personal growth, that the search has already begun for the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that will be deposited into one’s account and that can be withdrawn as needed.

Another example along the same lines of speaking up is found in Proverbs 18:13, where we read, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.” Oh, I was such an offender of this folly because I was (often, unknown to me because it was second nature) a know-it-all. I used to finish other people’s sentences all of the time, however, because of learning that the Proverbs are personal barometers for one’s character, over the years this verse has shown me how much I have personally grown in this area. Now when I slip and speak out of turn this very Proverb comes back to mind, often in time for me to apologize for “opening mouth and inserting foot.” Then I recall, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding” (Proverbs 17:28).

Most of the time when I finish someone’s sentence as though I already knew what he or she was beginning to say, on average I was, and still am only correct about once out of every hundred attempts. Countless times in the past I have insulted the person I interrupted, and by doing so I have lowered my own credibility before the person I interrupted. Thankfully, because of the Proverbs in God’s Word I have enjoyed a personal detector into my own life and inner psych that has helped me to become a better, Christ-like person, and him I study so that when I do answer someone I pray to at least offer words that Jesus might say to bless others. “The heart of the righteous studieth {through time and meditation} to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things” (Proverbs 15:28).

It is important to note that the Book of Proverbs is not written for the instruction or guidance for the wicked or unbeliever. It is a believer’s learning tool, guide, and compass.

~AND~

Never, never ever are the Proverbs to be used to compare oneself with others (such as the wicked in Proverbs 15:28, above); the thought process alone can place one on the path of becoming a Pharisee, “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). This is a great life-lesson to learn, “if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:23). Hypocrisy is the Greek word hypokrisis and means the acting of a stage performer. Hypocrisy is, simply put, a stage craft to give off a false impression of what is or should be acceptable (i.e., political correctness) which is a pretender’s illusion of genuine feelings to win over the listener(s) to their way of thinking. A great actor can make you laugh, cry, or scream even though the actual storyline is made up.

Pharisees would say and do almost anything to achieve their goals regardless of whom they hurt or who gets in their way or in what they would say once they sell out to act their storylines. Jesus said to some of the Pharisees “ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15).

Jesus gives us a great representation of Pharisaical thinking and acting.

Matthew 12:18–19:
-18: For John came neither eating nor drinking {saying John was a teetotaler}, and they say, He hath a devil.
-19: The Son of man {Jesus himself} came eating and drinking {the exact opposite of John’s actions}, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber {saying Jesus was a drunk}, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

Oh what an act! They accused John the Baptist of being too good to be true. “Who can trust a man that will not take a drink? Yes indeed, he must be possessed of the Devil!” However, forgetting their initial logic about John they also defamed Jesus because he drank wine, “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). That is what hypocrisy is, hypocrisy will inspire one to say and do almost anything to be considered squeaky clean, even if it means contradicting themselves over and again in the same breath. That is the kind of wisdom that justifies her children which were made in the image of Pharisees who produce their twofold more the child of hell than themselves. This is why political correctness (PC) is getting worse and worse around the whole world to this very day.

You know the Pharisees read their Bibles all of the time, including the Book of Proverbs but they only saw the evil and the bad in people they knew by focusing on the negative side of life. They believed the worst in mankind (excluding themselves and their followers) and projected their tainted concepts onto the masses. As a direct result, when the “greater than Solomon” (Luke 11:31) who is Jesus Christ arrived and began living a biblically principled lifestyle the Pharisees wanted to kill him, and eventually they had a large part in doing just that. They were the most religious people on earth, defenders and protectors of their Divinely-given religion, but they were blinded to the truths within it when Jesus arrived to bless them, even though their religion foretold of him for centuries, and whom they read about in anticipation every blessed Sabbath day of their entire lives. They even had a program to read through the entire Old Testament out loud every three years in the Temple and local Synagogues to make sure everyone was on the same page they were.

Acts 13:27–30:
-27: For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers {which would include Pharisees}, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
-28: And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
-29: And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
-30: But God raised him from the dead:

The Proverbs are written not to condemn you, me, or anyone else, but to help God’s children find their way to living with the wisdom that is only found in the truth of God’s words, that you can then place in your heart. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart” (Jeremiah 15:16). Proverbs were not written just so we can find fault in others but to help God’s children stay in check, to better ourselves in life, every day living for the glory of God and for the honor of our Lord and Savior.

Everyone needs improvement, and the Proverbs help supplement that venture, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief” (Proverbs 24:16). Have we ever fallen into mischief, have we ever sinned, or were we always and forever just? “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (I John 1:10), “Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin” (Proverbs 20:9, and See John 8:7). Thankfully, what we also have is forgiveness (I John 1:9), enough so that we can, over and again, rise back up and walk on the Path of Righteousness. This is what Proverbs promises you and me, giving us seven-to-one odds that we can improve our personal walks with God. “For the good that I would I do not {oh, but I wanted to do good}: but the evil which I would not, that I do {but I did not want to do evil}” (Romans 7:19), as is often the real case in life; still the living Word is our eternal pacifier. The only perfect person was Jesus. We as human beings are subject to error (Hebrews 12:1–2); however, we in Christ can ride along on his coattails while we learn to better ourselves along our way to that perfect day ― when Christ returns to take us home to stay!

Proverbial advice: When you are reading the Book of Proverbs, look for a Proverb that jumps off the page, one that inspires you, and then study it like a treasure hunt as you polish it up by perhaps writing it down and looking at it through the day. You were inspired to notice the verse(s) for a reason, think about what is imparted, work those ideas in your heart, look for more verses in the Bible that will relate to “your” particular Proverb(s) and before too long you will begin enjoying its intrinsic value, value that will be worth more than anything to you because it will continue to reward and inspire you a lifetime.

Proverbs 3:13–18:
-13: Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.
-14: For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.
-15: She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.
-16: Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour.
-17: Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
-18: She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her.

I have many Proverbs that I think of as my personal rewards for the diligent work that I have put into them because I have given my own time in learning about them, and they have in return brought me closer to God, Who is my “exceeding great reward” (Genesis 15:1). “The wicked worketh a deceitful work: but to him that soweth righteousness {which is an honest work} shall be a sure reward” (Proverbs 11:18). We need not tell anyone that we have found a treasure because once we start living off it other people that we touch through our lives will be enjoying them through our personal actions in living them in our everyday life.

“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge” (Proverbs 23:12). Proverbs are like guidelines rather than laws, not written to condemn but to encourage you to do more good than not (like you can read in Ecclesiastes below), more than you possibly thought you were capable of, and thanks to the specific Proverbs that you and I have purposely placed in our hearts we become more than conquerors.

Ecclesiastes 7:15–20:
-15: All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness.
-16: Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?
-17: Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?
-18: It is good that thou shouldest take hold of this; yea, also from this withdraw not thine hand: for he that feareth {respects} God shall come forth of them all.
-19: Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.
-20: For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

Proverbs inspires one from within to become a better person incrementally, day by day, which brings lasting change without, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he {or so he becomes}” (Proverbs 23:7). No, we will not feel like we have arrived after bringing a Proverb into our hearts and developing it in practical living because there is always more to learn and grow thereby, but with a Proverb in mind we can become a changed man or women of God with intestinal fortitude equipped with practical tools to actually reach out of ourselves to lend a helping hand to our fellow man, and then to become the recipient of the blessing of giving.

We cannot change people by reading Proverbs and/or by finding the fault in them but rather by living the principles recorded in Proverbs to the best of our ability. We first change the image of us rather than our outlook on others, and allow truth to be our inner treasure. Are there Pharisees today? Oh, indeed, but let us be concerned about our own personal walks with God and leave them be and instead endeavor to not judge our friends and other people we may know about, and simply live for the LORD our God and endeavor to be more like our wonderful Savior as we enjoy the principles we learn from God’s Word. “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things {Proverbs are filled with these same sentiments}” (Romans 2:1).

Even though many Proverbs illustrate the untoward behaviors of both the ill-informed and the knowledgeable, they are never to be used as accusative attacks against others, but more of a reflective tool so that we can honestly acknowledge that we are not exemplifying traits such as the wicked, evil, foolish, slothful, etcetera that a Proverb may be revealing. Often, when we are honest, we can see ourselves on the negative side of the ledger and come to realize that we desire to be on the other side, the side of the respectful, the good, the righteous, the studious, etcetera that a Proverb may be revealing and leading us towards, and then, work to change until we do ― with God’s help.

I Corinthians 10:13:
There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Let us look at two verses of Scripture from Proverbs that have very much perplexed some Bible students.

Proverbs 26:4–5:
-4: Answer {anah} not a fool according to his folly {ivveleth}, lest thou also be like unto him.
-5: Answer {anah} a fool according to his folly {ivveleth}, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

First notice that on the surface in these Proverbs it appears that the two verses seem to contradict each other because verse 4 seems to be stating that we should NOT answer a fool, while verse 5 gives the opposite impression and tells us TO answer a fool.

So what is the answer? Verse 4 explains that we cannot reason with a fool without stooping down to his level, while verse 5 explains the reason why and how to answer a fool’s question. You see, if we answer him according to his folly he will instinctively believe that we think as he does (foolishly). The Proverb is hypothetical, filled with overflowing truths and concepts to utilize in our daily living for the Lord with the correct mindset. “The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness” (Proverbs 15:2). If a fool was to ask you a stupid question and you give an answer he will think that you are on his level which will further motivate him to begin talking down to you in the future, and he will feel justified in his own conceit (concepts, silly or wrongful ideas). “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom” (Proverbs 10:23), and we are to, “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without” (Colossians 4:5).

The word answer in the Hebrew Text is anah and it means to answer or to respond, but to respond to counterbalance his folly. The four English words according to his folly come from only one Hebrew word ivveleth meaning foolishness, as in “the foolishness of fools is folly” (Proverbs 14:24). To examine, let us say someone says to you, “This is a rotten day,” and if you are caught off guard you may respond with a nod in the affirmative or answer him with a similar agreement; that is: thou also be like unto him, when you could have said something along the lines of the following, “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalms 118:24), which is not answering him according to his folly but according to truth, and believe me, that day will cause you to both rejoice and be glad for speaking and acknowledging the truth that God made this day for you rather than perhaps begin having a rotten day yourself.

As a practical example, say you are at work and someone suggests to you, “Let’s start our first break ten minutes early,” but all he really wanted to do is add that time to his original fifteen-minute break, thereby turning fifteen minutes into twenty-five (who knows, perhaps he really wants to stretch the break to even more time). If you go along with his suggestion, he then has a partner and you both would be stealing ten minutes each from the employer, and if you did, then the verse warns lest thou also be like unto him. So, to answer (which you are encouraged to do in verse 4) you could say “No thanks, I still have some work to finish up before my break.” This one sentence prevents him from being wise in his own conceit. Of course you could say, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Proverbs 18:9), but then you will probably destroy any future chance to bless him if he was ever ready to receive God’s Word from you and accept his Savior. Answering with the right words is answering not a fool according to his folly but answering with wisdom, which can lead the conversation and situation to a different outcome of your own choosing (at the allotted break time) that has no folly involved. This is answering a fool according to his folly without the fool realizing that the situation has completely changed in your favor and is the right thing to say and do, “Forsake the foolish, and live {abundantly}; and go in the way of understanding” (Proverbs 9:6).

One can both benefit from and enjoy both verses while working along in your day because you will be doubling your rewards. First, is that you will be working for the boss and getting paid for an honest day’s work (Ephesians 6:5–8). Secondly, you will be following biblical instruction (Proverbs 26:4–5), which will now pay you in eternal dividends, and perhaps inspire your coworker to at least work up until his break as he will have no one to conspire with, and perhaps he will feel that he has earned his pay like you chose to do.

There are more than a thousand and one different instances where this one Proverb can be used to help you live and enjoy the more than abundant life, especially when someone tries to take you down another path than the one you are walking on, one that just may lead one down the path of the wicked.

Proverbs 4:14–17:
-14: Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.
-15: Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.
-16: For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.
-17: For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

I Peter 3:15:
But sanctify {set aside some room for} the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear {respect, for both God and the person(s) to whom you are speaking}:

The Bible is perfect and entire right down to its smallest jots and tittles. What we have in the example above is a situation very similar to the questions the Pharisees and the Herodians proposed to Jesus in the Gospels when they came tempting him, along with his answer that put the fools to flight.

Matthew 22:15–22:
-15: Then went the Pharisees {a religious group of pious persuasions}, and took counsel how they might entangle him {Jesus} in his talk.
-16: And they sent out unto him their disciples {disciplined hypocrites} with the Herodians {an irreligious group of political persuasions}, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. {Meaning he was not a respecter of persons. Oh how they were buttering him up with flowery accolades, implying that he was equally fair when critiquing different parties or peoples such as the rich or poor or religious or secular.}
-17: Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? {They proposed two questions of opposites, knowing full well that if Jesus said that they should give to God, then the Pharisees would have been at least (outwardly) pleased, but if he said that they should give to Caesar by paying taxes, then the Herodians would have been at least (outwardly) pleased, but either way one group could go after him for either being pro-God or pro-government.}
-18: But Jesus perceived their wickedness {See where their motives emanate from ― wickedness. Political correctness (PC), and religious correctness (RC) were working together to only one end, to expose Jesus as a fraud.}, and {Jesus} said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites {actors, mere performers, pretenders, counterfeiters residing over the house of Israel}?
-19: Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
-20: And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
-21: They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.
-22: When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

In the Texts the Pharisees from a religious perspective were asking Jesus in essence: “It is not lawful for us Judeans to pay tribute to Caesar who is an unbelieving Gentile ―is it?” While the Herodians from a secular perspective were asking Jesus the exact opposite question: “It is not lawful for Roman subjects to pay tribute to the Temple and your religion ―is it?” In Mark’s Gospel we can read both questions, “Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give” (Mark 14–15)? They believed Jesus was now stuck in a vice and had to choose only one answer but ―did he? Jesus answered both questions which dumfounded both groups, and he did this with a one-sentence answer, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

Jesus changed the whole situation and put to silence the wisdom of fools without any confrontation whatsoever by simply walking with wisdom, “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (I Peter 2:15).

They could not “entangle him in his talk,” as they were hoping. They were anticipating that Jesus would have agreed with only one side of their two opposite questions. They were attempting to lead Jesus to only one conclusion and equally lean against the other. There is nothing wrong with paying your taxes or giving for godly purposes, which was his basic conclusion. Jesus took the wind out of their sails and removed the cause for any debate and ended their trickery, and so they left him, and went their way, probably feeling like fools, even though they were supposedly the smartest people on earth.

Proverbs instructs us how to be better people and how to help inspire those around us in our sphere of influence rather than to be judges over the faults of others. This is the jewel within the Book of Proverbs that we may mine out and enjoy with the benefit of being very pleasing to the LORD, and those around us just may also desire to be with us and perhaps emulate us as well. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7).

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise” (II Corinthians 10:12), and the individual Proverbs are written to give us absolute wisdom that stands the test of both time and everyday life situations.

Proverbs 15:23:
A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it.

Proverbs 15:1:
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.

Proverbs 24:26:
Every man shall kiss {adore, cherish} his lips that giveth a right answer {he or she admires a truth-bearer who speaks loving advice and counsel with the reference to God’s words, unless they have set their heart on rejecting Him}.

Proverbs 27:9:
Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

Proverbs 12:15:
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

The more we walk with God, the brighter our future is realized. This is our Path of Righteousness, and is the way that Jesus said we should follow him, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the {path} way, which leadeth unto life {and Jesus is the life,― John 14:6}, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14).

For one example, in the time of Noah, he and his family of eight souls out of the world’s populous were the few there be that find it, and they had a safe passageway into a new life as we also have guaranteed us in Christ by knowing him as our Path of Righteousness.

John 8:12:
Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life {shall have the light, which promotes and sustains spiritual growth in one’s life}.

When we look to Christ Jesus, he begins leading the way for us to follow through the straight gate to his wisdom. Jesus is the way to the Father of lights, and along our way, Jesus reveals himself as our Path of Righteousness that leads all the way up to God and is revealed to us through the proverbial wisdom from the Book of Proverbs. . .”

The above excerpt is from the E-booklet series, The Golden Thread, Chapter Seventeen, Proverbs – Reveals Jesus Christ as the Path of Righteousness, and may be instantly downloaded onto your computer or digital reading device and is available on this website for FREE! To get your copy, go to: The Golden Thread Series.

This 61-page e-Booklet comes with three bonus studies titled: Looking Unto Jesus and God’s Merciful Grace! and A Virtuous Woman.

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God Bless You!