Proverbs 17 – The Life on Earth as it is in Heaven 箴言17 – 在地如在天的生活
Friday, 21st April 2023
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-14 The Wisdom in Relationship 关系上的智慧
King Hezekiah was not satisfied with his current situation, when the world was falling apart, he still believed that he could live a life of abundance. He saw the kingdom of David, the kingdom of Solomon, the kingdom of the presence of God and the glory of God. Hezekiah longed to experience this abundance and glory. Therefore he sought the Word of Wisdom in Proverbs, and learnt to live a life on earth as it is in Heaven.
V1-5 ‘Better is a dry morsel with quietness, than a house full of feasting with strife. A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame, and will share an inheritance among the brothers. The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests the hearts. An evildoer gives heed to false lips; a liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue. He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.’
V1-5 ‘设筵满屋大家相争，不如有块干饼大家相安。 仆人办事聪明，必管辖贻羞之子，又在众子中同分产业。 鼎为炼银，炉为炼金，唯有耶和华熬炼人心。 行恶的留心听奸诈之言，说谎的侧耳听邪恶之语。戏笑穷人的是辱没造他的主，幸灾乐祸的必不免受罚。’
We spend so much time looking at others, we want to be like those who are successful, but we do not see the problems they are facing. We want to have a house full of feasting, because this is the abundance we can see, but we fail to give thanks to the dry morsel we have that gives us peace. Let us have this peace and have a thanksgiving for what we have in our hands, for what God has given to us today. We don’t have to compare ourselves with other people, this is the earthly values, we tend to see other people’s good things and want to have what others have. Our parents tend to compare us with other people, and gradually we lose our confidence and our sense of security. We see the grass is greener on the other side and they we cannot face our true self.
A servant should not overrule their masters and if we are not being alert, we will be easily ruled over by our servants, by the things of the world. We have authority over this world, but when we don’t use wisely the authority God has given to us, then this world will rule over us like servants ruling over their master. Are we willing to be taught and to be disciplined? God does not want us to feel ashamed but for us to know our hearts. God prepares us by moulding us and refining us so we can be like the gold and silver. Let us not follow the wicked, those who chose their own paths and rejected the path God has given to them; those who listened to the false lips and the spiteful tongues.
People who have false lips and spiteful tongues are people, who don’t speak the Word of God, but the words of lustful desires, the words of wickedness, the words of foolishness, and the worlds that are useless in building up people. Let us be humble and gentle, to have wisdom in our relationship, stay away from the evildoers and the wicked men. Let us also stop judging and criticising those who are lacking. God is the only Judge, it’s not for us to talk about how others have done wrong but to pray for them, to stand in our position as the royal priests, to intercede for those who are lacking. Those reproach their Maker are the people who cannot see God’s purposes in the lives of others. When we see people in the lacking, what we should do is to pray for them, to offer for them, and to help them to see their life purposes in God, instead of judging them and saying useless words.
V6-10 ‘Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father. Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool, much less lying lips to a prince. A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers. He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows on a fool.’
V6-10 ‘子孙为老人的冠冕，父亲是儿女的荣耀。 愚顽人说美言本不相宜，何况君王说谎话呢？ 贿赂在馈送的人眼中看为宝玉，随处运动都得顺利。 遮掩人过的寻求人爱，屡次挑错的离间密友。 一句责备话深入聪明人的心，强如责打愚昧人一百下。’
How are we living our lives? When we become old, will we bear fruits? Are our children and the children’s children being blessed because of us? God created us to be fruitful, and in order to be fruitful, to bear many children, we must first have a good relationship with our spouse. In order to be fruitful in our spiritual life and have spiritual children, we must first have a good relationship with God. Not only to bear fruits but also to teach, to know that our children and their children are our glory, not our shame. Relationships are important, let us learn to be mature in every relationship, with our spouse, with our children, and with God.
A fool is those who don’t have wisdom and those who don’t have the fear in God. When we don’t speak the Word of God, when we only speak our own words, then we will be the foolish. Furthermore, if we are those who cover transgression or those who repeat the matters that separate friends, we are those who don’t have compassion, and our relationship with others will not last. If we are wise, we will receive teaching right away, and we will be able to teach others, but on the other hand, when we refuse to listen to teaching and to teach others with the Word of God, then we will become the foolish.
V11-14 ‘An evil man seeks only rebellion; therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him. Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs, rather than a fool in his folly. Whoever rewards evil for good, evil will not depart from his house. The beginning of strife is like releasing water; therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.’
V11-14 ‘恶人只寻背叛，所以必有严厉的使者奉差攻击他。 宁可遇见丢崽子的母熊，不可遇见正行愚妄的愚昧人。 以恶报善的，祸患必不离他的家。纷争的起头如水放开，所以在争闹之先必当止息争竞。’
The evildoer and the foolish are good at arguing, they chose not to receive teaching but to always fight for themselves. Those people will have a cruel messenger to be sent against them, because they reward evil for good, and God will send messengers to against the foolish and the evildoer. When people treat us with goodness and a true heart, teaching us and discipling with the Word of God, we must give thanks for them, and not rewards evil for good. Nobody likes to be disciplined, but when people are willing to teach us and discipline us, when our authority are willing to teach us, we must know this is treasure.
Only a master can discipline their servant, only a teacher can teach their students. Do we know what our positions are? Why was Jesus the only One, Who could bring salvation to all people? Because He is the Son of God, He has His authority and position. We also have our position, why was Saul rejected by God? Because he did not value the position given to him. This is the same sin of Adam and Eve, those who don’t value the positions God has given to them. Today we have the same important positions from God, let us treasure this position and this relationship we have with God and with one another.
Section Two V15-20 The Wisdom in Action 行为上的智慧
V15-20 ‘He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the Lord. Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom, since he has no heart for it? A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge, and becomes surety for his friend. He who loves transgression loves strife, and he who exalts his gate seeks destruction. He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, and he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.’
V15-20 ‘定恶人为义的，定义人为恶的，这都为耶和华所憎恶。愚昧人既无聪明，为何手拿价银买智慧呢？ 朋友乃时常亲爱，弟兄为患难而生。在邻舍面前击掌作保，乃是无知的人。喜爱争竞的是喜爱过犯，高立家门的乃自取败坏。心存邪僻的寻不着好处，舌弄是非的陷在祸患中。’
We not only must treasure the relationship we have but also be careful of our actions. Our actions show our attitude. When we worship God, do we also show our hearts in action? We thought we have the fear in God inside our hearts, but when we don’t show it in action, when people cannot see this in our lives, then everything we thought we have is only emptiness. Our wisdom cannot be bought by money, cannot be received by only listening, but also by acting it out. Our actions show how much we learn from the Words of Wisdom, in our prayers, in our worship, in our devotion… to seek answers to our questions from God.
Our interactions with others are not just building up friendship, but to make them our brothers and sisters, those who can serve God with us, those who can receive teaching and disciplines from God, and those who can walk the eternal path of life with us. Why do we need to become a surety for our friends? If our friends are not trustworthy and require a surety, what are our attitude? Do we become and surety to show their love or do we see their problem and take actions wisely? It’s not about being compassionate and spoil our friends, but to speak the truth in love. We must help others with the wisdom of God, not just spoiling people with the worldly love.
God has given us the discernment and the authority to have the wisdom in our actions. We must make decisions wisely, furthermore, we must always see the Heart of God, not to look around and compare ourselves with others, not to compete with others, and not to see the grass is greener on the other side. We are all individuals God loves and treasures, He has given us the portion that only belongs to us, we are not here to help God but to follow the guidance of God. Do not be self-righteous, do not be over-confident, but to be humble and receive God’s guidance.
Those who have a deceitful heart finds no good, when they don’t appreciate what they have, they seek to compare with others and compete with others, they will find themselves defeated at the end. Those who have a perverse tongue fall into evil, because they are good at talking but they cannot take responsibility of what they say.
Section Three V21-28 The Wisdom in Life 生命上的智慧
V21-25 ‘He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones. A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back to pervert the ways of justice. Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him.’
V21-25 ‘生愚昧子的必自愁苦，愚顽人的父毫无喜乐。喜乐的心乃是良药，忧伤的灵使骨枯干。 恶人暗中受贿赂，为要颠倒判断。明哲人眼前有智慧，愚昧人眼望地极。愚昧子使父亲愁烦，使母亲忧苦。’
Our lives must bear fruits, the spiritual children we bear should not worry us but bring us joy. A joyful heart is like good medicine, when we always give thanks, we will receive joy and healing. What is inside our heart will come out from our mouth. When we always complain, when we always speak the words of judgement and bitterness, they we cannot bear fruits, and we cannot have true joy. If we only see the things that we must do, then we will always live in hardship and burden. When we don’t give thanks, we will continue to have a sorrowful heart and a broken spirit, which dry the bones. Our lives were sinful to start with, it’s our choice to speak the words of wisdom, to give thanks always, and to live a life of wisdom.
V26-28 ‘Also, to punish the righteous is not good, nor to strike princes for their uprightness. He who has knowledge spares his words, and a man of understanding is of a calm spirit. Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; when he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.’
Can our lives reveal the Tree of Life, the fragrance of the Tree of Life and the goodness of God? When people see our lives, they will come near to us and come close to us. When we choose to rely on God, to rely on praying and fasting, to put down our weakness and sinful ways, and to receive the true wisdom from above. What is our attitude towards praying and fasting? Do we really seek God for His Words and His strength? Do we also live out a good testimony for God through our fasting and praying? We must be wise and be responsible for our own lives, and when we do our part, when we do our best, God will do His very best. Let us live a life on earth as it is in Heaven.