Wednesday, 17th November 2021
Rev Daniel Xi An Poon
Section One V1-9 The Foolish
V1 ‘A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; he rages against all wise judgment.’ Foolish men want to leave the Tree of Life and to leave this community. Because they are unwilling to live in the truth, they choose to leave. When they choose not to be with the community, the temptation will come. When we choose to leave the Tree of Life, we will stay with those, who also don’t like the Tree of Life, then they will speak the words of the world, of slander and criticism.
We need to live a life of a good example, and through our lives, we should strive to disciple those, who follow us. When Elisha decided to follow Elijah, it was a covenant, it was a commitment, and it was a life-long journey. People can choose to leave this relationship, like how Judas chose to betray and leave Jesus. On the other hand, Peter also betrayed Jesus by pretending not to know Him, but Peter did not leave, and he ended up living a life like Jesus. Judas chose to run away, not to face Jesus. A lot of people are also like this, they cannot face the truth, they chose to run away, not to listen, and these are the foolish people.
V4 ‘The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.’ The foolish and hurtful words have power, once they are spoken, they cannot be taken back. In the same way, the words of wisdom can also be very effective when they are spoken timely. V6 ‘A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows.’ We must be very careful in everything we say, do let anything foolish come out of our mouths. Whatever we say can lure us into temptation, especially when we are unwilling to be with the community of the Tree of Life.
V9 ‘He who is slothful in his work is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.’ The foolish works without efficiency, they choose to follow their emotions at work, but this will lead them to destruction. Sometimes this is also the way we work, we like to work according to our own pace, our own likes, our own desires, our own ways, but we do not see this as actually leading us away from the community of the Tree of Life.
Section Two V10-11 The Believer
V10 ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.’ We are all blessed sinners, and God is our strong tower, which is like the City of Refuge in the Old Testament, where the sinners run away. When we live in the strong tower of the Name of the Lord, we will be protected, and we will be safe.
V11 ‘The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem.’ But a lot of time we do not believe in it, we do not believe God will deliver us and we do not believe we will be forgiven. Instead, we chose to believe in our wealth, our family, our social status, our fame, our health… what is it that we believe in? Are we believers of the Name of God? Or are we believers of this world?
Section Three V12-24 The Prideful
V12-13 ‘Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honour is humility. He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him.’ What is our attitude? Our attitude comes from what is truly in our hearts. Before we hear any teaching, we already have a conclusion in our mind, because we thought we know what others are going to tell us, and we choose not to listen. We are prideful, yet we do not know how foolish we are. Because when we are like this, we do not have humility and we do not have ears that can hear.
V14-15 ‘The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit? The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.’ Nevertheless, those who are humble can take disciplines. They listen to the teaching, they seek wisdom, and they can take criticism. Being prideful makes us sad and sick whereas being humble allows us to learn and be more like Jesus. V17 ‘The first one to plead his cause seems right, until his neighbour comes and examines him.’ Those who are prideful will always argue and plead for themselves first, but people around them, their neighbours, can see clearer than themselves.
V22 ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.’ King Solomon wrote the Book of Proverbs, and we all know that he had 700 wives and 300 concubines. He must know it better than anyone else about the problems of having a lot of wives. He wrote this verse with a purpose. Do we know how important our wives are to us? V24 ‘A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.’ Not only our wives can influence our lives greatly, but our friends also play a big part in our lives. It’s not about having a lot of friends, but it’s about building relationships with a few friends, who are like brothers, like families, and who can support one another.
We tend to overlook the relationships we have between our brothers and sisters in Christ. Somehow, it’s very easy to let go of this relationship, when we choose to leave the Tree of Life when we choose to leave the church community, then we also choose to leave the group of friends that can really help us and support us in life. There is nothing to fight about in the church because we are all under the authority of Jesus. No one is greater than the other, and no one should criticise anyone else. In the church, we should be helping one another to walk away from death and walk into the Tree of Life. May the Holy Spirit help us to have the ability to discern, to face our true self and to lead us into the path of the Tree of Life.
箴言 18 –
V1 神的国是一个共同体，我们的神是圣父、圣子、圣灵三位一体，神给我们在地上的家 – 教会 – 不是一个人而已。“与众寡合的”人不喜欢与人交往，他们的心不喜欢与别人有关系，只想着自己喜欢听和做的东西。他们不愿意配合别人。他们“恼恨一切真智慧”，不喜欢被人“提升”，当被人提升的时候，他们就会封闭自我。
V7 “他的嘴是他生命的网罗”- 原文指他的话让他的魂接受诱惑，因为他不愿意在生命树的共同体，反跟恶人一起，就进入灭亡。
V11 富足的人相信财物是保护他们的城墙，却不知道那其实不能保护他们的灵魂。我们相信的是耶和华的名，还是其他东西呢? 我们是否只相信我们的钱财、儿女或自己？
V16 骄傲的人不靠神。犹大王希西家因为骄傲，就将自己所拥有的一切给巴比伦的使者看。有俗语说，“有钱使得鬼推磨”- 其实这就是骄傲，不相信神，不愿意祷告、寻求、等候神。