PROVERB PRACTICALS   hearkening to wisdom brings blessings, proverbs 8:32-36 audio

 

Proverbs 8:32-36,  Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways.  Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not.  Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

There is a great amount of talk in our country about values.

Especially in this season of election primaries where we are trying to make up our collective minds about who we want to be our next president.

There seems to be a consensus about each of the major parties as to what values you would have in order to fit into a particular party.

Many have values that promote life and other have values that promote choice.

There are those that want the traditional Judeo-Christian values to continue and there are those who think those values are passť for the 21st century.

But each of us who have families have, family values one way or another.

The word "values" means concepts of what is right, worthwhile, or desirable: principles or standards.

So every human being has values.

We as Christians try to have Biblical values.

We try to have what is right, worthwhile, or desirable according to Godís word.

Godís Word is the standard for our values.

That is where our principles are to come from.

Men and women of the world who do not believe the Bible or are indifferent to the Bible have values based upon many and varied things.

Most have the values of their parents and make no attempt to rise above this level.

Some parents say they will not force religion on their children in order to allow the children to choose religion or not choose religion when they come of age.

Well, that in itself is a value that they are promoting for their children.

No religion for me, so most likely there will be no religion for my children, is the result in most cases.

But we as Christians are to yield ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit in order for our values to be that of our Father in Heaven to whom we will be going some day to live with for all eternity.

Our todayís should be preparation days to get our values in shape.

Paul said it clearly in:

Romans 12:2,  And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Now the renewing of your mind is just that.

It is the same as the renewing of a room in your house.

It is the getting rid of the old and replacing it with the new.

It is the recognition that the old things are passed away and that all things have become new so that the will of God is carried out.

Now the perfect will of God is for you to live according to the image in which you were made.

We know from the book of Genesis that God made man in his own image.

We know from the 2nd epistle to the Corinthians that Christ is the image of God.

And Romans 8:29 tells us that we are to be like Christ,  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Now Godís intention in creation was to have sons of men who conformed to his image.

But Satanís intention was to have sons who conformed to his image and therefore he deceived Eve and caused corruption in Adam.

But those whom God foreknew he has predestined (foreordained, determined) to be conformed to the image of his Son.

In other words God is taking back from Satanís domain his true Sons and making sure they are conformed to Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son.

So this is what our passage in Proverbs 8 is all about.

It is about the conforming of the sons of men to Godís only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.

God has family values and intends that all of his sons share those same values.

You fathers who are made in Godís image naturally want your children to walk in the values that you hold, do you not?

There is no father in this room who wants their children to depart from their values.

So wisdom in our passage tells her children to hearken unto wisdom.

And the reason for hearkening is that his children will be blessed.

That is what wisdom teaches and that is what fathers ought to teach their children.

Obedience to the Fatherís word brings blessings in the childís life.

What do you communicate to your children when you tell them to hearken to your words?

Do you discipline your children just for the sake of order or do you discipline them so that they will be blessed.

Certainly order ought not to be discounted here but I think it wise to make sure that your children are told that obedience to your word will result in blessings.

It is the communication to your child, "I do this not to hurt you but I do this to bless you."

I place restrictions upon you and barriers about you not to hurt you but to bless you for you are not ready to function yet outside of these restrictions and barriers.

That is what God tells his children.

Blessed are those that keep my ways.

Promised blessings belong only to practical hearing, to those that keep His ways.

Now that word "keep" means to hedge about, it means to be surrounded by the boundaries of wisdomís ways.

For outside of those boundaries is danger and an absence of blessings.

Within those boundaries are the familyís values.

Within those boundaries is the conforming of the son to the family values.

The keeping of wisdomís ways result in the conforming of the son to the image of God.

Fatherís and mothers, do you communicate the image of God to your children or do you communicate the image of someone else by your ways.

What kind of a God do your children see in you, His true image or some distorted hellish image?

A child of God who is created in the image of God should show that image clearly to all with whom he or she comes in contact.

Certainly Jesus Christ did that, and he was happy to say that He and the Father are one.

Look at Jesus Christ and you will see the Father because Jesus Christ is the express image of the Father.

Remember that old saying, Like Father, like son.

That is what wisdom is saying here.

Hearken means obey me and keep my ways, hear instruction and be wise and refuse it not.

Now wisdom does not say this to entrap or to enslave but to free.

There is only liberty in Christ.

Liberty to hearken and liberty to be blessed of God.

God blesses those who hearken, for what they hearken is insured by God to be only good.

Those who keep his ways, those who hear instruction, and refuse it not, will walk rightly, will live happily, will progress honorably and end gloriously.

I am reminded of Saul before he became Paul when he was on his way to Damascus to kill Christians.

He was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light and asked the question.

Acts 9:4,5,  Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Now this is exactly what happens when we do not hearken, when we refuse to hear instruction.

Jesus likened Paulís action to a horse which kicks against sharp prods or goads.

Sharp prods are there to be gently applied in order for the horse to know what the orders of the master are.

A horse who kicks against that sharp prod only increases his pain.

The response of a fool who refuses instruction is simply to increase the pain and he does this by his own volition.

Proverbs 15:32 tells us this in this way,  He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.

Our passage continues in Proverbs 8:34-36,  Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.

Here we are given a picture of a blessed man.

It is not a picture of a man who is casual about the things of wisdom.

It is not the picture of a cum see cum sa "whatever will be, will be" laze faire attitude about the things of God.

It is not the picture of a man who comes to church when it is convenient and only when does not interfere with his plans.

But this man who is blessed is a hearing man, a watching man, a waiting man.

He is a man like the one described in James 1:25 who is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work who is blessed in his deed.

The hearer in this proverbs verse is blessed because God knows for a fact that he is a hearer for that fact is proved because he is a doer.

A true hearer is a doer of the word.

James 1:23,  For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass:  For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

Why do you look into a mirror?

I suppose there are several reasons, one maybe that you like to see your face.

But most likely the reason you look into the mirror is to see what blemishes you need to cover up or remove, what whiskers to shave off, what soap to rinse, or even what hair to comb.

In other words you look into a mirror in order to do something.

In the same way the true hearer hears in order to do something.

Wisdom is the mirror and is there to reveal the blemish but if the blemish is not erased what good does the wisdom.

The true hearer knows that learning is in order to do, not just for the sake of knowing or passing it along to others.

Wisdom accurately exposes the reality of a manís inner nature in the same way that a mirror reminds him of the imperfections in his physical features.

The man is not a hearer in the sense of our proverb who looks into a mirror and sees the blemishes, beholding himself and then goes his way forgetting what he saw.

Yes, he saw what he was really like in the mirror, but this vision did nothing for him as to erasing the blemishes.

Why look into the mirror to see a dirty face without washing the dirt off the face?

This same problem was noted by Ezekiel the prophet when in:

Ezekiel 33:31-32 he wrote this,  And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.  And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

Which leads us to the last two verses in this chapter: 

Proverbs 8:35-36,  For whoso findeth me findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the LORD.  But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

So wisdom brings life and favor of the Lord.

Those who are conformed to his ways are favored and are blessed.

But those who refuse to be conformed, sin against all that they are.

Their own soul crieth out but is rebuked and shielded from life.

They love that which will bring them death and shun that which would bring them life.

The bottom line is that those who hate wisdom love or have an affection for death.

They have within them an unyielding affinity for that which leads to death.

And this leads us to the conclusion that sinners die because they will to die, for to reject so great a salvation, a salvation that is so apparent and available by Godís wisdom that their lack of response is inexcusable.

At the Great White Throne judgment there is no time allowed to the multitudes to offer excuses for not knowing God.

It is only said that the books were opened and another book was opened and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books.

No time to offer excuses for they are without excuse and it would be a waste of Godís time to do so.

Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.