Proverbs 10:12,13, Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins. In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
In this first proverb, Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins, we again see a contrast.
It is a contrast of what hatred produces against that which love produces.
It is also a contrast between the word stirreth and the word covereth.
It is a contrast between that which brings war and that which brings peace.
Now sin is the constant where hatred and where love is for as long as we exist in this body we will be faced with sin.
But what we must learn is how sin is to be dealt with.
The wise man or woman is that person who has learned how to deal with sin for in this learning he or she will become an imitator of our God who is Love.
Our proverb for today reveals to us what hatred does and what love does.
In this we are able to measure where we are in relation to hate and love.
Are we lovers or are we haters?
Now remember that proverbs presents men and women as either right or wrong.
In betweens are not emphasized.
But from our life experiences we know that we are deceitful in all things and that we can waffle from a position of love to a position of hate in a moment.
Does not the mouth praise God in one moment and curse men the next?
So we can stir up strifes one moment but cover sins in another.
But we are to consider our actions as to what they produce.
Do our actions produce strife or do our actions turn away or snuff out strife.
For we read in Proverbs 15:18, A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
None of us would think of ourselves as haters but we are to look at our fruit for our fruit will tell us the truth.
What is in the heart of a man or woman who provokes others to wrath, whether it be their child or their neighbor?
What is in the heart of a person who treats others with contempt, with cutting reproaches, with hateful names, who digs up old forgotten injuries and rehearses them publicly?
God so lovingly tells us in his word that we are born in sin.
I say lovingly for it is in love to be told of our condition for unless we know that we are lost how can we know to look for a savior?
Only a drowning man yells for help and desires with all his heart to grab a rope of salvation.
Yes, we are born in sin and that sin is revealed in hate.
One of the marks of sin is selfishness and selfishness reveals itself by hate.
Hatred is the selfish principle of man.
Is not gimmee, gimmee, gimmee, the mantra of selfishness?
Do not these words produce all the strife in the world?
We hear this mantra coming from children in the grocery store, grown men and women live by this mantra and nations recite this mantra as they operate in self interest.
All wars are fought because of selfishness and selfishness results from hate.
Paul the Apostle reminded Titus of this in: Titus 3:3, For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.
In Charles Bridges commentary on this verse he spoke of what hate does by saying:
Like a subterraneous fire, it continually stirs up mischief, creates or keeps alive rankling coldness, disgusts, dislikes, "envyings and evil surmisings;" carps at infirmities of others; aggravates the least slip; or resents the most trifling, or even imaginary, provocation.
Recently we heard in the news of a girl who had been bullied by classmates who committed suicide, not being able to take it any longer.
Her classmates were haters.
But there will come a time when haters will be cut off.
In speaking of the glorious time when Godís kingdom reigns Isaiah spoke of the absence of the hater when he said this in:
Isaiah 29;20,21, For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.
The scorner is a hater, also those that watch for others to stumble, those who make a man an offender for a simple word out of place, and lay traps for those who speak up against those who wrongly govern, and those who will with false testimony deprive the innocent of justice.
These are haters and will stir up strife.
Not willing to hate at a simple rate of hating, that of hating things as they naturally come along, the haters look for things to hate and will throw kindling on the fire of hate.
They stir up the soup of life so as to exhibit hate at an increased rate.
Proverbs 16:27, An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
So stirring up strife is not the mark of a godly man or woman for their mark is to love, not hate, for love covers all sins.
The godly person is a follower of Christ who loved his disciples in spite of being forsaken by them as he faced the cross.
The follower of Christ loves his enemies, he blesses them that curse him, he does good to them that hate him, he even prays for those who despitefully used him, for his Master did the same.
In all this the godly man or woman emulates the Savior because he or she is a child of God and the son or daughter is to be like the Father.
The godly person measures himself against the love that is presented by Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
It is in this chapter where we learn that love suffers long, is kind, does not covet, does not push itself to prominence over others, is not selfish, is not easily provoked and does not think evil of others.
It is the kind of love that does not look for iniquity in others, the kind of love that is patient with others, the kind of love that hopes for the best and endures all things.
It is the kind of love the covers the sins of others meaning that it forgives and forgets, overlooks as unimportant to bring up, thinks the best about others in doubtful or questionable matters, does not jump to evil conclusions without knowing the facts.
It is the kind of love that does not look for the faults of others so as to point them out that they may glory in their discovery.
All of us need this kind of love and we know that this kind of love only comes from God.
For what greater love is there than that love that is only expressed from God who laid down his life for all men, men whose righteousness is as filthy rags, men whose sins come short of the glory of God.
And yet in spite of such a hideous condition God found a way to express His love to sinners and that way was His Son Jesus Christ.
If God can forgive our sins and so richly endow us with the good fortune of salvation how can we not cover the sins of our brothers and sisters.
How can we not have that kind of love?
Colossians 3:13, Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
Now our second proverb is Proverbs 10:13, In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
There is in this proverb a step by step recipe that one would follow toward the getting of wisdom.
We have him presented who is void of understanding and we have him that hath understanding.
The goal is for both to have understanding and it seems that the rod is that implement that is to be used on the back of the one void of understanding in order that he also gets understanding.
In other words the rod appears to be a schoolmaster that leads one to understanding.
Now we know from Galations.3:24,25, that the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ but after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
So taking this pattern of what leads from the law to Christ it appears the rod is that which leads us to the law.
The rod first, then the law, then Christ.
What brings a child to obey the law of his father?
It is that which speaks to him before he can speak.
It is that which shows consequences to the child for actions that are not pleasing to the father.
But after obedience to the Fatherís word is come the child is no longer under the schoolmaster of the rod, but now under the schoolmaster of the fatherís law, then to Godís law and then on to Christ.
That seems to be the Bible pattern.
However we live in a age where the patterns of God, the tools of God are being cast aside.
In this proverb God brings to our attention some of His tools.
One of his tools consists of words, the other tool consists of a rod.
Both are good tools but one of the tools, the tool of words, is the tool with enduring power.
The second tool, that of the rod, is a tool that is only to be used so that the first tool, the words, will only be necessary.
The rod is to be used only to bring the recipient to the words.
Now in our proverb for today we are given two methods of learning.
One method is with words and the other is by the use of the body wielding that God given instrument, the rod.
There are given no limitations on the use of the rod relative to the age of the recipient, so from a Biblical standpoint we cannot limit its use to children only.
In ages past the rod was used extensively for punishment of adults who could only be taught by its use.
In other words it appears that the rod was used to bring about obedience to the word of authority regardless of the age of the one upon whom the rod was applied.
In other words it was used to bring a person to obedience of the law.
But today the use of a rod upon an adult is now thought of as barbaric so instead we lock up men and women for a lifetime behind bars which is considered humane.
As I said earlier the tools of God are being cast aside and we are suffering the consequences.
Today in our country the only recipients of the rod are a few children of Christian parents who still believe the literal Word of God.
Now our proverb gives precedence of the word of wisdom over the rod.
Jesus gave us a similar precedence when he told the disciples in:
John 14:10,11, Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake.
Notice the pre-eminence he gives his word.
The words that I speak is what he emphasizes.
The word is pre-eminent to his works.
Notice that he infers that if you have trouble believing his word that he is in the Father, believe him for his very works' sake.
Jesus Christ wants his word believed for His word is pre-eminent!
This is the principle of the pre-eminence of the word over works and it is a principle that applies also to the word of man.
Word should always be given pre-eminence over works.
However as Jesus said to his disciples if you donít believe my words believe my works.
In other words he means for them to start on the journey toward believing his words by the first step of believing his works.
This is a principle that is also taught in the scriptures regarding child rearing and is also reflected in Proverbs 10:13.
The rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
In other words the rod is the primer teacher on the road to understanding.
The use of the rod is a teaching work that is to lead to the teaching work of words.
We said in one of our previous lessons that the first language of a baby is body language.
A baby does not understand the motherís native tongue but the baby understands the motherís body language.
Mothers and fathers have been given a body to communicate with their children until their speaking and hearing skills are such that they understand the spoken word.
God has given parents the tool of the rod to bring a child to know that Mom and Dad's word, is pre-eminent.
It is only a teaching tool to show the child that the word of the parent is to be given pre-eminence.
It enforces and verifies the pre-eminence of the word of the parent.
If you use the rod for any other purpose you misuse the rod.
Children are in primer class and they need the help of the rod just as the one described in our proverb, him that is void of understanding, needs the help of the rod.
For the one who is void of understanding is not word oriented but works oriented.
He is not word oriented but experience oriented.
The child comes into this world as simple and the simple need experiences that will bring them from the simple to the wise.
God loves the simple and he expects the simple to come unto him.
He expects the simple to become wise and those who are given to teach the simple are to bring into their lives experiences.
Experiences that will bring them to the place where instruction or rebuke by word is the norm.
That is what is meant by the saying "A word to the wise is sufficient."
The wise do not need experiences. Just a word!