PROVERB PRACTICALS Wisdomís Helping Hand, Proverbs 11:12, audio
Proverbs 11:12, He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.
One of the first examples of a man who was void of wisdom is given to us in the fourth chapter of Genesis where we find the first brothers, an older brother named Cain and a younger brother named Abel.
We know for a fact that Cain was a man void of wisdom for he chose to do his own thing instead of Godís thing and brought to God the fruit of his hands instead of the firstling of his flock and of the fat thereof as God had prescribed.
Choosing to do your own thing shows a void in the matter of wisdom for you are not put on this earth to do your own thing.
But Cain thought otherwise for he had no respect of Godís word thinking whatever pleased him ought to please God.
Cain was a "whatever" kind of man, not understanding that God is a God of exactness and order where everything that He makes is expected to do His will.
Cain was the kind of man who thought that everything will work out no matter what he did or did not do.
He was not a believer in, Whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap.
But our God is a God of exclusiveness.
Our God is a God who gives commands which are to be followed,
Our God is the Supreme Commander in Chief.
We cannot show up at Godís throne with hands filled with anything we choose but they are to be hands cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ.
But of Cainís offering God had not respect.
God did not give Cain a pat of the back or a loserís trophy saying that his offering was a really, really, good try and maybe next time Cain will do better.
So what was Cainís response?
Cain was very wroth, and he did not keep inside what he felt, for his countenance fell.
Now if there was any semblance of wisdom in Cain he would have repented and realized he was to blame for not obeying God explicitly.
But that was not the case, for he rose up against his brother, goody two shoes, Abel and slew him in the field.
The Lord came to Cain and asked Abel, "Where is your brother" and Cain, having another opportunity to repent chose instead to challenge God by asking God, Am I my brotherís keeper?
God did not answer this question directly but the implicit answer to Cain is Yes, you are your brothers keeper for that is My will.
So here in Genesis, as is the case on many occasions we have a first principle given and that first principle is that we are indeed given the responsibility of being our brotherís keeper.
So of course the Pharisee comes along and asks who is my brother, implying that he thinks there is a tiny number who fit into this group of brothers thereby lessening any responsibility he may have.
But this is not the case for the Bible declares that our brothers are composed of all who are made in the image of God.
Now of course I know that brothers and sisters in Christ are a small subset of a greater brotherhood and we are given special responsibilities toward the body of Christ but this relationship does not relieve us of our responsibilities toward those who are without.
I do not imply that there is a brotherhood of man whereby all men are saved but I believe the Bible clearly teaches that we are all joined together by Godís act of creation.
Another interesting connection to this thought is the fact that believers compose the body of Christ.
Now look at your body. Your body takes care of itself but that is not its only purpose.
Its purpose is to get outside of itself and take care of others.
And that defines the body of Christ.
Yes, the members of the body of Christ are to take care of each other but that is not its only purpose.
It is made to take care of those outside the body also.
Our pastor told of the Priest and the Levite who saw their purpose as only looking out for themselves and their kind.
So they looked and ignored the distress of the hated Samaritan in the ditch for he was not considered a brother and not worthy of their attention.
But God disagrees and defines "brother" very broadly by including all those of us who are of the same flesh.
He also interestingly defines it very narrowly when he speaks of the body of his Son, and its parts in relation to one another.
Those of us who have been born again into the family of God are indeed brothers in Christ but that is not our only connection to each other.
So listen to what God expects from us by hearing what he told the children of Israel.
Isaiah 58:7, Is it not to deal (split) thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
And listen to the words of Malachi:
Malachi 2:10, Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?
And Paul asked the Corinthians: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
So the Bible teaches that we are all brothers in the sense that we have been created by one God and we are of one flesh and blood.
It also teaches that those who have been born a second time are brothers because we have been created in Christ Jesus who is the head of the body.
Now think about what Paul said to the Corinthians: What hast thou that thou didst not receive?
Who made you different from another.
In other words is there anything that should fill you with pride in yourself.
Is there anything of which you can take all credit.
When you did an outstanding work and rose to high levels did you somehow by your own efforts keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing and your mind functioning.
When you excel and amass great treasure can you think that it all came about because of your efforts alone.
Do you think of yourself as a self made man or self made woman?
Does this very statement exclude your maker?
Who made you to differ, and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?
Now if you think this way it is not wise for with this comes pride and a lifting of oneself over his brother.
Jesus used the word neighbor for clarity I suppose but the two words, brother and neighbor are interchangeable when you remember that we are all created by God and share His image.
So this first principle introduced to us in Genesis tells us, as brother helps brother so too are we to help our neighbors.
And if we are void of this wisdom the result will be a despising of our neighbor who is of our own flesh and as no man ever hated his own flesh we are not to despise our neighbor.
Pride which is the antithesis of wisdom and un-charitableness show a man to be void of wisdom.
In this he is ignorant of why he was made, why his neighbor was made and ignorant of his maker.
When a man is void of wisdom he knows not his mission, he knows not his purpose, which have been defined by his creator.
In Luke 6:41-42, Jesus described a man void of wisdom who concentrated on a small bit in his brotherís eye while totally overlooking the big piece of lumber sticking out of his own eye.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brotherís eye, but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Either how canst thou say to thy brother, Brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye, when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brotherís eye.
The man void of wisdom concentrates on the offense of his neighbor instead of loving and helping his neighbor and not only that thinks nothing of the greater offense he may be to his neighbor.
And all the while ignoring that his neighbor is of his own flesh, both being made in the image of God but there may be even a greater offense when the brother is of the same body, that body called the church whose head is our Lord Jesus Christ.
Great is the offense of the member of that body who harms the body of Christ.
Our proverb indicates that the offense to oneís neighbor concerns that which comes from the mouth, for the last part of Proverbs 11:12 tells us that the man of understanding holds his peace.
Which means that the man who is void of wisdom does not hold his peace.
Now note that word Peace is spelled p-e-a-c-e.
It means to not bring discord or war. It means to keep the peace.
Wisdom is a door keeper of the mouth.
Wisdom knows when the mouth door is to stay shut and wisdom knows when it is to be opened.
A man void of this mouth guardian has an uncontrolled mouth and that mouth will get him much trouble and will reveal to his neighbor that he is despised.
For how can you love and help those whom you misuse with your mouth?
A man of understanding is so equipped that his mouth is not in control for wisdom is in control.
One of the purposes of the proverbs is to give men the ability to perceive the words of understanding.
The world has been filled with words but there has been no time like the present when voices clamoring to be heard have been so pervasive.
Satan fills every void with words which are designed to drown out the words of understanding.
But God provides his word that a man might be a man of understanding.
Understanding means standing under.
The sense of the word understanding is to support: it means a holding.
It means to hold in the mind.
It means that my mind has captured a truth and the truth becomes mine and by that truth I will operate.
It was elusive and I could not quite capture it but now my mind has captured it and it is mine and it will guide me.
It means that I now have the same mind as the person who instructs me or speaks to me.
My mind knows the real state of things presented to it.
I am standing under knowledge and holding it in my mind.
One of the marks of wisdom is whenever wisdom instructs she uses words of understanding.
Wisdom's words are not designed to confuse but they are always designed to enlighten, to clarify, to separate.
Wisdom uses words that advance the knowledge of the holy because the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Without the knowledge of the holy all understanding is built on shifting sands pushed by the winds of change.
And as on sand there are no absolute foundations.
Wisdom presents foundational principals upon which understanding is built.
And unless those foundational principals are received there will be no true understanding.
So a purpose of the proverbs is for the man to perceive these words among all the words that he hears.
What are the right words to focus on?
What are the right ideas? What are the right causes?
Who is speaking words of understanding?
Wisdom will give him the wherewithal to separate the words of understanding from those that are not.
He will understand that which is right from that which is wrong.
He will learn separation, he will learn the power of separation.
He will perceive words whether they are words that contribute to his knowledge of the holy or whether they cater to his flesh.
Wisdom will give him discernment as to what knowledge or words will give him understanding.
Wisdom will give him the ability to distinguish, the ability to discriminate, the ability to know what contributes to understanding or what takes away from understanding.
Understanding will provide him the key as to when to open his mouth and when to keep it closed.
A man of understanding holdeth his peace.
This does not mean he always keeps his mouth closed but it means when his mouth is opened it is opened with the intention of keeping peace, and not starting war.
The man of understanding is equipped for such a duty by being filled with the Word of God.
Godís word will equip you to be such a person for Godís will is expressed in:
Romans 12:18, If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. 1
And again in Proverbs 16:7, When a manís ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Proverbs 11:12, He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.