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Proverbs 13, 16, 17 - Corps - May 12 -1982

Format: mp3,pdf
Publication Date: May 12, 1982

Walter J. Cummins graduated from the Power for Abundant Class in 1962. 

He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Ohio State University in 1968 and his Master of Education degree in Secondary School Administration in 1978 from Wright State University.

He was ordained to the Christian by The Way International in 1968. He has studied at The Way International under Victor Paul Wierwille and K.C.Pillai. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he was director of the Research department of the Way International  and served as assistant to the president. 


May 12, 1982
Proverbs 13, 16, 17
Rev. Cummins
Alright. Well, are you ready to go to Proverbs? Or are you too excited about where you’re going to be? Maybe we will just close [laughter]; no we won’t do that. I thought tonight, we ought to cover at least chapters 13-17. So, we’ll see how far we can get. We’re going to start in chapter 13 anyway. Chapter 13, verse 12, you have a verse that I’m sure most of you have seen before that talks about hope. It says:
Proverbs 13:12: Hope deferred [makes] the heart sick:…
And I believe this entire chapter, the real context, in which it…you know, what this chapter is all about is hope. Whether it’s hope…long time hope in the future, like the hope of Christ’s coming was to them for Israel, his first coming; as the hope is to us for his second coming. Or a hope that may be a shorter distance away; in the category of pay, rewards, inheritance. Those things are covered throughout this chapter. As a matter of fact, you look at verse 2 and look at it in that light. It says:
Proverbs 13:2a: A man shall eat good by the fruit of his mouth:…
What he eats is because of what he puts into his work today. He has a hope. He’s going to eat tomorrow because of his work today.
Proverbs 13:2b: …but the soul of the transgressors shall eat [supplied by ellipsis there: shall eat] violence.
Their reward, their hope for the future is not a substantial meal, it’s violence that they’re going to reap. Then you look at verse 4.
Proverbs 13:4a: The soul of the sluggard [the lazy man] desireth, and hath nothing:...
What’s his reward? Nothing. He wants to have something, he longs, but he has no hope, because he doesn’t put any effort into it. He’s lazy.
Proverbs 13:4b:
...but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
The soul shall be made fat. He’s going to reap. He’s going to eat. He’s going to have his rewards. Then you get to verse 7.
Proverbs 13:7a: There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing:…
There is that type of person who makes himself rich, but yet he has nothing. He’s rich in the world, but when it comes to the Word and spiritual things, what does he have? Nothing.
Proverbs 13:7b:
…there is that maketh himself poor yet hath great riches.
The individual that makes himself poor, but he’s concerned about spiritual matters; he has great riches. He has hope, he has rewards laid up for him. We don’t work for pay today. You need enough to keep body and soul together. But our pay is when? In the future when Christ returns. Our rewards, that’s our real concern. That’s what this is talking about.
Proverbs 13:8a: The ransom of a man’s life [or his…what redeems his life…is] his riches:…
Now if his riches are of the world, if he’s made himself rich in the world, he still has what? Nothing. So what good does that riches do him? But the man who is rich in the Word, rich in spiritual matters, he has a lot. He has rewards coming. He has an inheritance and all the rewards for what he’s done here today, laid up for him. That’s what redeems his life, that’s his riches.
Proverbs 13:8b: …but the poor heareth not rebuke.
He may be rebuked for what he does. He’s still concerned with worldly riches, yet he has nothing. He’s still in the poor category. Then you look at verse 11.
Proverbs 13:11a: Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished:…
If somebody gets wealth by false means or by deceitful means...yet he has nothing or it’s going to be diminished.
Proverbs 13:11b:
…but he that gathereth [by what?] by labour [by work] shall increase.
As long as you’re not afraid of work, willing to put the effort into it, the overtime, whatever needs to be done, you’re constantly going to be increasing. But if it’s wealth that you acquire quickly by illegal means or by perverse means, then it’s going to gradually get smaller and smaller. You might live great today in the ministry. You might take the class and you get so excited about things but then you get tricked into living for the things of the world. But yet, things seem to be going for you real nicely, because boy, you’ve had the Word. And then all of sudden things start diminishing, and before you know it you’re on spiritual skid row. That’s what it’s talking about. Then you get to verse 12. And it says:
Proverbs 13:12a: Hope deferred maketh the heart sick:...
Still this whole context is the hope that you have; your rewards, your pay, your inheritance as a believer, as opposed to the rewards, hope, pay and so on that the unbeliever doesn’t have. Now hope deferred, or drawn out, maketh the heart sick. You have a hope that something is going to happen next month. But next month comes, and it doesn’t happen. You have to wait maybe another month. It’s drawn out, it makes your heart sick. In the context of Christ’s return, in the first century, they were expecting Christ to come back anytime. He could of, couldn’t he? Today we look for his return very soon. He could come back anytime. On the other hand he may not come back for another two thousand years. And we’ve always got to keep that in mind. That’s why when day by day, year after year goes by and Christ doesn’t return, we still can’t take our eyes off of the Hope. Even though that’s drawn out, even though it’s deferred so it doesn’t happen right away, we’ve got to keep our eyes on the Hope. When Christ does return, we know we’re going to be rewarded. There’s going to be an inheritance.
Proverbs 13:12b: ...but when the desire cometh,…
Of course “when” is in italics. The word “cometh” means, “fulfilled, realized or come through”. When your desire or longing is fulfilled, when it’s realized, when that hope…when what you were hoping for comes to pass, it’s a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12b: …but…desire [fulfilled],…is a tree of life.
You hope for something: let’s say for your government check, you know it should come next month. Next month comes, it’s not there. It’s deferred, it’s drawn out, it’s extended. And your heart gets what? Sick. Because you depend upon the government. The government is my shepherd, I shall not want. Not quite. But then, when that check comes, your desire is fulfilled,
it’s realized, it’s come true, it’s a tree of life. But that’s only temporal. When Christ returns, what a tree of life that will be. See? What a gre…how much greater is the hope that we have. And when it’s realized, when it’s fulfilled, when we have what we’re looking for, longing for, desiring, what a realization! And what a tree of life it’ll be. Isn’t that a beautiful verse? Now go down to 19. This whole thing of hope continues.
Proverbs 13:19a: The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul:…
When you have that desire, the hope...but when it’s accomplished, it’s sweet to the soul. Like up above, it says, “the desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Here it describes it as sweet to the soul.
Proverbs 13:19b:
…but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
That’s what they did at Hiroshima, “a-bomb-in-nation” [laughter]. Okay…well anyway, it’s an abomination to fools to depart from evil. They think…but yet the fool has not hope. (I’ll let DR laugh and tell the jokes. Okay.) “Desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,” when that is realized…when you as a believer have a hope and that hope comes to pass, it’s realized, it’s sweet. But the fool, he really has no hope and so he refuses to depart from evil. It would be an abomination for him to depart. Then verse 20.
Proverbs 13:20a: He that walketh with wise men shall be wise:...
He has a hope because he is wise.
Proverbs 13:20b: …but a companion of fools [has no hope…he] shall be [what?] destroyed.
Is there any hope in destruction? No.
Proverbs 13:21a: Evil pursueth sinners:...
Because he has no hope, he’s not going to be rewarded.
Proverbs 13:21b: …but to the righteous good shall be [what?] {repayed}.
There’s your reward. There’s your hope. He’s going to be repaid for the righteous, the good, that he does. Then verse 22.
Proverbs 13:22a: A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children:...
To his children’s children. He may not be around to see it, but he leaves that inheritance for his children’s children. And not talking about...like money...just leaving money or anything like that, but in a bigger sense. I think about the statement Dr. Wierwille made to Tom Jenkinson on the film...about...he wasn’t building this for Tom, he was building it for his children, building it for the next generation, which is the third generation from Dr. Wierwille. When he plants a tree out here, I think he said it at lunch the other day. He said, “I may never see…or sit under the shade of those trees, but I know some day, somebody will; maybe you or maybe your children will.” See? He leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. There’s hope. When you plant a tree today, why do you plant it? Because you can go out and sit under the shade? No. So you…if you plant a three foot apple tree today, you can go out tomorrow and pick apples, right? No. I just planted a few recently and I know it doesn’t work that quick. You’ve got to wait a few years. But I have hope, someday I’m going to eat apples off those trees. Right?
Proverbs 13:22b: …and the wealth of the sinner is laid up...
He lays up his wealth too. The righteous man lays up his for his children’s children. He plants today, plants the trees, does the things that build a facility so that his children’s children can really enjoy it. But the wealth of the sinner is also laid up. He’s laying up wealth, isn’t he? But who is it laid up for?
Proverbs 13:22c: …for the just.
He’s not laying it up for himself. He can’t take it with him. Somebody’s got to get it after he’s gone. Right? The sinner...he’s laying it up for the just. Isn’t that nice to know that you’re just once in a while anyway?
Proverbs 13:23:
Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
That’s a difficult verse. I’ll come back to it in a minute.
Proverbs 13:24: He that spareth his rod hateth his son:…
If you don’t use the rod of correction, you know, the physical rod as well as the words that accompany it of correction, if you don’t use that on your son once in a while, you hate your son, it says.
Proverbs 13:24: …but he that loves him chasteneth him betimes.
He chastens him. Why? What’s the context? Hope. Because he has hope that that spanking today, or whatever it takes for correction, will produce some good in the future. Hope. See it?
Proverbs 13:25: The righteous eateth to the satisfying of [the] soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.
Because he has no hope. Now back to 23. Right in the middle of this we’re dealing with hope, our rewards, inheritance, leaving an inheritance for your children’s children in the future. So this verse has to fit in that context.
First of all the word “tillage”. By the way, the Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic and Latin texts all have different readings on this verse. The reason being, the original apparently was misunderstood and then someb…or else…changed and then every text from there on out couldn’t make sense out of it. So they just translated it the way they felt would be best and all four of them disagreed.Well anyway. The word “tillage” is the Hebrew word nir, N-I-R; N-I-R. And it means “ground recently broken up”. It’s only used three times in the Old Testament. It’s related to a verb form that means “to break up or to plow”. In Jeremiah 4:3, you have one of the usages of this, uses of it. Jeremiah 4:3
Jeremiah 4:3: For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
Break up your fallow ground ; the words “fallow ground” is this word nir. It’s ground that has recently been broken up. The word “break up” is the verb form of this word nir. So nir your nir would be a figure of speech. What one? Which one? Polyptoton is right; Polyptoton. Where you have the same word used in different parts of speech. One’s verb, one’s a noun. So it’s…you know, if you wanted to come across with that same sense in English, you’d say “Plow
your plowed ground, and sow not among thorns.” In other words, you get out there in your plowed ground and plow it up again. Make it really good, nice and loose so you can really plant something in it. Okay? Don’t plant it among thorns. Maybe your ground has been plowed but now you get out there and you plow it again because you might have some weeds that have come up since you last plowed it. And you don’t want thorns and weeds growing among your other plants, do you? At least not to begin with. Later on you can go pull them out, do something. But right now, let’s plow it up again. So plow your plowed ground. Polyptoton. Got it? Over to Hosea chapter 10. Hosea chapter 10, verse 12. Well let’s look at verse 11.
Hosea 10:11: And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.
In other words, really get out there and mix that field up, would you?
Hosea 10:12a: Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground:…
You see, “fallow ground”, that’s plowed ground again, broken up ground. And break up is again the verb. So it’s “nir your nir”. Another polyptoton. Break up your broken up ground, or plow your plowed ground.
Hosea 10:12b: …for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
Isn’t that a beautiful illustration? Break up…break up your broken up ground, so that you can plant your things, sow in righteousness and you reap in mercy. God’s going to rain His righteousness down upon you. What a garden! Planted in the garden of life. I think there’s a song to that effect. We’re not weeds anymore. Now back to Proverbs, chapter 13 verse 23.
That word “tillage” is this word nir which means broken up ground, or plowed up ground. And there’s much food or an abundance of food in the plowed ground of the poor. Or you could say, “the plowed ground of the poor yields much food” is essentially what it says. Somebody has a piece of ground, maybe he hasn’t much, but as long as he’s willing to plow that ground, to break it up, to work it, to plant the seeds in it, what’s he going to do? He’s going to eat off of that ground when? The day after he plants? {No.} In due season. In due season we reap. He’s going to reap. Because he has...what’s the context? Hope. See it, how it fits in the context? The plowed ground of the poor yields much food because he has hope. If he looked at the ground, didn’t plant anything in it, because he said, “Boy, I have to wait too long. By that
time I might move away.” He’s not going to reap off of it. He has no hope in that plowed ground.
Proverbs 13:23b: ...but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
It’s sort of a strange translation. First of all, the word “destroyed” means in Hebrew “is swept away”, “is swept away”. You could in the context I think, translate it “perish”. Then “for want of judgment” is “by injustice”; “by injustice”. Now the thing that made it difficult for the translators...not only in English, but also in going into the Greek, Latin and Aramaic and so on, Hebrew, that I mentioned before, is that there’s really no subject here. Something is swept away by injustice is how it reads. The word “something” isn’t there. Blank. The context start because we read about the plowed ground of the poor yielding much food, an abundance of food. And the context deals with hope. I think you could put in there, “the much food”. But much food is swept away by injustice. In contrast, because remember these are either contrasting or corresponding. And here we have evidently a contrast. In contrast to tilling the ground or plowing the ground in anticipation of eating from it.When you mistreat the ground or you don’t plow, you don’t plant, you don’t do the work that has to be done, there’s not any food. There’s no hope for eating off of that ground. Is there? Or you could supply that “men are swept away by injustice”. Meaning that they will not eat from that land, because they mistreat it, there’s injustice involved. They do not believe that that ground will really produce. Or they’re too lazy to put the work into it, that needs to be done in order to reap from that land. Or if they plow and they plant, maybe something tears them away from it. So if we plow and plant today in the ministry and all of a sudden the world yanks you away from the Word, from the fellowship of believers, what hope do you have of eating off of that? What reward is there for us? None. See? You’re pulled away from it by injustice. But if you plow the ground, there’s going to be food and if you don’t eat it, somebody will. That’s right. You may plow the ground, you may plant the seeds and then leave. Somebody else may eat the food, or the birds will. So that’s that verse: The plowed ground of the poor yields an abundance of food, but much food (or the men) are swept away by injustice. They perish with injustice. Because they’re afraid to work or they abuse the ground.
I thought of the give-away programs, government give-away programs, where they give the food away. Even though somebody plows, plants, it gives it away. Well, who’s going to plow and plant if they can get it from the government? Right? If the government comes in and gives you everything that you need, all your food and everything, then why should you work? So let’s all quit working. When we all quit working then nobody is producing food, then the government can’t give it away anymore. Right? It makes good sense, I mean poor sense. Alright, that was one of the difficult verses in this section.
Now chapter 14 and 15 are pretty good chapters, a lot of good proverbs in here. Chapter
16, I want you to go there. Verse 1.
Proverbs 16:1: The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
That first line. “The preparations of the heart in man”, has no verb. And it should have a verb supplied by ellipsis. The same as there’s an ellipsis in the second part. See the word “is”? That is supplied by ellipsis. The answer of the tongue, is from Jehovah. Or you could say comes from Jehovah. The first one needs a verb supplied by ellipsis. To man “pertain” the plans of his heart. To man are, or pertain, the plans of his heart. But the answer of the tongue comes from Jehovah. The answer of the tongue means “the last word, the final decree”. Man may make plans in his heart. You may make a lot of plans, but the final decisions have to come from where? The LORD. Matter of fact, in verse 9, it says:
Proverbs 16:9a: A man’s heart deviseth his way:…
He may make his plans, he devises his way, but the LORD does what? He has the final word.
Proverbs 16:9b: …[He directs] his steps.
Man may make the overall plans, he may say, “Well, look I want to go from this side of the river to that side of the river”, but God has to tell him where to step across. He says, Go down stream ten feet so you don’t fall in the quick sand. But don’t go twelve feet or you’ll miss the stepping stones. God directs your steps. You make… may make plans. And each individual is an individual. You know, each of you has desires and things in your heart because you’re an individual. God has called you, but you’re still a unique person. You’re not me and I’m not you. We’re not all somebody else. We’re all individuals in that sense and we have our desires. Some of you may be good architects. Some of you may be good attorneys. Some of you may be good nurses. Some of you may be good counselors. Some of you may be good comedians, but not all of us are. Some of us try too hard. [Laughter] Anyway. And we’re very trying. God still has to direct your steps, tell you which…what to do in each situation. A business man; he wants to go in a business, he runs his business. But how he runs that business, if he really wants to be successful according to the Word, who does he listen to? God. That’s right, it’s a walk. See how that verse 1 now fits with verse 9. As a matter of fact, the whole essence of this chapter is “You may make plans, but God has the final word.” God directs your steps.Well, look at verse 3.
Proverbs 16:3:
Commit [your] works unto the LORD, and [your] thoughts [will] be established.
Let God direct your steps. Let Him have the final word. See it? Verse 7.
Proverbs 16:7: When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
See? If God tells you what to do, He can even help you to the point that your enemies are at peace with you. At least they can’t touch you. A lot of this in this chapter...and if you look at it in that light. Look at the last verse, 33.
Proverbs 16:33a: The lot is cast into the lap;...
Now, what’s a lot? It doesn’t mean a whole bunch of stuff. It’s the pebble, the stone that was used in voting. Right? Or like the Urim and Thummin in Exodus. The priest held the Urim and Thummin in his breastplate, which he used to make righteous decisions. And it wasn’t that he randomly said, “Eenie, meenie, minie, moe”, it was that he knew which one to select IF God was working in his heart. He walked by rev…God had the final word. He walked by revelation. If he walked by revelation, he got the right decision. See? The lot, the pebble, the stone may be cast into the bosom. “Lap” is “bosom”.
Proverbs 16:33b: …but the whole disposing thereof is of [whom?]…
It’s still God that makes the final decision. If somebody throws the wrong lot, or if you vote for the wrong thing, God’s Word is still going to rule over it. Okay? God still will have the final say. And if you live by your wrong decision, it’s not in accordance with God’s Word, what’s going to happen? Problems. That’s why you let God…you may make plans but you let God direct your steps along the way. You may make your plans but you let Him have the final word. You may vote on something, but God still takes care of the final disposing of the thing. All throughout this chapter, if you read it in that light, you’ll see the greatness of our walk and how we do make decisions and plans and things. But the final word still has to come from God. That’s our walk. See. And how can you know what the final word is from God if you don’t walk by revelation. I mean, if there is no such things as revelation and walking by the spirit...you know, little small voices that people will hear. That’s just not heard of in our day and time because we are a scientific culture and we don’t live by those things. Baloney. Maybe the culture is that way, but God is still at work within us to will and to do of His good pleasure. And we’ve got to let God work in our hearts. Read the chapter sometime in that light. It’s a tremendous chapter. I want to see one more verse in this chapter, verse 31.
Proverbs 16:31a: The hoary head is a crown of glory,….
Now “hoary” means “gray or white”. It’s the gray or white head. That’s a crown of glory. And the word “is” is not there in the Hebrew. They supplied it and I believe you should leave it out. You’ll notice the word “if” is also supplied. And I believe you should leave that out. And the word “be” should be translated “is”. Those are the only changes you have to make in order for this to make sense. The white or gray head. You know, the…who has a white hair? Older people. Right. That’s his crown of glory.
Proverbs 16:31b: The [white or gray] head…a crown of glory,…it [is] found in the way of righteousness.
The reason people get old is because they live according to the Word. One of the promises in the Word is old age. You’ll read it quite a bit in Proverbs. Right? Old age. In other words, if you live according to God’s Word, keep His commandments, you’re going to have a long life, it says. You’re going to live long upon the earth. But if you don’t, you’re going to have trouble, problems, your life is going to be cut short.
Now this does not imply that everybody that’s old and has gray hair has been righteous all their life. Okay? It simply says that if you are righteous, if you do live according to the Word, if you’re in that way of righteousness, your…the odds of you getting to that age are much better. And that then is a crown of glory. You’ve lived long upon the earth. It’s a crown of glory. See it? There’s…there’s people that have lived unrighteously and lived a long time. But there are, I would say far more that have lived righteously and lived to that age where they saw gray hair. I mean…I’ve got…no [laughter]; nothing to do with that. But see that? How it’s a crown of glory because he’s righteous. The reason he’s…or…because he was righteous, he lived to be older and that’s why he lived old enough for his hair to turn gray, or white. So it’s a crown a glory to him. It’s beautiful. A lot of people get killed before their hair turns gray. Great thing of the culture.
Alright, chapter 17, verse 14 is the one we’re heading for. Says:
Proverbs 17:14: The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water; therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
Well, let’s start with verse 1 and let’s pick up the context. Sounds a little wet, doesn’t it?
Proverbs 17:1: Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.
The essence of this chapter is getting into words of strife. That’s the negative side of it. Opposite to that would be words that build up, words that edify, like we talked about a couple weeks ago. But you see a house…if you live in a house and you’ve got all kinds of sacrifices, all kinds of goods, everything you need...plus, and all you have is strife with it, somebody is always breathing down your neck, laying words on you that tear you apart, give you ulcer and everything else; it’s better to have a dry morsel, and quietness therewith than all that. Remember Abraham Lincoln? Do you? You know, he through the bucket of water…or his wife threw the bucket of water on him. He said, “After all that thunder, there had to be a little bit of rain.” I don’t know…something like that…well anyway. Verse 4 says:
Proverbs 17:4a: A wicked doer giveth heed to false lips;…
False lips speak what? Words of strife.
Proverbs 17:4b: …and a liar giveth ear to a naughty tongue.
What does a naughty tongue speak?Words of strife.
Proverbs 17:5a: Whoso mocketh the poor…
Well, when you mock, what are you doing? Speaking words of strife.
Proverbs 17:5b: …and he that is glad at calamities shall not be unpunished.
If you’re glad at calamities, what do you do? You speak words about how great calamities are. You get all excited about somebody dying or somebody, you know... verse 7, is another one.
Proverbs 17:7: Excellent speech becometh not a fool: much less do lying lips a prince.
Lying lips are words of strife. Excellent speech is just the opposite. Verse 9.
Proverbs 17:9:
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
If somebody says something to you or you see something happen that’s not right, not according to the Word, and you go around and gossip, share with someone else, it says, you separate friends. But if you cover the matter, put it in your lock box, shut up, then, you seek love. Difference between words of strife and keeping your mouth shut or speaking words that edify. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are good,…(and all those other things). Think those things.” Instead of thinking all the evil crap about people. Think good. Think things that build up, edify. Alright? Verse 11.
Proverbs 17:11: An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Somebody that’s seeking rebellion is somebody that’s out there sticking out his tongue at the enemy with words to try to egg him on. So who is going to be sent? A cruel messenger. What does a messenger do? He delivers messages. And these messages will have words of strife in them. Verse 13.
Proverbs 17:13: Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
If somebody…the context is words of strife. You speak words of strife, evil, it’s going to be rewarded. You’re going to get some words back. And a few other things. Now verse 14.
Proverbs 17:14a: The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water:...
The wor…the Septuagint used in translation, because they didn’t quite understand it, used the word “word” instead of “water”; or “words”. The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out words. Now literally, that’s pretty good, because that’s the context. When somebody lets out words, he starts strife. The wrong kind of words. But leaving it the way it is and this is the Hebrew and the Aramaic. The beginning of strife is as when one lets out water, like out of a dam or some other thing that’s holding back water. A dam develops a little crack, what happens? All of a sudden that crack starts growing and growing and the dam bursts. Just a little water is let out at first. I think of the guy in the Netherlands who kept his finger in the dike. Remember that, for all that time? The reason he kept it in the dike was because he thought if he didn’t...he pulled that thing out, first there’s a little trickle, and then all of a sudden the whole dike gives way. You’ve got…if you’ve got a little trickle, you’ve got to mend that trickle before the dam bursts. That’s what this verse is saying. When one lets out water, just a little bit first,
like a hole in the dam, that’s the beginning of strife. When you let out a little bit of water, that’s the beginning of that dam breaking. When you let out a little bit of words that tear down, it’s only the beginning of strife. And what’s going to happen? It’s going to develop into a full-scale war, or divorce or something of that nature. This letting out a little bit of water, look how it developed before Noah’s day.When they...you know, words of strife, they got worse and worse. Finally there was nobody righteous left upon the earth except one. Noah. Look at all the water that was let out there. I mean in a…you know, the water came literally, but the words of strife that preceded it. Or Egypt, I thought of the Egyptians being drowned in the sea. Look at all the words of strife of Pharaoh before that. And it started with just...you know, they were capti…Israel was captives, Pharaoh wouldn’t let them go. You know, ten different plagues Moses sent them. Finally they left, he let them go. He still was mad. If he’d have stayed there, he would have stayed alive. But Pharaoh didn’t. He fol…took his troops, followed after them, they all got drowned in the sea. They’re physical illustrations, but that’s how things start. Little words. A little hole in the dam and pretty soon the dam bursts. Little words that tear down, cause strife, and all of a sudden you’ve got a full-scale war or divorce, or a big calamity, a big political debate, things of that nature. Big disagreements. Now the second part of the verse.
Proverbs 17:14b: ...therefore leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. And again the translators have had difficulty with it. One of them translated it as follows, and I think it’s probably the best of all of them. “Stop the quarrel before it gets worse.” That’s what it means to leave off contention. Stop the quarrel, “...before it be meddled with” should be, “before it gets worse.” Before this thing develops into a full-scale war, stop the quarreling. Stop the strife. Before you have to go get a divorce, stop your arguments. The beginning of strife is like when one just puts a little hole in the dam and lets out a little bit of water. And all of a sudden that hole gets bigger, and before you know it the whole dam breaks. But what should you do about it then? If you hear of a little quarrel developing, if you hear words of strife come out, that little hole in the dam, what do you do? Stick your finger in it. Plug it up, put some mud in it, concrete or something else. Check with Way Builders, what’s the best stuff to put in it. But plug it up. Stop the quarrel before it gets worse, before it develops into a divorce, before it develops into a war, before it develops in a big dissention between groups or people. Keep your finger and look at Matthew chapter 5. Keep your finger there [laughter]; supplied by ellipsis. Matthew 5. Now I’m not covering all the verses in these different chapters. And I’m doing that on purpose because I think you can read it, and you’ve read Proverbs I’m sure before, at least sections of it, and you ought to continue to read it because there’s a lot of great practical wisdom in it. But there’s some of these difficult verses, if I handle those with you to show you some of the essence behind it or where it’s been mistranslated, then you can work these sections along with the others. Matthew chapter what? Five? Chapter 5, verse 23.
Matthew 5:23: Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
If you, say,are coming to the altar to do a sacrifice, to offer a gift at the altar, and all of a sudden as you get there, you remember, “Hey, my brother had a little quarrel developing with me. What he said to me was not too good. Some words of strife I think.” What should you do? Verse 24 says:
Matthew 5:24a: Leave there thy gift before the altar,…
Don’t offer your gift, just set it down on the floor someplace and get out.
Matthew 5:24b: …go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.
If you remember you’ve got a quarrel with your brother and you’re just about in the temple…or you’re in the temple just about ready to offer your gift. Forget about offering the gift, put it down on the floor, or put it on the chair or some stand some place, go run out and make amends with your brother. Stop the quarrel before it gets worse. That’s what Proverbs is talking about. Stop it before it gets worse. Then you can go back and offer your gift. Verse 25 has another great illustration.
Matthew 25:25a: Agree with thine adversary quickly,...
You have a friend-emy, a friend that serves an enemy, an adversary. You agree with him quickly, get things together. Stop the quarrel before it gets worse. Before it really develops. If there’s a hole in the dam, plug it, before the dam bursts. Agree with him quickly.
Matthew 25:25b: ...whiles thou art in the way…
While you’re both still in the way; before he leaves and joins some other organization, alright? [Laughter.] No, right when you are there with him. You agree with him quickly. Settle the argument, quit the quarrel, stop the quarrelling before it gets what?Worse.
Matthew 25:25c: …lest at any time the adversary [your friend-emy] deliver thee to the judge, and then the judge [delivers] thee to the officer…
And then what does the officer do? He sees to it that you’re:
Matthew 25:25d …cast into prison.
So a little hole in the dam, all of sudden it develops a little bit bigger, then it becomes a crack, all of a sudden the crack gets wide and all of a sudden the dam gives way, bursts loose. Look at this, here’s an adversary, you have a little argument. Well, go agree with him quickly, otherwise before you know it, the adversary is going to take you to the judge. And then, what’s the judge going to do? Well, the judge is going to take you to the officer and the officer is going to take you to prison. And verse 26 says:
Matthew 25:26:
Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing.
You’re going to stay in jail and rot until you’ve paid whatever you have to pay. That’s the breaking of the dam That’s why in Proverbs 17:14:
Proverbs 17:14: The beginning of strife is as when one [lets] out water;…
A little bit at first, that’s only the beginning of the strife. But it’s going to develop into the breaking of the dam or a full-scale war or your ending up in prison. And they throw the key away, until you’ve paid the uttermost farthing. Therefore, quit quarreling, stop quarreling before it gets worse. Before you end up in jail. Before you end up in war, before you end up in divorce. Get to your adversary, agree, get the issue settled while it’s still a little hole in the dam. See it? I think we say a stitch in time saves what? {Nine.} Right. A stitch in time saves nine. A stitch on the dam saves nine too. It saves the whole thing.We’re in verse (what did I say?), 19; verse 19.
Proverbs 17:19: He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
Now, he loveth transgression that loveth strife. The context again is what? Words of strife. Words of strife. And the guy that loves strife, he loves to give out those words that stir up strife, he then loves transgression too. He gets involved, I mean, he’ll go the whole route and he that exalts his gate seeketh destruction. So, if you have a gate don’t exalt it too much. [Laughter.] No, in the Eastern culture, they would build towers upon their houses or a pretty front. A facade, something that looked very attractive. As a matter of fact, it was so attractive
that robbers would see that and they’d say, AhA! a rich person lives here. Only a rich person could build that kind of a tower or gate or whatever you call it upon his house. So he knows exactly which house he ought to enter into if he’s going to come out with a profit. So what this is saying is: he that exalts his gate, is looking for an inviting robbers into his house. He’s looking for destruction. He might as well put a neon sign up there on top of his house that says robbers welcome, right? But the context is words of strife. And you can do it with words, the same as you can with a facade on your house. You can put a facade on your life, a front, you can brag about how great you are and how you have such tremendous ability. You can exalt yourself, you know, put…make yourself look so great, but you’re inviting the attacker to attack you. In other words, if you say, you can handle any argument on the trinity, you’re inviting a trinitarian to attack you. So if you make that statement, make sure that you can. Okay? I think we probably have a few people that could do that in the ministry. But it’s better to be, what is it? Still and thought dumb, than to speak and to remove all doubt. That’s the one I was trying to think of. Another proverb: It’s better to hold your peace and instead of exalting yourself, you see what I mean? Exalting yourself, putting a gate on your life, or a tower, then... Because if you do that, you’re inviting someone to attack you, you’re inviting words of strife. That’s the context. See. It’s not talking about what you physically put on your house, but what you put on yourself. If you’re inviting destruction, if you’re inviting transgression, if you love strife...those kind of things. And I think the rest of the chapter there is pretty self-explanatory.
So those are a few of the difficult ones that you find in those chapters that I thought you should be aware of. And keep working Proverbs. Do you read Proverbs periodically? And some of the Proverbs I know have greater meaning for you individually than they would to someone else. You know, you might read a verse...boy, I used to do a lot of this…well, you know, I’ve got a lot of verses marked in Proverbs where I would a…would go through and I’d see different verses that I could really identify with. You know, like the slothful turning on his hinges. [Laughter]. Or whatever. I could identify, then I could do some improvement work on my front gate or something [laughter]. But the…you know, the same verses that mean something to me may not be the same that really hits you as you’re going through it. But then later on, I know as I read, then other verses would hit me that I’d sort of skipped over quickly before. And I think as you continue to read it, then you’ll see a lot of practical wisdom that you can utilize in your life, in the Corps, in business or in anything you’re involved with...with the ministry or in helping other people as well. Because there is just so much tremendous wisdom. It’s the wisdom of the wise, remember? It starts out in chapter 1 with who it’s addressed to and what it contains. It’s a great book. Okay?
[Prayer] Well, Father we sure thank you and love you for your Word and the opportunity we have to live and believe together. Thank you for the ministry and the outreach around the world and for watching over your people wherever they are. Thank you Father for taking care of the situations overseas and for our country, our nation, for protecting your people in every way. And no harm can come to any of the believers. Thank you Father for such a tremendous
time of being together, for the Corps around the world in the name of your Son Jesus Christ. Amen!
God bless!