Hello, and good morning! We’ll get started in verse 1. This is good advice to any young person: “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgement.” Now, read it in the NAS: “He who separates himself seeks his own desire; he quarrels against all sound wisdom.” Notice it says these six things about this person:
1.) He’s unfriendly
2.) He pursues his selfish ends
3.) He defies all sound judgement
4.) He separates himself
5.) He seeks his own desire
6.) He quarrels against all sound wisdom
We’ll briefly talk about most of these things, but we’ll start at 1 & 4. Why is he unfriendly and separated? Notice, that it says, “separates himself”, meaning that he did it. Why? Because he thinks he’s superior; that no one compares to him. He doesn’t want to be around someone with wisdom; he might know he’s wrong, he might not even! But he doesn’t want to accept he’s wrong (if he knows that he’s wrong).
Verse 2 goes along exactly: “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinion.” (NIV) (By the way, “airing” in this context is used as making it sound good, pleasant, and overall correct to the fool.) Fools don’t want to understand the correct way, they want to make their opinion, their thought on the subject, their overall ways seem correct in their eyes. But it’s not. We were talking about a movie, and in it the queen of England was having a lot of her captains of ships come to her and tell her to build the fleet, that Philip of Spain might attack. And my sister Lauren said, “If she was being told over and over again to build the fleet, why wouldn’t she at least consider it?” They don’t want to take other’s advice! Sadly, that’s me a lot of the time.
Do your journal on verses 4-5. These are interesting verse that might require a little thought on your part.
Look at verse 8 in the NLT: “What dainty morsels rumors are – but they sink deep into one’s heart.” Wow. You know, you hear a rumor about someone and on the outside you say, “Oh, that could never be!” But deep in your heart you think, “So-and-so said that?” Or, “They did that?” Soon you begin believing them. They seep deep into one’s heart. I’ve heard rumors, and 99% of them are false. Again: DON’T BELIEVE WHAT YOU HEAR/READ WITHOUT RESEARCHING OR FINDING IT OUT FIRST.
Verse 10: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” Funny, you think, “Oh yeah? Then how come all the missionaries in India who were proclaiming that they were missionaries in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s were hunted and sent out by the East India Company?”. Well, this isn’t what it means. It means that you can find peace, rest, and a calm place to relax in Christ. He’s our refuge, our rock in a storm. If we’re in a hard time in our life, we can always rest under the shadow of Christ.
This time, I want to put verses 11 and 12 together to get my point across. Here we go: “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall. Before his downfall man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor.” Notice that it says that a rich man imagines that it’s an unscalable, impassable, unbreachable wall between him and the dangers outside of his sheltered little “cocoon” if you will that protects him from any dangers. Well, he’s wrong. His wealth will do nothing for him except attract robbers. Also, his pride in thinking that it’s an unscalable wall is discussed in verse 12. When the thief in the night comes, he, as the strong man, will be tied up and stolen from, looted, and shall fall from his pride.
Verse 13: “He who answers without listening – that is his folly and shame.” There was actually a kids show about that. They wouldn’t listen to the problem, and they would try to fix it without knowing all the details. They had to slow down and listen to their instructor before knowing the complete issue, and the complete solution to their issue.
Verse 15: “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, the ears of the wise seek it out.” They’re searching for this truth, this knowledge, this wisdom, this understanding of things. Where will they find it? The Bible. They flock to the Bible, trying to gain understanding about everything. These are the people we need to strive to be. If you only have time to read one chapter per day, great, but if you have time, throw an extra one or two in! Read the Bible. Get knowledge and wisdom. Be prepared for what the devil has to throw in your way. He knocks things into your path that you won’t be prepared for, but if you read His Word and memorize it, then you can battle the devil and avoid his obstacles he throws in your path. I’ve got to cool down now!
I went through a few translations to find the right one, but look at verse 17 in the NAS: “The first to plead his case seems right until another comes and examines him.” You might be listening to teaching, or reading something, and you think, “Hmm…that sounds right.” Then you tell someone else, and they say, “No way! Look here, it says…” Then you see. You need to come from different angles of instruction. Think, okay, that sounds right, but what says the scripture (Romans 4:3)? What I’m trying to say is to go to the Bible and find out for yourselves.
Look at verse 18: “Casting the lot settles disputes, and keeps strong opponents apart.” Settle disagreements using fair methods. If you cheat, it’ll be more likely to cause disputes between you and your friend/sibling.
Verse 21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” We’ve covered this before, but we’ll cover it again. This verse is the best description I’ve heard. Your choice of words sometimes makes the difference between friend and foe.
The NLT is the best description I’ve read of this verse so far, so read it (in NLT): “There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.” If you have a “friend” in your life in whom you’ve placed all your trust, he will let you down. It’s happened to me before, it’ll happen again. And I have and will let down my friends. Unfortunately, that is the way of humans. Christ is the only one in whom you can place all of your trust.
I hope this has blessed you! Have a great day.