Welcome back! Here’s the first verse in KJV: “Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.” Here’s a quick question: Why would you desire to be with them, or be envious of them? Write your answer. My answer is that a lot of evil men have belongings that appeal to the world’s “style”. If you desire that “style”, than you are not following God’s “style”.
Verse 2 gives Solomon’s answer: “For their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble” (NIV). The people of today’s culture are all about death and violence, instead of the ways of the Prince of Peace, who died so all might have life.
Verses 3-4: “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.” Here’s an example of this verse: Suppose I say to my mom, “I want to build a treehouse”. She says, “I love that you want to build something, but we’re moving soon”. She goes on to correct me for just saying it, and not finding out what materials would be needed, which tree I would use, etc. I was jumping into the situation without thought. Read the verse again. Make sense?
Verse 6: “For waging war you need guidance, and for victory many advisors.” This is saying “surround yourself with people who can influence you for the better”. Do some deeper journal work on this verse.
Verse 7 is interesting: “Wisdom is too high for a fool; in the assembly at the gate he has nothing to say.” Ponder the meaning of that verse a moment. Here’s a question I struggled with a while ago: Can a fool become wise? My answer is yes. He can become wise. You may say, “”The Bible says that a fool will never know wisdom”. That may be; I just said he can.
10: “If you falter in times of trouble, how small is your strength!” Consider that a moment. Why is that? What in you is faltering? How many times in movies like Left Behind or Heaven is for Real do you see the characters “shaking their fists” at God? And why do they do it? In the third left Behind movie (called World at War), Buck is “shaking his fist” at God because his wife is deathly sick. And in Heaven is for Real, Todd Burpo is “shaking his fist” at God because his son could die and he was depending on the surgery being performed. So again, why do these people do it? They’re going through a “classroom”, if you will, in their lives designed to test their faith. Their strength in God is faltering.
Look at verses 11-12: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering towards slaughter. If you say, ‘We knew nothing about this’, does not the One who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your lie know it? Will He not repay each person according to what he has done?” These are very interesting verses. Read the first verse again, with “spreading the Gospel” as your mindset.
Those verses reminded me of a poem by Chris Mooney, and it’s called “My Friend”. Here it is:
“My friend, I stand in judgement now
And feel that you’re to blame somehow
While on this earth I walked with you day by day
And never did you point the way
You knew the LORD in truth and glory
But never did you tell the story
My knowledge then was very dim
You could have led me safe to Him
Though we lived together here on earth
You never told me of your second birth
And now I stand this day condemned
Because you failed to mention Him
You taught me many things, that’s true
I called you “friend” and trusted you
But now I learned, it’s too late
You could have kept me from this fate
We walked by day and talked by night
And you showed me not the light
You let me live, love and die
And all the while you knew I’d never live on high
Yes, I called you “friend” in life
And trusted you in joy and strife
Yet in coming to this end
I see you really weren’t my friend.
Just think about the meaning and message of the poem for a few minutes. Think of it next time you see an unsaved classmate, teammate, friend, neighbor, or someone else you know (or don’t know).
Verses 17-18: “Do not gloat when your enemy falls, when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove, and turn his wrath away from him.” Do journal work on this.
If you have an NIV, there’s a line that says “Further Sayings of the Wise”. Skip down to that and read the rest of the chapter, up until verse 30, making notes as you go. Here are things to look for: What will people hate you for? What will people love you for? What do you do before building a house and why?
Next, read the interesting story in verses 30-34, and write in your notebook about the lesson taught.