SOME OF LIFE’S VOICES
ILLUS.: On Monday I went to Elinor Judd’s home in Blackheath – at the cross roads in the village is a sign-post with three signs pointing along three of the 4 roads – Why there is not a 4th sign I don’t know – possibly because that road leads to a dead end. The three signs read as follows ‘THIS WAY’ – ‘THAT WAY’ – ‘SOMEWHERE ELSE’
Throughout our lives we are pointed in so many directions – there are so many things that influence our lives – so many voices that shout to be heard. Which voices are worth listening to? Which influences are good and which are bad?
Proverbs gives lots of advice about these many voices. This passage tells us about some of those voices
1. THE VOICE OF GODLY PARENTS [v8-9]
The bringing-up of children is certainly a subject of great interest to parents – at least it should be – it is also a subject of great debate as to how that should be done.
What should they be taught?
How should they be taught?
How should they be disciplined? if they should be disciplined at all!
Notice in these verses that there is a partnership of both Father and Mother in the raising of children.
How do we know that the teaching and instruction is good?
How do we know that these are godly parents? Are there not some parents who give their children bad counsel which they would be better off ignoring?
We know that these are godly parents because of the advice that is given!
We constantly heard reports of juvenile delinquency – our youth remand centres are full to overflowing – speak to George Wilson who will tell you the kind of youngster who he has to deal with.
There are basically two reason why juvenile delinquency occurs:-
a) Parents have failed to instruct and teach their children correctly
b) Children have failed to obey their parents’ teaching
This lays a great responsibility on both parents and children.
It is no easy task raising children. It is more difficult for those who are single parents – in many ways you need greater wisdom, strength and patience. Many show just that by their dedication to the task.
No parents are perfect – we know that – [our children need to know that also]
When children are wayward our hearts break – Where did we go wrong?! There are always things we could have do better! BUT as children grow they must take more and more responsibility for their own lives – Yes! children have rights but they also need to grow up learning to take responsibility.
Good instruction and teaching from father and mother is a prize well worth having – a garland [crown] for the head and a chain for the neck [lit. a bejewelled necklace]. Teaching received and obey has this quality to it – it is the teaching that has been allowed to mould the character of the child.
This is the reward for listening to the voice of godly parents.
2. THE VOICE OF EVIL ENTICEMENTS [v10-19]
Here is some of the content of godly parental teaching.
vv.10&15 – a warning
vv.11-14 – describes the enticements that are offered
vv.15-19 – describes the end result of following these enticements
The first voice of parental instruction has none of the flashy appeal of this second voice.
Its appeal is mainly to the young – money, power, comradeship and excitement.
Don’t be one of the ‘out group’ – “Come with us – join us, we are strong and powerful – we can get what we want” There is an attractiveness about this lifestyle – esp. to impressionable youth
Here we have the pack mentality – the ganging up against the vulnerable and weak of society.
Naturally we think of the yobbish behaviour of some section of society – we think of the criminal element. BUT we, of course, are not like this, are we?
We don’t beat people up – or plunder their homes.
Often in these kinds of passages things are overstated to make a point!!
Are we not affect by the gang mentality – respectably we call it peer-pressure –we don’t want to be different – we want to belong!!
Possible to have a respectable face on heartless greed – the desire for material possessions and money and power – ignoring the plight of the weak of society – indeed even taking advantage of them.
Let’s face it – not everybody benefitted from the boom years of the 1980’s.
This way of life can appear exciting and very attractive – and often is just that. We must never fall into the trap of thinking that sin is unpleasant – it is not!! Sin is enjoyable!
Very often such peoples described seem to have everything they want. They appear content and happy. They appear to be successful and popular. Is this not what a parent should desire for their child??
Why the warning to avoid such people and behaviour?? “Don’t fall for these enticements – don’t even set one foot along this path because it is a slippery slope!”
Because while sin and evil practice [we don’t use these terms] may be enjoyable and exciting – it will not last forever – it has a short shelf life – and is quickly past its sell by date.
There is a sting in the tail – when justice and mercy is dethroned and appetite becomes master the final outcome is not difficult to predict. In fact to any wise, thinking person the outcome is obvious Proverbs 1:17
17 How useless to spread a net
in full view of all the birds! (NIV)
Life is in many ways a boomerang – “What goes around – comes around”
The sting is that while they lay a trap for others it is themselves that are finally the victims of their greed and selfishness – they are so intent on having the bait that they do not see the trap.
18 These men lie in wait for their own blood;
they waylay only themselves!
19 Such is the end of all who go after ill-gotten gain; it takes away the lives of those who get it. (NIV)
Reminds us of Jesus words in the gospels —
25 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. 26 What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? (NIV)
The voice of evil enticements is always calling – it doesn’t come dressed up as evil – it usually comes in respectable, seemingly legitimate dress but it leads to destruction and those who avoid its call are the wise ones.
3. THE VOICE AMONG MANY VOICES [v20-33]
Wisdom in Proverbs is personified! [cf.ch.8]
-the place where wisdom speaks [v20-21]
Wisdom calls in the streets and public squares.
Wisdom is not reserved for the elite in University Halls where scholarship is pursued.
Wisdom is for the man and woman in the street – it is for the business of living.
Here wisdom presents herself in the noise of the marketplace.
Those whom she addresses are not sitting in solemn silence waiting with open minds. There is tremendous hubbub – many voices —
– those who are indifferent to what wisdom has to say
– those who are opposed to what she says
– those who wish to stop anyone else from hearing
Today – [Evangelicals Now Oct.’96] – new journal ‘Kategoria’ – anything Christian is dismissed – READ –
– Christian content on TV now is ‘bad’ side
OR comic e.g. ‘Nuns on the run’ – TV comedy about lady vicar – ??name??
-Talk shows – how quickly a Christian opinion moved away from and made light of.
While many wish to ignore God’s wisdom – she still calls –
As God’s people we need to know the true wisdom – and to speak it – BUT people don’t want to listen so what is the point??
ILLUS.: Legend – man went to Sodom [Gen. God destroyed because of wickedness] – hoped to save city – tried to talk to people – ignored – Sandwich board w. ‘REPENT’ – again ignored. Tried shouting in streets and marketplace that what they were doing would destroy them.
People laughed at him but still he shouted.
One day asked why if no one listened. Why did he continue to shout!!
His reply: “When I arrived in this city, I was convinced that I could change them. Now I continue shouting because I don’t want them to change me!”
There was a time when Christianity was attacked – we needed to defend.
NOW it is ignored – more dangerous – we need to promote it.
– the portrait of those addressed [v22]
‘simple ones – mockers – fools’[moral NOT intellectual] – this is wisdom’s description of those who will not listen to her.
There is sadness in her voice – ‘love – delight – hate’ words that show they enjoy the way they are because they are blind to where it is leading and deaf to the warnings of wisdom.
Wisdom’s urgency ‘How long ..?’ – reminds of Jesus
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing. 38 Look, your house is left to you desolate. (NIV)
nothing as sad as watching someone heading for disaster BUT they will not heed advice! Such is the portrait of those who will not hears the voice of God’s wisdom –
– the promises to those who accept wisdom [v23]
Wisdom’s call is a call to change – to repentance – the call throughout scripture –
REBUKE – turn around – stop going your own way – go God’s way – repentance and confession is necessary before you can know God –
BUT look what is offered ……,
I would have poured out my heart to you
and made my thoughts known to you. (NIV)
NT Acts 2:38
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptised, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (NIV)
God’s wisdom is ultimately Jesus Christ – in him is God’s final revelation – we can’t know God’s wisdom without knowing Jesus.
1 Corinthians 1:30 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God — that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. (NIV)
Ephesians 3:10-11 10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (NIV)
Colossians 2:3 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (NIV)
Wisdom longs to give us love – pour out heart
Also knowledge – my thought made known to you – THUS vital we know word of God because in the Bible are recorded for us the thoughts of God.
– the prediction about those who reject wisdom [v24-32]
many stubbornly refuse to accept Wisdom – ignore her call.
Result – lost opportunity.
Warning – may come a time when these seek wisdom but she will not be found!
Some calamity – some distress – some disaster in life – and the cry will go out but there will be only silence! Too late! Too late!
Constantly rejecting God – saying ‘One day I will turn to him.’
ILLUS.: Nation of Israel thought like that – we will return to God on our term – in our time – Listen to God’s response
13 ” ‘When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,’ says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)
A constant rejection of God and his wisdom and a determination to pursue one’s own agenda – one’s own goals – one’s own desires and pleasures –
And God says IF you reject my advice and spurn my rebuke [v.30] – then you will get what you are pursuing – you will reap the fruit of your desires
31 they will eat the fruit of their ways
and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. (NIV)
Sometimes getting what you want is worse than not getting it!!
Devastating words of –
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 ….
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity ….etc.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. …..
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practise them. (NIV)
3x God gave them over
This passage says one thing in two ways:
~ The dangers of listening to the voice of waywardness
~ The dangers of NOT listening to the voice of wisdom
~~ the end result is self-destruction!!
– the peace of heart and mind
BUT – Proverbs 1:33
33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety
and be at ease, without fear of harm.” (NIV)
Not always physical – although very often it is so –
But there is a peace in knowing God through Jesus Christ that is in spite of physical peace and ease.
John 14:27 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (NIV)
Choice – Listen to the voice of waywardness!
OR – Listen to the voice of wisdom!
[next week Proverbs 2 ~ ‘The Paths of Life’ ~ ]
SOME OF LIFE’S VOICES
1. THE VOICE OF GODLY PARENTS [v8-9]
uparents are responsible to teach
uchildren are responsible to learn
2. THE VOICE OF EVIL ENTICEMENTS [v10-19]
v10&15 ~ warnings
v11-14 ~ describes the enticements on offer
v15-19 ~ describes the results of following the enticements
3. THE VOICE AMONG MANY VOICES [v20 -33]
u the place where wisdom speaks ~ v20-21
u the portrait of those addressed ~ v22
uthe promises to those who accept
wisdom ~ v23
u the prediction about those who reject wisdom ~ v24-32
u the peace of heart and mind
to those who accept wisdom ~ v33
The Choice ~ Listen to the voice of waywardness
or Listen to the voice of Wisdom!