Patricia Simmons

November 14, 2017

Today's Passage: Proverbs 22:17-29

I'm Patricia Simmons, known as Pat or "Wifey" to Bill, Mom to our two grown daughters, and Nona to our four grandchildren. I'm honored to lead a small group in Watermark's Thursday Women's Bible Study, and I have fallen in love with Uganda and its people after serving there last year. As a "mature" lady, I am blessed to mentor women, many who are younger than myself. Many believe age equates to wisdom, but I can attest that this is not always the case. Let's discover where you find true wisdom regardless of your age.

Proverbs 22:17-29

Words of the Wise

17 Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
18 for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
19 That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.
20 Have I not written for you thirty sayings
of counsel and knowledge,
21 to make you know what is right and true,
that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?

22 Do not rob the poor, because he is poor,
or crush the afflicted at the gate,
23 for the Lord will plead their cause
and rob of life those who rob them.
24 Make no friendship with a man given to anger,
nor go with a wrathful man,
25 lest you learn his ways
and entangle yourself in a snare.
26 Be not one of those who give pledges,
who put up security for debts.
27 If you have nothing with which to pay,
why should your bed be taken from under you?
28 Do not move the ancient landmark
that your fathers have set.
29 Do you see a man skillful in his work?
He will stand before kings;
he will not stand before obscure men. (ESV)

Key Verse:

Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge.
(Proverbs 22:17)

Central Truth:

Worldly wisdom is the antithesis of God's wisdom. One comes from a life of pain, hard knocks, and learning things the hard way. The other comes from abiding with the One who is wise above all others and wants to give you life to the fullest.

YOU DON'T WANT TO BE CALLED A WISE GUY? WHY NOT?

I love the movie Rudy and its story of an underdog who achieves beyond what was humanly possible. I also love when Rudy questions God's will for his life. Father Cavanaugh wisely says, "Son, in my 35 years of religious study, I have come up with two hard incontrovertible facts: there is a God, and I am not Him." So how does Rudy tie into Proverbs? Read on.

Our passage is part of the Thirty Sayings of the Wise, which is in Proverbs 22:17–24:22. This section covers the first five nuggets of wisdom: don't take advantage of the poor, don't hang with hotheads, don't cover the debts of others, don't move markers set by God, and do be diligent in your work. Before he gives these sayings, Solomon implores us to pay attention with our ears and our hearts. Wisdom is not something we can simply hear and then do; it must be imbedded in our soul to take hold. In order to hear and apply truth, we must first humble ourselves and admit our ignorance (this is the Rudy application). Second, we need to listen and learn from those who are wise (i.e., community, walking with Jesus). Finally, commit to what you are taught. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22) Words of wisdom are just words unless you devote yourself to the study of God's Word and apply what you have learned.    

As a young couple, my husband and I were wise in our own minds. We lived for ourselves and looked to the other instead of God for fulfillment. We'd barely survived five hard years of marriage and were close to divorce when we acknowledged His ways were better than our own. Life without God's wisdom may seem right for a while, but, in the end, it leads to death (Proverbs 14:12).  Each year, I grow a little older and, hopefully, wiser because I have learned (the hard way) that His ways are much better than mine. ​So how do you become a wise guy? You place your trust in the Guy who is wise.

Discussion Questions:

1. Verse 28 (NIV) warns of moving "an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors," which was considered an affront to God. Have we seen some in the church move the landmark established in God's Word to coincide with today's culture? Is this an example of worldly wisdom circumventing wisdom from God?

2. Who is your go-to group or person you seek out to light your candle from their lamp? (If you don't understand this concept, think about Christmas Eve service when one candle becomes many.) Are you a lamp or source of light where others may light their candles?

3. Are you walking in the light of God's wisdom or going it on your own, seeking wisdom from the world? If you're walking in the light, how is life different from when you were on your own? If wisdom comes from yourself or the world, how is that working out? If you want to obtain wisdom from God and don't know how, please make a comment below so we can help. 


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