Proverbs has much to say about the problem of laziness and the importance of hard work. Solomon addresses indolence and industriousness directly, and his wise counsel serves as a springboard to think biblically about work and rest.
As we conclude our look at Proverbs’ teaching about foolish words, we see that flattery and slander are ways we misuse our tongues, and we will also take note of some important issues of the heart that lie at the root of how we use our words, for good or ill.
The opening days of 2020 are a perfect time to take stock of how we use our tongues and to see where flattery and quarreling slip into our speech patterns. When we find such sinful talk, the good news is that we can make use of the gospel gifts to put such words away and replace them with wise words.
Our words can be used for ill, to harm others and destroy relationships. Solomon helps us to understand exactly how powerful our hurtful words are, and how we can, under Christ’s grace in the gospel, put off unrighteous speech and replace it with righteous patterns.
In our last Topical Proverbs sermon, we saw the power of words to do good. We noted that two characteristics of wise speech are restraint and gentleness. Continuing to follow Paul’s “Put Off/Put On” principle, today we’ll look at a third virtue that should characterize our powerful speech: discernment. Solomon is driving home to us that it is imperative to master the skill of knowing what to say, when to say it, when not to say it, and how to say it.
Our words have tremendous potential for good or ill. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a harsh invective, you know how powerful they can be. The book of Proverbs recognized this power and our potential to misuse it, so Solomon gives us a number of important norms that must govern our use of words.
The last sermon on Proverbs looked at wisdom and wealth, and we learned that ultimately, our wealth is not ours; it is a gift from God, and we are to steward it on his behalf. In this sermon we will look in more detail as to how we can discharge our stewardship of God’s wealth with wisdom.
How should Christians think about wealth? The church has struggled with how to handle worldly wealth. Monks take vows of poverty while the health and wealth preachers exhort their followers to give to God to get from God. Many of the Proverbs of Solomon, the wealthiest man of his day, address the issue of wealth and poverty, rich and poor. We’ll sift through the book to see what treasures can be mined to help us be wise about wealth.
Pride, one of the “seven deadly sins,” could be called the father of all human sinfulness. If you have ever encountered someone who was proud of their humility, then you know this is true! Proverbs has much to warn us about pride’s dangers and much to teach us about the beauty and benefits of humility.