Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Proverbs 14 - Are You FAT?

LINK: Proverbs 14


BACKGROUND

These proverbs of Solomon are in the section (Proverbs 10-22) comprised mainly of "authentic" proverbs -- proverbs where there is a contrast introduced by the word but. They are written in short couplets and give wisdom for living on a wide variety of topics.

I did a study on the word "scoffer" this morning (In fact, I got carried away.):

A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none,
But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding. 
Proverbs 14:6

Here is an excellent summary of this word:
Fools scorn and mock at sin (Prov 14:9) and judgment (Prov 19:28). The scorner (Qal participial form) himself may be described as proud and haughty (Prov 21:24), incorrigible (Prov 9:7), resistant to all reproof (Prov 9:8; 15:12), and hating any rebuke (Prov 13:1). Wisdom and knowledge easily elude him (Prov 14:6).

So despicable is the scorner that he may be labelled as odious to all men (Prov 24:9). Therefore he must be avoided (Ps 1:1) by all who would live godly lives. . . One good way to remove contention from a group is to eject the scorner, and then “strife and reproach will cease” (Prov 22:10). A prepared judgment awaits all such scorners (Prov 19:29), for their trademark of life has been “to delight” in their scorning (Prov 1:22). They shall be brought to nothing and consumed (Isa 29:20).

That the particular type of wickedness of the scorner is pride is suggested by Prov 3:34. Here the scorner is contrasted with the humble. In this verse the LXX (This is an abbreviation for the Septuagint which is Greek version of the Old Testament.) renders “scorner” by “proud” which is followed in the NT Jas 4:6 and I Pet 5:5. Cf. Prov 21:24. Dahood points out a parallel of this word with “evil” in the Karatepe I inscription (Psalms, I, in Anchor Bible, p. 2).

Among the various mockers and scorners are wine (Prov 20:1), the proud (Ps 119:51), the king of Samaria’s henchmen (Hos 7:5), and Job’s friends (16:20).

(From the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (electronic ed.) [479])
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Isn't it interesting that Job calls his friends scoffers?

REFLECTION
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We read quite a bit about scoffers in Proverbs. A scoffer is one who refuses to listen to and profit from a rebuke (13:1). They may seek it, but it may be in the wrong place or once they seek it, they do not listen to it. Contrasted with this, we have a person who has understanding (discerning). This person acquires knowledge easily because he or she is teachable and open to rebuke. They seek out the wise in order to grow in wisdom and understanding.
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One thing I look for when discipling is a F.A.T. woman:
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Faithful
Available
Teachable
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The teachability component is what we are getting at in this scoffer verse. Many women say they want to grow, but I find some who are not really willing to be open to changing and growing in an "iron sharpening iron" sort of way (Proverbs 27:17). I am not necessarily talking about open rebuke or confrontation either! I am also talking about me being challenged the other way too (my concept of discipleship is a "walking alongside" not an "over and above" sort of approach).
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I found a gem in a dear friend I have been meeting with since 2001. She is so teachable! Very early on in our discipling relationship, she called me up and said, "You know, I called up a woman and made peace with her because of what you said." 

I replied, "Did I confront you on that? Did I say something to you about it? I do not remember saying anything." 

She said, "Oh no, I just felt convicted as you spoke about a situation you were going through, and I needed to do something about it, and I did. Thank you."
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WOW! I had no idea she was even having a problem, but "knowledge comes easily to the discerning" (Proverbs 14:6 NIV), and she was open to the Holy Spirit's prompting and acted upon that prompting to make things right with another woman.
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This friend is a FAT woman!!!!!
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Sadly though, I think most of us (me included) have a bit of the scoffer inside of us. Pride is a nasty disease!
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But don't you want to be FAT???????
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I sure do! I want to be open to wisdom and not scoff at it. I want to surround myself with wise people who love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength rather than those who "play the Christian game" and are not authentic seekers of truth (Proverbs would call them "fools."). I have that in my dear friends and mentors, Ginny and Lorraine, both at 80+ years young, they are a wealth of wisdom to me, and I want to be open to what they say and grow by spending time with them! (Ginny passed away in 2013 at 90 years of age.)
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What about you?
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APPLICATION
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Evaluate yourself on the scoffer to teachable continuum. Please talk to God about it. Surround yourself with wise people and respond to the "iron sharpening iron" effect they have on your life! Be teachable. Pray against the stronghold of pride.
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PRAYER
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Lord, make us wise and discerning. Give us godly, truth-seeking friends and mentors. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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