Today: [Proverbs 14] Building the House of Wisdom. Jesus compared believers to those who built a house. Proverbs 14 speaks of a wise woman (a metaphor of the soul) who builds her house, while the foolish woman tears it down with her hands. Are you one who takes matters into your own hands? Does that ever create problems for you? In Proverbs 14 we find Solomon cautioning his son to put his trust not in his own ability to defend or champion his own rights but rather to trust in God and know that the Father is our defender against all threats of the enemy.
[Pro 14:1-35 KJV] 1 Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. 2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but [he that is] perverse in his ways despiseth him. 3 In the mouth of the foolish [is] a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. 4 Where no oxen [are], the crib [is] clean: but much increase [is] by the strength of the ox. 5 A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies. 6 A scorner seeketh wisdom, and [findeth it] not: but knowledge [is] easy unto him that understandeth. 7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not [in him] the lips of knowledge. 8 The wisdom of the prudent [is] to understand his way: but the folly of fools [is] deceit. 9 Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous [there is] favour. 10 The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. 11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. 12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof [are] the ways of death.
Verse 1 of our chapter speaks of the foolish woman who plucks her house down with her hands. Now we can look at this verse for what it says on the surface but we can also probe deeper and find an application helpful to every one of us. What is a woman a metaphor of in the scripture. In Isa. 54:5 we find that the soul of man is spoken of as a woman betrothed to God. The soul is made up of mind, will and emotions. Redeemed humanity (the church) is referred to as the bride of Christ. From that perspective the foolish woman would be the foolish soul that tears down it’s house with her hands. What does this tell us? The hand represents our own works. The house is our person, our whole person, spirit, soul and body. If we are foolish we are those who take matters of life into our own hands and thereby bring destruction upon ourselves. We cannot save ourselves. Only by entering into rest and trusting in Christ is redemption made real and available to us. Jesus said the following:
[Mat 16:26 KJV] 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
The mind, will and emotion are strong influences for us to deal with. They demand satisfaction within ourselves. They demand control over what happens next in our lives. How many times have we let our emotions take control and wound up in trouble in a difficult situation? How often have we been willful or stubborn and wound up in difficult situations? How often did we think we had perfect understanding in our minds of what to do next only to find ourselves in deep difficulty? This is the foolish woman of our soul on the inside of us usurping the Lordship of Jesus, defying the instruction of the word of God and tearing down our own life. We didn’t need the devil – we did it to ourselves.
There is hope for us in this – the wise woman builds her house. These are the seven pillars spoken of elsewhere in the bible. 1 Cor. 1:30, 31 tells us that Jesus is our wisdom. When we trust in Jesus as the lover of our soul and lean on Him in difficult times then we wait on His solution and will refrain from doing anything without His guidance and influence. In so doing we build our house and deliver our soul from destruction and many great and unnecessary difficulties.
13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth [is] heaviness. 14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man [shall be satisfied] from himself. 15 The simple believeth every word: but the prudent [man] looketh well to his going. 16 A wise [man] feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. 17 [He that is] soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated. 18 The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. 19 The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich [hath] many friends. 21 He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy [is] he. 22 Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth [shall be] to them that devise good. 23 In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips [tendeth] only to penury. 24 The crown of the wise [is] their riches: [but] the foolishness of fools [is] folly. 25 A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful [witness] speaketh lies.
Verse 14 is a very important verse. It is the first place in the scripture where the term “backslider” is used. This word gets thrown around a lot to describe Christians who have fallen away from their faith. We usually think of a backslider as someone who has grown cold or indifferent in their faith. This is actually not quite accurate. Hosea spoke of backsliding in very descriptive terms that gives us deeper insight into what is really taking place in the heart of one who turns away from God:
[Hos 4:16 KJV] 16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer…
What this compares to is a cow in heat looking for a bull to mate with. This shows us that the truth of growing cold in our heart toward God is because there is an idolatry that has captured us that in fact we love more than God Himself. We think in our minds that we have stumbled and somehow are not fully at fault. Remember what Jeremiah said about the heart:
[Jer 17:9-10 KJV] 9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.
In truth every point in our lives where our character and choices deviate from the character of Christ is a measurement of something we love more than God Himself. It is a point that we have allowed our soul to claim ownership over some part of ourselves that Christ has purchased with His blood. We can justify ourselves, we can claim the merits of grace, we can compare ourselves as not being any different than any other Christan and assume we are better than most or many – but at the end of the day when we lay our head on the pillow we have to face the judgment bar of our own conscience and ask ourselves are we really as close to God as we could be? Are there idols in our heart that have captured us that we need to lay on the altar before God?
26 In the fear of the LORD [is] strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD [is] a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. 28 In the multitude of people [is] the king’s honour: but in the want of people [is] the destruction of the prince. 29 [He that is] slow to wrath [is] of great understanding: but [he that is] hasty of spirit exalteth folly. 30 A sound heart [is] the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. 31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. 32 The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. 33 Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but [that which is] in the midst of fools is made known. 34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin [is] a reproach to any people. 35 The king’s favour [is] toward a wise servant: but his wrath is [against] him that causeth shame.
Verse 26-27 speak of the fear of the Lord. Being in fear of the Lord is not about walking around in shame and timidity. When the Lord is our fear we are unafraid of anything or anyone else. The three Hebrew children refused to bow to the king of Babylon’s golden image because they feared God more than man. Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den because he refused to refrain from prayer. These men were not wrathful personalities thumbing their nose at authority. They were thoughtful servants of the most High God whose fear of God put them in opposition with outside influences. We are living in a day that there is a great clash of cultures. We can look to man, or to the government, or to society as a whole to shelter us or respect our beliefs but in the end it is our fear of God that will save us, protect us and defend us regardless of what man thinks he can do to harm us or tear us down as a people or as individuals.
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