Today: [Proverbs 15] Changing the Narrative that Drives Your Life. In Proverbs 15 Solomon speaks of the narratives that drive our life. When anger, strife and content abound in our circumstances, Solomon points the way to change. The words of our mouth are often like firebrands that ignite the dry tinder of our experiences. When the character of our conversation changes the sweetness of God will follow as the predictor of what happens next in our life. This is the power of words and the power of the meditations of our heart that Solomon speaks of in this chapter.
[Pro 15:1-33 KJV] 1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. 2 The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. 3 The eyes of the LORD [are] in every place, beholding the evil and the good. 4 A wholesome tongue [is] a tree of life: but perverseness therein [is] a breach in the spirit. 5 A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. 6 In the house of the righteous [is] much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble. 7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish [doeth] not so. 8 The sacrifice of the wicked [is] an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright [is] his delight. 9 The way of the wicked [is] an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness. 10 Correction [is] grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: [and] he that hateth reproof shall die. 11 Hell and destruction [are] before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men? 12 A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
When we read the book of Proverbs we do well to remember there is a history behind the sayings there. Solomon after all grew up in David’s house. Can you imagine the passions that roiled over the years between David’s wives and concubines and his various sons who vied for his throne. Verse 1 tells us that a soft answer turned away wrath. Solomon would have often heard the story of his surrogate mother Abigail when she met David while still married to Nabel (1 Sam. 25). David was filled with anger and wrath because Nabal had slighted him. David was preparing to form a war party and descend on Nabal’s house to kill every living, breathing creature there. Abigail came out with food and soft words that turned David’s anger and ultimately led to her becoming David’s second wife. Solomon was a student of the histories of Israel as well. He would have recalled the Ephraimites that came out against Gideon for not calling them to battle against the Midianites. Gideon answered them will soft words and averted civil war among the tribes of Israel.
This chapter speaks eloquently to the power of the tongue. The tongue Solomon teaches is either wise or foolish in character to the benefit or detriment of the individual. The tongue of the wise (v. 2) uses knowledge rightly but fools blather out words without wisdom. You don’t have to tell all you know. In the ministry my father often said “preachers have something to say about everything”. Ministers are not the only people to fall prey to lack of discretion and the vice of being in love with the sound of their own voice. 1 Th. 4:11 tells us to study to be quiet and do our own business. A fool when he holds his peace is held to be a wise man. Learn to trim your words.
13 A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. 14 The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness. 15 All the days of the afflicted [are] evil: but he that is of a merry heart [hath] a continual feast. 16 Better [is] little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith. 17 Better [is] a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith. 18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but [he that is] slow to anger appeaseth strife. 19 The way of the slothful [man is] as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous [is] made plain. 20 A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. 21 Folly [is] joy to [him that is] destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly. 22 Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established. 23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word [spoken] in due season, how good [is it]! 24 The way of life [is] above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
While Solomon warns the foolish not to tell all they know yet at the same time (v. 14) he goes on to tell us to seek knowledge that we might have understanding. There is a difference between the truth and the facts. Entertainment magazines give us facts but God’s word gives us truth. Verse 14 tells us fools feed on foolishness. Perhaps this is where “you are what you eat” comes from? What content do you feed on? Man is made to be both a sponge and a sieve of information. There is a narrative somewhere, dominant in your life that is driving your experience. Is it the narrative of popular culture or the narrative of God’s truth? Making a shift in this area might be very difficult but profitable nonetheless.
Solomon also speaks of relationships. Verse 17 tells us that a dinner of herbs with love is better than a marriage that is like dealing with a stalled ox in the ditch every day. He goes on to encourage us to be slow to wrath and to appease strife by being slow to anger. Verse 22 tells us that bad counsel causes men to walk in disappointment. Through bad counsel the purposes of life are frustrated and brought to failure. How do you know you are getting bad counsel? One of our mentors says that bad counsel is identified when they tell you what you cannot do but not what you can do. Counsel that leaves your life on hold without recourse toward relief or success is not good counsel. The kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation. The kingdom of God responds then to action. Faith without works is dead. Counsel from heaven will always point you in the direction of proactive choice and specific things you can and should do that will lead to change in your life’s circumstances.
25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow. 26 The thoughts of the wicked [are] an abomination to the LORD: but [the words] of the pure [are] pleasant words. 27 He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live. 28 The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things. 29 The LORD [is] far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous. 30 The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: [and] a good report maketh the bones fat. 31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise. 32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. 33 The fear of the LORD [is] the instruction of wisdom; and before honour [is] humility.
Verse 26 speaks of the thoughts of the wicked that are an abomination to the Lord. What is the character of your thought life? Many say “well I can’t help what I think…”. Really? The implied statement there is that we are not accountable for our thought life. Is this true? Thoughts arise from our character and words and actions spring from our thoughts. Jesus taught that what is in your heart in abundance will come out in your life as the bitter harvest of your thought life. Your thoughts and the general character of your thoughts are the precursors of what will shortly take place in your life. If you don’t like what is going on in your circumstances change the character of your thoughts. The character of your thoughts are constructed from the character of the narrative of your life. Most people these days spend more time consuming content from social media than they do from God’s word. What is in your heart in abundance determines what happens next in your life. If you want to see change come begin by changing the character of the narrative that you fill your life with.
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