Proverbs 25

Let’s turn now to Proverbs, chapter twenty five. As we are told, beginning with chapter twenty five that…
These also are the proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out (25:1).
So Solomon was very prolific. He wrote some three thousand proverbs. We don’t have them all. This compilation was made several years after Solomon’s death. It was made actually about three hundred years after the death of Solomon, during the reign of king Hezekiah. We do read in Isaiah, concerning the scribes that ruled, or the scribes that were there during the rule of Hezekiah, and they gathered together, and compiled this group of proverbs from the records that they had. Which of course are extant to us today. But they are more of Solomon’s proverbs.
It is the glory of God to cover [kophar] a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter (25:2).
Contrasting here between God, and kings. As far as a king is concerned, he was to be a judge over the people. Matters of judgment were brought to him. He was sort of the court of last resort. He was the final appeal, was made to a king. It was an honor to the king to search out diligently the truth. To inquire, to research, to investigate, to interrogate, in order that he might discover all of the facts, that he might then make a judgment that will be equitable, and honest. And, it was the honor of the king. His honor was sort of at stake, in the making of the right judgment.
However, in contrast to that, it was the glory of God to cover a matter. Where the king was trying to dig out all of the facts, God covering all of the gory details of our life of sin. It’s a glory to God to just cover it over. David said, using the same Hebrew word, “kophar”, “Oh how happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered”.
It is the glory of God to cover sin. It is God’s desire for God to forgive a person their sin. God said, “Come now, let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet, you can be as white as snow”. It’s the glory of God to grant forgiveness, to grant pardon of, and from sin. In Ephesians, chapter one, there is a repeated phrase concerning God, that sometimes people find difficult to understand. That is the phrase, “To the praise of the glory of His grace”.
You see God is a gracious God. He is a merciful God. What does that mean? That means that God loves to show mercy, and He delights in giving undeserved blessings upon people. He just delights to bless people, though they don’t really deserve it. God delights to bless you, though you don’t deserve it. However, we need to give God an excuse to do it. That is, the excuse is being open, and accepting from God, “Lord, do what you desire in my life”. So, “It is the honour, or glory of God to cover the matter”. To cover your sin, to be gracious unto you.
But, as with David, it is necessary to confess your sins, it is necessary to repent, to turn from your sin, and necessary to ask God to forgive you. To believe that God in His grace has provided that just basis for the forgiveness of your sin, by putting your sin on His Son, Jesus Christ, who in turn, died for your sins, and in your place upon the cross. So that as you come to God asking for forgiveness, come to God asking, or confessing your, your guilt, then God pardons. It says, “For He will abundantly pardon”.
Justice is getting what you deserve. If you don’t repent of your sin, if you don’t confess your sin, you’ll get justice. You’ll get exactly what you deserve. When I come to God, I don’t cry, “Justice God justice!”, I cry, “Praise the Lord, mercy!”. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. You deserve death for your sins. Not having to die for your sins is according to the mercy of God. “It is according to His mercy”, the Bible says, “that we are not utterly consumed”. God is merciful!
Grace is getting what you don’t deserve. You don’t deserve the blessings, the richness of those blessings that God desires to bestow upon you, but He, He just bestows upon you, in order that there might be that spontaneous response of praise from your heart. That’s what Paul meant, “To the praise of the glory of His grace”.
You see, the true praise is that which rises spontaneously from your heart, in the recognition of God’s marvelous grace to you. It’s when I know that I’ve been such a miserable failure. I know that I have, I have just, well, I know I don’t deserve any real favour from God, and I’m aware of, of my miserable condition, and God chooses so many times, at that time, to just do something extra special, marvelous for me! I feel so undeserving and unworthy of it! I feels so miserable, I feel like going and hiding myself someplace, and here God just pours out a blessing that I just can hardly handle! I say, “Oh God you’re too much! I can’t handle this Lord! So good to me!”, and that’s the truest form of praise. That which just rises spontaneously at the recognition of God’s grace.
That glory, that praise that I give to God, in response to the grace of God that has been manifested towards me. So we, have been chosen in Him, to the praise of the glory of His grace. He has redeemed us through the blood of Jesus Christ, to the praise of the glory of His grace. He has called us to this wonderful inheritance, to the praise of the glory of His grace. As you realize what God has done for you, as you realize the blessings that God has poured out upon you, and your heart responds to it, that’s what it’s all about. That’s what God desires, that spontaneous response.
That’s what David was doing in Psalm thirty two, when the prophet had come to him, and faced him with his guilt over his issue with Bathsheeba, and David said, “I, I have sinned”. In Psalm thirty two, he said, “I will confess my sin, and thou forgavest me, the iniquity of my sin”, that, that’s what caused this response, spontaneous, “Oh how happy is the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered”. Spontaneously responding to God’s grace, “Your sin David is forgiven”. Oh it was horrible, what he did was unforgivable really, by our standards! I mean we would’ve wanted to wring his neck! By our standards, what he did was, was totally unforgivable! By David’s standards, they were unforgivable! When put in a slightly different light, and David made the judgment on it, he said, “That man shall surely be put to death!”. Nathan said, “David, you are that man!”. So even in David’s standards, it was unforgivable. But yet it is the glory of God to cover a matter, to wash, to cleanse from your sin.
So, if we say we have no sin, we’re just deceiving ourselves. We’re lying, we’re lying about the real truth. “The truth is not in us”, John said. But, if we confess our sin, He’s faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. “It’s the glory of God to cover a matter”, to cover your sin. Give Him a chance, ask Him to do it. Come, on the basis of Jesus Christ, and you’ll find that God will cover your sin. He’ll forgive your sin. He’ll bury your sin.
The heaven for height, the earth for depth (25:3),
Incidentally, these first few proverbs had to do with a king. So the theme of these proverbs, when they were collecting them, they probably just went through, and sort of collected a group of them, in which Hezekiah was relating to a king. So these first few proverbs of chapter twenty five are in relationship to kings. “The heaven for height, and the earth for depth,”…
and the heart of kings is unsearchable (25:3).
So three things unsearchable, the heaven, searching the height, you know where does space end? The depth of the earth, we can probe it, but we don’t get through the crust even; and the heart of the king, unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer (25:4).
The idea of course is, is the removing of the impurities, the dross. In order that you might get a vessel that is fit for service, or fit for use. Peter makes a similar kind of a allegory, in which he talks about the fiery trials which are to try us. Then he refers to that refining, gold being refined by the fire. So, silver and gold, heated to the point of melting, in order that the dross, the impurities might come to the surface, be scraped off. The, the preparing of it, the purifying of it, in order that it might be made into a vessel that can be used. So, God working in our lives, many times He uses fiery trials for the refining process, to get rid of the dross out of our lives. Because, God is seeking to make of you a vessel that He can use for His glory.
You see, God never looks at you only for what He can do in your life. God always has, as His ultimate design for you, what He can do through your life. God finds it necessary however, to work in your life, in order to prepare you as a vessel, that He might work through your life. But, He’s never satisfied with the work that is within. So there is that work of the Holy Spirit within my life, that refining process that the Spirit takes me through, as He works in my life. But the purpose always is that one day, the Spirit might flow forth from my life, in ministering to others.
So there is the subjective work of the Spirit, but there’s always the object in view, that which God can do through you, as a instrument, as a vessel in touching others. Thus, God puts us through the refining process, that purifying process in order that He might make of us, an instrument for His glory, that can be used to bring His love, His truth, His grace, unto others. We don’t like the fire. We many times seek to shun the fire, but it is a necessary process of God in our lives, for the purifying, “Tried by fire”. So God tries every vessel that He uses, and refines.
Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness (25:5).
Now it is interesting as you look at the history of the nation of Israel, how that as the king went, so went the kingdom. But the king was so many times influenced by wicked counsellors. As you look at the history of Israel, and you see those kings that, were, had an evil reign, the nation deteriorated dramatically under their reign. They were surrounded counsellors, they were given wicked advice. Or, they would shun the advice of good counsellors.
I think of, of, here’s Solomon declaring this, but his own son Rehoboam, who took over the throne when Solomon died. Solomon had exacted heavy taxation from the people. Because he built the temple, he built Jerusalem, and he created tremendous wealth, there in Jerusalem. “Silver as common as rocks”, the scripture said.
So at the death of Solomon and the ascension of his son, Rehoboam, in his stead, representatives came from the ten northern tribes, and they said, “Rehoboam, we can’t handle the taxation any longer. It’s too heavy, things are built. We want you to reduce our taxes, and we’ll be glad to pledge allegiance to your throne”. So Rehoboam talked to his dad’s counsellors. They said, “You know that their complaint is legitimate. You should go ahead and grant this request of theirs. Ease the burden of the taxation, and they will join with you in affinity, and they will be your loyal subjects”. But his young counsellors, his contemporaries, they said, “Hey, give em an inch, they’ll want a mile. You give in on this point man, and you’ve lost it. They’re just gonna be asking more, and more, and more. Hang tough man! In fact, go out and tell em, ‘Hey you haven’t seen anything yet! My dad was a weakling compared with what I’m gonna be!’”.
So, he listened not to his father’s counsellors, but to these young bucks. Went out, and put on this display of, toughness, “You haven’t seen the beginning of it!”, and all. So they said, “Hey, let’s go home! What have we to do with David?”, and they rebelled against Rehoboam, and against the kingdom. They formed the northern kingdom of Israel. They got Jeroboam to be their king, and there came the division, because of the wicked counsellors.
So here’s Solomon saying, “Take away the wicked from before the king, his throne shall be established in righteousness”, but his son didn’t even follow that. He had these counsellors that gave him the wrong advice and counsel, and as the result the whole kingdom was split, and he was left with just two tribes, there in the south.
Put not forth thyself in the presence of a king, nor stand not in the place of great men: For it is better that it be said unto you, Come up hither; than that you should be put in lower place in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen (25:6-7).
In other words, don’t try to elevate yourself. Don’t try and get in a position higher than where you belong. Keep your place. There are people that are always trying to get around, and get in a place of prominence. They try, they seek to promote themselves. The bible says, “Promotion doesn’t really come from the east or west, promotion comes from the Lord”. It’s better to take a lower place, just to fit in and it’s much better for them to say, “Hey come on up higher!”, than for them to say, “Hey what are you doing up here? Get on back down there!”, you know that’s not good! Jesus picked up on this you remember. Jesus said, “When you’re bidden to a wedding feast, don’t take the upper chamber, don’t go to the prominency, sit in the lower place. If they say to you, ‘Come up hither!’, it’s good. But better to do that than to be up there in the front, and have to be shooed away to the side someplace”. So, taking a lower place, let the exaltation come from the Lord. Don’t seek to exalt yourself. Don’t seek to promote yourself. Let the Lord do the promoting of you.
Don’t get in a hurry to [fight, or to,] strive, lest you know not what to do in the end thereof (25:8),
In other words, a lot of people jump into a situation, and they’re over their head. Suddenly, you find yourself saying, ‘You’ve jumped into it, and you’re not really prepared’, and so, you find your neighbor had too many big sons. You know, you’ve challenged him and all, and all these big bruisers come out, and you find yourself sort of overpowered. So don’t be in a hurry to get into a strife. “Slow to anger”, the scripture said. It’s just better not to meddle with strife, not to be explosive.
It’s better to just go ahead to your neighbor, and debate the cause with him; and don’t discover your secret to another (25:9):
If you hear something wrong, something has gone wrong, don’t go around and tell everybody! “Boy I heard that he is doing this, I heard…”, go to him, deal with him! Come to him and say, “Hey brother, I hear that this has happened, and what can I do to help you?” But rather than going around and, and revealing it to everybody.
Lest he that heareth it put you to shame, and your infamy turn not away. [So better to settle the issues in quiet.] For a word that is fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. [Words fitly spoken, how beautiful they are, how valuable!] As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is the wise reprover upon the obedient ear (25:10-12).
Now all of these are sort of tied together, it’s dealing with a situation that had come up. There is a wrong that has been committed, so you go to that person, you don’t go around revealing it to everybody. You deal with it personally, it may be that you find out that what has been said is entirely wrong. You may find out that there’s another side to the story, and you didn’t hear all of the facts. How many times have you reacted to a situation, and you didn’t have all the facts, and then when you got all the facts, you had to sort of take back your position that you had taken? “They did that? I can’t believe they’d do that!”, you know, you get all upset, and you go around blowing your mouth off to everybody, “You know what happened? You know what they did?”, then you get the other side of the story. “Oh well, I didn’t know that your mother died. Oh gracious. Oh I understand, my!”, you know, and then you’re, so, “As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is the wise reprover”. If you reprove in wisdom to the obedient ear.
Now as the cold of snow in the time of harvest (25:13),
Now harvest time is in September, October when it is hot! Really those heat waves, those generated by those east winds, in the time of harvest, and you’re absolutely miserable. But over there is much like it is here. You, you turn off your air conditioners one week, and you turn on the heaters the next. You know, in the fall we get a dramatic change of climate. It’ll go from 101, or something one day to the next day, it’ll really become chilly, and winter has set in, and summer is over. Not so much here along the coast. We have probably the most mild, temperate climates that a person could ever wish or hope for, along the coast here. But you don’t have to go far inland, Corona and all, you get that dramatic change. I’ve been out there in Corona where it would be 110, and everybody would just be miserable, and sweltering. You feel totally miserable! Then the next day the fog rolls in, and the heat wave is broken, and it’s, it’s, you need a jacket! I used to work with this one fellow in the market, and that day that we’d get the break, every, you know from that horrible oppressive heat the next day, or I mean the day before, 110 and all, everybody was absolutely miserable. You just, you know, you just are wringing wet, and you go around and you’re just miserable! Then that next day, you get that cool breeze, and cool air. He had, he’d always say, the people would come in the store, “Boy I’ll sure be glad when summer comes again!”, and they wanted that, to lynch the guy, you know! Ha, ha! I mean, but that snow in this time of harvest, how refreshing that would be in that hot, hot temperature, how refreshing it would be to just put your face down in some snow! So, just, “the cold of snow in the time of harvest”, now how comfortable and refreshing that would be!
so is the faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refreshes the soul of his masters. [The faithful messenger, he is a refreshment to his masters, he’s, he’s a comfort, he’s refreshing.] Now whosoever boasts himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain (25-13-14).
There’s a disappointment and an emptiness, you boast about a false gift. There are people who, who like to buy friendships, and there are certain people that, they always like to talk, well, they know how to push buttons, to get people excited. They’ve got a deal, “and in a weeks time you can make a hundred thousand bucks!”. “Man, what”, you know, and they know how to.
We had this one fellow in Bible college, and his last name was Hershey. So he told all the kids in school that he was an heir of the Hershey family, Hershey chocolate. So this, he said, he you know, wanted to treat the students there at the Bible college to a trip to Catalina, so he had chartered this boat, and we were all to go down to the dock in San Pedro on Saturday, on this charter boat. Go over, and spend the day in Catalina. Have a great day, all the food and everything else, you know, would be provided. You know, he was gonna pick up the tab. So all of the students went down, personally, I was not among them, but turns out that they got on the boat, and then they came around to collect the fares. Of course, a lot of them were poor Bible college students. They got hit with the bill! They guy didn’t, he didn’t show up, he had some excuse, “something happened”, you know. But, those that boast of a false gift…
are like clouds and wind without rain (25:14).
You want to kill em!
By long forbearing is a prince persuaded (25:15),
By just, I’ve often said that time is on the side of truth. If you’re doing what is right, time is on your side. Now there are things that it looks like, “Oh my you should’ve done that”, or there are always these winds of doctrine that are blowing through the church. You see, as the wind blows there are always a certain number of people get picked up with the wind, and they get carried along, and you say, “Oh look what the wind’s blowing along now”, you know. They start following some of these pernicious kinds of doctrine that comes blowing through the church. You just, well, you know, and everybody’s excited, “Oh my do you hear what’s happening?”, “Oh!”, you know. Time is on your side. Just wait, they’ll come back with their tail between their legs, and wasn’t all that they thought it was going to be. But, “by long forbearing a prince is persuaded”.
and a soft tongue breaketh the bone (25:15).
A soft answer turns away wrath. It’s amazing how you can diffuse a situation, with just a kind word, a pleasant thought. Years ago, back in the late 60’s, we had all these hippies around here in these broken down vans, and these long haired kids. They were never in a hurry to go anyplace, because they were never going anywhere. I remember going down Fairview one time, and there’s nothing more exasperating to me than to have a car poking at less than the given speed limit. I mean if the speed limit is thirty five, and they’re poking along at twenty five, and the light in front of you is green, and it would be a very simple thing to get through the light, if you were just going thirty five miles an hour. What’s most exasperating is if it turns yellow just as they get there, and they go through it, and you get stuck with the red light, you know. This happened to me going down Fairview, and the light on Baker and this guy just poking in front of me, you know, and in this old beat up van. You could see the marijuana smoke curling out of the windows, and you know, he didn’t know where he was, but just, you know. So, I realize that I’m, you know, he doesn’t get moving, gonna miss this signal, so I laid on my horn, and this arm came out the window with a peace signal. “Peace brother.” It really spoke to me! I was rebuked by it. I thought, “What am I in such a hurry for anyhow? Just take it easy.” It spoke to me, I was rebuked, I was thoroughly rebuked. I felt horrible about it. You would hope that I would learn. But I’m constantly embarrassing myself.
The Lord’s been dealing with this in my life just this last week. I mean, I’ve been, I’ve been so humbled, and the Lord has been dealing with me so much, just lately. That was twenty years ago. It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s in the process I think right now, because the Lord wouldn’t be dealing with me as heavy as He is, unless He was in the process of doing something. I’m sort of glad for that. I’m, I’m anxiously waiting to see what God is going to do in helping me in this area. Just to kick back a little more, take it easy. Not worry about, so you missed the signal, so it’s gonna be another two minutes that you’re gonna be late. But, help me Lord! Help me Lord, I need it!
The other day, well, just this last week, I was coming up Warner, and I was in a hurry, the light had turned green, and this car in front of me was just parked. I had KWVE on. This guy was just parked! I thought, “If that light turns red, and I’m just behind him, doesn’t’ the world know I’m in a hurry?” So, I laid on my horn, I mean really laid on it! I could see that I was making him nervous, and I was glad, but, because he was just parked! Then, I heard this siren, and I saw this ambulance making it’s way through the red light, and I thought, “Well that’s just what I felt”, I was so totally embarrassed! I felt so miserable I wanted to just be like a low-rider, just let your eyes you know, be above the dash! I was wishing I didn’t have Calvary on my license plate. Since that time, the Lord has really been dealing with me. Heavy duty! Heavy duty, I mean it! So, “the soft tongue”, Lord help me! Soft horn, just a little toot, that’s, you know.
Have you found honey? eat as much as is sufficient, but don’t eat too much, or you’re apt to vomit it (25:16).
Honey is a very sensual delight. Nothing zings the tastebuds on your tongue quite like honey. I mean, it’ll give your tongue a real trip as far as the taste buds. It’s honey, and it’s sweet, and it’s good, and a little bit is great, it’s pleasant. Too much, and so with the things of sensual. There is a legitimate area of pleasure, the senses. There are the legitimate, we’re not aesthetics, we’re not, you know, God doesn’t want us to live in caves or in cloistered monasteries someplace. He’s given us all things freely to enjoy. The senses enjoy taking a deep breath with your nose buried in a rose. It’s great, it’s a sensual delight. There are certain foods that are a sensual, they are sensual delights. They’re just good. Certain perfumes and all, it’s great! Nothing wrong. But if you give yourself over to it, too much, an indulgence into those things, and it can be harmful. It will make you sick. A little bit of good advice here.
Withdraw thy foot from your neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of you, and begin to hate you (25:17).
He doesn’t answer the door any more when he sees you coming. It’s awfully hard to have guests that come over and they don’t know when to come home. I’ve very blunt in things, you don’t have to worry about that at my house. I’ll just go to bed! Kay gets upset with me because we used to have people come over to the house and they’d just stay, and stay, and stay. I finally just said, “Well, you know, my brain turns off after eleven o’clock. I just go to bed.”, and so I get up, and I go to bed. Poor Kay sits out there with them till the sun rises. But, “Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbor’s house, lest he be weary of thee, and hates to see you come”.
A man that bears false witness against his neighbour is a maul, [That’s that horrible weapon that they beat people with.] a sword, and a sharp arrow (25:18).
He is destructive. He’s injurious, he is damaging, he hurts. The man who will bear a false witness against his neighbor.
Confidence in an unfaithful man in the time of trouble is like having a broken tooth, or a foot that is out of joint (25:19).
You put your confidence in a man, but he’s not faithful. That’s just like, crippling to you. You’ve trusted him to come through, and he doesn’t. You’re crippled as the result of it. It’s a miserable thing. A broken tooth, I don’t know if you’ve had a broken tooth, but if you had a broken tooth, and the nerve has been exposed, I mean, that’s jarring. Any air, you know, even you open your mouth, and the air hits that nerve, and it just, whoo! So, a broken tooth is a very miserable, jarring thing. So is putting confidence in an unfaithful person, when they don’t come through. It’s, it’s very jarring.
As one that would take away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that sings songs to a person with a heavy heart (25:20).
Sometimes a person is all depressed and down, and we think, “Well let’s go in and sing, Happy Days Are Here Again”, you know, but it, it just doesn’t do it, you know. It’s like, it’s like vinegar upon nitre. Have you ever taken baking soda and poured a little vinegar on the baking soda. That’s the vinegar on nitre. See what happens to it. It, it just, you know, begins to foam, and sputter and all. So, singing songs to a person who has a heavy heart, it doesn’t really help them.
If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink (25:21):
Now Jesus repeated this in the sermon on the mount. “Bless those that curse you. Do good to those who despitefully use you. Bless and curse not. If your enemy is hungry, give him bread, if he’s thirsty, give him something to drink.” Someone has said, “The best way to deal with enemies is to make friends out of them”.
There is a evangelist who was on television, his name was Peter Popov. He wasn’t really legitimate, he was pretending to hear the voice of God calling out people’s names, and discerning illnesses and so forth. But it turned out that he had a little ear piece, and his wife was in another room, and she was coaching him on all of these things. She had the cards back there, and she had closed circuit television, and was watching, and would point out certain people, and give him the names. He would go up and say, “Wait a minute! The Lord’s speaking to me. Let’s see, your name is…”, you know, and doing that kind of phony stuff. But he was also sending out letters to people. He had this computerized mailing list. Somehow, these guys sell their, their addresses to one another. You can buy the address of people that go to church and so forth.
Somehow my name got on his list, and he started sending me this junk mail saying, “Dear Charles, this morning, as I was in prayer, God laid you heavily on my heart. I was so burdened for you, I felt there must be something terribly wrong, that God would place such a heavy burden on my heart for you. So I began to intercede for you Charles, and I was so concerned. Write me and tell me what it is that I can really pray more intelligently for you. Because God has put such a heavy burden on my heart for you, and, and I want to help you. Incidentally, when you write, could you please enclose a check for twenty five dollars? Because our ministry is going through some pressure at this time”.
So I wrote him back, and I said, “Dear Mr. Popov, I think that you’ve got the wrong last name. I think you should be called, ‘Rip Off’!”, I said, “Your letter to me was a total rip off! You don’t know me, you’ve never met me, and it’s an absolute lie to write and say that God laid me on your heart! You don’t know me!” I gave him II Peter, chapter one, that one of the signs of a false prophet, “That they with feigned (or deceitful) words, will seek to make merchandise of people”, and I gave him that scripture, and told him that he was a false prophet. That was before I knew he had the earpiece! Had I known that I would’ve been even more harsh.
I got a letter back, and it said, “Dear Pastor Smith, I’ve listened to your radio program, and I thank God for your ministry. I suggested to a lot of people that they come to your church”, and all this kind of stuff. Well, I, it turned away wrath, how can you be mad at a guy who likes you, you know. It surely didn’t change my opinion of him! I mean the guy is a false prophet, I still believe that. But he’s not an enemy. We are, he sort of, I came in the position, and I generally did come in the position of him, to him, as an enemy, but he was kind, and it surely changed and modified my attitudes. But, “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, if he is thirsty, give him water to drink”.
For you shall heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord will reward you (25:22).
This heaping coals of fire, I’ve read several commentaries that try to explain that. I don’t know that I’m satisfied with any of the explanations. Coals of fire have been interpreted by some commentators to mean, you create embarrassment, or they blush. Because here they are, they’re your enemy, and yet you’re doing good for them. You’ve fed them, you’ve given them something to drink, and so it creates that sort of blush, the coals of fire kind of a thing that they’re, they’re embarrassed because of the things that they have said, or the position they’ve taken against you. One possible interpretation.
Another is that, in those days, they didn’t have matches. A lot of times a person whose fire had gone out in their home, rather than rubbing sticks, or taking a flinty rock to try and reignite their fire, would take some coals to their neighbor’s house. Of course, if you’re over there in that country, you’d see how the ladies always carry things on their heads. So they would have this basket of coals on their head, going to a neighbor’s house to get some live coals to put in them, so that they could rekindle their fires. And, so heaping coals of fire on their head, would be igniting these coals that they were carrying on their head. It is again, a activity of kindness and good to them. And the Lord will reward you.
The Lord said that we are to forbear vengeance. “Vengeance is mine”, He said, “I will repay”. So even towards our enemies, we are to have a Christ like attitude, which is one of kindness, one of forgiveness. So, here is the exhortation.
Now the north wind drives away rain: so an angry countenance a backbiting tongue (25:23).
If a person starts to dump dirt on you, backbiting tongue, they’re just backbiters, if you scowl at them, it’ll cause them to sort of, well, they’ll realize that it’s not being received. It drives away the backbiting tongue. You can show your displeasure to the backbiting. If you say, “Oh really? Ah, oh!”, then they’ll really dump it on you! If you show a delight in hearing things. But, to just keep the garbage from being dumped on you, just get sort of a scowl, and, “I don’t appreciate that stuff”. “It’s like the north wind, it drives away the rain. So an angry countenance will drive away the backbiting tongue.”
It’s better to dwell in the corner of a housetop (25:24),
Now he already has this in another proverb that we’ve already dealt with. I don’t know why these guys would pick it up again. You know, say it once, and that should do it. So, “It’s better to dwell in the corner of a housetop”…
than with a brawling woman in a wide house (25:24).
Of course it would be! Who’s gonna argue with that? Who wants to be around a brawling woman! But you know, Solomon, and remember had seven hundred wives, so naturally some of them would’ve been brawling women. The odds are against you if you have that many wives, you’re gonna get some bad ones. But what about a brawling man? You know, you can turn that around. The fact that Solomon wrote it is, is the thing. If his wives wrote some of these, they’d probably write a few good ones too! So, best not to spend too much time on that one.
As cold water [Oh man, what’s better than cold water?] to a thirsty soul, [What’s better?] so is good news from a far country (25:25).
So refreshing to hear what’s happening. Mike Harris, one of our young ministers here. He’s one of the young men who ministers to our high school fellowship. He’s a young intern on staff. Mike is presently over in Yugoslavia. In the evening, Mike is in a park, and he just starts playing his guitar, and singing. There’s a group of kids that now come on a regular basis. But as they are there singing, and all, soon there’s about a hundred and fifty kids that gather around them. Then Mike shares the gospel with these kids in Yugoslavia. He is just so excited over the hunger that these kids have! He baptized ten of them just recently. It’s just really exciting what is happening there, and to hear the reports that he is sending back, to receive back the reports from Steve, who’s been over in Africa, and all. Good news from a far country, and it’s just so refreshing! “It’s like cold water to a thirsty person!”
A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring (25:26).
It’s just not good! A corrupt spring, you, you, it’s a disappointment. Thus, “The righteous man falling down before the wicked”. Now the idea here is when a, it’s a Jimmy Swaggart kind of a situation, or a Jim Bakker kind of a situation. When the righteous fall before the wicked. That is, you expect more from a minister, you expect more from a righteous person. You know, and if a righteous person begins to live like they do in Hollywood, everybody is aghast! You know, what did Jimmy Swaggart do more than what the normal person does, who is not a Christian? I mean that, that’s, that’s so common in the world around us. But it should not be for the righteous! What Jim Bakker did is happening all the time in Hollywood, and every other little berg around the country. But it’s not for the righteous you see. And, God requires more from the minister, and from those who are in the ministry. So, when the righteous fall before the wicked, it’s, it’s a tragedy, it’s a corrupt fountain, it’s a troubled fountain, or it’s a corrupt spring. It’s just, it’s a sad and tragic thing.
It is not good to eat a lot of honey (25:27):
It’ll make you sick. We got that earlier. So in the same token…
it’s not good for men to search their own glory that is not glory (25:27).
It’s not good for a person to constantly be seeking glory for himself.
Now he that has no rule over his spirit is like a city that is broken down, without walls (25:28).
You’re defenseless, if you don’t rule your own spirit. Your strength is in the things of the spirit, in the spiritual realm. If you have no rule over your own spirit, you’re a defenseless city, you’re like a defenseless city. You’re apt to fall at any moment.
Well, we only got one chapter tonight, but we’ve got all eternity! May the Lord help us to apply the truth to our practical, everyday experiences. May He help us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only. So may this week, God work in your heart and in your life, in the application of the truth. Let us put into practice these things that the scriptures have taught us, this instruction, these words of wisdom. Go over these things, let the Spirit of God really deal with your heart on these issues. May your life be enriched, as the result.
Edited & Highlighted from “The Word For Today” Transcription, Pastor Chuck Smith, Tape #7230
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