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Last week we saw Solomon using one of his favorite writing techniques which is the comparison; specifically comparing the righteous to the wicked. He uses numerous terms and a wide variety of scenarios, but he always concludes that it’s better to walk with God than to walk alone. It’s best to eat lean with love than it is to eat high on the hog with hatred. It’s best to be slow to anger so people can see God in us. Even when there are difficulties, it’s best to stay on the path that God has prepared. This morning, Solomon gives us some very good guidance
Proverbs 15:20-22 says, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother. Folly is joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight. Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed.
Does the first verse sound familiar? Back in 10:1, Solomon said, “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.” The sentiment in these two verses is the same. The only difference is the affect on the mom. In 10:1, the foolish son brought grief to his mom. Here Solomon says, “A foolish man despises his mother.” This verse sets up what follows and presents the principle that parents are responsible to teach their kids. It’s awesome when our kids listen to us and follow our teaching. Remember, the idea is that this teaching comes from a loving, godly, biblical perspective. When the kids listen to biblical guidance, everyone’s happy. When they fail to adhere to that teaching, it demonstrates a lack of love and respect from the child to the parent.
Obvious statement #1. “Folly is joy to him who lacks sense.” We all have a natural tendency toward what is wrong. The Apostle Paul said, “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.” (Rom. 5:12) The man of folly will naturally tend to gravitate toward those things that are not godly. The King James version translates this verse, “Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom.” Destitute is more descriptive and gives you the idea of just how hopeless it is to follow your own set of ideals and values instead of the godliness of your parents. Of the fool in this verse Matthew Henry writes, “He sins, not only without regret, but with delight, not only repents not of it, but makes his boast of it. This is a certain sign of one that is graceless.” The opposite of the man of folly is, “A man of understanding walks straight.” It is a choice. When there’s clear teaching and you choose to do what is not right, not godly, not God honoring, not parent honoring, that is total foolishness. A man who understands walks straight. He walks on the correct path which is godly and righteous.
How about risk versus reward? People can take this next verse to the extreme and twist it around, but I’m going to tell you what is really says and how it really applies to life. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated.” It can be disastrous to act impulsively. We often see this in financial decisions and it typically occurs on the male side of things. Those impulse purchases that result in buyer’s remorse. Car Max has recognized that and gives you five days to return that new to you vehicle if you decide not to keep it. Impulse buying is not what Solomon is talking about, but it can certainly be applied there. This is a book of wisdom. Wisdom begins with knowledge. Knowledge begins with the fear of the Lord. Solomon is talking about life. Are you getting ready to make a major life decision? Get counsel. The fool makes decisions without seeking guidance from those that can help make sense of the factors involved in a decision. There is an unwritten principle in this verse. Don’t seek guidance from people that are not students of God’s Word. Don’t bother with people that are not walking passionately with Christ. I continue to be amazed at the people that post stuff on social media and really expect good, solid counsel from people that have no experience, no training, and no idea how to provide the best wisdom. I have seen with my own eyes people speaking authoritatively on parenting, mental illness, drug use, sexuality, terrorism, policing, law, judicial proceedings, immigration, and the list goes on and on. If you want wisdom, James 1:5 says to ask God for it and often that wisdom comes through other people that are biblically wise.
“With many counselors they succeed.” Those counselors are not typically found on Facebook. Those counselors often look like parents, teachers, trusted friends, pastors, and church leaders. This does not mean ask everyone you know until you get the answer you’re looking for. This doesn’t mean ignore all the wonderful advice of those you trust and do what you have already determined to do on your own. When you speak with several people, there ought to be an understanding of confidentiality. There is always a risk when you share personal and private information with people. People seeking to apply this verse share something confidential in order to gain wisdom and valuable biblical insight from another. Unfortunately, that confidentiality is sometimes broken and trust is lost. Then you become very cynical and conclude you can’t trust anyone. Of course this plays right into Satan’s hands and you isolate yourself, quit talking to people, quit praying, quit coming to church, quit reading your Bible and you blame God for your predicament. I have seen this happen with my own eyes. People get focused on other people instead of maintaining focus on Christ. Of course it hurts when someone betrays your trust.
Do you really need wise counsel on good opportunities? After all, God provides those opportunities. Where a door is shut, God opens a window. I find those conclusions nonsensical. I think the genesis of those ideas is that we have determined a course of action to take and we will not be stopped. Even when God shuts the door and screams, “Do not enter.” We think that we must take good opportunities because they are good. On the other hand, just because something is hard means God’s not in it so you should quit. Over the years people have come to me with ideas they said were from God. Good ideas that would be beneficial to the body here or to the community. I’ve shared before that when you come to me with an idea, the first question I will ask, assuming the idea is biblical is, “Are you willing to take the lead on it?” If the answer is no, the idea will stop. When the response is not what they expect, or the work is thankless and challenging or it takes too much time or effort, they simply quit. What was a God ordained idea comes screeching to a halt. That’s why, “With many counselors, they succeed.”
Do you have something that God had placed on your heart or an idea you think is from God that consumes your thought life? Speak with someone that will provide you with solid, biblical, godly, and timely guidance from Scripture. It took six days for God to create all that we know. Paul’s first and second missionary journey each took about two years, and his third about four years. It took Noah 120 years to build the ark. There is rarely anything God gives us that must begin immediately and often things take time to get off the ground and get established. Seek answers from God and get good counsel to confirm it. If you’re having problems in some area of your life, get counsel before it becomes too big that you see no way out. There are wonderful people all around us that have biblical wisdom. Seek them out.