Full text of Zac Poonen’s teaching on ‘Book of Proverbs’ which is part of the popular series called Through The Bible.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here:
Zac Poonen – Bible Teacher
Let’s turn today to the book of Proverbs. Psalms and Proverbs go together. And generally speaking, we could say that if the Psalms refer to our worship of God, our expression of dependence upon God, asking for His help, our devotional life with God, Proverbs deals with the other half of our life, our daily walk in this world. The two must go together.
We must not be so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly use, or so earthly minded that we are of no use to God. A devotional life with God, a walk with God, a life of praise and worship and prayer and faith must lead to a practical life that manifests the character and the nature of Christ here on this earth.
And the book of Proverbs is primarily dealing with that. And there’s a lot of instruction here for young people and for our daily working life, for home situations.
Let me share with you what I discovered many years ago when I studied this book. I found there were a number of subjects that the book of Proverbs dealt with. And I just want to give you a brief overview of the type of subjects that the book of Proverbs deals with.
It deals with the subjects of wise and foolish children, laziness and hard work, the use of the tongue, wealth and poverty, telling lies and speaking the truth, being talkative and being subdued in our speech, slandering, justice and injustice, pride and humility, good women and bad women, covetousness and contentment, anger and self-control, gloominess and cheerfulness, good company and bad company, the education and discipline of children, the fear of the Lord, men’s good opinion that they have about themselves, warnings against temptations, how to treat servants, bribery, reproof and correction, friendships, sensual pleasures, drunkenness, flattery, money not acquired in righteous ways, revenge and many more subjects like that.
But if you were paying attention, as I was saying, as you were listening, you’d see that all these have got to do with daily life on this earth. And that’s what the book of Proverbs deals with. And that’s why it’s very good for us when we are young to be taken up with this book.
It says here in Proverbs chapter 1, we could say the first nine chapters are primarily directed to young people. It says, verse 4, to give wisdom to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion and discernment.
A wise person can also listen to this, and he will increase, verse 5, in wisdom.
And the first thing he has to say is, verse 7, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge.
And as someone has said, there are two types of fear that we can have of God. One is a wrong type of fear and the other is a right type of fear. One is the fear that God may hurt me. The other is the fear that I may hurt God. And these are completely different.
False religions major on this first type of fear, the fear that God may hurt me in some way. And so we have to appease Him, make Him happy. But the type of fear the Bible speaks about is the fear that I may hurt God by the way I live.
Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, it says. (Ephesians 4:30) It’s a reverence for God that is spoken of here, a reverence for His Word. And the book of Proverbs begins with that. All wisdom, all knowledge begins there. True wisdom is to have a reverence for God, not to play the fool. I find even believers sometimes crack jokes about God and spiritual things in an irreverent way. I believe humor is a gift of God, but we must never make God and divine serious things the subject of jokes.
We must never make hell the subject of jokes, because it’s too awesome a reality to joke about for a person to burn eternally in hell. A person who’s got a reverence for God will never joke about these things which are so serious, just like you would not joke about a man dying of cancer. And this is worse.
Reverence for God is something which is lacking in the world today. And if you want to become spiritual, begin here. The knowledge, the understanding that the Proverb speaks about is the knowledge of God, not the knowledge of the Bible, but the knowledge of God. There’s a lot of difference between knowing the Bible and knowing God.
Wisdom comes from reverence for God and knowing Him. The more we know Him, the more we reverence Him. The more we reverence Him, the more we get to know Him.
Speaking here to a young man, ‘My son verse 8, hear the instruction of your father, and forsake not the law of your mother.’
And one of the first things he says in verse 10 is, be careful about the type of company you keep. Very, very important. Young people, if sinners entice you, don’t listen to them. Don’t allow other people to drag you along their worldly ways. Stand alone for the Lord if necessary. I believe that’s one of the first things that young people need to learn, to say no. I’m sorry I’m not coming with you.
If you can learn that lesson, you may offend some of your friends. It may not be for such terrible things as spoken of in those verses, but the principle is the same.
And in Proverbs 1:23, he says, I will pour out my spirit on you, and I will make known my words unto you.
When we studied Genesis chapter 1, we saw there the combination of the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. And here we see the same combination that produces wisdom. If you merely study the Word, you don’t get wisdom. God has to pour out His Spirit upon us so that these words become living; we are enlightened.
I’ve often thought that a person who studies the Bible without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is like a man trying to read a book in a room where there’s no light and it’s all dark. How much can you read? How much will you understand? To study the Bible without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit is like reading a book in the dark. You strain your eyes and you may get something.
But as soon as the lights are switched on, you can see everything. And that’s what happens when the Spirit is poured out, I will make known or I will reveal my words to you. This is how wisdom comes.
And He says if you neglect it, there’s a warning, Proverbs 1 verse 24 to 33, that if you neglect it, one day you will get into trouble, and then you will call to me and ask me for help and you may not find it. That means it’s wisdom speaking, that you won’t find wisdom late in life if you have neglected it in your earlier years.
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