Bible Proverbs Practical Applications
Wisdom can be both good and bad; one can have an unjust wise person. The earth is an unjust place, full of clever people that use their cleverness in unjust acts; thus the unjust wise, are self-seekers rather than upholders of natural Justice.
Wisdom naturally assumes our depravity; that is, we are naturally inclined towards Evil due to our fallen nature. One needs instruction in order to obtain wisdom. It is not a natural trait but one that is learnt. This is in line with the doctrine of original sin. Instruction first comes as discipline, where one listens and inculcates.
For the young and children (before adolescence say 10 years), one instructs and understanding is arrived at. Corporal punishment comes in when a child makes a choice not to follow what has been instructed. The end result is conforming behaviour to what has been instructed.
For adults that lack the discipline to follow through on right instruction, stumbling inevitably happens, leading to all manner of problems. I personally have had a problem with alcohol for many years, having taken a wrong turn as a teen. I expect you will find similar examples in your life as well.
Inculcating moral acumen in life Prudence is to give attention to a threatening situation and to have insight into its solution. The threatening situations in the world, at all times, are rival discourses on what is righteous and what is wicked.
Righteousness as earlier defined is not to disadvantage anyone in your journey, in order for you to benefit. Life is not a zero sum game, we can all benefit, even as one accumulates more than the other.
I live in a country that practices capitalism. I see pure capitalism as the law of the jungle, eat or be eaten. We are however not wild animals, and God in his wisdom granted us the grey matter between our ears, to conduct ourselves as human beings. On the other hand, to come to the defense of capitalism, we cannot force anyone to act altruistically; this is a personal decision that comes primarily through learning and experience (learning wisdom).
If one takes it to heart, that we must act righteously as we accumulate or grow our wealth, certain things slowly but surely become unacceptable.
A few examples, out of the myriad out there, would include:
- Usury: Lending at rates that take advantage of the poor and disenfranchised e.g pay day loans
- Betting and casinos: Gambling like smoking and the use and sale of hard drugs, is addictive and like a pyramid scheme, the house always wins. The effect on families from these scourges is devastating, even if some are regarded as legal by many states; it’s a matter of moral justice and not profit.
- The use of violence for personal gain: I was once a great fan of mafia movies, now I just cringe at the thought. How one can traffic drugs, or people is unfathomable.
- Financial misrepresentation: All with the aim of duping investors and making off with their money. The 2008 housing crisis, originated in misinformation for the sake of a few peoples and firm’s profits; absolute nonsense!
- Underpaying workers, while overcompensating management: Talent should be compensated, but at the very least, we owe those that work for us a decent living standard. Equality is not the issue here, just fair and decent remuneration.
- Deifying the bottom line (even when one is in the black): I am a business student and I have never understood why a dip in profitability even when in the black is considered failure. For as long as a company is not making losses, it supports itself and shareholders; is that not enough?
Any activity that unrighteously accumulates wealth at the expense of others does not develop character and leads to spiritual death. Wealth as I have stated is not bad, but as the Lord has told us, “Man will not live by bead alone but by every word that comes from the father”.
The thinking above is premised on the thinking that a human being is created in the image and likeness of God. As created sentient human beings, it is the responsibility of the strong to take care of the weak; unlike wild animals, whose base instinct is eat or be eaten.
The talents that we have should be for the benefit of self, ones dearest and thereafter the world at large. Why do we forget that our time on earth is very short compared to the expectation that our soul will live forever? Live well, eat well, but do so righteously.
b) Easy sex without marriage: Sexual freedom without responsibility, marriage or commitment. If you do not prepare the young, by raising them to commit themselves to biblical ethics, what chance will they have in a world where the preponderance of evil is more than that of good (at least anecdotally). As a parent, do everything in your power to expose the young to biblical ethics, it will give them something to go on rather than having nothing at all.
An uncommitted and ignorant mind is open to anything and thus becomes easy prey for evil doers. I know this clearly by experience. We do our young a great disservice when we fail to give them the right exposure. We cannot force acquiescence, but having the knowledge will certainly give one pause as they grow into adults.
Righteousness, Justice, Fairness and Discernment
Righteousness: is advantaging others, at your cost or disadvantage. Essentially loving your neighbour as yourself, but extended to also rebuking him, lest you are also considered guilty for not having done so. You must be willing to suffer rejection or a cost of sorts in doing what is right.
Justice: is to deliver the oppressed and punish the oppressor.
Fairness: is to be impartial to all, but see all as God sees his creation.
Discernment: Craftiness aimed at achieving a righteous outcome; as the adage goes, to be as wise as serpents, but as gentle as doves.
On being teachable Bible Proverbs 1:5-7 A wise person is teachable. They reflect and accept that they could be wrong. The fool in verse 7 is an adult that despises wisdom and instruction. They are mockers; they mock those that walk in a godly way. They are those that willfully knock down Gods word. They are brilliant, but they cannot see the beauty of Christian living. To these, don’t bother attempting to correct or explain; simply stay away from them; they have chosen their path.
On godliness Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful but delights in the way of the Lord; he meditates on it day and night. A mocker has no fear of God. The book of proverbs is synonymous with a fear of the Lord. For as one learns, one’s behavior changes accordingly. The problem starts if one has no interest in learning. A fear of the Lord stems from the fact that Gods promises are secure, and his threats are very real!
Shun Evil Counsel Proverbs 1:8-19 Warning against the invitation of sinful men. There are a number of lessons to sons (sons is synonymous with daughters):
- Bible proverbs on the command to listen: In your minds ear, listen to what you have learnt at home as opposed to the world, peers, workmates and friends
- Motivation: What you have learnt protects your thinking and your life; these are a garland and necklace that is a safeguard in a world full of evil and evil doers.
- Proverbs on temptation of the peer group: They attract you with easy money, gained unrighteously. It could be a gang where blood is spilled, or a bank where schemes are hatched to defraud investors. Understand what it means to be righteous, and once you do, you will perceive unrighteousness when you see it, the examples are numerous, but the aim is always self-aggrandizement at any cost. Once you have understood unrighteousness, you will readily perceive it.
God will hold the unrighteous accountable; they have set a trap for themselves. Note that despite unrighteousness, there must also be justice in the end, for God will not allow evil doers to get away with it. Justice can happen in this life or after it; what we must trust is that it does happen.
Woman wisdom rebukes the simple Proverbs 1:20-33 The simple are Uncommitted, Open minded, and lack any foundation. If you do not make a commitment to aspiring to wisdom, you will not understand the writings in this book. To understand this book is a rare gift, given by God, through the spirit to those who have made a commitment. One’s world view completely changes as one inculcates and understands more.