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WISE IN OUR OWN EYES – POPULAR CULTURE - Proverbs 26:1-12

November 12, 2017

 

True wisdom honours God while worldly wisdom honour’s self. We must learn to respond wisely to popular culture.

 

We are coming around to that time of the year where schools, clubs, organisations give out awards.

We honour those who have achieved. And this is good.

 

And the world and Bible are in agreement what honour is. To honour someone is to give them respect, recognition, acknowledgement. To give reverence to someone because of what they are or what they have done.

 

What the world and the Bible are in conflict with, is in agree what/who is worthy of honour.

 

Our passage today challenges us to see popular culture in light of the Godly wisdom we have been having revealed in the book of Proverbs.

 

True wisdom honours God while worldly wisdom honour’s self. We must learn to respond wisely to popular culture.

 

 

Let’s remind ourselves what true wisdom is…

As Ross shared at the start of our Proverbs series, wisdom can’t be achieved apart from God. Can’t be self-deduced, or developed through self-reflection Wisdom comes from God and relies on a right understanding of God.

 

Gaining wisdom is about knowing God and rightly fearing the God you know.

 

To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behaviour and perverse speech. 8:13

Humility is the fear of the LORD; its wages are riches and honour and life (Pr 22:4).

 

To fear the Lord is to hate what God hates, and to turn from it. To be in humble submission to God, humble and obedient.

 

And it is this understanding of wisdom that brings honour to God.

 

 

TRUE WISDOM HONOURS GOD

You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!

Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!

Psalm 22:23

 

True wisdom gives the reverence, respect, honour to God which is due to Him. Honouring him in every aspect of our lives. We have seen examples, principles presented across our series in Proverbs.

 

True wisdom in how we treat others gives, honour to God.

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker,

but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Proverbs 14:31

 

True wisdom in how we use the money and resources God provides us, gives honour to God.

Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops;

Proverbs 3:9

 

True wisdom gives the reverence, respect, honour to God which is due to Him. Honouring him in every aspect of our lives.

 

But worldly wisdom, foolishness, folly, honours self.

 

WORLDLY WISDON HONOUR'S SELF

Do you see a person wise in their own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for them. Proverbs 26:12

 

Worldly wisdom sees people believing they are wise in their own eyes. Worldly wisdom holds people up as being wise by their own standards, blindly over-estimating their own wisdom.

 

We have the ultimate example of this at the moment. Donald Trump.

Listen to a person who is wise in their own eyes…

Worldly wisdom sees people believing they are wise in their own eyes. And from it grows, not true wisdom but…

  • self-conceit

  • self-importance

  • vanity

  • pride

  • smugness

  • arrogance

 

Worldly wisdom, popular culture gives the reverence, respect, honour to self.

 

And this is out of whack. This is not how it should be.

Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. Proverbs 26:1

Giving honour to a person who is wise in their own eyes, a fool, is like snow is summer, or rain when you’re trying to harvest. It’s not how it should be.

 

And yet we live in a world that gives reverence, respect, honour to those who represent worldly wisdom, popular culture.

 

And we too can show this foolishness.

 

Have a listen to an email I received from a pastor friend, reflecting on how we can become “wise in our own eyes” the longer we are a Christian…

 

I’m sure we have become quite familiar with the common ministry prayer that gets shot up and, simply put, says…… “HELP!!!”

God comes through and we all live to see another day.

But surely there comes a time when our prayer of 'help' starts to become less of a need, as we start to experience the 'been there, done that' principle.

Finally, we start to feel like we are getting into the swing of ministry and we become more confident to offer advice to help those that call on us in these ways. Welcome to the first step of a slippery slope ahead.

 

And that slippery slope ahead, is foolishness. Worldly wisdom. Popular culture.

 

So again, we come back to the foundations we have established at the outset of our series in Proverbs.

It is essential that we have the correct lenses in order to understand Proverbs. With the correct lenses we with see with no distortion, we will see clearly.

 

Wisdom is from God and about knowing God and rightly fearing the God you know. Wisdom honours God.

 

Our part is to desire wisdom.

If…

you pursue, seek and receive wisdom from God,

Then...

you will understand the fear of the Lord, righteousness and justice

So…

you will be saved from the influence of evil people and live righteously.

 

And it starts with a humility that acknowledges “I only know what I know!”

 

So how are we to respond to the worldly wisdom around us, the popular culture?

 

We must learn to respond wisely to popular culture.

And it’s not easy to know how to respond as we see in verse 4 and 5.

Do not answer a fool according to his folly,

or you yourself will be just like him.

Answer a fool according to his folly,

or he will be wise in his own eyes. Proverbs 26:4-5

 

These two, contrasting verse show us that it isn’t always easy to know how to respond to a fool, how to respond to popular culture.

Politics, abortion, same sex marriage, gender identification, euthanasia, poverty, mental health.

 

On one hand there is a time when we should remain silent in the face of foolish words, behaviours and choices of those around us in order to keep us from falling into the trap of being “wise in our own eyes”. The trap that sees us becoming self-conceit, self-important, vain, prideful, smug, arrogant, a know it all.

 

But then again, there is a time when we need to respond to the foolish words, behaviours and choices of those around us in order to point out their foolishness or they will think that they are wise. We need to speak truth, wisdom into a situation.

 

The dilemma is what to do, when.

When to speak and when to shut up?

 

Jesus as always provides us with the perfect example.

He knew when and what to say. When speaking to the Pharisees…

You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of. Matthew 12:34

 

He knew when to say nothing. When before the Sanhedrin when he had been arrested…

Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?” But Jesus remained silent. Matthew 26:62-63

 

Jesus knew when to speak and when to remain silent!

Why, because his focus was on honouring the Father.

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. John 17:4

 

We need the wisdom of Jesus. Wisdom of God Wisdom to know when to speak, or when to remain silent.

 

We need call out to the God of wisdom.

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord;

keep watch over the door of my lips.

4Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil

so that I take part in wicked deeds

along with those who are evildoers;

do not let me eat their delicacies. Psalm 141:3-4

 

We also need to know when to trust a fool and when to separate ourselves.

 

Our passage today gives multiple warnings about the folly of engaging with fools.

 

Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. Proverbs 26:6

Trusting an important message to a foolish person is just asking for trouble. It’s like cutting your feet off and self-damaging.

 

Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Proverbs 26:8

It makes no sense to tie a stone into a sling. You will end up injuring the thrower.

In the same way, giving honour, reverence, respect to a fool makes no sense as it will end up damaging you, your reputation.

 

Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. Proverbs 26:10

The foolishness of hiring a fool or any passer-by is like a crazy archer who is indiscriminately shooting without aiming. Anyone can be harmed.

 

We need wisdom on when to trust a person and when to separate ourselves.

Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I trust your commands.

Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.

You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.

Though the arrogant have smeared me with lies, I keep your precepts with all my heart.

Psalm 119:66-69

 

So how are you on your life-long journey into wisdom?

  • True wisdom gives the reverence, respect, honour to God which is due to Him. Honouring him in every aspect of our lives.

  • Worldly wisdom sees people believing they are wise in their own eyes. Worldly wisdom holds people up as being wise by their own standards, blindly over-estimating their own wisdom.

  • We must learn to respond wisely to popular culture.
    We need wisdom on when to speak, or when to remain silent.
    When to trust a fool and when to separate ourselves.

  • We need call out to the God of wisdom.

 

True wisdom honours God while worldly wisdom honour’s self. We must learn to respond wisely to popular culture.

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