Summary: The way of wisdom is a marathon that requires endurance, balance, perspective, and nurturing good relationships.

Practical Faith

(Proverbs 21:16-19)

1. We all do silly things. On blogger recalls, “A couple years back my debit card expired. Of course, the bank sent me a replacement card ahead of time. Once I received it, I called the number to activate it, and stuffed it into my wallet after cutting up the old one.

“A few days later I'm at a 7-11 picking up some things for myself and a few co-workers. I didn't have enough cash on me so I used my debit card. The thing where I swipe the card wasn't working, so I handed it to the cashier for them to swipe.

“At that point, she looked at me and said "Hey, there's no signature on your card." She showed it to me and, sure enough, I had forgotten to sign it.

“So I borrowed a pen and signed the card in front of her.

“She then swiped it, the transaction went through, had me sign the receipt, and then compared the signature on the card to the signature on the receipt.”

2. There is a difference between doing silly things that do not make sense and not having sense. One is an occasional blunder, the other is a condition that should be remedied.

3. Beginning with the Baby Boom generation, America has – by and large – become a nation that prefers to find out things by trial and error rather than starting with those who went before. We not only reject conventional wisdom, we are unfamiliar with it.

4.The pursuit of wisdom is a worthy goal for everyone who names the name of Christ, despite its unpopularity in this world. Wisdom or sense deals with what is, not necessarily how thing should be. It is a direction, a pathway – not just an occasionally good decision.

Main Idea: The way of wisdom is a marathon that requires endurance, balance, perspective, and nurturing good relationships.

I. Endurance: The Sensible Person Can Still CHOOSE Foolishness (16)

A. To wander from sense must mean one HAD sense

1. Have you ever known a wise person who chose to be foolish? Solomon.

2. He is tired of God’s restraint and wants to wander toward unrestrained excitement.

3. He is tired of being part of the godly and wants his independence and freedom

4. He wants to live life to the fullest; middle age people act like teenagers, etc.

B. Good sense is a WAY, not just an occasional choice

“But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.”

“Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?

C. The wanderer has the same destiny as a life-long FOOL

1. He loses his wild wandering (he shall rest)

2. He loses his quest for independence (he rests in the assembly)

3. He loses his life (the assembly of the dead)

II. Balance: The Wise Person BALANCES Work and Play (17)

A. Some people hold REST in contempt, others hold WORK in contempt

Ecclesiastes 4:6, “One hand full of rest is better than two fists full of labor and striving after wind.”

B. Prioritizing PLEASURE over everything else brings POVERTY

1. wine/ oil –- constant banquets/ goodtime Charlie (not industrious/responsible/fun loving)

2. God gives us things to enjoy (I Timothy 6:17) and people to love; but sometimes we love things and rarely think about others.

3. We enjoy best in moderation; escape the myth that more is better; we are, at heart, greedy

4. delaying gratification is the hallmark of mature, but many people never mature

5. constantly rewarding ourselves, we become lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God...

C. A balanced life is the most SATISFYING life

D. Loving either pleasure or work TOO MUCH works against us

1. Loving the Lord & others, however, can help us avoid materialism, workaholism, & idleness.

2. For a lot of people, over work or pleasure seeking is an escape from having to love others

3. Sadly, a lack of balance affects the way we love God; it takes time to love God, too

Craig Grosechel in his book “Weird,” talks about a family of four at a restaurant with their heads bowed. He assumed they were praying before their meal. He was wrong. He later realized that they were all texting. Is that our lives? Are we so busy texting that we don't take time to pray and be thankful? We need a better balance.

III. Perspective: Corrupt People Are More DISPENSABLE than the Upright (18)

A. Decent people might value CORRUPT individuals

B. But decent folks would CHOOSE the righteous over them

1. Haman was hanged at the gallows while Israel was delivered

2. Few mourned Haman’s passing

3. The Egyptians suffered loss to force Pharaoh to free Israel

4. This is why Calvary was so strange: the righteous became atonement for the unrighteous (2 Cor. 5:21); that is why Jesus had to become sin for us…

5. A traitor is a defector who does things to harm his former friends or nation

6. How we treat others affects how valued we are; we are wrong to expect people to accept us unconditionally; this is one reason we need manners and social skills...

7. In the musical Scrooge, debtors to his lending business sing and rejoice at his death, “Thank you very much.” When you are nasty, you will also be unpopular.

IV. Nurturing Good Relationships: Happiness is Not a LOCATION (19)

Before we saw happiness is better than big house, now happiness is better than a prime location.

A. A desert land with PEACE is preferable to unrest

B. Quarrelsome and FRETFUL people kill joy

1. Quarrelsome (scolding); Hebrew word implies a contest or competition (madown, Strongs 4066)

2. Fretful (provoked, spite, wrath) (3708 ka’as)

3. In 21:9, living in the corner of the roof was a place of alleviation, coping. In 21:19, moving to a desert land is essentially separating. Sometimes necessary.

4. Most of us never ponder what it would be like to be married to us

5. Most of us minimize the impact of our rudeness, mannerisms, flaws and maximize others

6. Not just about marriage; many unpleasant people

7. God and his wife, Israel; God withdrew his glory (Shekinah) in Ezekiel

8. How do we love negative, nasty, quarrelsome people?