Four Pearls from a Proverb
Introduction: Scholars tell us that Solomon is the probable author of most if not all of the Proverbs. The inscription in the very first verse bears his name and since he is considered to be one of the wisest men who ever lived it behooves us to pay attention and take heed to what he has left for us. It is worth noting that knowledge appears 42 times, wisdom 54 times, understanding 54 times and instruction 25 times. So there can be no doubt as to the overall theme of these proverbs. A proverb is defined as a short saying that expresses an obvious truth and often offers advice. The truth we have in the proverbs has stood the test of test and there is much we can learn today. I have titled this message "Pearls from the Proverbs" because pearls, good pearls, are very valuable. Natural pearls are the most expensive type of pearl. The Baroda pearls, for example recently sold at auction for more than $7 million. But natural pearls like this are extremely rare and are primarily for collectors. Today, cultured pearls are what people see at jewelry stores around the world. The word pearl is used only twice in the Bible and both times it is used to describe something very valuable.
Matthew 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
Revelation 21:21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.
My hope and prayer this morning is that you will see the great value in the knowledge, wisdom, instruction and understanding found in this Scriptures. Let's look at four pearls "...of great price... "found in chapter 3.
First, there is the pearl of:
I. The Truth
a. Don't forget the truth vs 1-2
America has forgotten the truth and because she has we have no objective standard and therefore every man does that which is right in his own eyes. There needs to be a re-discovery of the truth of in our country. Perhaps American believers have taken such a casual attitude towards God's word because it is so accessible. It's easy to forget God's law when we don't keep it from the heart. When this happens then it becomes more about religion than relationship. We forget who created us, who blesses us and who we owe everything to. Do you notice what we have when we have the truth? Verse 2 declares that when we don't forget the truth we have "...peace..." I submit to you that what is wrong in America today is that there is no peace because we have forgotten the truth, the Bible!
b. Don't forsake the truth vs 3-4
Let mercy and truth be your constant companions! Two verbs are used here, bind and write. Those that keep God's word before them and use it to be the motivation of their every act, word and deed will ..."find favour and good understanding in the sight of God and man." Mercy and truth are indispensable elements in our moral character. Mercy in are dealings with others and truth as the governing principle of our lives. The word "...favour..." is grace, the grace of God. Noah found "...grace in the eyes of the Lord..." and so will every man who does not forsake His truth. Also, the latter portion of verse 4 says that this kind of man will possess discrimination and discernment which will be recognized by those who come into contact with him.
Psalms 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalms 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth forever.
Second, there is the pearl of:
II. The Trust vs 5-8
a. Surrender to the Sovereign v. 5-6
Surrender: not to a creature, even the best, the holiest, and the highest falls short of His glory; not in any creature enjoyment, riches, power, and wisdom; nor in any outward privilege, arising from position or pedigree ; not in a man's self, in his own heart, which is deceitful; nor in any works of righteousness done by him; not in a profession of religion, or outward obedience, no matter how well it is performed; but in the Lord, the object of all grace, and in him only; in Jehovah the Father, as the God of creation and providence, for all temporal blessings; and as the God of all grace, for all spiritual blessings, and all the needful supplies of grace; and for eternal happiness, which he has provided, promised, and freely gives. Trust in him at all times; in times of affliction, temptation, and darkness: there is a great deal of reason for it; all power and strength are in him to help; his love, grace, and mercy, move him to it, and are always the same: the consideration of what he has done for others that have trusted in him, and for ourselves in times past, should encourage to it. Trust in Jehovah the Son; in his person for acceptance; in his righteousness for justification; in his blood for pardon; in his fullness for supply; in his power for protection and preservation; and in him alone for salvation and eternal life. Trust in Jehovah the Spirit, to carry on and finish the work of grace upon the heart; of which a saint may be confident that where it is begun it will be completed. And this trust in Father, Son, and Spirit, should be "with all the heart", fully surrendered and sincere. The phrase signifies a faith unfeigned; it is not saying, or professing, that a man believes and trusts in the Lord; but it is with the heart, and with his whole heart, that he believes unto righteousness. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Listen to the promise to those who give the Lord their whole heart and self and acknowledge Him in all their ways. He will be our unerring, infallible guide in all of life. Listen to the sweet Psalmist as he reflects on his Shepherd:
Psalms 23:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. 3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. 4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. 5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
b. Separate yourself from sin v. 7-8
Two things stand out in verse 7. First, is the "...fear of the Lord..."
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Has it occurred to you that there is a reason for the way that men and women behave today? There is a reason why they rob, rape, and murder. There is a reason why they lie, cheat and steal. Let's read what Paul writes to the believers at Rome:
Romans 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 13 Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: 14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: 15 Their feet are swift to shed blood: 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways: 17 And the way of peace have they not known: 18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
People live like the devil because they do not fear God! Second, there is the companion truth that says if men fear God like they ought then they will "...depart from evil..." like they ought. They are inseparable! Listen to the Word of the Lord:
2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
I just love this promise in verse 8 where he says that "...it will be health to your navel..." Have you ever given any thought to how important your navel is? When you were in the womb you received everything from your mother through the umbilical cord. Trusting in and fearing the Lord is as important to you spiritually as your umbilical cord is to you physically.
Third, there is the pearl of:
III. The Treasure vs 9-10
a. The attitude of gratitude
The Hebrew word used here is Minchah or gratitude offering commanded under the law and was of endless obligation. The Jews were to be grateful to Jehovah always and so are we. We are to be grateful for everything He has given to us. Only then do we honor Him. There is also the matter of priority for it is to be the "...firstfruits of all thy substance..."
Adam Clarkes Commentary on the Bible
The feast of Tabernacles was an acknowledgement that the fruits of the harvest were from the Lord (Exodus 23:16 ; 34:22 ).
Every individual was required to consecrate to God a portion of the first-fruits of the land, Exodus 23:19 The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God...Throughout the OT offerings brought to the Lord were to be the firstfruits, wheat and other grains, fruit from trees and vines, cattle, sheep, and even the first lump of dough was brought to the Lord. Can I read a passage that a lot of folks, even many Christian folks don't like to hear?
Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. 10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. 11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts. 12 And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.
What do you call someone who takes something that belongs to someone else? Now I don't know about South Alabama but in NE Arkansas the law calls them a thief and if you are caught stealing in Clay County there is a prosecutor named Stephen Michael Trail who will put you in jail. How many of you can say amen, thieves should and prosecuted and put in jail?
Well guess what? God says that anyone who doesn't pay his tithes is a ________fill in the blank for me? You can never have the peace and provision of God if you take and keep something that rightfully belongs to Him. I rest my case!
Do you know why your "...barns are not full...?" and why your "...presses are not overflowing with new wine...?"
Finally, there is the pearl of
V. The Trials vs 11-12
a. The chastening in love
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
b. The corrected to learn
Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
[The Point: Sometimes, the only path to peace is straight through struggles.]
In Hosea 2:15 God says "I will make the valley of Achor a door of hope."
Many years ago I read a book entitled "Door of Hope"; it pointed out that the Hebrew word "achor" means "trouble". So, what God may have *really* been trying to say to us would have been, "I will make the valley of trouble into a door of hope."
Ask yourself, when is it that we need hope most often? Right: in the Valley of Trouble. Perhaps God is saying that it is that very trouble itself that He will use as a door of hope for us. How many times have we prayed for people, that God would show them their need of Him. So then God leads them toward the Valley of Trouble. And then we step in to try and lead them away from this Valley! Yet, their only hope, the only true door out from their circumstances is there: in the Valley of Achor.
Too often we fight against God Himself by telling others and ourselves to stay out of Achor. Over and over again we try to "help" people, by removing the "trouble" that they find themselves in. Throughout the historical record of Scripture we discover that trouble is not always a bad thing. If God is leading someone toward it, it is because there, in the Valley of Trouble, is where they will find (and likely the *only* place they will find)... a Door of Hope.
So, Church... stay out of trouble (oops! Well, you know what I mean)...
George W.J. Shearer