Summary: Common Sense Instructions.
Introduction: CSI is a popular series currently airing weekly on our TV sets. CSI stands for Crime Scene Investigation. This sermon has nothing to do with a crime scene, but it has everything to do with “common sense instructions”.
In chapter 10 Solomon offers us some common sense instructions about “The Meaning of Life.” This chapter is a bit difficult, not because of its interpretation, but because of its organization. It is very symbolic in nature. It is a group of proverbs that hang together in a loose fashion. Having said that let’s see if we can determine what Solomon is saying here.
Here are Solomon’s common sense instructions (CSI). “Act like you got some sense” when it comes to:
I. Lifestyle (1-3)
What do we find here?
A. Verse 1 – Reputation - “Little things can have great consequences.” This verse has more to do than with just flies and fragrance. A little wrong can cast suspicion on your whole life. “Folly” = lack of good sense or foresight; not looking at the consequences.
B. Verse 2 – Inclination – “The start is in the heart.” Which way is your heart inclined (bent)? “Right/left” = behavior. The right is that which is worth our pursuit, time and effort. It’s God’s way. The left indicates weakness or rejection. Our inclination determines our lifestyle which, in turn, determines our reputation.
C. Verse 3 – Demonstration – “Stupid is as stupid does.” What’s inside will eventually show up on the outside. We can identify a fool by his “walk”, that is his/her directions or pursuits in life. Our inclination shows up in our demonstration which produces our reputation.
II. Leadership (4-7, 16-17)
A. Verse 4 – Terror – Some leaders produce terror. Here is the picture of a hotheaded boss. This is one easily angered who has no control over moods or temperament. See Eph. 4:26. How do you deal with such? Don’t quit or resign. Allow God to develop within you a gentle, quiet spirit that you might help this person. Take a high road. Control yourself. You will become a leader.
B. Verse 5 – Error – All leaders make errors, some however, make great errors. Here is a leader who puts little people in big positions, while the one who is capable and competent is low man on the totem pole. Verse 16 – Princes = immature. Verse 17 – Princes = mature.
“A leader is someone who steps out and others follow.” (Young) “If you are leading and no one is following, you’re just talking a walk.” (Maxwell) You have to connect before you can convince.
A side-note: Characteristics of a wise leader (chapter 10).
1. He inclines his heart to the ways of God (v.2)
2. He controls his temper (v.4)
3. He directs the right people to the right position (v.6)
4. He thinks ahead (v.8-11)
5. He guards his words carefully (v. 12-14)
6. He puts others ahead of himself (v.16-17)
7. He has a good work ethic (v. 18-19)
8. He’s a people person
III. Labor (8-11, 15, 18)
A. Verses 8-9 – Be Honest – These verses could be summed up in three phrases: “Set ‘em up, knock ‘em down, and take ‘em in.” We reap what we sow. See verse 8. Is he digging a “pit” for water or is it a trap to injure someone else? Better watch out! Concerning the “wall” is he remodeling or breaking in to steal? Get the idea?
It could be that not playing by the rules can get you into trouble. It, also, could be that playing by the rules could be hazardous to your health.
B. Verses 10-11 – Be Handy – I think both of these verses have to do with “preparation”. In verse 11, I, also, think that it has to do with the get-rich-quick issue.
C. Verses 15, 18 – Be Hardy – Verse 15 has to do with productivity and verse 18 to do with procrastination. Don’t let things go – get things done.
IV. Lips (12-14, 20)
A. Verse 12 – Be Careful What You Speak – “Gracious” = right, kind, well-spoken. “Consumed” = to swallow up. Give a fool enough rope and he will eventually hang himself. A lot of us just talk too much!
B. Verse 13 - Be Careful How You Speak – Here’s a first class fool who’s an expert on every subject. He has too high a regard for his own opinions. He goes from foolishness to madness.
C. Verse 20 - Be Careful Where You Speak – “Thoughts” = among your friends. How did you know all this? “A little bird told me!”
Conclusion: When it comes to lifestyle, leadership, labor and your lips “act like you got some sense.”