Pride and Counsel
1. The author speaks about the fear of the Lord. This is a topic mentioned often in Proverbs.
a. Remember who is speaking here: Lady Wisdom (8: 1-2)
b. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom! (9:10) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Lady Wisdom.
c. These two concepts go hand in hand. A wise man WILL fear God. A God-fearing man will be wise. A God-fearing man will submit to the words of Lady Wisdom.
d. We might even say here, “The beginning of Lady Wisdom is to hate evil…”
e. Lady Wisdom HATES evil, pride, arrogance, and the evil way.
2. It is WISE to fear God, for that fear will cause us to hate evil and stay away.
a. One of the reasons we commit sin and do evil is because we don’t hate it enough.
b. If your son was killed by a drunk driver, wouldn’t you hate drunk driving? God’s son was killed because of our sin. He HATES sin. He hated sin BEFORE the cross too.
c. But if we feared God as we should, that FEAR would keep us away from sin.
d. How much do you hate sin? Enough to stop? How much do you fear displeasing God? Enough to change?
e. Heb. 11:7 says that Noah was moved with fear and prepared an ark to the saving of his house.
f. When WE are moved with fear, we too will obey! Fear drives us AWAY from evil and towards that which pleases God.
1. Lady Wisdom (God’s wisdom) hates pride and arrogance. (self exaltation)
a. Note that she DWELLS with prudence (8:12), but she CANNOT dwell with pride, arrogance, and the evil way!
2. Pride and arrogance think they don’t need Lady Wisdom’s advice. They can handle life on their own… or so they think.
3. Note that the young man about to ruin his life is “void of understanding.” (7:7)
4. Note that the young thieves about to rob and plunder think that they are going to get away with their crime… no wisdom… they are proud and think they can outwit the police… the authorities. (1:12-13)
5. Dan. 5:20 – his mind was hardened by pride—DENSE! (hardened to all reason;: truth; common sense). Proud men can be extremely foolish at times! It blinds; it hardens the mind.
6. Ps. 10:4 – because of pride, men will not seek after God or His ways.
7. Prov. 26:12 – a man who is blinded or hardened by pride is hopeless! There has got to be a breaking of the pride before you can get through to him.
8. Prov. 28:25 – a proud heart stirs up strife.
9. Obadiah 3 – The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?
a. Edom FELT secure nestled away in her rock palaces, but she was not.
b. Her pride made her feel secure, but that same pride deceived her.
c. Pride hardens the mind… blinds the eyes… deceives us.
d. “Wherefore, let him that THINKETH he standeth take heed lest he fall!” That is a warning against pride!
10. The proud man THINKS he is safe; thinks he is secure; able to stand; invincible; yet, he is deceived!
a. This man will listen to no one… why should he? He knows it all already!
b. It is this kind of pride that LEADS to every evil way.
c. That evil way then leads to shame. (Prov. 11:2 – When pride cometh, then cometh shame.”)
d. That is why Lady Wisdom warns of pride and arrogance—because of where it leads… its END.
14a Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom
1. Right after stating that she hates pride and arrogance because they lead men in the evil way, Lady Wisdom now states that counsel is HERS!
2. Good counsel BELONGS to Lady Wisdom!
3. This statement stands in direct contrast to what was said in vs.13.
a. Young men have a choice. They can walk in the way of pride and arrogance OR they can come to Lady Wisdom for her counsel.
b. It is one or the other. You can’t have both.
c. It is HUMBLING to come for counsel. It is in effect saying, “I need help.”
d. It is the proud macho man who says, “I can handle it myself. I don’t need anybody’s help!”
e. This kind of pride keeps people away from salvation. (I can do it myself!) It is humbling to come to salvation God’s way… admitting we are helpless and in NEED of a Savior!
4. Yet if that proud young man humbles himself and comes to God for wisdom, God will ABUNDANTLY supply all the wisdom he needs! (Jas. 1:5-7)
5. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. (Jas. 4:6) Humility and fear of the Lord is the way of wisdom.
14b I am understanding; I have strength.
1. Lady Wisdom is understanding.
a. She knows HOW we ought to live.
b. She knows HOW we are to handle situations at work.
c. She knows the right thing to say to your boss… to your teacher… to your friend.
d. She knows HOW to restore that broken relationship.
e. She knows
2. Lady Wisdom has strength.
a. The young man who takes her counsel and follows her ways will have strength he needs for life’s journey.
b. He will have strength of character… and that will carry him far throughout his life.
c. He will have strength in facing temptations… the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom… and that same wise fear causes us to flee from temptation!
d. He will have the strength he needs in facing tribulation in life… and it will come!
e. Lady Wisdom not only knows WHAT we ought to do. She also has the strength we need to carry it out! She not only provides the wisdom in knowing which road to take… she offers strength for the journey… or at least can point us to the source of strength!
3. Those who follow Lady Wisdom are STRONG
a. Prov. 24:5-6 – “A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength. For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.”
• The military leader with fewer troops but with much wisdom is stronger militarily than another leader who may have more troops, but lacks wisdom!
• Ecc. 9:13-15 – a poor wise man saved a city from a strong, powerful king!
• Ecc. 9:16 – Wisdom is better than weapons of war:
• Ecc. 7:19 – “Wisdom strengtheneth the wise more than ten mighty men which are in the city.”
• Prov. 21:21 – a wise man can defeat all the strongholds of the city… not by strength but through wisdom!
• Prov. 30:25 – this principle can apply to us too. Put the principles of wisdom into practice and THAT will more than compensate for your lack of money or size or skill or strength in other areas!
• Ignorance is WEAK. Wisdom and knowledge result in strength.
• Young people—do your best in school! Knowledge increases your strength in many ways… it will increase your spiritual strength… it will strengthen your safety… your finances will be stronger by use of wisdom… your friendships will be stronger… your marriage… your ministry in the local church—wisdom and knowledge increases strength!
4. Prov. 10:29 – “The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.”
a. Two distinct WAYS are set before us. The way of the Lord (which is the way of wisdom) and the way of iniquity… the broad way.
b. One way results in destruction to one’s life. (a life full of pride; laziness; drunkenness; immorality; ignorance; folly—a road to disaster. Sin, pride, and ignorance weaken the believer.)
c. The other way, the way of wisdom… the way of the Lord results in STRENGTH.
• God’s way is a narrow way. God restricts our paths… keeps us off dead end streets. God’s wisdom keeps us away from that which is harmful.
• The way of God’s restrictions are GOOD for us… and strengthen us.
• Think of food—who is stronger, the one who eats wisely, or the one who eats whatever and whenever he wants?
• Think of school work—who is stronger? The one who restricts himself from all the entertainment and games and hits the books, or the proud know-it-all who never studies? Who enters the final in a stronger position? Who enters life in a stronger position?
• Think of the Christian life—who is stronger? The proud believer who thinks he can live the Christian life on his own? The one who hardly ever reads the Word? The one who never prays unless he is in a crisis? The one who lives for himself and the world? OR—the one who fears God, and thus, hungers after His wisdom… and practices it in his daily life?
• There really is no contest. Wisdom possesses strength. Those who submit to the words of Lady Wisdom are strong… in every way! Wisdom leads to strength. Pride and sin lead to destruction… weakness… a pitiful life.
• We can humble ourselves and come to Lady Wisdom for counsel… OR we can go on in our pride and arrogance… which weaken us and set us up for a fall.
• Lady Wisdom is still calling out to young men. “Don’t go the way of pride and evil. I hate that way! Come to me. I have counsel. I am understanding and strength!