In The Ring (Proverbs 24:3-6)

MOTIVATE

You have seen it before:

  • Grandparents telling the same story for the 44th time.
  • BUT, there are some aunts and uncles that remember the story differently and want to debate some of the details.
  • The cousins are all conspiring mischievously in the basement.
  • The dads are watching a sport with nonsensical yelling at a screen while waiting for dessert.
  • The moms are outside chatting about the good times and venting over regular frustrations.
  • All the while, there are piles of plates, stacked cups, and spread apart silverware inside and surrounding the sink.
  • It’s the nuclear and extended family in all its chaotic, affectionate, and taxing glory.  

Yet, these days family life often looks different.

  • There are more empty seats than previously.
  • Families are more fragmented with members missing due to other activities and hectic schedules.
  • Families are more fragile due to dysfunctional relationships and sensitive discussion topics.
  • Families are less faith-oriented with diverse views about family values, lifestyles, and religious beliefs.
  • Worst yet, families are fighting against one another.

This series has at least 3 aims

  1. In The Ring: We will be looking at different “rings” of the family.
    • It’s like the young man who was excited about his girl and asked father for advice on choosing an engagement ring. Father responded, “Son, you will need 3 rings.” Why 3? First you need the engagement ring, then the wedding ring, then the suffering.
    • That’s the idea behind this series – words that end with “ring” but call us to a deeper understanding of family that drives us to deeper faith and dependence upon the Lord.
  2. Worth The Fight: As a pastor with 5 children, we get all the strange looks. And with those looks also come a lot of assumptions… (don’t have time to unpack all those) and one of those assumptions is that the pastor’s family has it all together. Let me be the first and loudest voice to note that pastors’ family’s fuss and fight like everyone else! I need the encouragement and exhortations I preach each week.

    Further, as a pastor, I see and hear the cry for help from many. So did/does Jesus:
    • A widow cried out to Jesus after her only son died (Lk 7:12)
    • A soldier cried out to Jesus f teenage daughter (Luke 8:42)
    • A man begged Jesus to heal son of demonic seizures (Lk 9:38)
    • Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:14)
    • Jesus sees your struggles, hearts your heartache, and stands with you in storms and battles your family faces.
  3. Cultivating Champion Families: Many individuals and families have the Beatles philosophy of parenting and family life: “All You Need Is Love.” While love is important, we must understand love is not just a relational feeling but a responsibility to have the right foundation of love. We do need the heart of God’s love, but we also need the mind of God’s wisdom. This series in God’s word will help you in fighting with and for your family for peace and a flourishing future.
    • Make no mistake, there is a battle being waged against your life and family. There is a deep power struggle seeking to destroy and devour the members of your family (Jn 10:10; 1 Pt 5:8; Ep 6:10-20). You will not be able to pay enough money, invest in the right schools or activities, nor meet the demands of society. The only way you will win this war is by starting with the heart. I believe that Jesus wants and is only one who can fix the heart of boys and girls, men and women, with vibrant families and radiant churches.
    • Specific sermons I’ve shared on “family.”[1]
      • 2012 Family Matters
      • 2013 Redeeming Ruth
      • 2015 Raising The Next Generation
      • 2015 His and Hers
      • 2019 Cherish Your Family



        What do you mean this series is about family?
    • Life is not all about you. Some messages will appeal to you more than others. But God’s word always has something to chew.
    • If you’re not a parent… you may be one day or you can help others who are parents. You are in this church as one part of the body to help the other parts.
      1. Our small group… kids everywhere. Help?!
    • If you think parenting days are done… but you still have g-kids, nieces/nephews, neighbors, church, etc.
    • Overall, children hear and see when people care. I think children leave the church bc they have been catered with fun, pizza, and lollipops, but they reach an age when they ask, “Does anyone believe and live what the Bible says?” And if they don’t see it, they don’t stay.

EXAMINE         

Proverbs 24:3-6

3  By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established;
4  by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5  A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
6
 for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

Today’s “ring”: Discovering. We discover what every family needs. Yet, before we attempt this aim, let us better understand the nature of the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs are royal leadership. The author of many proverbs was King Solomon, son of David, kings of Israel (cf Prov 1:1). This collection of concise and clever sayings not only give insight about  human nature, but about building a nation/kingdom. Solomon understood that if a nation was to succeed, he would need kingly wisdom beyond his own abilities, so this is what he prayed (1 Ki 3:9). Solomon noted, “When the righteous increase the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule the people groan” (Pr 29:2).

  • Therefore, the book of Proverbs can help us cultivate good citizens in a great kingdom.
  • Whether leading nations or loving relationships, each are complex and unique. Proverbs are general principles but sometimes there are exceptions to the statements. Be careful about using the Proverbs as unrestricted commands.
    • “Break a leg” isn’t literal but means good luck or do well enough that you must curtsy or bow afterwards.[2]
    • Likewise, Prov 26:4 “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you become like him yourself. BUT 26:5 “Answer a fool according to his follow, lest he be wise in his own eyes.”
    • Sum to say it best: Prov 26:7 “Like a lame man’s legs which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools.” In other words, certain proverbs just don’t fit together.

Proverbs are relational transformation. The author is a father speaking to a son. The sayings are not necessarily hypothetical or from an abstract “we” to an unknown “they,” but from a father to a son.  

  • But relational transformation is not short pithy statements; it’s often repetitive pleading with love and lessons; like parenting.
  • Parents, you are the royal leadership in your home, not child CEO. That doesn’t mean you are a dictator, but you are responsible for the direction of your home.
  • Reading the Bible as relational transformation helps us to understand the Heavenly Father loves us and wants our best.   

Ultimately, Proverbs are reverence toward the LORD. Proverbs points us to the Person of wisdom and life. Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” Leading to our first discovery point…

Every family needs God’s blueprints for their home.    

King Solomon was an avid builder, taking 7-years to build the temple (1 Ki 6) that was so marvelous, when it was destroyed, an entire generation wept knowing its beauty would never be replicated (Ez 3:12). Additionally, Solomon spent 13-years building his own palace complex (1 Ki 7:1), and likely established a network of 50 fortresses to protect Israel’s borders.[3]

The same man who built what historical archaeologists marvel, is the person who wrote what spiritual archaeologists magnify. As a house is built with meticulous blueprints, a family needs to follow their Maker’s blueprints for life.

As a house is built with meticulous blueprints, a family needs to follow their Maker’s blueprints for life. No one would live in a home that wasn’t correctly built to its architecture blueprints. So why would you live life by default values of the world rather than designed valued by God.  

No one would live in a home that wasn’t correctly built to its architecture blueprints. So why life by default values of the world rather than designed values by God.

Prov 24:3 “By wisdom a house is built and by understanding a house is established”

  • Wisdom (khok-maw’) is a life skill and understanding (taw-boonaw) is knowledge. Both words wed together head, heart, and hands; awareness and action.
    • Have you ever been in situation where after the fact (whether moments or years later) you said, “I wish I had spoken/acted differently”? If you had, that would most likely have been wisdom at work.
      In some cases it would be sarcasm and get you in trouble… but we’re talking about situations of doing right and having godly attitudes and actions.

Further,

  • Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy one is insight.”
  • Proverbs 8 wisdom is personified as deity. Since Jesus is the Creator (Col 1:15-19) and is the wisdom of God (1 Cor 1:24), wisdom is none other than Jesus.
  • Therefore, to build your house with wisdom is to live a relationship with Jesus Christ (cf Pr 3:19-23).

Prov 24:4 “by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

Whether you have your house with new construction or purchase from previous owner, the house is empty on your first day of ownership. You need to move in your stuff and decorate each room. This takes weeks, if not months, and then each year you are continually adding touches.

Solomon indicates our foundation is wisdom but our rooms are decorated with knowledge that is precious (yaw-kawr’) implies rarity, costly/weighty. In other words, Solomon is telling us to never stop growing in wisdom and truth, and it will cost significant investments and priorities.

Prov 24:13-14 “My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be future, and your hope will not be cut off.”

Get wisdom! (Prov 2:4; 3:13; 4:7-8; 8:32-36; 16:16; etc.). Our thirst for joy will never be quenched in this world until we build our life on the blueprints of God’s wisdom. Dictators pursue success in taking over nations; business leaders climb the corporate ladder; athletes compete for wins; scholars publish books; gamblers gain thrills in Vegas; musicians stretch their voices and talents with albums and crowds; and people seek to satisfy their soul through entertainment, eating, exercise, relationships, drink, drugs, sex, and countless other sources apart from God. And all of it leaves us unsatisfied, frustrated, incomplete, and empty, knowing there must be something more. The ultimate lasting joy that we crave is only found in the wisdom of God.[4]

Some blueprints:

  • Foundation of gospel with Christ as cornerstone (Eph 2:19-22)
  • Framework walls and pillars of God’s truth (1 Tim 3:15)
  • Electric power of wisdom (Prov 24:5)
  • Open windows for God’s Spirit (Mal 3:10; Jn 3:8)
  • Entry doors of compassion & hospitality (Lk 10:25-37; Gal 6:10)
  • Men, you may think “I work to provide while my wife raises the kids.” While provision is necessary and helpful, it does not escape your responsibility from being present and leading spiritually.
  • Average person has about 8-hours of screen time. Social media and screens are the enemy’s great distraction of our joy in God and investment in reading God’s word. Intentional 10-30+ minutes reading Scripture will not return void. Get wisdom!
    “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever.” (Isa 40:8)
  • Think often of legacy. While living in your house, consider what will happen to all your stuff if you were gone. Who will want what you alone find enjoyable and meaningful? Will your possessions be passed on to someone else, or will it end up at Goodwill or the landfill? When we think of our life as but a breath – a temporary passing through until eternity – then we understand a physical house becomes a quality home when the rooms are filled with lasting memories and spiritual legacy.[5]
    Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Every family needs abundant allies for their home.   

Solomon instructs “by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory” (Prov 24:6).

If it were not for current events, we might be tempted to think waging war only relates to those involved with the military. Yet, if we give some reflection, we can understand that sometimes war arrives on our doorstep regardless of our profession or even our faith. On earth, war is something that we will always face and have serious consequences. It requires the involvement of many individuals and resources. Among national military, we have seen the preparation of war campaigns in which their aims have been successful and victorious. Likewise, we have observed foolish leaders lack the planning and discipline, and the consequences of senseless disaster, irreplaceable damage, and priceless lives lost.

Likewise, we should consider there is other warfare that each of us encounter. Life can be a fight and battle. Solomon’s advice gives us two principles for life’s warfare: 1) We need godly guidance and 2) We need an abundance of counselors.

Godly guidance comes from the wisdom of God with the weapons of warfare not earthly but spiritual. The guidance we need to win battles comes from faith, hope, and love. We are sharpest when we have hidden God’s word in our heart, and strongest when we are on our knees relying on the Lord.

Like the LORD told Moses standing before the Egyptian army, “Fear not, stand firm and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you… The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Ex 14:13-14).

Or as the LORD told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Josh 1:9).

Abundance of counselors

We not only need the strength of God but the support of others to win against the struggles and battles of life. We need assistance and allies, co-laborers and friends who will be with us in the trenches. There is no such thing as “Lone Ranger” Christianity. It is mind boggling to see so many who profess faith in Jesus yet isolated and segregated from the people of God. There is no wisdom in being withdrawn from the church! Wisdom demands that direction and deliverance come through the support of brothers and sisters in Christ.

  • Prv 12:15 “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise person listens to advice.”
  • Prv 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
  • Prv 18:24 “One of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother/sister.”

This requires us to acknowledge that we don’t have all the answers, and even the “Commander In Chief” must gather information and seek guidance to strategize and decide when to stay or when to charge forward.

*> Insight best transferred intergenerationally.  

  • Job 12:12 “Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.”
  • Titus 2:2-3 Older men and older women are to be sound in faith and love, and teach others and train younger what is good.
  • VALUE OF MEN/WOMEN MINISTRY
  • Where do you need counsel or need to be giving counsel?
  • Faith and spiritual growth?
  • Relationships – dating, pre-marriage, marital, parental?
  • Financial?
  • Practical cooking, technology, home repair, etc…

The ultimate issue is we reject accountability and choose passivity.

APPLY/THINK

  • Read Proverbs chapter a day in May.
  • Muse & Memorize Prov 24:3-6 as a family around dinner table.
  • Pray as family / spouse …
  • Meet with 2 other families this month for dinner & discussion. Choose at 1 time or throughout month.
    • What is your favorite Scripture? Or select one that currently stands out.
    • What do you want for your family’s reputation/legacy?
    • How can we pray for your family?
  • Will you commit to praying for your church at least 1x week?

Closing: Imagine looking at a giant ship docked in the harbor. In a matter of days this ship will be launched across the ocean and sent toward the Baltic Sea or the Pacific Ocean to prepare for war.

  • Who is the most important person to this ship?
    • Ship Captain?
    • Ship Architect. This is one who designed it not only float but to fight all that it is destined to face.

Solomon notes there is victory (yesh-oo-aw’) = salvation {in Jesus} in godly guidance and abundance of counselors. Our destiny is determined by our attention to follow the Architect and Designer of our life – the Lord Jesus Christ.

Everyone wants to live the victorious life.

  • When we ask children, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” No one ever says, “I want to be half-hearted.”
    • Closing of Proverbs 24:30-32 “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of one lacking wisdom, and behold it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.”
    • We can make excuses or make an eternal difference. If the latter, we need to go all in – wholehearted devotion to the Lord, building with His blueprints and following His path.

[1] While every sermon/series is for the family, these are specific series addressing topics of growing godly families. https://growinggodlygenerations.com/media/

[2] https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/break-a-leg.html

[3] https://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-exodus-kadesh-barnea-davids-negev-border-fortress-network.htm

[4] This paragraph inspiration from John Piper https://www.desiringgod.org/messages/get-wisdom

[5] We will look deeper on this specific subject on June 5 “Expiring” (Psalm 90).

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