The Strength of Wisdom

The Strength of Wisdom

 Text: Proverbs 24:1-22

Do Not Envy the Wicked

(Proverbs 24:1-2)

While it may seem that the evil have advantages, don’t envy them or desire to their companion (Proverbs 23:17; Psalms 37; 73). All they think and talk about is violence and trouble.

Illustrating Knowledge, Understanding, and Wisdom

(Proverbs 24:3-6)

Wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are defined through an illustration of building a house. Knowledge is the facts - it is the furnishings in a house. Understanding is logic - it is how a house is built or the foundation the house rests upon. Wisdom is the application - it is the design of the house.

The first illustration is a peaceful one, the second conjures up images of war. In a battle, knowledge increases your power, since you know what is going on. Understanding is the wise advice you get as multiple people examine the situation (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 20:18; Luke 14:31). Wisdom is the strong response that comes from knowing what you need to do (Proverbs 21:22; Ecclesiastes 9:16).

Weak Men

(Proverbs 24:7-10)

Wisdom is beyond the reach of fools (Proverbs 14:6; Psalm 92:5-6; I Corinthians 2:14). A city’s gate was where the elders would gather to render judgment (Amos 5:12,15). You won’t find a fool among these wise men because the fool doesn’t speak out for those who need defending ( Job 31:21). Nor will a fool come to the wise to seek out advice.

A person who plans evil is called a schemer by people (Isaiah 59:3-8). The very act of creating such plans is sinful. It is not a sign of strength.

A scoffer makes fun of any who thinks differently from himself. Thus, he won’t listen to advice and will not lead people in strength; instead, he is disgusting to people.

Laziness in hard times limits your strength that is needed for trials. Thus, you won’t be able to succeed.

Strength Is in Helping the Weak

(Proverbs 24:11-12)

There are people whose poor choices or circumstances in life are leading them off to their deaths. God requires that we try and prevent it (Psalms 82:3-5; Isaiah 58:6-11; Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:1-20). God expects us to be our brother’s keeper. Claiming to not know is not an excuse because God knows our hearts and judges each of us by our deeds (Jeremiah 17:10; Romans 2:5-6).

Wisdom Gives You a Future

(Proverbs 24:13-14)

Wisdom is sweet for the soul and it gives hope for the future (Psalms 19:7-11; Proverbs 23:18-19). The comparison to honey is because it is not made but must be found.

The Righteous Don’t Give Up

(Proverbs 24:15-20)

A warning is given to wicked not to attack the righteous because they will not succeed. Righteousness is not a protection from problems, but rather the righteous keep going despite setbacks and hardship (Micah 7:8; Psalm 34:19-20). God helps the righteous to continue (Psalms 37:23-26; Psalms 59:1-17). In contrast, the wicked fold in the face of disaster. Consider the examples of King Saul and Judas.

We return to the topic raised in Proverbs 24:11-12. Though evil doers must be punished, the righteous are not allowed to rejoice over it (Job 31:29). What we learned earlier is that they should be striving to rescue people instead. If you do rejoice at the fall of the wicked, God will punish you by bringing a similar punishment on you (Proverbs 17:5). It was this type of sin that led to the downfall of Edom (Obadiah 12).

Thus, we return to the point we started the chapter with, “do not envy the wicked,” but with a twist. Instead of desiring what they have, we should not worry about their successes that cause us harm. Unlike the wise (Proverbs 24:14), the wicked have no future and their influence in the world will be snuffed out (Psalms 37; 73).

Respect Authority

(Proverbs 24:21-22)

Follow God and the government (Romans 13:1-7; I Peter 2:17). Don’t go with those who wish to rebel and make changes. Such people tend to come to ruin suddenly (Proverbs 17:11).