Wisdom in the Spheres of Life – Domestic, Civil & National

Proverbs 14:1-35

Paul in his pastoral letter to Titus wrote to him that the grace of God teaches us that we ought “to live sensible, righteous, and godly” lives in the various spheres within which God has placed us (Titus 2:11-12). Paul also characterized the people of God as those “eager to do good works” (Titus 2:14). How we ought to behave and how we actually behave are “occasionally” not quite the same! Several events in redemptive history serve as landmarks, capsulizing events or circumstances that emphasize how right living is difficult:

the Fall and subsequent blame game

Cain’s murder of his brother and subsequent exile

the building project at Babel and God’s confusion of their language

God’s Word gives explicit instruction, teaching how to live pleasing to God and comfortably for ourselves. It may seem at first glance that the Christian life is more difficult than life by the world’s standards – not true, it’s only an appearance. Living “sensibly, righteously, and godly” is the simplest way and the only way to true joy.

A. domestic life (vers. 1-7)

wise man finds a wise woman to make a house a home v.1

contra feminist movement, postmodernism, etc., gender not a choice; neither are gender-related roles

cannot simply find satisfaction, fulfillment wherever we choose or are told we should find it

wise man needs wise woman to be properly helped/completed/complemented

wise woman builds home because that’s where she will find God’s greatest rewards

“career”/employment may be necessary but will not be fulfilling in same way

it’s that way by God’s design

wise man uses resources wisely to provide for family v.4

ox will be strong and productive only when properly cared for – well-fed, not over-worked, etc.

wise man treats equipment well – proper maintenance, no abuse, using right tool for job

means they are available to earn income when needed, will produce quality output

enables him to meet physical needs of family, avoiding Paul’s harsh words – 1 Tim. 5:8

if he is using material resources wisely, probably meeting spiritual, intellectual, emotional needs also

wise man is judicious in choice of guests v.7

not talking about one who hasn’t learned but is teachable;

this one won’t listen to reason, has distorted sense of values, persists in making wrong choices, cannot find the right way even when looking for it

effect of extended close contact – being dragged down to his level

like trying to rescue a drowning man who refuses to relax

beware especially of the foolish man with whom you cannot interact

television, movies, video games, books, magazines

don’t invite them in; if they’re already in, escort them out

B. civil life (vers. 8-25)

wise man takes responsibility for his actions v.9

“Fools mock at making restitution, but there is goodwill among the upright.”HCSB

Why should I fix/pay for/work after hours on/etc. that; it’s not my fault

consequently lose business, respect, relationships

wise man does what is necessary to maintain good relationship

in workplace

in neighborhood

takes responsibility, even goes beyond “call of duty”

wise man looks beyond appearances v.12, 15

doesn’t take everything at face value – exercises discernment

considers the source

is it reliable

what worldview is represented

is there a hidden agenda

measures the options against the standard – God’s Word

disregard obviously unbiblical options

seek guidance from counselors, wisdom from God for sorting out the rest

wise man is good neighbor v.20-21

the world’s way: chase the rich – how many friends does a Powerball winner have? and for how long?

which ultimately means despising the poor (obviously not poor because of own foolish or sinful choices); a sin against both the neighbor and God since it is God who determines wealth/poverty

wise man is merciful and receives mercy – Matt. 5:7

more blessed to give than receive Acts 20:35

showing mercy gains the favor of God as well as men

C. political or national life (vers. 26-35)

important for us as American citizens – we have say in who serves in government; should choose right kind of people to fill positions

wise man does what is good for others v.28, 35

emphasis on good not popular; what is good is not always what is most popular

example: people not beating down the doors to immigrate to Cuba, North Korea, former USSR

because of sinful nature, what is most popular usually in some measure unjust because self-serving

only works until people figure out the injustice

doing what is good – people may not always like but will usually recognize the rightness of it

when good is measured by biblical standard

rewards doing of good by others – directly or through laws/policies

wise man practices sound economics v.31

sound economic policies consistent with what God expects of civil government

encouraging private ownership of property; justice, not equality in economic circumstances; freedom to earn an income, responsibility to use it wisely; in short, ensure that “business transactions are conducted peacefully, freely, and without fraud or deceit.”Chuck Edwards

wise man chooses what will promote righteousness v.34

nation that cannot be trusted has little standing on the world stage

government that cannot be trusted has little confidence from its people

consequently: fabric of society, economics, etc. undermined and weakened

righteousness can be encouraged at the top but must get there from the bottom

king/president was a citizen first

usually learned principles of government as citizen

for strength of nation to continue, right principles must be promoted

May God grant us wisdom and discernment “to live sensible, righteous, and godly” lives in the domestic, civil, and national spheres in which he has placed us.

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