Lessons from Proverbs: Words of Wisdom

Lessons from Proverbs: Words of Wisdom

Proverbs 22:17-28

A man driving on the highway was asked to stop by
a police officer on a motorcycle.

“Pull over!” the officer said, pointing to the side of
the road.

He obliged and then asked the officer: “I’m sorry,
was I speeding?”

The police officer shook his head, saying: “No,
mate, but your wife fell out of the car a mile back.”

The man looked back and replied,
“Oh, well, that explains it! I thought I was going deaf!”

Today we are going to be studying the second half of the
22nd chapter of Proverbs. I’ve titled today’s message
Words of Wisdom. Solomon is going to give his reader;

3 Motivations for Gaining Wisdom

Before we get to these 3, let’s pray for God to speak to
us this morning and open our hearts and minds to hear
His message.

Proverbs 22:17-21

Solomon begins with the phrase “incline your ear”
The Hebrew word incline literally means to bow down
your ear. His point is that what is following is too
important to miss. He’s basically saying,

“Pay attention!

Listen to what I’m saying, this is God’s message
regarding wisdom I’m relaying to you.”

The next part of that sentence reads, “and hear the word
of the wise”

The word hear is the Hebrew word Shema, it’s the same
word from Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel! The Lord
is our God, the Lord is one!”

That word means much more than to hear, it means to
hear and obey. They were expected to put what they
heard into action. As we will see in the following verses,
Solomon gives many examples of how to live out wisdom
in the real world. Unfortunately we don’t have time to
look at all 30 of them this morning, but we will look at a
few of them.

Next, Solomon writes “apply your mind to my knowledge”
The Hebrew word translated apply is sometimes used for
placing or laying an object somewhere. In the current
context it means to fix one’s mind on something.
He’s urging the reader to dwell on the wisdom he has
received from the Lord and is freely sharing with them.

Now Solomon gets to the;

3 Motivations for Gaining Wisdom

To Be Pleasing

Remember this is the book of Proverbs, so we are
speaking in generalities. So, for the most part, those who
have wisdom are pleasing. Your life will be pleasant and
you will be pleasant to be around. Wise people make wise
decisions and are kind to others.

To Have Confidence in the Lord

Those who are wise know that the only way to acquire
wisdom is to seek it from the Lord. He is the source of
our wisdom. We must daily seek Him and His word
through times of prayer and Bible study. He will nourish
us and give us confidence to live each day for His glory.

To Have Assurance of the Truth

Sometimes people will ask us what we believe and why
we believe what we believe. Today people like to
compartmentalize truth. They say things like that may be
true for you, but my truth is…
Unfortunately, those people are difficult to deal with
because they are not wise.
A wise person knows that there is only the truth, not
many different truths for many different people or
situations. The truth is the truth. It is not judgmental or
hateful or angry or mean. It is just the truth.
As believers our motivation for gaining wisdom is so that
we can rightly answer anyone who asks us for the hope
that is in us, as Peter so eloquently writes.

When we bow our ear and hear the word of the Lord, we
gain wisdom and then we can have assurance of the

Let’s look at the next verses:

Proverbs 22:22-28

As I mentioned before, Solomon is going to give a few
real life examples to help his reader understand how to
live out this wisdom he’s sharing with them.

The four that we will look at today are all prohibitions.
They begin with the phrase do not.

Do Not Rob the Poor
Wisdom understands that God takes care of all of
His children. He is the one who provides rain on both
the righteous and the wicked.
He provides for even the lilies of the field and they are
arrayed even more beautifully than Solomon himself in all
of his splendor.

Let’s look at two other Proverbs that speak about the
Proverbs 14:31 “He who oppresses the poor taunts
his Maker, but he who is gracious to the needy
honors Him.”

Proverbs 19:17 “One who is gracious to a poor man
lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his
good deed.”

When someone robs the poor he will be held accountable
by the Lord. The Lord is the ultimate judge who will take
the life of the one who robs the poor.

Do Not Become an Angry Man
Wisdom teaches us that we emulate those we surround
ourselves with. That’s why parenting is so difficult. Our
children spend so much time with their parents they
begin to develop their habits, good or bad.

Solomon’s point is to avoid hanging around the angry
man because you may develop into one too!
You will learn his ways.
Wisdom says anger is contagious.
We all know how it works; one person starts griping
about something that makes them upset, then before you
know it 30 minutes has gone by and everyone is chiming
in about their pet peeves.

The Bible says to be angry and do not sin.
Jesus modeled this in the temple when He drove out
those who were selling inside the temple.
He didn’t sin, but He was angry because they were
making his house of prayer into a den of thieves.

Do Not Give Pledges
We talked about this in one of our previous messages.
Solomon warned against taking a pledge for someone
else’s debt, cosigning for a neighbor’s debt.
If you don’t have the means to just pay for it, then you
shouldn’t get it.
Wisdom says to wait and save.
The world says quite the opposite. If you can’t afford it,
that’s ok. Just pay it back over time with lots of interest
for the bank. If you don’t qualify, ask someone else to
guarantee the payments for you.
God promises to take care of all of His children.
Do you believe that promise?

Do Not Cross the Line God has Established
Solomon writes do not move the ancient boundary.
This is referring to people who would move the property
line markers to increase their portion of land.
The OT warns against this and Solomon emphasizes it
Wisdom is content with what God has given her.

The ancient practice was to move the boundary marker
just a half an inch each year. It doesn’t seem like much,
but over decades it can add up to a lot of land stolen.

In a spiritual sense, this is what is happening in the world
Little by little crassness, promiscuity, coarse language
have become the norm. Modesty, humility and grace have
gone out the window. It’s been a slow process, but look
how far they have come.
Things they show on TV would have never been allowed
60 years ago. Commercials, print ads, banners online
have all crossed a line that used to be there. It’s almost
like there is no line anymore.

Homosexuality would have never been allowed on a TV
show, now there’s hardly a show on any channel that
doens’t have someone from the LGBTQ community
included on it.


Our call to action this morning is to:
Stand for the Truth

As believers, we know what God’s word says.
We ought to do everything we can to live it out every

We also must have confidence that God is in control.
It’s difficult at times when we see evil triumphing all
around us. But God is still on His throne and He loves His
Let’s make sure we are standing for His word and THE

We must not back down and accept the lies that the
world is shoving in our face. We have to speak the truth
in love and trust God to take care of the rest.