This is the last message in a series of messages on the Book of Proverbs called “Game Plan.” Today we focus on Proverbs 18 and discover that real relationships aren’t for the fool (the person who X’s out God from his or her life) but are built by the wise. Yes, you want to be wise! Because you know that life rises or falls on relationship.
1. Wise Connections
This chapter has everything to do with relationships. 2. Life rises or falls on relationships.
Look at the bookends of the chapter.
3. Proverbs 18.1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire; He rages against all wise judgment. (sound wisdom)
4. Proverbs 18.24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
5. You can approach relationships as a fool or as a wise person.
How many of you would say I’d like to be a fool, approach relationships as a fool does.
Fool = a person who crosses God out of the equation of life and consults only with man’s thinking. So you can be an intellectual and be a total fool.
But for contrast, let’s start with relationships the fool’s way.
6. Relationships are built by two factors: being together in a significant way and by speaking, communicating deeply, humbly and honestly.
7. So here’s the fool’s way of approaching relationships. “I isolate myself to pursue my own desires only.”
8. If you isolate yourself, you do so because of an issue. Getting alone isn’t always bad. But staying alone has its problems. Focus on a problem or pursuit isn’t what we’re talking about here. I’m focusing on my project. Because you can’t stay there for long until you come out of your room or your office.
9. Here are some reasons that people isolate themselves.
Bitterness. Rejection. Pride. Self hatred or loathing. Inability to resolve conflict. And the resulting fear.
Here’s what they say. I’m leaving. I’ve had enough of people. I’m taking my marbles and going home.
It’ll seem like this is what you need to do, cutting off people and getting alone because, well, it’s just easier this way. I want to be alone – but it’s never too long before it’s not good for you.
He rages against all wise judgment.
That pattern of isolation will never help you!
Here are the things fools do or end up doing…
10. Vs. 2 A fool has no delight in understanding, but in expressing his own heart. Rejecting the input of others he or she thinks, “What I feel or think or have to say is all I’m going to listen to.”
11. Vs. 6 A fool’s lips enter into contention, and his mouth calls for blows. Fools pick fights.
12. vs. 7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction, and his lips are the snare of his soul. He shoots off his mouth.
13. vs. 8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body. A talebearer is a subcategory of the fool. They gossip about business that’s not theirs to tell and it gets absorbed into people’s lives like the ice cream sundae you’ll eat now that the fast is over is absorbed into your body.
14. vs. 13 He who answers a matter before he hears it, it is folly and shame to him. Fools answer matters before they hear the whole issue through.
And the end result is that the fool, even though they have people around them, can never find the relationships that make them alive, fulfilled and wise.
15. But then there’s the wise way of approaching relationships.
16. verse 4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.
A wise person knows that he or she needs the input of others. The deep waters of a man’s mouth are still and of one source. The flowing brook
gathers waters from many sources, large or small and combines them in a flow that’s fresh and clean. Wisdom gathers from other wise people by being humble and teachable.
17. verse 20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth; from the produce of his lips he shall be filled. A wise person knows that you are what you eat and that your diet in life comes from your own words, so you’re careful about what you say.
18. verse 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those that love it (the tongue and speaking with it) eat the fruit thereof. Make sure it’s life in your words!
So here’s my conclusions from studying this chapter:
19. 1. If I want to be wise, I need to connect myself to other people seeking wisdom and righteousness by listening, receiving, humbly sharing and interacting around what God is imparting.
20. 2. So therefore, you must find a small group where all of that happens and build relationships.
When you build relationships in the Lord, in His Name…
21. vs. 10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous (pl.) run to it are are safe.
Those relationships in the Lord’s Name is like having a rescue tower when trouble comes.
Vs. 11 The rich man’s ( in his own eyes or in $) wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem. The fool considers what he has to be wall enough and isolates himself. That’s what you do behind walls. If you think you’ve got it together you isolate.
Let the words of your mouth, the openness of your soul, the humility of your spirit and a commitment to get out of your walls and near to the strong tower of godly, committed relationships – make you a wise person.