1 KI 4:32,33
INTRO: The writer of 1 Kings gives us a very good look at the work, the wisdom and the possessions of Solomon. He must have had incredible wealth! Nations sent tribute to him. Israel was at peace during the reign of Solomon. It was during his reign, of course, that the temple which David had desired to build was constructed. For all of his wealth and his construction projects, it is still his proverbs for which he is best known. The text I have read mentions his references to animals, birds and serpents. As I read through the book of Proverbs, I notice those references. Tonight, I would like to mention a few of them and their apparent lessons.
1. The ants and the lesson of industry - 6:6-11
a. the book of Proverbs has much to say about industriousness & sluggards
b. ants dont have to be told every move to make - no guide, overseer...
c. ants provide and harvest at proper seasons - provideth...gathereth...
d. by contrast we see the sluggard, the lazy person, who spends his time sleeping or in idleness ... and poverty comes
e. Prov 10:5 - ... but he that sleepeth in harvest...
f. ants are a constant testimony against human laziness!
2. The swine and the lesson of beauty without discretion - 11:22
a. the word picture here is vivid - a precious jewel ornamenting a pigs snout!
b. we might say, Whats wrong with this picture?
c. Solomon gives us the meaning: physical beauty/handsomeness without discretion is as unbeautiful as a pearl in a pigs snout - because without discretion these beautiful people do very unbeautiful things
d. but we place so much emphasis on physical beauty and attributes
e. our emphasis should be on teaching discretion - helping those in our charge to make responsible decisions
f. Ps 112:5 - a good man...he will guide his affairs with discretion
3. The ox and the lesson of the necessity of work - 14:4
a. having a barn in which to store crops is good
b. but filling the barn will require the expending of effort
c. one has said of this verse, God works by means, not by miracles!!!
d. my parents often said to me, Son, if youre waiting for it to just drop into your lap, youll be waiting a long time!
e. so, 1 Thes 4:11,12 - ...to work with your own hands...that ye may have lack of nothing
f. are we teaching and/or exemplifying for our children a good work ethic?
4. The bear and the unequaled cruelty of man - 17:12
a. a mother bear robbed of her cubs we be dangerous - and will hurt you!
b. but the author says he would rather meet such a mother bear than to be exposed to the cruelty of a fool! human cruelty!
c. at least the mother bear has a reason for her being dangerous
d. but human cruelty exceeds any cruelty of the animal kingdom - as so many recent events have demonstrated
e. the sons of Jacob demonstrated this cruelty in their treatment of the Shechemites and their own brother - cf. Gen 49:5-7
e. Gal 5:22 - ...gentleness... - is it become too rare to find gentleness? are people too often harsh, brittle, protective, vengeful?
5. The horse and the true security of God - 21:31
a. ancient warfare depended horses to pull chariots - to carry soldiers to war
b. the more horses a king had, the more secure he could feel in going to war
c. Ps 20:7 & 33:17
d. it is possible we spend too much time preparing for our secular battles and far too little time preparing for spiritual warfare!
e. Eph 6:15 - ...preparation of the gospel of peace
f. I so appreciate this line: safety is of the Lord - real security is not in weapons of earthly warfare or in material wealth of this world ... it is of the Lord
CLOSE: Nature is not God. But God can certainly been seen in nature ... in the things he created. It is, I believe, so natural, then, for Him to call our attention to the lessons which can be taught by observing our natural surroundings. Think about Rom 1:19,20.
Cecil A. Hutson
February 13, 2005
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)