Sunday, 26 April 2020

Proverbs 26.4-5

4.Answer not a fool according to his folly,
lest you be like him yourself.
5Answer a fool according to his folly,
lest he be wise in his own eyes.

These two verses seem to be a glaring contradiction. If you examine these two verses, they are complementary and not contradictory to each other. The purpose of Proverbs is to teach then the sons of Solomon and now to all of us who read so that we can be wise in the Lord. The beginning of wisdom is to fear the LORD. How to read Proverbs and how to apply it calls for wisdom. Proverbs provide guidelines or a recommended way of action in living. Proverbs are general observations but no guarantees. Proverbs don’t make you wise themselves. But how you use and apply Proverbs wisely and appropriately makes you wise.

7 Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless,
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
9 Like a thorn that goes up into the hand of a drunkard
is a proverb in the mouth of fools.

In Proverbs 26.7 and 9, Proverbs are good but in the mouth of fools are useless. In answering or not answering a fool calls for discernment and wisdom. “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself.” Proverbs has much to say about fools. Fools despise wisdom (Pro.1.7,22, 10.21,23.9); they are right in their own eyes (Pro. 12.15); they are deceitful (Pro. 14.8) and scornful (Pro. 10.23, 14.9).
Proverbs gives the wise instruction as to how to deal with fools. Instructing a fool is pointless because his speech is full of foolishness (Pro.15.2, 14) and he does not want wisdom and understanding (Pro. 18.2). It is futile to try to answer a fool. Do not stoop to the fool’s level by answering his silly questions or arguing with him as if he were a sensible man.

The next verse Pro. 26.5 says, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” Here, it says, “Answer a fool … lest he be wise in his own eyes”. There is a time and place for us to answer a fool and not be silent. There are situations where the wise need to appropriately respond to a fool’s foolishness with words of rebuke and instruction. To let a fool speaks his nonsense without reproof encourages him to remain wise in his own eyes. In this way, it exposes the foolishness of his folly.

Therefore, there is no contradiction in verses 4 and 5. Both principles are right. There are two English idioms that we are very familiar with. These two idioms are true for different people during this lockdown. Especially, when the person you love very much is away during this lockdown, most likely it is appropriate to say, “Absence makes the heart grows fonder”. On the other hand, if a couple has just a platonic relationship, well the separation is “Out of sight out of mind”. In Ecclesiastes 3.7b, it says, “a time to be quiet and a time to speak”. Jesus used both approaches. When the leading priests and the elders, accused Jesus, “Jesus remained silent.” (Matt. 27.14). The religious authority demanded to know by what authority Jesus was doing all the miraculous things. “I’ll tell you by what authority I do these things if you answer one question,” replied Jesus. (Matt. 21.23). Jesus being Christ, He used both these principles to silence his adversaries.

There are a few things we can learn from these two verses of Proverbs.

  1. We need to ask God for wisdom and discernment in a given situation to know when to be silent and when to speak up.
  2. When we do speak, may our aim be always to build up or to bring someone closer to Jesus, even when correcting or reprimanding a person. May our speech always be gracious and seasoned with salt, that what we say, will be like “a golden apple served on a silver platter.”
  3. Keeping silent is not as simple and easy when you are under attack. It takes God’s wisdom and will power to be silent. Even in silence, you are speaking.

27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17.27-28

4. The real wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord, and that wisdom gives us the ability to know how to apply the Proverbs appropriately in our daily lives.

Prayer for today

Father, it is very comforting to know that You are highly lifted up, You reign over all the universe that you have created. We are eternally grateful, puny as we are You know our names. Lord, we are encouraged that You take care of the birds of the air and flowers of the fields, and surely You will take care of us, your children too.

Father, we thank You for the homes you have given to us. We are thankful for the roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes to keep us warm and shoes to protect our feet. We thank you for harmony in the home.

Father, in your wisdom you allow the Coronavirus to become a pandemic. Lord, in this pandemic, You have given us extra time to reflect on many things of which we have taken for granted. Forgive us, Lord, be it in our business, or living our lives as if You are not around. We do things just to please ourselves. Our selfishness has caused so much brokenness in our homes, in places where we work, our church and in our community. O Lord, we pray for awakening and quickening of your spirit in each of our lives. Thank YOU that we belong to You, teach us to live lives that is pleasing to you. May You be the centre of our lives.

Lord, we confess that we are foolish but we often think we are wise. In our foolish ways, we have caused so much pain to one another in our homes. With the new extension of the MCO, grant us your wisdom as we relate to each other. Give us grace when we talk to each other, grant us wisdom and discernment as to when to speak and when not to speak. If we do speak, Lord, give us words that are loving and gracious both the speaker and the listens be encouraged and build up.

Father, thank for answering our prayers for baby Adriel. Thank you for sustaining him day by day, strengthen his heart and his lungs, give him the ability to breathe normally without the help of the oxygen mask. Grant him, complete healing Lord. We praise you for the miracle you have done and continue to do. We want to give You all the praise and glory.

Thank you for the Lord’s Day. Help us to worship Jesus, our resurrected Lord and Saviour, in each of our homes. Bless the worship team, the technical team and the Speaker, Dr. George Tee. Use him, Lord, to minister to each of our hearts. May we have a satisfying worship by having a fresh encounter with You.

We ask and give thanks in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Pastor Isaac Yim

xxx

每日灵粮
26/4/20星期日
作者:严以撒牧师
箴言26:4-5
4不要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他、恐怕你与他一样。
5要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他、免得他自以为有智慧。

这两节经文似乎自相矛盾。但如果你细察这两节经文,它们其实是互补的,并不相互矛盾。箴言起初的目的是教导所罗门的儿子们,如今也教导我们这些读箴言的人,以便我们可以在主里得着智慧。敬畏耶和华是智慧的开端。如何阅读箴言以及如何运用箴言都需要智慧。箴言为我们的生活提供指引及建议。箴言只是一个普遍性的准则,并不是非遵从不可的规条。箴言并不会使你聪明。但是,如何明智而适当地应用箴言会使你充满智慧。

7 瘸子的脚、空存无用.箴言在愚昧人的口中也是如此。
9 箴言在愚昧人的口中、好像荆棘刺入醉汉的手。
在箴言26.7和9中,箴言是美好的,但在愚昧人的嘴里却是无用的。在回答或不回答愚昧人时,我们需要敏锐和智慧。 “不要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他、恐怕你与他一样。”箴言中有许多关于愚昧人的教导。愚妄人藐视智慧和训诲(箴言.1.7,22,10.21,23.9); 愚妄人所行的、在自己眼中看为正直(箴言12.15);愚昧人的愚妄、乃是诡诈(箴言14.8)和愚妄人犯罪、以为戏耍.(箴言10.23,14.9)。
箴言对如何应付愚昧人提供了一个明智的指导。教导一个愚昧人是没有意义的,因为他的言语充满愚昧(箴言.15.2,14),并且愚昧人不喜爱明哲(箴言.18.2)。试图回答一个愚昧人是徒劳无功的。当你把愚昧人当着是明理人一样,而去回答他的愚蠢的问题或与他争吵时,你就是降到与他一样的愚昧级别了。

下一节箴言 26.5说:“要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他、免得他自以为有智慧。”在这里,说:“要照愚昧人的愚妄话回答他、免得他自以为有智慧”。有时候我们需要回答愚昧人,而不只是一味的沉默。在某些情况下,明智的人需要用斥责和指示的言语适当地回应愚昧人的愚蠢。放任愚昧人去胡言乱语,而不去指责他们的话,就是纵容他们自以为有智慧。这样,就暴露了他自己的愚蠢。因此,第4节和第5节没有相互矛盾。这两个原则都是正确的。有两个我们非常熟悉的英语短句。在这封城期间,这两个短句对某些人来说是如此的真实。尤其是,在封城期间,你非常心爱的人不在身边时,很可能应该说:“久别情更深”。另一方面,如果一对夫妇的关系并不是那么好时,那么这种分离就是“眼不见为净”。在传道书3.7b中,说:“静默有时、言语有时”。当大祭司和长老指责耶稣时,耶稣使用了两种方法。“耶稣仍不回答、连一句话也不说。” (马太福音27.14)。宗教领袖们要知道耶稣是仗着什么权柄行神迹时,耶稣回答说、我也要问你们一句话、你们若告诉我、我就告诉你们我仗着甚么权柄作这些事。” (马太福音21.23)。耶稣是基督,他用这两个原则使他的对手沉默。

我们从箴言的这两节经文中可以学习一些东西。
1.我们需要向上帝祈求智慧和识别能力,以便我们知道在何种情况下应保持沉默和何时发言。
2.当我们说话时,即使是在纠正或谴责一个人时,我们的目标应该是造就人或使某人更亲近耶稣。愿我们的言语总是充满和气,用盐调和,让我们所说的话就像是“金苹果放在银盘上”。
3.当遭受攻击时,依然保持沉默并不是那么简单和和容易的事。它需要上帝的智慧和自制能力去保持沉默。那么即使在沉默中,你也像在说话。
27寡少言语的有知识.性情温良的有聪明。
28愚昧人若静默不言、也可算为智慧.闭口不说、也可算为聪明。(箴言17.27-28)
4.真正的智慧来自于对主的敬畏,而这智慧使我们能够知道如何在日常生活中适当地运用箴言。

今天的祷告:
天父,我们要高举你,你统管你所创造的宇宙万物。我们是如此的微不足道,但你却知道我们的名字,我们永远感激不已。主啊,我们何等的受到激励,你照顾空中的飞鸟和田野的花朵,你也一定会看顾我们,你的孩子们。天父,我们感谢你为我们提供的房屋。我们感谢上头的屋顶,桌上的饮食,温暖的衣物和保护双脚的鞋子。我们感谢你赐给我们和谐的家庭。
天父,你允许冠状病毒成为大流行病。主,在这场病毒大流行中,你给了我们额外的时间来思考许多我们认为理所当然的事情。原谅我们,无论是在我们的生意中,还是在我们的生活中,你似乎都不存在。我们做事只是为了取悦自己。我们的自私在我们的家中,工作场所,教会和社区中造成了太多的破坏。上帝啊,求你的灵甦醒我们。谢谢你,因为我们是属于你的,教导我们过讨你喜悦的生活。愿你成为我们生活的中心。

主啊,我们承认自己是愚蠢的,但我们却常自以为聪明。我们以愚蠢的方式在家里给彼此造成了极大的痛苦。随着行动管制令的延长,我们求你赐给我们你的智慧好让我们晓得如何来和家人相处。让我们能够温和的彼此交谈;赐给我们智慧和洞察力,让我们知道何时该说何时沉默。主啊,我们说话时,请赐给我们充满仁爱与温和的言语,好让说的和听的双方都得到激励和造就。
天父,感谢你垂听我们为宝贝Adriel的祈祷。感谢你日复一日地延续他的生命,增强他的心脏和肺部功能,让他能够在没有氧气罩的帮助下正常的呼吸。主啊,求你完全的医治他。我们为着你已成就的神迹并将要成就的颂赞你。愿一切的赞美与荣耀都归于你。
我们感谢你所赐下的主日。帮助我们在各自的家中来敬拜耶稣,我们复活的主和救主。祝福敬拜小组,技术小组和讲员George Tee博士。主啊,使用他来向我们每个心灵说话。让我们在这美好的敬拜中与你有个全新的相遇。
我们奉耶稣的名祈求和感谢。阿们

陈月妃 译

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