Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
Proverbs show many contrasts or differences between the wise and foolish, the wicked and the righteous, and the lazy and diligent. Solomon also tells us this contrast between pride and good advice.
Proverbs 13:10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
There’s a difference between contention and wisdom. Having contention and pride are opposite of having wisdom and good advice. Contention is verbal strife, dispute, debate, controversy, arguments. We’ve all experienced contention. Maybe it’s with our spouse, with children, with co-workers, or with family members. God doesn’t want us to be involved in contention. We’re well advised by what God says, to not enter into contention. Having a wrong attitude is one of the causes of contention and strife. Ephesians 4:26 says be angry and sin not. An angry man stirs up strife. If we’re angry and stir up strife, we’ll enter into contention and sin. We need to ask God to help us not stir up strife and to control our emotions.
Proverbs 29:22-23 An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression. A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
The devil wants you to get angry and say everything that comes to your mind. You’ll be a fool if you do, but a wise man will keep it in until afterwards. You’ll control what you think and what comes out of your mouth.
Proverbs 29:11 A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.
Pride always stirs up contention and strife. That’s why God hates pride and we need to hate it. If it starts working in our life, we need to seek God for grace to keep our mouth shut. He that puts this trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
Proverbs 28:25 He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be made fat.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
If anger turns into hatred, it’s because there’s an unforgiving spirit. When someone wrongs you and it sparks anger, God asks you to forgive, then love will cover all sins. We need to be saved and sanctified so God’s love fills our heart not hatred.
Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
Burning coals and wood add to fire. A contentious man holds a grudge in his heart that causes strife. God doesn’t want us to be contentious, murmuring, complaining, or finding fault. We need to handle issues right with the love of God.
Proverbs 26:21 As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.
Adam Clarke’s commentary says, “as soon as the smallest breech is made in the dike or dam, the water begins to press from all parts towards the breach; the resistance becomes too great to be successfully opposed, so that dykes and all are speedily swept away.” If you see a dispute will lead to strife, don’t begin it. The teacher said when she was a child that a gopher hole in the levee near her home caused a levee break. When the men found the hole, they tried to plug it up with sand sacks but the water pushed through. They used a bulldozer to put dirt in the hole but the water came through still. The gap was 25-30 feet wide and to the ground. Strife starts out little but grows if you keep it in your heart because of pride. That’s why it says leave off contention before it’s meddled with. Don’t even get involved in it.
Proverbs 17:14 The beginning of strife is as when one letteth out water…leave off contention, before it be meddled with.
God wants us to be swift to hear but slow to anger and to rule our spirit. We can’t rule our spirit by ourselves. We must be sanctified and have the Holy Spirit to help and guide us to have control over all the situations of life.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
It’s an honor to cease from strife. Strife happens when two people have different opinions and ignore the other’s feelings, insisting they’re right. Tolerance is when you’re willing to accept that another person doesn’t think like you do and holds a different but equally valid opinion. Tolerance is vitally important for us to live in harmony because we’re all different.
Proverbs 20:3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.
Wise people take advice and listen to different viewpoints. People see the same situation from different viewpoints. Pride demands to be right. Mature people that love God don’t have to be right, except to be right with God. At the judgment hall Jesus was quiet because he wasn’t contending for himself. He was right with God and that’s what mattererd.
Transcript of U.S. Naval ship radio conversation with Canadian authorities off the coast of Newfoundland, October 1995. Americans: please divert your course 15 degrees to the north to avoid a collision. Canadians: recommended you divert your course 15 degrees to the south to avoid a collision. Americans: This is the captain of the U.S Navy ship, I say divert your course. Canadians: No, I say you divert your course. Americans: This is the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln the second largest ship in the United States Atlantic fleet. We are accompanied by three destroyers, three cruisers, numerous support vessels. I demand that you change your course 15 degrees north, that’s one five degrees north or counter measures will be undertaken to ensure the safety of this ship. Canadians: This is the lighthouse. Your call.
You can get so proud and think you’re right and not even have all the circumstances or know what you’re talking about. The Americans didn’t know what they were talking about or who they were talking to. They were by the coast and should have known the lighthouse was there. Pride causes us to think one thing when it’s totally different. Signs of pride: fault finding – pride encourages us to overlook our shortcomings and focus on other’s faults, so we treat them harshly instead of with a gentle, kind spirit, without getting irritated and offended. Pride will cause us to not control our irritation and anger. Pride encourages us to have a good outward appearance with little concern about the inward state of our heart. Pride takes offense easily, encourages self-protection from hurt and to not trust God. The psalmist says “great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them” (Psalm 119:165). If you’re easily offended, check to see if pride is there. Being presumptuous encourages people to feel entitled and make their own decisions. Joshua got in a situation when the Gibeonites came in worn out clothes and shoes, with moldy bread, and said they were from far away but lived nearby. God said to destroy the Canaanites, but Joshua didn’t pray but made a league with them (Joshua 9:3-15). He presumed because he didn’t have the facts and didn’t ask God’s counsel. The devil can trick us to think things are one way but it’s totally different. A proud person thinks he knows all, his opinions are always right, and other’s opinions are worthless. He won’t take advice and no one can talk to him. His pride leads to contention.
Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
The only way that we’re willing to hearken to counsel is to be humble. God wants us to be clothed with humility.
Proverbs 16:18-19 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
When Uzziah sought the Lord, God made him prosper. If we seek God and do as he wants, he’ll help us prosper spiritually. Uzziah prospered in all he did, built an army, and won battles, so he was marvelously helped until he was strong. Pride and presumption came. He served God for 52 years but thought he could offer like the priests, but it was against God’s will. Uzziah got angry and he got leprosy so he stopped being king. Pride will destroy us if we don’t get it out of our life.
II Chronicles 26:3-5 Sixteen years old was Uzziah when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and two years…And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord…and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper.
II Chronicles 26:9-10 Moreover Uzziah built towers…at the turning of the wall, and fortified them. Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells…had much cattle…husbandmen also, and vine dressers…for he loved husbandry.
II Chronicles 26:14-19 And Uzziah prepared…shields, and spears, and helmets, and habergeons, and bows, and slings to cast stones. And he made in Jerusalem engines…to shoot arrows and great stones withal. And his name spread far abroad; for he was marvellously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the Lord…to burn incense upon the altar…Azariah the priest…withstood Uzziah…said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee…but to the priests…Uzziah was wroth…leprosy even rose up in his forehead…
Pride always causes sin so God hates it. That’s why we need to hate pride. We’re responsible to stay humble before God.
James 4:6…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
James 4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.