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Proverbs (Part 021) - Pro 2:11-12

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11. Pro 2:11 - "Discretion shall preserve thee, understanding shall keep thee:"

A. Discretion shall preserve thee
i. When wisdom enters into the heart, one of its effects is the cultivation of discretion.
a. Discretion n. - II. [Cf. discreet.] 6. Ability to discern or distinguish what is right, befitting, or advisable, esp. as regards one's own conduct or action; the quality of being discreet; discernment; prudence, sagacity, circumspection, sound judgement.
b. Discretion preserves us.
c. Preserve v. - 1. trans. To keep safe from harm or injury; to keep in safety, save, take care of, guard.
d. Therefore, having the ability to discern what is right with regards to our conduct will save us from much trouble, hardship, and harm in life.

ii. Consider the following examples of people whose discretion preserved them.
a. 3000 Jews on the day of Pentecost saved themselves from their untoward generation (Act 2:40), when they foresaw the evil and hid themselves (Pro 27:12) by obeying the Lord and being baptized (Act 2:41).
b. The wise men who came to worship the young child Jesus were told to report His location to Herod (Mat 2:8), but wisdom entered their heart through a dream and their discretion preserved them as they departed into their country another way (Mat 2:12).
c. When Paul was made aware that the governor of the city of Damascus sought to apprehend him, discretion preserved him when he used sound judgment to escape during the night by being let down by the wall through a window in a basket (2Co 11:32-33).
d. During Israel's sojourning in the land of Egypt the Hebrew midwives were given an ungodly order from the king to kill all of the baby boys that were born to the Jews (Exo 1:15-16).
(i) They disobeyed and "saved the men children alive" (Exo 1:17), making up a story to cover for themselves (Exo 1:19).
(ii) Discretion not only saved them (Exo 1:20-21), but also the lives of many innocent children.
e. When Joshua sent spies into Jericho to bring back an intelligence report on the city, they lodged in the house of Rahab the harlot.
(i) When the king sent men to her home looking for the men of Israel, Rahab's discretion preserved both her and them.
(ii) She hid them on the roof and wisely and righteously lied to the officials, saying they went out another way (Jos 2:3-6).
(iii) Discretion preserved both her and them.
f. When Nehemiah was leading the effort to rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity, his enemies who opposed the rebuilding project sought to lure him into a meeting by deceit in order to bring down both him and those he led.
(i) Through the wisdom given him by God, Nehemiah sagely perceived their duplicity, recognizing that "they thought to do me mischief" (Neh 6:2).
(ii) He prudently declined their offer to meet four times (Neh 6:3-4).
(iii) Discretion preserved him and the great work which he oversaw.
iii. As in all these examples, Christians should be "wise as serpents, and harmless as doves" (Mat 10:16), applying the principles taught by God in the scripture, "walk[ing] circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise" (Eph 5:15), and using their God-given discretion to save themselves and those around them.

B. Understanding shall keep thee.
i. Keep v. - II. Transitive uses (in early use also intr.). * To have regard, pay attention to, observe. 9. To have regard, to care, to reck 14. To guard, defend, protect, preserve, save.
ii. Receiving the word of God, which has been grafted into the heart by God in regeneration, is the means by which a child of God can save, or keep, his soul temporally (Jam 1:21).
iii. God first "worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure" (Php 2:13) when He spiritually implants a new heart in a man and writes His law in it (Heb 8:10).
iv. Once a child of God has a new heart with the law of God engraved upon it, the written word of God when read or heard can then be received into that heart, fitting into the sockets prepared for it by the LORD.
v. That word, when received and put into practice (Jam 1:21-22) by way of the understanding imparted by God (Pro 2:6-10), will preserve and keep the obedient Christian from living a life displeasing to God.
vi. Understanding, which is acquired through studying the word of God, when gotten and not forsaken, will keep a believer from error, lies, and foolish decisions.
vii. When God's commandments are kept by His children, God will in turn "keep [them] from evil" (2Th 3:3) and "keep [them] from falling" (Jud 1:24).
viii. He does this by giving them understanding which enables them to act wisely and avoid foolish decisions and actions that would be their destruction (Pro 4:5-6; Pro 6:20-22).

12. Pro 2:12 - "To deliver thee from the way of the evil man, from the man that speaketh froward things;"
A. To deliver thee from the way of the evil man
i. Solomon now gives us a specific example of the preserving influence that wisdom will have on us (Pro 2:10-11).
ii. Discretion will deliver us from the way of the evil man.
a. Deliver v. - I. 1. trans. To set free, liberate, release, rescue, save. b. Now esp. To set free from restraint, imminent danger, annoyance, trouble, or evil generally.
b. Deliver is a synonym of save (Act 2:21 c/w Joel 2:32).
c. Thus wisdom and discretion will save an obedient Christian from the manner of the wicked.
d. The salvation under consideration is obviously not eternal salvation, but rather temporal salvation from the way of the evil man.

B. The way of the evil man
i. The man who seeks and finds wisdom is promised to be saved from the way of the evil man.
ii. Evil adj. - A. adj. The antithesis of good in all its principal senses. 1. Morally depraved, bad, wicked, vicious.
iii. We should pray to be delivered from such men (Psa 140:1; 2Th 3:1-2; Mat 6:13).
iv. An evil man "seeketh only rebellion" (Pro 17:11).
v. In his transgression "there is a snare" (Pro 29:6) which will catch the unsuspecting.
vi. A Christian must stay far from such a man to avoid the judgment that will befall him when "a cruel messenger shall be sent against him" (Pro 17:11), and his "candle...shall be put out" (Pro 24:20).

C. From the man that speaketh froward things
i. Evil men are not always easily recognized as such.
ii. So Solomon here gives one of their defining characteristics: they speak froward things.
iii. Froward adj. - 1. Disposed to go counter to what is demanded or what is reasonable; perverse, difficult to deal with, hard to please; refractory, ungovernable; also, in a wider sense, bad, evilly-disposed, ‘naughty’. (The opposite of toward.) 2. Of things: a. Adverse, unfavourable, untoward; difficult to deal with, refractory.
iv. Jesus taught that the wicked heart of an evil man will be made manifest by what comes out of his mouth (Luk 6:45).
v. Pay close attention to a man's words, and he will tell you who he is; and when he does, believe him -- and then avoid him (Pro 4:14).