14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands.

Thank God for the creation of women! Women are the most wonderful creatures! Similar to us men, yet amazingly different in so many ways. Beautiful, fascinating, mysterious, alluring – and confusing and frustrating at times!

Of course, not all women are alike. There are many differences among them. One of the most important differences among the fairer sex is in the area of wisdom and foolishness. There are wise women and there are foolish women.

A wise woman knows the Three-Persons-With-One-Nature God of Israel. She knows our Heavenly Father, and Messiah Yeshua His Son and our Lord and Savior; and she has received the precious Holy Spirit. She knows about the salvation made possible by Messiah dying on the cross, and rising from the dead, which makes reconciliation with God, and atonement and eternal life possible. The wise woman embraces God’s provision of salvation. She knows that the Holy Writings are the divinely inspired and accurate and true Word of God. She systematically applies the principles in the Bible to her life. She is guided by its truths in her relationships with her husband and children and other family members.

Wisdom builds up a relationship, a home, a family, but foolishness – ignoring or contradicting the Lord’s commands – tears them down. Those women who ignore the Creator’s principles will harm their families just like a woman who with her own hands, harms her home by knocking holes in the walls, breaking the windows and leaving the water running in the bathtub so that it floods the home!

Women, do not tear down your home by attacking and belittling your children and husbands with insulting, hurtful words; by withholding your affection from your husband; by allowing romantic and sexual interest to develop with another man; by being lazy; by not being a good manager of money; by drinking so that you become a problem drinker; by giving into rage; by not supporting yourself, and encouraging your husband and children to be doing the basic spiritual disciplines like reading the Bible regularly, thinking about it, talking about it, hearing it being taught; praying regularly individually and together as a family; actively and regularly participating in the life of your congregation, serving, helping, pitching in; financially supporting the congregation; engaging in evangelism regularly – these are ways that you tear down your home with your own hands.

Ladies, make sure that you know the Lord and are living by God’s principles. If you do, you will build yourself up, and strengthen your marriage, and your children, and your husband. You will have a better and happier husband, a stronger marriage, and healthier and godly children.

14:2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is crooked in his ways despises Him.

Where there is no fear of God there is little motivation for right conduct. Yee-raht Adonai – the fear of the Lord -a good healthy respect for the God who is a consuming fire, should motivate us to conduct ourselves in the right way. Do you fear the Lord? Reverence your Creator? Honor and respect Him and His Word? Concerned about displeasing Him, sinning against Him, failing Him? That’s good!

There is an integral connection between morality and spirituality. You cannot be spiritual apart from being moral. To be good you must be godly. It is a false spirituality that is divorced from morality. Do not be seduced by any religion or philosophy that promises you some spirituality apart from doing what is right in the sight of the holy and pure Creator!

If you claim to fear the Lord – to know Him, to respect your Creator, to belong to Him, to serve Him, you had better live a life that is characterized by righteousness. You had better be walking a straight moral line. It is right to expect a straight, moral and righteous kind of life from those who claim to love the Righteous God, especially among those are leaders and teachers in Messiah’s Holy Community. They must have a high level of morality.

If a person is morally crooked, he shows that he has no true regard for God. There are many people today who call themselves Christians – followers of the holy Messiah, who twist important truths in the Word of God; or who are corrupt in their sexuality; or who deviously desire to go beyond proper monetary and financial boundaries. Their actions show that they that they despise the Lord – no matter what words claim or what their confession is. Beware of those who talk religion but aren’t righteous, who speak about piety but act perversely, who claim to honor the truth but live corrupt lives.

14:3 In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.

Our words can be powerful – not because they are containers of power – which they aren’t – that’s magical, not biblical thinking – but because our words can affect us and other people, both for good and for bad. Our words, if they are stupid or wrong, can cause others, and us, much harm.

Post 9-11, haven’t you heard about the man in the process of board a plane who jokes about being a terrorist or having a bomb, and though he is joking, the guy is hauled away and thoroughly interrogated? Their words are not so funny then. I’ve heard stories about people who are angry with the president, and foolishly threaten to harm him, and they are overhead and arrested by the Secret Service.

The words of the wise protect them because they think before they speak. They say good things in the right time in the right way to the right people. They know the truth and they speak what is true, and other people, even if they disagree with them, come to respect them for it. And, the Lord respects them for speaking the truth in a wise way. The Lord has made it so that our words are essential for our salvation. In the Word of God, we are told that if we believe at the core of our being that Yeshua died and rose again, and He is alive now, and is the living Savior; and if we confess with our mouth to God and men, that Yeshua is the Lord, we will be saved. Someone wrote: Your words will make or break you, preserve you or punish you, especially your words about the things of God.

The Lord of truth likes truthful words appropriately spoken, and on the Day of Judgment, will reward us for those good words. And, everyone should also know that we are accountable for every foolish word that comes out of our mouths, and if we do not suffer immediate consequences for foolish words in this life, know that we will be judged for them one day. You want security and protection? You want a life that is safer? You want eternal life? Become wise, and speak the truth, and learn who to do so to the right people, in the right circumstances, and in the most appropriate way.

14:4 Where no oxen are the manger is clean, but much increase comes by the strength of the ox.

This is a challenge for entrepreneurs to work harder, work smarter, and expand their businesses. Inconvenience and extra work is the price of growth and accomplishment. There is no milk without manure. Only as we work hard, and invest in better tools and technology, do we get a larger return. If you don’t expand your business you will save yourself some headaches, but you won’t get as much increase either. In the family area, those who choose not to have children may spare themselves some aggravation, but they will also miss out on one of life’s greatest rewards.

14:5 A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness speaks lies.

We must know and speak the truth, especially in important circumstances where we are called upon to do so as witnesses. A witness is one who is called upon to declare what he has seen or heard or knows. Why? God is truth. His Word is truth. He loves the truth. He cannot lie. He dislikes distortions of the truth. He hates lies. He will severely punish liars and false witnesses and perjurers. He rewards the faithful witness.

Truth is important because it is reality, and being in touch with reality is good! Lining up our minds and our lives and our words with the truth makes for a successful life. It pleases the God of truth, and He blesses those who do so.

For various reasons, not all witnesses are faithful witnesses. Some may not come forward and give the necessary information; if they do come forward, some may withhold information; some may distort the facts or lie. Some people tell lies because they mistakenly think they will be better off, or avoid trouble by lying; but lies can, and often do, create additional troubles. Over the past 40 years more than a few government officials and public servants have gotten in trouble, not for committing the crime they were being investigated for, but for trying to cover up a crime they may not have committed but knew about, and lying about it.

There can be unpleasant consequences for being a faithful witness. There are situations when people do not want the information of the witness to be revealed. Pressure and threats are applied to intimidate the witness from testifying fully and honestly. In these circumstances, it takes courage to be a faithful witness. It takes love for the truth, and for doing what is right, and for justice. It takes a willingness to be inconvenienced or to suffer.

Messiah Yeshua is the Faithful Witness. He never stopped declaring the truth, even when facing powerful opposition. He never gave in to intimidation. He never toned down the message. He always, in every circumstance, told human beings what is true. He always gave us accurate and reliable information. His information can be completely trusted.

When He spoke about the utter lostness of mankind, and His mission to rescue humans beings who believe in Him, and the realities of Heaven and Hell, and His eternal relationship to His Father, and His death to atone for sin, and Himself being the only way to everlasting life, and the peace that comes to those who follow Him, and the certainty of resurrection from the dead for those who follow Him, and the sure hope of eternal life for those who follow Him, we can rely on the truthfulness and the accuracy of what He said.

As the Word of God, He spoke truth to humanity before the Incarnation, during His incarnation, during His death, and after He rose from the dead; and He is still speaking to humanity. He is still and always will be the Faithful Witness!

Like the Son of God, the wise individual must tell the truth in all of his communications. He must be a faithful witness when called upon in some special circumstance when he has to testify about what he has seen or knows. We must be faithful witnesses about religious truth, because religious truth is so very very important and must be truthfully and courageously communicated. What God tells us in a whisper, we are to shout. We are to declare to the world the things we know about the God of Israel, the reliability of the Holy Scriptures, the way of righteousness, the path of salvation through Messiah, the realities of Heaven and Hell and eternal life. May we be faithful witnesses, willing to be inconvenienced, suffer, even die, in order to be like the Faithful Witness!

We start off our life with God confessing the truth that Yeshua is Lord. Throughout our walk with God we continue confessing what we know – that Yeshua is Lord. And, at the very end of our life, we are to die as faithful witnesses, confessing that Yeshua is Lord.

14:6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge is easy to him who has understanding.

A scoffer is someone does one or both of the following two things: 1 – He makes fun of the one true God – the God of Israel; 2 – he does not believe in the Word of God. A person can be a scoffer if he believes in God, but does not believe in the Holy Scriptures, that they are the divinely inspired Word of God.

A scoffer may be very smart in many areas. He may be intellectually gifted. He may be well informed on many subjects. He may have a Ph. D. in science or math. He may be an engineer, a nuclear physicist, or a great mathematician. He may be sophisticated, cultured, well-traveled and well-read. But, if he does not have the proper foundation for his knowledge, all his learning will never be integrated properly and he won’t achieve the necessary results.

It’s like the man who wants to building a glorious skyscraper, but neglects to build the proper foundation. The building may rise for a time, but it will always be unstable, and eventually will collapse. Those who dismiss the Creator and His revelation of Himself just don’t have the capacity to attain true wisdom and true life.

Since the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and is the foundation for properly integrating and applying knowledge, unless a person start at the beginning, and lays a good intellectual foundation on God and the Bible, his knowledge will ultimately fail him. He is will miss out on the most important things of all – being reconciled to God, and living forever, and being a person who know ultimate truth and therefore can really help others in the way they most need to be helped.

The great mathematician or physicist must become like a child, and develop a child-like trust in God and His Word, or the most important things in life will be hidden from him, and he will never attain wisdom, no matter how much he read or studies.

On the other hand, knowing that there is a great God who created everything, and who revealed Himself in the Special Writings, enables all other knowledge to be applied properly, all other information to be processed, all other academic disciplines to be integrated into a coherent worldview. It makes decisions that need to be made, and choices to come easier.

It happened to me. When I found God, all the intellectual pieces of the puzzle came together for me. Everything started making sense. I achieved the enlightenment that I was searching for. I started making much better decisions for my life.

Are you a scoffer who is seeking wisdom, but will not find it, because you dismiss the Creator and the Special Books, or are you experiencing the great intellectual and knowledge advantages that come from understanding the truth about God and the Bible?

14:7 Leave the presence of a fool, or you will not discern words of knowledge.

All we like sheep… Human beings have a tendency to follow those around them. We are easily influenced by those we spend time with. Their ideas, attitudes and beliefs rub off on us. Since this is true, be careful who you spend time with. Don’t pick a fool as a friend. If you do, you will absorb their harmful ideas (God isn’t important; truth is relative; sex outside of marriage is good; lying isn’t that bad; divorce without biblical grounds is no big deal – everyone is doing it; live for today; you are here to have as much fun as possible), and you will start losing the ability to know the truth and then act on the truth. And, as a result, you will begin to experience loss.

14:8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.

The wise individual understands his way. He understands Life’s Big Picture – that the Great God of Heaven exists, that God is Three and yet One; that salvation is by grace alone, in response to our faith alone. We can never earn salvation or enter into eternal life by our good deeds – we will always fall short; that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of the Creator, and is accurate and trustworthy; that the New Heavens and the New Earth and the New Jerusalem and Gehenna, Hell, the Lake of Fire and the Second death are realities; that the Just Judge will reward the righteous and punish the wicked; that on the Day of Judgment, service and sacrifice will be richly rewarded, and disobedience to the will of God, and selfishness will be punished.

The wise individual understand these things, and thinks about the choices he making, and about his conduct and habits, and whether they are in keeping with God’s will and ways, or against them; and whether therefore they are helpful or harmful, and where they will lead him. The wise individual will have a sense of moral and spiritual direction. He will know where his choices will lead him.

But the foolish person does not clearly think through his choices, and where they will lead him. He ignores the implications of his actions. He doesn’t consider if what he id thinking and doing will bring him closer or farther to his Creator; if it will make him better or worse; if it will improve or corrupt his character. He tells himself that his stupid choices won’t really harm himself or others; that divorce isn’t that bad; that it won’t damage his children; that he’s immune to sexually transmitted diseases.

And, if not, there is some pill for it, so there won’t be any harmful long-term consequences; that the decision to have an abortion won’t be accompanied by guilt and regret and depression for years afterwards. The foolish individual deceives himself with hi