Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gifts makes room for him, And brings him before great men.”
Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? Especially for us writers. It’s our prayer that our gifts be used for something great, that the publishing industry will make room for us, bring us to awesome things and there is nothing wrong with those dreams.
The Bible is telling us that it can happen and that it’s okay to dream, to want amazing things. Joseph had a great dream, a God-given dream; it included being powerful, and his brothers bowing at his feet. His gifts made room for him and brought him before great men.
BUT the key to verse 16 lies in the verses before it. It isn’t placed randomly, although sometimes it feels like a chapter in Proverbs is just a string of random sayings tossed together to make it up, but it’s not. Every word, every sentence is strategically placed.
So let’s look at some of verses before it. I want to hit on 7 things.
There are 7 things that we have to be molded into, before we hit verse 16.
Remember, we’re talking about righteous people, not Hollywood! We want peace when we make it to the place Joseph made it to. And we’re not talking perfection, we’re talking about consistent living. Chances are, we’re gonna slip up from time to time. We are but dust.
The Lord is all about preparing His people to house His fame.
Verse 8: “The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles, and they go down into the inmost body.”
The KJV says, “The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” The Hebrew word for “wounds” isn’t hurt. I thought it would be because we all know gossip hurts, but it isn’t.
The word is “laham” and it means “to gulp, swallow greedily” Oh my!
We gulp gossip down, swallow it greedily, and yet the word is wounds. Ironic, who would ever want to gulp down pain? Yet we do.
1. We cannot be talebearers, and we cannot gulp it down when gossip is presented on shiny plates and served fresh.
Some people have no problems with gossiping or shutting it down, but for others, it’s tough. I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been on both ends at one time or another in our adult life.
Verse 9. “He who is slothful in his work, is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.”
The word in Hebrew for “slothful” “raphah” and it means “to relax, be disheartened, let drop, withdraw, abandon, forsake.”
The KJV says, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster.”
The word for “great” is noun of relationship used to characterize “master of dreams”
2.You cannot let your dreams and your work decay. Don’t be disheartened or withdraw. Write, write, work! Don’t stop. Don’t give it up, don’t abandon it!
Verse 10-11: “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe. The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his own esteem.
You must know where your safety lies.
You cannot run to wealth or any high wall you build as a show-piece, even if it’s just your built up imagination that you can handle things on your own.
3.When it’s time to run, know Who you are running to.
Verse: 12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.
It’s easy to slip into a prideful state. Sometimes, we’re unaware. It takes constant prayer and allowing God to search your heart daily to walk with humility, and expect obstacles to come that will knock you down a peg or two.
Even Paul had a thorn in his side he wished removed, but it kept him humble. Some people are sick with talent. Some of them are prideful and generally fall miserably. A tragedy. And some remember to have their hearts searched!
4. Walk in humility, pride will get you nowhere fast.
Verse: 13: “He who answers a matter before he hears it; It is folly and shame to him.”
The Hebrew word for “hears” is “shama” and it means, “to listen, to obey, to perceive, to understand”
The word “matter” is “dabar” in Hebrew and it does mean, “speech, word, speaking” but it also can mean, “business or occupation”
5.Listen and obey God before jumping in with an answer concerning your words, answers, and business affairs.
God gives you the words to say and they may not always be “yes” even if it sounds good. This can also save you time and energy on some unnecessary steps, had you took time to really understand and then obey.
Verse 14: “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit”
Even today, doctors who claim no faith, believe that a positive attitude can go a long way with sick patients, but those who give up, generally die sooner. But I don’t want to talk about physical sickness.
I want to talk about this verse: “Hope deferred makes a heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12.
How many of you are still waiting on your dream to come to pass? It can feel sickening, that hope put on hold, can’t it? But don’t let your spirit be troubled!
The Hebrew word for “spirit” is also “mind”
6. Don’t let the thoughts of never making it overcrowd what you know in your heart to be true, even when your heart feels sick over deferred hope!
Romans 5:5 says, “Hope does not disappoint…” God does not deceive or disappoint. (Habakkuk 2:3) He is right on time, and His words do not return void! (Isaiah 55:11)
Verse 15: “The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
7. Be smart. Always study. Always learn.
That brings us to our main verse. Righteous one, if you want to have room made for you and be brought before great men, there is much preparation to be done.
Joseph spent years learning these things. He started out as a arrogant, foolish, brat. Spouting off when he shouldn’t, thinking of himself above his brothers. Remember his story. He learned how to be all of the above things through trials. And guess what?
He ruled Egypt. And his dreams, oh they did come true.
Care to share? Which step are you working through at the moment?