Listen to the Sermon: 

Download the Notes: 01052014LearnHowToNavigateLifeDonRuhl

Learn How to Navigate Life 

How do you know what to do?

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • January 5, In the year of our Lord, 2014



  1. How shall I deal with my problems? 
    1. How shall I handle difficult people?
    2. What shall I do in uncomfortable situations?
    3. How can I learn what to say to people?
    4. How can I learn what to do when unexpected circumstances arise?
      1. Do you want insight for navigating these issues of life?
      2. I suppose there are people who
        1. do not want to do any better with these situations, because
        2. they are happy with where they are as people, and
          1. they believe that any problems they encounter along the way,
          2. are the faults of someone else.
            1. However, I do not believe that about you, for
            2. that is why you are here tonight.
  2. These are questions of navigation. 
    1. The Scripture reading of Proverbs 1.1–6, shows that Proverbs will give you
      1. skill for living,
      2. insight into human behavior and thinking
      3. the ability to make the right choices, and
      4. how the world works.

        1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel:
        2 To know wisdom and instruction,
        To perceive the words of understanding,
        3 To receive the instruction of wisdom,
        Justice, judgment, and equity;
        4 To give prudence to the simple,
        To the young man knowledge and discretion—
        5 A wise man will hear and increase learning,
        And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
        6 To understand a proverb and an enigma,
        The words of the wise and their riddles.
        (Pro 1.1–6)

        1. Solomon made huge promises about the Book of Proverbs, but
        2. I have tested what this Book says, and
          1. I have found that it does just what Solomon promised,
          2. truly, I have found more than the skill and insight he promised.
    2. However, you have to lay down the proper foundation,

      7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
      But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
      (Pro 1.7)

      10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
      And the knowledge of the Holy One  is understanding.
      (Pro 9.10)

      1. Wisdom is not merely about intelligence,
      2. it is a matter of the heart.
        1. Your attitude, motive, and emphasis in life
        2. determine whether you shall acquire wisdom.
          1. For that reason fearing the Lord serves as the beginning of wisdom.
          2. He created all things,
            1. including our ability to understand His world.
            2. Therefore, everything begins with Him.
              1. He created life.
              2. He shows us how to navigate it by means of Proverbs.
    3. We cannot trust our own understanding,

      5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
      And lean not on your own understanding;
      6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
      And He shall direct your paths.
      (Pro 3.5–6)

      26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
      But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.
      (Pro 28.26)

      1. We need counsel.
      2. He gives the only trustworthy counsel we can find for life.
  3. The opening lines of Proverbs shows how it help us navigate life successfully. 
    1. It furnishes
      1. wisdom,
      2. instruction,
      3. understanding,
      4. justice,
      5. judgment,
      6. equity,
      7. prudence,
      8. knowledge,
      9. discretion, and
      10. wise counsel.
    2. It is for
      1. the simple,
      2. the young,
      3. the wise, and
      4. the understanding.
  4. It is not necessarily a matter of knowledge, 
    1. how smart you are, but
    2. it is having understanding,
      1. the ability to interpret life situations, and then
      2. knowing how to act in those situations.
        1. For example, Proverbs 30 shows some animals
          1. whose intelligence is far beneath ours, but
          2. they know how to navigate life,

            24 There are four things which are little on the earth,
            But they are exceedingly wise:
            25 The ants are a people not strong,
            Yet they prepare their food in the summer;
            26 The rock badgers are a feeble folk,
            Yet they make their homes in the crags;
            27 The locusts have no king,
            Yet they all advance in ranks;
            28 The spider [or lizard] skillfully grasps with its hands,
            And it is in kings’ palaces.
            (Pro 30.24–28)

            1. They may have acquired their skill instinctively, nevertheless,
            2. we can learn from them.
              1. We have to learn from them, because
              2. for us, navigating life does not come instinctively.
        2. You know how this applies in other areas,

          26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence (1Co 1.26–29).

          1. As that is true in matters of salvation,
          2. so the Book of Proverbs shows it is true in matters of daily living.
            1. I have seen the smart doing foolish things, and
            2. I have seen the ignorant doing wise things.
    3. Therefore, learning to navigate life is more than intelligence.
      1. We cannot simply memorize Solomon’s Proverbs and be successful.
      2. Knowing what is in the Book blesses us, but
        1. as with all of God’s word,
        2. we have to do what it says to understand it truly.
          1. It is knowing how to apply what we have learned.
          2. Fools can know the Proverbs, but
            1. they do not know what to do with them, and
            2. those fools might be smart.
              1. However, they do not have the heart
              2. for understanding and living these words of the wise,

                16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
                Since he has no heart for it?
                (Pro 17.16)

                2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
                But in expressing his own heart.
                (Pro 18.2)

                7 Like the legs of the lame that hang limp
                Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
                (Pro 26.7)

                9 Like a thorn that goes into the hand of a drunkard
                Is a proverb in the mouth of fools.
                (Pro 26.9)

  5. Proverbs 9 – The Invitation of Two Women 
    1. Proverbs 9 presents two women who invite us to eat with them.
      1. However, we can only join one for a meal, but
      2. many people want to have a meal with both.
    2. They represent very different lives, but they make similar invitations.
      1. First, observe Lady Wisdom,

        3 She has sent out her maidens,
        She cries out from the highest places of the city,
        4 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!”
        As for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
        5 “Come, eat of my bread
        And drink of the wine I have mixed.
        6 Forsake foolishness and live,
        And go in the way of understanding.
        7 He who corrects a scoffer gets shame for himself,
        And he who rebukes a wicked man only harms himself.
        8 Do not correct a scoffer, lest he hate you;
        Rebuke a wise man, and he will love you.
        9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
        Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.
        10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
        And the knowledge of the Holy One  is understanding.
        11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
        And years of life will be added to you.
        12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself,
        And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”
        (Pro 9.3–12)

      2. Now, observe Lady Folly,

        13 A foolish woman is clamorous;
        She is simple, and knows nothing.
        14 For she sits at the door of her house,
        On a seat by the highest places of the city,
        15 To call to those who pass by,
        Who go straight on their way:
        16 “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here”;
        And as for him who lacks understanding, she says to him,
        17 “Stolen water is sweet,
        And bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”
        18 But he does not know that the dead are there,
        That her guests are in the depths of hell.
        (Pro 9.13–18)

    3. They both, from the highest places,
      1. call out to the simple,
      2. inviting the simple to join them,
      3. offering the simple bread to eat, and
      4. promising the ability to understand.
    4. When you hear Lady Wisdom and Lady Folly
      1. calling out to you as you navigate through life,
      2. how do you know which is which?
        1. Lady Wisdom speaks of fearing the Lord (v. 10), but
        2. Lady Folly admits that what she has she did not get legitimately (v. 17).
          1. Of course, there is more to hear,
          2. comparing all that you hear with the Scriptures, do the following.
  6. Read the Book of Proverbs Daily 
    1. Read the chapter number that corresponds to the day of the month.
    2. You will find this very beneficial if you do it with another person.
      1. Find something in that chapter that you need and pray about it.
      2. Do this month after month, year after year, and
        1. watch your ability to navigate life grow.
        2. You will then begin to help others navigate life.