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In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #8

Warren E. Berkley

This is Podcasts #8 in this series, derived from the book of Proverbs. I have comments about chapter seven, which is another step the father takes in warning his son of sexual immorality.

Has this ever happened to you? You witness or know about a devastating moral crash. You gather your teenage sons around you, & describe what happened. Tell them how the temptation came to pass, describe the ruin that resulted and then tell them – BE ALERT; DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU.

That’s the essence of Proverbs chapter seven. “My son,” it begins. It ends like an ox going to the slaughter. The father pleads with his son, “don’t let this happen to you.”

What the Father saw out his window was not an innocent young man being forced to sin. No. The young man who went to the slaughter had no good moral sense, and he took the road to her house.

Likewise, the female in this affair was not forced. She was all that the word “seductress” means. “Dressed as a prostitute, wily of heart, her feet did not stay at home, she seizes him and kisses him, makes promises about the absence of her husband, then takes the young man home.

It is a moral crash. The father saw it and quickly told his sons about it, to illustrate the ruin; to become an occasion to remind them to be discreet and disciplined.

Some fathers may think it wise to never speak to their sons of such scandals. This father believes it wise to sit his boys down and tell them what he saw, using the scene to stress purity, discipline and wisdom.

I’ve said in an earlier podcasts, I believe parents should see this passage and consider the value of frank conversations with their children about this danger.

To that I will give you a couple of bonus statements. (1) If your child has a phone, take that phone from them without warning from time to time, and see what they’ve been doing with their phone. Get someone to help you dig into the depths of that device, behind hidden apps, to see what they’ve been doing, who they have been talking to. I would hope you will find nothing disturbing. But you are putting them on alert. You are reminding them of the danger.

(2) When you talk to your children about these things – don’t let it be just harsh warnings. Speak to them of the positive side of this. The beauty and purity of a marriage between two Christians. Locating sexual activity where God put it.

Marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled. But fornicators and adulterers, God will judge. So it is written in Hebrews 13.

Thank You for listening.





In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #7

Warren E. Berkley

This is Podcasts #7 in this series, derived from the book of Proverbs. Let’s talk about something we may find challenging or sensitive. In chapter 5, chapter 6 and again in chapter 7 – Warnings about sexual temptation.

There are at least two challenges we may face as we read and study this part of Proverbs. One is, we may think this is so simple, so obvious, we don’t need it. Christians know all about fornication and adultery. We know this is wrong. So, we may just skip these passages. I think skipping passages due to familiarity is always a mistake.

Two, some readers may find this section to be too graphic, too descriptive, too much information. So again, we just pass by it quickly. I’ll explain why I think that is a mistake too.

Parents may not take enough time to warn their children about this. Fathers, for instance, may have that little talk with their sons and find it so uncomfortable – they just issue a very brief warning and avoid any extended discussion, like what is here in Proverbs. Fathers may say to their sons, “Son, don’t do this.” Mothers may say to their daughters, “just don’t have sex before marriage … that’s all.”

Would you consider please – all this detail, this extended narration in Proverbs may imply – parents need to slow down and spend a little more time with the various levels of this temptation. Perhaps more needs to be said, than just a quick sentence or two.


Something else I want to say, before I read these opening verses in chapter five.

This specific narrative is not about every woman, or every young man, though all are warned.

This is about “the forbidden woman” and the “foolish man,” who leaves the wife of his youth. And in chapter seven, the foolish young man who goes to the wrong place at the wrong time – finds the wrong woman and throws his life in the wrong direction.

So, listen now to these opening verses in Proverbs 5.

My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
   incline your ear to my understanding, that you may keep discretion,
    and your lips may guard knowledge.
For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
    and her speech is smoother than oil,
but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
    sharp as a two-edged sword. 

Her feet go down to death;
    her steps follow the path to Sheol;
she does not ponder the path of life;
    her ways wander, and she does not know it.

There is an important key word: “Discretion.” That word is about knowing the difference between right and wrong – and using that knowledge to embrace what is right and refrain from what is wrong.

We are obligated to teach our young people discretion. And discretion is a value produced in people when they love God, love His Word, follow Christ and follow through – discerning between right and wrong.

One more thing – the warnings in this section of Proverbs should not be limited to teenagers or young folks. Who put this teaching together? Who did God use to write this for us? Solomon, who in his life illustrated the ruin of sexual immorality.

Let’s all take heed to this. And make this real in our lives and teach our children well. Paul said, “flee sexual immorality.” More about this in the next podcasts. Thank you for listening.

Proverbs 4

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #6

Warren E. Berkley


Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is #6, based on Prov. 4. I would like to call to your attention – these observations from inside of Proverbs chapter 4. I’ll encourage you to read the chapter after listening.


  1. There is a subtle shift here, that we may not notice at first. Earlier in Proverbs, the writer uses the father-son model. We’ve talked about the parental pulpit. A father is having a crucial conversation with his son – about temptation, wisdom, discipline, issuing prohibitions, etc. Then we come to chapter four and verse 1, and there is a shift – almost unnoticeable. Back in one, two and three – the father addresses his son, singular. Now here in Prov. 4:1 – “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction.” That may not seem too significant. But I’ll make this point – Parents need to provide wise counsel to each of their children. Sometimes this needs to be done one-on-one. Other times, speaking to the group. Equal instruction and the same instruction, imparted by parents to all their children – about the fear of the Lord, seeking wisdom, and the necessarily discipline that should be taken into every day.


  1. In verses 18 & 19, “…the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, which shines brighter and brighter until full day. The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know over what they stumble.” This is consistent with Scripture as a whole. Living right with God is often portrayed as light. Living without God, darkness. And in the New Testament, in many places – faithful Christians radiate light, show the way, lead people out of darkness. By our influence, Jesus said, “let your light shine before men,” and Paul said we are to shine as lights in the world.


  1. Keep your eyes forward. Verse 25, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.” I cannot read this without remembering what Jesus said, in Luke 9:62 – “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Once we embrace wisdom and start making choices to be followers of Christ – there is a DON’T LOOK BACK ATTITUDE WE HAVE TO MAINTAIN. Does anyone remember Lot’s wife?


  1. An associated thought – in verse 27 – “Do not swerve to the right or to the left.” I think this goes to the matter so prominent in Proverbs, of temptation. Once we make the choice to take the right path, and we get on that path – drive a straight course! If we start looking around, we can get distracted and drive off the straight course --- into trouble. So the end of chapter four says, “turn your foot away from evil.”


One commentator said about Proverbs chapter 4 à the message is – GET GOING, KEEP GOING AND DON’T GET LOST!

Prov. 3:9-12

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #5

Warren E. Berkley

 Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is #5, based on Prov. 3:9-12. Here’s our text:

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first-fruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

The word “wealth” in this passage should not be understood as wealthy in the modern sense of having excess, being something like a millionaire or billionaire. That’s not the idea. If we impose that onto the passage, we are likely to dismiss any personal application. Most of us do not consider ourselves to be wealthy, in the common sense of the term.

Instead, consider this word as meaning – what you have, no matter how it compares with others. Your “wealth” is what you have. It may be monetary, but is inclusive of whatever you have.

The idea here is – use what you have to honor God. In good times or hard times; no matter the pain you may be going through or the suffering you may anticipate. Use what you have to honor God. Because, what you have is from Him.

Now, if we will do that, there is great spiritual prosperity we will enjoy. The barns and vats of this passage are containers – not of literal wheat, grain or wine. The promise is – as we honor God with whatever we have, we become recipients of spiritual blessings far greater than silver or gold; far higher and permanent than wheat, grain or wine.

Now, when bad things happen; when God permits us to be tested and tried – don’t turn against Him!

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of His reproof, for the Lord reproves him who He loves, as the son in whom he delights.”

Our earthly parents didn’t shield us from all pain and suffering; sometimes they were the administrators.

What were they doing? What is God doing? Training us, for our good.

More about this is expressed by the Holy Spirit in Hebrews chapter twelve. I encourage you to give that a good read and study. Heb. 12:3-17.

So to summarize this simple little paragraph in Proverbs three.

Whatever you have – time, opportunity, skill, access, money – whatever you have, use it in such a way, God is honored. He is glorified and His cause is advanced.

It will make you spiritually rich. Do that, even in hard times – giving heed to the warning, to not despise the discipline of the Lord.

Listen again before I close.

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the first-fruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

11 My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.

Thank you for listening.



Prov. 3:1-8

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #4

Warren E. Berkley

Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is #4 – offered on April 13. Let’s take up Prov. 3:1-8.

My son, do not forget my teaching,
 but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Let me address that last verse. Verse 8 needs some attention as we begin.

If you just read verse 8 – without context – and some do – your impression might be that this is a promise of physical health.

Against that impression, there is context. What is this about? The context clearly reflects that this is about spiritual health. By “spiritual health” I mean – your relationship with God.

Look through the paragraph and you’ll see it. What words and phrases do you see: “teaching, commandments, steadfast love, finding favor with God, trusting the Lord, walking in straight paths, fearing the Lord and turning away from evil.” What does the context indicate? Spiritual health. So the imagery in verse 8 isn’t a promise of perfect physical health. It is figurative language suggestive of the spiritual health of our relationship with God.

All right – that answered – what are we told to do to insure good spiritual health, a fit and vigorous relationship with God?

To be receivers of what the Gracious God of heaven offers – what must I do?

Look back into this paragraph. “…do not forget” the teaching. Let your heart “keep” His “commandments.” The length of days isn’t time on earth, it is time with God (that through Christ can extend into eternity).

So, if I want a strong, healthy relationship with God, I must “let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake” me. Write the words of God on my heart; that’s internal journaling.

“Trust in the Lord will all your heart.” Do not “lean on your own understanding.” “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” Carefully avoid arrogance, “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.”

The result of these responses to God? A good, long-term relationship with God that is healthy, strong and perfectly beneficial.

Thank you for listening.


In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #3

Warren E. Berkley


Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is #3 – offered on April 6.


I’ll read from Prov. 1:20-33, but I want to set this up. Use your imagination.


Picture yourself in an ancient marketplace. A street market, similar to what exists today in some third-world countries.


You are weaving your way through the crowd, looking for what you need to purchase, maybe speaking to people you know. There is a lot of noise – a buzz of conversations, movement, transactions, animals, carts – all kinds of sensory overload. You can’t really tune in much of all the sound.


But then, like a siren or PA announcement – there is this voice above the chatter and it has an urgent sound to it.


I’m reading from Proverbs 1:20-33.


20 Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice;
21 at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 “How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple? How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing and fools hate knowledge?
23 If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you; I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused


to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you,
27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices.
32 For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”


The world is like that marketplace. There is the noise and roar of competing voices, gathering storms, social media, entertainment, vanity, many varieties of religious practice, materialism, division and appeals to fulfill appetite. It is so noisy all around us.


If we can block that out and turn the volume of the world around us down – we can hear Wisdom crying in the street, trying to get our attention and call us to higher living.


When you see godly people, hear the Word of God, read Matthew, Mark, Luke and John – Wisdom is crying in the street.


When you have quiet moments of self-evaluation. When people speak to you of the peace of God that surpasses understanding. When you are exhausted and look to God for hope … wisdom is crying out to us.


Are we listening? The passage says – there are simple ones, scoffers and fools who just can’t tune in to the higher frequency. They are captivated by the noise of this present world.


The last verse in the chapter contains a promise. Lady wisdom says, “whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”

That’s grace, from God through Christ, calling us to turn the world’s volume down and listen to what is wise.

The Fear of the Lord

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020, #2

Warren E. Berkley

 To Listen, look for play button below.

Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs. This is #2 – offered on March the 30th.


I promised last week, that this time I would call to our attention that key phrase that opens the book, where God tells us where to start.


I’m talking about Prov. 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”


God is telling us where to start. And it starts with our attitude toward Him, captured by that word “fear.”


This is not a frenzied terror that causes you to hide or flee. It is an attitude toward God that knows well who He is, and how displeased He is with sin. But involves a deep respect that compels us to learn more and more about how to serve Him.


Hebrews 10:31 says that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. And in that context, our God is a consuming fire. That is an element of Godly fear. Knowing who God is, we abhor any thought of displeasing Him, knowing of His wrath.


There is also a strong sense of awe and respect. He loves us and we so appreciate that, we hold Him in the highest esteem.


So think of reverence that prompts us to seek Him and know how to please him, combined with this healthy dread of ever displeasing Him.


Now remember, this is the starting place to acquire and use knowledge in life.


We have to take this attitude of godly fear and connect it with what we do, how we live. In my sermon yesterday I gave some examples of how the fear of God connects to specific actions.


Worship – we come before God through Jesus Christ, to worship Him with reverence befitting deity. Worshipping God in spirit and in truth requires a frame of mind that is disciplined, directed and devoted to God.


Evangelism is motivated by our knowledge of who God is, His power, His might, His love and His wrath against sin. 2 Cor. 5:11 says – therefore knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men.


Temptation. Proverbs has a lot to say about the defenses we need to have in place to resist temptation. Prov. 8:13 – “To fear the Lord is to hate evil. I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” The fear of the Lord and the resulting knowledge and awareness causes us to be alert and resilient against temptation.


Relationships. Eph. 5:21 says, “submitting to one another, out of reverence for Christ,” or in the New King James, “submitting to one another, in the fear of God.” And within that context of Ephesians 5 and into chapter 6, very specific applications are made.


Gratitude. It may be, ingratitude is one of the primary downfalls of our time. I know, there is immorality, violence, intoxication, murder and greed. But Paul teaches in Romans one, wrong turns away from God begin by not being thankful. Gratitude to God is a function of reverence.


Therefore, Prov. 1:7 teaches – there is a starting place. It is the fear of the Lord. That leads us to good knowledge and valuable living before God. Thank you for listening.


Proverbs - Introduction

In Pursuit of Wisdom

Proverbs Podcasts 2020

Warren E. Berkley


Welcome to these podcasts I’ll be posting at least once a week, and the subject will be – the Old Testament book of Proverbs.


I’m recording this on March the 22nd. I’m 72 years old and I’ve been preaching 50 years – I’ve never had a day like today; never a week or event like this in my life. Historical records reflect something like this in 1918. That means my father would have been through that experience, but as far as I remember, he never spoke of it. My three children are going through this. One of my grandsons was with us last week. This will be remembered, and I hope what the next generation remembers is – WE WERE WISE. I want young folks to remember how Christians acted in character, without any pause in our obedience to God. And with these podcasts, I’ll begin audio broadcasting about living in pursuit of wisdom, from the book of Proverbs.


What a treasure house of insight into life. Not just navigating life on earth with wisdom in temporal matters.


Life in response to God, respectful of His will and boundaries. Warnings about moral crashes; simple statements of understanding about so many things pertinent to a good life on earth – and a good relationship with God.


Let’s begin here: In the Bible – Old Testament and New – there is a rich variety of types of writing.


In the New Testament – The biographical material about Jesus, in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The historical narrative of the spread of the gospel in Acts. The letters or epistles. The final book – Revelation is its’ own kind of writing.


In the Old Testament – Books of History, Books of Law. Prophetic Writing. The Psalms. Wisdom literature like Ecclesiastes and Proverbs.


So, let me do a simple comparison. If you are in First and Second Thessalonians. The apostle Paul wrote these two letters to Christians in Thessalonica. In many ways, it is very much like a letter – an initial greeting, encouragement, instruction and warning suited to their needs. Those epistles read like letters; they are letters and follow that genre or form of communication.


Proverbs is not that kind of writing.


In most cultures throughout history – this has been and continues to be a common form of instruction and communication. I’m going to give you a little test. (I’m not going to be able to hear your response.) Think about it.


I’m going to begin a sentence and ask you to finish it.


Curiosity killed the ________ (cat).


Rome was not built in a ____ (day).


Let bygones be _______________ (bygones).


Those are proverbs or sayings we are familiar with – used to express some knowledge or make an observation, in a brief but memorable form.



Sometimes these modern cultural proverbs simply reflect experience, not objective truth. But the design is to be memorable and repeatable.


In Contrast - An essay, narrative or discourse is different. Proverbs are brief nuggets of wisdom, that put the spotlight on some truth we need from God.


Mike Wilson, in his book, said, “The Biblical Proverbs are God’s text messages – little, bite-sized packages of wisdom often delivered in a memorable, witty manner.”


There are places in the book of Proverbs where some extended discussion is located. In chapter one and two, then some narrative scenes later in the book.


But in the main – we will be studying snapshots, God’s text messages.


We will be in pursuit of wisdom from God, communicated mostly in brief sayings.


As you read through Proverbs and listen to these podcasts, you’ll see all these familiar topics and relationships.


Commitment to God.

Listening to your parents.





A lot about the use of the tongue.

            (In modern application, the


Warnings about sexual temptation.


The godly woman, the godly man.


I’ve named only some of the many topics we encounter in Proverbs. Remember, we are not talking about long discourses or essays or something like the epistles.


These are brief sayings, easy to commit to memory – containing wisdom from God. They are calling our names, inviting attention and reminding us of how we should be thinking, speaking, acting and reacting.


Listen to the opening:


 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

To know wisdom and instruction,
    to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
    in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
    knowledge and discretion to the youth—
Let the wise hear and increase in learning,
    and the one who understands obtain guidance,
to understand a proverb and a saying,
    the words of the wise and their riddles.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
    fools despise wisdom and instruction.


What is “the fear of the Lord.” I’ll cover that in the next podcast. That will come out next Monday, March the 30th.


Thank you for listening.



Isaiah Insights #16

Warren E. Berkley – wberkley.podbean.com


Isaiah 9:6

His name shall be called Mighty God!

In Matthew 1:23, one of the names of Christ is “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”

Referring to Christ, the apostle John wrote, “This is the true God and eternal life,” in 1 Jno. 5:20.

And, in Heb. 1:8, God is saying to Jesus, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.”

Jesus is God. What do you say, after reading these affirmations?

But not only is Jesus God, deity. He is called, here in Isaiah, “Mighty God.” Jesus revealed Himself as “the Mighty God” in His birth, His baptism, His miracles, His behavior, His response to attack, His death and certainly in His resurrection.

God raised Jesus from the dead, “having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it,” (Acts 2:24).

Our confessions of faith in Christ can and should affirm His deity, without apology.

Furthermore, whatever may be your burden or battle today, God has the power to meet it, to handle it, strengthen you and use your strength to gain more … all to His glory. He can work great things in us through Jesus, who is The Mighty God.

The names or titles of Jesus are more than just good lyrics for hymns. More than just points of theological debate. Far more than just words on the pages of Scripture.

Who Jesus is – we confess; we sing and preach … but we live day to day knowing who He is – and being strengthened by Him. His name shall be called Mighty God. Might is about power – power given to those who are faithful to Jesus Christ.


I’m going to bring the Isaiah Insights to a close with this podcast. After a few days off, I’ll return with a series of podcasts from the book of Proverbs. Stand by for that. And thank you for listening.

Isaiah Insights #15

Warren E. Berkley – wberkley.podbean.com


Isaiah 9:6

His name shall be called Counselor.

When people are in trouble, distress or pain, where they turn for help is some indication of their character, their condition of heart.

If a man is depressed, and he turns to the local bar for a bout of intoxication – that speaks to his character. There are people who turn to physic “readers” or fortune-tellers.

And sometimes, when someone has sinned, they will turn to a comforter – not to receive rebuke, but to be comforted in their sin. To be justified by excuses. When people are in trouble, distress or pain, where they turn for help is some indication of their character, their condition of heart.

To the Christian, Jesus Christ is our supreme Counselor. And there is something basic here. We need help; we need direction and guidance. Jeremiah said, “the way of man is not in himself; it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” (Jer. 10:23). Of course, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” (Rom. 3:23).

We need help, and not just anybody is qualified to counsel us. The fact that someone will listen to your questions doesn’t mean they know the right answers.

Education and experience doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to lead you in the decisions of life.

And, if a counselor always tells you exactly what you want to hear, that cannot be good for you.

Jesus Christ is perfectly and supremely qualified to be your Counselor and my Counselor. In Him “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge,” (Col. 2:3). “…in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God … for in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted,” (Heb. 2:17-18).

He loves us with a perfect love and through His Word – we can be led out of sin, out of confusion, out of doubt – into fellowship with God.

He is the Wonderful Counselor of Isaiah. 9:6.

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