“…Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked. ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ She he invited Philip to come up and sit with him…as they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:26-38 NIV
Reading the book of Proverbs, at times I would say, “WHAT?” because I did not understand what point the writer was trying to make. Then came the time that I invited Brother Warren Baldwin, author of, "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs," into my “chariot” to explain a few of them to me. Baldwin says, "…biblical proverbs reflect wisdom and experience, but they offer the added ingredient of divine influence and personality. One purpose of Proverbs is to promote a relationship with God.” (P. 11)
"Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs," demonstrates the wisdom of Proverbs by way of direct and indirect personal experiences. This is one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much. I didn’t feel as if Warren tried to puff himself up by flaunting his biblical knowledge. He humbly, and without adding or taking away from God’s word, affords readers the opportunity to thrust themselves into the book of Proverbs in the absence of a fear for lack of discernment. I know for me, many times I avoided some of the Proverbs because I didn’t comprehend their messages, therefore, I could not live it. Now, it appears applicable because of the direct personal experiences my Brother-in-Christ discloses. For example, he uses the story of his pet hamsters wanting to get out of their cage where everything is provided for them and into the awaiting dangers on the outside to explain Proverbs 3:5 NIV, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.” In reference to this scripture, I’ve whined, “But how? What does that mean?” and now, thanks to Warren’s offering of some of his life, I better understand it because he said, “It is striking how much we humans resemble these rodents. God gives us a choice-we can live within the confines of a ‘cage’ that He has for us, or we can climb out and roam free. But to stay within the cage means we have to understand God’s desire for us and we have to trust that His way is really best.” (P. 65)
Then, there’s the indirect personal examples, such as, the man who was barred from coaching a youth sport’s team because of his temper. “Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs” says, “Sadly, it didn’t disturb ‘Terry.’ Proverbs says he is a fool. When told by a sports board of directors that ‘you are too hotheaded and we don’t want you coaching for us anymore,’ ‘Terry’ did not say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better. Please give me another chance after I’ve proved my character has developed.’ Instead, he tried to argue in a vain attempt to prove that he doesn’t argue!” (P.147) I really laughed out loud, I mean from the depths of my belly-type-laugh, when I read this part! But, besides invoking my laughter, this story helped me to understand Proverbs 20:3 NIV, “It is to a man’s honor to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.”
AH-HA! I see.
Lastly, my favorite part of “Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs,” comes from section 6, titled, “Wisdom in Relationships.” Here, Warren Baldwin speaks about “Reading Hearts,” (P. 155). The proverb says, “As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 NIV. (Anybody know why this is tagged my favorite part???) Though Warren begins from the angle of Jesus’ heart in this story, he gives us a demonstration of how the heart of a Samaritan woman is revealed without condemnation. “As water reflects a face, so a woman’s heart reflects the woman.” ‘Jesus can read the hearts of people. He could read the heart of this woman; and behind the pride, ignorance, and degradation, He saw something redeeming: honesty. Jesus read this woman without judgment or condescension. He knew her story and still offered her the opportunity to bear the treasure of the Gospel. She did. Every person we meet, even a woman at a well, is a potential vessel for God to store His treasure.’ (P. 156)
“Whoever listens to Me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” Proverbs 1:33 NIV Page 63 of “Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs” says, “This proverb is a bold statement of confidence and security.” As I read further on, my mind opened up to the danger that I am in of possibly never experiencing joy. But, I will not tell you how, you MUST read it for yourself…your OWN copy! :)
Thank you, Brother Warren Baldwin, for the time you have invested in preparing this book. I am thankful, also, to God for ushering you to the experiences, which allowed you to pass this wisdom along to others. I have totally delighted in the pleasure of reading “Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and Other Gems from Proverbs.” For it has given me an understanding that moves me into the action of applying the Proverbs to my life just as the eunuch was moved into the action of being baptized after Philip explained Isaiah 53:7-8 to him. May God bless an abundance of His remaining creation with the same honor! Congratulations, my Brother, I love you!
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Posted by Larie Carlice Proverbs 27:19 at 10:13 AM