Better Choice – Hermit

20 September 2020 PM – Proverbs 21:9 – BC20 – Scott Childs
Introduction: Our text this evening is not alone in the book of Proverbs. Proverbs 25:24 is identical except for an added word “and”. Also, Proverbs 21:19 is very similar. Thus, we will consider all three of these verses together.
Richard Wardlaw states, “God said, when he had created Adam, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” In the first of these verses, Solomon affirms that there are cases in which it is good for the man to be alone. These are cases in which the gracious design of a kind and benevolent God is counteracted by the evil passions which, through sin, became the heritage of our fallen nature.”
As we look at these verses, I want to assure you that wives are not the only ones who cause strife in a home. Husbands can also be argumentative. However, since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden, God ordained that the husband is to lead the home and the wife is to be his submissive completer. Many wives do not like submitting to and completing their husbands. It is of these wives that our texts speak.
Transition: As we have done before, I want us to look at the definitions, the admonitions and some applications in these verses.
  1. First, look at the Definitions
a.         Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24
1)         Dwell – to abide, remain, sit, stay
2)         Corner of the housetop – The idea of a corner is just what we think. It was a place of isolation. It was outside the comforts of the home. The housetop is the flat roof of an Israeli home. Fred Wight in his book Manners and Customs of Bible Lands gives several uses of a housetop.
a)         It was used as a place to sleep, especially during the summer (1Sa 9:26).
b)         It was used as a place for storage (Jos 2:6).
c)         It was a gathering place in times of excitement (Isa 22:1).
d)         It was used as a place for public proclamations (Mat 10:27).
e)         It was used as a place of worship and prayer (Act 10:9).
f)          It was used as a way of escape in time of evil (Mat 24:17)
g)         Barnes reminds us that, “The corner of such a roof was exposed to all changes of weather, and the point of the proverb lies in the thought that all winds and storms which a man might meet with there are more endurable than the tempest within.”
3)         Brawling – This is a quarrelling person. It describes a quarrel requiring the need of a ruler or judge to mediate the incident. AHLB It deals with strife or contention.
a)         Such contentions can be very strong and difficult to break. (Proverbs 18:19) “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
b)         These contentions can be very irritating and continuous. (Proverbs 27:15) “A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.
4)         Wide house – The meaning of the word “wide” is literally “shared”. It is a house shared with the wife and family.
b.         Proverbs 21:19
1)         Dwell – As above, to abide, remain, sit, stay
2)         Wilderness – This is a pastureland or a paddock. It is a place that is uninhabited by man.
3)         Contentious – This is the same as the brawling person. It is one who is quarrelling and causes strife.
4)         Angry – This is anger as we know it or vexation, grief, or frustration.
2.        Second, look at the Admonitions
a.         Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24
1)         Solomon tells us what is better. Much of what he said in the book of Proverbs he wrote to his son. Young men, do not ignore this admonition. You must look beyond a young woman’s smile and her beauty. You must enquire of her character at home, at school, and among her friends before you consider her for a wife.
2)         A man would be happier to live isolated in the corner of the rooftop enduring loneliness, heat, cold, rain and insects than to share the warmth and shelter of a house with a quarrelsome wife. (Proverbs 19:13) “A foolish son is the calamity of his father: and the contentions of a wife are a continual dropping.” Her quarrelling is like the very irritating drips of a leaking roof.
3)         I do not believe that these verses give a married man the right to move out because his wife is contentious. A husband who has a contentious wife may be frustrated, but he must persevere in being a loving leader, striving to make his wife a better woman for God’s glory.
b.         Proverbs 21:19
1)         Again, God had Solomon write this verse to warn young men to be prudent when finding a wife.
2)         A man would be happier to live as a hermit in an uninhabited paddock than with a wife who is constantly stirring up strife and venting anger. The corner of the housetop is not sufficient to distance him from her arguments and anger, so he would rather be off to the solitude of the distant wilderness among the wild beasts.
3)         Let me again quote Richard Wardlaw, “The wife that answers to the description before us, violates at once the precepts of God’s law and the spirit of His gospel, is a plague, where she ought to be a pleasure; a curse, where she ought to be a blessing; embittering the fountains of enjoyment, where she ought to sweeten the springs of Woe; converting into a scene of unceasing vexation and misery, what ought to be a concentration of the richest delights of earth; throwing venomous and hissing snakes into the circle of love and peace and concord, of fond hearts, and kind lips, and beaming eyes, and making her wretched husband long to find a speedy escape from that which ought to be the repose of his toils, the solace of his cares, the balm of his sorrows, the refreshment, the strength, and the joy of his heart!”
3.        Third, look at some Applications
a.         Young people
1)         Young men, be prudent in your search for a godly wife. Examine her character carefully before you fall in love.
2)         Young women, if you tend to be an angry quarreller, beg God to help you overcome that terrible vice. Seek to cultivate a submissive and quiet spirit.
b.         Married couples
1)         Husbands, if you unknowingly married a contentious woman, beg God to give you patience and love. Lovingly strive to help her overcome that vice.
2)         If your wife was not contentious when you married her but has become so after years of marriage with you, consider the possibility that you may be contributing to her carnality. Your loving leadership may be lacking, causing her great frustration. There may be truths in your wife’s nagging that you have failed to address. If so, you have work to do in your own life before you can plug the leaks in your marital roof.
3)         Wives, if you have a sharp tongue and a short fuse, admit it and daily beg God to help you change. Do not be a complainer and nag. (Proverbs 9:13) “A foolish woman is clamorous [murmurer]: she is simple, and knoweth nothing.” Seek to edify not to crucify. Practice (Proverbs 15:1) “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” Remember, (Proverbs 14:1) “Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
Conclusion: There is something in these verses for each of us. Arguing and strife produce stress and tension that will ruin a relationship. Rather than shifting the blame, take a good look in your spiritual mirror. These vices do not fix themselves any sooner than a leaky roof fixes itself. Both take effort and work.
            Young people, cultivate godly character in your life. Learn to control your spirit. Seek friends, especially a spouse, among those with godly character.
Song: Teach Me Thy Way, O Lord – 337