1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

Making the Simple Wise, Proverbs 21:11


Proverbs 21:11, When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.


This proverb talks about three types of people. 


Meditate upon these three types of people, for you are one of those types. 


Perhaps you are at times all of those types.


We are given to meditate upon the scorner, the simple and the wise. 


But notice that only two of these folk are benefited. 


The simple is benefited, by being made wise and the wise receive knowledge. 


But also notice that the scorner is not benefited. 


Scorners do not benefit for they are scorners and refuse benefit.


Godís hand is out but it is refused. 

But in the case of the two who receive benefit, notice how benefit is realized.  

The simple observe the punishment of the scorner and by that observation is made wise.


So we see the simple benefit from the experience of another but we also see how the wise simply benefit from the word of another. 


Experience or word!   Two operational methods, two ways by which you may live your life. 


God says the just shall live by faith, not by sight. 


The just shall live (and I mean live in its fullest extent) by the word of God and not by experience is what that means. 

The gist of this proverb is that those who are simple need experiences to be made wise and those who are wise simply need word to become wiser. 

There is an old saying, old because it is a wise and pithy (compact or meaty) statement and it is this;  

ďA word to the wise is sufficient.Ē   

Simply a word will do it, no experiences are needed.   

A word to the simple is not sufficient, there must be experiences to make the simple wise.   

Everyone can take this test, for this is the test to determine if you are simple or if you are wise.  

At this point in your life, is a word sufficient or do you still require experiences?    

The little child always requires experiences to become wise and it is the parentís responsibility to provide those experiences, isnít it?    

But you are no longer a little child and word must now operate in your life.     

So is a word sufficient or do you still require experiences?    

That is the test.  How did you do?  Are you wise or simple?   

Young people nearing adulthood, having gone though many years of experiences should be prepared to enter adulthood as a person taught by word and word alone.   

If you have not been neglected, you have been given the tools to think, to plan, and to do in a wise manner and to respond to word.   

You do not have to become a castaway doomed to learn by experience, for you have been given the word by which to live.     

But if you still have not learned to respond to word then be prepared to become a castaway in one form or another because God will continue to deal with you!  

And Godís dealing with you will include experiences that you will not enjoy because you refuse to operate in accordance with Godís Word.   

Experience or word, it is your choice.


Daniel Defoe, an Englishman educated for the Presbyterian ministry, instead became a brilliant journalist, novelist and social thinker, and lived in 1660-1731. 


In 1719 Defoe wrote the classic book:  The Life and Strange Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe.


Although a book of fiction, the story is the lesson of a man who only operated by experience until one day he found that his experiences were not enough to save his life. 


He came to the end of living by experience and started a new life of living by faith, living by word.


The character, Robinson Crusoe, was based on the adventures of a seaman, Alexander Selkirk, who had been marooned on one of the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile.


Daniel Defoe recounts that Robinson Crusoe was, in his youth, a rebel against his parentsí wishes for him and left home at a young age to seek his fortune. 


His parents words were not sufficient for him to learn wisdom so God set about to teach him though experiences, and what experiences they were!


Robinson Crusoe was interested in serving himself and the account given is the account of Godís dealing with him in his life. 


It is the account of a man whom God made a castaway with its attendant experiences in order that he might become something of value to God, and that something of value can only be realized when one lives by the word of God for without faith it is impossible to please God.


God placed him on a lonely island for over 25 years as a castaway in order that he might see himself as God saw him, a wretched sinner in need of a Saviour. 


God is like that, for he knows full well that our heart will not let us see ourselves as we really are.


Robinson Crusoe was a self-serving young man whose ship, and all but him, were lost by ship wreck. 


But by the Providence of God, Robinson Crusoe was given a chance to move from castaway to one reconciled and given life anew.


Marooned on the island for near a year Robinson Crusoe found himself deathly ill. 


He records:  I was directed by Heaven no doubt to a chest that I had recovered from the shipwreck and in that chest was a Bible along with other things that would help me in my illness. 


I took up that Bible and the first words I saw were the words:  And call upon me in the day of trouble:  I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 


So I, without much strength left, began to lay myself down to sleep but before I lay down I did what I had never done in all my life: 


I kneeled down, and prayed to God to fulfill the promise in me, that if I called upon Him in the day of trouble he would deliver me.


But Robinson Crusoe was praying for deliverance from the island, for deliverance from the situation in which he found himself. 


He was looking for deliverance from one experience, not of his liking, to another experience more to his liking. 


That is what you do when you live by experience.


He was looking for a deliverance that God was not about to give for God had a better deliverance to give him than he ever could imagine. 


You know that God always has something better for you. 


You know that your mother or your father, when they gave you a good well deserved thrashing with the rod, always had something better in mind for you.


But Robinson Crusoe, as he gained strength, could not get the scripture ďI will deliver theeĒ out of his thoughts.


It certainly was not possible to leave this island of isolation, he thought. 


There appears to be no way out of here. 


No ships passed that way.  There were no other men to help!


But as he thought further and as he gained his health he realized that God had delivered him from sickness and he chastened himself for not glorifying God for the deliverance from illness. 


So he immediately knelt down and gave God thanks aloud for his recovery.


Hadnít God said: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me. 


He now had a desire to know more of this book and he began to read and study the New Testament diligently. 


He recorded ďIt was not long after I found my heart more deeply and sincerely affected with the wickedness of my past life.Ē  And this kept running though his mind.  ďAll these things (experiences) have not brought thee to repentanceĒ


It was at this point that Robinson began to earnestly beg God to give him repentance. 


We know that God commands all men everywhere to repent and that will include any castaway anywhere and anytime. 


But Robinson Crusoe prayed and that very same day as he read the scripture he came to these words,


ďHim hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.  Acts 5:31


I threw down the book; and with my heart as well as my hands lifted up to heaven, in a kind of ecstasy of joy, I cried out aloud, ďJesus, thou Son of David!  Jesus, thou exalted Prince and Saviour, give me repentance. I now prayed with a sense of my condition, and with a true Scripture view of hope, founded on the encouragement of the word of God. 

Now I began to construe the words, Call upon me, I will deliver thee, in a different sense from what I had ever done before; for then I had no notion of anything being called deliverance but my being delivered from my island prison.  

Now I learned to take it in another sense: I looked back upon my past life with such horror, and my sins appeared so dreadful, that my soul sought nothing of God but deliverance from the load of guilt that bore down all my comfort.  As for my solitary life, it was nothing; I did not so much as pray to be delivered from it, or think of it.  

Now what had this understanding brought this castaway? 


What change had taken place in the heart of one who seemed destined to spend his life apart from all society? 


Listen to this new manís account of life after Jesus Christ gave him life. 


I had now brought my state of life to be much more comfortable in itself than it was at first, and much easier to my mind, as well as to my body.  I frequently sat down to meat with thankfulness, and admired the hand of Godís providence, which had thus spread my table in the wilderness;  I learned to look more upon the bright side of my condition, and less upon the dark side, and to consider what I enjoyed, rather than what I wanted; and this gave me sometimes such secret comforts that I cannot express them;  and which I take notice of here, to put those discontented people in mind of it, who cannot enjoy comfortably what God has given them, because they see and covet something that He has not given them.  All our discontents appeared to me to spring from the want of thankfulness for what we have.


Another reflection was of great use to me, and doubtless would be so to anyone that should fall into such distress as mine; and this was to compare my present condition with what I at first expected it would be, nay with what it would have been if the good providence of God had not wonderfully ordered the ship to be cast up where I not only could come at her, but could bring what I got out of her to the shore, for my relief and comfort.


These reflections made me very sensible of the goodness of God to me, and very thankful for my present condition, with all its hardships and misfortunes; and this part also I cannot but recommend to the reflection of those who are apt, in their misery, to say, Is any affliction like mine?  Let them consider how much worse the cases of people are, and their case might have been, if Providence had thought fit. 

So what was the difference in the life of this former rebel?   

God had given him the life of a castaway that he might be found.   

The difference was his view of the word of God as the Word of God.   

Remember his words: I took up that Bible and the first words I saw were the words:  And call upon me in the day of trouble:  I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.  

At that time the word of God became living to him for he acted upon it in faith. 

Robinson Crusoe moved into the realm of the wise for he now was instructed by word and word alone.   

God had given him experiences to bring him to this point; the same as our fathers or our mothers or our teachers or others in authority over us has given experiences to get us to this point.   

But as with other scripture we are to make this personal. 

What will you do with these truths?   

When you examine yourself will you find that you are word oriented or do you still lanquish in the world of the experience oriented?   

Contrary to what the world teaches, experience is not the best teacher, experience is many times just the harshest teacher.   

Sometimes she takes the simple and makes them into a castaway and all that that word implies.  

Take the test, Are you simple or are you wise? 

Are you relying on experiences or are you relying on the word of God? 

Take the test and you will know what faces you as you move on in life.    

2 Timothy 2:15, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.