1 ¶ Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
This theme has been repeated over and over in Proverbs so far. If you appreciate instruction, you appreciate knowledge and knowledge can have a profound effect on your life. In contrast here loving knowledge is in opposition to hating to be corrected and the person who hates to be corrected is like an animal.
In Psalm 49:10 a brutish person is linked with being a fool.
Psalm 49:10 For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others.
Go back to Proverbs 1:7 and you see that fools depise instruction and the Psalm 49:10 says they perish. If you love the instruction of God and the knowledge of God you shall live. Go back to Proverbs 4:13.
We all know them, people whose lives are so messed up, so wrecked, but people who will not listen to correction or instruction, who insist on it being their life and how you can’t live it for them. Of course, they aren’t afraid to ask for a handout whenever they get in a pinch, which is often. Let them go. If you won’t listen to instruction and correction then stew in your own juice.
2 ¶ A good man obtaineth favour of the LORD: but a man of wicked devices will he condemn.
Here’s something obvious that follows over any dispensation. God favoured Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Daniel, and the Apostles. The Lord’s favor did not mean that these people didn’t have trouble in their lives, or pain and disappointment. It did mean that they received special blessings and a special fellowship with Him. Do not make the mistake of believing that if pain comes to a person’s life that it is because they are out of favor with the Lord.
If we were to transfer this proverb into the church age we would point out that a good person is good by virtue of Christ’s finished work and His faith in that finished work and by virtue of Christ’s Spirit being in that person. We have obtained favor by what He has done and by the imputation or crediting of righteousness to us because of our faith.
With regard to the righteousness of God;
Philippians 3:9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: 10 That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
With regard to the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Christ, dwelling in you;
Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
With regard to imputed righteousness;
Romans 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
Romans 4:20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; 21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. 22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. 23 ¶ Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
A man of wicked devices is someone who does evil. He is that froward person we’ve been talking about. The world wants you to look at a Hitler or a Jack the Ripper but God points out, or has pointed out in Proverbs the one that winks conspiratorially with the eyes, teaches with his fingers, and walks to sin with his feet, leading others off God’s narrow way.
Job 5:12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.
Psalm 10:2 The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.
The devices of wicked men can be very subtle, even to the point of saying that God has laid their wickedness on their hearts and telling you it’s not wickedness but merely God’s will. As the great English leader, Oliver Cromwell, said, “Most of what we call God’s will is but our own human imaginings and desires.” Always judge behavior and words by this Book. Patrick Henry, a great man in our country’s beginning, said mistakenly that he did not trust reason, only experience would be his guide, in his famous “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech. He was wrong. Experience, too, can mislead you. Let God’s words be your guide and the devices of wicked men will be much easier to see, even if they call themselves born again fundamentalist KJV Bible believing Spirit filled men of God.
3 ¶ A man shall not be established by wickedness: but the root of the righteous shall not be moved.
What does it mean to be established? In Boxing, some of us trainers say, “establish your jab in the first round” meaning to make sure you have the opponent’s distance and can strike with your jab, the opener for all other punches, before you go further. Several times in Genesis, God talks about establishing a covenant with someone, Noah or Abraham or Isaac, in particular. Here are some examples;
Genesis 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee.
Genesis 17:7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
Here, and in Numbers, it appears to mean to confirm, to ensure, or to make stand.
Numbers 30:13 Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void.
Established is also used to confirm or to declare something to be true or to make certain. Here are two examples;
Deuteronomy 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
1Samuel 3:20 And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the LORD.
Why is the meaning of words important? Because God uses them in certain ways in the Bible and we can’t learn what His intention is by going to a dictionary or a lexicon without comparing how the word is used first in the Bible. No man stands, no man’s ways are sure, and no man can even be a man whose life is characterized by wickedness. Even the word for a man in Latin, Vir”, is the root from which we get Virtue, or moral excellence. You can’t be a man without it, according to the most ancient Romans. But, our culture mocks goodness in a man, virtue, or moral behavior, and uplifts wickedness.
No man can be established by wickedness. The verse makes it clear that by virtue of his wickedness he SHALL not be established. Remember, shall is a consequence of a condition or act of will. To review this just read Revelation 21:3,7 to refresh your mind.
Once again, God likens a righteous person to a plant or a tree, whose roots are deep and strong.
4 ¶ A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones.
A woman of moral excellence is a blessing to her husband. Period. That is a great and true statement. Heathen men and women cannot trust their spouses to be faithful. It’s a regular topic of wicked novels, movies, and TV shows. A woman without morals has nothing to offer her family but sorrow and despair. The woman without virtue makes her husband ashamed and angry by her behavior. Such a woman is like a disease like cancer that can destroy the family. The same can be said for a woman who is carnal, materialistic, and greedy, who loves wicked entertainments and tends to drink alcohol, particularly excessively.
With the church being the bride of Christ, is your church like a rottenness to His bones? Do you make your husband, Christ, ashamed?
5 ¶ The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.
In the context here, one is listening to the words and advice of different people. If a person has a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ and has the Spirit of Christ living in them, it is natural that one should expect their very thoughts to be right.
2Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
But, in my estimation of the words, “the wicked”, being applied to the unsaved then we must assume and understand that the counsels and advice of those who don’t know God are a deceit. In our modern age of the Laodicean Church you can hardly take the advice of the born again brethren and expect it to be of God, so why do you think that you can take the advice of the unsaved, which we do almost every day? We plan our lives and our days and our thoughts around the comments and suggestions of the reprobate as we watch the news, consider politics, read trade magazines for work, or take courses on how to improve our job skills or personal life. It’s odd what the brethren think is valuable information these days.
6 ¶ The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.
The words that are said by the wicked have a purpose in the destruction of someone, much like these people that the chief priests moved against Jesus Christ;
Matthew 26:60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
The mouth of the upright will deliver them in times of trouble, if it is God who speaks through them.
Luke 21:12 But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name’s sake. 13 And it shall turn to you for a testimony. 14 Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer: 15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist. 16 And ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. 17 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake. 18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. 19 In your patience possess ye your souls.
An application can be made today for you. What comes out of your mouth should always be truth given in love and not in guile or self righteousness, encouragement, and edification. Such things coming out of your mouth will deliver you in some rough times. Of course, nothing is often the best thing to say as well as the hardest. Whatever we do, we should speak words based on this Book and not our own fleshly desires.
In context a promise is made that the wicked’s words are out for blood but what comes out of the mouth of an upright person will save them from that. Have you ever been publicly, at work or home, accused of something you didn’t do or had someone attack you unfairly? Was it not tempting to lash out right back at them? Your words, in response to the accusations of false witnesses can deliver you or condemn you.
7 ¶ The wicked are overthrown, and are not: but the house of the righteous shall stand.
After the Great White Throne judgment, the wicked will cease to exist as human beings, but the family of God will stand forever, praising God.
Isaiah 66:24 And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.
And Jesus speaking to His Jewish disciples in;
Mark 9:41 ¶ For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. 42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. 43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 44 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: 46 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. 47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: 48 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
And then in Revelation for the people who had rejected the free gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus the Lord and are judged by their works rather than Christ’s;
Revelation 20:11 ¶ And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
But Christ’s family will go on forever.
Ephesians 3:14 ¶ For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Romans 2:7 To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
1Titus 6:12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
1Titus 6:19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.
Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;
Titus 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Literally, though, to the ancient Hebrew, this was a promise to destroy the wicked and to uplift the righteous.
8 ¶ A man shall be commended according to his wisdom: but he that is of a perverse heart shall be despised.
To commend someone is to speak highly of them, recommending them to someone, to others. The wisdom of a man commends him to other people. In our case, the closer the walk a person has with Christ in reality, the more highly he or she is commended to others in the church. This is also true in the world only in regard to worldly wisdom. God holds the person of a perverse, wicked heart in very low esteem. He does not regard him highly, of course, and in fact, the word, despised, is used showing that the wicked man of a perverse heart is held in contempt.
Under the Law, in the physical kingdom on earth the wise man was commended according to his wisdom but the perverse were to be despised. However, in our culture today we hold those who are perverse of heart in high regard. We pay them tremendous amounts of money to play sports, sing songs, and act in movies and television…oh, and to rule us.
Psalm 12:8 The wicked walk on every side, when the vilest men are exalted.
9 ¶ He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
Here is a statement of fact about the world. The man that is held in low esteem by the world but has a servant, is better off, at least than a person in poverty who thinks highly of himself. Something interesting to me came to mind as I read this verse. I know a lot of college graduates who came to nought with worthless degrees and quite a few people who barely finished high school but had common sense enough to learn a trade who are doing quite well.
John Gill and Matthew Henry both seem to take a similar tack. The person of mean circumstances, lowly regarded by the world, but someone who has the simplest of necessities, one servant, in a day without modern conveniences, is better off than someone who regards himself as a cut above the rest but who has been so foolish and not regarding God’s way that he can’t even eat properly.
So, while, in the previous verse, a man shall be commended according to his wisdom but the person of a perverse heart will be despised, it is also stated that a despised person with a servant is better off than someone who is a legend in his own mind but can’t get enough food to sustain himself. So, what I don’t see other commentators getting is that we’re taking a couple of steps down here and God is looking at the arrogant, self consumed person who is also poor as even lower than the man of a perverse heart.
When I was young there was this popular idea from the Communist influenced media of the nobility of the poor. This is an old line of thought in this country from the days of the ‘do gooder’ government worshipping liberals who always seemed to talk about the virtue of the poor while trying to make them richer at the expense of everyone else. Wiser people would point out, though, that some people are poor because of sin, because they made bad choices, or simply because they don’t want to work hard enough or smart enough to have anything more than what they do. Some people just stand there with their hands out begging for bread. Here, some people are poor because they just are full of self worship and have nothing. Those people are worse off than the despised man with one servant, at least. There are far too many “Icouldabeenacontender” mentalities in our country.
We’ve already been told that the perverse is wicked and froward. Later, in Chapter 14 we see that the perverse man holds God in low esteem. Here, it is said that the man who holds himself in high regard without cause is worse off than the former man is.
Galatians 6:3 For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
Think about this from the perspective of this verse. You don’t have to worship Satan to oppose God. You only have to worship yourself, something taught in every school in the land. The man who honors himself is in worse shape before God than the one who doesn’t hold God up very highly.
10 ¶ A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
Here is a one of the clearest verses in the Bible about how God views cruelty to animals. Those who are wicked, even their mercies, their tender mercies, are cruel. Note here how King David takes the prophet Nathan’s story, which is about David actually, but told in a way to make David think it is about a literal situation.
2 Samuel 12:1 ¶ And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. 2 The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: 3 But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. 4 And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. 5 And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: 6 And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.
One of the signs of evil in a person today has been noted by the fact that, as a child, they were cruel to animals, even torturing and killing them. Neglect is also cruelty. If you can’t afford reasonable medical care for your pet then you can’t afford a pet. Too many parents in our day and age take getting a pet for a child with too little thought and have no problem discarding that pet if it’s not convenient. This is evidence of a wicked heart.
In our factory food raising conditions today there are some companies, who, for the purpose of public good will, claim to be humane in their handling of animals raised for slaughter. Others, if some videos are to be believed are cruel and hateful in the way they treat their animals. I deliberately choose to buy meat from the former.
Upon what model did God create animals? We know that we were created in the image of God. God created great whales which are likened to Satan and what modern scientists call dinosaurs which are likened to Satan, as well.
Genesis 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Read Job 41 carefully. This is Satan, the king over the children of pride. This is not merely a description of a dinosaur, which perhaps was a giant reptile who wouldn’t have a clue what a king was. Also note the following verses;
Psalm 74:14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
Psalm 104:26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.
There are the cherubim, not the Roman Catholic’s fat little babies with wings, but animal creatures in the spirit world. Read the description of the cherubim in Ezekiel 1 and 10 and then surrounding the throne in Revelation 4, where they are called the four beasts, but by their appearance as winged creatures you know what they are, linking them with the appearances in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 10:15 And the cherubims were lifted up. This is the living creature that I saw by the river of Chebar.
Revelation 4:6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.
Satan was at one time one of these, with a specific purpose;
Ezekiel 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.
Even the pagan, Plato, knew that all things in the physical world have their original counterpart in the spiritual. And yes, there are animals in the spirit world.
2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
And finally, no, the reference in Revelation 22:15 is not about bow wow’s but about male false teachers, as see in 2 Peter 2. I’m not going to read Job 41 aloud or 2 Peter but just read the context. We already know that Gentiles were called “dogs”, as well. The “dog” of Deuteronomy 23:18 is a male temple prostitute. Note the context and then extra Biblical sources as in some circles the slang today for a male homosexual is a dog.
Deuteronomy 23:18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.
There is so much about animals in the physical and spiritual worlds we could talk about but let me get back to the verse. Cruelty to animals is unacceptable to God. They have no rights in themselves and are for our use as food, labor, and companionship, as well as guards;
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
…but you have obligations to them under God’s authority. The person who is cruel to an animal or neglectful, is a wicked person.
11 ¶ He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding.
Here’s a contrast for you. The person who minds his own business and spends his time on his own work will have enough to eat. But, that young man or woman who follows the loud and boisterous crowd is clueless and by inference will be hungry when all is said and done. Oh, how true this is.
1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.
Vain people, as we used to say down South, “ain’t about nuthin”. If you were unsaved as a young man or woman and you hung out at bars you knew a lot of vain people. But, there are vain people in politics, vain people in sports, and vain people in churches as well. Beware of people who WANT you to follow them, who insist on it. There is a huge difference between a Peter Ruckman and a Joel Osteen. One NEEDS a huge following and one couldn’t give a flip if you like him or not. But the kind of vain person being talked about here is most likely the kind that young men would hang out with. Study the verse to Christians again.
Back to the Christian; is the Christian satisfied with the bread of life? Is he tilling that ground in his heart and planting that seed? Or is he ignoring God’s word and just looking for a celebrity on whose coat tails he can grab and follow? That person not only doesn’t get it, but he’s being spiritually starved to death.
By the way, young person, a vain person is usually loud and rambunctious, and likes to party above all else. They also will be the first to say phrases like “it’s no big deal” or “I don’t care” or “hey, whatever works for you” or “It’s your life, do what you want, they can’t live it for you” or “One drink ain’t gonna hurt you” and so on and so forth.
12 ¶ The wicked desireth the net of evil men: but the root of the righteous yieldeth fruit.
Here is an interesting picture. The wicked, in this picture, has a desire to capture, to take, to steal while the righteous puts forth, he produces, he gives up fruit. Gill and older, Jewish commentators back up this view of the verse. The wicked desires the devious arts, crafts, and strongholds of evil men in order to do evil while the righteous yields the fruit given to him by God and Matthew Henry says the righteous yields fruit for the benefit of other men and the glory of God.
In our culture, the unsaved young man desires the skills and craft of the popular singer or musician, the immoral playboy, and the street thug. Often, they look admiringly on the clever gangster who obtains great wealth by illegal activity. We grow up embracing the cult of outlaws like Jesse James and John Dillinger. Patriots like J.Edgar Hoover are mocked and derided if one fault is found in them while obvious bad guys are applauded. The wicked unsaved want the power that comes from evil but the righteous yield fruit from God.
Young men will more likely, in their fantasy minds, think of themselves as a foul mouthed rapper than they would an evangelist or a street preacher.
13 ¶ The wicked is snared by the transgression of his lips: but the just shall come out of trouble.
The gossip, the person who devises behind the back plans, the whisperer, the divider, and the manipulator are snared by the sins they commit with their own words. You’ve seen this many, many times. More trouble has been started by the mouth than anything else. Here, the wicked often gets caught in his or her own devices. We’ve all seen it and some of us have experienced it. And when the wicked gets taken in his own net, the just shall be delivered. While this may not happen in 100% of the cases it certainly is the rule.
By the way when it comes to a Bible rule, the fact that it doesn’t happen every single time doesn’t negate it. For instance , in 1 Timothy 2:4 its God’s will that all men be saved but they don’t all get saved, do they? Hebrews 9:27 says that it is appointed unto men to die once and after that they get judged but if Moses is one of the two witnesses in Revelation and seeing as Lazarus was raised from the dead this isn’t always true. But neither of those facts change the truth of the statement. Don’t let unbelieving Christians tie you into knots over the Bible’s pronouncements.
Of course, the snare that takes the wicked may not come upon them until they face God in judgment. That rejection of Christ, that mocking of Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross, will come back to haunt them for eternity.
14 ¶ A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man’s hands shall be rendered unto him.
America has had a struggle with this issue at least since the end of the Civil War. The Bible clearly points out that what you grow, build, and make is yours to enjoy. Our founders were against taxing a person’s income. The Marxist doesn’t seem to understand that there is no difference in the worker being oppressed by a board of directors of a corporation or Congress and the President. He’s still oppressed and robbed. And yet, the needs of the aged, the poor, and the sick must be taken into account. The balance between voluntary charity and regular taxation by law has been a point of contention. Where is the balance between letting you keep what you earn and providing for those who can’t, who are unable to provide for themselves?
Still, we are to learn to be satisfied with what we earn and that means living within our means. I don’t know many people of modest means who are capable of living within their income or at least of not coveting more stuff if they do manage to scrape by. Being satisfied means you are content, you don’t need or want more.
1 Timothy 6:6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
The desire for more, that unsettled feeling that somehow I need more stuff, a bigger house, more land, bigger or more vehicles, name brand food and clothing, and lots of toys and gadgets is not Christian or Biblical. If we want more it should be so that we can give more and we should be thankful for what God has given us.
Still, not only should you be satisfied with what you earn with your own hands but also you should be able to keep what you earn. The income tax amendment was snuck through on promises that no more than 1% would ever be taken from our income, as I understand it, and deals were made by Christians in order to get their desired end of Prohibition against alcohol, which was a disaster.
15 ¶ The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.
There are other verses that deal with this idea of being right in your own eyes but being wrong, of not trusting in your own understanding.
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Judges 17:6 In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
Judges 21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.
It appears that God doesn’t have much sympathy for the sentiments made popular by Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra in the song with some lyrics that went, “I did it my way”. The way of a fool is right in his own eyes. I would go on to say that sometimes Christians will take what appears to be godly in their own eyes and say God has led them to do this or that, or called them, or laid such and such on their hearts. We need to be very careful about what is something that God has truly called us to do and what is simply the result of our own reasoning and fleshly desires.
Listen to wise counsel. Talk to the born again brethren. Get counsel from those who are less adventurous and more adventurous. Test your thinking by the Bible. Compare what you are doing to what God has already done in it. It is a wise person who takes counsel from God’s word and a fool who flies off the handle on his own thoughts.
16 ¶ A fool’s wrath is presently known: but a prudent man covereth shame.
An interesting contrast here between a fool’s wrath and a prudent man covering shame. John Gill and Matthew Henry point out that a fool, having no self discipline or control over his own emotions explodes with anger as soon as he experiences it.
Ecclesiastes 7: 9 Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.
He goes on to note how a prudent man will restrain himself, receiving even abuse and contempt, rather than allow himself to play the fool. He is in control of his own emotions and doesn’t permit himself to release his feelings without restraint. Power under restraint is the mark of a prudent man. Remember Christ on the cross;
Matthew 26:53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?
And the wise Corinthian woman who shows her willing subjection to her husband and her faith by her long hair, not identifying with the thousand temple prostitutes of Acrocorinth nearby with their shaven heads, as some writers tell us, in spite of the fact that Paul goes on to tell the Corinthian church that while their custom is good and for what reasons that the other churches have no such custom. .
1Corinthians 11:10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.
Anger is a shame and Paul tell us;
Ephesians 4:26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
The fool has no self-control, while the prudent man or woman does. There is an old Southern saw about spanking a child. It goes, “never spank a child when you’re angry”. Think about that one for a few minutes. It does keep you from cruelty and focuses on discipline and correction, though.
17 ¶ He that speaketh truth sheweth forth righteousness: but a false witness deceit.
It is contradictory to speak about righteousness without speaking the truth, whether we are referring to a pathological liar or a preacher or football coach like Knute Rockne, who was known for doing this, making up false stories of events that never happened to exhort and inspire. An outright lie can destroy the effectiveness of a good sermon because God will not honor a lie. You can’t do evil to do good. Turn on your radio or TV, visit any number of churches, liberal or fundamentalist, and you’ll hear some of the same stories told over and over again with just a few minor changes and often told as if they happened to the very speaker who relates them rather than calling them illustrations, which work well to explain concepts. This verse I’m going to quote has to do with God saying something to the prophet God didn’t actually say.
Ezekiel 13:9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.
Some might excuse this method of speaking in the Church Age by saying that Jesus used parables but a parable isn’t necessarily not true. Remember, Job’s story is twice called “his parable” in 27:1 and 29: 1 and the word is used several times in Numbers for something very true. Your life is a parable that shows God’s truth.
By the use of the epithet, false witness, here the emphasis is on lying to get someone in trouble.
Exodus 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Therefore, the truth here, specifically, is telling the truth about people and not bearing false witness against them.
Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
Often times, gossip, is merely a lie told about someone. I receive numerous emails that someone starts, trying to stir up fear or a misconception about something, usually political, and we don’t always have the time to check them out to see if they are true and if we did find some website that said they weren’t how would we know the denial was true? So, I don’t pass on any email claiming that, for instance, President Obama practices child sacrifice in the White House or Vice President Biden is, in reality, an alien with tentacles coming out of his head. So, if you pass stuff on like that you might as well take me off your list.
18 ¶ There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Psalm 64 gives us a deeper picture of this statement.
Psalm 64: 1 ¶ «To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.» Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer: preserve my life from fear of the enemy. 2 Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: 3 Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words: 4 That they may shoot in secret at the perfect: suddenly do they shoot at him, and fear not. 5 They encourage themselves in an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them? 6 They search out iniquities; they accomplish a diligent search: both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart, is deep.
7 ¶ But God shall shoot at them with an arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded. 8 So they shall make their own tongue to fall upon themselves: all that see them shall flee away. 9 And all men shall fear, and shall declare the work of God; for they shall wisely consider of his doing. 10 The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory.
But, for the Christian;
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
19 ¶ The lip of truth shall be established for ever: but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
I don’t think there can be any confusion about what God is saying here.
Psalm 117:2 For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.
2John 1:2 For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us for ever.
20 ¶ Deceit is in the heart of them that imagine evil: but to the counsellors of peace is joy.
I’d like to remind you of the verse in Jeremiah which you have probably memorized, if not deliberately, then by how often you hear it and how clear and important it is.
Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
The power of this Book, however, to overcome the wickedness of the human heart, if one submits to it after submitting to Christ, is indescribable. If the heart of even one of God’s people is not to be trusted then how much more so the heart of them that imagine and devise evil.
The only peace that matters to us is the peace that comes through Jesus Christ with God. Every other kind of peace, say, between each other flows from that peace.
Romans 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
If we reflect in our daily lives the fruit of the Spirit and, by doing so, draw men and women to Christ, we, as counselors of peace with God, will have even more joy than we are promised here. Who hasn’t felt joy when someone prayed for salvation after asking us about our joy and why we are filled with the hope we have. Unless, of course, your life doesn’t reflect the fruit of the Spirit but the delusions of a paranoid fruitcake. There are a great many verses about joy for us, something I never experienced until God revealed His true word to me.
Romans 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
Are you a counselor of peace? Or are you just terrified of the world around you and intent on sharing your misery with others. What do people see when they see your life each day? You can fool someone you hand a tract to standing at their front door on a Saturday morning but you can’t fool your coworkers or your family. They know what you are.
Who are those who imagine evil? The gossip, perhaps? The person who makes an insult sound like praise? The backstabber? The individual who has all mapped out what you being right with God means to THEM so that they can be sure to let you know you aren’t acting right? Think on it. Evil isn’t just sinful iniquity, as you know, in the Bible. It is malice and hatefulness and violence, even verbal violence. We’ve gone over the meaning of evil before by comparing text with text.
Do you imagine evil or are you a counselor of peace?
21 ¶ There shall no evil happen to the just: but the wicked shall be filled with mischief.
The first time evil is used in the Bible, it is in contrast to good. Jesus Himself says that there is none good but God. Evil is used in several other places for malicious, trouble, and disaster. In Isaiah 45:7 God even says He creates evil. Jesus says that there is enough evil in one day to deal with in Matthew 6:34.
So, here we have an earthly promise to the earthly Jew under the Law that bad stuff will not happen to the just. Even in this period of God’s dispensation toward the Hebrews this is one we have to blink our eyes over. What happened to Job before the Law? What has happened to God fearing missionaries after the Law? Suffering and death, often. So, now, just think of the wonderful things that awaited the Jews and the horrible things they would have escaped, had they been faithful. Here, a promise that the wicked will be filled with mischief is also laid down.
We look to this verse to be fulfilled in the Millennial reign of Christ and in eternity. We are not under the Law, all the intentions of modern day Judaizers aside. If you, like a Benny Hinn type of Charismatic want to claim this promise for now, literally, then you will have to change its clear meaning. Think of the faith that is quenched by people who hold as promises for them in this present, evil world things promised to others. We expect of God things He has not promised to us and then question our faith and His goodness when He doesn’t deliver what He has not promised.
Read and believe. There are things that are different for the Jew under the Law and for the Christian under Grace. If you cannot rightly divide the word as it says in 2 Timothy 2:15 then you will be confused and you will confuse others.
Romans 2:9 Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
2Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
2Corinthians 7:4 Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation.
1Thessalonians 3:4 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.
So, bad things do happen to the just, those who love Christ, now, and we look to the physical reign of Christ and to eternity for this verse to be fulfilled.
22 ¶ Lying lips are abomination to the LORD: but they that deal truly are his delight.
Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Again, God hates lies. He doesn’t just hate them. They are an abomination to Him. The heavenly city of God has no place for these lying lips. One way of noting whether or not a person is truly saved would be to see if lying is a part of who they are. If they are a liar, incapable of telling the truth.
Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.
God loves the truth, though, and people who tell the truth are a delight to Him.
Deuteronomy 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.
1Samuel 12:24 Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.
Psalm 31:5 Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Deal is not about making a good trade in on your car. It is about how you treat someone. Here are some examples including the first.
Genesis 19:9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door.
Genesis 21:23 Now therefore swear unto me here by God that thou wilt not deal falsely with me, nor with my son, nor with my son’s son: but according to the kindness that I have done unto thee, thou shalt do unto me, and to the land wherein thou hast sojourned.
Genesis 24:49 And now if ye will deal kindly and truly with my master, tell me: and if not, tell me; that I may turn to the right hand, or to the left.
So, one question that might come up for the Christian from this verse would be, with regard to dealing truly with others. Do you have any relationships that are based and predicated on a lie? What about your relationship with God? Are you dealing truly with God? Search your own hearts.
23 ¶ A prudent man concealeth knowledge: but the heart of fools proclaimeth foolishness.
A prudent man, a wise man or woman, hesitates to proclaim their knowledge until the right time and under the right circumstances while with a fool, the first thing that pops into his mind is the first thing that comes to his lips. I, for one, catch myself talking way too much because I get excited about the things that interest me. This is not wise. Restrain yourself and keep your own counsel with the knowledge you have obtained until the time comes to offer it for the purpose of encouragement or edification although I don’t know how the troop dispositions at the 1461 Battle of Towton would edify anyone over dinner.
You are able to keep secret things entrusted to you and things you have learned quiet and not to blurt out what you’re thinking. Both John Gill and Matthew Henry seem to agree with this. That’s if you are a prudent man or woman.
24 ¶ The hand of the diligent shall bear rule: but the slothful shall be under tribute.
It is a general principle that those who work hard will eventually have people under their authority whether it be in business or government while those who are lazy or deceitful will usually wind up being ruled by someone else. Also note Proverbs 10:4. It is said that the person you pay tribute to is the person who is your master. Something of note can be said about the American people here.
In this country we were supposed to POLITICALLY be the king. We were to elect people to manage our affairs and turn them out if they didn’t do a good job, responsibly caring for the entire country. Instead, we chose to be ignorant as well as to vote for men and women who would merely bring back as much “pork” to our own districts as they needed to get re-elected in perpetuity. So, now, we are the slaves to the institution run by the people in power. We didn’t get that way because of an evil conspiracy. We got that way because we were slothful and lazy.
The Christian who does not know their Bible inside and out can easily be fooled by men of God with an agenda like the prophet in 1 Kings 13 and the American who doesn’t know what’s going on in Washington because he’s too busy with the football statistics and is manipulated by politicians is slothful and a slave to men rather than a servant of God.
God honors diligence in all things.
25 ¶ Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
Grief, stress, and worry or concern makes us feel as if we were carrying a great weight. We mourn for those in our family and among our friends who are lost. We grieve over the failure to reach our own children or to watch our grandchildren falter and not come close to God or walk with Christ. Think of what a joy it is to hear that someone you love, though, comes to Christ. We see lives around us that seemed ruined and we can’t help but wonder what we could have done to teach them about the salvation from God. But, when we hear that someone has given their life to the Lord we rejoice. It’s quite a contrast.
I can remember when my father died, how sad it seemed to me that I wasn’t 100% sure that he was saved. Then, I found his Bible and his own statement of faith. I was very happy when I received that word.
26 ¶ The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour: but the way of the wicked seduceth them.
Written specifically to the Hebrew under the Law this statement, by contrast with the first and last part, states that those who do right in God’s earthly kingdom have a far better commendation to God than their wicked neighbor who is seduced by his own wickedness, believes his own press, and walks blindly into his own destruction. Remember, under the Law, the righteous are those that do good. It is a religion of works.
Under grace the righteous are those who believe and trust in the completed work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection, who trust in the righteousness of Christ to get them to Heaven, who believe that He will raise them up to sit with Him in the heavenly city, who believe in their heart that Christ arose from the dead for their justification before God and with a practical or spiritual application to the believer in this verse, those who obey and follow Christ, whose lives make manifest the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians, chapter 5, who permit God to speak to them through His word and change their hearts daily, who feed on God’s words many times each and every day, those people have a more excellent commendation to God than the Christ rejecter who is tricked and fooled by his own pretense of worldliness, guile, and wicked passion for sin’s brief reward and the smarmy satisfaction that they feel in turning their back on their Creator. The wicked unsaved are seduced by their own minds, their own way.
27 ¶ The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.
On one level this appears to tell us that hunting is okay as long as you eat what you kill. However, both Gill and Henry point out in the contrast within the verse that the lazy or slothful man doesn’t live off the fruits of his own labor but others. The substance of a diligent man is valuable because he earned it himself. He got what he has by his own efforts. The slothful, although capable, as in he is physically capable of hunting, chooses to live off the labor of other people.
2Thessalonians 3:10 For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.
28 ¶ In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
This is such a common thread through all of the Bible that we all understand what it means. Other verses later on include;
Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
For Christians, the spiritual or practical application is that by trusting in and following the way of righteousness, which is Christ, we will not face that second death which is the lake of unquenchable fire in eternity. If you think this means that by being a good person you won’t ever physically die, then good luck with that. We all pray for the coming removal of the church in our lifetime but so did many people in far worse circumstances before we came along.
We try to urge people to follow the only way of righteousness, which isn’t Buddha or Muhammad, but Christ alone, and that pathway there is no death.
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.