Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Proverbs Chapter 16 commentary

1 ¶ The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.
For the Christian, God prepares the heart and provides the answer for the tongue that we need. We have, in His word, all of the building blocks we need to perform His will with our mouths. You, who know your Bible and speak to the Lord in prayer constantly, have your heart and your tongue already prepared to give the answers that people need to be drawn to Christ.
God said to Moses;
Ex 4:11 And the LORD said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the LORD? 12 Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.
Psalm 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:
Psalm 119:36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.
God said to Jeremiah;
Jeremiah 1:7 But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak. 8 Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD. 9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
Jeremiah 32:39 And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.
Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
In the gospels we find;
Matthew 10:19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
Luke 12:11 And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: 12 For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say. 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.
Philippians 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
2 ¶ All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.
Just look around you at the world at large. Most people don’t think they need a savior. Sin isn’t an issue. They’re good enough. In fact, most people are trusting in their own righteousness or the lack of any need for righteousness not only to get themselves to any sort of heaven they can imagine in the hereafter but to get them through life. Humans spend a great deal of energy justifying themselves and declaring themselves righteous in their own eyes.
We have unconscious things; things we are not aware of, below the surface, that motivate us, move us, and give us excuses for all that we do. Call it what you want; issues, baggage, whatever. But God sees deeper than any psychoanalyst can see. He weighs your motives, your real intentions, and the reasons behind what you do. They are not blind forces like Freud believed. They are spirits. What kind of spirits are in you? Are you like the majority or like the few? Do you have Caleb’s spirit to obey God?
Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Or another spirit which Paul warned about;
2Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.
The Hebrews were commanded;
Deuteronomy 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.
Deuteronomy 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
But, what did they do?
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.
Proverbs 5:21 For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.
Proverbs 16:25 ¶ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Proverbs 21:2 ¶ Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.
Proverbs 30:12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.
The Lord Jesus Christ knows what we hold dear, what values we are raised with, and what things on earth we uplift as worthy of praise and how we Christians mix in those worldly things with our worship and service to Him.
Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.
Remember how God uses your spirit.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
And keep in mind the judgment seat of Christ.
1Corinthians 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
Be careful, lest you justify error in the name of God. As one so aptly put it a long time ago, it is impossible to pursue righteousness when one is zealously clinging to error. God is weighing our intentions and our thoughts and the spirits inside of us. Mankind is clean in his own eyes but what about God’s eyes?
Deuteronomy 13:18 When thou shalt hearken to the voice of the LORD thy God, to keep all his commandments which I command thee this day, to do that which is right in the eyes of the LORD thy God.
3 ¶ Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
If we dedicate our day to the Lord and decide that we will follow and obey Him, then he will secure and make sure our thoughts. See Joshua’s decision;
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Then, keep in mind the admonition of Paul;
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;
You have to decide who you will serve; yourself or the Lord. If you commit yourself, your works, and your life to Him, then He will establish your thoughts and be the foundation on which you build. But you can’t keep swinging in both directions.
James 1:8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
Herman Goring, the Reichsmarshal and second in command to Adolf Hitler, did not want war. He pleaded with the Fuhrer not to attack Poland because he knew England and France would get involved. Ribbentrop, another high ranking Nazi official, scoffed at this and so did Hitler. Goring knew that if America got involved on England’s side Hitler’s Germany could not stand up to our potential industrial might. Remember, it was the United States who tipped the balance of power in World War One and gave an exhausted Europe motivation to keep fighting until Germany surrendered.
Goring also made contact with the British government through diplomats and businessmen trying to prevent war. But, in the end, Goring, who attended Roman style toga parties in makeup and wearing a toga and likened himself to a great person of classical times, was more in love with his position and power and the money and ease of living it gave him than he was in love with peace and a Germany he knew was doomed. Knowing in his heart that going to war in 1939 was going to eventually be a disaster for Germany he could not turn his back on his position and on his power. He was a double minded man. This led, eventually, not only to Germany’s defeat and destruction and the deaths of millions but even Goring’s own death at his own hands rather than be hanged by the victorious United Nations (which is what FDR and Churchill referred to the Allies in the first United Nations led and won conflict).
Remember, Jesus said, you can’t serve God and the financial system. Money and God, with money as a god, Mammon, are diametrically opposed to each other. You can’t serve two masters.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Commit your works to the Lord and let Him establish your thoughts or one day you may be looking back at a train wreck of a life and saying, I knew it was coming. I knew it. Why did I do things my way? Look at the examples in the Bible of men who just couldn’t seem to be sure of who they were going to follow and obey; God or their own flesh. Look at King Saul and Samson. Take their lives as a warning on your scale. Read the verse again and pray on it each day.
4 ¶ The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.
Why has God permitted people whom He knows will reject Him outright, in the end, to survive? Why don’t, if the Calvinists are right, just people who are going to be saved, live, grow up, and be evangelized and witnessed to by Christians until they get saved? What is the purpose of permitting the wicked to live?
Isaiah 43:7 Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.
Isaiah 43:21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.
Romans 11:36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Job 21:30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
Romans 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
1Peter 2:8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
2Peter 2:3 ¶ And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
2Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Why did God make a person whom He knew would not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour? Perhaps, the answer to those questions is the same answer as the reason God will release Satan at the end of a thousand years in chains to lead the kings of the earth in one final rebellion against the Lord Jesus Christ. In eternity, man will know that he is wicked and that the only reason he was saved at all was because of the mercy of Christ. God has allowed the wicked, yes even made them and given them life knowing that they will not receive Christ as their savior, and revealed the wicked heart of the kings of the earth prepared to turn against a visible, physical God on earth so that we know that even without Satan we would stand in opposition to God without His mercy and salvation.
He is saving them for the day of evil, remembering evil as malice, disaster, calamity; the day of judgment.
Jeremiah 17:15 Behold, they say unto me, Where is the word of the LORD? let it come now.16 As for me, I have not hastened from being a pastor to follow thee: neither have I desired the woeful day; thou knowest: that which came out of my lips was right before thee. 17 Be not a terror unto me: thou art my hope in the day of evil.18 Let them be confounded that persecute me, but let not me be confounded: let them be dismayed, but let not me be dismayed: bring upon them the day of evil, and destroy them with double destruction.
5 ¶ Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
Now, here’s an interesting verse. I have talked to a lot of Christians, particularly online, and one of the most besetting sins that I think plagues Christians, particularly of the fundamental, King James Bible believing, washed in the blood type is pride.
Pride that they never miss a moment at church services, pride that they believe the King James is God’s word, pride in their salvation, pride that they wear long dresses, pride that they wear their best when they come to church, pride that the woman have long hair, pride that they’ve only been married by the state one time, pride that they don’t drink, pride that they don’t smoke, pride that they aren’t queer, ILLEGAL drug addicted, R-rated movie watching, bar going, skirt chasing reprobates. Pride is everywhere. It’s like a disease. The “I’m better than THEY are” and THEY might be in the world or in the next pew.
Pride, folks, is one of our worst handicaps when we try to serve Christ. As human beings we too often throughout the day forget that we ourselves are wicked and worthy of Hell and damnation and it is only by God’s grace that our church going, noncigarette smoking, nonswearing, nondrinking, sanctified selves aren’t burning in Hell right now.
This verse says that the proud in heart are going to be punished and that there is no way out of it. Now, the literal application of this verse to the Hebrews before the resurrection aside, l’m focusing on how it may apply to us now. I’m trying to think of how God is applying these verses to us. I note the following;
1 Corinthians 4: 6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. 7 ¶ For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
What do we have that we did not receive from God? God has removed certain sins from my heart, taken away my enjoyment of them and interest in them. God saved me. God gave me His words in a Book, my life, peace, safety, health, money, home, wife, children, employment, ability to read, to see, to hear, and on and on. So what have I to be proud about? Why do we so often act as if we either deserved all of that or we made it happen ourselves? Why do we think we’re better than anyone else? Even the most degenerate drug addicted homosexual lying in a gutter in some part of New York City and I have one thing, one very important thing, in common. We both deserve Hell. We deserve it richly and fully. We’ve earned it. It’s our proper destination. But, God saved me. God did it and not myself. I just believed. No works saved me or could save me. I believed, obeyed in my feeble and weak human capacity, and followed in my lazy, self serving, haphazard manner. He changed me with His Bible. Why are we so proud?
Oh God, save that poor wretch like you saved me, please!!! I’m no better than he is. Please send your Holy Spirit to him. Let me be Philip to his Ethiopian eunuch. Let me be Paul to his Philippian jailer. But, don’t let me be proud. Don’t let me be an abomination to you, a saved abomination.
6 ¶ By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
Now, here’s a recipe to fix one of our greatest problems. How do you counter the wickedness in the world and in your own heart? I mean, what personal behavior should you display in order to combat iniquity?
Iniquity is sin, particularly the attitude around it.
Exodus 34:7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin………
34:9 And he said, If now I have found grace in thy sight, O Lord, let my Lord, I pray thee, go among us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for thine inheritance.
Leviticus 5:1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.
Remember how important mercy and truth are to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
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.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.
Instead of letting sin reign in our lives we should give precedence to mercy and truth. By mercy and truth sin is purged from us. The colon gives us a clause that folds back on the first part. It is by the fear of the Lord, Godly fear, awe and reverence, by acknowledging who He is and what He is and submitting to His authority over our lives that we may depart from evil. Mercy, truth, and the fear of the Lord are the elements which purge us from sin and which cause us to depart from evil. All of these things can be found in the pages of the Bible, which you should be reading and hearing to a great extent.
You know, I can talk about ideas like mercy and truth and the fear of the Lord and to many it may sound just like talk, so much gibberish because they have no way to understand, to hear, and to apply these things to their lives. What we need is a how. Christians need to know the method God has provided for us to have victory over sin. Go back and read John 17:17. It is by the words of God in this Book that we are set apart from evil. Swim in them, live in them, and allow Him to change your heart through them. As the word of God strips away layer by layer of sin from your life you’ll find dark things that you never even knew existed. The reality of what we really are becomes apparent as God digs deeper and deeper into our wicked hearts through His words read, heard, or preached from diligently.
The best way to ditch that pride of heart mentioned previously is to let God show you the depth of your wickedness as He removes the dirt from the mirror of your soul so that you can as easily see who you are as He can see what He will make you. With each victory I am becoming more and more aware of how much more I need Christ and to have His words in front of my eyes and in my heart.
7 ¶ When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Here is one of the promises of the Bible that is amazing in our everyday lives. When you are doing right by God, when you walk closely with Christ, and when you are obeying His will for your life I have found that God can change the people around you in their attitude toward you. Even your enemies can treat you kindly. This particularly seems to work with unbelievers. I know my walk with Christ is not what it should be; talk about issues on top of more issues, but He has honored my love and joy of His Book and my not wanting, at least on one level, to disobey Him but to please Him by changing the minds of the people I have had to deal with.
Each of us have had times, even when we weren’t following Christ like we should where we got mercy from someone in authority that seemed totally out of character with all of their previous decisions. I’ve asked people about this and have heard from some. I heard from a new Christian once who was told they were going to receive 28 years in prison, that it was a sure thing and the only thing stopping it was a judge’s signature. But, that new Christian prayed fervently and in tears for mercy over and over and when they stood before the judge they were told 2 years probation as the gavel came down. There are stories of unbelieving bosses who always demanded Sunday work but when a Christian prayed fervently that they would not be required to work in place of church services that God touched the heart of the boss who seemed to gladly exempt them from work on the Lord’s Day for some unknown reason. I’ve heard from Christians whose bill collectors, banks, police, employers, neighbors, angry relatives, spouses, and acquaintances suddenly seemed to have a very temporary change of heart toward them in particular situations. What made these changes of heart stand out is that they were often one time events and the people involved went right back to treating them with disdain afterwards.
Then, I have heard of relationships being healed for good. Of brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, reconciled, of lost friends returned, and this for good, as in permanently. Of course, the militant atheist or the philosophical Christian attributes our connecting of these events to God’s work as either our own projected fantasy on a situation or the effects of eating a cucumber sandwich before bedtime. The fact is, that when these things happen out of all reason and expectation to us, after much prayer, without our changing anything ourselves, the only thing we can conclude is God’s hand is involved, as He promises that very thing in His Book.
Romans 8:31 ¶ What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
This doesn’t necessarily mean that an enemy’s plans will be thwarted or that something we deserve isn’t going to happen. It obviously can mean that God will change the very heart of our enemy, even if just for a time, and even an unbeliever. We read stories of Christians in foreign lands who are deliberately passed by, by their enemies, or given some sort of mercy at certain times. I have actually had a police officer say that he would give the benefit of the doubt to someone who had one of those decals of Bible verses plastered on their car like many of us do over someone with just some team logo or smart aleck saying on their bumper.
Israel would have had no problems with the Gentiles around them if they had lived to please God. Not only would God have gone to war for them but God could divert the intentions of their enemies. Don’t doubt God’s power to work in someone else’s heart, even an unbeliever.
Matthew Henry said, “God made Esau to be at peace with Jacob, Abimelech with Isaac, and David’s enemies to court his favour and desire a league with Israel. The image of God appearing upon the righteous, and his particular lovingkindness to them, are enough to recommend them to the respect of all, even of those that have been most prejudiced against them.”
8 ¶ Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues without right.
We’ve seen similar sentiment before in previous verses;
Proverbs 15:16 Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
This verse takes the thought a little higher as we realize that our own economy has been plagued by investment bankers who gladly agreed to manage other people’s money by investing it in mortgage backed securities they knew where corrupted by bad loans made with unrealistic appraisals to people with poor credit. Not only did these bankers peddle these loans but they bet against them. These bankers made billions of dollars for themselves by basically stealing other people’s money under false pretenses. There are people in this country who have made billions exploiting working people’s savings and their labor, evil people making a great deal of money without any justification or right who then have their own paid underlings in the media proclaiming how unjust it is if they are taxed at anything near the rates they were taxed from 1940 through the 1970’s when America was on its way to the top.
This select group of men and women are like an elite club that looks out for each other even as they try to savage each other through competition. They look upon those at the bottom as fodder for their schemes of control and wealth and as a piggy bank with an endless bottom that they can come back to for more from when their schemes fail with a Republican and a Democratic president bailing them out to the tune of 1.6 trillion dollars, a number you can’t even imagine, of our money again, after they had already stolen trillions of our money and played with it like so much monopoly money. Remember, tax money has the power of the government behind it so it appears you must either give these people your money voluntarily or you must give it to them at the point of a gun.
Clearly, God holds in higher esteem a humble home with few material benefits where righteousness lives than any of those wealthy people’s mansions obtained by lying, fraud, and outright theft. Again, God does not honor or respect any wealth gotten by dishonesty and fraud. Remember also, the old folk saying that the Devil takes care of his own. It is not necessarily so that because someone has a huge bankroll that they are experiencing God’s blessings. Only those who have gotten their wealth by honest work and Godly behavior are esteemed by God. The others are doing the Devil’s work and another old Colonial American saying goes, “when you sup with the devil you better use a long spoon”. Judgment is coming.
9 ¶ A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.
There are many folk sayings that go along with this such as “Man proposes but God disposes” or “Man does the thinking but God does the driving”. John Gill believed this only refers to the actions of a good man, who, if he commits his works to the Lord then God will direct his steps.
But, there is another way of looking at this, as well. Robert Burns the great Scottish poet said in his poem ‘To A Mouse, On Turning Her up In Her Nest with The Plough’, “The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley,” which in our English means “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry”. (As an aside note, the word scheme in British and other English refers only to plans, not like in America to dirty, conniving). Anyway, we make all sorts of plans. We plot out how our life should be and even how our day is to go. But, God puts curves and bumps in the road and directs you, if you are a Christian, away from sin and disaster unless it is to teach you or correct you. He often thwarts evil purposes, knowing your intent and preventing the outcome that would have happened in spite of your thoughts.
So, the point here may be, as John Gill pointed out, that the Christian whose work is committed to the Lord will not only have his thoughts established, as was said in an earlier verse but will also have God direct his steps. Another way of looking at this may be that for all of our plans and plotting out our life, in the end, it is God who decides which way we will go either by His direct will or by His permission.
You may think you’re going to church that morning but the person whose car is in the ditch is an opportunity God has given you to glorify Him and to help your neighbor. In like manner, you may think that you’re going to the store but the flat tire God has given you gives you an opportunity to witness to the guy who lives across the street who came out for his mail. Or, in Gill’s interpretation of the verse, you feel you have been called to preach and you’ve done everything you know to prepare but it is God who will lead you to the doors He’s opened for you to preach and establish you as a preacher. The one thing for sure is that it’s not in us to direct our own steps.
Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.
On a larger note, just look at mankind. At the end of the 19th century, intellectuals thought that mankind was on the verge of a scientific and moral revolution, that a golden age was coming where humanity would lock arms and march forward together into a bright new age of peace, brotherhood, and advancement. It was the intention of governments to have a stable, orderly world and for their nations to be wealthy and powerful, safe and secure. Then the whole world exploded in a century of warfare. The Great War, as it was called at first, did not officially end until 2010 when the last reparations were made by Germany as directed by treaty. Man devised his way but God directed his steps and once again we were taught that without God there is absolutely no hope for mankind; he is totally dominated by wickedness and violence.
Now, if I go back to Gill’s interpretation, let’s look at the other side of the possible explanations of that verse. If you who are called to preach will immerse yourself in that Bible, read it from cover to cover over again, set apart a separate time to study it and cross reference the verses, and pray over it, pleading for light and understanding, then watch God escort you to preaching opportunity after preaching opportunity. He will direct your steps. God opens the doors and you have only to walk through them.
10 ¶ A divine sentence is in the lips of the king: his mouth transgresseth not in judgment.
This is s standard that most human kings have always failed. If the kings of Israel had read the Bible intently and judged accordingly a divine sentence would have been in their lips and their mouth would not have transgressed in judgment. Although, this statement will be true in fact when Jesus Christ rules from Jerusalem for a thousand years it is a very rarely seen Proverb in this time.
Deuteronomy 17:18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
What should proceed from the mouth of a king, a president, or a prime minister should be words of grace and Godly judgment because that man should be well versed in God’s judgments through His word. But, how often does that happen? It is incumbent upon us to pray for our chief executive, that he will be drawn to the Bible, study it, read it diligently, and pray over it so that he may be equipped to judge a righteous judgment and glorify Jesus Christ in all he does. That’s our part. Pray that he does his.

11 ¶ A just weight and balance are the LORD’S: all the weights of the bag are his work.
God is the author of the standards of weights and measurements, Dr. Ruckman says in his commentary on Proverbs.
Isaiah 40:12 ¶ Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?
See also in Daniel 5 how the Babylonian kingdom is measured and found wanting. God gives a very clear command to the Hebrews in Leviticus.
Leviticus 19:35 Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure. 36 Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt.
Looking back at the previous verse it would seem clear that God has mandated that leaders judge fairly and evenly in all matters, not showing preference. This is a practical matter and one that is claimed for our government today in everything from your gas at the pump to the weight of your groceries. But, is it a true and just measurement we are getting? Are you yourself using a fair measurement when you judge others? We so often have one weight for ourselves and another entirely for another person. Christians are known to have standards for other people but make exceptions for themselves. Do you judge and measure the actions of others by the same standard you use for yourself?
12 ¶ It is an abomination to kings to commit wickedness: for the throne is established by righteousness.
Certainly, while this verse applied directly to Israel and her kings, the application can be made to all nations at all times. The king, the chief executive of a country, will have his throne or office in our case established and secured under God’s protection by righteousness, particular today being a born again believer who trusts the Lord Jesus Christ and reads at least the books written to the Christians regularly if not daily. How can he know what true justice really is and true judgment without God’s word particularly that confirmed for us at the hand of Paul working under the direction of the Holy Spirit?
In particular, none of our recent presidents, because of their ignorance of the Bible and of history, seemed to understand a doctrine that our founders understood completely; that there are no civil rights without an accompanying duty. Modern presidents have been so filled with communist doctrine that they believe in the Marxist doctrine of “human rights” which are absolute and often mere lip service paid to some nebulous right a person is supposed to have philosophically. In other words, to our founders and the only way our Bill of Rights makes sense is if you, as a citizen, realize that to have the right to free speech you must agree not to scream “fire” in a crowded movie theater. To have the right to bear arms you must be willing to unite in a militia for the common defense. Every right given to you by God, to be confirmed as your individual right, must be accompanied by a corresponding duty.
To the Marxist and to all of our politicians save a very few on both sides of the aisle, Democrat and Republican, rights are an absolute to be fought for with no corresponding duty. I should just have the right to have a howitzer in my front yard but I have no responsibility except to myself? I should just have the right to dispose of my own private property and it’s my neighbor’s problem if I pollute his property? I have the right to walk down the street and shout four letter vulgarities and it’s the problem of the other people on the sidewalk if they don’t like it? I have the right to my body and if the consequences of my actions are an unwanted, by me, baby I should have the right to kill it? I should have the right to…you name it. That’s the modern Marxist way of thinking. How can our President, no matter which political party he belongs to, understand this without the wisdom God imparts through His words?
We have had Presidents commit fornication in office, to make wicked deals to get an agenda passed through, support the murder of the unborn, attack countries that had done nothing to us, support wicked dictators with money and arms, leave our true enemies untouched because of a special behind the door deal, approve invasions of other countries and then go to war against the party whose actions we had approved of, refuse to give persecuted Jews safe haven, get us into wars based on lies and doctored intelligence, support coups behind the scenes with money and aid and then denounce them publicly. In fact, our government has become our worst enemy and is soiling the image that the American flag should have around the world of peace, justice, and impartial judgment.
Our government has betrayed its allies like the Republic of Vietnam in 1975, betrayed those who begged and pleaded for its help like Hungary in 1956. Our Presidents have had affairs in office and shady business dealings and links to criminals and cutthroats outside of office. It is an abomination for leaders to do wickedness. The offices of a free country or a king are established and secured by righteousness, not fornication, murder, mendacity, and chicanery.
Here is a clear companion to the above verse.
2Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
I should think that this verse applies to all nations at all times. This president and all future presidents must do right and trust God or this nation is doomed like all the other nations. It is possible for a secular, impartial freedom loving Republic to succeed ONLY if its people and its elected leaders love God and honor Him. Otherwise, we must descend into tyranny and dictatorship.
13 ¶ Righteous lips are the delight of kings; and they love him that speaketh right.
Rulers and chief executives should honor those advisors who speak truth and use good judgment. Once again, we have been plagued by Presidents who have surrounded themselves with criminals, perverts, fawning sycophants, and opportunists. We have radicals and Marxists surrounding our President today. Gone are the true statesmen and honest brokers. Our system of greed has brought not the cream to the top but people looking out to feather their own nests as lobbyists, richly paid public speakers, and businessmen once they leave office.
FDR, a man whose policies and actions I do not admire, it must be admitted, did give his life for his country, dying while in office struggling to defeat Hitler and Japan, all the while holding a serpent ready to strike named Stalin in his hands. FDR accomplished much of what he wanted to accomplish thanks to the help of one man, who also died in his efforts to serve his president and his country, gravely ill for much of his service, burying his own son who gave his life fighting the Japanese. This man’s name was Harry Hopkins. You won’t read much about him in history books because he served without looking to be wealthy, to run for future office, or to assure himself a place in the history books. I don’t agree with much of what he did but I am still trying to understand the immense pressures and restrictions that he dealt with as he faced overwhelming forces in a world gone mad.
Hopkins spoke the truth to “the boss” by all the notes and memos I’ve read. He knew what FDR meant when he gave a command and rarely did FDR need to explain much to him. He spoke the truth to Stalin and he spoke the truth to Churchill. He was so respected by all that after FDR died, President Truman sent a sick and dying Harry Hopkins to try to reason with Stalin and Hopkins was the only person Stalin would believe. Even Hopkins’ enemies among American conservatives had to admit that to his dying day, his country was first. A wise leader delights in truth, in hearing it, and in wisdom, in hearing it, and moral standards among his advisors and friends. We have not had too many wise leaders in our country of recent times.
In 2 Samuel 17 the rebellious Prince, son of David, Absalom, was so vain that he chose the council of the spy from his father, Hushai, over the wise council of his father’s former advisor, Ahithophel. The latter knew this would lead to disaster and he killed himself rather than face the consequences as many in the Third Reich of Germany did. Over and over again rulers in history have taken advice from wicked men, traitors, or opportunists and have not delighted in righteous lips or loved him that spoke right.
If you get in a position of responsibility, Christian young person, always remember, it is more important to surround yourself with Godly people who speak truth than it is with fawning bootlickers who want only the position, power, and opportunity that comes from being a “yes man” or woman.
14 ¶ The wrath of a king is as messengers of death: but a wise man will pacify it. 15 In the light of the king’s countenance is life; and his favour is as a cloud of the latter rain.
The answer to this verse can be found in verses like the last one. Speak the truth, speak rightly, speak righteously. Think of how it will be when the Lord Jesus Christ rules from Jerusalem physically. I imagine that to incur his wrath will be instant death and a wise man must speak righteous words and speak rightly. There will be no time for craft, lying, deceit, and the treachery that has always determined our current world system’s path. I daresay I would not want to be one of those people who tries to deceive our Lord when He rules on this earth. Do you think the following verses indicate that Jesus will be like a politician, wetting his finger and sticking it in the air to see which way the wind of popular opinion goes? Do you think He’ll be concerned about poll numbers after reading these verses?
Psalm 2:9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
Revelation 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.
Revelation 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.
Revelation 19:15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
Countenance is the appearance of the face. As an example but by no means the first;
Nehemiah 2:2 Wherefore the king said unto me, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? this is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was very sore afraid,
The light of someone’s countenance would refer to approval or satisfaction. Just look at how we say a person’s face lights up.
Psalm 4:6 There be many that say, Who will shew us any good? LORD, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us.
We could see a prophetic meaning to this in reference to Christ’s absolute authoritarian rule on earth when the mere expression on his face could reveal life or death. This is not the suffering Saviour but the Creator of the universe who rules with a rod of iron.
The term latter rain refers to the final rain in Judea which revived the crops just before the harvest. We can make a link to Christ’s first appearance on earth and to His return with reference to the early and latter rain which you can see by typing in both phrases into a computer Bible and seeing the verses come up. But, here, the latter rain is a blessing just before the harvest and the expectation and joy the farmer feels at seeing the cloud of the latter rain, that something good is about to happen is what one will see at the approval on the King’s face.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see His approval and to hear;
“His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Matthew 25:21
Of course, that presumes that what you have done for Him and in His name wasn’t done out of envy, spite, self aggrandizement, pride, a perverse desire to exercise control over others, or self righteousness but then you’ll find out when He reveals it to you. Wouldn’t it be best to examine yourself now? Of course, we have no fear of death, either the first or the second, but we know our works for Him will be judged, of what sort they are. His approval won’t come just because you showed up to worship with the church but why you came is what’s important. Why did you go “soul winning”? Why did you read your Bible? I know why you prayed. You wanted something. How many times did you pray a prayer of praise and worship throughout the day? Why do you hand out tracts? What is your real motivation? Why do you look with disdain on a pretty, worldly girl or a handsome, worldly boy? Is it concern, a devotion to the Lord, compassion for the lost, or is it envy, pride, and covetousness?
Will the light of the king’s countenance reveal his approval or His disfavor?
Romans 14:10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
2Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
16 ¶ How much better is it to get wisdom than gold! and to get understanding rather to be chosen than silver!
As Matthew Henry says, “Heavenly wisdom is better than worldly wealth, and is to be preferred before it.” I’ve met many worldly and very clever people in my life. They were clever operators, smooth and able to get money and handle it well but they were often godless reprobates who worshipped only themselves and their own needs and desires and wants. God is telling you very clearly here that you’re better off with wisdom and understanding than any material wealth.
In fact, Jesus goes further and says that you can’t serve God and wealth. Mammon is the Syriac personification of money, wealth, and the economic system.
Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Matthew 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Remember, this isn’t someone putting this to paper that didn’t know what it was like to have great wealth. Solomon was incredibly wealthy but he knew its value compared to wisdom and understanding. The question is, do you?
Wealth is a disloyal servant, always ready to run away and a horrible master who warps and manipulates its servant’s lives and minds, keeping many from the Kingdom of God.
17 ¶ The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.
Elsewhere it has been said;
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Psalm 34:14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalm 37:27 Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
Proverbs 13:19 The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul: but it is abomination to fools to depart from evil.
Proverbs 16:6 By mercy and truth iniquity is purged: and by the fear of the LORD men depart from evil.
The only way a person can be upright in God’s eyes is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ, the visible image of God, as his Saviour. Taking this verse into the Church Age where you can’t lose your salvation it becomes incumbent on the believer to walk a path on which he or she, guess what? Departs from evil. You are in no danger of losing your soul as in this age your salvation is set, however, even though your soul is cut away from the sins of the flesh as it explains in Colossians 2:11, you can harm your walk with Christ and prevent the blessings that He wants to bestow on you if you are carnal and as explained in Romans 8:13, to live by the flesh in that manner is death. The Christian’s soul longs for Christ. The flesh can hold back the soul’s hunger for a relationship with the Saviour of the soul.
There is an old saying among Baptist circles. It goes like this, if you sin God will correct you. If you insist on continuing in sin, God will chastise you. And if you still stubbornly refuse to walk the upright way a coffin is waiting for you. So, three C’s; correction, chastisement, or a coffin. How far does God have to go to get your attention?
Depart from evil. Evil, as we have seen by many verses before not only means sinful iniquity but violence loving, maliciousness. It’s not just what you don’t do such as drunkenness or adultery but loving violence, speaking malicious words, and other harmful things that God does not want in the life of a Christian.
There are root causes of evil, root things inside of us that lead to sin. I’ll give you some examples. If you are a girl and you like to dress up to try to provoke and attract boys that is evil. The only person you should want to please with your manner of dress besides God is your husband. A boy should be attracted not only to your beauty but more importantly or “rather” as the Bible often says, to your faith, your strength of character, and your devotion to Christ. Dressing provocatively does not reveal a devotion to Christ but to self worship. It’s important to look your best and to be feminine in your dress but I think we all know what I’m talking about.
If you boys watch a sporting event and you just really enjoy the violence and the hitting and you aren’t so much as interested in excellence and skill as you are a good hit because man, you like to play video games and watch the blood splatter, and wasn’t it cool how that linebacker nearly tore off the quarterback’s head, then you have an evil problem. I don’t care if it is good guys versus bad guys, if you get excited watching a movie in seeing Germans, Japanese, Vietnamese, White Southerners, or any “bad guys” getting mowed down, with the wounded twisted in agony then you have an evil problem. Hits home doesn’t it?
These root things can lead to sin; anger that becomes wrath and violence in your own lives or, in the first example, evil concupiscence, lasciviousness, and fornication.
Examine yourselves. “The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.”
18 ¶ Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
We’ve talked about pride before but it usually doesn’t sink in how proud we are. We often think of ourselves as humble, even pitiful, at times. We can’t imagine how we’d have pride and lift ourselves up against the God we love. Pride is evidence of a lack of gratitude. Many Christians will claim to be grateful when things are going well but when times are hard, when sickness comes, bankruptcy, they forget all about their gratitude.
Pride is lifting yourself up, taking claim for yourself what God has done for you, or for what God has allowed. It is the last step on that road from ingratitude to destruction. See what happened to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel, chapter 4, when he proclaimed how great the things he had built were? He was driven into the field to live as an animal for seven years.
Pride, by the way this verse in Proverbs is written, is synonymous, meaning the same thing, as a haughty spirit. To be proud is to have a haughty spirit and many people who consider themselves to be faithful, Christ loving Christians have such a haughty spirit. We’re so humble. No you’re not. We’re so grateful. Nope. Not by a long shot. We know that everything we get comes from God. You don’t act like it. You say, but I’m a humble Christian. You may be humble before man as a badge of distinction and perhaps even as an expression of a submissive personality but you are proud and haughty toward God.
It shows itself when things go wrong. You cry out “why is this happening to me?” It shows itself when things are going great. You practically forget to pray or let God speak to you through His word. Oh, it’s easy enough to lift up His name at church but you were worshipping every day, filled with hymns and spiritual songs, but when things are going great you have so much to do. And you want and expect so much.
Pride goes before destruction. You say “I’ve raised my family right”, you say, “I’ve been faithful to God”. Really? What about your pride? “Oh, I’ve never missed church. I’m at every revival meeting” or “I read my Bible every day and pray often”. What about your haughty spirit?
Pride and ingratitude means your humble home isn’t good enough. You need something bigger and more expensive. Pride and ingratitude means that your car doesn’t show your success and isn’t comfortable enough for you to drive. You need something flashier. Covetousness comes in there, too, and there are many sermons that can be preached on that but it’s all intertwined. Pride, ingratitude, covetousness. I deserve more or look what I’ve gotten myself. It all comes down to “God, you owe me better than this” or “God, thanks for this food I worked hard for and bought for myself”.
And you don’t think it can get any worse than this? Watch. Keep being proud and haughty toward God. You think the good times will go on and on? Pay attention. Judgment and chastisement in your life are right around the corner. Try thanking God the next time you suffer some tribulation in your life. Try being grateful when things are not so good; the doctor or the bank give you some bad news. And take hold of yourself when things are going good. Pinch yourself and realize that you may not be permitted to enjoy these blessings for long if you are proud and haughty toward the one who gave it to you.
Job 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.
1 Corinthians 4:7 ¶ For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
19 ¶ Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Again, this thought is repeated. Most recently it was in verse 8. You can easily see this would apply to those who do dishonest work. Take a Wall Street investment banker who ran accounts at some brokerage firm and under their supervision, without any responsibility to the results, they lost millions of dollars of other people’s money while getting huge commissions. Many of those same people are still at work doing the same thing and people with money to invest are still falling for their schemes.
20 ¶ He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the LORD, happy is he.
When you pick up the Bible and shutting out the world you come to it expecting to find something good from God in it. Don’t be bringing your own fears, doubts, paranoia, or need to justify what you’ve heard or what you feel, but just come to it pleading with God to give you something believing. You will find something good in the pages of the Book.
When you sit in front of a preacher and he’s preaching sound doctrine from the pages of the Bible, imparting what he sincerely feels that God has laid on his heart then hear what he has to say, think on it, roll it around in your mind, pray about it, discuss it, and be changed by it. God will give you something good.
Handle both these things wisely and most of all, trust that the Lord is the author of such things and that He wants to give you something good. Expect something from God, believe that He wants to give you something from His word and you will be blessed, happy in the Lord.
21 ¶ The wise in heart shall be called prudent: and the sweetness of the lips increaseth learning.
Speaking of God, in Job 9:4 it says; He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?
So, being wise in heart is one of God’s attributes. Being prudent is a good thing as well, having wisdom. The person that is wise in heart and prudent will speak to the benefit of others’ learning the word of God. The word of God is said to be sweet.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Speaking as a prudent man or woman who is wise in heart, an attribute of God Himself, you will give the sweet words of God to the hearer and increase their learning of God’s word. There is no greater learning than to learn of God’s words, how to understand them, and how to put them in your heart, and live by them. You may know how to build a house better than anyone else but your life will be a wreck without God’s word. You may understand history and philosophy and even theology but without God’s words you will be a ruin.
22 ¶ Understanding is a wellspring of life unto him that hath it: but the instruction of fools is folly.
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
When God gives you light from His words in this Book it is a wellspring of life. There is nothing to compare to what the power of the Bible can do to your spiritual heart and to your mind. The preacher who knows the Bible, who understands how the English sentences are put together, who knows about the cross referencing, the self defining properties of the Bible, and the way its constructed, is able to impart life giving knowledge to the hearer.
But fools who dispense worldly wisdom from the pulpit like some of the more famous megachurch celebrities give instruction that is pure folly and silliness. The Christians they preach to aren’t any better. Most of them, if not all, wouldn’t know what a Bible was if it hit them in the head, anyway.
23 ¶ The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.
This verse is, of course, linked to those before it. The origin of wisdom coming from the mouth is wisdom being in the heart. For learning to come from a person’s lips it must have a home in his heart. Since;
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 15:33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
Do you know who the Lord is? Do you know what He is? Can you wrap your mind around what He’s done, and is doing? I know you say you love Him but do you realize what He is going to do? Have you thought about His power? Have you considered His sovereignty, that there is nothing that happens in the universe that He didn’t either cause to happen or permit to happen? Have you taken any time apart from reading the Bible and praying to think on the Lord?
This wisdom in the heart that comes from the fear of the Lord causes true knowledge and learning to proceed from your lips.
Hebrews 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
I wonder how many Christians are actually in awe of God? Or how many just view Him as more of an idea than a real entity, with personhood, who like a father in the old days, you loved dearly but feared His wrath and power?
There is no “wise in heart” without the fear of the Lord. Even further, today, no one can really understand the fear of the Lord unless they belong to Him through the Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross.
24 ¶ Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
Many words are pleasant and sweet sounding but have no value beyond the moment they’re spoken. The words of the gospel of Christ, the doctrines given to the church in the New Testament letters that begin with the name “Paul” are pleasant and sweet and health, though, and those words have an eternal importance. They are the words of eternal life.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
What? No Law? No ritual observance of something in the flesh to show everyone how pious you are? What about all of those hundreds of rules in the Law God gave the Jews? Is that not sweet or what? No repeating of that Muslim chant five times a day, no washing in the Ganges River, no war to convert or kill the unbelievers, no priest dressed up swinging an incense burner in front of him, no allegiance to a guy wearing half a grapefruit on his head in Rome, and no doubt about the fact that you are saved, and no doubt about the power of a God who can keep you saved. Is that not sweet?
But back to our day to day experience. Our speech is to mean something very special, our words are important. We are commanded.
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.
We are warned.
Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
We have our orders.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
Titus 2:8 Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.
We are encouraged.
1Thessalonians 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
2 Corinthians 1:3 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 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.
How pleasant are your words? Are they sweet? Are they the words of life and health? Remember.
Job 34:3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.
If you want to feel better, change the way you talk to people around you.
25 ¶ There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Most of what unsaved mankind thinks of as good and right ends up in death. For instance, if you have an old Scofield Bible you can look at his notes in Revelation 13:8 on the Greek word for the world system, Kosmos, and see this interesting note;
“Kosmos, Summary: In the sense of the present world-system, the ethically bad sense of the word, refers to the "order," "arrangement," under which Satan has organized the world of unbelieving mankind upon his cosmic principle of force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure. Matthew 4:8 Matthew 4:9 ; John 12:31 ; 14:30 ; 18:36 ; Ephesians 2:2 ; 6:12 ; 1 John 2:15-17 . This world- system is imposing and powerful with armies and fleets; is often outwardly religious, scientific, cultured, and elegant; but, seething with national and commercial rivalries and ambitions, is upheld in any real crisis only by armed force, and is dominated by Satanic principles. “
Man’s ways seem right, noble, and honorable to him but they end up in death and destruction. I’m amazed at how easily Christians buy into man’s ways. The unsaved conservatives in our political system come alongside the Christian and say, see, we are the same path, just follow me. The unsaved liberal says the same thing. We’ve got the answers. We’re trying to follow the Christian philosophy. The conservative will quote something under the Law when the Hebrews were supposed to claim the land God gave them like “God is a man of War” and “this is a Christian nation” mixed in with a little Ayn Rand and some godless country music and the liberal will throw a quote at you from the Sermon on the Mount mixed in with a little Karl Marx and some rock or rap, both all the while shaking their hips to the music and drinking some hooch eyeing up who they’d like to shack up with. Follow us. Both are dead wrong and just plain dead.
On our level, when we were unsaved we followed a path laid out by our culture, in the last few decades by our popular culture, which told us how to live, to love, to experience relationships with men and women, how to raise our children, and how to eat and play. It’s all wrong. It not only ends in death but in a lot of misery on the way.
Our own plans, our own schemes, our own devices without God can only lead to the graveyard and shame before the judgment seat of Christ while to the unsaved the final destination is a lake of unquenchable fire. You want to do it your way, young person, because it’s your life? Well, hang on, because the ride is going be bumpy and the end will either be an early death or an old age filled with sorrow and regret, if you have a mind at all with which to feel the regret.
The whole thing for a Christian starts out with the wrong intentions; glorifying yourself rather than God, then you find that this is your way, and on and on you go. All transgression for a Christian; fornication and the resultant pregnancy and/or disease, homosexuality, bankruptcy, drug and alcohol addiction, domestic violence, a disordered family, and a wasted life result from self worship rather than Christ worship.
Your way may seem right and it may feel right but it leads to death. God’s way leads to an abundant life, a full life. Which way do you want to go?
Joshua said;
Joshua 24:15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Why won’t you let God’s words show you the right way?
Psalm 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Psalm 119:133 Order my steps in thy word: and let not any iniquity have dominion over me.
Now there’s a powerful contrast to the verse here in Proverbs. Of course, here’s where we’d have the discussion of what it means to live for Christ, to serve Christ, and to be filled with the Spirit because so many older Christians present the most miserable and confused face to young people and many young people are driven away from God because they look at their elders and say, why would I want that? There’s no joy, so assurance, no vision; only paranoia, anger, fear, and a feeling of self pity over the persecution they feel from the world. Why would I want to live like that? Well, not every way that seems like its Christ centered is actually Christ centered. There are many people who think they’re serving Christ but, once again, its self worship.
Our way, my way, your way, their way out there, seems right, but it leads to death.
26 ¶ He that laboureth laboureth for himself; for his mouth craveth it of him.
God understands that humans have a love for their bellies. In fact, in Genesis, chapter three, the word “eat” is used many times. Adam’s rebellion against God started with something for the mouth and the belly. The word “lust” often refers to a man’s desire for food.
Deuteronomy 14:26 And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever thy soul lusteth after, for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth: and thou shalt eat there before the LORD thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou, and thine household,
Men will work very hard to fill their bellies and we don’t have a lot of choice about it. Throughout history our ancestors have usually had to work very hard to stay alive. But, the Christian is given another calling.
Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
We are not called to labor only for our own needs. Let me read to you a passage in 2 Corinthians about some of the work of the New Testament church.
2 Corinthians 8:1 ¶ Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. 3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; 4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 5 And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God. 6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
7 ¶ Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. 8 I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. 9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. 10 And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. 11 Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. 12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. 13 For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: 14 But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: 15 As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
The church that does not take care of its elderly, its sick, its handicapped, or those who are destitute in the congregation is not a New Testament church. Much of the work of Paul’s churches had to do with physically caring for each other. As the famous but incorrectly named “love” chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, says, charity, or the action of one Christian taking care of another, love in action, is superior to both faith and hope because it is the physical manifestation of Christ’s love, caring for each other as He cared for us. Jesus said to the apostles;
John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
Of course, this can be taken too far and Paul also says that if you won’t work you shouldn’t eat in 2 Thessalonians 3:10. But look here;
2Thessalonians 1:3 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;
There is no case in the New Testament that I can think of right now where the churches were rich enough to raise money for pagan disaster relief. The New Testament churches had their hands full with their own needy and the pagan poor who came to them for help. Of course, since American Christians look to the government as being God’s instrument on earth we have surrendered our duty as churches to provide for those of our Christians in need to the government. We have rendered unto Caesar what is rightfully God’s and thus, we have transferred the work of the church to having softball games and rock concerts to reach the unsaved. Social security and unemployment insurance are simply more proofs at how the Christian church in America has left its first love. Welfare, at one time, was the work of the churches. Many hospitals were founded by churches and the unsaved poor and the brethren both were served by churches. In fact, the modern liberal agenda was the result of Christians who wanted government to do God’s work eventually forgetting about God completely and causing the secularization of faith. Now, what you once gave willingly is taken from you at the barrel of a gun to distribute to others. True communism, not Marx’s and Satan’s counterfeit, or to each according to his or her need with everyone doing their part was supposed to exist within the church not the pagan state.
The early church, before it was dispersed by persecution, practiced this in truth with;
Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
Acts 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.
Everything has become perverted and twisted now. Government wastefully attempts to do what Christian churches once did efficiently because the government leaders saw there was true power in the purse and they could distribute forced charity to the people who could benefit them.
And now, every Christian can labor for his own mouth and feel good about it because the poor in his church body can sign up for a government program and he can spend his money on Gaither Family CD’s. Now, that’s not saying that the church should pay your boat payment, your child’s college tuition, or the mortgage on your expensive house that goes way beyond modest accommodations, particularly if you have family to help. Paul makes it clear that if a widow, who really is a widow, has family then the church should not be burdened but no one in this church should go without heating oil, a place to live, or food while we send the teens on a ski trip. I hope you understand what I mean by comparing the modern American church with the New Testament church.
27 ¶ An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire. 28 A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends. 29 ¶ A violent man enticeth his neighbour, and leadeth him into the way that is not good. 30 He shutteth his eyes to devise froward things: moving his lips he bringeth evil to pass.
Putting these verses together and comparing the sentence structure it appears we have three types of the wicked man or woman here. He is ungodly, he is froward, he’s a whisperer, and he’s violent. These are things God says elsewhere that He hates.
Psalm 1:6 For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.
Proverbs 11:20 They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.
Romans 1:29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
These people dig up evil and talk vile things with lips burning to do wrong. They love to sew strife and separate friends. They entice their neighbor and lead him in a wrong direction. They even dream of and devise evil in their hearts and then speak it to make it happen. God forbid but there are many evil Christians. It’s hard to believe that they’re actually saved and I’m glad I can’t determine that. People in the pews of any given place where a church meets who gossip, deceive, control, dominate, lead astray, and just love to see how much power they can have by splitting people up with their lies and slander.
We have all known in our lives out in the world girls who like to use their beauty to entice, to drive boys who are friends to fight and split up friendships and these girls think of that as a triumph. There are boys who live to lead girls down a bad path resulting in a life of pain and regrets and often poverty. I know recently of one “Christian” young man shacking up with a “Christian” girl who had a cousin who was like a brother to him. He worked with him and they were very close. The girl became friendly with the cousin, and they became lovers. Now, because they are “Christians” they have married. She succeeded in destroying that close bond between the two young men and their own iniquity, lust, and carelessness participated in the wickedness . Now, they are enemies and can’t even be allowed to work together which has caused their employer harm, as well.
This is just one example of why the human heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. I have known someone who encouraged a friend to offer a job to a rival in business with the intention of getting that person to quit their job in expectation of the better job offer, only to deliberately withdraw the offer once they had committed themselves in a plan to undo the rival. This is the way people are.
Believe me, God’s got your number. You may have fooled a person, enticed them, tricked them, and laid awake at night cooking up the deal but you haven’t put anything over on God. He knows you’re wicked.
31 ¶ The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.
The hoary head refers to the grey head of age. Notice the sentence structure. God connects like things by the word “and” in most cases. Here is a statement containing three actions and a connection between the “hoary head” and the old man. We still have an unwritten rule about standing up when a person we respect enters the room although it isn’t much practiced, even in business, as it has progressively become the American way to eliminate distinctions of gender or status or rank in our day to day dealings.
Leviticus 19:32 Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.
The “if” here is a pretty big if because there are many wicked seniors. Being old doesn’t make you wise particularly. Notice how the Bible is written. Just as God doesn’t need to add “with evil” in the second part of James 1:13 because he’s already said it in the first part, He doesn’t have to add always in the last part of the following verse but that’s what it means. I say this just so you don’t think this is a statement for all of the aged.
Job 32:9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.
In fact, there is little more pathetic than an older person who has not realized their need for the Lord Jesus Christ. Older Christians are called to be certain things;
Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. 3 The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;
So, if the grey head of old age be found in the righteousness of Christ, trusting in His righteousness and not their own to give them eternal life, then that grey head is a crown of glory. A carnal Christian who has reached a great age is really pathetic. He or she delights in their material possessions and has no interest at all in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22. They are interested still only in worshipping themselves and they, not Christ, sit on the throne of their heart.
32 ¶ He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
A recent news item said that the three things that mainly help determine a child’s worldly success are their IQ, their socioeconomic status, and their self control or self discipline as revealed at an early age. Being able to control your impulses, your anger, and your desires are an essential part of one of the factors that make a mature person even seem mature, what is called emotional intelligence. Here, God confirms that the person who has a long fuse is mightier than Conan the Barbarian and the person who can control his own spirit, has power over it, which is what ruleth means in the Bible, is stronger than someone who can conquer a city.
Here is the definition of what the Bible means when it says “rule”;
Esther 9:1 Now in the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar, on the thirteenth day of the same, when the king’s commandment and his decree drew near to be put in execution, in the day that the enemies of the Jews hoped to have power over them, (though it was turned to the contrary, that the Jews had rule over them that hated them;)
God values and extols self discipline and self control. If you meet someone who tends to come unglued, loses their temper easy, or seems to relish being out of control at times, avoid them like the plague. They can’t control their own spirit. They are dangerous.
Many cultures have sayings similar to this. Seneca, the great Roman philosopher of the 1st century AD, said, “most powerful is he who has himself in his own power”. Alfred Lord Tennyson, considered the greatest of the Victorian age poets said, “The happiness of a man in this life does not consist in the absence but in the mastery of his passions.”
If you are impulsive and can’t seem to manage control of your own self, you will be poor, perhaps despised by your peers, and will spend your old age, should you reach that far, quite alone. I say this is most likely although there are some Christians who have managed that by God’s grace and the good temper of a loving spouse, but don’t count on it. One of the problems Christians have with this verse is that they are so spoiled and immature. What if God’s will for your life is to have it end in disease at an early age? We can’t accept that God may have had a purpose for us we can’t figure out and that we served that purpose and now He’s calling us home. We’re angry and hurt and confused. This can’t be it, we say. I’m not done. Yes you are, He says. I wanted you to say those words to that person at that time to further him or her in my will for them and you’ve accomplished that. But in our self centeredness and lack of self control we become angry at God and destroy our ability to have a testimony for Him to others as we get ready to take our journey.
Or maybe we’ve decided by our own will that we will find a spouse, have a family, the proverbial little house with the white picket fence, and live a long, happy life but God calls you to preach by opening many doors for you and giving you a talent for speaking His truths in a clear and concise manner. But, you lack self control and your spirit resists and you wind up selling cars or appliances, miserable and unhappy your whole life.
My point in bringing these two examples out which you might not associate with self control and the meaning of this verse is this, that meekness in the Bible is associated with accepting God’s will for your life and not stomping your feet and crying like a baby because you didn’t get what you thought was owed to you. We live in fallen bodies in a fallen world because of sin and our hope is in heaven, not in having an easy time of it here on earth. Self control is linked with accepting that it is what it is, changing what you can, and accepting what you can’t, while being thankful for what you have been given.
Our being overweight, having bad eyesight, coronary artery disease, a bad back, diabetes, and many cancers can come by two ways. We have no control over our heredity, whose genes we received and how those genes arranged to make us and determine the length of our lives and our health to a degree out of our control. But we do have control or should over our impulses; our lust for food, for sex, things that comfort and give pleasure, cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, sweet stuff, having plenty of light when we read, pushing away from the table when we feel the desire to eat too much. Those who don’t have self control make those who do but are dealing with inherited things a bad name. How do you know if my bad back is due to a birth defect or my unwillingness to spend five minutes a day exercising because I don’t LIKE exercise. We get the same excuse from people who won’t read their Bible because they don’t LIKE to read.
Well, you know what, some part of having self control is also realizing that life doesn’t care what you like or don’t like and there are consequences for your actions or lack of action and you can stomp your feet and scream at the heavens but your lack of self control didn’t do you any good to get you to the point where you are and won’t help you avoid going where you’re going. Get over it.
33 ¶ The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.
While the Bible does mention chance but only from a human point of view as in an unforeseen event, something that wasn’t planned, as in Ruth 2:3 with the word, “hap”, while the “haply” used in the New Testament refers to something being an intended conclusion or one’s purpose in doing something one thing the Bible does make clear is that there is no such thing as luck. Luck is a pagan notion. The Vikings were drawn to a man who appeared to have luck on his side but the Devil takes care of his own, its been said.
For instance, for those of you who buy lottery tickets to, uh, help the elderly in our state. Yeah, that’s it. Let me just say this. If it is God’s will that you win any money then you will. If it is not His will then you won’t. You can buy all the tickets the store has but look at this verse again. Consider this, that if God does not want you to be wealthy without working for it then the only way He will permit you to obtain wealth by a chance drawing of the lottery would be to teach you a lesson. It could be a very painful one as I have seen by the tragic accounts of some lottery winners, not all, but some. I hope you are praying before you purchase and asking God to grant you some blessing rather than thinking you might get lucky today.
The stars do not control your fate so put away that horoscope. It is not determined by the “luck” of the draw. Man throws the dice but the Lord decides the outcome. Now, the ancient Hebrews would cast lots but understood that the results were up to God. There is so much in life that is not in our power to decide that we would best restrict our thinking to things we can control up to a point like disciplining our thought life and our actions.

Proverbs, chapter 15 commentary

1 ¶ A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
I’ve seen the truth of this Proverb many times in my life. You can defuse many hostile situations with kind words and nonthreatening verbal behavior.
Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
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.
Young people, when a parent or your employer gives you advice, makes a request, or directly asks you to do something it is best not to answer back. Simply acknowledge that you understand what they are saying. Many times an employer will tell you something you think you already know and it’s a natural tendency to say something like “oh, I already know that” or “I don’t do it wrong”, or some other thing to justify yourself. Well, the best thing to say is nothing or, as I said, acknowledge you heard the instruction and nothing else. You’ll avoid unnecessary confrontations that way.
Men, never ever say to your spouse, “I don’t know what I did but I’m sorry”. That is the lamest excuse they’ve ever heard. You know good and well what you did and if you really don’t you can’t be sorry for something you aren’t even aware of. Wives, your husband doesn’t want to know about a problem unless you expect the problem to be solved. If you just want to discuss something that bothers you make it plain that talking is all you are interested in, that you just want to know he cares enough to listen. Let him know up front what YOUR intentions are. Men want every problem to be solvable. Women just want to talk about problems and don’t always expect a solution.
Unless you want a verbal confrontation, or worse, and I hope you don’t love drama as that is wickedness, use a soft, non-confrontational answer to end an edgy encounter. Words that bite and fight back will result in a fight, or they often do.
2 ¶ The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness.
We have the words of knowledge, all that really matter to the eternal life of any human being. We can express those words of the gospel truth rightly and for the purposes of conviction and edification, speaking the truth in love ….or…we can get a bullhorn and stand on a street corner and scream them at complete strangers. We can then foolishly go home with the self satisfaction that we’ve “done our part for Christ”. There is little worse than to make a person feel as if converting them to Christ will give us another notch on our Bible belt or a feather in our cap at church. Do we use knowledge aright or do we pour out foolishness with our mouths?
On another level, the wise person uses their knowledge on all matters prudently, knows when to speak and when to keep silent. The fool simply babbles everything they think they know and all that winds up coming out of their mouths is foolishness.
In keeping with the last verse, the wise person knows how to use his or her knowledge for edifying and encouragement while the fool only knows corruption and the sharp tongue that stirs up wrath and discord. A fool can’t help but spew foolishness but a wise person carefully chooses their words.
3 ¶ The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Two of God’s attributes is that He knows everything or “omniscience” which is what an atheist claims for himself when he denies that God exists. Another is his “omnipresence” or His being everywhere at once. God is not part of His creation but He is everywhere in His creation. One of the ways He sees everything is through the angels that stand before Him that represent things on earth; as in children;
Matthew 18:10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
And churches, among other things;
Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.
God sees all things and God knows all things. It is a doctrine of Roman Catholic theology that God’s is not omnipresent as He is not in Hell. Many fundamentalists have accepted this belief that limits God’s omnipresence as in their statements that Hell’s worst condition is the absence of God. However, that is not true.
Psalm 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
And when Hell and death are cast into the lake of unquenchable fire for eternity;
Isaiah 66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. 23 And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. 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.
Of course, we know that Jesus refers to this passage, quoting it in part three times in the gospel of Mark.
God knows your secret thoughts and there is nothing you did that is kept secret from Him. Many Christians live their lives as if they could hide behind a corner out of God’s sight occasionally to commit idolatry with some worldly made up god like sports, money, sex, education, and status. They deceive themselves that God doesn’t know or doesn’t see this aspect of their lives.
Remember, it is redundant to say in a prayer meeting that you want God to come down on the congregation or that you want God to send His Holy Spirit down, because God is already here. His Spirit resides in everyone of you, if you aren’t reprobates. If you are saved, God is here now. What you NEED is for God to fill you with His Spirit like heating up a jar with a little water in it will fill the jar with water vapor which is still water. Likewise, you need to be aware that God is able to see everything that you are thinking and feeling through your own spirit.

Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

God is as aware of what is going on in your mind and what your body is doing as He is aware of the events that take place in Alpha Centauri, light years away. And He will not close His eyes to your sin. Be sure of that. Now there are many more things to be said about this verse and many sermons that can come from it but I must move on lest I begin preaching one.

4 ¶ A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.
A tree of life has been mentioned earlier in Proverbs; as wisdom personified in 3:18, as the fruit of the righteous in 11:30, as the hope for Christ by way of a spiritual application for us in 13:12, and now here as a wholesome tongue. Notice that the wholesome tongue as a tree of life is in contrast to perverseness in the tongue. Foul, vulgar language brings down the soul and lowers it. A mouth that speaks vile things, or even about some good things out of place as most every bad thing is a good thing twisted as Bob Jones used to say, is destructive, dirty, and creates an atmosphere of violence and disrespect for others. Once again, let me remind you of what Paul has said;
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.
People with foul mouths are weak and substitute their vulgar language for powerlessness as they are spiritually bankrupt. In their perverse tongues they make a break in their own spirit. Don’t use any language in talking to others that you would not use in talking directly to God.
5 ¶ A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent.
Early on in Proverbs the respect of a child for a parent’s teaching and instruction is emphasized.
Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:
Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.
Remember, that in the Bible, to despise is to hold in low regard, to hold in contempt, as I have shown before by verse contrasting with verse, to give Bible definitions of words. Here reproof is in contrast to instruction. In various verses, reproof is linked with instruction, counsel, and correction as synonyms. Just look up the verses with the word reproof in them and see how its juxtaposed with these words for the purpose of definition.
Job 26:11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.
Proverbs 1:23 Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Proverbs 1:25 But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof:
Proverbs 1:30 They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
Proverbs 5:12 And say, How have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof;
Proverbs 10:17 He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
Proverbs 12:1 Whoso loveth instruction loveth knowledge: but he that hateth reproof is brutish.
Proverbs 13:18 Poverty and shame shall be to him that refuseth instruction: but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.
Proverbs 15:10 Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
Proverbs 15:31 The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
Pr 15:32 He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
Proverbs 17:10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool.
Proverbs 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
Young people, don’t be fools. Pay attention to the reproof of your parents, very close attention. Your life may be saved by it. Never be stupid and look at them and think, “well, they did all that and they’re okay, so why can’t I?”. That would be the thought processes of a stone cold fool.
6 ¶ In the house of the righteous is much treasure: but in the revenues of the wicked is trouble.
Young person, you are entitled to anything God gives you during performance of His will for your life. You are entitled to nothing if you step out of His will to obtain it. I’m not talking about things not mentioned in the Bible, like million dollar lotteries, the stock market, and sweepstakes. It’s much more mundane and ordinary than that. I’m talking about honest labor for honest gain and being truthful to get your treasure. No liar, or scoundrel, thief, or player or con artist deserves one red cent of what he or she gets and those fools and their money are easily parted.
It’s very hard to scam someone who is honest and doesn’t expect something for nothing. I don’t even trust banks but at least your money is protected by the government. Oops, I don’t trust them any more than I do banks. In any event, money you get by honest means is of more value to God and money you get by lying and chicanery and mendacity is worthless and will come back to bite the Christian, especially, who falls for unrighteous greed.
Now think of a spiritual application for this Proverb. What a truly righteous person places on deposit is in the bank of Heaven and has eternal interest accrued. It can be devalued and is not subject to inflation or taxation. Place your treasure in heaven and you will be blessed. The wicked unsaved can only hope in this world and everything they build up will neither last them past the moment they assume room temperature nor will it itself last beyond the fire that will destroy everything when God creates new heavens and a new earth.
Matthew 6:19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
7 ¶ The lips of the wise disperse knowledge: but the heart of the foolish doeth not so.
This idea has been repeated before and it’s important to note that the knowledge spoken here is the knowledge of God’s law and our edification would be on God’s word and God’s grace. The lips of the wise should disperse knowledge to edification, as many verses in the New Testament letters to the Christian attest, to the edification of the brethren, to draw them closer to Christ.
It’s not even in the heart of the foolish to do so. Another spiritual application might be that a wise believer is ever ready to tell others about Christ and to have a testimony but foolish ones never open their mouths because it’s not in their hearts to do so.
8 ¶ The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.
Here, sacrifice and prayer are linked. As here also;
Psalms 141:2 Let my prayer be set forth before thee as incense; and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.
I would say that until a person receives Jesus Christ as their Saviour that nothing they do in the way of honoring God has any value to Him and I would go further to say that their masses, their feast days, and holy days are an abomination to Him unless they believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ rather than their own righteousness.
9 ¶ The way of the wicked is an abomination unto the LORD: but he loveth him that followeth after righteousness.
I have pointed out before that my assumption throughout my study of Proverbs is that the “wicked” can be applied to those, for our spiritual application, who ultimately reject Christ’s free gift of eternal life. In that regard, there is nothing that an unsaved person can do that would please God except to receive Christ. Receiving Christ is the beginning of any kind of relationship with the Lord God. The way of the unsaved wicked is, therefore, an abomination to God.
However, God loves His children. In our spiritual application, leaving the Jews under the Law and coming to the era of Christianity, it is the one who follows after Christ, which is our righteousness, whom God loves. He loved the world at the Cross as John 3:16 says, but God loves him or her who follows after Christ eternally.
Romans 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
2Thessalonians 2:16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
1John 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
1John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
1John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
10 ¶ Correction is grievous unto him that forsaketh the way: and he that hateth reproof shall die.
I’ve heard the Pastor say that you can tell when someone is turning their back on Christ because they will avoid the attempts at contact from someone to whom they can be accountable. They’ll stop taking your calls and stay away from church and functions where what they are doing is called into question.
The person who has turned aside from following Christ doesn’t want to be around situations where they might be reproved for their behavior. Correction and reproof here are linked for those who have had a hard time with understanding the word reproof. A person who is trying to quench the Holy Spirit does not want to hear the people that God has placed in their way to correct them. It grates on their mind to hear the truth that they are wrong and are headed for destruction.
Think on your own lives. When you were intent on doing something you wanted to do and had found a way to justify yourself, the last thing you wanted to hear was someone you knew who would say that you were making a big mistake. Mankind, as Dr. Ruckman says, has a few needs; self gratification, self propagation, and self justification among them. We can justify any thing we want to do.
But God gives us a warning here. He that hates reproof shall die. Notice the shall as a consequence. He shall die because he won’t listen to correction. It’s grievous to him and he hates it. He doesn’t want to be told that he’s wrong because he doesn’t care that he’s wrong. He wants what he wants, and God’s will isn’t in the picture any more. Just read Jeremiah 42:7 and further to see how the Jews refused God’s word and went to live in Egypt anyway to their destruction.
Young people and older, this kind of thinking will kill you in the end. I’ve seen it many, many times.
11 ¶ Hell and destruction are before the LORD: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?
Here’s a companion for verse 3. Even Hell and destruction aren’t hidden from God. In this Proverb, how much more our spiritual hearts are open to God.
Remember how the Holy Spirit uses our human spirit.
Proverbs 20:27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
We are told to bring every thought into subjection to Christ.
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;
So, we go from verse 3 where God sees everything you do to verse 11 where God knows everything you feel and think as well as your intentions.
12 ¶ A scorner loveth not one that reproveth him: neither will he go unto the wise.
Just like in verse 10, a scorner can’t stand someone correcting him. He can’t stand to hear a sermon that points out the sin in his lifestyle. He’ll avoid people he should be accountable to and will refuse to even take their phone calls and maybe won’t answer the door if they come knocking. A scorner is full of himself. He’s not likely to go to a wise Christian for advice unless he thinks he’ll be justified. If he does go, he’ll only give enough information about his situation, twisted just so, as to make himself look good and to try to provide excuses for his behavior. Mostly, as this Proverb says, he doesn’t even want to be near someone who’ll tell him the truth about his wickedness.
13 ¶ A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
There are many medical studies that show that a happy person is healthier than an unhappy person. In this verse, it is said that a merry heart makes for a cheerful facial appearance, but that sorrow breaks the spirit. By all rights, the Christian should always have a merry heart. They’re saved. Their future in heaven is certain. They have the Spirit of God dwelling inside them. They can receive guidance and direction from the Bible, which God also uses to change them for His purposes.
So, why are so many Christians miserable? Because they are trying to hold onto the world, that’s why. They simply refuse to give up the things of the world that please them or make them feel comfortable. You have this conflict inside you, trying to love God and at the same time trying to love the world. Your possessions, your dreams, your aspirations, and the things you hold as valuable are all usually at conflict with what God wants for your life.
Fundamentalist Christians often say that homosexuals won’t come to Christ because they refuse to put their lifestyle on the table for God to deal with and yet many Christians refuse to put everything about their own lives on the table; their lust for violence even if in a movie where there is a good guy or a bad guy, their love of money and possessions, self pride, vanity, their house, a credit rating, their comfort, their past, their besetting sins, and so many other things will often stand right in the way of the call that Christ has made on their lives. The root of our unhappiness is not letting go of what has no place in our lives for God and that includes sin, possessions that control, and your attitude.
Note what I am NOT saying. You must pay your bills. You must work and work faithfully. These are two places where your testimony stands out forcefully. I’m not talking about abandoning your life to the bankruptcy lawyer. That’s not Godly either. What I’m talking about is your treasure, where does your heart lie? What does it yearn for? A closer walk with God where He leads you or a bigger house, newer car, better and higher paying job?
All Christians should have a merry heart and a cheerful face. The only thing that should sadden us is to realize that the majority of people are lost as a goose in a horse race. Compassion for the lost is the only thing that should bring us down and there is a cure for that.
14 ¶ The heart of him that hath understanding seeketh knowledge: but the mouth of fools feedeth on foolishness.
The Christian who has understanding is always seeking to know God, to have a knowledge of His will, to understand His ways. Notice the contrast with the heart and the mouth of fools. The mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. There are Christian fools just as there were Jewish fools. Look at the outward things the fools in Christ’s day focused on.
Matthew 23:23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
There are probably people in this very assembly who, if an unbeliever or an immature Christian walked into the congregation to hear God’s word preached, would judge them based on their dress and not even for garish or immodest dress but just not dressing to that person’s own personal standards. Is modest dress important? Certainly. Is it more important for a Christian to dress in a certain way than it is for him or her to know the God of the Bible? Of course not. Can you judge a person’s standing with Christ by the way they cut their hair or by the cut of their clothing? Maybe YOU can but I can’t.
If we have understanding we need to focus on things like having the fruit of the Spirit made manifest in our daily lives; at work and with our families, particularly the baby Christian and the unbeliever. We don’t need to keep prating on things that WE didn’t understand when we were first Christians as if everyone we meet is suddenly supposed to act as if they’d read the Bible through a dozen times, were constantly talking to God, and had had many a good sermon burned into their minds.
We seek to know Christ, to know His will, to know more about what He wants and less about what we want. We want Him to change us. We want Him to remake us from the inside out. From the heart. The fool is always going on about the outward appearance or the performance of some kind of ritualistic behavior that is satisfying to the flesh. Fools come to church to feed on foolishness. We come to meet with the body of Christ to worship and adore together the one who made us and saved us from eternal damnation.
15 ¶ All the days of the afflicted are evil: but he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.
The word evil is first contrasted with the word good in its first usage in Genesis 2:9 as it is in Ecclesiastes 12:14 and other verses. Jesus says in Matthew 19:17 that only God is good so it follows that anything not of God is evil. But, evil also has other meanings such as calamity, disaster, trouble, and malice as in Genesis 37:20, Job 2:10, Isaiah 45:7, and Matthew 6:34.
Every day of an unsaved person’s life is filled with doubt and uncertainty. They are afflicted with rage at their fate as well as the fear of it. Many don’t realize that this is the base of their torment. They have confused confidence with arrogance and presumption and blindness. They seek solace and comfort in a career, money, their family, food, sports, a hobby, drugs, alcohol, porn, romance novels, or anything that gets their mind off their pain and uncertainty. If you, a Christian, are in the same boat as an unbeliever I’m sorry for you. One, you’ll have no credibility as a witness to the lost and, two, you don’t have the abundant life that Christ has promised because you’re holding on to something He wants you to let go of.
We have a continual feast of feeding on God’s words, of the Holy Spirit changing our lives, of the joy of seeing Christ work in your every day existence on earth. We should have that merry heart and that cheerful face. Where is our joy? I feel somewhat sorry for the young and for those older people who have been successful in the things of the world. I have made such a mess of my life that I am totally dependent on Christ to get from one day to the next, even pleading at times for help to stand just one more hour at work, or to find the money to pay a bill I should never had acquired. It is so much easier to live on faith when that’s all you have left, when you have no confidence in self, and when the things of the world leave a bitter taste in your mouth.
I literally feast on God’s words every day. I read them at home and hear them almost continuously, particularly in the morning, on my CD player in the car. I hunger for them. I need them and they give me joy and strength. Any unhappiness I have is from trying to do it my way rather than His or from not trusting Christ when things go seemingly wrong. And I’m a bum! I’m the least of God’s children. What is your problem if you’re afflicted? Many of you are much better people than I am, much more spiritual, with a close walk with the Lord. Why do you worry and fret? Let your heart be merry. God is in control. Nothing will happen to you or to your loved ones that God didn’t either cause to happen or permit to happen. The Devil is not some kind of almighty opposite of God like in the Persian religion and Roman Catholicism where there is a good god and a bad god. The Devil can do nothing to you or to your loved ones that God hasn’t given him permission to do. Trust Christ. Just trust Christ. Feast on His words continually and have a merry heart.
16 ¶ Better is little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble therewith.
One of the things you can be sure of in life is that it is better to keep a low profile and not be tied to many possessions or to have great ambitions for carving your mark on the world than to seek to get rich and spend most of your time chugging Mylanta and dealing with stress. A secular song of my era lifted up and extolled the benefits of being a simple kind of man, which, of course, most of us completely ignored.
You can do a lot of good with money if you have the right attitude but trying to obtain lots of it can drive you into the ground and bury you. A lot of trouble can come with a lot of treasure, as I have seen.
Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.
I think you will have more satisfaction and less trouble in life if you , as a Christian, seek a Christian’s desire, which is “enough” and not the world’s desire, which is “more”. Young people, avoid credit except when necessary and learn to save your money. Work hard six days a week after learning a trade or skill while the sun shines and prepare for your own days when it won’t be possible to work. Be thrifty and not hungry for material possessions. Don’t say, if I had this or that I could use it for the Lord. If you give what you have now to the Lord He will trust you with more and when the Lord blesses you rather than you blessing yourself there is no sorrow accompanying it which is another way of looking at a verse we’ve already talked about.
Proverbs 10:22 The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
Oh, and cut off the television. It only teaches you to covet, among other bad things. Remember, the more you get, the more you’ll want or “need”, and the more trouble will come with it.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.
It is better to have little to eat but in a home where love prevails than it is to have an abundance and a house full of hate and bitterness. Once again, the Holy Spirit keeps telling us to not be covetous and to place importance in important things, not unimportant things.
Contrast the following verses with the American ideal of always being dissatisfied, of coveting, and wanting 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.
Don’t worry. By following God’s plan you won’t derail the economy. The hard working, the thrifty, those content with God haven’t destroyed the economy. The hungry for money people have with greed, exploitation, and outright criminal behavior. I know, what you’ve been taught contradicts these plain words from God so you may have to say they don’t mean what they say or use the child’s excuse, “but still…” or “yeah, but I believe…”. Go ahead. It doesn’t change what God has said. This is one reason why so few rich people receive Christ as their Saviour. Oh, many of them become cafeteria Christians who pick and choose what parts of the Bible they like, but very few would buy into God’s commands for a Christian.
Its much more satisfying to pretend you’re a tenth century BC Hebrew and talk about doing God’s work by killing your enemies or rather “the enemies of God” and much less satisfying for the carnal mind to embrace the marching orders God has actually given you for your life as a believer in Christ. Read these verses every day when you’re struggling with the desire to either make your car payment or buy that plasma TV. Does God want you to have either payment?
How about this, Better is a Bible, a sandwich, and a can of soup where love is, than two cars, a HDTV, swimming pool, steak and lobster, and a dozen credit cards with hatred therein.
18 ¶ A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
We’ve already seen that the wrathful man is a fool and can’t please God. Now, he’s accused of stirring up strife, trouble, and usually among the brethren, but it’s just as wrong to do it at home. We also know he or she has an unforgiving and selfish spirit. People who like to cause drama and to stir up strife and who are wrathful have a wicked streak a mile long. But, it clearly says here that the person who is slow to anger, the beginning of wrath which is an abiding anger, can calm those troubled waters. God is pleased by the person who is slow to anger by many, many verses. It’s important to cultivate that attitude and if you have a hot temper then you need to get on your knees and beg God to change you, then read His word over and over pleading with Him to remove that wickedness from you permanently.
19 ¶ The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain.
We saw in 12:24 that the slothful man will always be governed by someone else. The slothful and lazy man, slothful being abiding laziness, a character defect, is very hard to deal with because he will do nothing for himself. He’s like a hedge of thorns blocking the path. See the imagery here;
Hosea 2:6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
He will always find a reason not to do something he should. There will always be some difficulty that keeps him from accomplishing what is laid out for him to do. By contrast, the slothful man is not righteous. The righteous man has no obstacles in his path. He doesn’t see difficulty at every turn.
Now, applying this Proverb to the age of the Christian Church and leaving the Law and the Tribulation to come aside, let’s think about salvation. Many people, when confronted with the need for faith in the Lord Jesus Christ will continue for their entire lives to find reasons not to receive Him. Most people can believe that He is real, that His way is good, and that His path is the right way, but, again, the slothful in spirit will grasp at every possible excuse not to believe, not to trust, and not to come. Like the invited guests in Luke 14 and in Matthew 22 that had excuses the slothful man is full of excuses. He can’t believe because he’d have to give up his alcohol, cigarettes, or sexual sins. He’s afraid his life would be changed and he’s made peace with the devils that control him. Maybe he believes that God isn’t powerful enough to save someone as wicked as he is or loving enough to want to. All of these are barriers, like a hedge of thorns across the path, that the slothful in spirit put up.
But, the way of those who seek God is clear and simple, with no such barriers. He knows that he doesn’t save himself, that Christ does it. He knows that God is as far above the worst sinner as he is above the most righteous person and there is no failing in God that would prevent Him from being able to save. He knows He can neither pay for salvation, earn it, or keep it, and that it depends completely on God. The righteous knows that God changes people by His strength and His words in a Book, the Bible, and that no man can change himself except on the surface. Only God working on you through the word can change the heart. The righteous way is made plain; trust Christ, talk to Him in prayer, let Him speak to you through His words in His Bible, and unite with a body of believers to worship Him as the body of Christ and to hear the word preached and the sense made plain. God will do the rest. There are no thorns blocking the way. It’s only in the imagination of the fool and the spiritual sloth that such things exist.
20 ¶ A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother.
Parent’s are blessed when they can see their child is making wise choices and smart decisions, putting off immediate gratification, planning for and thinking about the future. When they can see a child is doing right, following the Lord closely, and reading the Bible, praying, and attending church, it can really make them happy. One of the things that probably, and I say probably because I honestly haven’t talked to anyone here and I would think it is a touchy subject, is happening is that the parents of those who are about to enter legal adulthood might be praying that those young people stay in the church. There is always the worry that when a person reaches eighteen that they’ll drift away until they’ve had so much hurt and/or shame they come back. Some never come back.
But back to the verse. As it says that a father is made glad by a wise son, it also points out that a foolish child, and you can insert man or woman, boy or girl, into these verses, has nothing but contempt for their mother. Of course, again, mother and father apply to both sections of the verse. Just think on these verses young people. Consider them, take advice. I’m trying to avoid getting into this too deeply because as Danny’s sermon pointed out last Sunday, it’s wrong to try to emotionally manipulate people to get right or do right.
We had a sales trainer at one job I had who was a total dripping faucet in every way except for one piece of advice he gave. He said that it was wrong to try to emotionally manipulate anyone into buying anything. That’s not something you normally hear from sales trainers. Well, what Danny courageously said wasn’t something you normally hear from preachers either. Those who would say to the young people about to turn eighteen, “if you really love the Lord you’ll keep coming to church”, and “if you love your Mom you won’t stop coming” etc. etc. are trying to play on guilt and a sense of shame just like the preacher who tells someone to get saved or they won’t ever see their dear, departed mother again, who prayed so hard for their soul every day. That doesn’t produce real belief but encourages fake salvation experiences. What we should be doing is welcoming you into an adult role in the church with more responsibility and expectations of what you will do for the Lord Jesus Christ to glorify Him as you reach the age where your full legal and mental powers can be exercised. It should be a time of excitement and a looking forward to new adult members of the body of Christ, mature and grownup, rather than a dread of what will they do or where they will go.
I am fully expectant of our young people about to burst into adulthood to make their mother’s glad and blessed. I know they will. It would be wicked to try to shame them into it. It’s insulting even like threatening someone that if they ever do something that you have no evidence that they have any intention of doing or have ever done that you’ll pay them back.
21 ¶ Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.
A fool, lacking wisdom, takes what is wrong and stupid and hurtful and makes a game out of it. A fool lifts up folly and sin to a vocation, a calling, and his badge of distinction. The fool proudly proclaims he’s a “player”, or “likes to party”, or “doesn’t care what other people think”, or some such drivel. To the person who is destitute of wisdom the words, “it’s my life, I’ll do what I want” and “nobody can tell me what to do”, or “I’m my own person, the captain of my fate, master of my destiny”. To him that is destitute of wisdom, a simpleton, naieve, and foolish, doing stupid stuff that drags them down to the ground and brings shame on those who love them and depend on them is fun, that is until their body plays out and stops bouncing back, stops forgiving them. Then they cry out for help and mercy and are all repentant and sorry. The old song, “The Night Life Ain’t No Good Life But It’s My Life” goes from being their anthem to being their funeral dirge.
A man or woman of understanding thinks about what they say, what they do, and how it will impact those who love them or their testimony for Christ. A man or woman of understanding appreciates the call that Christ has on his or her life. He or she understands that they are accountable to others within the body of Christ and to God. A man or woman of understanding is concerned about the example they are setting. A man or woman of understanding wants to live by God’s word as best as they can understand it, allowing God to change them with it.
22 ¶ Without counsel purposes are disappointed: but in the multitude of counsellors they are established.
Specifically for us, at this time, this is a clear statement that before any activity is pursued of importance, not only should you pray which we already know to do, I hope, but you should get advice from several different Christians. Better that they are Godly people who trust Christ and are deep in His Bible. Going off on your own without any sound, Christian advice from older people around you will result in failure, most likely. But, with good advice from a large group of people your plans are most likely to be successful.
People can see from the outside how your situation looks, in a different way than you can. Proverbs 11:14 is another verse along similar lines. Look at how much advice the Pastor has sought about church organization. These are serious matters and not to be taken lightly. There are things you need to know. Starting a small business without good advice will most likely end in disaster, as well. Where should you go to school? Have you talked to graduates of that school? What about a career? Listen to others who’ve been there, done that.
If you want success in any venture, seek out good advice from Godly people. Of course, people who aren’t affected by the modern disease of the importance of how something makes you feel rather than if it is right and good and something of value. It is hard to get good advice these days, even from Christians.
Ever since Ed Bernays, Sigmund Freud’s nephew, created the advertising industry in this country people have been brainwashed to link what they do with how it makes them feel rather than whether or not it is the right thing. Before the 1920’s and Bernays influence you purchased something based on your need for it and for what you learned was its trustworthiness to your purpose. But, after Bernays guidance and manipulation people were taught to buy things based on how those things made them feel. If you shop because shopping makes you feel good about yourself based on what you buy you’ve been ensnared in one of Satan’s traps for us in these times. So it is young people, with advice.
If anyone gives you advice along the lines of directing you to how your purpose makes you feel about yourself, either good or bad, rather than whether its right, Godly, prudent, smart, likely to succeed, or something God would approve of then avoid that person’s advice like the plague. Also, “I don’t have a good feeling about this” is not advice unless it’s based on a sound Biblical principle. But, clearly, don’t depend only on your own judgment. Seek counsel.
23 ¶ A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!
This clearly has a direct application to the Christian age. If you are ever ready and willing to present the gospel and to give an answer to people who ask you about eternity, the Bible, and about Christ, then the answer of your mouth can give not only you but others joy. The word of truth spoken at the right time and at the right place can result in joy and in the good of seeing someone spending eternity with Christ rather than burning in agony.
1Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
On a different note, think of how the right word spoken at the right time can encourage someone, can bring someone out of sorrow, and can alleviate grief. Words have power. Young people remember words that older people have said to them. Those words affect their lives. Be careful and measured with the advice or criticism you give a young person. Make sure it isn’t out of jealousy or envy or pride. Make sure it is useful for edifying and bringing them along to maturity. Draw them closer to Christ with your words, don’t drive them away. Your words can bring joy, the right words, spoken at the right time.
24 ¶ The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.
The wise would be the ones who trust Christ’s and not their own righteousness to get to Heaven. The way of life, which is the way of Christ, leads above. Here, in this proverb, is a clear Old Testament saying that the path that is opposed to the way of life leads to Hell below us.
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.
The trouble is we’ve got people thinking that belief is just a head issue so that when they say a prayer with us they are deceived into thinking that, “okay, I said 1-2-3 repeat after me, I’m good”. The fact is that belief in the Bible sense means trust. It’s not enough to say you believe a chair will hold your weight. You’ve got to sit in it.
1Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
Ephesians 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Most so called Christians are still trusting in their own righteousness and most Christians are still holding them to their own righteousness which is one reason why we’re so disillusioned when a Christian stumbles or falls.
But, back to the Proverb. All wisdom starts at believing in and believing on Christ. You may not be a very wise Christian but you, at least now, have a chance to grow in Christ. Without Christ you just stumbled around like a blind person in darkness with no offense intended toward blind people.
25 ¶ The LORD will destroy the house of the proud: but he will establish the border of the widow.
By contrast here, the proud is set against someone who has suffered loss. The widow, in those days, had no social security except for her son or sons. An older woman without support was at the mercy of charity. Widows were at the mercy of evil people.
Mark 12:38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, 39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts: 40 Which devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
Dr. Ruckman has pointed out how priests would, in certain religions, for a sum of money make long prayers for the departed, and thus consume the grieving widow’s money and home. Widows were often reduced to extreme poverty.
The passage in Mark goes on to say;
41 ¶ And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much . 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. 43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: 44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
It would seem that the proud here are those who would oppress widows by the contrasting position of the words. Christians are given this instruction that applies to now and into the Tribulation;
James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
It would interesting to see the condition of the house, the families, of those who have taken advantage of widows, such as Jim Baker, the televangelist who took many people to the cleaners, including many women who freely gave their money to him thinking that they did God a service. Remember, to establish can mean to make certain or sure.
Another way of looking at this verse might be by using the humble condition of the widow as contrasted against the state of the proud, or those who would have plenty and not feel dependent on God at all. This then becomes a warning against pride and points out on whose side God stands.
26 ¶ The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD: but the words of the pure are pleasant words.
The unsaved person who rejects Christ cannot begin to please the Lord. His very thoughts are an abomination to the Lord until or unless he begins to think on God.
Psalm 10:4 The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
The words of the pure, or those who are judged, not on their own righteousness but on Christ’s righteousness, which is credited or imputed to them ; their words are pleasant to the Lord.
Psalm 19: 14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.
27 ¶ He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.
1Timothy 6:10 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.
This verse says that the greedy person makes problems for his own family. In the contrasting portion of the verse, though, it refers to gifts. The context seems to be talking about bribery.
Proverbs 19:6 Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
Proverbs 29:4 The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.
Isaiah 1:23 Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
One of the downfalls of human government is that everyone seems to want something. The politicians take perks (gifts) from corporations, political groups, and their lobbyists and the people take entitlements and benefits from the government. The purpose is to buy their votes. Unions are beholden to the Democrats for giving them these gifts and wealthy banks are beholden to both parties, while international corporations seem to benefit from Republican policies and every group in the country looks for special gifts from the government from farmer’s subsidies to low income housing.
This sense of ‘gimme gimme’ has broken our country’s sense of independence and our uniquely American strong work ethic and Evangelical Christianity. Certainly our families are harmed by the attitude. At your job you’ll find people expecting more than just their pay as they seek every extra benefit they can squeeze from their boss from longer breaks to ‘freebies’, vehicles to drive owned by the company, and office supplies and tools they take for their own use.
Now, everyone, it seems, even at home, expects something for nothing. So it is with our faith. We like the free gift of salvation and most American Christians feel no need to either obey or serve Christ; the One who saved them, the One who created them, the One made apparent in the words of scripture. Not only do American Christians readily accept the free gift of salvation we demand more; ease of living, abundance and prosperity, and good health. It’s their right, they think, they demand it. “Name it and claim it”, they say.
Americans have always wanted more and taught their families the same. But, in the last few years, with the welfare state influencing both the poor and the rich, they want more without having to do anything themselves to get it, but to hold out their hands.
Have not greedy Americans, particularly Christians, troubled their own house? But God will prosper and give life to those who put their backs to the work, as a general rule. And remember, those of you who are greedy of gain;
Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
1Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
28 ¶ The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Time and time again God emphasizes that the prudent person, the righteous person, and the wise person uses his or her words very carefully. They think on what they are about to say and its impact on others. Proverbs 10:19, 31, 12:23, 13:3.
Think about what you are going to say before you say it. In contrast, what is coming out of the wicked person’s mouth is evil, malicious, and sinful. You hear it every day around you. People call into talk radio and proclaim how they wish a certain sports personality would die or take Bible verses like the one applied to Judas in Psalm 109:8 and apply it to the President they don’t like. Fools who spew things out of their mouths carelessly and without thought. When it is a Christian who does these things and winks with the eye, gives that mischievous smirk, and acts all proud at how clever there are it is sickening.
The righteous man or woman carefully considers how they will answer someone about Christ and are careful to give a thoughtful and measured response to any question they are given. The wicked pours out evil and hatred, screaming and doing that Christian cursing thing at people that aren’t receptive. There are wicked Christians who say whatever they feel and don’t care what impact it has for Christ. After all, they say, I’ve done my job. I put the word out there. What they do with it is their problem. Yes, well the righteous has a heart for the lost and is pained that they are lost while the wicked gloats, haha, I’m going to heaven and you’re not, smart guy.
Think carefully about what you are going to say to someone. Study your answer. It is a reflection of what’s in your heart.
29 ¶ The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous.
Making an application for us in this time of the church I would say that the first prayer an unsaved person needs to make is one for salvation. If he wants any recognition or acknowledgement from the God of the Bible, he must make that first step to get saved. Notice how God makes a divine appointment for one who is searching for Him in Acts 8:26-40.
Notice the contrast here is between the wicked and the righteous. For our purpose we’re not looking at the wicked Hebrew who ignores the Law and the righteous Hebrew who is faithful to the spirit and the letter of it. Let’s look at the unsaved versus the saved. God hears your prayers. He is concerned with your heartfelt desires and your needs. But God is not in the doings of the wicked. The bar owner is not going to get God’s help or probably even ask it when he is deciding on where to put his new place of business. The drug dealer won’t get and most likely won’t ask for protection from God against his competition. The liar will probably not ask nor will he get help from God in getting others to believe his lies. Now, if that person is a Christian or if God knows that one day he will become one, God might thwart that person’s plans, put stumbling blocks in his way, and frustrate his purposes but God is far from that person’s plans and desires.
Don’t expect God to bless your sin would be a good sermon title to be drawn from this verse. Or, with regard to the unsaved person, if you want the Lord to hear your prayer then pray for Him to save you.
30 ¶ The light of the eyes rejoiceth the heart: and a good report maketh the bones fat.
When you can see something that was previously in darkness to you and when the eyes of your understanding are enlightened and truths are opened up to you that were previously shut there is a joy in your spiritual heart.
Ephesians 1:18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
Making the bones fat has to do with your soul being nourished.
Isaiah 58:11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
For those of you who read the Bible faithfully haven’t you ever had a time where you were reading something that previously you simply did not get or perhaps even see;
Psalm 38:10 My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me.
……and then one day, maybe after praying about it or maybe just questioning, it seemed like it was opened to you, as if God had suddenly given you light on it. I don’t mean to say that you get some kind of new revelation on the Scriptures but that it sinks into your own spiritual heart and your own understanding is increased. Isn’t it a joy to feel as if the Holy Spirit has spoken directly to you? Remember how it was when you were first saved?
Acts 26:18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
31 ¶ The ear that heareth the reproof of life abideth among the wise.
In this repetition of earlier verses about the wisdom of being able to stand reproof and correction, and by the connection with hearing and reading doctrine and instruction in righteousness in the following verse;
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
…the person that hears the reproof of life, and by hearing the Bible always means more than just the work of the ear but the work of the mind in understanding and applying, is considered one of the wise. So, if you are able to hear sermons, think on them, pray on them, and apply them to your own life you are wise. If you are the kind of person that walks out the door and has forgotten what was said almost immediately after it was spoken then there isn’t much I can say about you that God hasn’t already said in Proverbs and elsewhere.
If you are the person who reads the Bible every day and is changed by it because they believe what they are reading are God’s very own words then you are among the wise. If you are bored by reading it, don’t take the time to either hear it or read it in any amount, or just don’t care then the Bible is full of statements about what you are. Wise isn’t one of the words used for you.
32 ¶ He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding.
Again, a companion verse to the last one and to many verses we’ve already discussed. Remembering that to despise means to hold in low regard, to hold in contempt, it states very clearly that if you won’t hear instruction, you hate your own soul, which would have benefited from it. And a promise that if you hear reproof, which is linked in this verse, as it is in 2 Timothy 3:16, with instruction. The cross referencing of these verses gives us Christians an understanding here that the instruction given is in righteousness. Go back and read the verse in 2 Timothy again. So, let’s say in our minds that the person who refuses instruction in righteousness, in reproof, not only hates his own soul but will not get understanding which is the foundation of …….
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
To refuse to be instructed out of the word of God, Christian, means that you hate your own soul, which is nourished by it.
33 ¶ The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.
2Chronicles 19:9 And he charged them, saying, Thus shall ye do in the fear of the LORD, faithfully, and with a perfect heart.
Job 28:28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
Psalm 19:9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 8:13 The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate.
Proverbs 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
Proverbs 10:27 The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge.
Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.
Before you are instructed about wisdom, before the fear of the Lord shows itself in your doings, before God bestows honor on you, you must have humility. You are not doing God a favor by getting saved. God is not lucky to have you on His team. You’re not the first Christian He has given light to and your understanding of the Bible is not necessarily superior to someone else’s understanding. You are just as capable of thinking you are speaking what God has laid on your heart as someone else is capable of being deceived by Satan or their own flesh. We must be humble before God and hear Him. Then, he will lift us up. Come to His Book with a clear mind, not full of your own fears, bigotry, or pride whereby you seek to turn the words of God into a justification for your own sin.
1Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.