31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 23

Proverbs 23:1-35 (1) When you sit down to eat with a ruler, observe carefully what is before you, (2) and put a knife to your throat if you are given to appetite. (3) Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food. (4) Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. (5) When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven. (6) Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies, (7) for he is like one who is inwardly calculating. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. (8) You will vomit up the morsels that you have eaten, and waste your pleasant words. (9) Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words. (10) Do not move an ancient landmark or enter the fields of the fatherless, (11) for their Redeemer is strong; he will plead their cause against you. (12) Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge. (13) Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. (14) If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol. (15) My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad. (16) My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right. (17) Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day. (18) Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. (19) Hear, my son, and be wise, and direct your heart in the way. (20) Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, (21) for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags. (22) Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. (23) Buy truth, and do not sell it; buy wisdom, instruction, and understanding. (24) The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice; he who fathers a wise son will be glad in him. (25) Let your father and mother be glad; let her who bore you rejoice. (26) My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. (27) For a prostitute is a deep pit; an adulteress is a narrow well. (28) She lies in wait like a robber and increases the traitors among mankind. (29) Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? (30) Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. (31) Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. (32) In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. (33) Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. (34) You will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, like one who lies on the top of a mast. (35) “They struck me,” you will say, “but I was not hurt; they beat me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake? I must have another drink.”

The pain of punishment, the reward of wisdom (verses 12-17, 22-26) – In chapter 23, Solomon tells us that punishment is part of the training of our kids. All discipline is not punishment, remember that. Discipline means training, so that includes teaching, encouragement, correction, etc. But sometimes you have to punish them in love. They will not die if you spank them. Regardless of what the culture today is trying to say, spanking is not the same as hitting or abusing your kids. When that punishment (spanking, grounding, time out, etc.) is joined with teaching, love and reassurance, it will produce godly fruit. That fruit is that generally speaking kids will learn to make wise choices in life. And Solomon says that when those kids grow up and make their own wise decisions, it just brings so much joy and peace to your heart.

Be careful about who you are eating around – Interesting concept, but twice in this concept Solomon says to be careful when you are eating around people. Two types of people are mentioned – Kings and stingy people (1-3,6-7). Solomon uses extreme imagery like putting a knife to our throat. We may want to indulge in a king’s nice things, but watch out…it is deceptive food. It comes with a higher cost that you thought. Also, watch out about taking the food, money and things of a stingy person, because as Solomon says, they like to calculate. They will constantly remind you of the cost. It would be better to do without and go hungry than to take that money and food from that stingy person.

Warnings about alcohol – Solomon said in 20:1 that wine can deceive us and lead the unwise astray. There is a time for wine, even Paul told Timothy to take some for his stomach and other infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23). But the warnings are aplenty in the Bible about what alcohol can do. In Proverbs 23, we see that alcohol can lead you to get into fights, it will give you great highs and you will feel like you are floating on the ocean. But it is a snake that has a deadly bite. Solomon warned about the addictive nature of alcohol here as well – “When I can have another drink?” A person will get themselves into a world of hurt because of drinking, but in the morning they start it all over again. So, watch out.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 22

Proverbs 22:1-29 (1) A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold. (2) The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all. (3) The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it. (4) The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. (5) Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul will keep far from them. (6) Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. (7) The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender. (8) Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. (9) Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor. (10) Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease. (11) He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend. (12) The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the traitor. (13) The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be killed in the streets!” (14) The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit; he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it. (15) Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him. (16) Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. (17) Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, (18) for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. (19) That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you. (20) Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, (21) to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you? (22) Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, (23) for the LORD will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them. (24) Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, (25) lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare. (26) Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. (27) If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you? (28) Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. (29) Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Vs. 28 – Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set. Each property had boundaries that were often set with stones. Dishonest folks would come along and steal property from their neighbors by moving the boundaries. This way of living hurt others…Solomon said, keep the boundaries in place! We can also apply this to things that God set in stone for us in His word. God has boundaries in His word, don’t change them. Those words have been given to us to let us know what “is right and true” and to help us give the right answers in all situations (verses 17-22).

Vs. 24-25 – Careful about who your associations. If you are friends with folks given to anger, you will be caught up in their snares. You might even learn their ways, Solomon said.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 21

Here is Proverbs 21 for today.

Proverbs 21:1-31 (1) The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will. (2) Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. (3) To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice. (4) Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, are sin. (5) The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. (6) The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a snare of death. (7) The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just. (8) The way of the guilty is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright. (9) It is better to live in a corner of the housetop than in a house shared with a quarrelsome wife. (10) The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no mercy in his eyes. (11) When a scoffer is punished, the simple becomes wise; when a wise man is instructed, he gains knowledge. (12) The Righteous One observes the house of the wicked; he throws the wicked down to ruin. (13) Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered. (14) A gift in secret averts anger, and a concealed bribe, strong wrath. (15) When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers. (16) One who wanders from the way of good sense will rest in the assembly of the dead. (17) Whoever loves pleasure will be a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not be rich. (18) The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the traitor for the upright. (19) It is better to live in a desert land than with a quarrelsome and fretful woman. (20) Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it. (21) Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor. (22) A wise man scales the city of the mighty and brings down the stronghold in which they trust. (23) Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (24) “Scoffer” is the name of the arrogant, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride. (25) The desire of the sluggard kills him, for his hands refuse to labor. (26) All day long he craves and craves, but the righteous gives and does not hold back. (27) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent. (28) A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure. (29) A wicked man puts on a bold face, but the upright gives thought to his ways. (30) No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD. (31) The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.

Show restraint with fun and recreation – Verses 17 and 21 tell us that we need to be restrained and disciplined about our pleasures in life. God gave us many things to enjoy, and he wants us to enjoy these things, but if we are wise we will not keep indulging in those pleasures. We will end up without any money.

The pain of living with a quarrelsome spouse – Solomon brings this concept up twice in this chapter (verses 9 and 19). It would be better to live out on the roof, or in the corner of the attic, or even worse, out in the desert by yourself than to live with a spouse who is always contentious and arguing. Having strife at home just makes everything else in life much worse. Let’s get things right at home.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 20

Lets get started with Day 20!

Proverbs 20:1-30 (1) Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. (2) The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life. (3) It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling. (4) The sluggard does not plow in the autumn; he will seek at harvest and have nothing. (5) The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. (6) Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? (7) The righteous who walks in his integrity– blessed are his children after him! (8) A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes. (9) Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? (10) Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD. (11) Even a child makes himself known by his acts, by whether his conduct is pure and upright. (12) The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both. (13) Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread. (14) “Bad, bad,” says the buyer, but when he goes away, then he boasts. (15) There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel. (16) Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners. (17) Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel. (18) Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. (19) Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. (20) If one curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness. (21) An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. (22) Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you. (23) Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good. (24) A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? (25) It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows. (26) A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them. (27) The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all his innermost parts. (28) Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld. (29) The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. (30) Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

Today we will look at the 3 questions seen here in chapter 20:

  1. Verse 6 – Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love, but a faithful man who can find? This type of question comes later in chapter 31 in speaking about finding a virtuous woman. The point is: there are a lot of men, and many claim our own devoutness, but truly faithful men are hard to find.
  2. Verse 9 – Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”? The answer? No one. If our heart is pure and clean it came through the blood of Jesus and His grace. It is His blood that can cleanse our consciences.
  3. Verse 24 – A man’s steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way? The answer? By listening to God (Psalm 119:9)!

Here are a few other observations from chapter 20:

  • The king (vs. 2,8,26,28) – Show respect for those in authority, because you do not want to be on the bad side of the law. Wisdom brings respect for those in authority. The “king” or any ruler for that matter can winnow out the wheat from the chaff. Don’t be the chaff.
  • Being hasty – A wise person isn’t in a hurry to jump into a quarrel (vs. 3). Don’t be in a hurry to co-sign for someone’s loan, it could be more costly than we think (vs. 16). If you get a bunch of money really quick, watch out, because for most people that money goes away even quicker than it came (vs. 21). Don’t be hasty to make vows and commitments, especially in devoting things to God (vs. 25). Let’s pray for the Lord to help us to be more cautious and less impulsive in making decisions!

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 19

Here we go with Day 19. Wow, it’s going fast!

Proverbs 19:1-29 (1) Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool. (2) Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. (3) When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the LORD. (4) Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend. (5) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape. (6) Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. (7) All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them. (8) Whoever gets sense loves his own soul; he who keeps understanding will discover good. (9) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish. (10) It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury, much less for a slave to rule over princes. (11) Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (12) A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass. (13) A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain. (14) House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD. (15) Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. (16) Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die. (17) Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed. (18) Discipline your son, for there is hope; do not set your heart on putting him to death. (19) A man of great wrath will pay the penalty, for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again. (20) Listen to advice and accept instruction, that you may gain wisdom in the future. (21) Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. (22) What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar. (23) The fear of the LORD leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm. (24) The sluggard buries his hand in the dish and will not even bring it back to his mouth. (25) Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge. (26) He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother is a son who brings shame and reproach. (27) Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. (28) A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity. (29) Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools.

Verse 5 and 9 are identical. I’m not sure if I ever noticed this before, but you have Solomon repeating himself very quickly in this context. This tells me that God really wants you and me to listen! A false witness, a person who goes about telling lies and spreading mis-information, will be punished. It is one of the 10 commandments – Do not bear false witness (Exodus 20). We also know that God directly said He hates it when someone goes around spreading lies about others (Proverbs 6:16-19). We may not think we are bearing false witness, but if we are going around telling stories about others that make them look bad and ourselves look good, then we might want to consider whether or not we are bearing false witness.

For there is hope – Solomon’s advice is to start young when training your children (vs. 18). If you don’t, Solomon said you are setting your heart on their destruction. Anna and I saw a sign the other day that said, “It is easier to raise a child than it is to repair an adult.” Very true. Back in Proverbs 13:24, Solomon told us that if we spare the rod (withhold training), then we effectively hate our children. That directly contradicts the thinking of those parents who are intent on being their child’s buddy. You can’t be focused on always making your kid happy and never causing them any inconvenience. That is more about you, not about what is best for your son or daughter.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 18

Proverbs 18:1-24 (1) Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment. (2) A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (3) When wickedness comes, contempt comes also, and with dishonor comes disgrace. (4) The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook. (5) It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice. (6) A fool’s lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. (7) A fool’s mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. (8) The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body. (9) Whoever is slack in his work is a brother to him who destroys. (10) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. (11) A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination. (12) Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. (13) If one gives an answer before he hears, it is his folly and shame. (14) A man’s spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear? (15) An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (16) A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great. (17) The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (18) The lot puts an end to quarrels and decides between powerful contenders. (19) A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle. (20) From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. (21) Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. (22) He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD. (23) The poor use entreaties, but the rich answer roughly. (24) A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

A little bit about money. The reality of it is, a really rich person doesn’t have to be tactful, he can boss everyone around because he owns the whole block. A poor person, on the other hand spends a lot of time pleading and begging (vs. 23). It is the way of the world that money talks and opens doors that otherwise would be closed (vs. 11,16). Solomon is not condoning the practice of bribery – God is not okay when folks manipulate others with money. It is just how the world works – it is an observation of Solomon, not a commendation of how to behave in the world.

Something about relationship problems – Don’t be hasty to believe one person’s account of everything. A person may come to you and tell you all the details that make him look good and the other person look terrible. Many times there is another side to the story (vs. 17). Once a brother is deeply hurt, it would be easier to conquer a city than to win back that relationship (vs. 19). Also, don’t be hasty to give an answer to something. You may be convinced you are right, but then find out other information and you will end up with egg on your face (vs. 13). Remember that your mouth can take you right into a beating, so learn to control it (vs. 6-7). Take a second and listen…who is doing all the talking? You might realize that you are the fool who takes no other pleasure than hearing yourself talk (vs. 2). For the Christian, it should be that our words are a life-giving fountain and soothing brook (vs. 4).

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 17

Happy Friday to you! Here is day 17 of the 31 Days of Proverbs.

Proverbs 17:1-28 (1) Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife. (2) A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers. (3) The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the LORD tests hearts. (4) An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue. (5) Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker; he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. (6) Grandchildren are the crown of the aged, and the glory of children is their fathers. (7) Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince. (8) A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it; wherever he turns he prospers. (9) Whoever covers an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates close friends. (10) A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool. (11) An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him. (12) Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs rather than a fool in his folly. (13) If anyone returns evil for good, evil will not depart from his house. (14) The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out. (15) He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD. (16) Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom when he has no sense? (17) A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. (18) One who lacks sense gives a pledge and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor. (19) Whoever loves transgression loves strife; he who makes his door high seeks destruction. (20) A man of crooked heart does not discover good, and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity. (21) He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow, and the father of a fool has no joy. (22) A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. (23) The wicked accepts a bribe in secret to pervert the ways of justice. (24) The discerning sets his face toward wisdom, but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth. (25) A foolish son is a grief to his father and bitterness to her who bore him. (26) To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness. (27) Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. (28) Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

The power of a bribe – Vs. 8 talks about a bribe like it is a magic stone. It will make you feel like you have the “Midas touch,” because the money will start flowing in. But it perverts justice (vs. 23), and it always hurts those who are poor and helpless. Think of the college scandal that was uncovered recently, where high powered Hollywood types were bribing to get higher test scores for their kids. It may seem like those folks had a magic stone, in that their kids were on their way to Harvard and fame and fortune. But what was the result? Shame and scandal. Not to mention that those without as much money and clout, who worked hard and studied, are hurt the most. The good people end up paying the “fines,” and the innocent people are the ones who take the beating (vs. 26).

Bite your tongue – Even a fool looks smart when he shuts up (vs. 27-28). Besides, when we start talking it is like popping a water balloon, and the fight begins (vs. 13). Let’s practice restraint today with our words. It’s better to eat in quietness with a piece of dry toast, than to have a Thanksgiving feast with fighting…its bad for the digestion, too (vs. 1).

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 16

Let’s do day 16 of the 31 Days of Proverbs.

Proverbs 16:1-33 (1) The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. (2) All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit. (3) Commit your work to the LORD, and your plans will be established. (4) The LORD has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. (5) Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished. (6) By steadfast love and faithfulness iniquity is atoned for, and by the fear of the LORD one turns away from evil. (7) When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. (8) Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice. (9) The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps. (10) An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment. (11) A just balance and scales are the LORD’s; all the weights in the bag are his work. (12) It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness. (13) Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. (14) A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it. (15) In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain. (16) How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver. (17) The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life. (18) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. (19) It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud. (20) Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD. (21) The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. (22) Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly. (23) The heart of the wise makes his speech judicious and adds persuasiveness to his lips. (24) Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. (25) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (26) A worker’s appetite works for him; his mouth urges him on. (27) A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire. (28) A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends. (29) A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. (30) Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass. (31) Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. (32) Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city. (33) The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.

Vs. 10-15 – Make the king happy. There are several passages about the “king” here in Proverbs 16. It should be the desire of the Christian to do what pleases those in charge (see 1 Peter 2:13-15; Romans 13:1-7).

Vs. 32 – Conquering your anger. Do Navy Seals impress you? Think of what those brave soldiers, marines and sailors did on days like D-Day -It’s just amazing to think of what armies have done to conquer evil and push back the forces of wickedness. But did you notice verse 32? If you rule your spirit and conquer your anger you are better than any brave soldier who has conquered a city!

Vs. 1-4,9,25 – Your plans, your way, God’s will. We have a lot of ways that “seem right,” but we sure get ourselves into a world of hurt (vs. 25). Make your plans, God wants you to do that, but remember some things. Remember that your answers and thoughts must be centered on Him first. Keep in mind that He is working His plans and His purposes. Whether you choose to follow Him or not, He will accomplish His purposes. If you commit to the Lord, though, Solomon says your plans will be established.

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 15

Wow, halfway though May? Let’s get started with day 15 of our 31 Days of Proverbs

Proverbs 15:1-33 (1) A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (2) The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. (3) The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. (4) A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. (5) A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent. (6) In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but trouble befalls the income of the wicked. (7) The lips of the wise spread knowledge; not so the hearts of fools. (8) The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is acceptable to him. (9) The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but he loves him who pursues righteousness. (10) There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way; whoever hates reproof will die. (11) Sheol and Abaddon lie open before the LORD; how much more the hearts of the children of man! (12) A scoffer does not like to be reproved; he will not go to the wise. (13) A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed. (14) The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly. (15) All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast. (16) Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it. (17) Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it. (18) A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention. (19) The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway. (20) A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother. (21) Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but a man of understanding walks straight ahead. (22) Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed. (23) To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is! (24) The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath. (25) The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries. (26) The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but gracious words are pure. (27) Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household, but he who hates bribes will live. (28) The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things. (29) The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (30) The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and good news refreshes the bones. (31) The ear that listens to life-giving reproof will dwell among the wise. (32) Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. (33) The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

A few quick notes about chapter 15:

Vs. 19 – The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a level highway. Have you ever walked through the woods and gotten caught up in thorns? Ouch! That’s not fun at all! That is the way of the lazy and foolish. It is just a painful, hard existence that could be avoided. On the other hand, a righteous, diligent person is walking on a level road. The upright person has chosen a pathway that avoids a lot of pain that the foolish lazy person brings upon himself.

Vs. 25 – The LORD tears down the house of the proud but maintains the widow’s boundaries. Look at the result of the way of the righteous…God will maintain the widow’s boundaries. She may be oppressed and neglected by others, but God will never forsake her. He will plead her case.

More instruction about the tongue – In vs. 28, Solomon tells us that a righteous person’s heart is pondering what is the right thing to say, while others just let it all come out. We need to remember Solomon’s wisdom here about the value of having a gentle answer (vs. 1). Our lips, the lips of God’s people, are to be spreading God’s knowledge (vs. 7). We need to work on the fountain that springs forth the words, because if we are hot-tempered, then our words will reflect that (vs. 18).

31 Days of Proverbs – Proverbs 14

Here we go with day 14 of the 31 Days of Proverbs!

Proverbs 14:1-35 (1) The wisest of women builds her house, but folly with her own hands tears it down. (2) Whoever walks in uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is devious in his ways despises him. (3) By the mouth of a fool comes a rod for his back, but the lips of the wise will preserve them. (4) Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. (5) A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness breathes out lies. (6) A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding. (7) Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge. (8) The wisdom of the prudent is to discern his way, but the folly of fools is deceiving. (9) Fools mock at the guilt offering, but the upright enjoy acceptance. (10) The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. (11) The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish. (12) There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (13) Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief. (14) The backslider in heart will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man will be filled with the fruit of his ways. (15) The simple believes everything, but the prudent gives thought to his steps. (16) One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless. (17) A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated. (18) The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. (19) The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous. (20) The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends. (21) Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. (22) Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness. (23) In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. (24) The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly. (25) A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful. (26) In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. (27) The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. (28) In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined. (29) Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. (30) A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (31) Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. (32) The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing, but the righteous finds refuge in his death. (33) Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools. (34) Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. (35) A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.

Here are few quick observations from chapter 14

Vs. 4Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. If you don’t have the ox, then of course you don’t have to do the work to clean out the stalls. If you invest in the ox, then you have to clean the stalls, but what comes with it? Profits from your investment. If you start a business, there are just dirty, unpleasant, boring and monotonous jobs that you have to do, but the benefits and profits come after that hard work. Empty stalls equals empty wallet.

Vs. 10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and no stranger shares its joy. People can try to sympathize and understand your emotions, but know one but God can really understand how joyful or how sad you are at the time.

The importance of being of a calm spirit and few words. Chapter 14 begins with the contrast of the two women. There is a woman who builds up her house, most likely in a spiritual context, and there is a woman who just seems hell bent on destroying the faith of those around her (vs. 1). A fool with his mouth will bring a beating upon himself (verse 3). Some people are just asking for it! In time you will learn that there is no use in talking to a fool…there just isn’t a point (vs. 7). When you have a quick temper, you end up acting in stupid and destructive ways (vs. 16-17). Oh and by the way, you don’t have to try to show off your wisdom, because if you are wise, it will just come out when you are around fools – they will see God’s wisdom and light in you (vs. 33).