Friday, January 30, 2015

People React to How They Are Treated

Proverbs 29:15-27

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)

Teaching and correction and punishment teach a child to think things through and make good decisions.   A child who is left to himself without guidance will embarrass his parents because he has no basis on which to make good decisions. 

“When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increaseth: but the righteous shall see their fall.” (Proverbs 29:16)

People naturally push the limits and when wickedness is accepted by society, people feel free to do more and worse things.  Crime and immorality begins to grow, but it will only be about a generation before the society collapses and those who have done right will live to see the collapse.

“Correct thy son, and he shall give thee rest; yea, he shall give delight unto thy soul.  Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:17-18)

This verse is very closely related to verse 15.  If you don’t want to be ashamed by your children’s behavior, take the trouble to teach them to make good decisions and do what is right and you can be proud instead.  Without a sense of direction, people destroy themselves.    People who know and keep God’s commands are blessed in many ways.  John 14:21 promises, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.”

“A servant will not be corrected by words: for though he understand he will not answer.” (Proverbs 29:19)

People resent being ordered around and told what to do.  They may be afraid to say anything to those in authority, but that doesn’t mean they agree, or that they are going to do as ordered.  Their failure to respond usually indicates a sense of resentment rather than of misunderstanding.   

“ Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.” (Proverbs 29:20)

A person who is quick to jump to conclusions or make commitments frequently commits to things that will not work and pride or other factors may make it very difficult to change his direction.   There’s more hope for an idiot than for a person who can’t admit they made a bad decision. 

“He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.” (Proverbs 29:21)

By carefully nurturing a good relationship with an employee, avoiding a bossy, dictatorial style will result in an employee who likes and wants to work with his employer like a boy wanting to work with his father. 

“An angry man stirreth up strife, and a furious man aboundeth in transgression.” (Proverbs 29:22)

Angry people say and do things that irritate and anger other people, resulting in conflict.  A person who allows his anger to get out of control does all kinds of things that are not right, from cussing an innocent person out, to putting people’s lives in danger.  It’s better to avoid such people.

“A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” (Proverbs 29:23)

A person’s pride prevents him from admitting mistakes or dangers, leading to humiliation and failure.  A person who doesn’t have that kind of pride and honestly admits his weaknesses will receive respect and praise. 

“Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.” (Proverbs 29:24)

A person who hangs out with thieves doesn’t have much self-respect or consider his life worth much.  Thieves often justify their stealing by running down other people to make it look like they have no right to what they own.  Their associates and friends listen to that abuse of other people and don’t try to stop it because they don’t value people, including themselves. 

“The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.  Many seek the ruler's favour; but every man's judgment cometh from the LORD.” (Proverbs 29:25-26)

Fear of what others think or will do prevents many people from accomplishing worthwhile things, making them dependent on other people.  Putting our trust in the Lord frees us from the concern about whether other people will help or oppose one’s plans.  Most people are concerned about government’s approval, but God’s approval is the only one that really matters.   

“An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.” (Proverbs 29:27)

Honest, morally upright people despise dishonest and immoral people, and dishonest, immoral people despise those who do what is right. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Leaders Set The Tone

Proverbs 29:1-14

“He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” (Proverbs 29:1)

A person who gets angry and refuses to listen when mistakes or sins are pointed out will inevitably face judgment and destruction.  There is no way to escape it.

“When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2)

When honest moral people are in control, ordinary people are happy, but when wicked people gain control, ordinary people fear for their survival. 

“Whoso loveth wisdom rejoiceth his father: but he that keepeth company with harlots spendeth his substance.” (Proverbs 29:3)

A child who learns and makes wise decisions makes his parents happy, but one who gets caught up in prostitution or sexual promiscuity spends everything he or his parents have saved. 

“The king by judgment establisheth the land: but he that receiveth gifts overthroweth it.” (Proverbs 29:4)

Leaders who make informed and honest decisions strengthen their country, but those who pay attention to the lobbyists and favor those who give donations or bribes destroy the country. 

“A man that flattereth his neighbour spreadeth a net for his feet.” (Proverbs 29:5)

A person who gives insincere praise has an ulterior motive and is using his flattery to trap you into doing something.   Watch out.

“In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare: but the righteous doth sing and rejoice.” (Proverbs 29:6)

Evil people set traps that may harm themselves or other people, and have to be careful not to get caught in it.  People who do right don’t set traps and don’t need to be so careful.  They can enjoy themselves, knowing there is no danger of getting hurt. 

“The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.  Scornful men bring a city into a snare: but wise men turn away wrath. ” (Proverbs 29:7-8)

Good people think about the consequences of their actions on other people.  Wicked people think it doesn’t matter how other people are affected and show them no respect.    Disrespectful people offend other people and cause a lot of people a lot of trouble.  Wise people try to work things out and avoid conflict

“If a wise man contendeth with a foolish man, whether he rage or laugh, there is no rest.” (Proverbs 29:9)

It is impossible to win an argument with a fool, no matter how smart you are.  They will not change their opinion regardless of logic, threats and anger or even being mocked for being stupid.  There is no use trying to convince him.   

“The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.” (Proverbs 29:10)

Murderers and violent criminals hate those who stand for what is right, but honest and good people seek to become his friends. 

“A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” (Proverbs 29:11)

A fool blurts out his opinion but a wise person keeps his mouth shut and waits until he has the facts to make a valid decision before telling everyone what he thinks. 

“If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked.” (Proverbs 29:12)

A corrupt politician who listens to lies without checking them out encourages corruption among his staff and associates.

“The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the LORD lighteneth both their eyes.” (Proverbs 29:13)

The poor and the dishonest often try to do business together.  Both of them learn from the experience.   The poor man learns not to trust the grandiose promises, while the crook learns that there are limits to what he can take without consequences. 

“The king that faithfully judgeth the poor, his throne shall be established for ever. “(Proverbs 29:14)

A ruler or government that is fair to the poor makes them happy, and they will not rebel against it, but will support it as long as possible.  At the same time, God will bless by extending their reign.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Knowing What To Expect From People

Proverbs 28:15-28

“As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.  The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.” (Proverbs 28:15-16)

Animals such as lions or bears may kill other animals or destroy things with no thought of the future effects of their actions, wiping out a food source or leaving themselves without shelter.  A wicked ruler, government or employer is only concerned with immediate results and has a similar disregard for the effects of the actions on those they depend on.  A ruler who doesn’t understand the effects of his actions becomes a tyrant and earns the people’s hatred.  A ruler who hates selfishness and greed gets the people’s respect and love, and ensures their continued support. 

“A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him.” (Proverbs 28:17)

In Genesis 9:6 God commanded, “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.”   Anyone who attacks another person seriously injuring or killing them is to be punished. Even to the point of being killed if they have killed another.  It is wrong to try to protect them from that punishment.   

“Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.” (Proverbs 28:18)

A person who lives in a good manner will be protected by God, but a person who refuses to do right will be destroyed.   While doing Good is not enough to save us, it clearly indicates whether we are saved or not, according to I John 3:7-10.  “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.  In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.”

“He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.  A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent. “ (Proverbs 28:19-20)

A person who takes care of his business will have plenty to live on.  A person who hangs around with or follows the advice of people who don’t do anything worthwhile will always be poor and struggling to get by.    A consistent steady worker will have plenty, but as person who tries to rich in a hurry will end up doing things that are wrong.

“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (Proverbs 28:21)

A person who holds some people in higher regard than others is already inclined to their side and will distort the truth in their favor for no more than the price of a meal.  They don’t really need to even bribe him.   

“He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” (Proverbs 28:22)

A person who is in a hurry to get rich is not focused on pleasing God or doing what is right.  He ignores the judgment of God for sin and that God has repeatedly stated he will take away what the property of those who get rich by cheating or taking advantage of others. 

“He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” (Proverbs 28:23)  

While they may not like it when you tell them they are wrong, people who listen and make the corrections will appreciate the advice later and respect the person who gave it far more than they will someone who told they were right and encouraged them to do it wrong.

“Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer.” (Proverbs 28:24)  

A person who thinks he has a right to take what belongs to his parents without their permission is no different that the vandals who go around destroying other people’s property.  

“He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat.”  He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.” (Proverbs 28:25-26)  

A person who thinks he is smarter or better than other people causes fights, and conflict.  A person who depends on the Lord will be blessed for his faith, but one who depends on his own intelligence or emotions is stupid.  Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?”  A wise person will not just follow his heart, and as a result will escape a lot of problems. 

“He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.” (Proverbs 28:27)  

A person who cares and helps the poor will have enough to get by, but one who ignores them will be hated by a lot of people. 

“When the wicked rise, men hide themselves: but when they perish, the righteous increase.” (Proverbs 28:28)

When wicked men gain power, the people have to hide what they accomplish to protect it from seizure, but when the wicked are destroyed, those who do right are free to profit openly.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Knowing The People Around You

Proverbs 28:1-14

“The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)

The wicked man’s guilty conscience keeps him on the defensive, forcing him to take action to escape punishment even when no one is looking for him.  Those who have done right have no reason to fear. 

“For the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof: but by a man of understanding and knowledge the state thereof shall be prolonged.” (Proverbs 28:2)

Countries which have a rebellious attitude toward God do not have stable governments that endure very long.  Leaders who take the time to learn how things should be done make for a stable, lasting government. 

“A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.” (Proverbs 28:3)

People expect a person who has been poor to understand and empathize with the plight of the poor.  One who ignores them is like the driving rain that instead of soaking in and watering the crops, beats them down and washes them away, leaving nothing to grow.    The poor man who is ripping them off will take things the rich man wouldn’t bother with. 

“They that forsake the law praise the wicked: but such as keep the law contend with them. (Proverbs 28:4)

People who reject God’s authority and morality praise and support those who do wicked things.  Those who stand for what is right oppose them.  It gives us a way to identify a person’s attitude and standards and know what they are really like.

“Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” (Proverbs 28:5)

Evil people have a distorted sense of justice.  Those who respect god understand that it is right that a person who takes something from another person, whether property or life, should repay him in kind to the full extent of the damage done. 

“Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.” (Proverbs 28:6)

A person who does what is right is better than a person who ignores what is right, no matter how rich he may be.

“Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father.” (Proverbs 28:7)

A person who obeys God’s law is a wise person who makes his parents proud.  A person who hangs around with a bad crowd is an embarrassment to his parent before long.

“He that by usury and unjust gain increaseth his substance, he shall gather it for him that will pity the poor.” (Proverbs 28:8)

A person who tries to get rich by charging excessive interest and price gouging or otherwise cheating others will one day lose it to someone who will have concern for the poor he victimized. 

“He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” (Proverbs 28:9)

A person who refuses to listen to what God says, then prays, asking god for something is like a thief or vandal who steals or destroys your property then asks you to fix his car or buy him a meal.  His prayer is an insult that God hates.    

“Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.” (Proverbs 28:10)

The person who causes a good person to go into sin will be destroyed by his own efforts to harm them.  The righteous and honest person will have good things that are his.   

“The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.” (Proverbs 28:11)

The rich man may think he is smarter than other people because of what he has, but the smart poor man checks out his theories before believing them because the riches may have come from something other than his skill or good decisions.

“When righteous men do rejoice, there is great glory: but when the wicked rise, a man is hidden.” (Proverbs 28:12)

When good honest people celebrate, everyone benefits.  When crooks and wicked people celebrate, everyone else better hide out so they don’t get hurt. 

“He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

A person who tries to cover his mistakes or sins will never be very successful.  A person who is willing to acknowledge his mistakes and change will eventually see the benefits and avoid the worst consequences.  I John 1:8-10 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.    Our sins will only be forgiven if we acknowledge and forsake them. 

“Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 28:14)

A person that obeys God will be blessed.  A person who refuses to obey God will find himself in serious trouble. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Business Advice

Proverbs 27:13-27

“Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.” (Proverbs 27:13)

A person who cosigns other people’s loans puts his own property and income at risk.  If you loan him money, you should make sure you have collateral you can get to cover part of the loan if he is forced into bankruptcy.  If he’s doing it for a girlfriend or some woman other than his wife, you better take something for pawn to cover the loan and not give it back until you get paid.   Emotions change too quickly to take any chances.

“He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him.” (Proverbs 27:14)

People who brag on you too much can get you into a lot of trouble.   Sooner or later you will regret their bragging.   

“A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.  Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, which bewrayeth itself.” (Proverbs 27:15-16)

Everyone knows how annoying a constant drip can become after a few hours.  A woman who constantly complains or says disparaging things is the same way.  Trying to hide such an attitude is pointless because sooner or later the effects will show up just like trying to keep people from knowing the wind is blowing or to cover up the smell of perfume. 

“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)

Just as the friction from rubbing two pieces of iron together can make a knife sharper when done properly, friends strongly affect our attitudes and actions, whether for good or for evil.  Jonathan was a great encouragement for David to serve God, while Jonadab advised Amnon how he could rape Tamar. 

“Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.” (Proverbs 27:18)

While it may take time, investing time and energy in worthwhile things will eventyually pay off.  Taking the time to plant and care for a fruit tree will eventually result in fruit to eat.  Doing your job well will eventually produce benefits, even if it takes a long time.   

“As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” (Proverbs 27:19)

Just as a person can see his own reflection in the water, he often sees his own attitudes reflected in other people’s behavior.    As a result, the thief assumes other people are thieves, a liar assumes others are liars, and a cheat assumes others are trying to cheat.   Unfortunately their assumption may not be true.

“Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Proverbs 27:20)

Some things can never be satisfied.  The more you give, the more they want.  Greed, hunger for power power, and sexual lust are never satisfied.  Giving what they want is like adding fuel to a fire.  The more they get, the more they want and try to take. 

“As the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so is a man to his praise.” (Proverbs 27:21)

A refining pot separates silver from other metals, and a furnace or fire does the same for gold.  Praise makes a person focus on the things he gets praised for and avoid things that he doesn’t.  While punishment may be necessary, praise is far more effective as a motivation.

“Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, yet will not his foolishness depart from him” (Proverbs 27:22)

No amount of punishment will make a fool learn if he doesn’t want to, not even if you grind him up like you were grinding wheat into flour.  You just as well try something different.
“Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.  For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation?   The hay appeareth, and the tender grass showeth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.  The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.  And thou shalt have goats' milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and for the maintenance for thy maidens.” (Proverbs 27:23-27)

Nothing lasts forever without somebody taking care of it. The most powerful king can lose his throne by just not taking care of his business.   Sheep need a variety of nutrients, some of which come only from certain plants.  It may be a nuisance to see that they have everything they need, from gathering hay or finding fresh grass to gathering certain herbs in the mountain but each one is important.  The baby lambs that get lost so easily will one day provide your clothing and the baby goats that go climbing everything in sight and constantly try to get through the fence will give you food and milk for your family and workers.    Later you’ll be glad you spent the time and effort on them.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Think About It

Proverbs 27:1-12

“Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

Humans don’t know the future, nor can they control it.  It is pretty egotistical to announce we will do something in the future as a certainty.  James 4:13-16 warns, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.”  It is evil to ignore God’s sovereignty in our lives. 

“Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips.” (Proverbs 27:2)

It is difficult to give an accurate assessment of ones accomplishments because we are too emotionally invested making our bragging meaningless.  Proverbs 25:27 said, “… for men to search their own glory is not glory.”   Instead of tooting our own horn, we should let other people decide how much the things we have done are worth.  When they praise us it really means something. 

“A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.” (Proverbs 27:3)

A boulder or buckets of sand are heavy and exhausting to carry.  Dealing with the anger of someone who gets angry over every little thing is even harder.  It takes an emotional and physical toll on everyone around.  Avoid such people.   

“Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” (Proverbs 27:4)

Angry people do and say outrageous things, and uncontrolled anger has no concern for who it hurts, but once they have run their course there is usually a respite.  Jealousy will go just as far, but it doesn’t ever stop.

“Open rebuke is better than secret love.” (Proverbs 27:5)

You know what kind of reaction to expect from people who declare themselves, even if they openly disapprove of you or your ideas or behavior.   You constantly have to worry about accidentally offending those who don’t make their opinions known, even if they are on your side. 

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6)

A true friend may say or do something that hurts you, but their intention is help you.  The hurt is not the goal.  When an enemy is nice to you, it is in an effort to get you to let down your guard so they can hurt you.  Don’t confuse the two. 

“The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” (Proverbs 27:7)

A person who is really in need will appreciate even the slightest crumb, but the person who has enough doesn’t appreciate even the good things he is given.    A person who gripes about having to eat commodity foods isn’t really poor, for example, and doesn’t really need your help.

“As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so is a man that wandereth from his place.” (Proverbs 27:8)

A bird that leaves her nest to go somewhere else is not a dependable mother.  A person who just walks away from their responsibilities is not a dependable person. 

“Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man's friend by hearty counsel.   Thine own friend, and thy father's friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother's house in the day of thy calamity: for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” (Proverbs 27:9-10)

Talking to a friend can make one feel relaxed and confident, just as the smell of incense or a pleasant perfume can.  Don’t walk away from your own friends or those of your parents.   Friends that are close by are more help than a brother who lives a long way off.  They can render the assistance immediately while you will have to wait for him to get there.

“My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me.” (Proverbs 27:11)

Children who make wise choices make their parents proud of them and they can point to their accomplishments when people accuse them of not doing things right. 

“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 27:12)

A wise or prudent person thinks about the consequences of their actions and avoids trouble.  The thoughtless person assumes everything will turn out okay and barges ahead.  Without considering what his actions will cause.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Stirring Up Trouble

Proverbs 26:13-28

“The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.” (Proverbs 26:13)

The lazy man constantly invents excuses why he cannot do what he needs to do.  Sometimes their excuses are pretty farfetched and unlikely, based solely on rumor or imagination.

“As the door turneth upon his hinges, so doth the slothful upon his bed.  The slothful hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.” (Proverbs 26:14-15)

A wheel turns on it axle and moves from place to place.  A door just swings back and forth on its hinges and goes no place.  Successful people go to bed for a while then get up and go do something.  Lazy ones just turn over in bed and go back to sleep.   They resent even having to feed themselves or do anything for themselves. 

“The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason.” (Proverbs 26:16)

The lazy man thinks he is smarter than seven men who can figure things out because he has figured out how to get other people to do it for him.    He thinks they are stupid for working so hard. 

“He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” (Proverbs 26:17)

A person who gets involved in other people’s fights, taking sides or stirring things up is like a person who keeps pulling a dog’s ears.  The dog begins to hate him and sooner or later it will try to bite him. 

“As a mad man who casteth firebrands, arrows, and death, So is the man that deceiveth his neighbour, and saith, Am not I in sport?” (Proverbs 26:18-19)

An insane person, who randomly shoots in every direction and throws burning objects into the brush.  Sooner or later he will hit somebody or set things on fire.  A person who cheats his neighbors and thinks it is funny is like the insane person.  Sooner or later he will make people mad and they will turn on him.

“Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.  “As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife.” (Proverbs 26:20-21)

Just as a fire goes out when it runs out of fuel, a conflict ends when there is no one adding fuel to it.  If you can stop the gossip most fight s will end by themselves.   A person who is looking for a fight is like adding wood to fire or raking the coals closer together.  It almost guarantees the conflict will flare up.  His attitude is certain to rub people the wrong way.

“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.  Burning lips and a wicked heart are like a potsherd covered with silver dross.  He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart.  Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be showed before the whole congregation.” (Proverbs 26:22-26)

Gossip and rumors can hurt a person very deeply.  The story tellers are like broken piece of pottery dipped in the waste products from refining silver.  Though they look like something important they are really worthless.  A person who spreads rumors hates the people he talks about, deliberately trying to deceive others about them.  He cannot be trusted because his attitude is wicked.  Sooner or later the truth will come out publicly. 

“Whoso diggeth a pit shall fall therein: and he that rolleth a stone, it will return upon him.” (Proverbs 26:27)

Efforts to entrap or hurt others can backfire and hurt the person who does them instead. 

“A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” (Proverbs 26:28)

A person who lies about things hates the people who are harmed by the lies.  A person who tells lies to make you feel good about yourself will cause you to be destroyed. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Proverbs 26:1-12

“As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honour is not seemly for a fool.” (Proverbs 26:1)

A fool receiving respect and praise can be as much of a problem as a snow storm in the middle of the summer or a flood right at harvest time.   Either can destroy the crops and a year’s work.

“As the bird by wandering, as the swallow by flying, so the curse causeless shall not come.” (Proverbs 26:2)

Nothing happens purely by accident.  Though it may appear random, a bird comes to a place by flying, and an accident or disaster is a result of other actions and situations.  Something caused it to happen.

“A whip for the horse, a bridle for the ass, and a rod for the fool's back.” (Proverbs 26:3)

The popping of a whip will get a horses attention, and the pressure from the bridle and bit will get that of a stubborn donkey.  Sometimes the only thing that gets a fool’s attention is a beating.  If it is painful enough he will try to avoid what caused him to receive it. 

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.  Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” (Proverbs 26:4-5)

Sarcasm is often lost on fool so trying to make him see how stupid his idea was just makes you look stupid as well.  At the same time, treating his foolishness as if it were a good idea encourages him to think he is smart. 

“He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage.” (Proverbs 26:6)

A person who sends a foolish person to do and important job puts himself at risk like a person swinging and axe to chop at what he is standing on or drinking a poisonous liquid.  He is probably going to hurt himself. 

“The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” (Proverbs 26:7)

Just as a man with one leg shorter than the other haw a hard time walking a straight line, a fool has trouble figuring out the meaning of a parable or story meant to teach him. 

“As he that bindeth a stone in a sling, so is he that giveth honour to a fool. (Proverbs 26:8)

In using a sling shot, the stone may fall out of the pocket before one is ready.  If you tie the pocket shut to keep that from happening, you won’t be able to release the stone at the proper time, defeating the point in using the sling.   Showing respect and deference to a fool encourages him to think what he is doing is good enough and make no effort to do better. 

“As a thorn goeth up into the hand of a drunkard, so is a parable in the mouth of fools.” (Proverbs 26:9)

Just as the drunk man ignores the danger presented by a thorn and hurts himself, the fool ignores the lessons of a parable and gets himself into trouble. 

“The great God that formed all things both rewardeth the fool, and rewardeth transgressors.” (Proverbs 26:10)

God doesn’t make people wicked or dumb,  the same God who created us will reward the wicked for their sin and the fool for his stupidity. 

“As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.”  (Proverbs 26:11)

When a dog eats something that makes him vomit it up he will often go back and lick it up again, at the risk of making himself sick again.  In the same way, a fool will repeat the action that cause him trouble in hopes that it will work out better the second time.  As albert Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. 

“Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. (Proverbs 26:12)

Even as many times as the fool may repeat the same mistake, there is more hope for him to succeed that there is for the man who is convinced he knows more than anybody else.  The fool might figure out it doesn’t work, but the conceited idiot will never admit he was wrong.  

Monday, January 19, 2015

More of Hezekiah’s Collection

Proverbs 25:18-28

“A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.” (Proverbs 25:18)

A person who makes up stories against his neighbor is like the person who cuts down his neighbor’s tree or smashes his car window with a bat, or shoots his cat of dog.  You just never know what he’ll do next.    

“Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.” (Proverbs 25:19)

Depending on a person who is undependable when you need them is like having a broken tooth or a sprained ankle.  Just when they are needed worst, they are likely to give out, causing great pain and other injuries. 

“As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.” (Proverbs 25:20)

To someone who is depressed, Someone who is cheerful and singing is almost as annoying as having his coat stolen on cold day.  It stirs up his anger like pouring vinegar on baking soda.

“If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)

By supplying food or necessities when your enemy is suffering, you show a genuine concern for him.  The contrast in your attitude and his will get to him, and god will reward your efforts.  On the other hand, trying to appease him by giving what he demands teaches him that you are afraid of him and the easiest way to get what he wants is to threaten you.  Contrary to what some people believe, you won’t stop a bully by giving him what he demands.+

“The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.” (Proverbs 25:23)

Just as a north wind can drive away rain clouds from the west, obvious anger can make a person who is telling lies and running one down look for a way to escape. 

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.” (Proverbs 25:24)

Once again we are reminded that it is better to not even have a roof over your head than to try to get along with a mate who likes to fight, no matter how nice the house might be.

“As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” (Proverbs 25:25)

Good news from far away is as good as a cold drink on a hot day. 

“A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.” (Proverbs 25:26)

Good people being forced to bow down to or obey wicked men is like a polluted or poisonous spring or well of water.  

“It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.” (Proverbs 25:27)

While a little honey is good for a person, too much can make you sick and cause serious health problems.    When a person spends his effort trying to get people’s praise, it ceases to mean anything because he is just putting on show, and not really doing anything of value. 

“He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.” (Proverbs 25:28)

Like a city or country that has lost their defenses, a person who has no self-discipline or self-control is like a is exposed to any temptation or evil that comes along.  They have never developed the will power to resist. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Hezekiah’s Collection of Proverbs

Proverbs 25:1-17

”These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.” (Proverbs 25:1)

About three hundred years after Solomon’s time, Hezekiah made a determined effort to turn Judah back to God.  As part of that effort, he published the following collection of Solomon’s proverbs.

“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25:2)

The greatness of god is exhibited by his ability to do things in ways man cannot understand.  The king or government is respected for their ability to accurately analyze a situation and make good choices.

“The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.” (Proverbs 25:3)

Some things are beyond understanding.  We cant understand just how big the universe is or just what all is down in the earth.  We also cannot understand the attitudes and logic of government. 

“Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.  Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.” (Proverbs 25:4-5)

Eliminating the impurities from silver makes it fit for casting and making into a useable vessel.   By eliminating corruption in the government, its continued power is assured.

“Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.” (Proverbs 25:6-7)

It’s better to do your job and earn a promotion than to push your way in and get booted out for crashing the party.

“Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.  Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.” (Proverbs 25:8-10)

Don’t get in a hurry to get involved in a fight when you aren’t sure what the details are because it’s embarrassing to find out you were in the wrong.  It is better to settle conflicts privately to avoid embarrassment and shame at having been wrong.

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.” (Proverbs 25:11-12)

Carefully chosen words at the right moment are like gold trim and decorations on a silver background.  A loving warning is like giving a piece of gold jewelry to a person who is willing to listen and obey. 

“As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.” (Proverbs 25:13)

For many crops, harvest is during the hottest time of the year.   Where refrigeration is not available, a little ice or snow to cool off with is a very appealing thought.  Somebody who can be depended on to do what he is supposed to is just as refreshing to those who send him to do the job.

“Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.” (Proverbs 25:14)

People who brag about what all they are going to do for you and don’t deliver are like clouds and wind that promise a lot and disrupt your plans but don’t produce any real benefit. 

“By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.” (Proverbs 25:15)

Gentle persuasion and persistence changes people’s minds when force and manipulation or nagging and complaining can’t.

“Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.” (Proverbs 25:16)

You can get too much of a good thing.  Learn to limit yourself so that you don’t cause yourself problems. 

“Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour's house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.” (Proverbs 25:17)

People get tired of having somebody lord it over them and boss them around and begin to resent or even hate them.  Nobody really likes being bossed around so don’t do it.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Focus on What is Right

Proverbs 24:1-34

“Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.  For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.” (Proverbs 24:1-2)

Don’t be jealous of what wicked people have, and for sure don’t try to become friends with them.  They spend a lot of effort trying to figure out a way to take or destroy what other people have or do.  They like to discuss what they can do to other people.
“Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.  For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety.  Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.” (Proverbs 24:3-7)

The physical construction of a building required wisdom in planning and constructing it and its strength and durability are dependent on the builder’s understanding of the materials and mechanical principles.  Knowledge enables him to furnish it with pleasant and useful things.  The same is true in building a strong family or dynasty. 

The wise person is strong simply because he doesn’t waste all his energy dealing with his mistakes.  He doesn’t go off half-cocked, but gets the best advice available, and not just from those who agree with him.   It is what keeps him from making so many mistakes.  A fool considers it too much trouble to figure it all out.  As a result, people don’t come to him for advice very long.

“He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.  The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.” (Proverbs 24:8-9)  

A person who sits around thinking about ways to get by with doing wrong will be known as a trouble maker.  Focusing on silliness is sin and tends to lead to other sinful things, which is part of the reason Ephesians 5:3-4 commands, “But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.”

“If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.  If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?” (Proverbs 24:10-12)

If person quits when the going gets tough he isn’t very strong.  He can’t use the excuse he didn’t know what was needed for looking away and not trying to protect other people.  God knows the truth and will consider it, judging according to what each person has done. 

“My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 24:13-14)

While it may not seem like it at first, wisdom will soon be like honey or the honeycomb, making other things more pleasant.  It will produce rewards and enable one to accomplish his goals.

“Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place: For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” (Proverbs 24:15-16)

There is an old saying that “you can’t keep a good man down.”   Solomon says it ai a waste of time for a wicked person to try to take advantage of a good man because no matter how many time you try he will recover, but the wicked will be destroyed. 
“Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18)  

Don’t celebrate when your enemy gets into trouble or had problems.  God may be offended by your attitude and stop punishing him. 

“Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked; For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.  My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:  For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?” (Proverbs 24:19-22)

Don’t get upset or jealous because wicked people seem to be getting ahead by their sin.  They will get what they deserve, and ultimately lose everything including their life.  Focus on respecting God and obeying the laws and don’t get mixed people who are out to change everything.  Not all changes are good, and no one knows when an ill-advised change will backfire and destroy both the old and the new.

“These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.  He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.  Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.” (Proverbs 24:23-26)

Wise people understand that allowing someone to get by with things because he is rich or famous or powerful make other people hate and distrust you.  They are drawn to people who honestly stand up for what is right, and they like and respect people they can depend on to give them the truth.

“Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” (Proverbs 24:27)  

Take care of your business first,  if you do, you will be free to enjoy the things that result.  If you focus on your pleasures first, you may end up losing everything. 

“Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.  Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.” (Proverbs 24:28-29)

Don’t invent charges against your neighbor or lie about him to cause him trouble when he has not done anything wrong.  Don’t use getting even with him as an excuse for doing wrong yourself.  God has said he will take care of paying them back and he is a lot better at it then you are. 

“I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.  Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.  Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.” (Proverbs 24:30-34)

Solomon observed what happened to lazy people and those who didn’t know what they were doing.  Their property was overgrown and in disrepair, with the fences falling down.  It was obvious that little neglect and laziness let things deteriorate rapidly. And would eventually destry everything they had as surely as if it had been stolen by an armed robber. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Observe What Happens To Others

Proverbs 23:17-35

“Let not thine heart envy sinners: but be thou in the fear of the LORD all the day long.  For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.  Hear thou, my son, and be wise, and guide thine heart in the way.” (Proverbs 23:17-19)

In our present world, it often seems that the only way to get ahead is by cheating or being dishonest.  In fact there was a popular saying for a while that if you weren’t cheating, you weren’t trying.  Solomon warns not to fall into the trap of envying their apparent success.  Instead we should stay focused on obeying god because one day this world will change and God will reward those who have obeyed him, and punish those who have not.  We need to be wise and maintain a proper attitude.

“Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.” (Proverbs 23:20-21)

Don’t hang around with the wine drinkers and party crowd because they will eventually lose everything they have.  A love for sleeping in and taking life easy leaves a person with nothing but rags to wear.

“Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.  Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.  The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him.  Thy father and thy mother shall be glad, and she that bare thee shall rejoice.” (Proverbs 23:22-25)

Children are commanded to respect and obey their parents.  The respect should continue even as both parents and children age.   They can still learn from them and benefit from the relationship.  as the child matures and makes good decisions, the parents will be blessed and glad for his ongoing success. 
“My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.  For a whore is a deep ditch; and a strange woman is a narrow pit.  She also lieth in wait as for a prey, and increaseth the transgressors among men.” (Proverbs 23:26-28)

One of the easiest ways of learning is to observe what other people do and what the results are.  It isn’t hard to see that messing around with prostitution is like walking along the edge of a deep ditch which can give way without warning, injuring or burying one.  Messing around with somebody other than your mate is like messing around at the very edge of a deep narrow pit.  If the edge gives way, there may be no way to get out.  They are like a predator looking for something to kill, and they encourage others to do wrong, bringing God’s judgment on themselves.

“Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes?  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.  Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things.
Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast.  They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.” (Proverbs 23:29-35)

People who drink are more likely to be depressed and sad than other people, because they drink to get away from their problems instead of dealing with them.   Blaming other people, they get into fights and many times their reasoning makes no sense because alcohol affects their thinking ability.  They hurt themselves and don’t remember what happened, and their eyes are bloodshot because of the effect of alcohol on the blood system. 

When the juice turns to alcohol, fizzing and bubbling, and changing color, it may look and taste very pleasant, but it is like a poisonous snake.  It is a poison that damages both the nervous system and the digestive system when consumed in large quantities.  It affects the person’s judgment and moral standards, and leads to him saying and doing things he normally wouldn’t, even if they are obviously dangerous.  Solomon uses the example of a person deciding to just go to sleep while floating in the ocean or climbing to the top of a mast and trying to balance there.  Proud that they didn’t even feel the pain, they go back and do it again to show they are not afraid as soon as they recover enough to do it.

Albert Einstein is credited with saying that doing the same thing and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  A person is foolish to think they can drink and escape the consequences.   The results are readily visible in the lives of people around us.  The same is true of sexual promiscuity.  Just look at the effects.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Be Careful About Getting Involved

Proverbs 23:1-16

“When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.  Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat.” Proverbs 23:1-3)

When accepting government benefits, be aware what you are doing.  Don’t try to get all you can.  Government does not produce anything, so it doesn’t have anything of its own to give.  It only gets what it has by taking it from somebody.  When you accept their largesse, you place yourself in their debt.  Sooner or later you will have to pay for it, and they will decide what you pay.  It often costs a lot more than you expect, but it is never free.

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.  Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Proverbs 23:4-5)

Being rich sounds like a great idea, but Solomon advises not to focus on doing so.   Earthly wealth is very fleeting.  It can be destroyed by poor investments or an economic collapse, or careless spending.  In addition, inflation, taxes, and criminal activity can take it from the most cautious owner.  Why waste time on something that can be taken away so easily?

“Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.” (Proverbs 23:6-8)

Don’t get involved with hypocrites and those who have divided loyalties because you don’t know where the real loyalty lies.  Just when you trust them, you may find they are working against you and taking advantage of your trust to hurt you.  They cannot be trusted.

“Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.” (Proverbs 23:9)

Don’t waste your time trying to teach a fool because he thinks he is smarter than you and will treat your advice as a joke. 

“Remove not the old landmark; and enter not into the fields of the fatherless: For their redeemer is mighty; he shall plead their cause with thee.” (Proverbs 23:10-11)

Don’t deliberately cheat or take advantage of those who seem unable to protect themselves, because God will take their side. 

“Apply thine heart unto instruction, and thine ears to the words of knowledge.” (Proverbs 23:12)

Make a deliberate effort to get an education and learn as much as possible about as many things as possible.

“Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.  Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Proverbs 23:13-14)

If done properly, physical punishment will not do any permanent to a child, and by doing so you may well save his soul from hell.  It is far better to spank him for running into the street than to have to bury him because you didn’t. 

“My son, if thine heart be wise, my heart shall rejoice, even mine.  Yea, my reins shall rejoice, when thy lips speak right things.” (Proverbs 23:15-16)

Children need to understand that good decisions and attitude make their parents proud.   They don’t have to hide and pretend it is somebody else’s child making all the ruckus.  If the child doesn’t know that he has no reason to behave.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

What Matters Most?

Proverbs 21:17-31

“He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.” (Proverbs 21:17)

A person who devotes his life to pleasure will eventually go broke, spending more than he can afford, whether gambling, or on sex or other pursuits.  A person who loves the taste of wine or liquor, or of gourmet food will not be rich.   His expensive tastes cost more than he can afford.  

“The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the transgressor for the upright.” (Proverbs 21:18)

While they take advantage of those who do right, eventually the things they have taken will benefit the people they have taken advantage of.

“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.” (Proverbs 21:19)

Once again we are reminded that it is better to be alone with nobody to talk to than stuck with a mate who is always angry and looking for an argument.

“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” (Proverbs 21:20)

A wise person will have some things worth having, including some of the luxuries to enjoy.  He is not stuck with just the minimum to survive.  The foolish doesn’t save and thus is unable to have anything of much value or enjoy the luxuries.

“He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.” (Proverbs 21:21).

A person who concentrates on doing what is right and is willing to forgive others is able to enjoy his life, doesn’t have to deal with a guilty conscience, and earns the respect of those around him.

“A wise man scaleth the city of the mighty, and casteth down the strength of the confidence thereof.” (Proverbs 21:22)

A wise man can figure out a way to get the victory over the strong, and destroy their confidence.

“Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.  Proud and haughty scorner is his name, who dealeth in proud wrath.” (Proverbs 21:23-24)

The person who learns to control his tongue avoids a lot of problems.    The person who uses his anger and threats to get his way is an arrogant fool.

“The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.  He coveteth greedily all the day long: but the righteous giveth and spareth not.” (Proverbs 21:25-26)

The lazy man wants just as much and sometimes more than other people, but he refuses to do anything to earn it.  As a result he becomes increasingly despondent and bitter.   A righteous man has something to share with others because he has made the effort to earn it.

“The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Proverbs 21:27)

God knows that the wicked only offered a sacrifice in an attempt to buy him off, and is not an indicator of genuine sorrow.  He hates the very effort.    He hates it even worse when they use such sacrifices to fool others into trusting them. 

“A false witness shall perish: but the man that heareth speaketh constantly.” (Proverbs 21:28)

A person who lies about others will be destroyed, but a person who respects and obeys God’s law tells the truth.

“A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.” (Proverbs 21:29)

A wicked man just gets stubborn and determined to have his own way.  A good person will allow God to direct what he should do.

“There is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:30)

There is no one who can tell how to get the victory over God.  Don’t waste your time listening to those who think they can outsmart or defeat him.  Satan has been trying for thousands of years without success.

“The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD.” (Proverbs 21:31)

A horse can give an advantage in battle, and be invaluable if one is forced to flee, but he cannot protect one from everything that happens.    Only God is able to protect one completely.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Taking Care Of Business

Proverbs 22:13-29

“The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.” (Proverbs 22:13)

The lazy man constantly finds excuses why he shouldn’t do what needs done.  Even a very remote possibility, such as being attacked by a lion is made to sound like a real danger.

“The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the LORD shall fall therein.” (Proverbs 22:14)

Animals and little children are often fascinated by a deep hole in the ground.  Those who ignore their parent’s warnings run a high risk of getting too close and falling in.  People who have rejected God’s authority and warnings run a high risk of getting emotionally or sexually involved with someone other than their mate.

“Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15)

Because they lack both experience and knowledge, little children make foolish decisions.  Making sure they understand that there will be serious consequences for their actions forces them to think more carefully about what they are doing and decide whether it is worth doing that thing.  Wise parents will take the trouble.  Foolish ones don’t want to inhibit their child.
“He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.” (Proverbs 22:16) 

A person who takes advantage of poor people to get rich, and a person who tries to curry favor or obtain help by giving to the rich and powerful will eventually pay for it.  He will find that the rich will throw him under the bus, and the poor hate him and turn their backs when he needs their help.

“Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.  For it is a pleasant thing if thou keep them within thee; they shall withal be fitted in thy lips.”  That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee.  Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee?” (Proverbs 22:17-21)  
Take the time to listen to people who know what they are talking about and learn from them.  As you make them part of your life, you will avoid many of the problems others experience.  In the process, you will begin to understand things always follow God’s laws and learn to trust him to make things continue to follow his principles.   This will lead to confidence in what he has written and cause others to respect your intelligence and knowledge.

“Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them.” (Proverbs 22:22-23)

Don’t take advantage of a poor person just because he is an easy target, and don’t take advantage of people who are struggling.  Doing so will cause God to turn against you. 

“Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.” (Proverbs 22:24-25)

We tend to adopt the attitudes of those with whom we associate, and people who are angry seldom think clearly.  As a result they do stupid and dangerous things.   Avoid associating so that you don’t fall into such a pattern of behavior.
“Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?” (Proverbs 22:26-27)

Don’t put your property at risk to help someone else get a loan or keep from losing what they owe for.  No one knows what will happen in the future and there is no way of being sure you can pay it off is something happens.  Why risk losing your home or property for someone else’s bad judgment?

“Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set.” (Proverbs 22:28)  

The old land marks were set to mark the boundaries people had agreed on so they would not end up fighting over who had the right to use a piece of property.  If the landmarks are removed, people no longer have guidelines to tell them what limits are, leading to fighting. 

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” (Proverbs 22:29)

Successful and powerful people want to deal with people who are take care of their business.  As a result such a person doesn’t have to deal with people who are not willing to pay a fair price or try to cheat.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

What’s It Worth?

Proverbs 22:1-12

“A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” (Proverbs 22:1)

Some things are worth more than any amount of wealth.  A good reputation is one of those things.  Love and respect are equally valuable.
“The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.” (Proverbs 22:2)

Many times the rich are considered better than the poor.  Such an attitude overlooks the fact that their riches are the result of their interaction with the poor, and that God created them as equals.
“A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 22:3)   

A wise or careful person pays attention and sees the warning signs and takes action to avoid problems.  The foolish person ignores the warnings and doesn’t bother to avoid the problem.  As a result, he has to suffer the consequences.
“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.  Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.” (Proverbs 22:4-5)

An honest assessment of our own importance, recognizing our weakness and respect for God will result in wealth, respect from others and a good life.  Constant struggle frustration and conflict await those who will not exercise self-discipline.  A person who exercises self-control avoids the problems the undisciplined face.

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)

Training requires more than simply teaching or telling the person.  It is necessary to actually practice what is being taught, correcting errors and repeating it until they can consistently do it properly.   One reason so many young people turn away from serving the Lord today is that while they have been told what is right, they have never been trained how to do it properly and become discouraged or learn counterproductive habits.

“The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

Poor people end up working for and being bossed around by the rich.  A person who borrows owes the lender and is forced to pay until the loan is paid off, effectively making him a slave to the lender.  Is that loan really worth giving up your freedom for? 

“He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.” (Proverbs 22:8)

Galatians 6:7-8 warns, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”  If you sow wild oats when you are young, you’ll get to spend the rest of your life trying to get rid of them, and there is a limit how far one’s anger will carry him.     

“He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.” (Proverbs 22:9)

A person who feels blessed with what he has will be blessed even more because he willingly shares it with others who have less.    

“Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” (Proverbs 22:10)

If you get rid of the person who thinks he is better than everyone else and doesn’t have to follow the same rules or respect the rights of others, and there won’t be any more arguing and fighting. 
“He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.” (Proverbs 22:11)

A legitimate government will respect and honor what those who value an honest and good life have to say.   

“The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.” (Proverbs 22:12)

God looks for ways to save and pass on knowledge so that people don’t have to be ignorant.  At the same time he destroys and shows up the foolishness of those who refuse to learn.