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A few years ago, when I first became an Elder at the church we attend, I went to a seminar offered to those in our church who were in leadership. I thought it would give me a clue as to what was expected of me. Toward the beginning, the speaker asked us to close our eyes, and then to raise our hand if we had read the entire Bible. I didn’t raise my hand. After opening our eyes, we were told only three people did, and there were about twenty of us in the room, all in leadership or about to step into a leadership role.
The majority of the seminar was about the importance of knowing Gods word, especially leaders within the church. God’s Word is our shield and our sword. We use it to protect us as well as fight our battles, but we can’t use it for either if we don’t know it.
I left this seminar feeling convicted. I decided to jump into action and start reading the Bible. I didn’t like the idea of possibly being the only one who had not read it and certainly didn’t want anyone to know I hadn’t read it. I spoke with the Pastor to let him know what I was doing, but he encouraged me not to read it from cover to cover. He suggested doing a chronological reading or to follow a planned study to read the Bible over a year. That sounded to complicated and would take way to long. I thought ‘it’s just a book filled with stories, how difficult can it be?’
I think I made it to somewhere in 2 Kings. Trying to read it like a book, a chapter at time, was insanity! Some of the chapters are short, so reading one or two wasn’t good enough. I felt like a wimp, so I pushed through three to four chapters at a time. My brain was on overload. There was too much going on with to many people. I couldn’t keep up with who did what to who. Once when the Pastor asked how it was going, I said, “It’s like reading a soap opera”. I wasn’t getting anything out of it except the feeling of inadequacy, so I stopped.
I believe God spoke to me through the speaker at the seminar that He wanted me to know His word. My problem however, was jumping into action to make this happen, instead of waiting on Him. I wanted to accomplish the task He had put before me, the quickest most efficient way possible.
It’s been four years since that seminar and I still can not say I’ve read the entire Bible. I’ve discovered it’s not ‘just a book’ and have learned to let God guide me through it as He sees fit.
I’m thankful for God’s Word. I’m thankful it’s alive and active and meant for us today, just as much as it was meant for the people who lived thousands of years ago. I’m thankful for the way God speaks to me when I read and study His word. I’m thankful for the hope, encouragement and love I find when reading God’s Word. What do you find when reading the Word of God?
My prayer for us ~ Father God, thank you for the encouragement and hope you poured out in Your Word for us. I pray we would each be filled with a deep desire to know You through Your Word, Amen.
Sayings of King Lemuel
The sayings of King Lemuel—an inspired utterance his mother taught him.
Listen, my son! Listen, son of my womb! Listen, my son, the answer to my prayers! Do not spend your strength on women, your vigor on those who ruin kings. It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Epilogue: The Wife of Noble Character
A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still night; she provides food for her family and portions for her female servants. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Honor her for all that her hands have done, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate. Vs 1-31
This chapter opens with King Lemuel telling us what his mother taught him, which I believe is good advice for every Christian leader today.
- Don’t spend your mental energy or strength on selfish women/men
- Don’t allow alcohol to make you forget your responsibilities
- Speak up for those who cannot
- Judge fairly
- Defend the poor and needy
The remainder is this chapter is what Proverbs 31 is known for; the qualities of a good strong Christian woman:
- Worth more than any mans treasure
- Her husband has confidence in her abilities
- Works hard to provide all her families needs
- Brings encouragement to her family
- Helps those less fortunate
- Trusts the Lord
- Offers her God given talents
- Speaks kind words of wisdom
- Takes time to laugh
- Takes care of her household
- Does what is needed to protect her children
- Takes time for herself, to stay strong spiritually, when needed
I use to avoid this chapter of Proverbs. From what I had heard about it, I always thought it was a place for others to read, point and say, “You don’t do that!” I was afraid of the judgment it would bring. I was afraid I would be told I was a failure as a wife and mother and I was messing up my kids. Who wants to hear that?!
As a mom I’m always wishing there was a magic list I could check to see if I’m doing things right. Haven’t you ever wished for a manual ‘How to be the best mom ever’? I certainly have. I think this chapter tells us what God intends a wife/mother to be like. I think it makes it pretty clear how we are to be. Of course we’re not meant to be this way on our own. It’s with God’s guidance and wisdom and the help of the Holy Spirit that we can accomplish this. This is also going to look different for each woman out there. We are not all the same and never will/can be. That’s not how God created us. God wants us, everyone, to shine with their own individual talent given to them by Him. What’s your God given talent? If you’re not sure, ask God. I know He will tell you, or show you, if you ask.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for your Words, the Bible. I pray we would read it daily and take it to heart. I pray it would draw us closer to you, Amen.
Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan. A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down. Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet. Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad. The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern. Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger. If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace. The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright. Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked. The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives sight to the eyes of both. If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established forever. A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother. When the wicked thrive, so does sin, but the righteous will see their downfall. Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire. Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint; but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. Servants cannot be corrected by mere words; though they understand, they will not respond. Do you see someone who speaks in haste? There is more hope for a fool than for them. A servant pampered from youth will turn out to be insolent. An angry person stirs up conflict, and a hot-tempered person commits many sins. Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. The accomplices of thieves are their own enemies; they are put under oath and dare not testify. Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe. Many seek an audience with a ruler, but it is from the Lord that one gets justice. The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright. Vs 1-27
Those who are continually reprimanded for their wrongdoing will be destroyed if they don’t turn from their wicked ways; God is not only loving and gracious, He’s also a just God. A person who hardens his heart to God will become entangled by his own wicked ways and suffer the wrath of God.
How do you know if you’re a good leader? Look to the people being led. Are they thriving in what they are being led to do or are they complaining about what they are being taught? I think the best leaders are those who lead by example. I’m more motivated to follow someone who has shown me what to do, not just told me. What motivates you to follow someone?
It’s up to parents to offer correction to their children. A child does not stop being the child of a parent just because they’re an adult. They will always be their child. It’s always a parent’s responsibility to offer correction, or advice to their children. Proper discipline gives your children knowledge and an understanding of what is good and acceptable. When we stop offering our children counsel, they can easily be led astray.
When God reveals His will for you, its important to trust His plan and take a step toward it. If we don’t show, in our actions, we trust God will enable us, we can become our own stumbling block. If we worry about what others will think of us when we act upon God’s calling on our life, we are allowing men to be our stumbling block. The Lord protects those who seek Him. Can others tell you trust God through your actions?
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of family. I pray we would always treat family with love, compassion and respect, Amen.
The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion. When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order. A ruler who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are. When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding. Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people. A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign. Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back. The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit. Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. To show partiality is not good—yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread. The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them. Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. Whoever robs their father or mother and says, “It’s not wrong,” is partner to one who destroys. The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive. Vs 1-28
People who have secrets to hide push others away from them. They fear letting get to close to them because their true self may be revealed. People who speak truthfully boldly seek out others.
This chapter opens with the importance of keeping the law. Those who follow God, not man, will be able to not only understand the law, but obey it as well. God helps those who follow the law resist the wicked who forsake the law. How has God helped you understand or follow a law? How can you help someone else better understand a law?
I think verse nine is pretty harsh. It tells us that the prayers of those who choose to turn from following the law are detestable. Wow! That’s a serious incentive for me not to break any rules. I can’t imagine my prayers being seen as detestable by God. That’s sad. Have you broken any rules lately that you need to repent from?
We may be able to conceal our sins from family and friends, but we cannot hide them from God. He sees and knows all! When we confess, to God and others, and turn away from our sin, we will be shown mercy. We will be given God’s almighty power to over come the sin. He will surround us with fellow bothers and sisters in Christ that He enables to help us.
Those who see what they have, as a gift that has been given to them from God, will be blessed. They will find joy in working hard with the gifts and talents given to them. Those who take it upon themselves to earn more than what God has given them will end up with less than when they first started. God does not bless the stingy man who chases after wealth.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the laws you have given us to follow. I pray for a heart that desires to follow them, Amen.
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips. Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both. Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy? Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet. Like a bird that flees its nest is anyone who flees from home. Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice. Do not forsake your friend or a friend of your family, and do not go to your relative’s house when disaster strikes you—better a neighbor nearby than a relative far away. Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart; then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt. The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty. Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if it is done for an outsider. If anyone loudly blesses their neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse. A quarrelsome wife is like the dripping of a leaky roof in a rainstorm; restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit, and whoever protects their master will be honored. As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart. Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes. The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but people are tested by their praise. Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them. Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations. When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in, the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your female servants. Vs 1-27
Do not boast about the plans you have for the future. You do not know what tomorrow will bring or if you will be given a tomorrow. When speaking to others, do not praise yourself. If there is praise due it will be given by others.
I always thought it would be better to call on family rather than friends when faced with trouble. Verse ten tells me otherwise. It says clearly that it’s best to go to a friend who is close than a family member who is far away. Maybe because it’s hard enough to deal with trouble, so we should keep things as close to home as possible to keep our surroundings familiar. What do you think?
In the earlier chapters of Proverbs we learned the power of words and how important it is to choose them wisely. Our actions are even more important. Our actions reveal what is in our heart. Our actions are the mirror of our heart. Sure, we can do good things that will make us look good, but we cannot hide our feelings toward it. Our heart will be seen by others. We are to lead by example. As it says in Luke 6:31 ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the gift of today. I pray we can see the opportunities you have for us and not let them pass us by, Amen.
Like snow in summer or rain in harvest, honor is not fitting for a fool. Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse does not come to rest. A whip for the horse, a bridle for the donkey, and a rod for the backs of fools! Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes. Sending a message by the hands of a fool is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison. Like the useless legs of one who is lame is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like tying a stone in a sling is the giving of honor to a fool. Like a thornbush in a drunkard’s hand is a proverb in the mouth of a fool. Like an archer who wounds at random is one who hires a fool or any passer-by. As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly. Do you see a person wise in their own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for them. A sluggard says, “There’s a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!” As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven people who answer discreetly. Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own. Like a maniac shooting flaming arrows of death is one who deceives their neighbor and says, “I was only joking!” Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down. As charcoal to embers and as wood to fire, so is a quarrelsome person for kindling strife. The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts. Like a coating of silver dross on earthenware are fervent lips with an evil heart. Enemies disguise themselves with their lips, but in their hearts they harbor deceit. Though their speech is charming, do not believe them, for seven abominations fill their hearts. Their malice may be concealed by deception, but their wickedness will be exposed in the assembly. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it; if someone rolls a stone, it will roll back on them. A lying tongue hates those it hurts, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Vs 1-28
It can be difficult not to get sucked into the nonsense of a fool. Their words sound innocent and caring, but deceit lingers. When the deceit of a fool is discovered its tempting to throw their folly right back at them. We must hold back, walk away, or we will be just as foolish as they are.
This chapter is all about the foolish, lazy and malicious. It warns us how ridiculous it is to associate with a fool. It’s like cutting off our own leg or trying to hold a thorn bush in our hand. The fool doesn’t understand his wicked ways are bad. He thinks he’s doing good. This is why the fool continues in his wicked ways.
The wise that boast of their wisdom are more foolish than the fool who doesn’t know any better.
We are to be conscious of the lazy. They are convincing with their words. They offer false praise to gain the trust of others. They are to lazy to work for what they desire so they are always on the prowl. They are looking for someone to do their work for them. The malicious are in disguise. They carefully selects charming words to entice those around them. Their heart is hard and cannot see past their own personal needs.
When I first read this chapter I felt scared and paranoid. There are so many scary people out there that want to use my family, friends and I for their gain. How do I help protect us? How do we stay away from the foolish, lazy and malicious? Then it hit me…God! God will protect those who choose to seek Him and the wisdom He offers us. The wisdom we receive from God will equip us to see the foolish, lazy and malicious. It will enable us to stay clear of them or get away from them when approached by their wicked ways. God also surrounds us with fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who will help us in times of need.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who help, inspire and encourage when needed. I pray for an opportunity to help, inspire and encourage another, Amen.
More Proverbs of Solomon
These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah: It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. As the heavens are high and the earth is deep, so the hearts of kings are unsearchable. Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel; remove wicked officials from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness. Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame? If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence, or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand. Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given. Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear. Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him; he refreshes the spirit of his master. Like clouds and wind without rain is one who boasts of gifts never given. Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. If you find honey, eat just enough—too much of it, and you will vomit. Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—too much of you, and they will hate you. Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor. Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble. Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you. Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look. Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land. Like a muddied spring or a polluted well are the righteous who give way to the wicked. It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep. Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. Vs 1-28
The wisdom we receive from God does not mean we are better than those who do not have it. They simply do not know about God, His Son Jesus or the love they have for them. It’s the job of those who do have His wisdom to tell it to those who do not know. How are you sharing this amazing information with those in your life that do not know? Who have you told recently?
We are all equally loved and adored by God. We are also not to claim to have more or better knowledge or understanding than others with Gods wisdom. What we have is what we need for our own circumstances. It was given to us by God Himself. We are to be thankful and offer it humbly to others. We are simply a vessel, transporting God’s wisdom, not our own. The wisdom He gives us can be taken away if we do not give Him the proper praise and glory.
We are reminded again of the importance of using our words wisely. When we seek God’s wisdom in picking our words we will be blessed in the outcome. The words themselves can be a blessing to others. Words from God are powerful! They can be used to soften the heart of the wicked. For everything of God is good. How have you been blessed by the words of another? How can your words be a blessing to someone?
We receive another gentle reminder about helping everyone, even those we do not care for or who give us trouble. When we see them in need, we are to help them, not fill our heads with the stress or pain they caused us. We are to fill our hearts with love for them and offer it to them. This is being the hands and feet of Christ.
What you do for yourself and others should be to bring glory to God, not to yourself. When God gives us the abilities to do great things, we are to turn the praise and glory to God. This is a way to help non-believers turn their hearts to God. Do not think for a moment that what you did was in our own strength or wisdom. It’s by God’s Almighty Power! We are to acknowledge this and praise His name.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the amazing things you enable us to do as believers in Your Son, Jesus Christ. I pray Lord that our words would be like apples of gold to all we encounter, Amen.
Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble.
By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.
The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers.
Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths.
Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer. The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.
If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?
Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.
Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.
Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?
Further Sayings of the Wise
These also are sayings of the wise: To show partiality in judging is not good: Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent,” will be cursed by peoples and denounced by nations. But it will go well with those who convict the guilty, and rich blessing will come on them. An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips. Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house. Do not testify against your neighbor without cause—would you use your lips to mislead? Do not say, “I’ll do to them as they have done to me; I’ll pay them back for what they did.” I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw: A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—and poverty will come on you like a thief and scarcity like an armed man. Vs 1-34
When we seek Gods wisdom, His plan for our lives, He fills our lives with rare and beautiful things; things we could not obtain on our own. We are surrounded by fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are equipped to help us win the battles we face against sin and evil.
Saying you’re a true believer of God when things are going well is simple. The true test of our faith is seen in whom we seek in times of trouble. God strengthens those who trust He is there and seek His plan in times of need.
Do not be jealous of those who have more than you. Do not wish ill will to them or look for ways to destroy them. Do not laugh when they fall. The wicked may cause the righteous to fall temporarily, but God will not allow them to stay down for long. Do not worry yourself about the evil acts the wicked involve themselves in. Those who are envious and gloat will receive God’s judgment one day.
Those who witness a fellow brother or sister in Christ commit a sin is to bring the sin out. It is not to be ignored. Otherwise, those who witnessed the sin are now guilty of sin as well. Those who take action to help the accused turn from their sin will be blessed.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the fellow brothers and sisters in Christ you surround us with. I pray will will have the opportunity to share the wisdom you have given to us with those around us, Amen
When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive.
Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost. “Eat and drink,” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.
Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.
Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless, for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.
Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.
Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. Punish them with the rod and save them from death.
My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.
Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.
Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path: Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth and do not sell it—wisdom, instruction and insight as well. The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!
My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways, for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. “They hit me,” you will say, “but I’m not hurt! They beat me, but I don’t feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?” Vs 1-35
Punishing those who do wrong is a necessary action. We are not to refrain from punishing someone who has done wrong. Punishing someone will not hurt them. It will help them not to do it again. If we put off punishment because we are worried about the backlash, then we cannot be surprised when the wrongful action is repeated. Punishment is to help the one who has done something wrong realize they have indeed done something wrong and also that it effects the people around them. Unpleasant consequences and/or punishments are necessary to assure it doesn’t happen again.
I find verse 18 to be very inspiring and encouraging. It’s nice to hear your future is filled with hope. To hear it tells me that no matter what your current situation is right now, good or bad, it will be better in the future. It also tells us we will have hope to look toward. It will always be there for us. I find that comforting.
We are to listen to the elderly and respect them. They have wisdom and an understanding of things we do not have. Do not be upset at the elderly because we are needed to care for them. They have given us much and have been there for us in our times of need.
The last section of this chapter warns against alcoholic beverages. (Side note and confession: I had a margarita last night while on vacation. I rarely drink, but have to admit, it was oh so scrumptious!) It causes sorrow, strife and bloodshot eyes. It seems to bring us laughter and fun but actually causes us to hear and see things that are not there. It causes confusion. Then when it leaves us we are left wanting more.
My prayer for us today ~ Father God, thank you for the wisdom you offer us through the elderly. I pray Lord we would willingly give them the love and respect they rightfully deserve, Amen.