Proverbs 22:11-16

11He who loves purity of heart and gracious speech will be a friend to the king.

12The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge, but he overthrows the words of the faithless.

13The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside in the middle of the street; I will be killed!”

14The mouth of the forbidden woman is a deep pit; he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.

15Folly is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will drive it out of him.

16He who oppresses the poor to increase to himself, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.

It is lazy to be paralyzed with fear (13). The Teacher literally describes someone that might seem familiar in our current pandemic: the person so afraid to go outside the house that they are pretty much paralyzed in place. They are afraid of something that MIGHT happen (but statistically is not likely), and so they remain in stasis, rather than go and do the things that God has said. This, in the Teacher’s eyes, is a form of sloth—laziness. There is a reason that we are commanded so many times to not fear in scripture: not only is it a major temptation because it is a human tendency… literally gets in the way of God’s will for your life. Don’t be afraid today. He has commanded it, after all.

Proverbs 22:1-10

1A good name is to be chosen more than great riches; favor more than silver or gold.

2The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them both.

3The prudent sees danger and hides himself; the simple go on and are punished.

4The reward for humility and the fear of the LORD is riches, honor, and life.

5Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked; whoever guards his soul [life] stays far from them.

6Train up a child in the say he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.

7The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.

8He who sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his anger will fail.

9He who has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

10Drive out the scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease.

Your reputation is more important than money (1). God is the great equalizer between rich and poor, because he has made both (2). Bowling ahead despite warnings is a simple-minded move (3). Those who fear God tend toward financial stability, honor, and life (4). If you guard hour soul, you stay away from the path of the perverse (5). Children have a tendency to make their upbringing permanent (6). Debt is dumb (7). Leadership requires a commitment to justice, or you will fail (8). If your eye is trained on the needs of others instead of just yourself, you’ll be blessed (9). The scoffer is the cause of the all the strife in the room; get rid of him and the room gets better (10).

Today is a good day to remember that debt is dumb. Borrowing money makes you a slave. When God is truly blessing you financially, you are not running up a credit card. Have some discipline.

Proverbs 21:21-31

21He who pursues righteousness and wisdom will find righteousness and life.

22The wise man scales the city of the mighty, and brings down the stronghold in which they trust.

23Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps his soul from troubles.

24“Scoffer” is the name of the proud, haughty man who acts with arrogant pride.

25The desire of the sluggard kills him, because his hands refuse to work.

26All day long, he craves greedily, but the righteous gives and does not hold back.

27The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; how much more when he brings it with evil intent!

28A false witness will perish, but the word of a man who hears will endure.

29An evil man puts on a bold face, but the upright considers his way.

30No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.

31The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory belongs to the LORD.

You tend to get what you go looking for; you might as well make it righteousness (21). Real power is found in wisdom (22). Restraint in speech helps you avoid trouble (23). Arrogance and pride are the characteristics of a scoffer, which is not good (24). The lazy person has one desire, and it will end him: the refusal to work (25). The lazy person craves, but the righteous person gives without holding back (26). Religious ritual from the wicked is an abomination and mockery (29). God is more powerful than all of our plans (30). We can prepare diligently, but victory ultimately comes from God (31).

Watch your mouth today. You could avoid a lot of trouble. This includes what you post on social media. Work hard; indolence and inactivity are breeding grounds for trouble. Remember that your ultimate victory comes from God.

Proverbs 21:1-10

1The heart of a king is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; he turns it wherever he will.

2Every way of a man seems right in his eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.

3To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

4Haughty eyes and a proud heart—the lamp of wickedness—is sin.

5The plans of the diligent surely lead to abundance, but those who are hasty will surely come to want.

6The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor; a snare of death.

7The violence of the wicked will sweep them away, because they refuse to do what is just.

8The way of a guilty man is crooked, but the conduct of the pure is upright.

9It is better to dwell in the corner of a rooftop than in a shared house with a contentious wife.

10The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.

God ordains people in leadership and guides them (1). Man simply doesn’t have the perspective to appropriate judge his own way; only God can do that correctly (2). Religious ritual is meaningless without action (3). Pride is sin (4). The diligent take slow; they don’t get in a hurry (5). Having integrity in your personal finances is very important (6). The wicked tend to get what they deserve over time (7). Guilty people tend to act guilty, and upright people tend to act uprightly (8). A contentious wife can be unbearable (9). Wickedness is selfishness (10).

Being diligent and upright requires patience, deliberation, and an attention to the “other.” The very heart of pride is selfishness, so an upright person will act the direct opposite. In paying attention to the needs of others, we are engaged in proper religion.

Proverbs 20:26-30

26A wise king winnows the wicked, and drives over them with the wheel.

27The soul of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts.

28Loyal love and faithfulness preserve a king, and by loyal love his throne is upheld.

29The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray hair.

30Blows that wound cleanse away evil, and beatings the innermost parts.

When a person is entrusted with power, it is wise for him to prioritize justice (26). There is much more to mankind than appears to the human eye; god sees inside all of us like our soul is a lamp (27). The steadfastness of loyal love preserves a man in his position (28). Both old and young have their appropriate splendor, and it all balances out (29). When we learn from our mistakes, our pain has meaning (30).

There is no power greater than steadfast, loyal love. It draws us to God, preserves us in Christ, and covers a multitude of sins. If we are to be preserved, it will be by the steadfast love of the Lord in Christ. it is the model he has set for us, and we are to follow regarding one another. To whom can you show steadfast love and loyalty today?

Proverbs 20:21-25

21An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end.

22Do not say, “I will repay evil.” Wait for the LORD; he will deliver you.

23Unequal weights are an abomination to the LORD, and false scales are not good.

24The steps of a man are from the LORD; how, then can a man understand his way?

25It is a snare for a man to say, “It is holy,” and afterward inquire into the vows.

Inheritance has a value that is only partially contained in money (21). That’s worth thinking about. When we first receive one, it’s a nice feeling coupled with another feeling that we tamp down quickly: I’ve got a bit more money now. But the value of that inheritance usually becomes more evident over time. I inherited my grandfather’s encylopedias upon his passing in 2001, and their value has only grown to me and my family. While the rest of the world was told that encylopedias had gone the way of the dodo bird, my sons all learned to research properly edited sources of information, and never had to endure the shame of a college professor reminding them that Wikipedia is not a legitimate source. To me, those books remind me of my grandfather’s love for reading. For a man who dropped out of school in the 9th grade to serve in the Navy, you might be surprised how much he loved to read—and how quickly he became my biggest (and only) fan when I started writing in childhood.

It is not your role to punish evil, but God’s (22). This is an important lesson to remember every time you feel wronged; stepping over that boundary is claiming something that belongs to God himself. God doesn’t like cheating, either (23). Most of think we know who we are and where we’re going, but we really know very little of ourselves. That sort of information is best understood from God’s perspective, since he is the one who created us and our paths. Again, we aspire to his position in knowledge, but we’ll never get there. Finally, it is a trap to rush into vows before you have carefully considered them.

Proverbs 20:11-20

11Even a child is known by his acts, whether his conduct is pure and right.

12The ear for hearing and the eye for seeing; the LORD has made them both.

13Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes and you will have plenty of bread.

14“Bad, bad,” says the buyer, but when he is gone, he boasts.

15There is gold and abundance of pearls, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

16Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners.

17Bread taken in deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth is filled with gravel.

18Plans are established by counsel, and with sound advice make war.

19Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; do not associate with a babbler.

20He who curses his father and mother, his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.

Actions speak louder than words (11), and God made the variety of senses (12). Laziness makes one poor, but diligence gives you plenty (13). What someone complains about during negotiation, he’ll boast about after the transaction (14). One who speaks knowledge is more valuable than the rich (15). It is a bad idea to put up security for someone else’s loan if you don’t know them (16). You will never be truly satisfied with deceitful gain (17). When making plans, involve others for the purpose of counsel (18). Don’t associate with a gossip (19). Cursing your father and mother is a great way to be cursed yourself (20).

Proverbs 20:1-10

1Wine is a mocker; strong drink a brawler. Whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

2The fear of the king is like a roaring lion; he who provokes him forfeits his life.

3It is an honor to a man to remain aloof from strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.

4The sluggard does not plow for reason of winter; at harvest he seeks, but has nothing.

5The plan of a man’s heart is deep water, but a man of understanding draws it out.

6Many a man proclaims his loyal love, but a faithful man who can find?

7The righteous walks in his integrity; blessed are his sons after him!

8When the king sits on the throne of judgment, he winnows all evil with his eyes.

9Who says, “I have made my heart clean, and am purified from sin?”

10Differing weights and measures are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

The Teacher begins chapter 20 with some more practical observations about existence. Being drunk is not wise (1), and you should never provoke powerful people to anger (2). It is foolish to seek out a fight, but honorable to stay away from one (3). Lazy people tend to be poor (4), but a man of understanding can help you plan (5). Men talk a big talk, but how many are actually faithful? (6). When a man walks in righteousness, he brings blessing on his kids (7), and those tasked with judgment are in the business of eradicating evil (8). No one can claim to be without sin (9), and God hates cheating (10).

Proverbs 19:21-29

21Many are the plans in the heart of a man, but the purpose of the LORD will be established.

22What is desired in a man is loyal love, and it is better to be poor than a liar.

23The fear of the LORD leads to life; he will rest satisfied and will not be visited by harm.

24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he cannot even bring it to his mouth again.

25Strike a scoffer and the simple learn prudence, and reprove a man of understanding and he will gain knowledge.

26He who does violence to his father and chases away his other is a son who causes shame and brings reproach.

27Cease, my son, to hear instruction, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.

28A worthless witness mocks justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.

29Condemnation is prepared for scoffers, and beatings for the back of fools.

God’s plans are sovereign over our own (21), and loyal love is more important than money (22). Growing in reverence to God leads to protection from harm (23), and the lazy person is too lazy to feed himself (24). Discipline teaches instruction (25), and not honoring your parents is shameful (26). You stop learning when you stop listening (27), and it is worthless and wicked to prefer iniquity to justice (28). Some people ask for condemnation with their behavior (29).

The Hebrew word is translated “loyal love,” and refers to a specific behavior: a dogged faithfulness. It is a word used of God, who is faithful to his people even when they are unfaithful to him. The trait of loyalty and faithfulness is therefore from God, and when we practice it we emulate our Creator. The ability to consistently put someone else’s needs ahead of our own is more valuable than money, and should be a priority to us. This is another reason why it’s impossible to be a Christian individualistically in isolation from others; to whom are you practicing loyal love?

Proverbs 19:11-20

11The discretion of a man defers his anger, and it is his glory to overlook a transgression.

12The wrath of the king is like the roaring of a lion, but his favor like the dew on the grass.

13A foolish son brings ruin to his father, and the contentions of a wife are a constant dripping.

14House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the LORD.

15Laziness brings on a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.

16He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul [life]; he who despises his way will die.

17He who shows favor to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will repay him for his deed.

18Discipline your son because there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction.

19He of great wrath must pay the penalty, for if you rescue him you must do it again.

20Listen to advice and accept instruction, so that you may be wise in the future.

The Teacher observes that it is to one’s credit to overlook someone’s offense (11). The passions of powerful people have powerful consequences (12). Foolish children and argumentative wives are hard on a man (13). Laziness brings on poverty (14), but diligence to one’s way is life-giving (16). What you do to the least of your fellow human beings, you are doing to God (17). Teaching your son discipline is saving him from destruction (18). People who are ruled by their passions must be made to learn from their outbursts (19), and humility in receiving instruction is wise (20).

If we are to be wise people who tend, over time, to live long lives, we should be diligent, disciplined, and humble. We should treat one another like we would treat God himself. And that often means overlooking someone’s offense against us.  Today, be humble enough to take advice. Be diligent enough to care which place