Tag Archives: Proverbs

Do Not Envy Temporary Success

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Prosperity Proves Nothing

‘Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked: Proverbs 24:19’

Do not let glamorous lives of the wicked bother you. Sinners appear to prosper. They look happy. They think they will get away with sin. But their end is coming. God will laugh at them and destroy them. Do not envy their temporary success.

There is a God in heaven, and He punishes such sinners severely (Ps 58:6-11). He will have the last laugh at their rebellion against Him and His word. Their happiness is feigned; their success an illusion, their long-term prosperity a delusion. They experience trouble here; they often die young; then they face an angry God! Do not fret about them.

The verse before you is only half of the proverb. After warning you not to fret about the wicked or to envy them, Solomon wrote, “For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out” (Pr 24:20). This is wisdom! Instead of being confused or frustrated by evil and wicked men, you know their terrible ruin is coming.

Due to television, magazines, and the Internet, you have to see the faces, homes, cars, and sins of the wicked much more than Solomon did. Their escapades are published around the world every day. But his inspired words are still true. Do not envy them, because you know their future; they do not know yours, and your future is much better than theirs!

It is a common and foolish expression to describe sinners as getting away with murder. But no one gets away with murder. Ask Cain. Ask David. Ask Jezebel. Ask the Jewish leadership that crucified Jesus Christ. Ask Hitler. Men will not get away with even the idle words of foolish talking and jesting (Matt 12:36; Eph 5:3-6).

Prosperity proves nothing. Do not envy sinners who seem to prosper. God may allow or send prosperity to encourage fools in their foolishness (Pr 1:32; Ex 9:16). David taught that if you wait long enough, they will be completely gone, and you will not be able to even find them (Ps 37:35-36). Do not envy a soap bubble. It will soon pop and disappear!

Wise men walk by faith and knowledge. They believe all God has said against sin in the Bible, and they reject worldly advice or examples that pretend sin might be profitable. They know better. They know all men are liars, especially in Hollywood, and God is true. They know a day of reckoning is coming, in which all the wicked shall give an account of their lives and be rewarded with eternal torment for their folly and evil (II Cor 5:9-11).

Faith looks constantly to the future. It knows there is much more than meets the physical eye here on earth. Therefore, the righteous walk by faith, not by sight (II Cor 5:7). They know a great reversal of fortune is coming, for both the righteous and the wicked. They know the pleasures of heaven far outweigh any trouble here (Rom 8:18). Like Moses, they look ahead and laugh at Egypt’s riches (Heb 11:24-26).

Fearing God and keeping His commandments are the greatest things you can do for yourself (Pr 1:7). This is true wisdom. You fully trust God’s written revelation for your life. You know He exists and His words are absolute truth, and you know there is great reward for obeying Him (Ps 19:11).

The apparent pleasure and prosperity of fools cause you to question if there is profit in obeying God and His word. David and his song leader Asaph wrote about such foolish and short-term thoughts (Ps 49:1-20; 73:1-20). These ideas are fiery darts of doubt from the devil to overthrow your faith and commitment to wisdom (Gen 3:1).

Let the wicked have their fun in this world, and you can laugh at them in the next one (Ps 17:13-15)! You have a reward coming that will put their deceitful pleasures to shame, and remembering this reward fills the Christian with hope, no matter how difficult his existence here might be (Ps 73:1-20). God will laugh at their calamities now and declare condemnation later (Pr 1:23-31).


Pride Brings Destruction

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Humility Brings Honour

‘He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction. Proverbs 17:19’

Real men love to fight. That is a lie! Fighting is sin, and it leads to other sins. Men that love to fight love sin, because that is what they do by their contentious, vindictive, and violent spirits. Godly men are peacemakers (Matt 5:9). The only fighting you can justify is holy contending for the truth (Neh 13:23-28).

Real men look out for number one. That is also a lie! Looking to protect and exalt yourself is arrogance, conceit, and pride. Men that like to promote themselves are looking to be destroyed, because that is what is coming (Pr 16:18). Godly men are humble and meek and avoid publicity as far as possible (Pr 15:33).

The two clauses in the proverb are strongly connected. The first clause condemns fighting as sin, and the second clause promises destruction to the proud. What is the connection? It is pride that causes fighting (Pr 28:25). “Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom” (Pr 13:10). All fighting would end quickly without human pride.

Consider the first clause. What a sober warning! If you like to argue, debate, fight, quarrel, or wrangle, you must love sin, because that is what you are doing. But God said, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Eph 4:31-32).

If you smell a fight starting, stop it! Fighting will escalate, unless one party ends it (Pr 17:14; 26:21). Avoid angry men, because they foolishly love to fight (Pr 15:18). Reject hateful men, because it is love that ends fights (Pr 10:12). Be a peacemaker whenever and wherever you can, for such are great in the sight of God and shall be rewarded (Matt 5:9).

Reject talebearers, because they cause fights (Pr 16:28). If you see a scorner – one who despises correction, get rid of him, because he also causes fights (Pr 22:10). Fighting comes from the lusts in your sinful flesh, which must be rejected (Gal 5:19-21). Do your best to isolate yourself and friends from any contentious souls that like to fight.

Consider the second clause. Another sober warning! If you promote yourself, you will be destroyed. Your gate is your estate, reputation, or influence. Do not exalt these things. Pride brings destruction (Pr 16:18). Humility is far better (Pr 16:19; Ps 138:6). God and good men will honor and reward you, if you humbly and quietly fulfill your role in life.

Let other men praise you, but do not do it yourself (Pr 27:2). Take a reserved approach to public gatherings (Pr 25:6-7). Learn God’s way to be exalted – by abasing yourself (Luke 14:11). Be like John the Baptist, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God; He will exalt you (I Pet 5:6; Jas 5:6,10).

Do what you can to isolate yourself and those you love from the arrogant and proud, for they will bring God’s judgment and also rejection by good men. They should not be your friends or allowed in businesses or churches. A haughty spirit must be trained out of children. Promote humility any way you can to bring the favor of God and man.


Tongue Is Deadly; Use It Slowly

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Be Faster To Hear And Slower To Speak

‘In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19’

A simple rule of wisdom is to cut your words in half. Many words and much speaking greatly raise the chance of sinning with your lips. Because of this dangerous risk, wisdom teaches you to reduce your number of words and maintain silence longer than usual.

A wise man reflects soberly after speaking a great deal, for he remembers the grave warning of the first half of this proverb. If he spoke quite a few words, he has probably sinned in his speech and appears a fool (Eccl 5:3). In this context, silence is very golden.

The God of wisdom tells you to be faster to hear and slower to speak (Jas 1:19). If you emphasized listening and being skilful at that, you would have little time for talking. If you were slow and reluctant to speak, you would have an excellent spirit (Pr 17:27).

Wisely consider your words before you speak, rather than regret them after they are out. Even if you are not very bright, if you can reduce your words, those around you will assume you are wise – this is a rule from Solomon to boost your reputation (Pr 17:28).

Ah, dear reader, have you not wasted many painful hours reviewing words you spoke? Have you often said, “I wish I’d never said that,” or, “Why did I say that?” Such misery could be reduced, if you would simply refrain your lips from idle or foolish speech. If you would hold your tongue, you would not have to worry about words that escaped.

Wisdom is easy – cut your words in half. Talk less. The tongue is a fire, so douse its sparks by swallowing words (Jas 3:1-12). The tongue is deadly; use it slowly (Pr 18:21).

Words and sin are not an arithmetic, but a geometric, relationship. The words you add beyond necessary speech contain most of your verbal sins; those sins increase rapidly the more and longer you talk (Eccl 10:13). If you swallow those extra words that are unnecessary, easily half your words, you will stop many sins. Cutting your words by 50% will reduce your sins of speech by 90%! Wisdom is easy! Bridle your mouth (Ps 39:1)!

If children cut their words in half, there would be less foolishness, teasing of siblings, and dishonoring of parents. If wives did it, they would be less odious, contentious, and overbearing. If employees did it, managers would find their jobs much easier and production and unity would improve. If angry, bitter, and cruel people did it, there would be much less bleeding of wounded souls. If fools did it, they would be esteemed wise.

Of course, there are people who hardly ever speak, and this proverb does not apply to them. They need to use more words to be gracious and a tree of life to others. If they do not learn to speak, their lives will have little value for anyone, and they are a regular source of disappointment and frustration to others. True wisdom feeds many (Pr 10:21).


Living A Happy Life Requires Godly Wisdom And Discretion

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Divine Wisdom Keeps From Making Fatal Mistakes

‘So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck. Proverbs 3:22’

Here is a prince – crowned with life and decorated with grace. Here is a successful man or woman – living a great life with a glorious reputation. Here is prosperity – saved from painful living and public shame. The man who keeps sound wisdom and discretion will have a wonderful life and a great name. Reader, what hinders you from being a prince?

The proverb concludes a sentence, which states, “My son, let not them depart from thine eyes: keep sound wisdom and discretion” (Pr 3:21). The plural pronoun “them” refers to wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in the context (Pr 3:13-20). Life for your soul and grace for your neck are based on steadily following sound wisdom and discretion.

What is sound wisdom? It is real wisdom, true wisdom, the wisdom of God. Sound wisdom comes only from God and the Bible (Pr 2:7; 8:14; I Tim 1:10; II Tim 4:3-4). It is the only wisdom you should want or keep.

What is discretion? It knows what words or actions are best for any occasion. It knows what, when, where, and how to do anything. It is the reservation that holds a person back from foolish impulsiveness. It is discipline and self-denial to not speak the first words you think or not do the first thing that comes to mind. It is discerning and discriminating judgment to know the best approach and response to any situation.

What is “life unto thy soul”? Depressed, dysfunctional, or destructive living is like death. True wisdom and discretion give a happy and successful life rather than this death. They keep you from making fatal mistakes, and they increase and extend a good life. Solomon had already given a great description of the good life in the context (Pr 3:13-18).

What is “grace to thy neck”? Ornamentation or jewelry is often put around a person’s neck to show glory, honor, or reward. Consider the neck chains Pharaoh gave Joseph and Belshazzar gave Daniel (Gen 41:42; Dan 5:29). Wisdom and discretion enhance and exalt a man’s reputation, as if he had been awarded a gold chain by a great king (Pr 1:9).

Living a happy life and having a great reputation require godly wisdom and discretion (Pr 4:5-13; Ps 34:12-15). This is the lesson of the proverb. The Lord God of heaven will teach wisdom and discretion to any man who will despise his own thoughts, repent of his sins, and follow the teaching of the Bible. The purpose of the Bible, especially Proverbs, is to teach wisdom and discretion for a successful life (Pr 1:1-6; Ps 1:1-3; 19:7-14).


Faithful Diligence Brings Honor

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Waiting On Master Brings Promotion

‘Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured. Proverbs 27:18’

How do you keep your fig tree? Faithful diligence brings honor. Waiting on your master brings promotion. Do not complain; get to work. You need sanctification more than you need education. You do not need brilliance; you need diligence. You do not need a sponsor; you need a motor. You do not need an opportunity; you need humility. Your greatest ability should be dependability. Graciousness will always trump genius.

Success is easy, even for lowly and simple men. All you must do is take good care of a successful boss or owner, and he will take good care of you. The man who keeps the fig tree gets to eat the valuable fruit, so the faithful servant will be rewarded by his master. This proverb is to encourage wise men to diligence and faithfulness in their professions.

You can trust this general rule of employment success. God only makes exceptions for more important reasons. If you want to get ahead, make your master so happy he cannot resist cutting you in on the real action. It has happened many times before; it will happen again. A wise servant can be promoted above even a son that is lazy or foolish (Pr 17:2).

Faithful men are rare today (II Tim 3:1-5; Pr 20:6; Ps 12:1), which makes this proverb even truer now. The contrast between your diligence and others’ laziness will be wider than ever – the same is true of your cheerfulness and their sullenness, your punctuality and their tardiness, your carefulness and their carelessness, and your obedience and their obstinance. Believe it! Find your fig tree, and keep it better than others. Success is easy.

Too good to be true? Joseph began at minimum wage – slavery! In thirteen years he sat on a throne of the richest nation on earth. He found three fig trees, and he was the best keeper all three had ever imagined – Potiphar, the jailor, and Pharaoh. Let God be true!

Too good to be true? Jacob ran away from home with only a staff. Twenty years later, he had four wives, twelve sons, and very much wealth. He had found a fig tree, a gnarled old tree with potential, and he kept it faithfully in spite of setbacks – Laban. Let God be true!

Too good to be true? Elisha was only a plowboy when he found his fig tree to take care of, the service of God and Elijah. But so faithfully did he serve both masters that he was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (I Kgs 19:19-21; II Kgs 2:1-15). Incredible! Let God be true! Let every man of God fulfill his royal call as a servant of the King of kings.

Regenerated reader, there is a glorious fig tree that only you know about. It is the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Jesus said, “If any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). How much honor? Jesus said again, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” (Luke 12:37). Can it be true? Verily, there is a reward for the righteous (Ps 58:11).

Do you hear the Blessed and Only Master saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt 25:21,23). This is the truly important fig tree – Jesus Christ. How do you serve Him? A crown awaits the faithful (II Tim 4:7-8).

How glorious is the honor? “The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev 22:3-4). Glory! Lord, lead me to Thy tree, and I shall keep it faithfully.


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