8 Open your mouth for the mute, For the rights of all the unfortunate. 9 Open your mouth, judge righteously, And defend the rights of the afflicted and needy.
We end our study of the wisdom of Proverbs by looking at what God wants us to do. This chapter starts off by sharing what a mom taught her son, a future king. The mother told her son how to be a good leader and a good man. I believe these two verses address more than just leaders. Through out the Bible God commands His people to look out for those who are less fortunate. I believe this is an individual command, not a communal one. God does not tell only the leaders to take care of the widows and orphans, but it is command to each individual. When the disciples brought the need for food to feed the more 5,000 people, Jesus told them to give something it eat (Mark 6:37). It was a person command, “You”. The disciples of course did not have any food to give, but Jesus provided and they served it.
There are people all around us who need our help. They need our voices. They need some of our resources. They need our prayers. But most importantly, they need our love. If we see a person mistreated or taken advantage of, we need to open our mouths. God put us there to witness, not that we could gossip about it, but to help. God has you and me where we are to do His work. His work is all around us and not lacking. We need to get to work and help those around us. That is God’s purpose for us. We are wise when do God’s work. When we fear Him we begin to learn. When we obey Him, we have learned. Doing God’s work is obeying Him and it is evidence that we are learning from Him.
Dear God, thank you for having work for me to do. Help me to do it. There are suffering people all around me who need to me speak up for them and fight for them and serve them. Help me to do it. Amen.
Proverbs 30:5 Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Since the beginning, those who have trusted the word of God have it true. They have found that God keeps His Word and His promises. They have found that if God has said it, it will happen. It just does not always happen on our schedule. It happens on His. God told Noah that He was going to flood the earth and that Noah needed to build a big boat. The flood did not happen the next day or the next year. Over 100 years later, the flood came. God kept His word and God’s grace gave people over 100 years to see what Noah was doing and to repent. Sadly none did.
In the Gospel of John, John says that Jesus is the Word of God. This verse speaks of Jesus as well. He has been tested and found faithful and true. He keeps His word and His promises. He shields us when we seek refuge in Him. Jesus said if we were in His hands (Seek refuge in Him) nobody can snatch us out of His hands (John 10:28-29). He promises to give us eternal life in Heaven, if we seek refuge in Him. How do we seek refuge in Him? We come to Him by faith. Accepting that He is perfect and we are not. Believing that Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect life, died to pay the penalty for our sins, and then rose again. He shed His blood for us and God accepted His sacrifice as payment for the sin debts we accumulate. Imagine one day you wake up and all of your debt is paid off. You do not owe a penny! That is what happens when we seek refuge in Jesus. Every sin we commit adds to our sin debt, which we on our own cannot pay off. But Jesus, when we accept Him as our Savior, wipes out that debt forever. We owe nothing! We are forgiven forever! And we are God’s people, His children. Heirs in His Kingdom.
If you have not asked Jesus to be your Savior, do it today. God’s Word says we are not promised tomorrow. We do not know the day we will die, but we know one day we will (His Word says that). Jesus is coming back soon for His people (Once again, God’s Word promises that). Time is running short, seek refuge in Him today!
Dear God, I thank you for Your Word. It is true. It is pure and Holy. It has been tested and tried and found faithful. I thank you that You save us, when we seek refuge in You. I thank you that the refuge if forever and we cannot be stolen out of Your hands. I thank you for Jesus and the work He did for us on the cross. I thank you that He paid my debt off, once and for all. I look forward to the day of His return, knowing each day is one day closer to it. Come soon Lord Jesus. Amen.
Proverbs 29:23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
The Bible is filled with many paradoxes. A paradox is two things which seem to contradict each other but are true. This verse says that if we want honor and exaltation for ourselves, we must be humble. And if we try to exalt ourselves we will end up humbled. We must choose to be low and then we will be lifted high. This seems to be counter intuitive. This statement is like saying if you want to go to the right you must go the left and if you try to go to the right you will end up going to the left. Got that?
Let us take a closer look at it and see if we can make some sense out of it. We have talked a lot about how God wants us to be humble. When we are humble, God can more easily shape and conform us to His image. When we are proud, it is harder to do. Think about playing with dough. When the dough is soft you can easily reshape it. When it dries up and hardens it is not easy to shape. In fact, it is easily breakable and not easy to repair it. When we are full of pride, sometimes we are broken as God tries to reshape us. We are brought low and a lot of times we are unusable. God by His grace, can fix us, but this requires a lot of work. When we are humble, God can more quickly shape us to be people who bring Him glory and honor and in doing so we get some for ourselves as well.
Dear God, help me to humble, so that You can conform me to Your image. Help me to not be hard and prideful in my ways. Forgive me for the times that I am. Thank you for Your grace and patience in those times. Thank you for wanting to shape me and use me. Amen.
Proverbs 28:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
Who do you put your trust in? Yourself? Money? Good looks? Smarts? Others? Government? All of those are not dependable. They all have flaws and make mistakes. They are not 100% reliable. Only God is. It is in Him and Him only which we need to trust, for He alone is faithful. Nothing else comes close. God is reliable all of the time.
The most important thing we need to trust God in for is our salvation. When we trust in Him alone as our Savior, He rescues us from the eternal consequences of our sin, which eternal punishment in hell. The only way we can get out of what we deserve is to trust in Jesus. There is no other way. If you think you can trust in yourself and your deeds, then you are a fool. Trusting in Jesus is walking wisely and when we do we are delivered from the eternal torment we deserve. Thank you, Jesus!
Dear God, I thank you that You are faithful. I thank you that I can trust in You. I thank you that You are reliable. There is no one like You! Help me to trust in You for everything and walk wisely in Your ways. Thank you for delivering me from my sins, all based on what You have done, Oh Jesus. Amen.
Proverbs 27:19 As in water face reflects face, So the heart of man reflects man.
It does not matter what we look like. It does not matter what color hair or eyes we have. It does not matter what color skin we have or what country we come from. It does not matter whether we are skinny or fat or short or tall. It does not matter if we are rich or poor. Those are all external features. They do not define who we are. What is in our hearts define who we are. When we see what is in our hearts, we see who we truly are.
When Samuel was looking for a king to replace Saul, he was judging people by their appearance. God told him not to do that. God said what is a man’s heart is what is important. That is where God looks to see who we are. What is in your heart? Is it hatred, lust, or murder? Is it pleasant things. Do you have sweet heart? All of that defines who we are. It is our make up. While the external factors might partly shape who we are, we still choose our actions. We choose whether we obey or rebel. We choose whether we tell the truth or not. We choose whether we trust God or fear. Who we are is our choice, so we must choose wisely.
Dear God, help me to take a deep look into my heart. Help me to examine who I am and what choices I need to make to be a better person. Help me to be wise. Thank you for Your patience with me. Thank you for helping me become a better person. Amen.
4 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, Or you will also be like him. 5 Answer a fool as his folly deserves, That he not be wise in his own eyes.
Growing up my dad told me to never argue with a fool. When you do, the argument will be foolish and they have more experience at that than you. Solomon would agree. You will gain nothing going tit for tat with a fool, except maybe a headache. You must treat the fool as he is. You cannot reason with a fool, it will be lost on him. A fool has no ability to reason. It is against the fool’s nature.
Answer a fool with basic wisdom and leave it at that. Trying to explain that wisdom to them is a waste of time. If you do, you will only be frustrated. They think they are right, when evidence proves otherwise. The Bible says that the fool has said in their heart that there is no God (Psalm 14:1). Have you ever heard a fool talk about God? They think He is a fairy tale, but they totally miss all of the evidence of His existence around them. They scoff at the face that God created everything, yet have you heard them to try to explain how everything began? Talk about foolish talk. They are so many academically wise people in this world who are nothing but blithering fools! They talk nonsense and yet think they are saying a lot. They reject God’s wisdom and spout foolish lies about Him. They deny Him and yet study His very detailed creation.
Be careful of fools who think they are wise. There is little hope for them.
Dear God, You are the creator of all. You are the wisest of all. Help me to follow Your wise ways and not the foolish ways of this world. Help me not to be foolish. Amen.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.
How should we treat those who are not nice to us? The human way is to give it right back to them, but only better. Hurt them worse than they hurt us. This however, is not the Godly way. He wants us to serve that person. We are to meet their needs and take care of them. This means we need to learn what their needs are. We are to study them their weaknesses, not to attack them but to serve them. This is impossible on our own. To cultivate this attitude we need God’s help. This attitude takes a lot of humility on our part. We must lay our ego down and put that enemies needs ahead of our own. Jesus demonstrated this, by washing the feet of Judas on the night He was betrayed.
If we serve other people this way, we will melt most people’s icy hearts. They will be touched, because our reaction will be different. Jesus took this teaching further. He said we are to go above and beyond what people expect of us. We are to go an extra mile and give more than what is asked. Many souls have been won, because Christians have done this. People are watching us, we must act rightly. Jesus will reward us for being humble. We are investing in what matters, when treat people this way.
Dear God, help me to be humble. Help me to server others, in Your name. I cannot do this without You. Only by Your strength is this possible. People are watching me, help me to act rightly to help draw people to You. Amen.
1 Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; 2 For their minds devise violence, And their lips talk of trouble.
Bad company corrupts good morals. It only take a little yeast to leaven a loaf. Both of these are some old sayings about being corrupted. When you hang out without somebody with bad people, you will become like them. It hardly ever works out the other way. The bad corrupts the good, the good does not lift up the bad. It only takes a little bit of the bad to wear off on the good (that’s where the yeast saying comes in).
We need to be careful who are friends are. They are big influence on how we act. Sometimes the rebels are the cool people and we are envious to be like them. We lower our standards of what we do, just to hang out with them. We do things we never thought we would do, just to be accepted by them. It is so misguided and we are all guilty of it. No good comes out of it. Our friends need to help us walk with God and not pull us away. We need to choose our friends wisely.
Dear God, help me to choose my friends wisely. Help me to not lower my standards to be accepted by them. Help me to be wise. Help me to find friends who help and encourage my walk with You. Help me to be that friend for others. Amen.
Proverbs 23:17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, But live in the fear of the LORD always.
Have you ever seen a sinner who seemed happy living life apart from God? They do what they want and there never seems to be any consequences for them. Everything seems to go their way. We try to live a life of discipline and a struggle. They do not and succeed. Things are not always as they seem. First, a lot of these people are not as happy as they seem. They put on a good face to hide their misery. Second, their success will only last so long. Eventually, our sin catches up with us, if we do not deal with it. We should not envy them. They are not living the good life.
Instead, we are to live in the fear of the Lord. We need to live a life of obedience of His law. The law and rules God said up are for our best. God set them up for our good. When we live in fear of God, His law protects us from evil. It protects us from the consequences of our sin. We are truly living the good life, which God intended for us. He made us to worship and obey Him. We are programmed for this. When we do what we are meant to do, we have a hole in our lives which we cannot satisfy. Only by doing what God intended us to do, will we feel that hole. This is the good life.
Dear God, thank you for Your grace, which lifts me back up when I fall. Help me to not envy the wicked, but desire You and You alone. Your way is the best. Help me to trust that way and trust You. Help me to live in fear of You. Amen.
Proverbs 22:5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards himself will be far from them.
Walking the Christian life is not easy. There are thorns and snares to trip you up and to slow down the walk for others. Satan and his minions want to take you down and cause you to fall. Not only does it hurt you, but also those around you get hurt as well. It hurts both other Christians and non Christians. Getting caught in a snare can destroy our testimonies. Snares are the sins which do not please God. Thorns are false Christians, whom leads us away from God. They look legit, but are not. We must be careful and guard our way.
There is good news for those who fall. God is their to life them up and help us on our way. He can restore us to the right path. He will guide us down the path, if we allow Him. He will call out the dangers, if we listen. God does not leaves us alone, He is a constant companion. Jesus is the only one who made down the path without getting tripped up. He knows the way, follow Him!
We cannot guard our way on our own. We must trust God and seek Him constantly for guidance. When we rely on ourselves we let our guard down (Because we start thinking I got this, nothing to worry about) and that is when we fall. At least I know I do. Arrogance is not a good defense, humility is. For when we are humble, we are trusting in Him who is greater than us to get us through and He will.
Dear Jesus, I thank you that You help us down the path. I thank you that You guard our way, if we allow it. Forgive me for not always allowing it. Help me to not be arrogant, but be humble. Thank you for Your grace which picks me backup when I fall. How amazing and wonderful Your grace is! Thank you for being a faithful companion, who never leaves me. Help me to follow You! Amen.