Proverbs 12:1-28 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Good Man Good Woman
Comments for Study 12

Proverbs 12:1-28
Memory Verse: 2


I. A Wife of Noble Character (12:1-9)

The Marble

* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "Des menschen begin, midden en einde : vertoonende het kinderlyk bedryf en aanwasch in eenenvyftig konstige figuuren, met goddelyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Joannes Luiken ; met het leven van den autheur" Three boys play marbles under a tree, as two men watch and comment on this game. In the left background some other children are playing a game. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem and for the brief poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant Scripture texts are Proverbs 12:7-8; Matthew 6:19-21; and 1 Timothy 6:17-19. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

The motto is "Small Things are for the Child, What is he then, who loves the earth?". The accompanying poem is:

The Marble is the little Lad's Treasure,
As if made of Gold and Silver,
The Treasure of the childish old one:
Who with the loftier Mind,
With his Bag full of money and goods,
Is regarded as a child.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

>1. How are discipline and correction necessary for knowledge and wisdom? (1)

* Proverbs 12:1 "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."

* "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge" -The love and use of discipline is introduced at the beginning of Proverbs (1:2, 3, 7; 3:11, 12) as is knowledge (1:4, 7, 22, 29; 2:5, 6, 10: 3:20).

* "he who hates correction is stupid." -Correction is the counter of discipline which helps define both. Stupid is the counter of knowledge which is used to define both.

* This proverb is a direct and simple cross counter. Opposites are used to make a simple point. The proverb is stated as an absolute truth, no debate, no illustration, and no definition.

* Discipline and correction are one of the themes of Proverbs. The theme is first recited in 1:7, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (instruction)." Discipline is cited as a source of knowledge, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge..."

Why does the Lord God teach with disciple? Because I am stubborn and slow to learn. God's discipline is seldom harsh, yet always cutting. Jesus often rebuked his stubborn disciples with rhetorical questions. "How long will I live with this unbelieving generation?" "Are you slow to learn? How many loaves did we have left over?"

I can hear Jesus today, right now through the Holy Spirit, the Wonderful Counselor if I ask for him to talk and if I quiet my mind from my scattered thoughts. Meditation as taught by Ignatius of Loyola and the Benedict monks is a good tool. (See below for the five steps of Ignatius' Examen.)

What is revealed I must obey. If I don't I am stupid for "whoever hates correction is stupid." When I read the word I must trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy on Jesus, but to trust and obey.

>How does verse 2 help define what it means to be good and crafty?

* Proverbs 12:2 "A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but the LORD condemns a crafty man."

* "A good man" -The word "good" in Hebrew is "tob" (a transliteration). The English word "man" does not appear in the original Hebrew text. Most English translations insert "man" or "person" here because the fact that the object is humans is apparent and the second half of the proverb has the Hebrew word "ish" translated "man" or "men".

* "obtains favor from the LORD" -The Hebrew word "puq" (a transliteration) is usually translated as "obtains" though "get" and "draws out" is also possible. "Favor" in the Hebrew here is "rason" is elsewhere translated "will", "acceptance", "delight", and "delight".

* "the LORD" -LORD in this proverb is "YHWH" in Hebrew, the personal covenant name of the God of Israel. In the Old Testament, Lord usually describes the essence of Yahweh: His power over His people (Exodus 34:23; Isaiah 1:24), over the entire earth (Joshua 3:13; Micah 4:13), and over all gods (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalms 135:5). The personal name of God with vowels added is usually "Yahweh". Exodus 15:17-18. "Yahweh is Lord; the Lord is Yahweh."

* "condemns" -The Hebrew verb "rasha" here is translated "condemns" which implies making trouble, violating, and disturbing. To declare that the Lord God is not involved in human activity is an incorrect statement just as much as it is incorrect to believe he does not judge and execute judgment.

* "a crafty man" -The Hebrew words "mezimma ish" (a transliteration) are translated into English "a crafty man", "anyone who schemes" and "man of wicked devices". The implication is planning something not good.

* Do good or scheme; two choices for me to make. What do these mean to me? Doing good in the Bible is defined by two commandments; love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and love my neighbor. 3:3 states, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."

To scheme and to be crafty means to devise a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining a particular object or putting a particular idea into effect. When the Lord saw that man's wickedness was widespread on the earth during Noah's time and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time he brought a flood to the whole earth as judgment. (Genesis 6:5)

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a "fool" so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight. As it is written: "He catches the wise in their craftiness"; and again, "The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile." (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:... a heart that devises wicked schemes..." (Proverbs 6:18)

>What is the eventual benefit of being righteous verses being wicked? (3)

* Proverbs 12:3 "A man cannot be established through wickedness, but the righteous cannot be uprooted."

* "A man" -"Man" here is the Hebrew word "adam". It's equivalent is the Latin "homo" and the Greek "anthropos". "Adam" is the name of the first man because the word literally means "to be red". Adam was made from the red clay (ground). Iron, that which makes the earth red is the basis of blood.

* "cannot be established" -This is an absolute statement. No room for exclusions and exceptions are allowed. "Established" is "kun" here is Hebrew primitive root word which literally means "to be erect (i.e. stand perpendicular)". It is also translated "stand firm" and "made secure".

* "through wickedness" -The original Hebrew word "resha" here is translated "wickedness" and "iniquity".

* "the righteous" -The original Hebrew word "saddiq" is translated "righteous" meaning a just person.

* "cannot be uprooted" -The Hebrew word "shoresh" is translated "uprooted" and "rooted" implying the base, the source of strength, water, and nutrition as in plants. Verse 12 also uses this word with the same implication as this verse.

* This thing called life is full of unexpected events as much as a watermelon is full of seeds. The next moment could have many seeds that need to be dealt with. Today may have many juicy tastes or be rotten smells that must be lived.

The person who is well established will handle life seeds and rotten smells much better that the person who is unstable. If my mental, emotional, physical, and especially spiritual health is good then I will cope well.

My ability to cope with unexpected events depends on my character. The wicked are not well established and thus are swept away by powerfully devastating life events. The righteous cannot be uprooted. This is repeated in Proverbs several times. Jesus taught it in his parable of the houses build on rock and sand.

Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden

* This drawing in public domain from a Low German Bible by Luther (1533) is titled "De Biblie / vth der vthlegginge Doctoris Martini Luthers yn dyth düdesche vlitich vthgesettet, mit sundergen vnderrichtingen alse men seen mach." This print titled "Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden" features Adam and Eve reposing in the Garden of Eden, their hands clasped, as they observe and discuss the life around them. God observes the scene from heaven. This and other woodcuts in this 1533 Bible are the work of the German artist, Erhard Altdorfer (d. 1561). Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>2. What does it mean to have a noble character and be disgraceful? (4)

* Proverbs 12:4 "A wife of noble character is her husband's crown, but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones."

* "A wife" -The Hebrew noun "ishsha" is translated "wife", first found in Genesis with the creation of Eve and appears a total of 779 times in the Old Testament. It is also occasionally translated "woman" and "female".

* "noble character" -The Hebrew "hayal" is translaed here as "noble character" and in other translations as "virtuous", "of strength", and "capable". The word imagery is of that of a female warrior fighting foes beside her husband and master, who is very openly proud of her as a person and her abilities.

* "her husband's" -The Hebrew noun "baal" is translated "husband", first found in Genesis with the sins of Adam and Eve. "Baal" can also be translated as "master" for because as part of Eve's curse Adam, her husband would "rule over" his wife to the point of being her "owner" and thus figuratively meaning a deep desire for her would be his rule over her as much as each positions in their relationship. This verse plays on that by declaring that a wife with noble characer is in contrast to Eve who presented something to her husband that was of great harm to both of them and their relationships with God and each other.

* "crown" -The Hebrew noun "atara" is translated "crown". It is also in 4:9, 10:6, 11:26, 14:18, 24, etc. See notes on 10:6 for more on the word "crown" where the Hebrew word "rosh" is used for crown.

* "a disgraceful wife" -The original Hebrew in the proverb does not contain a word for wife in the second half. The only words are "bosh raqab esem" meaning "ashamed rotten bone" thus again linking the proverb to the creation of Adam and Eve for his wife was made from a bone taken from his side.

* "like decay in his bones." -Bones are made of minerals, mostly calcium and thus do not rot. However, bones can decay. The imagery is that a disgraceful wife is eating away at his bone taking away his strength, stature, and ability to stand upright. Osteonecrosis is the name of a bone disease where the blood flow to part of a bone is disrupted. This results in death of bone tissue, and the bone can eventually break down and the joint will collapse. Osteonecrosis is also called: Avascular necrosis. Paget's disease of the bone makes them weak. Bone cancer and infections are also common.

* Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

* Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD."

* Proverbs 19:13-14 "A foolish son is his father's ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping. Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the LORD."

* The union between a man and a woman as husband and wife by means of the Spirit of God is sacred and wonderful. Conjugal symbiosis is in all aspects of human life; soul, body, spirit, social, and economic. The interaction is dependent on unconditional mutual surrender. What one does affects the other; whether it be for good or for harm.

The wife of noble character is her husband's crown. Her noble character is further defined in 31:10-31. Ruth had a noble character, known as such by all (Ruth 3:11). A noble wife is virtuous, capable, and strong. She is respectful, loving, truthful, trusting, humble, kind, compassionate, resourceful, and seeks the kingdom of God with all her being. A man would sell all he owns to buy the field where her character resides. She brings her husband honor and joy (4:8-9).

A disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. He grows weak and fragile. She shames and rots her husband's bones. Jezebel did not have a noble character (1 Kings 18:4, 19; 19:1-2, 21:7,14-15; 21:25; 2 Kings 9:10, 37)

The church is the bride of Christ. Am I more like Ruth or Jezebel to my master Jesus? Am I of noble character or dishonorable? Am I Christ's crown or the spear in his side?

>What is implied that the plans of the righteous are compared to the advice of the wicked in verse 5?

* Proverbs 12:5 "The plans of the righteous are just, but the advice of the wicked is deceitful."

* "The plans of the righteous are just" -"Plans" is "mahashaba" in Hebrew meaning one's thought.

* "the advice of the wicked is deceitful" -"Advice" is "tachbulah" in Hebrew meaning counsel to another.

* Plans in the form of one's thoughts are compared to advice to others. One is self directed, the other is directed towards others.


"Naughty or nice?" asked the question not far but nigh.
"Know not now?" considering the question not far but nigh.
"Plans and advice!" check thy heart not far but nigh.
"Righteous or wicked?" considering the heart not far but nigh.
"Answer thyself whether naughty or nice.
For the plans of the righteous are just.
The advice of the wicked is deceitful."
"Thy plans just?" answered the question not far but nigh.
"Thy advice deceitful?" answered the question not far but nigh.
Know now if they are naughty or nice.
Pray to God for mercy and thanks nigh.

>How can the speech of the upright rescue them?

* Proverbs 12:6 "The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the speech of the upright rescues them."

* "The words of the wicked" -Delayed reaction needed.

* "lie in wait for blood" -Blood is the life of a person and an animal.

* "the speech of the upright" -"Speech" is "peh" in Hebrew mostly referring to the mouth and the sounds it can make.

* "rescues them" -"Rescues" is "nasal" in Hebrew meaning "deliver", "recover", and "escape".

* The words a person speaks in often commented on in Proverbs. For example verse 8 is connected in meaning to verse 6. See my comments in verse 6.

>3. Does verse 7 refer to life before death or something else?

* Proverbs 12:7 "Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm."

* "Wicked men"

* "are overthrown and are no more" -Future sense.

* "the house of the righteous" -House is more than the individual; it is all who is under his care.

* "stands firm" -Continual sense.

* The theme of this comparative proverb has already been declared in 10:25. Solomon is the author of these proverbs. As an absolute authority monarch anointed by God's prophet and sanctioned by his father King David, Solomon had to have known that the principle is seldom true in this world.

Jesus' parable about the houses built on sand and another on a rock where referenced when I thought about 10:25. There I realized that Jesus' parable and these two verses are surely referencing a judgment to come.

Yet, there is more here than a prophecy about the judgment to come. The houses of wicked people seldom last more than three generations, and none more than ten. And the houses of righteous people are often inherited by those who become wicked within three generations and definitely in ten. The morality of houses of the world changes from one generation to the next. The legacy of the parents is altered by their children and grandchildren. As Solomon said elsewhere, "There is a time for everything under the sun..."

"No one is righteous, not one." (Psalm 143:2, Romans 3:10) Does this mean that all are overthrown and will be no more? Yes, except for the grace of God no one would remain. Cleanse my anger, Lord. Help me see hope in this world full of those who are not righteous. Help the religious selfish and the irreverent heartless become like Jesus. Grant me peace in you.

* Matthew 6:19-21 "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

* 1 Timothy 6:17-19 "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

>What helpful advice concerning being accepted by others is given in verse 8?

* Proverbs 12:8 "A man is praised according to his wisdom, but men with warped minds are despised."

* "A man is praised according to his wisdom" -The reaction of others.

* "men with warped minds are despised." -The reaction of others.

* The words I say and don't say reveals my character. While there is truth in the understanding that a person's perspective warps their judgment, the judgment of several cannot be discounted. When Jesus spoke he opened the truth and people were amazed at his wisdom and praised God. (8; Matthew 13:54, 15:31; Mark 1:22, 27, 7:37; Luke 4:36)

The speech of the upright rescues them (6), but from what? Righteousness is stated to deliver from death (11:4), from evil desires (11:6), and the destruction of their city (11:11). So could it be that the words I speak are the tools that rescue? This is true only if I am righteous and my character is as such. Then the words I speak will be praised as being wise. (8)

Jesus taught that a person must be careful as to what they say. "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men." (Mark 7:4-7) Have I become a Pharisee and teacher of the law that keep rules taught and promoted by the church, yet have weak connections to Jesus' words. So many traditions exist that do not deliver from death. So many are mere rules taught by men.

>How does verse 9 refer to how we should concentrate our effort and finances?

* Proverbs 12:9 "Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food."

* "Better to be a nobody"

* "and yet have a servant"

* "than pretend to be somebody"

* "and have no food."

* The fallen nature of mankind contains a desire to be somebody important. Sadly, most are concerned more with appearances rather than substance, often to their detriment. What drives this unhealthy and unhelpful practice?

All have a good desire to be accepted and loved by our peers and neighbors. Usually, our peers and neighbors do not supply the acceptance and love that we crave, especially if we are seen as nobody. At a young age, many discover that if we are somebody, then others are more prone to supply these needs. So outward we begin to look good, while inside we have no substance and no food. Everyone knows that high school clicks form that isolates with have-nots. This practice continues thru adulthood and even permeates Christian congregations. What then counters this unhealthy and unhelpful practice?

Accept this truth, "Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant". In Solomon's day, even people of moderate means had servants. (Judges 6:15,27) A modern application is to be able to afford to hire contractors to repair things around the house. The point is to stop spending money and time on appearances and apply these to what is practically needed. I apply this truth as being able to accept who I am based on what God says about me instead of what others think of me. Paul wrote, "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)

Proverbs 3:3, 12:10, 20:23, 23:10-11, 27:18

II. The Righteous and the Fool (12:10-16)

* This drawing by an unknown author is now in public domain. Proverbs 3:3, 12:10, 20:23, 23:10-11, and 27:18 are cited.

>4. How are the righteous and the wicked compared in verse 10?

* Proverbs 12:10 "A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel."

* "A righteous man"

* "cares for the needs of his animal"

* "the kindest acts of the wicked"

* "are cruel"

* Care, compassion, and knowing the life of animals are part of the heart of the righteous. When God created man one of the activities God and man shared was a parade of all the animals that the Lord had created. On that day man named the animals for the Lord had given mankind the responsibility and privilege of being Lord over all the earth and the animals in it.

Animals are employed in our service. Thus, I will not destroy an animal by making its labor more than it can handle. Nor will I deny an animal food, water, and rest. I will bring it happiness as time permits.

Wild animals that roam the earth freely are under my care. I will provide them litter-free land and water for this is under the tent of care for the need of my animals. Some animals have been domesticated and are raised for service and food. These will have a good existence even if they eat bugs and small ugly things in the sea.

Cruelty towards animals exists more now than in generations in the past. The kindest acts of the wicked are cruel -puppy farms, polluted streams, oceans, and land. Beating, denying food, and water. Neglect and isolation. Pretending or intending to show mercy and yet not follow through does not escape the Lord's justice for he commissions us with a command to love thy neighbor, including animals.

>What two life styles and their outcomes compared in verse 11?

* Proverbs 12:11 "He who works his land will have abundant food, but he who chases fantasies lacks judgment."

* "He who works his land will have abundant food"

* "he who chases fantasies lacks judgment."

* Proverbs 28:19 "He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty."

* Proverbs 12:11 and 28:19 are very similar. The first half is identical. "He who works his land will have abundant food". The second half is slightly different and thus adds to my understanding. "He who chases fantasies lacks judgment" and "The one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty."

Most of the world's population was farmers until the mid to last century. Though many are still farmers, others now obtain the substances for living by other means. A modern application for "works his land" is to "work constant, true, and hard at an honest living". A continually applied effort even when crop diseases, floods, droughts, and pests destroy a year's effort does obtain abundant food for self, family, and maybe some extra for selling.

"Chasing fantasies" means then as now "get rich quick schemes" and "schemes for making easy money". Another saying is, "If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn't." Getting rich quick ideas often require a large down payment and sacrifice. When it fails poverty follows. An old saying is, "A sucker is born every minute." (A human is born once a minute.)

A question I need to meditate on is why am I so easily drawn into financial fantasy propositions that never pay off? The answer is I become tired and frustrated with the daily grind and I lose hope. A more important question is why do I waste my time thinking about things I cannot afford and make plans that will never happen? Some dreams are so unrealistic that they deprive me of time, thought, and effort on a long-term plan for financial security.

Paul wrote, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (Philippians 4:12) What is the secret? Jesus proclaimed, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) And, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." (John 14:27) Therefore, I can find peace and satisfaction in Jesus while I work at an honest occupation.

Proverbs 11:13, 12:11, 20:19, 21:13, 25:17, 27:14

* This drawing by an unknown author is now in public domain. Proverbs 11:13, 12:11, 20:19, 21:13, 25:17, and 27:14 are noted.

>5. How are the righteous and the wicked compared in verse 12?

* Proverbs 12:12 "The wicked desire the plunder of evil men, but the root of the righteous flourishes."

* "The wicked desire the plunder of evil men" - The Hebrew word here translated "evil" is "ra", the name of the God of Egypt, the land where Israel lived over 400 years the later part was a cruel slavery. "Ra", a noun from the base Hebrew word "raa" appears 663 times in the Old Testament. The Hebrew word for "wicked" here is "rasha" a variation of "ra" to make it an adjective; appearing 263 times in the Old Testament. The message of the words is the god and way of Egypt your past masters is evil.

* "the root of the righteous flourishes." - The Hebrew word here translated "root" is "shoresh", a nown from the Hebrew word "sharash" a verb. Both literally and figuratively mean "in the soil" and "put in the soil". The imagery is the root system of plants that feed and hold fast the plant to the ground. Verse 3 also uses this word with the same implication.

* "The root of the righteous flourishes" is a better translation from Hebrew than most English translations because "fruit" does not appear in the Hebrew text "shoresh saddiq natan (a transliteration)". The translators consider the widely used and defined "natan" to refer to yielding something, yet the text does not say what. So they add fruit to the proverb. So I consider my own translation. Here it is: " deep root righteous delivers (that is, it gives)." LOL: I can take time to look at the Hebrew because it is a cold rainy winter Saturday morning and the coffee tastes mighty fine and I had my first good night sleep in 3 days since the outpatient surgery.

"The wicked desire the plunder of evil men." So why does someone desire (covets) the plunder of evil (people)? And does that make them evil, or is the desire the result of their evil soul? The original Hebrew text in the first half of this proverb is "rasha hamad mesoda ra" (a transliteration). A word for "men" does not appear in the original Hebrew though many translators speculated people were the evil owners of stuff that other wicked people desired to be like and take from. I am going to consider a simpler translation, " ungodly wicked desires (and covets) the snare (and net) of evil (and wickedness)." This simple translation really ridicules the wicked.

Now I am going to put together the two parts of the proverb as translated by BDBD. "The ungodly wicked desires the snare of evil, whereas the deep root of the righteous delivers." This is the main theme of the whole book of Proverbs repeated in varying ways in differing parables.

Jesus corrected his disciples misunderstanding about the human soul with these words, "But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. These are what make a man 'unclean'" (Matthew 15:18-20a) The heart seeks what the heart is. If it is evil it desires evil. If it is pure it seeks the pure. The sad fact is that all are born with an evil soul. "No one is righteous, not one." (Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:10; Galatians 3:11)

Jesus made it clear that the only way to have a pure heart was to ask God to purify it through him. Then will a person escape the snare of evil, and a person will naturally and automatically be delivered.

>How are the righteous and the evil compared in verse 13?

* Proverbs 12:13 "An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk, but a righteous man escapes trouble."

* "trapped by his sinful talk"

* "a righteous man escapes trouble."

* "Sinful talk" as defined elsewhere in the Bible is slander, gossip, lies, false testimony, and vulgar language, "Sinful talk" does not involve love, compassion, and grace. The more a person lies, the harder they have to work to keep up the lie. Eventually, so many lies are created to cover other lies that a house of lies is built. Rooms are added to hide the truth that exposes a former lie till one becomes lost and trapped in the house of lies that they have built. Much work is needed to keep each room in the house of lies in proper appearance. A person will become a slave in their house of lies. "An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk."

A righteous man escapes trouble. Speaking the truth is often very hard especially when it exposes our weaknesses or fears. Sometimes confessing the truth means we might have to give up something we cherish. The truth is sometimes said in ways that turn it into malicious talk. Not all truth is said in love. The truth always contains the love of God though it may be hard to live with. Speaking the truth does not guarantee that we will escape temporary trouble for Jesus always spoke the truth and yet was crucified by those who spoke lies. Yet speaking the truth will eventually enable the righteous to escape trouble, even if it is only the fact that they are free from having to keep up a room in the house of lies. For though Jesus was crucified though he spoke the truth, on the third day he rose from the dead and on the fortieth ascended into paradise.

>What is fruit of the lips? (14)

* Proverbs 12:14 "From the fruit of his lips a man is filled with good things as surely as the work of his hands rewards him."

* "the fruit of his lips"

* "filled with good things"

* "as surely as"

* "the work of his hands rewards him."

* My ancestors were farmers until the day that they died with the exception of my father who was a foreman in a factory. I visited both my grandfather's farms many times. I knew where my great-grandfather's and his father's farms were located. The farmer's lives my ancestors lived consisted of hard work with their hands. Every spring they planted seeds and every fall they God willing harvested a crop. The work of a farmer's hands rewarded them as God enabled them.

Solomon's parable equals the reward of hard-working hands to the fruit of one's lips. "From the fruit of his lips, a man is filled with good things." A person who speaks with wisdom will reap a harvest from those words. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence and knowledge, though both can enhance my wisdom. Wise words are laced with the knowledge and love of God and others.

Working in a field every year is needed, so continually speaking wise words of love is needed. "The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just." (Psalm 37:30)

Paul wrote of his evangelistic work, "When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began." (1 Corinthians 2:1-7)

The Examine

>6. What is the fundamental mentality of a person who is self righteous? (15; 18:17)

* Proverbs 12:15 "The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice."

* Proverbs 18:17 "The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him."

* "The way of a fool seems right to him"

* "a wise man listens to advice."

* How do I know if the choices I make are correct? How do I know if the way I chose to go is the best? I am not thinking about the everyday choices though choices are sure to be made today. I am thinking about big life choices: should I get more education, where should I get the education, should I continue to date this person, should I ask her to marry me, should I get a new job, should I move to a new place, should I get this medical procedure, should I divorce, retire, give up? After all, "The way of a fool seems right to him" as much as a wise man.

Solomon says that the wise listen to advice. Yet, one important fact is omitted. I need to take into account the person giving the advice. The character Christian in the second most-sold book in printing history "Pilgrim's Progress" meets several people who give him terrible advice. 1:1:20, 21, 25, and 30 state that the wise listen to the advice of wisdom. Sometimes I accept someone's advice because it lines up with a foolish decision I already decided in my heart to do.

St. Ignatius learned meditation from the Benedictines monks. He developed that into the Examen, a five-step meditation practice that he believed opened up a Christian to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He taught that the Holy Spirit would reveal the inner heart's desire which is in line with God's will for me. I learned of this around 4 years ago and it has helped. Yet I keep in mind Jesus' words, "The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks."

I believe that the answer to how to make the right life decisions includes listening to wise advice, meditation, knowing the Bible, and prudent sound reasoning. Once a decision is made don't look back and second guess. Don't ask me, "What if?" Simply pray, "Lord Jesus, I want to make the right choice which is your will. I have made this choice. If it is the best choice help me reach the goal you have set for me. Wash me with your blood. Fill me with your Spirit. Let me know your will. Give me all that is needed to carry through."

>How is it possible to overlook an insult?

* Proverbs 12:16 "A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult."

* "A fool shows his annoyance at once"

* "a prudent man overlooks an insult."

* Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (16, 29:11; Galatians 5:22-23) Self-control pertains to my emotions. Emotions are a vital part of human existence. They reflect the nature of God. God has self-control. When I exercise self-control I am reflecting the image of God created in me through the Spirit.

Controlling my emotions is not to say I suppress my emotions. When I suppress emotions I build up a damn that contains my emotions. They build up inside me. Eventually, the emotion damn breaks causing my emotions to rush out and flood everything around me. A flood of emotions can destroy the nature of my existence, especially those I love who are close to me.

"A fool shows his annoyance at once" (16). "A fool gives full vent to his anger" (29:11). "A prudent man overlooks an insult" (16). "A wise man keeps himself under control" (29:11). Controlling annoyance and anger mean that I do not react quickly. I do not react physically. I do not speak harsh words. To do this I seek the power of the Holy Spirit to convert annoyance and anger into peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Later, when I am alone I can and should seek to deal with the source of my annoyance and anger. This is not easy for me. Like any muscle, mastery of emotions takes continual exercise.

Oh Lord, grant me the control of the Spirit like David when the Benjamite cursed him and threw stones and dirt at him when David fleed Jerusalem because of his son's revolt. (2 Samuel 16:11-14)

III. The Righteous and the Lazy (12:17-28)

>7. Why would such an obvious proverb that is in verse 17 be needed?

* Proverbs 12:17 "A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies."

* "A truthful witness gives honest testimony"

* "a false witness tells lies."


* Solomon's proverb here is such an obvious truth that it seems more like two definitions than a proverb. Of course: a truthful witness gives honest testimony, whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, and the person who will speak the truth will reveal righteousness. This is learned at a very early age.

The second half is just as easy to agree with: a false witness tells lies, a false witness speaks deceit, and the witness of falsehood reveals deceit. This also is learned at a very early age.

Sitting among some deep thought-provoking proverbs the simple verse 17 is almost comical. Who doesn't know this? The surprising truth is many do not know themselves. They do not know when they are a truthful or a false witness. What was I yesterday? How do I define myself? Is the Holy Spirit telling me something about myself that I have been ignoring?

The Hebrew here makes the apparent future tense a continual act or habit. Paraphrased, "He who accustoms himself to speak the truth in common conversation will be an honest testimony in public judgment and therefore can be depended upon with an honest testimony all the time." If I ask those who know me if they trust my word all the time, what would they answer?

A false witness who pours out lies is one of the six things the Lord hates (6:19). Reckless words mames souls, carving wounds that may never heal (12:18, 25:18; Psalm 57:4). A mouth of lies is an open grave (Psalm 5:9). I dismiss my words that do not conform to the truth as justifiable. Yet, God does not distinguish. Jesus said the religious leaders of his day were dead men walking because they did not accept or speak the truth (Matthew 23:47). Am I like a white-washed tomb, which looks beautiful on the outside but on the inside is full of dead men's bones?

>Is it possible to train ourselves so we can bring healing instead of wounds? (18, Psalm 106:32-33)

* Proverbs 12:18 "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

* Psalm 106:32-33 "By the waters of Meribah they angered the LORD, and trouble came to Moses because of them; for they rebelled against the Spirit of God, and rash words came from Moses' lips."

* Psalm 5:8-10 "Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies-- make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; with their tongue they speak deceit. Declare them guilty, O God! Let their intrigues be their downfall. Banish them for their many sins, for they have rebelled against you."

* This proverb is similar to 4:22 and 15:4.

* "Reckless words pierce like a sword"

* "the tongue of the wise brings healing."

>What does our words say about our character and destiny? (19, Matthew 15:17-20)

* Proverbs 12:19 "Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment."

* Matthew 15:17-20 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man 'unclean.' 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man 'unclean'; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him 'unclean.'"

* Proverbs 16:1 "To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the LORD comes the reply of the tongue."

* 1 Timothy 1:5-7 "The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm."

* "Truthful lips endure forever"

* "a lying tongue lasts only a moment."

* Forever is the reality. The reality of forever depends on a confession of the heart. A true confession that Jesus is the forgiving and loving Lord of my life moves Lord Jesus to arrange for my forever with him in Paradise. "Truthful lips endure forever..."

A confession that Jesus was just a man, perhaps a prophet at best, and that God either does not exist or if there is a God it does not care about me" is a lie that ends and takes me with it. "...a lying tongue lasts only a moment. One of these two confessions that I make and keep sets my forever reality.

>8. What is one way to obtain joy according to verse 20?

* Proverbs 12:20 "There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace."

* Matthew 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God."

* "deceit in the hearts"

* "those who plot evil"

* "joy for those who promote peace."

* Peace making is in the realm of the work of God. Jesus proclaimed, "Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God." (Matthew 5:9) The blessing of joy falls on the peace making children of God. "Those who promote peace have joy."

How can I live as a peacemaker? I will be the opposite of those who plot evil. "Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil..." Lies are in the realm of evil plots. The realm of the existance of being a peacemaker includes an honest loving and aware heart.

Jesus is the king of peace. He is the pinnacle of peacemakers. He brings together by removing that which separates. He used his body and blood to bridge the gap that seperates people from God. He spoke the truth and all who believe him pass into his body thus becoming one with God.

There exists in my life people who are not at peace with me. I am thinking of them right now. I learn here to be the person who actively seeks peace with them. The way to start is to pray continually for them asking God to bless them and open our hearts to bridging the gap or better yet remove the gap that seperates us. I will promote peace by praying for my enemy.

The Unequal Opportunity

* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "De onwaardige wereld : vertoond in vyftig zinnebeelden, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken" Two men, one is clad in armor [cloak of Virtue] and the other is scantly clothed, try to penetrate a thorn bush is presented. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712), whose initials are at the lower right, was responsible for drawing and etching this emblem and for the poem that accompanies it (below). The attendant scripture text is Proverbs 12:21. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

The title is "The Unequal Opportunity ". The accompanying poem is:

Two needed to go through Thorns,
For unavoidable reason,
The One wore Armor,
From top to the bottom.
There the sharp point did not find a hold,
To tear and prick the skin,
But found everything solid, hard and slippery,
To penetrate unhindered.
But the Other mostly naked,
Only scantily clad,
Became miserably red from blood,
Through the tearing of his clothing and limbs.
Oh Death! If thou art those Thorns,
Through which each, necessarily must pass.
It's worthwhile, that we always,
Learn, that necessary Armor-making.
How foolish is it, when one sees,
That many during their entire lives,
Because of business, weave nothing else,
Than the thin cloak of the world!
That tears and breaks when needed while dying,
And leaves to Points and hooks,
The poor Soul naked and bare,
To make her as red as blood.
Oh Fair Armor, cloak of Virtue,
We all have double reason
Until Old Age, from our Youth,
To rivet and weld you.
We have already heard too well,
How many in this thorn hedge,
Call so miserably, fire and murder,
And lament their negligence;
While the courageous wise man,
In the solid Armor of Virtues,
Passed peacefully and quietly,
With hope of eternal joy.

(Translation by Josephine V. Brown, with editorial assistance from William G. Stryker)

>Since Jesus was crucified and the prophets killed how can verse 21 be true?

* Proverbs 12:21 "No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble."

* "No harm" -The original Hebrew noun for "no harm" is "awen" (a transliteration) that is from an unused root perhaps meaning properly to pant (hence to exert oneself in vain and to come to naught). The usage is strictly nothingness, trouble, vanity, wickedness specifically refering to an idol. The Hebrew word is often translated into English as "affliction, evil, false, idol, iniquity, mischief, mourners, naught, sorrow, unjust, unrighteous, vain, vanity, wicked."

* "befalls" -The original Hebrew verb for "befalls" is "ana" (a transliteration), a primitive root with the idea of contraction in anguish. "Ana" means to approach and meet in various senses. Elsewhere it is translated "befall, deliver, happen, and seek a quarrel".

* "No harm befalls" -The harm here is not referring to punishment from God. Nor does it imply that trouble does not come to all. Trouble does come from others and from wrong choices. Rather, the harm here comes from an evil source and stays with us. Consider Job who received harm from Satan, but the harm did not last, and Jesus who after his suffering and death rose from the grave into glory.

* "have their fill" - The Hebrew verb for "have their fill" is "mala" and "male" (transliterations), a primitive root with wide application (literally and figuratively). Of the 249 appearances in the Old Testament the word is translated into many English words implying its dependence of meaning on the noun and adjective(s) it is connected to.

* "of trouble" - The Hebrew for "trouble" (used as either an adjective and noun) is "ra" (a transliteration). See questions 5 comments on verse 12 for more on "ra".

* Jesus, on the night he was betrayed told his Apostle, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) Yet Solomon wrote, "No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble." What am I to make of this seemingly contradiction?

My life has had trouble and hardship just as Jesus said. Is Solomon wrong? Upon closer look the answer is no. Solomon said "harm" will not "overtake". The words harm and overtake are key.

Trouble has come, but harm did not overtake me. God, after testing my soul with trouble, turned my life circumstances around when I kept my faith in him. My life has had happiness, fun, and ordinary events, the mix of human experiences after trouble came and went. I learned not to give up on God and his promises to me. I always have my Lord to give me comfort and rescue me just as Job when the Lord can in a whirlwind and Jesus who rose from the grave and ascended into glory.

If I were wicked, where would I turn for rescue and help? Who would be there to take away the trouble? How would I take heart if I remained wicked?

>Why does God delight in truth?

* Proverbs 12:22 "The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful."

* "The LORD" -YHWH is Hebrew. See question 1 comments on verse 2 for more.

* "detests lying lips" -"Sheqer sapa eba" in Hebrew meaning they are "disgusting, detestable, and an abomination".

* "he delights in men who are truthful" -"Asa emuna rason" in Hebrew meaning they are "delight, favorable, pleasurable, and a desire".

* Is there such a thing as a clean lie or a white lie? Can I say something that is not factual and yet be truthful? This is to say, can I out of kindness not tell someone the truth when I speak to them? These have been a long-term personal debate.

I do not refer to keeping information and truth to myself. I am also not referring to refusing to answer questions or divulging information. I know that I can practice these and still be a truthful man that the Lord delights in.

Jesus always was truthful. He often began statements with, "I tell you the truth..." Jesus did not have lying lips. And I am amazed at how Jesus answered people and how he addressed people. What drove such wisdom? How can a person be compassionate and truthful? Yet I see that at times Jesus' words cut to the heart. Always they were said with love and compassion.

Perhaps what I should answer when asked a question that seems to require a cutting answer is a loving truth. A husband and a wife must always be truthful. They need to trust that their spouse's lips are not lying. The covenant of truth and trust is a vital part of love and respect.

If I prepare a meal that my spouse says was delicious when it wasn't we may go on eating a bad meal for years. If I believe that a trip is not wise, I need to kindly speak up or a week may not be a time to remember. Yet I also need to say, "Though I do not like the taste of this and I do not have good expectations concerning this trip I will keep an open mind," for a kernel of wheat must die to produce more grain and hot spice and ketchup changes the taste of poorly prepared food.

>9. When is it prudent to keep knowledge to ourself? (23, Matthew 7:6)

* Proverbs 12:23 "A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly."

* Matthew 7:6 "Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces."

* "A prudent man" -The original Hebrew adjective for "prudent" is "arum" (a transliteration) meaning "crafty" and "subtle".

* "keeps his knowledge to himself" -"Kasa daat" in Hebrew implying the person stores up, covers up, and keeps inside what they know to be true.

* "the heart of fools blurts out folly" -"Leb kesil qara iwwelet" in Hebrew implying they are quick to say anything because they seek attention and control. See the proverbs in verses 16, 13:16, 15:2, and 29:11.

* What do I treasure? What is of importance to me? That which I consider valuable, precious, and worth hoarding depends on my soul's vault; my thought and my emotional safe. Jesus taught, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34)

Solomon wrote, "A prudent man keeps (conceals) knowledge to himself..." Prudent in the original Hebrew portrays a person who is cunning and crafty; like the "...merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it," so said Jesus when teaching about the kingdom of God. (Matthew 13:45-46) The cunning stores and covers knowledge in their soul's vault.

I don't know if there is a limit to what I can know. However, I do know that what comes quickly to mind and heart is based on repetition. Why then, should I relive that which Christ has forgiven and healed? Why bury in my conscious so deeply something that neither I know God values? Instead, as Paul wrote, "...whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." (Philippians 4:8-9)

>How can we remain diligent?

* Proverbs 12:24 "Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor."

* "Diligent hands will rule"

* "laziness ends in slave labor."

* Ever since Adam and Eve sinned any occupation has had thorns and thistles. That is to say, there are setbacks, unforeseen mishaps, and many other circumstances that cause me to want to give up. Even diligent hands become sore, cut, and form calluses.

Self-motivation such as will, persistence, and hope is needed to keep working for meeting the needs of the day. Those who keep striving to pay the bills and put food on the table can eventually rule for as Solomon wrote, "diligent hands will rule..."

Laziness is similar to giving up. A part of Adam's thorn curse is that every hour slack is equal to seven hours of work. I experience the law of slack every time I take a vacation. When I come back from a vacation work has piled up so high that more time is needed to catch up than was taken off. "Laziness ends up in forced labor", so wrote Solomon.

Yet, I will still take a vacation though the return has filled the field with thistles and forced labor.

>What does it mean to be anxious and how can we avoid anxiety? (25; John 14:1-4, 14:26-27)

* Proverbs 12:25 "An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up."

* John 14:1-4 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going."

* John 14:26-27 "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."

* "An anxious heart"

* "weighs a man down"

* "a kind word cheers him up."

* Anxiety is the result of a lack of faith in Jesus and his Father. Anxiety is trusting in myself instead of trusting in God. Anxiety is mentally playing out all the possible wrongs no matter how improbable. Anxiety is a matter of the mind more than reality (Psalm 139:23). A sure result of fear caused by faithless thoughts is "an anxious heart weighs a person down." "What does a person get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is pain and grief; even at night, the mind does not rest. This is meaningless." (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23)

All around me every day I encounter and walk by people with anxious hearts. The Lord instructs me, "a kind word cheers up." However, what can I do when my heart is filled with anxiety? Paul instructs from the view of cell bars to those who were being persecuted, "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:4-7)

As strange as it sounds this I have found true. Singing a hymn and a song to the Lord with all sincerity of praise and worship cheers the heart. Praying Biblical verses with believing lips and heart cheers me up. Instead of focusing my thoughts on selfish what-ifs and might-be, I focus my hands and feet on someone else who truly needs the Lord does fill my heart with hope and gladness. Sometimes actions are the kind word that cheers up the anxious people I pass by every day.

>10. Why should we be cautious in friendship?

* Proverbs 12:26 "A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray."

* "A righteous man is cautious in friendship"

* "the way of the wicked leads them astray."


* Several ways to translate this seemingly disjunct proverb into English exist according to five different references I have. The NIV presents two translations to the first half; "A righteous man is cautious in friendship," and "a righteous man is a guide to his neighbor." The translator's dilemma is in the last two of three Hebrew words in the first half of the proverb, "tur rea". The first half's grammar is an adjective, a verb, and then a noun.

The general meaning of this proverb deals with how I interact with my neighbor and friends. Everyone needs a friend; someone who they can confide in, trusting them with secrets of the heart and mind. Yet, so few actually have this kind of relationship with someone. The reason so few have such a friend is the same reason the divorce rate is so high.

I laugh because verse 26 is a Biblical proverb about friendship that is just as confusing as making a friendship so close that it lasts beyond death, just as David and Jonathan's friendship did. How to make friends and who to have a close friendships with? (1 Samuel 20:42)

Verse 26 is a warning and guide about making friendships that aligns with the Lord's command to Israel as they were about to enter the promised land, "Ammonite or Moabite... they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam... to pronounce a curse on you... do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live." (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)

Verse 26 also aligns with Jesus' words, "I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9)

The lyrics to an early Christian contemporary rock song by AD, "The Only Way to Have a Friend is to be One" comes to mind.

"Deep in every heart there's a desire,
Just to be accepted as we are,
Everybody needs to know that he's wanted,
But everybody's always wanting more,
The Son of God came down to be a servant,
The world did not receive Him as a King,
And if we take the Lord as our example,
It ain't how much you get, it's what you bring,
You got to show somebody your salvation,
Show someone the mercy you've been shown,
And if you heed the very first commandment,
You'll take your brother's burdens as your own,
The only way to have a friend is to be one."

>What does it mean to roast game?

* Proverbs 12:27 "The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions."

* "The lazy man"

* "not roast his game"

* "the diligent man"

* "prizes his possessions."

* The philosophy that everyone shares everything counters basic human nature concerning being diligent and lazy. Some people tend to be lazy while others tend to be diligent. Forcing the diligent to give the rewards of their efforts to the lazy turns the diligent into demoralized sluggards and the lazy into bitter complainers.

People that are lazy become hungry enough to hunt for food. Yet, being lazy when they do obtain the food they do not prepare it. Lazy people will not roast their game.

People with a diligent disposition prize their possessions. They take care of that which they worked hard for. They keep it up and clean. Their property does not have trash in it, the grass is always mowed, and bush and flower gardens are well kept.

Yet, whether a person is well-to-do or lacks in comparison to his neighbor they both need something this world cannot satisfy. The all-encompassing human need is only satisfied with a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Some are diligent and others are lazy when it comes to possessing a loving and fearful relationship with God. Some people tend to be lazy while others tend to be diligent in obtaining, preparing, and eating spiritual food. Some cherish taking time to be with God every morning while others cherish a little more slumber.

>What does verse 28 mean?

* Proverbs 12:28 "In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality."

* "the way of righteousness"

* "life"

* "along that path is immortality."

* Immortality and life in paradise are desired by all. But how to cheat death? Here is a promise of God, "In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality." Paul wrote the same, "To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, God will give eternal life." (Romans 2:7)

What is paradise like and what will I be like in paradise? "...we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)