Pretend Riches and Poverty
Comments for Study 13
Memory Verse: 7
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I. Words of Life and Death (13:1-7)
* This drawing in public domain by an unknown author is titled "Suffer the Little Children to Come unto Me" Matthew 19:16-22 is cited.
>1. How are wise words from parents sometimes hard to heed? (1)
* Proverbs 13:1 "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke."
* "A wise son"
* "his father's instruction"
* "a mocker"
* "does not listen to rebuke"
* Jesus had a lot to say about fathers, especially His Father. Jesus had no human father. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God came down upon her, and the power of the Most High God overshadowed her. So, Jesus, the holy one is the Son of God. (Luke 1:35) Jesus proclaimed clearly, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30, 17:11,21)
God proclaimed that Jesus was his son. When John baptized Jesus, "A voice from heaven said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:17) When Jesus brought three of his disciples to the top of a mountain he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. "A bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'" (Matthew 17:2,5)
Since I have been adopted through Jesus the Son of God, I am a son of God. (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:5) So now God my father is telling me through Solomon's proverb, "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke." Jesus made a direct personal judgment saying the same thing, "If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!" (John 8:42-45)
>How are fruit and cravings used in the proverb in verse 2 to contrast two different people?
* Proverbs 13:2 "From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence."
* "From the fruit of his lips"
* "a man enjoys good things"
* "the unfaithful"
* "have a craving for violence."
* Amazing is the fact that one sentence, phrase, and even a word can stay with the recipient for hours, days, and a lifetime. A kind word can yield all kinds of good. An encouraging compliment will develop into an enjoyable and profitable career. The first "I love you" can be the seed of a home full of happy children. Truly the fruit of their lips a person enjoys good things.
The opposite is true. A cruel word can yield all kinds of violence and evil. A discouraging put-down will develop into low self-esteem and a lifetime of struggles. One "I hate you" is a heartbreak that can be the beginning of a divorce. Also true is that with the fruit of their lips lives a joyless person.
If the unfaithful have a craving for violence, shouldn't I have a craving for kindness and gentleness? Some people engage others with the intent to say harsh words because they enjoy controlling others. So here is a secret they do not know; a more powerful way is to be like Jesus whose kind and uplifting words are as potent 2,000 years later as they were the day they were spoken. And Solomon's proverbs inspired by the Holy Spirit have raised and fallen empires for 3,000 years.
>What is implied when we are told to guard our lips? (3)
* Proverbs 13:3 "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."
* "guards his lips "
* "guards his life"
* "he who speaks rashly"
* "will come to ruin."
* Surrounding the powerful, rich, and famous are armed guards. Nations have men and women who go before and behind their rulers ensuring absolute protection. Outside Windsor Castle, the guards in funny coats are very strict and serious about their watch. David had groups of mighty men who fought at his side. So dedicated and steadfast should I be as I guard what my lips say.
James the brother of Jesus declared, "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. ...the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. " (James 1:26, 3:5-6)
Peter with his lips declared one moment, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," which Jesus commended. (Matthew 16:16) A few days later when Peter used the same lips to try to convince Jesus to not allow himself to be crucified was rebuked, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men." (Matthew 16:23) Saying good and right words should not cause me to stop guarding my lips. Otherwise, I may speak rashly and come to harsh rebuke or even ruin.
>2. What does it mean to be diligent and what is the rewards? (4)
* Proverbs 13:4 "The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied."
* "The sluggard"
* "craves and gets nothing"
* "the desires of the diligent"
* "are fully satisfied."
* The meaning of this proverb is direct and easy to understand. If I want something and even crave it I have to diligently work for it. Few things are freely received and even most gifts have strings attached to them. Laying in bed and sitting in an easy chair watching TV seldom satisfies my soul when it wants something else.
Cain was a restless wanderer because the soil no longer yielded its crops and he feared someone would kill him as he killed his brother. He wanted to have a happy life, but the craving of his restless soul was never fully satisfied. Cain was not diligent in satisfying his soul's desire to be in the presence of the Lord stemmed from a lazy offering. (Genesis 4:3, 7, 13-14, 16)
Desire, no matter how intense, will lead nowhere until I am willing to work for what I desire. The human heart desires acceptance in the presence of the Lord more than anything. That desire remains until my soul enters into full submission to the Lord's will. "Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD." (Psalm 83:16)
>Why would the righteous hate what is false? (5)
* Proverbs 13:5 "The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace."
* "The righteous"
* "hate what is false"
* The newest public opinion is to know ourselves and celebrate it with pride. The underlying popular belief is that somewhere in the existence of every person is a core basic identity that we have to find. The pure and real identity that this person is according to modern thought is not made by the influence of others. The identity just sits there in our souls, so some people believe and we have to find it and be proud of it.
A slightly different view is the nurture and nature theory. A long-standing debate in biology and society about the balance between two competing factors that determine fate and identity: genetics and environment is called nurture and nature theory. This belief is that others influence (nurture) our self-identity and our yet our physiological being (nature) is who we are.
Views about id seem to ignore God and our relationship with him. The righteous relationship with God molds id into the character of Christ Jesus and he is truth. So naturally the righteous hate what is false. Having a hostile relationship with God is embracing wickedness which brings shame and disgrace to the id. That which is Stephen is influenced by my reaction to God as much as nurture, nature, and the identity that sits in my soul.
>What is the cause of shame and disgrace?
* "the wicked"
* "bring shame"
* "and disgrace."
>3. How does righteousness guard us and what does it guard us from? (6)
* Proverbs 13:6 "Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner."
* "guards the man of integrity"
* "overthrows the sinner."
* Solomon declares that righteousness guards. Righteousness is twofold. First, being righteous is having a right relationship with God. Second, righteousness is those actions that result from a right relationship with God. Marks of righteousness are actions that incorporate and emanate love, perseverance, courage, compassion, consistency, integrity, peace, joy, and a sense of what is appropriate. Thus, righteousness guards a person living in a field of these virtues.
The person who is not morally good is overthrown by their lifestyle. Their life is undermined and overthrown by their own wickedness. Before pride of life sets in my heart I must remember that if not for the grace of Christ I would have remained living a lifestyle of immorality.
Oh, on the surface I was as white as a tombstone. But inward I was full of dead men's bones. Immoral thoughts and attitudes resided in my heart. Sometimes they would break through the walls of my tomb. So now in me righteous ways are possible because through grace I have been saved, through faith from a body of death. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10) I am God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. Through these God guards me.
>Why would a person pretend to be rich or poor? (7)
* Proverbs 13:7 "One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth."
* "to be rich, yet has nothing"
* "to be poor, yet has great wealth.""
* Solomon makes a simple observation; one pretends to be rich and another pretends to be poor. Yet, he does not say why this is so probably because there are several reasons why and the point of proverbs is to make us think about ourselves, our lives, and those around us.
The point here is am I putting up a facade, pretense, and appearance? If I am why am I? What am I attempting to accomplish? One of the main reasons, perhaps the only reason that matters for pretense is that I may not like the social, mental, and physical ramifications of being what I have become. The rich don't like the isolation and heartless attention wealth brings. The poor don't like the isolation and heartless inattention poverty brings. So they pretend to be the opposite without having the strings of their alter-reality. Yet, I have observed that the pretense weighs more heavily on the soul than the truth of existence.
Paul wrote the astounding statement, "... I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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 4:11b-12) What is the secret? The answer he continues with is, "I can do everything through him who gives me strength." (4:13) Being content resides in a life reality of Christ in my soul.
>Considering this what are some other things that people pretend to be?
II. Shine Brightly (13:8-16)
* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "Vonken der liefde Jezus : van het God-begeerende zielen-vuur : zynde bloempjes der zalige hoop, tot verheugelykheid der wandelaars, langs den weg, na vreden-ryk : een behelzing van vyftig zinne-beelden, met hunne daar op speelende versen, en heilige spreuken"
A woman stands underneath a tree as the daylight fades. The title is "How is it Dark?" Proverbs 13:9 is cited.
Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University: http://www.pitts.emory.edu.
>4. Why do the poor hear no threat? (8)
* Proverbs 13:8 "A man's riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat."
* "A man's riches"
* "may ransom his life"
* "a poor man"
* "hears no threat."
* "You cannot get blood from a rock," goes an old saying. Similar is Solomon's proverb. "A poor man hears no threat," meaning, "No one kidnaps a poor person for ransom," and "No one robs a poor person." A poor man needs no security measures because he has nothing worth protecting.
A rich man must always be on his guard against thieves and kidnappers. The world's history is full of people and nations that became wealthy by taking the riches of their neighbors. Solomon was right, "A person's wealth becomes the ransom for the lives of the rich."
Jesus taught a proverb that has an interesting twist. I have never heard this parable mentioned during a church service even though my literary mind sees it as a literary work of art. He taught, "But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:43-44; Luke 12:39-40)
Jesus is the thief who is coming at an unexpected hour to take from the evil ruler of this world, Satan. (1 Thessalonians 5:2,4) Jesus will take those who are members of his kingdom of light away from the wrath to come. As Jesus' amazing parable declares, "How can anyone enter a strong man's house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house." (Matthew 12:29)
>What is light and the lamp refer to in verse 9 and other places in the Bible?
* Proverbs 13:9 "The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out."
* "The light"
* "of the righteous shines brightly"
* "the lamp"
* "of the wicked is snuffed out."
* Light, which the eyes see while people are living, is gone when death comes. Death follows upon sin. See 11:9 too. (NIV Disciple's Study Bible)
* Light and lamps are often used in the Bible as a metaphor for life, as is the case in this proverb. "The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out." Perhaps this was Solomon's observation, but most definitely this is a promise of God.
Jesus taught the crowds, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21-22, Luke 11:33) God gives life to do good deeds which honor God.
Jesus taught another crowd, "Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you." (Luke 11:34-36) This brings me back to Solomon's proverb. If my eyes are bad meaning I refuse to see the work of God through others, and if I, therefore, refuse to praise God for that work meaning my light is not lit, then I can expect to be snuffed out.
>5. Why does pride breed quarrels? (10)
* Proverbs 13:10 "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."
* "only breeds quarrels"
* "is found in those who take advice."
* A wise person recognizes areas of personal ignorance and is willing to learn from others in such places. Pride robs us of the riches of others' knowledge, leading only to fights between friends. (NIV Disciple's Study Bible)
* Pride is one of the sneakiest of emotions. Pride can linker in and influence many other emotions without being detected by the owner. Like a thorn in a field of wheat so is pride there hiding under the tall stalks taking away needed water and nutrition.
Where there is a quarrel, pride has been at work. Pride only breeds quarrels. Pride works in the heart stirring up emotions that lead to quarrels. Arrogance leads to an oppressive and overbearing character. Those who are subject to another's ego strike back. So, another quarrel begins.
Wisdom is found in those who take advice. A humble person listens to what others say. Sometimes when someone gives me advice I can feel the work of pride. Many emotions are there. I don't know it, but it is pride that is at work. Not all advice is good, but no advice should start a good quarrel. The counter is humility that listens and considers advice. "Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4)
>How can a person make money grow? (11)
* Proverbs 13:11 "Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow."
* "dwindles away"
* "he who gathers money little by little"
* "makes it grow."
* A person who has little money, no money, or even debt will look at this proverb and think, "I don't care how I get money or if it lasts only a little while, I only know I want some relief now." I don't know how to respond to such thinking for being constantly in debt and poor is a drain. So I sit and look at my soul to find a reply.
Dishonest money is wealth gained by extortion (Psalm 62:10), deceit (Proverbs 21:6), fraud (Hosea 12:7), and bribes (1 Samuel 8:3), Deuteronomy 25:15-16 states, "You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly." Yet some will risk their life for profit especially if they are in debt. I still do not have an answer.
Waiting for a promise to be filled takes faith. Where there is faith there is hope. David was anointed and given a promise as a young lad. He waited many years for the anointing to be realized for an evil king was seated on the throne. Many years later after hardship and more hardship, the evil king died, and even then David did not realize the fulfillment of the promise. Only many years later in his mid-life did David become king of all Israel. "Be patient," is my answer. "Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33) Trust and believe. Save little by little.
>What does verse 12 mean by hope deferred?
* Proverbs 13:12 "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."
* "Hope deferred"
* "makes the heart sick"
* "a longing fulfilled"
* "is a tree of life."
* The proverb in verse 12 about hope deferred can be linked to verse 11 concerning gathering money little by little. I have been saving up money for many decades. However, events beyond my control have taken each small pile away. Just recently a medical surgery required the latest small pile. My hope is delayed to the point where now my heart is sickened. Will my longing be fulfilled? I ask as Job did, "What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?" (Job 6:11)
Hope is a core state of the soul that is usually based on an expectation of a positive outcome in the future. However, my future is unknown, and so when hope is based on an unknown eventually an unexpected negative outcome changes the base soul state to disappointment and discouragement.
What if hope is not based on the expectation of the unknown future? Hope can be based on God and his love, compassion, and concern for me can't it? Sure hope is based on the surety of God's character. "O Lord... you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me," so prayed David from the depths of an isolated hole of discouragement. (Psalm 25:4-5, 1)
>How is verse 13, 1, and 10 similar and yet different?
* Proverbs 13:13 "He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded."
* Proverbs 13:1 "A wise son heeds his father's instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke."
* Proverbs 13:10 "Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice."
* "He who scorns instruction"
* "will pay for it"
* "he who respects a command"
* "is rewarded."
>6. How can a person turn from the snares of death? (14)
* Proverbs 13:14 "The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death."
* "The teaching of the wise"
* "is a fountain of life"
* "turning a man from the snares of death."
* A snare is used to catch animals thus providing a meal. A snare is camouflaged so the animal does not know it is there. A snare means death for the animal.
I like everyone was born with no understanding of how to live in this world. Slowly as I aged my parents, grandparents, friends, and teachers instructed me about life.
Some teaching was wisdom, others were foolish. Some help me mature, and others were adolescent folly. The teaching of the wise was a fountain of life.
The fact that I have to be turned from the snares of death means that my inclination is to step into the hidden snare of death. The human natural tendency is self-destruction. For me, the teaching of Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets has been the teaching of the wise.
>What did Jesus and the apostles have to say about life and death? (John 14:6-7, 20:31; Romans 5:20-21, 6:4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-22)
* John 14:6-7 "Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
7 If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
* John 20:31 "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
* Romans 5:20-21 "The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more,
21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
* Romans 6:4 "We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
* 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 "But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.
22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive."
>7. Whose favor is won with good understanding? (15)
* Proverbs 13:15 "Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard."
* "Good understanding"
* "wins favor"
* "the way of the unfaithful is hard."
* Since good understanding wins favor, what does it mean to have good understanding and good sense? Ask anyone passing by and a different answer will be received. The Lord told Israel when he gave them the laws of the Mount Sinai covenant, "Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, 'Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.'" (Deuteronomy 4:6)
So the Lord gives good understanding and good sense. David told Solomon (the author of this proverb), "May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel." (1 Chronicle 22:12-13; Psalm 119:104) Understanding and sense are only good when I apply the Lord's words in my daily actions. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, "Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom." (James 3:13)
The way of unfaithful and treacherous people is hard and rough. They do not win the favor of God or people because they refuse to follow the Spirit of God and the word of the Son of God. They follow the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 7:24; Ephesians 2:1-4; 2 Peter 2:10) They "follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." (Jude 18). Following natural instincts is a hard life compared to following God's Spirit
>What does verse 16 reveal about the lifestyle of prudent and foolish?
* Proverbs 13:16 "Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly."
* "Every prudent man"
* "acts out of knowledge"
* "a fool"
* "exposes his folly."
>Why is it important to think about lifestyle choices and our future?
* A prudent person as presented in Proverbs is cunning and subtle. They act with and out of knowledge. They learn and become familiar with the ways of people; how all interact, how one type of person will respond to another, and how someone influences and even controls others. They understand how to respond and act in every situation. They are as graceful in social settings as a professional dancer before a large audience. They work with the knowledge they have obtained.
I think of Jesus who when presented with many different social settings responded not only well but in the most amazing ways. The words he said to the Samaritan woman by the well, to Zacchaeus in the tree, the Pharisee who accused him of being demon-possessed, and his disciples who wanted to send away the crowd after he taught all day. Jesus was a prudent man who acted out of knowledge.
A fool as presented in Proverbs is rough, crude, and blunt. A fool is like a chef who cuts open and chops up an onion causing eyes to burn and tears to flow down faces. I think of King Saul who fixated on David using Israel's army to search deserts for a young fugitive as rival armies raided his neighbors.
Today who will I be like? King Jesus or King Saul? Will I be prudent or the fool? Sometimes I want to hide away and not engage in the day. Other times I want to explore what God has in store for me during the next 12 hours. Lord, help me to not chop an onion.
III. Bring Healing (13:17-25)
* This drawing in public domain by an unknown author is titled "Entering Jerusalem" Matthew 21-1-11 is cited.
>8. How did Jesus call us to be his messengers and what can we learn from verse 17 about what is the good way to deliver the message?
* Proverbs 13:17 "A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing."
* "A wicked messenger"
* "falls into trouble"
* "a trustworthy envoy "
* "brings healing."
* Jesus commanded his disciples to go and preach the gospel. He makes me a messenger and an ambassador. He tells me, "A trusted envoy brings healing, a wicked messenger falls into trouble."
I have started to read again the booklet "The Plight of Man and the Power of God" by Martyn Lloyed-Jones. The book is five messages he delivered in Edinburgh in March 1941. World War II had begun. The world was in shock for their generation had just gone thru World War I (1914-1918).
Message one. "We must rouse ourselves and realize afresh that though our gospel is timeless and changeless, it nevertheless is always contemporary. We must meet the present situation and we must speak a word to the world that none else can speak." He continues, "I would say again that her (the church's) failure, in general, to deal vitally and realistically with the situation during the last war is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the Christian Church... Surely it must be obvious by now that that whole view of life was entirely wrong and false."
Mr. Martyn said that they were wrong in their message and refused to accept any belief that they were wrong, "...in spite of dwindling Church membership and attendance, and in spite of the obvious deterioration in the general tone of life..." Are Jesus' followers, my generation making the same mistake? Have we fallen into trouble?
>How is the advice in verse 18 different that 13?
* Proverbs 13:18 "He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored."
* "He who ignores discipline"
* "comes to poverty and shame"
* "whoever heeds correction"
* "is honored."
* Discipline is again addressed in this proverb. Ignoring and refusing discipline invites poverty and shame. Is the discipline from God or from human authority? Certainly, these predictions are true when the discipline and corrections are from God. The correction of God can be trusted to bring the outcome stated here, whether shame or honor.
However, correction and discipline from humans may or may not bring these outcomes. If the person who has authority over me has ill intent or is not wise, then the opposite may be true. The Lord sent a prophet from Judah to Israel to deliver a message to the king of Israel. He was to return to Judah directly after delivering the Lord's message. While returning the prophet was met by an older prophet who convince him to go to his house and eat instead of returning directly to Judah. The younger prophet obeyed the older and died. (1 Kings 13) Surely the correction of the older should not have been obeyed. I need to follow the Holy Spirit's leading for sure but weigh discretely the discipline and correction from others.
>What might a person detest from turning from evil? (19; John 3:19-21)
* Proverbs 13:19 "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil."
* John 3:19-21 "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.
21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God."
* "A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul"
* "fools detest turning from evil."
* The longing of the soul is not always apparent. Though I may ignore and suppress it, the soul's longing remains still. Since a longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, I should seek to find out what my soul longs for. I need to be honest with myself, no longer keeping my soul in the dark, but stepping into the light of truth. I need to do some soul-searching, discover what I long for, and fulfill it.
Since mankind was made to be one with the Highest God, in the Highest God, and with the Highest God in the beginning, then everyone's soul longing is to be the way we were made. Sweet to the soul is to have the longing for an intimate and eternal relationship with God fulfilled. "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?" (Psalm 42:1-2)
Is it true that everyone's soul has a hidden and suppressed longing to be in communion with God? Is this my soul's longing in the sad times and the happy times? It seems that some do not have this soul desire. They appear to enjoy the darkness and hate the light. Why? "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God." (John 3:19-21)
So it is not that they do not have the soul's longing to be one with God. Rather, they detest turning from evil because they are full of darkness (evil) and chose to believe that God will not forgive them and will instead expose their evil deeds. They will not accept that God's light is sweet.
>9. How does the company we keep affect our life?
* Proverbs 13:20 "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm."
* "He who walks with the wise grows wise"
* "a companion of fools suffers harm."
* "The birds of a feather flock together," goes an old saying. The inaccuracy of this saying is that it implies I don't have a choice of the company I keep. Solomon states, "He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm." The fact is I choose who are my friends and who I associate with.
How this is implemented depends on my current social state. If I have companions who refuse to have a personal relationship with Jesus, then I should not remain in a close relationship. Determining if another has a personal relationship with Christ is not so easy to determine. When I was a new Christian in my late teens the mother of a young lady I began dating convinced her believing daughter that she should not date me, an unbeliever who did not go to their church. Though the young lady witnessed to others, twice she ended our relationship as her mother directed without knowing the secret that I had asked Jesus to forgive my sins and take full control of my life.
I recognize that Solomon is not saying I should not interact with someone living a life full of foolish decisions. Jesus told his Father, "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." (John 17:15) Jesus and the apostles interacted with all, and the result was that some turned to a life of faith in God. So I am to choose who are my close friends and choose to treat others with respect though I should not make them frequent and close companions.
>What does the Bible mean by a sinner? (21)
* Proverbs 13:21 "Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous."
* "Misfortune pursues the sinner"
* "prosperity is the reward of the righteous."
* Why does misfortune pursue the sinner? Why is good and prosperity the reward of the righteous? The answers are the same for both. God's nature and character do not change. God created everything based on his nature and character. The person who is in sync with God's character and nature has a better life. The person who is not in sync often meets misfortune and disaster.
From time to time I have either listened to young children perform a concert or watched them dance in sync as part of a school curriculum. Most keep the tempo and play on the cord and keep in step. Usually, there are a few who did not practice because they just don't want to do it. The few that are not in sync with the rest become the objects of ridicule and discipline. So is the same with people not in sync with God and his creation.
The Lord God told Moses and the people of Israel, "So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.
Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." (Deuteronomy 5:32-33) And the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul, "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:12-13)
>What wisdom is there for saving our money for future generations?
* Proverbs 13:22 "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous."
* "A good man leaves an inheritance for his children's children"
* "a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous."
* What I do with my wealth can be an indicator of my soul's condition. "A good person leaves an inheritance for his children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous." (22) Simpler words are, "Am I selfish?" If I am selfish then what do I cherish? The righteous treasure their grandchildren. The sinner treasures wealth and money even more than themselves. The righteous prepare for their young treasures. The sinner will lose their treasure though they prepare it for themselves. The rich soul does not help themselves. The poor soul will have nothing in the end.
Job agrees, "Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty. Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver." (Job 27:13, 16-17) The result of the decisions my soul makes is under the eye of God. He controls fate. He allots the goods.
>10. Why does justice favor the rich and not the poor? (23)
* Proverbs 13:23 "A poor man's field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away."
* A poor man's field may produce abundant food"
* "injustice sweeps it away."
* The proverb in verse 23 is unlike most of the rest of the proverbs in the book in that it is not a comparative proverb upon a quick read. However, within its meaning, it does compare the poor with the powerful who often became and maintain wealth at the poor's expense. Some would say the modern slogan for this proverb is "social injustice". However, like any other mantra, the meaning of the term social injustice is defined broadly and inconsistently.
Since human justice is defined by imperfect people, naturally human justice is used by the imperfect for their own benefit. The poor man's abundant harvest is stolen by the corrupt hiding behind laws that are anti-social and anti-Christ. Eventually, legal injustice turns into riots that lead to either deceptive change, violence turned into revolution, or repentance and submission to God's way. Only the latter helps the poor reap the benefit of a field that produces abundant food.
Is there any hope for the poor living in an unjust society? Yes. Hope is found in the Lord. David declared, "Say to my soul, 'I am your salvation.' ...My whole being will exclaim, 'Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.'" (Psalm 35:3, 10)
>What does it mean to carefully disciple our children? (24)
* Proverbs 13:24 "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him."
* "He who spares the rod hates his son"
* "he who loves him is careful to discipline him."
* No one likes to be disciplined, sometimes not even after it has accomplished its goal. (Hebrews 12:10) Yet, because of the nature of the human heart discipline is sometimes the only mechanism that will accomplish the goal. "...We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness." (Hebrews 12:9-10) God, who abundantly loves me is careful to discipline me. (24) Therefore, I endure hardships as God's discipline. (Hebrews 12:7)
"Rod" here is a figure of speech for discipline of any kind. God-directed hardship is a rod of discipline. He has other rods too. So when human parents lovingly believe that their child needs to be disciplined they are not being instructed here that a physical rod is the only blessed means.
"Discipline" here in the original Hebrew is "musar" (a transliteration). It can also be translated as instructed, corrected, reproof, and chastened. Discipline thus has a clear goal. One goal is to lovingly and wisely correct folly that is bound to a child's soul (22:15). Another goal is to keep one from the path of destruction and even death (19:18, 23:13-14). The rod imparts wisdom (29:15) when other forms of education do not or will not work. It even keeps a mother and father from disgrace and promotes a healthy and happy family (29:17).
>How might our choice of lifestyle affect our stomach?
* Proverbs 13:25 "The righteous eat to their hearts' content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry."
* "The righteous eat to their hearts' content"
* "the stomach of the wicked goes hungry."
* Understanding the truth of this proverb is to examine what makes the righteous heart content and what the stomach of the wicked pangs of hunger is for. The two are not the same. The wicked desire the plunder of evil men (12:12) and revenge (Leviticus 19:18). The righteous desire God who is full of love and mercy (Psalm 27:8; Mathew 9:13) and his prosperity (Psalm 122:9). Jesus proclaimed, "But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
The heart of the righteous is satisfied for the Lord fills it daily with bread. Jesus declared, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty... I am the bread of life... the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." (John 6:35, 48, 50-51)
When first reading this proverb I thought, "This is hard to believe." I thought this because I compared myself to the wicked who have much more possessions than I do. Then I realized that my heart is content. I knew that my satisfaction is from God who dwells in my soul. Sure, God's favor and blessing give the righteous a competent estate, a heart to use it, and comfort and satisfaction in it when he desires. Yet, the apostles and prophets went through a time of prosperity and poverty. Paul happily stated while in prison, "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)