Proverbs 14:1-35 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Hard Work Brings Profit
Comments for Study 14

Proverbs 14:1-35
Memory Verse: 7


I. The Witness (14:1-9)

The Nun

* This drawing in public domain from a book by Holbein, Hans (1497-1543) is titled "Les Images de la mort [de H. Holbein] : avx quelles sont adioustées douze figures ... La medecine de l'ame. La consolation des malades. Vn sermon de mortalité, par sainct Cyprian. Vn sermon de patience, par sainct Iehan Chrysostome ... " The title is, "The Nun". A nun kneels at an altar to pray as a female skeleton (= Death) puts out the candles. The nun is distracted from her prayers by a young man sitting on the bed playing a lute. The 54 images of Hans Holbein's "The Dance of Death" (Lyon, 1538) were cut by Hans Luetzelburger and here appear in the 1547 Latin edition of the work. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>1. What do some Biblical mother's of predominate leaders have in common? (1; 1 Samuel 1:7, 2:7; Ruth 3:11; Luke 1:30, 38)

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

* 1 Samuel 1:7, 2:7 "This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the LORD, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat... The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts."

* Ruth 3:11 "And now, my daughter, don't be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All my fellow townsmen know that you are a woman of noble character."

* Luke 1:30, 38 "But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God... "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her."

* "The wise woman builds her house" -In Hebrew, "hokmot ishshabana bayit" (a transliteration).

* "The wise woman builds her house..." begins this simple yet direct proverb. "Wise woman" found in every English translation comes from the original Hebrew words "hokmot ishsha" (a transliteration). Ishsha is the first name Adam gave the woman the Lord created from his rib to be his wife (Genesis 2:22-24). "Builds her house" found in every English translation comes from the original Hebrew words "bana bayit" (a transliteration). They imply children and family is the house she builds. The proverb is not referring to an enterprise or business.

The wise woman is compared to a foolish one; "iwwelet" in Hebrew (a transliteration). The foolish woman tears down her family.

The woman of the household has the power, authority, and ability to rule her children. She will not always be about to control them. Yet, she always is in charge. Her husband should be sure to let the know that their mother is the authority that they are to submit to and learn from.

The Bible's examples of wise women include Hannah, Samuel's mother (1 Samuel 1:7, 2:7), Ruth, King David's grandmother (Ruth 3:11), and Mary the virgin mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30, 38). These childless women shared faith in their Lord in the most extraordinary ways before they became mothers and grandmothers of influential and prominent leaders.

>What is common amount those who fear the Lord and who despise him? (2)

* Proverbs 14:2 "He whose walk is upright fears the LORD, but he whose ways are devious despises him."

* "He whose walk is upright"

* "fears the LORD"

* "he whose ways are devious"

* "despises him."

* A pattern exists for the response to the Lord God. Some fear him and others despise him. My response is an indicator of my heart's status. If I fear him then my walk is upright, meaning my heart is such that it compels me to do righteous things. Others plainly can see that I am a good person who is inclined to do good things.

If I despise the Lord then my ways are devious, meaning my heart is such that it compels me to do devious things. Something devious is a terrible act hidden behind something that appears to be good. A devious act is hidden because everyone else despises it and is revolted by it. So those who despise the Lord live a life of deception and lies. They know that if people really knew their heart then they would hate them.

Fearing the Lord seems to be a much easier and lighter way to live than despising him. The person who despises the Lord has to work much harder to stay in society and have others still associate with them. This explains why so many are inclined to isolate themselves from society.

In C.S. Lewis's short story (I forget the name this morning) someone is shown the difference between two societies. One is in the cracks of the street bricks of another. The one that exists in the cracks consists of people that are slowly scattering because they don't want to be near other people. Fearing the Lord brings people together. Despising the Lord separates.

>What are common results of the words we speak? (3)

* Proverbs 14:3 "A fool's talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them."

* "A fool's talk"

* "a rod to his back"

* "the lips of the wise"

* "protect them."

* If my back hurts because I have been beaten, perhaps I have been beaten because of something I said for "a fool's talk brings a rod to his back..." Yet, my back cannot blame my lips and tongue for they only move as the heart commands. For the heart is the command of the lips and tongue and it is the back that suffers. When the back hurts the whole body suffers, and it is the heart that is the cause though few know it. They only ask, "Why have I been beaten?"

Is there a pattern of beating and suffering in my life? Does the same pain keep coming back and never leave? If so it is wise to seek the cause of the pain. Ask the question, "How do I contribute to the pain?" Or better yet, "What part of me is the real cause of the pain?" Perhaps it is my lips and tongue. Perhaps they are only an intermediate cause, not the root cause. It is better to curve the heart to control the mouth and thus save the back from the beating of a rod.

"The lips of the wise protect them" for the wise realize that God is the only cure for a heart that is the result of a rod repeatedly beating on the back. The wise cries out from the heart through the lips, "Save me Lord Jesus and take total control of my life. Make new my heart. Make it like yours. Change my heart, then you God will protect my back from the beating rod from the cause of sin and death."

>2. What was the importance of oxen in ancient cultures? (4; 1 Corinthians 9:7-11)

* Proverbs 14:4 "Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest."

* "Where there are no oxen"

* "the manger is empty"

* "from the strength of an ox"

* "comes an abundant harvest"

* 1 Corinthians 9:7-11 "Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat of its grapes? Who tends a flock and does not drink of the milk? Do I say this merely from a human point of view? Doesn't the Law say the same thing? For it is written in the Law of Moses: "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain." Is it about oxen that God is concerned? Surely he says this for us, doesn't he? Yes, this was written for us, because when the plowman plows and the thresher threshes, they ought to do so in the hope of sharing in the harvest. If we have sown spiritual seed among you, is it too much if we reap a material harvest from you?"

* The meaning behind this proverb is more than the powerful beast of burden the farmer uses to plow his field. The Lord God is concerned about the field of humans that can be changed to produce much wonderful fruit. (Matthew 3:23)

The reason we don't produce fruit is that our souls are in need of cleaning and repair and our spirits are dead. Spirits are dead because they are not receiving nutrition from the Son of God, Jesus. Jesus taught his disciples, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

Workers are needed to spread the message of Jesus. His words need to be planted into others' souls. Workers are also needed to help people grow in Christ and mature. No sapling will produce seeds. It must grow and mature with much sunlight, water, and nutrition. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building." (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

So as Jesus stated, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field." (Luke 10:2) "Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest." Am I an ox or a sapling?

>What internal perspective should be done when considering verse 5 and Luke 24:46-49?

* Proverbs 14:5 "A truthful witness does not deceive, but a false witness pours out lies."

* "A truthful witness"

* "a false witness"

* Luke 24:46-49 "He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high."

* Facts about a truthful witness and a false witness are elsewhere in Proverbs (6:19, 12:17, 25:18). So being a truthful witness is important to God. A truthful witness does not deceive.

Jesus called his followers to be his witnesses. He meant that in everything he taught and did his followers were to say and do the same. "You are witnesses of these things," he told us (Luke 24:48). So am I a truthful witness who does not deceive? Or am I a false witness who pours out lies?

If those who I associate with know that I am different because of my faith in Jesus, then perhaps I am a truthful witness. Yet, being different isn't a good indicator that I am true. It just indicates that others know I am different.

If no one turns to Jesus for salvation and leadership does it mean that I have not been a truthful witness? Perhaps. Yet, even a donkey --a beast without speech- spoke with a man's voice and restrained Balaam, a prophet from madness, when it was a truthful witness. (2 Peter 2:16) A truthful witness talks and does as the Spirit enables no matter the response to his or her's message. When I allow the Spirit to carry me along, then I am a truthful witness who does not deceive.

>Why would a mocker seek wisdom and why would he not find any? (6, 9:10-12)

* Proverbs 14:6 "The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none, but knowledge comes easily to the discerning."

* "The mocker seeks wisdom"

* "and finds none"

* "knowledge comes easily"

* "to the discerning"

* Proverbs 9:10-12 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For through me your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer."

* A mocker is a person who is excessively proud and arrogant (21:24). They are bullies full of insults, hatred, and strife (9:7-8, 22:10, 29:8). They resist correction (13:1, 15:12) even though they deserve flogging (19:25, 21:11). Unlike the humble and discerning they do not fear the Lord though they harbor and react to vague fears.

A mocker seeks wisdom, yet because he refused to fear the Lord he finds none for fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10). A mocker refuses to acknowledge his burdened nature, though alone in dark places, it is his fixation.

A discerning person is exceedingly humble and gracious. They are a blessing to others full of kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. They accept correction and discipline (1:5, 15:4). Unlike the proud and arrogant the discerning fear the Lord and they house faith in him.

A time is coming, Jesus taught, that the mocker will cry out when he dies, "Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire," for his soul will be in hell and the discerning Lazarus will be in paradise (Luke 16:24). The mocker will hear this reply, "Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony." (Luke 16:25)

>3. How did Jesus apply verse 7 in his ministry? (Matthew 9:10-13, 21:15-17)

* Proverbs 14:7 "Stay away from a foolish man, for you will not find knowledge on his lips."

* "Stay away from a foolish man"

* "for you will not find knowledge on his lips."

* Matthew 9:10-13 "While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew's house, many tax collectors and "sinners" came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and 'sinners'?" On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

* Matthew 21:15-17 "But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, "Hosanna to the Son of David," they were indignant. "Do you hear what these children are saying?" they asked him. "Yes," replied Jesus, "have you never read, "'From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise'?" And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night."

* This proverb gives a reason for staying away from a foolish person; his words are not knowledge. Stay around them long enough and I will be a talking fool too. The Bible has much to say about the company that I should and shouldn't keep. The key to keeping this wisdom is to know who is foolish and who is wise.

I have learned that I cannot determine who is wise and who is foolish by the clothes they wear, the position they hold, and not even what others say about them. In the first century in Israel, the fools were prominent men in expensive clothes, in high standing in their congregation, teachers, preachers, and most well respected. The wise followed a country preacher who wore road dusty clothes, in low standing in their congregation, were not trained teachers or preachers, and did not command respect.

"Be careful," Jesus said to them. "Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (and Herod)." (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1)

Jesus said the wise are those who put his words into practice (Matthew 7:24). Jesus said the wise are like little children whom God the Father reveals his truths (Matthew 11:25). Jesus said the wise are those who keep the oil of the Holy Spirit because they do not know when he will come back and so are always prepared and ready to keep their light lit. (Matthew 25:4) Jesus taught the wise servant is the faithful who feeds his people with the truth in spirit, word, and action (Luke 12:42-43).

Am I the fool that I should keep myself away from?

>How is self-examination important to our soul? (8; Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 43; Luke 14:35)

* Proverbs 14:8 "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception."

* "The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways"

* "the folly of fools is deception."

* "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:15, 13:9, 43; Luke 14:35)

* Prudent in the original Hebrew portrays a person who is cunning and crafty as is further defined in BDBD for Proverb 12:23. There I learn that the cunning stores and covers the knowledge of Jesus, his words, and his kingdom in their soul's vault (also 10:14; Matthew 13:45-46). The proverb in 14:8 tells me that the wisdom of the prudent is to compare and search their soul and their ways with the word of God that they so treasure.

A fool does not treasure the word of God, refuses to examine their soul in light of the word of Jesus, and therefore deceives themselves and others (though not everyone is fooled by their deception). What they do treasure does not bring them success in the eyes of God and seldom in the eyes of others. Instead, it leads them toward their own destruction. All this is out of fear of something that never happens as they perceive it (John 3:19-20, 12:44-47).

The disciples knew that Jesus often went to lonely places by himself to pray (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46, 14:32; Luke 6:12, 9:28, 11:1) Though his apostles saw this routine they only record one of these secluded lonely prayer times. Surely the Lord's prayer on the Mount of Olives (Gethsemane) just before he was betrayed and arrested is the prayer of a prudent wise man (Mark 14:32-42).

>What did Jesus teach about making amends? (9; Matthew 6:12-15)

* Proverbs 14:9 "Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright."

* "Fools mock at making amends for sin"

* "goodwill is found among the upright."

* Matthew 6:12-15 "Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.' For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins."

* Sin is an inherent condition of everyone born (except Christ) (Romans 3:23), a condition that we own but cannot sell or give away. It is just there affecting every aspect of human existence in a bad way like rot in an orange, an apple, and a pomegranate. God hates sin, is not affected by sin, and is fully capable of not only dealing with it but eliminating it and the damage it causes (Romans 6:10).

The reason God hates sin is multitudinous. His solution to sin is transitional and liberating. It is based on love. It is beyond ultimate power. It is simple. It is pure. It is wonderful. It is eternal. It is free. It is one-sided conducted and one-sided received. God's solution to amends for sin is Christ Jesus, his one and only Son (Hebrews 9:26-28). Sin's amends through Jesus' blood is best defined by emotion.

"Fools mock at making amends for sin." Why? I know why. Does the fool know why? Mocking liberating amends is folly to the upright who know God's goodwill. I shed tears for those who mock amends for sin because they are rejecting life.

"He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him." (1 Thessalonians 5:10) "Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43) Last night I had a vision, a dream before I awoke, one that I had before. My graduation is at hand. I am getting ready to leave for the commencement with my classmates. "Goodwill (favor, forgiveness, a pleasing thing) is found among the upright."

II. The Simple and the Wise (14:10-21)

>4. Who is the owner of one's heart?

* Proverbs 14:10 "Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy."

* "Each heart... no one else"

* "knows... shares"

* "bitterness... joy"

* The true core mood of a person's heart is known only by the owner and God (1 Chronicles 28:9). Whether bitter or joyful, happy or sad, fearful or brave, puzzled or enlightened the heart's presence is thine heart alone. The heart, "leb" in Hebrew (a transliteration) is used to describe the seat of one's feelings and emotions and is associated with thought and will. Some people may spend years, or even a lifetime, not understanding the depths of their emotions.

The two opposing heart states focused on in this proverb are bitterness (Hebrew "morra") and joy (Hebrew "simha"). Biblical examples of bitterness are 1 Samuel 1:10; 1 Kings 8:38; & Mathew 26:75 and examples of joy are 1 Chronicles 29:17-22; Ezra 6:16, 22; Easter 8:16; & Matthew 13:44. Though external circumstances and situations will make a person bitter or joyful, the heart's reaction to these is controlled by the heart's owner. My ability to control my heart depends on myself alone.

"The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart." Proverbs 17:3) A clear benefit of a personal submissive relationship with God is that he matures and molds the heart so that it fares better in every and any life event. So that one event experienced in the past will bring bitterness, yet experiencing it again later will bring joy.

During the Last Supper, "Jesus saw that his disciples wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, 'Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, 'In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me'? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy." (John 16:19-22)

>How might "house" and "tent" also refer to one's heart in verse 11?

* Proverbs 14:11 "The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish."

* "The house"

* "the wicked"

* "the tent"

* "the upright"

* The proverb here is a prophecy for "will be destroyed" and "will flourish" are future tense. Just when will the prophecy be fulfilled? One clue is the nature of the dwelling for the wicked and for the upright. The wicked person's dwelling is a house in all English translations. The upright's dwelling is a tent in all English translations. One is a permanently located expensive home, the other a mobile modest tent. Strange then it is for Solomon who built an expensive palace for himself and another for his Egyptian wife to write this proverb prophecy. Surely there is more to this prophecy than a quick reading will reveal.

The author of Hebrews wrote, "By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God." (Hebrews 11:8-10) The heart, mind, and faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were aware of and believed in a future inheritance that would flourish. So they lived in tents.

Hebrews continues, "All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own." (Hebrews 11:13-14)

Jesus before his arrest, death, and resurrection gave his disciples direction concerning when this proverb prophecy will come true. He said, "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man." (Matthew 24:36-39) Until the prophecy is fulfilled I am to live by faith, my heart a tabernacle for God.

>What is the consequences of self-justification? (12)

* Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death."

* "There is a way that seems right to a man"

* "but in the end it leads to death."

* Matthew 15:14 "Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

* Romans 6:16-18 "Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness."

* "There is a way that seems right..." is an open-ended statement in that the way that seems right is undefined. Surely these ways are in full view of the Lord that leads to death as is stated concerning the wicked's evil deeds in chapter 5:21-23. Still, why did the Lord through Solomon make this an open-ended proverb?

The intent of Proverb 14:12 is to help the reader begin to examine the way they are living. Still, if a person believes that the way they are living is right, meaning the way God intends them to live, can that person be convinced to examine their lives in light of God's word? And even if that person becomes convinced that their way of living is leading to death will they have the power and will to change their ways?

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in "The Plight of Man and the Power of God" wrote to his generation in the middle of WWII, "In the same way as morality alone fails, the gospel of Christ succeeds. It starts with God and exists to glorify His holy Name. It restores man into the right relationship to Him, reconciling him to God through the blood of Christ. It tells man that he is more important than his own actions or his environment and that when he is put right, he must then proceed to put them right. It caters for the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, intellect, desire and will, by giving him the most exalted view of all, and filling him with a passion and a desire to live the good life in order to express his gratitude to God for His amazing love. And it provides him with power. In the depth of his shame and misery as the result of his sin and failure, it restores him by assuring him that Christ has died for him and his sins, and that God has forgiven him. It calls him to a new life and a new start, promising him power that will overcome sin and temptation, and will at the same time enable him to live the life he believed and knows he ought to live."

The Little Flute

* 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" The title is, "The Little Flute". A child blows her little flute so loud that one of three women nearby covers her ear with her hand. A man walks his dog in the background of this city scene. 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 references are to Proverbs 14:13 and Isaiah 5:7-14. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

The motto is "Many mouths make such a sound, As that of the ubiquitous Flute.". The accompanying poem is:

The flute-playing by the child,
Only aggravates the Ear;
Like wild notes, without a tune:
So also the Old one's vain joy,
Is only sorrow in the ear of Virtue,
The true Wise and grey Old one.

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

>5. What are some examples of having laughter when the heart aches and joy ending in grief?

* Proverbs 14:13 "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief."

* "Even in laughter"

* "the heart may ache"

* "joy may end in grief."

* As verse 10 declares that "each heart knows its own bitterness and no one else can share its joy" so verse 13 echoes and builds the thought, "even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief." I may be able to disguise and hide my true emotion from others, but God and I still know. Some even hide their emotions from themselves, or worse yet their emotions are a swirling mess like debris in the winds of a tornado destroying things they collide into.

When Rachel gave birth to her second she named him with her last breath Ben-Oni meaning "son of my trouble" (Genesis 35:17-18). There was joy at the birth and heartache because the mother died. Though this event matches these two proverbs, it is not the thought today.

Some emotions may linger in my heart for long periods of time affecting in some way any and every event in my life, even opposite emotions. Heartaches and grief born in the loss of someone loved may never go away. Jacob, Rachel's husband and Benjamin's father always harbored the loss of his beloved Rachel. Every time he saw Benjamin he was reminded of his deceased love and thus did not risk losing Benjamin (Genesis 43:6). Know deep emotions to learn why I do what I do, perhaps then I may overcome. Meditation of self in light of the Word of God can be of great benefit.

>Considering verse 14 is expressed in future tense, how then should I live?

* Proverbs 14:14 "The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his."

* "The faithless"

* "will be fully repaid for their ways"

* "the good man"

* "rewarded for his."

* God has a lot to say about having faith in him. "Without faith, it is impossible to please God because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him." (Hebrews 11:6) "For it is by grace you have been saved; through faith - and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." (Ephesians 2:8) "For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written; "The righteous will live by faith." (Romans 1:17) "Now these three remain; faith, hope, and love." (1 Corinthians 13:13)

Jesus often commended faith. When Jesus saw the faith (of the men who lowered their paralytic friend in front of Jesus) he said to the paralytic, "Son, your sins are forgiven." (Mark 2:5) When a woman reached out to touch Jesus' cloak to be healed "he said to her, "Daughter, our faith has healed you. God in peace and be freed from your suffering." (Mark 5:34) When a blind man began to shout, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" Jesus said to him "Go your faith has healed you." (Mark 10:47, 52)

All these align with the proverb in verse 14, "The faithless will be fully repaid for their ways, and the good man rewarded for his." The future for all contains one judgment with two possible outcomes. If I have faith in God which is similar to the faith of the people Jesus commended, I will be rewarded. If I do not have faith in God such as they I will be condemned and punished.

>How are belief and thinking about my way linked?

* Proverbs 14:15 "A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps."

* "A simple man"

* "believes anything"

* "a prudent man"

* "gives thought to his steps"

* Jesus had his own way of saying, "... a prudent man gives thought to his steps." He said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." (Matthew 11:15, 13;43; Luke 8:8) Saying, "A simple man believes anything..." is not meant to be a retort to others. Rather, I can take it as God's challenge to me to investigate to determine the validity of his words.

Several ways exist to determine the validity of Jesus' words. One way is to put them into practice. (Matthew 7:24-27) This is not as easy as it appears. Considering all the proverbs I have thought about so far in BDBD, I find them true but I wonder if I have really put them into practice.

A saying goes, "I know in my head, but do I believe in my heart?" If I do what Jesus' says I will come to believe in what he says in my heart. The way from the head to the heart is putting Jesus' words into practice. "Consider carefully how you listen," Jesus tells me. "Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has will be taken from him." (Luke 8:18)

>6. What does it mean to be hotheaded and reckless? (16, 21:24, 12:18, 13:3)

* Proverbs 14:16 "A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless."

* Proverbs 21:24 "The proud and arrogant man--"Mocker" is his name; he behaves with overweening pride."

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

* Proverbs 13:3 "He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin."

* "fears the LORD" -See study 1 question 2 verse 1:7 comments. "Fears" in the original Hebrew here is "yare". The NIV includes "the Lord" in this verse. However, the Hebrew word for "the LORD" is not in the original text and thus most English translations do not have it in this proverb. For example the KJV has, "A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil..." and the YLT (Young's Literal Translation) has, "The wise is fearing and turning from evil..."

* "shuns evil" -The original Hebrew is "sur ra" (a transliteration). "Ra" is the name of the Egyptian God. The first half of the proverb concerns turing away from and departing evil just as the Israelites left Egypt.

* "a fool is hotheaded and reckless" -The original Hebrew for "hotheaded" is "abar" (a transliteration) that has a broad meaning. The original Hebrew for "reckless" is "batah" that can also be translated as confidence, bold, and careless.

* "A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil..." is one of the main themes of the book of Proverbs. (1:7, 1:29, 2:5, 3:7, 8:13, 9:10, 10:27, 14:2, 16, 26, 27, etc) Here the wise man is compared to the fool who is "hotheaded and reckless". Hotheaded and reckless in the original Hebrew is "abar batah". While most agree with the NIVs translation (which is used in BDBD), some English translations have "careless and overconfident".

A person who does not fear the Lord loses self-control. Left uncontrolled we all will slide toward thoughts and emotions that include anger and confidence in abilities that do not exist. These lead to disastrous results.

When I was a young teen I went snow-sliding down a steep hill on a Flexible Flyer. After many trips sitting down on the Flyer, my friends and cousin started standing up while going down. So did I. Someone had built a snow ramp at the bottom of the hill. While I was gliding down the hill standing up on the Flyer I saw that I was heading straight for a snow ramp. No matter how I tried to turn the Flyer it remained on course. Instead of gliding over the ramp, the front metal rails dug into the ramp. I was flung in the air doing flips and other not-so-elegant spins. I landed hard on a frozen lake. I instinctively tried to brace my landing with my hands. Thus breaking my wrist.

Losing control breaks things. A wise man learns to have respect enough to know what shouldn't be done and what should be done. Fearing the Lord and shuning evil are the actions of the wise who knows who and what deserves respect.

>How are the proverbs in verses 16 and 17 similar?

* Proverbs 14:17 "A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated."

* "A quick-tempered man" -King Saul was quick tempered.

* "does foolish things" -David confessed that he did a foolish thing by counting the fighting men. (2 Samuel 24:10, 1 Chronicles 21:8) Ezekiel was told by the Lord to prophecy against the false prophets who foolishly prophesied from their own imaginations. (Ezekiel 13:1-3)

* "a crafty man is hated."

* Surprising is the fact that this easy-to-accept and understand proverb is not a comparative proverb as is so many in the book of Proverbs. Another surprising fact is that it defines the character traits of both a quick-tempered man and a crafty man. Could King Solomon have a specific person in mind when he wrote this?

Just because a person gets angry does not mean that they will do foolish things. God gets angry. However, if I am quick to anger, that is I have little or no control over my emotions I will eventually and repeatedly do stupid things. I have known a few men who were quick-tempered. Like King Saul, most people were afraid to get too close to them. "Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control." (Proverbs 25:28)

Controlling emotions is not a natural trait for humans. Self-control is learned through repeated use and exercises of calming my thoughts and emotions. Self-control is a gift of God. Self-control is one of the fruits of the Spirit of God. (Galatians 5:22)

Self-control is a choice for Paul wrote, "So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self-controlled. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet." (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8)

>Considering the proverb in verse 18 is God involved in everyone's life?

* Proverbs 14:18 "The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge."

* "The simple inherit folly"

* "the prudent are crowned with knowledge." -Crowns and being crowned is often used in the book of Proverbs. (4:9, 10:6, 12:4, 12;24, 14:24, 16:31, 17:6) The original Hebrew word is "katar" (a transliteration) meaning compass, enclosed, and surround.

* The one implies that God is in charge of all lives, not just the prudent.

* A crown and being crowned are mentioned many times in Solomon's proverbs. Wisdom is said to present a crown of splendor (4:9). God crowns the head of the righteous with blessings (12:4). The wealth of the wise is their crown (12:24). And here "the prudent are crowned with knowledge". A crown in ancient society was a symbol of honor and high status in society. A crown was usually passed to a deceased king's son. The prudent show care and thought about the future (15).

The simple do not inherit a crown. They inherit folly according to this proverb. God's Word English translates the Hebrew as, "Gullible people are gifted with stupidity, but sensible people are crowned with knowledge." An inheritance (the better translation) is more than a gift. It is a right. Inheritance refers to the assets that an individual bequeaths to their loved ones after they pass away.

I can see that the difference between the wise and the fool is that the wise plan for the future according to God's word and ways, whereas the simple expect good things to come their way. This is also true in regard to what happens after our physical body dies. The wise see that eternal life in paradise with God is in the power and decision of God. So they look to what he requires. When asked what is required to inherit eternal life "Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.'" (Mark 10:17, 27)

>7. Why and when will the evil and wicked bow down in the presence of the good and at the gates of the righteous? (19)

* Proverbs 14:19 "Evil men will bow down in the presence of the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous."

* "Evil men will... and the wicked"

* "bow down in the presence of the good... at the gates of the righteous."


* The proverb in verse 19 is looking towards the future. The evil and the wicked are the same types of people as the good and the righteous are the same types of people. The proverb implies that the opposite is true in the present. Though the future will have the evil and the wicked submitting in the presence of the good and righteous, the opposite may be true in the present.

Jesus had a simple yet direct saying to conclude a parable that is the same as this verse. "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matthew 20:16, Mark 10:31) Jesus provides hope to those who are finishing last. Hope resides in the message of the gospel. Hope is a powerful gift. Hope is whole-heartedly believing promises.

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken." (Psalm 62:5-6)

>What does our actions towards the poor and rich say about us?

* Proverbs 14:20 "The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends."

* "The poor"

* "are shunned"

* "even by their neighbors"

* "the rich have many friends"

* Every generation in every society that has existed since Adam and Eve sinned and were driven out of the Garden of Eden not only knows the truth of this proverb, but we also live the truth of this proverb. "The poor are shunned (and hated) even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends." Even when God made many laws to provide help to the poor (Exodus 23:6, 11; 30:15; Leviticus 14:21, 19:10, 23:22, 25:35, etc.) the sad truth remains. Why? Because our sinful nature has that much subtle and persistent power.

When I see a poor person on the side of the street with a cardboard sign though I may give them some money, still my feelings towards them are different than my thoughts towards the people living in the mansions just down the street from where they stand begging. Now as I think and search my soul I see that I have several thoughts and emotions for rich and poor. Many if not most towards the poor are not extended to the rich.

Proverb 20 has one contrast that helps explain why I am like this. The poor are shunned and hated. The opposite emotion, love is expressed for the rich. The Hebrew word "aheb" is translated as love, lover, friend, and beloved meaning a strong emotion towards someone I want to be with. Why do I love the rich? I want something from them for me. Why do I hate the poor? Doing the right thing toward them is giving them something. The sinful nature is selfish. It wants to be near one that gives to me and away from the one I am to give to.

Mercy on the Poor

>How might verse 21 go along with verse 20?

* Proverbs 14:21 "He who despises his neighbor sins, but blessed is he who is kind to the needy."

* See a drawing to the right by an unknown author is now in public domain. Proverbs 14:21 is cited.

* "He who despises... sins"

* "neighbor"

* "blessed"

* "kind to the needy"

* Despising someone is disrespecting them which is a sin. Blessing someone is to allow both the giver and the receiver to experience happiness. Blessed is the person that is kind to the needy. How can I be kind?

22:9 declares, "A generous man will himself be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor." 31:9 also declares what it means to be kind to the needy. "Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." Deuteronomy 15:8 commands, "Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs."

God has given all the ability to be creative and imaginative. Surely I can come up with a way to bless someone. I can look at those in my life and see what they need. Not everyone needs finances. Perhaps a person needs attention and kindness. Another may need to know that they matter and are of value. Perhaps they need help with a task. Surely everyone needs prayer. Hugs and kind words are worth more than riches to many. Lord God give me eyes ways to be kind to the people in my life.

III. A King and His Kingdom (14:22-35)

>8. How do the plans that I make reveal my character and what is in my future? (22)

* Proverbs 14:22 "Do not those who plot evil go astray? But those who plan what is good find love and faithfulness."

* "Evil" -"ra" in Hebrew is also in verses 2:14, 3:7, 4:14, 16, 27, 5:22, 6:14, 18, 8:13, 10, 23, 29, 11:6, 19, 27, 12:12, 13 20, 13:19, 14:16, 19, 22, etc.

* "Do not those who plot evil go astray?" -A deliberate intention to commit evil. The result does not matter. It always causes them to go astray, a natural result even if not part of the plot.

* "But those who plan what is good" -"Plot" and "plan" in this verse are both "haresh" in the original Hebrew. It is a primitive root verb with a broad range of uses, 73 total.

* "find love and faithfulness." -As either a deliberate reaction or they naturally come upon it because they planned what is good.

* The plans I make show what is in my heart and what will happen to me in the future. If I plot evil I will go astray (22, 5:22-23, 12:26). If I plan what is good I will find love and faithfulness (22, 20:28). 3:3-4 states the reciprocal, "Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."

Love and faithfulness are key ingredients to a joyful and happy future. I can exercise and find love by plan and design. Love is an emotion expressed in action. I can plan to express an act of love today to a spouse, a parent, a child, and a friend. I can also plan to love those who make themselves my enemy.

This prophetic proverb tells me that if I plot evil for those who are my enemy, then I will be led astray from people and God. Perhaps my evil plot will succeed. But as Jesus said, "What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?" (Mark 8:36) Will I be happy and joyful when I watch my enemy fall and at the same time not find love and faithfulness, sitting all alone day after day?

>What is required to obtain a profit?

* Proverbs 14:23 "All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty."

* "All hard work"

* "brings a profit"

* "mere talk"

* "leads only to poverty."

* Why does work have to be hard? Work doesn't need to be hard. However, if I want to bring a profit I need to work hard. This proverb is amazing in that it says that ALL hard work brings a profit. This includes ministry too.

I have worked very hard and very long on and I can say that I have made no monetary profit. Truthfully it cost me. In the entire thirty years, only a few made an offering, nowhere near covering the monetary expenses. I guess having the word free in the name contributes to the lack of offerings. I am writing this with some humor and some pain because for two months now I have been trying to fix the desktop computer with no success. I really do not want to spend the little money I have to buy a new desktop.

So does the hard labor that I put into including BDBD podcast and this blog translate into profit? Is all my hard work merely talk? I never started this to make a profit. This all stemmed from a passion for the Word and a command given to me by a man of God. If I were in it for monetary profit I would have quit a long time ago. I hope that these mere words bring a profit to the kingdom of God and for me, maybe also in the kingdom of God.

>What is wealth in the Bible considering the prophets, apostles, and Jesus? (24)

* Proverbs 14:24 "The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly."

* "The wealth of the wise" -"Wealth" in the original Hebrew is "osher" (a transliteration). 36 of the 37 times it is in the Old Testament it is translated as "riches" and one time as "far richer" in the KJV. "Osher" is a nown derived from the verb "oshar" meaning "rich" as in "enrich". "Osher" means "wealth" as it is translated in the NIV.

* "is their crown" -"Crown" in the original Hebrew is "atara" (a transliteration). The 23 times it is in the Old Testament it is always translated as "crown" in the KJV. See verse 18 comments in question 6 above where the Hebrew word there is "katar" and also translated "crown".

* "the folly of fools" -"Iwwelet kesil iwwelet" is translated into English as "the folly of fools yields folly" here and "the foolishness of fools is folly" in the KJV, "the folly of fools is folly" in the YLT, "the folly of fools is only folly" in the ASV, and "The stupidity of fools is just that - stupidity" in the GW. The statement is funny redundancy, one could say the statement is silly foolishness.

* "yields folly." -The product of fools.

* The wealth of the wise is not merely monetary wealth. While it is true that financial wealth is a blessing of the Lord (10:22) and a gift from God not a product of human attainment; the wealth that is a crown is not solely money.

The wealth of the wise that is their crown is compared to the folly of fools that yields folly. The fool inherits shame (18, 3:35). The crown of the wise is knowledge (18). The wise inherit honor (3:35).

Consider Levi who was a rich young man sitting in his tax collector booth and partying with his friends. Why did he leave all that behind to follow a traveling country preacher? Consider also the rich young man who came to ask Jesus a question about how to inherit eternal life. Why did this nameless man walk away sad when Jesus told him to sell all he had and give to the poor? Levi became Matthew whose book is read and studied over 2,000 years later and the other man is the image of folly. Matthew wears a crown and the other is called a fool.

>Why might the type of witnessing be repeated in the book of Proverbs? (25, 6:16, 12:17, 19:5, 9, 28, 21:28)

* Proverbs 14:25 "A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful."

* "A truthful witness"

* "saves lives"

* "a false witness"

* "is deceitful."

* The truthful witness and the false witness are the subjects of today's proverb. A truthful witness gives honest testimony, (12:17) does not deceive (5), and saves lives (25). A false witness tells lies (5, 12:17) and is deceitful (25).

I am called to be a witness for I am told, "This is what the LORD says-- Israel's King and Redeemer, the LORD Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God... Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one." (Isaiah 44:6, 8)

I am called to witness about Jesus for I am told, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things." (Luke 24:46-48)

So will I be a truthful witness or a false witness today?

>9. How can fear of the Lord be a secure fortress and a refuge?

* Proverbs 14:26 "He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge."

* "He who fears the LORD" -See question 6 above. "Fear" here is "yira" (a transliteration) in the original Hebrew implying dreadful and exceedingly so.

* "has a secure fortress"

* "for his children"

* "it will be a refuge."

The Fountain: Clear and Pure

* This drawing in public domain from a book by Luiken, Jan (1649-1712) is titled "Beschouwing der wereld : bestaande in hondert konstige figuuren, met godlyke spreuken en stichtelyke verzen / door Jan Luiken." The title is, "The Fountain: Clear and Pure". Two persons quench their thirst from a fountain with six high spouting streams of water. A third person rests under a tree. The Dutch artist and poet Jan Luiken (1649-1712) was responsible for drawing this emblem and composed the poem that accompanies it. The etching was executed by Jan Luiken or his son Casper Luiken (1672-1708), who had used this image in an earlier work. The attendant scriptures are Proverbs 14:27 and Isaiah 12:3. Courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory University:

>What does it mean that fear of the Lord is a fountain of life? (27)

* Proverbs 14:27 "The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death."

* "is a fountain of life"

* "turning a man"

* "the snares of death."


* The fear of the Lord is again eulogized (in verses 26 and 27); claiming it is a secure fortress, a refuge, and a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death. The word picture establishes that fear of the Lord is a powerful and undefeatable defender who aids in the time of need. The enemy is death, the sting of death's trap is sin, and the power of sin is the law. (1 Corinthians 15:56)

What is sin and why is it powerful enough to kill? Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in his book "The Plight of Man and the Power of God" wrote in chapter 3, "The Nature of Sin", " is not enough just to say that sin is a power that has independent existence. It is a mighty power, a terrible power. It has a fiendish quality, a malignity that is truly terrifying. It is a definite spirit, a positive attitude, active and powerful. Furthermore, it is a power that we have allowed to enter our life and which affects us profoundly and vitally. It is not something light and comparatively trivial. It does not belong to the order of vestigial remains. It does not merely affect one part of us and our nature. It is so deep-seated and so much a part of us that the entire person is affected - the intellect, the desires, and therefore the will. Indeed, it constitutes such a terrible problem that God alone in Christ can deal with it."

Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the battle against the snares of death and its sting sin. The end is the love of Christ displayed on the cross, battling and defeating the terrible

>Does the people support a government or does a government support the people? (28)

* Proverbs 14:28 "A large population is a king's glory, but without subjects a prince is ruined."

* "A large population"

* "is a king's glory"

* "without subjects"

* "a prince is ruined."

* Since a large population is a king's glory, then Jesus' glory far exceeds all kingdom's ever to exist. Jesus told a parable about his kingdom's size. He said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." (Matthew 13:31-32) Jesus illustrated the ever-expanding power of his kingdom.

In another parable, Jesus shared the basis of his kingdom's expansion of glory. "I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." (Matthew 17:20) Though Jesus' kingdom started small with a few ordinary people who had faith in him, it is now the largest. For in the last 2,000 years, many more have put their faith in the glorious king Jesus.

The power and glory of faith in Jesus cannot be doubted nor underestimated. It will never end. It will never change. It will ever increase in glory and power.

>What shows that a person is patient?

* Proverbs 14:29 "A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly."

* "A patient man"

* "has great understanding"

* "a quick-tempered man"

* "displays folly."

* Patience is an active endurance of opposition, not a passive resignation. (Romans 12:12) Patience and patient are used to translate several Hebrew and Greek words. Patience is endurance, steadfastness, longsuffering, and forbearance. Patience is one of the characteristics of God. "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)

The Lord was patient with Israel for many generations. By his Spirit, he admonished them through prophets. But they did not listen or pay attention to them. Eventually, he sent them their enemies who defeated them. (Nehemiah 9:30) A person who is patient displays the character of God. A patient person has great understanding and love (Ephesians 4:2). Love is patient (1 Corinthians 13:4). Having the gift of faith in God enables me to be patient.

How can I be patient with enemies? How can I be patient with someone who shows no remorse or grief? How can I be patient with another who shows no sign of mature growth? How can I be patient with someone who commits the same error and sin over and over again? I can first remember that God is patient with me in those ways.

James 5:7-11 says, "Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! Brothers, as an example of patience in the face of suffering, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. As you know, we consider blessed those who have persevered. You have heard of Job's perseverance and have seen what the Lord finally brought about. The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

>10. What does it mean to have a heart at peace?

* Proverbs 14:30 "A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones."

* "A heart at peace"

* "gives life to the body"

* "envy"

* "rots the bones."

* A heart at peace is contrasted with envy. As a noun envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else's possessions, qualities, or status. As a verb envy is a desire to have a quality, possession, or another attribute belonging to someone else. Envy is never satisfied. Envy always wrongfully believes more will bring peace. Envy wrongfully believes those who have what they desire are happy. Envy rots the bones.

A heart is at peace when it is content and thankful for what God has done. Peace is the state of being one with God for he is enough. Peace is knowing and accepting God's love and grace for me is enough. A heart at peace knows God and his one and only Son, Jesus the prince of peace. A heart at peace gives life to the body. Life to the body is the health effects of fearing the Lord and walking in his wisdom (3:7-8, 16-18).

Since all this is true, I am thankful to have time to be one with God every morning, if I stop to do it. The choice is mine. He is always there waiting for me to find his peace.

>How does our heart actions towards others reveal our faith in God? (31)

* Proverbs 14:31 "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God."

* "He who oppresses the poor"

* "shows contempt for their Maker"

* "whoever is kind to the needy"

* "honors God."

* The way I deal with those who do not have as much as me reflects my relationship with God. All that exists is God's. All that I have was obtained and is maintained by God. "The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised," quoting Job who was rich and became poor in one day. (Job 1:21)

God does not give directly the same amount of anything and everything to each person. Some have more than others, whether monetary or physical characteristics. And like Job throughout everyone's life some are poor one day and later become rich and vice versa.

This proverb is about how the rich and the poor interact. The focus is the rich's response to the poor. The person who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. The closer my relationship with God the kinder I am. The farther my relationship with God the more selfish I am. Thus, God is good, gentle, kind, and generous at the core of his being. Humans are unclean, harsh, mean, and selfish at the core of their being. God's core existence overpowers human's core existence. The closer I am to him, the more his character affects me. Do I need and want to change? Then draw near to God.

How to be kind to others who have less takes wisdom. For he who is able in the body to work and yet is poor in wealth needs one kind of assistance while a person who is not able in body and yet is poor in wealth needs another kind.

>How can a person find refuge in death? (32)

* Proverbs 14:32 "When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down, but even in death the righteous have a refuge."

* "When calamity comes"

* "the wicked are brought down"

* "even in death"

* "the righteous have a refuge."

* Death is not the end of existence. "...Even in death, the righteous have a refuge." David, Solomon's father often referred to the Lord God as his refuge. He said: "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior-- from violent men you save me... He is a shield for all who take refuge in him... Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge... I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to me and hear my prayer. Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes." (2 Samuel 22:2-3, 31, 16:1, 17:6-7)

No greater foe is there than death who overpowers and defeats everyone. "When calamity comes, the wicked are brought down..." No matter how powerful or rich the wicked, they cannot defeat the calamity death brings. David warned, "Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him." (Psalm 2:10-12)

Jesus, the Son boldly proclaimed, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed... For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, to your amazement he will show him even greater things than these. For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it." (John 8:34-36, 5:20-21)

Therefore, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8) Take refuge in the Son of God, Jesus, and live forever in his power and love.

>11. How can wisdom repose in a person's heart?

* Proverbs 14:33 "Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known."

* "Wisdom reposes in the heart"

* "of the discerning"

* "even among fools"

* "she lets herself be known."

* Everyone has access to wisdom, but only among the discerning it rests (reposes) claims this proverb. The discerning is the person that considers wisdom and harbors it in their heart. Rests in the heart is "leb bin" in Hebrew implying our soul vault. The proverb implies that wisdom can rest in the heart of the discerning because they happily allow it to.

Paul proclaimed to a crowd of Greeks in Athens who spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas, "...God determined the times set for people and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. 'For in him we live and move and have our being.' As some of your own poets have said, 'We are his offspring.'" (Acts 17:25-28) God is the source of wisdom. In fact, he is wisdom and he makes himself and his wisdom accessible to all (Romans 1:19-20).

God supplied wisdom to Athen's seekers of the latest ideas through Paul. Some sneered. Others wanted to hear more. Today people are the same as in the first century. As for me, from this moment to the next I can allow the Lord God and his wisdom to reside in my soul vault or sneer. As Jesus said, "Seek and you will find." (Matthew 7:7). And, "But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul." (Deuteronomy 4:29)

>Why do kingdom's and nations fall?

* Proverbs 14:34 "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people."

* "Righteousness"

* "exalts a nation"

* "sin"

* "is a disgrace to any people."


>Does being a servant of God guarantee freedom from his wrath? (35, 29:19, 21; Luke 12:42-48, 17:7-10, 19:11-27.)

* Proverbs 14:35 "A king delights in a wise servant, but a shameful servant incurs his wrath."

* Proverbs 29:19 "A servant cannot be corrected by mere words; though he understands, he will not respond."

* Proverbs 29:21 "If a man pampers his servant from youth, he will bring grief in the end."

* See Jesus' parables about servants recorded in Luke 12:42-48, 17:7-10, and 19:11-27.

* "A king delights in a wise servant"

* "a wise servant, a shameful servant"

* "incurs his wrath."