Proverbs: Chapter Ten

The Proverbs of Solomon

Since each of these verses has it’s own unique bit of wisdom, I will go through verse by verse. I’ll be skipping verses, but feel free to comment on any of the ones that strike a particular cord with you. I would love to hear how God is using His words to touch your heart.

“The LORD does not let the righteous go hungry, but He thwarts the craving of the wicked.” v.3 If you’re reading this literally, you may get a bit confused. What God is saying here is that when the righteous seek Him, they will not leave empty handed or walk away feeling unsatisfied.  It’s just like what Jesus shared in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:6, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” On the other hand, the wicked will never be satisfied. They will seek to satisfy their sinful desires, but nothing will quench them, everything will fade away over time and they will keep seeking more and more…but nothing will satisfy.

“The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin.” v.8 This reminds me of what we talked about in the beginning of Chapter 4. Listening to the instruction of our parents, and ultimately God, is of vital importance. People are put in charge of us for good reason and we need to humble ourselves and listen to what they have to say. Yes, I know there are some people who are not good leaders, but that will come to light in due time, but in the mean time, our responsibility is to listen to those whom God has placed in a position of authority. Be it parents, teachers, boss, co-worker, husband, president or any other person. As we read in v.9, “The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” A poor leader will be discovered!

I think we all have one of those people in our lives. No matter what we do or say, we’re always wrong, they’re always right. They can’t seem to find the good in any situation, they love dishing out corrections, but never take any. Somehow they always seem to become the topic of conversation, even though it just makes you frustrated and angry…and they aren’t even there! I read v.10, “Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs,” and all I could think of is, “Let it go!” Sitting around nay-saying a person, even if they aren’t there, will only breed more anger and frustration. You cannot change the behavior of another…but you can start by changing your own. Lift this person up in prayer, love them unconditionally just as Christ would. It’s ok to be firm with this person, set your boundaries using gentle words, if they listen then wonderful! If not, you may need to consider separating yourself or limiting your time with this person. I could go on, but that would be a whole other post.

Think before you speak. That’s exactly what I got from reading v. 14, “Wise men store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.” It’s amazing to me just how many of these nuggets of wisdom are about what we SAY! In a world where everyone seems to be talking at the same time, it’s easy to feel like we have to get our two-cents in, but if those two-cents comes out without any thought to what they may mean…they aren’t worth even a penny! The next time you are in a conversation with someone, in a meeting at work, in an argument, or whatever, take a few moments to just listen. Don’t plan out what you’re going to say next, instead really pay attention to what others in the room are sharing. Then share your thoughts, whatever that might be, with “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”…sound familiar? It should! They are the Fruits of the Spirit!

Ok, I have read and re-read v.15, “The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, but poverty is the ruin of the poor,” and I do not get this verse at all! At first glance {and second glance too}, I read this as a slam against the poor, saying that they will never escape their plight and that the rich will just get richer. Perhaps this is true…but that hardly seems like a bit of useful wisdom. I ended up turning to my Commentaries to find out what the experts had to say about all this. The following is an excerpt from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Old Testament from my QuickVerse:

  • This may be taken two ways:—1. As a reason why we should be diligent in our business, that we may avoid that sinking dispiriting uneasiness which attends poverty, and may enjoy the benefit and comfort which those have that are beforehand in the world. Taking pains is really the way to make ourselves and our families easy. Or, rather, 2. As a representation of the common mistakes both of rich and poor, concerning their outward condition. (1.) Rich people think themselves happy because they are rich; but it is their mistake: The rich man’s wealth is, in his own conceit, his strong city, whereas the worst of evils it is too weak and utterly insufficient to protect them from. It will prove that they are not so safe as they imagine; nay, their wealth may perhaps expose them. (2.) Poor people think themselves undone because they are poor; but it is their mistake: The destruction of the poor is their poverty; it sinks their spirits, and ruins all their comforts; whereas a man may live very comfortably, though he has but a little to live on, if he be but content, and keep a good conscience, and live by faith.

Verses 18-21 center around careless speech. As we talked about earlier, it is so important for us to pay attention to the words that we say. This doesn’t just mean we need to be careful of words used in face to face conversations, but it also includes the words we use on Facebook, Twitter, email, texts, Google+, Skype, ooVoo, or whatever else is out there these days which we use to communicate with one another! It doesn’t matter where our words are thrown…they are not boomerangs, we can never take them back. Sure, we can always seek forgiveness for things we have said and back pedal, but those words are still out there. By the way, deleting them from our social networks does not make them disappear either.

I’m liking v.24, “What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted.” The wicked always worries that their deeds will be laid bare, that they would be discovered and punished for what they have done and how they have lived their lives.  Well, God says that one way or another, that fear will come to pass every time! Whether they experience that here on earth, or face God’s judgement at the end of days. The righteous however, seek God’s wisdom and to serve Him wholeheartedly. God will give them what they seek!

Remember the song you sang in Sunday School as a kid or in youth group called, “The Wise Man Built His House Upon the Rock”? That’s exactly what I thought of when I read v.25, “When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.” This song comes from Matthew 7:24-27 where we read about two men building a house, one on the rock and the other on sand. Well, as you can imagine the house on the rock stood firm during the storms and the one on the sand went SPLAT! The wicked put their faith in things that are temporary; money, power, people, possessions. The righteous however, put their faith in God a foundation that is secure and remains no matter what kind of storm comes sweeping through.

These last few verses continue on with the sentiment that the righteous will be satisfied with everything they put their heart into; after all, the goal of the righteous is to seek God’s heart in everything they do and say. The wicked will never be satisfied with the desires they seek, because what they seek cannot last and even if they acquire every desire of their heart, it will never be enough. These last verses also reiterate the importance of the words we allow to flow from our mouths…or fingertips.

Father, may the words of my mouth be pleasing to Your ears, for I know that what comes out of my mouth is a reflection of what is in my heart. You have made my heart Your home, Your temple, please purge it of anything offensive to Your Holy Name. Allow my deeds to be seen by others that they may turn their hearts to You in praise! Amen.

Whew! There is so much meat here y’all and we’re only a third of the way through Proverbs! I would love to hear about any verses in this chapter that struck a cord with  you. Feel free to share your thoughts below.

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