Resources by D. Marion Clark

Marion Clark was Executive Minister of Tenth Church until February 2014. He has edited Come to the Waters, a devotional featuring the writings of James Montgomery Boice and is the author of What Matters, Speaking the Truth in Love, and Jesus the Conquering King. Visit DMC Resources for all of his resources.

Proverbs 11:8

The righteous is delivered from trouble,
and the wicked walks into it instead.


The wicked does not read warning labels. He ignores danger signs. He doesn't look both ways when crossing the street and prefers to take shortcuts through alleys and dark parks. He does not think wisely about danger, not so much thinking that he will be safe, but not thinking about the subject at all. He…
Proverbs 11:7

When the wicked dies, his hope will perish,
and the expectation of wealth perishes too.


Pity the wicked. Their hope will perish. All their dreams, what drives them to live, will vanish. If they are fortunate, their hope will perish while in their lifetime. Then they might come to their senses like the prodigal son, repent, and turn to God. But if they are not shown such mercy…
Proverbs 11:6

The righteousness of the upright delivers them,
but the treacherous are taken captive by their lust.


You should be picking up a theme by now: to be righteous is to be wise, which leads to success; to be wicked is to be foolish, which leads to failure. Because the focus of the righteous is to do what is right, God will deliver them; also, the focus on doing…
Proverbs 11:5

The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
but the wicked falls by his own wickedness.


How does the gymnast on the balance beam keep her balance? For one thing she keeps her head straight and eyes focused. To stay on the straight path, we must keep our head straight, following the righteous laws and commands of Scripture. Such laws steady us and keep us on the…
Proverbs 11:4

Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.


In medical news a report was published that people with at least $70,000 in assets die better. Their last year of life is less painful, presumably because they can afford better healthcare and have more leverage in demanding good care.


But riches - be it $70,000 or $70 billion - will be of no…
Proverbs 11:3

The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the treacherous destroys them.


Like the previous proverb, verse 3 presents the connection between virtue and wisdom, and between sin and foolishness. We are often taught that to think we can maintain integrity in the business world, or academics, or whatever field is to be naive. Everyone else compromises or outright cheats; we must compromise our ethics…
Proverbs 11:2

When pride comes, then comes disgrace,
but with the humble is wisdom.
.

Jesus parable in Luke 14:7-11 provides commentary for this proverb. The person, who out of pride, sits himself at the head of the table is disgraced when asked to take a lower seat; while the humble person ends up honored. It is interesting that the proverb connects humility with wisdom. It makes sense.
Pride, by…
Proverbs 11:1

A false balance is an abomination to the Lord,
but a just weight is his delight.

God hates cheating; he delights in integrity. This is a good proverb to remember as we are tempted to cut corners on a job, to omit information on our taxes, to "get help" on a paper, or gain an advantage over a competitor. The end does not justify the means.


Besides the…
Proverbs 10:32

The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.


We have the popular expression today "_____ knows _____." "Bo knows music." "Julia knows food." "Michael knows basketball." It means that the person credited doesn't merely know about a subject, but that he knows it, or performs it, so well that he becomes identified with it. He is "at one…
Proverbs 10:31

The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.


The mouth is like a tree. The mouth of the righteous is like a strong, healthy tree: it bears (brings forth) good fruit (wisdom). But like a fruit tree which bears sickly fruit or is barren, the tongue of the perverse (those who twist what is true and good) will be cut…
Proverbs 10:30

The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.


"The land" is the Israelites' inheritance in the Promised Land. No other possession was dearer to an Israelite than his land, and the whole land of Israel was identified with the kingdom of God. Thus, the righteous will never be removed from the kingdom of God, but the wicked will not dwell in…
Proverbs 10:29
The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers.


Consider this proverb from different levels. The writer most likely is thinking of the "way of the Lord" as following God's law. For the keeper of the law, such a way is a stronghold, a fortress against the wicked who seek the righteous' destruction, and from the efforts of the worldly to lead…
Proverbs 10:28

The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish.


Here is the Apostle Paul's commentary about the hope of the righteous: "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the…
Proverbs 10:27

The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.


I wonder if there is any life insurance company that uses this criteria in evaluating life expectancy. They do evaluate lifestyle. One who fears the Lord, diligently obeying his laws, should have better odds of living longer than the one whose wicked life invites danger and violence.
But the fear of the…
Proverbs 10:26

Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.


As vinegar sets teeth on edge and smoke stings the eyes, in the same way the sluggard exasperates and irritates those who depend on him. In this case, he is sent to carry out a work for another - perhaps delivering a message or an item; perhaps retrieving an…
Proverbs 10:22

The blessing of the LORDmakes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.


Perhaps the best way to understand this proverb is to contrast the blessing of the Lord with the blessing of the wicked. For they do offer blessing. The forbidden woman offers sensual blessings. If you join with them, the wicked offer the spoils from oppressing the poor, from taking advantage of the weak…
Proverbs 10:20

The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.


The tongue of the righteous is choice silver for the words he speaks convey beauty and truth. From the heart of the wicked comes vulgarity and lies, worthless words.

What is the value of your tongue? Are you known for building up others through your words? Do they bring healing for…
Proverbs 10:19

When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
We have a similar saying: Give a man enough rope and he will hang himself. The more verbose we are the more likely we will say something to get ourselves in trouble or cause trouble.
The reason is simple. We are sinners. Sin is always looking for an outlet and the mouth provides…
Proverbs 10:18

The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And whoever utters slander is a fool.

The hater conceals his hatred through false flattery and false kind words. He will slander the very person he flatters. Hatred cannot be concealed completely. It will reveal itself in subtle ways, if we are alert.

We should be wary of the person who speaks well of another, but then will whisper to…
Proverbs 10:17

Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, But he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
This proverb is similar to the previous one. A contrast is made between the one who heeds instruction and the one who rejects reproof. The obedient one is on the path to life, but again, where we expect the contrast to be the path to death, it is about sin. This…
Proverbs 10:16

The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.

Both the righteous and the wicked earn wages from their respective labors. But those wages lead to different ends. The contrast of the ends is not quite what we would expect. If the wage of the righteous leads to life, then shouldnt the gain of the wicked lead todeath? Isnt it redundant to…
Proverbs 10:15

A rich man's wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.


First, consider this proverb as an observation. The rich man uses wealth to build financial security, and if used wisely, to build a stable, productive life. The poverty of the poor can, and often does, break the spirit and well-being of the poor. They become entrapped in a cycle of poverty.
Now…
Proverbs 10:14

The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.


The wise build up storehouses of knowledge. Go to a wise person and he always seems to have a good answer, even if it is to lead you to where the right answer is. A wise person lays up knowledge through all of life's experiences. He lays up knowledge from his mistakes as well…
Proverbs 10:10
Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.


"Winks the eye" refers to one who plans mischief. He deceives his neighbor, perhaps in collusion with another. Even if harm is not intended, the winker may be making someone else the butt of a joke. The babbling fool appears again with the same result of verse 8: he comes to ruin. The babbler…
Proverbs 10:9

Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.


David Skeel's book about corporate scandals, Icarus in the Boardroom, could be regarded as an exposition of this proverb. A man rises into the sky through energy and innovation, only to eventually fall because his pride, ambition, and greed drive him to compromise his integrity and commonsense. Crooked ways will…
Proverbs 10:8

The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.


This is a recurring theme in Proverbs and the basis upon which the proverbs are offered. Solomon wrote in chapter 1:5ff, "Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance, to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles...fools despise wisdom…
Proverbs 10:7

The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.


Philadelphia has many historic sites made famous because of great national leaders. The names of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and, of course, George Washington have been evoked in veneration time and again for their contributions to America. Their memory is a blessing to us American citizens. Contrast their names with Benedict Arnold…
Proverbs 10:6

Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.


I can't think of a better commentary on this proverb than Psalm 1:
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on
Proverbs 10:5

He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.


It is prudent to think ahead and "gather" while one can in preparation for the future. One of my more prudent decisions in college was to get the reading list for my fall course on American novels. I am a slow reader, and I knew I didn't…
Proverbs 10:4

A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.


I once commented to a relative about the bad luck of an individual who kept having trouble holding down jobs. The relative replied, "Sometimes you have to make your own luck." That is the point of this proverb. We cannot control all of our circumstances, but more often than not, our success or lack of…
Proverbs 10:2

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.


Crime does not pay. Most likely the treasure itself will be the downfall of the wicked, as they are caught in their crime sooner or later. Perhaps they are not caught; nevertheless, they must hide their deeds and live in guarded fear either from the law or from others who are wicked. Perhaps they live without…
Proverbs 10:1

A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.


A foolish son or daughter is a sorrow to parents. For whatever else they may achieve in life, it is in their children that they take greatest pleasure and pride. It is their children whom they love most and through whom they hope to leave a loving and honorable legacy. How…
Proverbs 9:13-18

13 The woman Folly is loud;
she is seductive and knows nothing.
14 She sits at the door of her house;
she takes a seat on the highest places of the town,
15 calling to those who pass by, who are going straight on their way,
16 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
And to him who lacks sense she says,
17 "Stolen water is sweet,
Proverbs 9:7-12

7 Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse,
and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you;
reprove a wise man, and he will love you. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser;
teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the
Proverbs 9:1-6

1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has hewn her seven pillars.
2 She has slaughtered her beasts;
she has mixed her wine;
she has also set her table. 3 She has sent out her young women to call
from the highest places in the town,
4 "Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!"
To him who lacks sense she says,
5 "Come, eat of my bread
Proverbs 8:32-36

32 "And now, O sons, listen to me:
blessed are those who keep my ways.
33 Hear instruction and be wise,
and do not neglect it. 34 Blessed is the one who listens to me,
watching daily at my gates,
waiting beside my doors.
35 For whoever finds me finds life
and obtains favor from the LORD,
36 but he who fails to find me injures himself;
all
Proverbs 8:22-31

22 "The LORD possessed me at the beginning of his work,
the first of his acts of old.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
at the first, before the beginning of the earth. 24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
before the hills, I was brought forth,
26 before
Proverbs 8:12-21

12 "I, wisdom, dwell with prudence,
and I find knowledge and discretion.
13 The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil.
Pride and arrogance and the way of evil
and perverted speech I hate.
14 I have counsel and sound wisdom;
I have insight; I have strength.
15 By me kings reign,
and rulers decree what is just;
16 by me princes rule,
and nobles, all who
Proverbs 8:1-11

1 Does not wisdom call?
Does not understanding raise her voice? 2 On the heights beside the way,
at the crossroads she takes her stand;
3 beside the gates in front of the town,
at the entrance of the portals she cries aloud:
4 "To you, O men, I call,
and my cry is to the children of man.
5 O simple ones, learn prudence;
O fools, learn
Proverbs 7:16-27

16 I have spread my couch with coverings,
colored linens from Egyptian linen;
17 I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
18 Come, let us take our fill of love till morning;
let us delight ourselves with love. 19 For my husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey;
20 he took a bag of money with him;
at full moon
Proverbs 7:6-15

6 For at the window of my house
I have looked out through my lattice,
7 and I have seen among the simple,
I have perceived among the youths,
a young man lacking sense, 8 passing along the street near her corner,
taking the road to her house
9 in the twilight, in the evening,
at the time of night and darkness.

10 And behold, the woman meets
Proverbs 7:1-5

1 My son, keep my words
and treasure up my commandments with you;
2 keep my commandments and live;
keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; 3 bind them on your fingers;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Say to wisdom, "You are my sister,"
and call insight your intimate friend,
5 to keep you from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with
Proverbs 6:25-35

25 Do not desire her beauty in your heart,
and do not let her capture you with her eyelashes;
26 for the price of a prostitute is only a loaf of bread,
but a married woman hunts down a precious life. 27 Can a man carry fire next to his chest
and his clothes not be burned?
28 Or can one walk on hot coals
and his feet
Proverbs 6:20-24

20 My son, keep your father's commandment,
and forsake not your mother's teaching.
21 Bind them on your heart always;
tie them around your neck. 22 When you walk, they will lead you;
when you lie down, they will watch over you;
and when you awake, they will talk with you.
23 For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light,
and the reproofs of discipline
Proverbs 6:16-19

16 There are six things that the LORD hates,
seven that are an abomination to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
and hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked plans,
feet that make haste to run to evil,
19 a false witness who breathes out lies,
and one who sows discord among brothers.

What God hates, so should we; and yet, we may…
Proverbs 6:12-15

12 A worthless person, a wicked man,
goes about with crooked speech, 13 winks with his eyes, signals with his feet,
points with his finger,
14 with perverted heart devises evil,
continually sowing discord;
15 therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly;
in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.

The worthless man considers himself cunning, able to get away with mischief. And yet, all he is…
Proverbs 6:6-11

6 Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise. 7 Without having any chief, officer, or ruler,
8 she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
9 How long will you lie there, O sluggard?
When will you arise from your sleep?
10 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
11 and poverty
Proverbs 6:1-5

1My son, if you have put up security for your neighbor,
have given your pledge for a stranger,
2 if you are snared in the words of your mouth,
caught in the words of your mouth,
3 then do this, my son, and save yourself, for you have come into the hand of your neighbor:
go, hasten, and plead urgently with your neighbor.
4 Give your eyes no
Proverbs 5:20-23

20 Why should you be intoxicated, my son,
with a forbidden woman
and embrace the bosom of an adulteress?
21 For a mans ways are before the eyes of the Lord,
and he ponders all his paths. 22 The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him,
and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.
23 He dies for lack of discipline,
and because of his great