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Some of you may know that over three years, with the help of others, I wrote daily devotions through the book of Proverbs. I am bringing them back (though you can read all of them anytime at my DMC Resource site) as daily postings. I have updated them, writing the ones I had missed before.
Proverbs 1:1

The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:

This first verse…
Proverbs 1:2-4

To know wisdom and instruction,
to understand words of insight,
to receive instruction in wise dealing,
in righteousness, justice, and equity;
to give prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the youth-

It is not enough to know your goal, be it to obtain financial security or to win the world for Christ. Knowing the goal is essential, but one must also be wise to attain it…
Proverbs 1:5-6

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.

Note the supposition of Solomon. The wise can always increase in learning. They do not reach a stage of knowing all they need to know. Furthermore, it requires wisdom to learn. Two men may have the same mental…
Proverbs 1:7

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
fools despise wisdom and instruction.

To have right knowledge, one must have a right perspective on reality. The skills of a mountain climber avail nothing if the climber is ascending the wrong mountain. Indeed, they take him further away from the goal. Reality is grounded in God. Thus, knowledge begins with a right understanding of God. And yet…
Proverbs 1:8-9

Hear, my son, your father's instruction,
and forsake not your mother's teaching,
for they are a graceful garland for your head
and pendants for your neck.

This is a good lesson for parents and children. First to children: what you may regard as chains around your neck, burdening and holding you down are really garlands and pendants to adorn you. Their instructions and rules are for your protection…
Proverbs 1:10-19

10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.
11 If they say, "Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood; let us ambush the innocent without reason;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive,
and whole, like those who go down to the pit;
13 we shall find all precious goods, we shall fill our houses with plunder;
14 throw in your lot
Proverbs 1:20-21

Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
Two notes to make: first, wisdom is cast as a woman. She will be contrasted with the forbidden woman who leads men astray. Men are attracted to the latter, but it is Wisdom who will prove…
Proverbs 1:22-25

"How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
If you turn at my reproof,
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;
I will make my words known to you.
Because I have called and you refused to listen,
have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded,
because you have ignored
Proverbs 1:26-33
26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose
Proverbs 2:1-4

My son, if you receive my words
and treasure up my commandments with you,
making your ear attentive to wisdom
and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight
and raise your voice for understanding,
if you seek it like silver
and search for it as for hidden treasures,

The precondition for wisdom is that you must desire it. You learn what you want…
Proverbs 2:5-8

5 then you will understand the fear of the LORD
and find the knowledge of God.
6 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
7 he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
8 guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.

If you truly seek wisdom, you…
Proverbs 2:9-12

9 Then you will understand righteousness and justice
and equity, every good path;
10 for wisdom will come into your heart,
and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; 11 discretion will watch over you,
understanding will guard you,
12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech.

For from being a burden, wisdom and its companions make great guests in your heart. Knowledge…
Proverbs 2:12-15

12 delivering you from the way of evil,
from men of perverted speech,
13 who forsake the paths of uprightness
to walk in the ways of darkness,
14 who rejoice in doing evil
and delight in the perverseness of evil,
15 men whose paths are crooked,
and who are devious in their ways.
Yes, there are men "out there" who want to harm you and take advantage of…
Proverbs 2:16-19

16 So you will be delivered from the forbidden woman,
from the adulteress with her smooth words,
17 who forsakes the companion of her youth
and forgets the covenant of her God; 18 for her house sinks down to death,
and her paths to the departed;
19 none who go to her come back,
nor do they regain the paths of life.

This is the first mention of…
Proverbs 2:20-22

20 So you will walk in the way of the good
and keep to the paths of the righteous.
21 For the upright will inhabit the land,
and those with integrity will remain in it, 22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land,
and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

What do you gain by walking the path of the good? You gain…
Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you. How to live longer and healthier is vitally important in our society, especially to those entering retirement years. When we reach middle-age we begin to measure our life-span. We are at the halfway mark to death if we remain…

June

Proverbs 3:3-4

Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
These are new words in the Proverbs - steadfast love and faithfulness. Note the overall focus on steadiness. We are to have a love that is steadfast. This same term for love…
Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Here is the guide to life for the Christian. Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Trust God in all circumstances to know what he is doing, to keep his promises, to bring all things to a conclusion…
Proverbs 3:7-8

Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Verse 7 presents a good definition of humility. First, be not wise in your own eyes. This is not false humility but a recognition of your limits. The essence of wisdom is recognizing how little you know. There are many scholars…
Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the firstfruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
This proverb is referring to tithing the firstfruits of all your produce. We talk about giving all of ourselves to the Lord and yet somehow find it difficult to part with ten percent of our income. Surely it…
Proverbs 3:11-12

My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
Are you experiencing trials at this time? Do you feel like you are going through a specially difficult time? Then consider the "devotional" written by the writer of Hebrews on this proverb.

It is for discipline that
Proverbs 3:16-18

Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
and all her paths are peace.
She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
those who hold her fast are called blessed.
Wisdom proves her value. She provides long life. She keeps the possessor out of danger and provides discernment for knowing…
Proverbs 3:13-15

Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
and the one who gets understanding,
for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
and her profit better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.

Essential for a meaningful life is knowing what to value. The cause of much unhappiness is prizing things that are either of little value…
Proverbs 3:19-20
The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; By his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew.
Consider this proverb from two perspectives. For one, we are to understand that creation is not a cosmic happen-chance. It is the work of God, the intentional work of God. He founded the earth; he established the heavens, and brought forth…
Proverbs 3:21-24

My son, do not lose sight of these -
keep sound wisdom and discretion,
and they will be life for your soul
and adornment for your neck.
Then you will walk on your way securely,
and your foot will not stumble.
If you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.


To lie down and not be afraid now that
Proverbs 3:25-26

Do not be afraid of sudden terror
or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes,
for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being caught.

It is the suddenness of destruction that strikes fear in us. One moment all is well; another moment and terror comes. And so will be the Day of Judgment. It will come suddenly, but it will
Proverbs 3:27

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to do it.

Break this into three parts. First, we are told not to withhold good. We tend the think that as long as we are not doing evil, then we are being good. But here we are commanded not to withhold good. Apparently, we are guilty of transgression simply by
Proverbs 3:28

Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give it" - when you have it with you.


The previous proverb instructs us not to put off doing good. This proverb tells us not to delay doing what we can. The most effective means to avoid doing good for our neighbor is to procrastinate. Tomorrow usually ends up being never. But even if we…
Proverbs 3:29

Do not plan evil against your neighbor,
who dwells trustingly beside you.


This is certainly a heinous act. It is terrible to do wrong to anyone, but especially against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. Arent we glad we are not like that!
Have we never desired for our neighbors, when they have offended us, to get their just desserts? Are we guilty of imposing motivations and…
Proverbs 3:30

Do not contend with a man for no reason,
when he has done you no harm.
Do not pick a fight. It seems an easy enough rule to follow, and yet we transgress it more than we may think. We don't consciously say to ourselves that we want to start a fight, but then our actions may reveal more than we care to admit. Just trying to have…
Proverbs 3:31

Do not envy a man of violence
and do not choose any of his ways.
Do not envy a person who violates the law of God. Our society exalts violence. TV shows are as popular according to the amount of violence, promiscuity, and rancor that can be displayed. Reality shows are only as interesting as the producers are able to manipulate conflict among the contestants. Shows awarded for…
Proverbs 3:32

for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
but the upright are in his confidence.
Do not choose the ways of a devious person, because in so doing you put yourself at odds with the Lord. The sinner forgets this all important factor. The person who loves to "stir things up," who finds it amusing to take advantage of others must stand before the Almighty God…
Proverbs 3:33

The Lord's curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous.
Rewards and trials fall on us throughout our lives. Consider then by what manner you most want to receive them and from whom.

One minister of a large, popular church has received many rewards. He has one of the largest congregations in the country and is one of the most…
Proverbs 3:34

Toward the scorner he is scornful,
but to the humble he gives favor.
The difference between God's scorn and that of the scorners is that God's is just and directed towards those who deserve it. The scorners in this proverb are those who scorn what is good. You see this everywhere in the world where the righteous and the moral are mocked. The Ten Commandments are ridiculed. The…
Proverbs 3:35

The wise will inherit honor,
but fools get disgrace.
The wise inherit the honor often received for showing good judgment, rendering fair decisions, and coming up with good solutions. It is one thing to be famous, yet another to be liked, and another to be honored. Fools can be popular and liked (as can foolish activities such as TV programs) even as they are recognized as fools (often…

July

Proverbs 4:1-9

Hear, O sons, a father's instruction,
and be attentive, that you may gain insight,
for I give you good precepts;
do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father,
tender, the only one in the sight of my mother,
he taught me and said to me,
"Let your heart hold fast my words;
keep my commandments, and live.
Get wisdom; get insight;
do not
Proverbs 4:10-13

Hear, my son, and accept my words,
that the years of your life may be many. I have taught you the way of wisdom;
I have led you in the paths of uprightness.
When you walk, your step will not be hampered,
and if you run, you will not stumble.
Keep hold of instruction; do not let go;
guard her, for she is your life.

All that the…
Proverbs 4:14-15

Do not enter the path of the wicked,
and do not walk in the way of the evil.
Avoid it; do not go on it;
turn away from it and pass on.
Can the instruction from Scripture be any clearer regarding our attitude toward wickedness? Why then do we delight in entertainment that glorifies violence and immorality? Why do we put ourselves in compromising situations? Why do we…
Proverbs 4:16-17

For they cannot sleep unless they have done wrong;
they are robbed of sleep unless they have made someone stumble.
For they eat the bread of wickedness
and drink the wine of violence.
Here we are given insight into the psyche of the wicked. When we come across crime, especially something like vandalism, we ask how someone could do such a thing, as though the perpetrators' conscience should…
Proverbs 4:18-19

But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
they do not know over what they stumble.
Consider these words in light of Ephesians 5:8-14:
for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit
Proverbs 4:20-23

20 My son, be attentive to my words;
incline your ear to my sayings.
21 Let them not escape from your sight;
keep them within your heart. 22 For they are life to those who find them,
and healing to all their flesh.
23 Keep your heart with all vigilance,
for from it flow the springs of life.

"Where did that come from?" we will ask when we…
Proverbs 4:24-27

24 Put away from you crooked speech,
and put devious talk far from you.
25 Let your eyes look directly forward,
and your gaze be straight before you. 26 Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
27 Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.

Just don't do it. Don't try to fit in…
Proverbs 5:1-6

1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,
2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.
3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,
4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death;
her steps follow
Proverbs 5:7-11

7 And now, O sons, listen to me,
and do not depart from the words of my mouth.
8 Keep your way far from her,
and do not go near the door of her house, 9 lest you give your honor to others
and your years to the merciless,
10 lest strangers take their fill of your strength,
and your labors go to the house of a foreigner,
Proverbs 5:12-14

12 and you say, How I hated discipline,
and my heart despised reproof!
13 I did not listen to the voice of my teachers
or incline my ear to my instructors.
14 I am at the brink of utter ruin
in the assembled congregation.
These verses remind me of the old Roy Clark song, Yesterday, When I Was Young:
So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me…
Proverbs 5:18-19

18 Let your fountain be blessed,
and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe.
Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight;
be intoxicated always in her love.

The answer to illicit pleasure is legitimate pleasure, that which rightfully and delightfully belongs to the one who is married. I find this embarrassing to read publicly because it is so…
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
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 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 6:12-15

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 6:16-19

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 6:20-24

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 6:25-35

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 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 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 7:16-27

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 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 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

August

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 8:32-36

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 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 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 9:13-18

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 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 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 10:4

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 10:5

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 10:6

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 10:7

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 10:8

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 10:9

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 10:10
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 10:14

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 10:15

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 10:16

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 10:17

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 10:18

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…

September

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 10:20

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 10:22

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 10:26

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 10:27

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 10:28

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 10:29
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 10:30

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 10:31

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 10:32

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 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 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 11:3

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 11:4

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 11:5

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 11:6

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 11:7

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…

October

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 11:9

With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

Jesus is the best example of proving this proverb. He was followed by men bent on destroying his reputation and even seeking his life by either laying before him verbal traps or outright slandering him. And yet, because of his wisdom born out of righteousness, he always had a ready answer…
Proverbs 11:10

When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices,
and when the wicked perish there are shouts of gladness.


Is this proverb really true? It seems to us that the city mocks the righteous and exalts the wicked. But then, what we have in mind is the city mocking our morals. Righteousness, of course, includes morality, but the focus here is on that aspect of righteousness in…
Proverbs 11:11

By the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of wicked it is overthrown.


The blessing of the upright may be the blessing that the upright give to the city. Thus, we bless the city when we pray for her, when we befriend our neighbors, pitch in to help the neighborhood, vote for good leaders, even run for public office. We bless the…
Proverbs 11:12

Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense,
but a man of understanding remains silent.


Why is it foolish to belittle one's neighbor? He can get even! He can play his music loud, have his dog use your yard, etc. He can make daily life miserable. A wise person understands this. He keeps his views about his neighbor's habits and tastes to himself. He does not take it upon himself…
Proverbs 11:13

Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets,
but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.


"Perhaps I shouldnt say this, but Tom told me..."
"I'm not suppose to say anything, but I thought you should know..."
"I wonder why Sally was going into..."

And the beat goes on. Note that the proverb says slandering reveals secrets. The viciousness of slander lies in that it spreads half-truths…
Proverbs 11:14

Where there is no guidance, a people falls,
but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.

Our church government follows this principle. No one minister or elder may rule the church. Instead, it is through the prayerful deliberation of elders (ministers are Teaching Elders; lay elders are Ruling Elders in our denomination) that divine guidance is received and given to the church. In actual practice, the "system"…
Proverbs 11:15

Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer harm,
but he who hates striking hands in pledge is secure.


This is a proverb that many of us have learned the hard way as we tried to help out someone in need with a loan or signing for a loan. If you wish to help someone, then give. If you make a loan, or co-sign for a…
Proverbs 11:16

A gracious woman gets honor,
and violent men get riches.


An English teacher would have given this proverb poor marks for its attempt at making a contrasting parallel. It goes from singular to plural, from woman to man, and the objects do not match. One would think that violent men would get dishonor. But they get the money. And as far as they are concerned, they get the…
Proverbs 11:17

A man who is kind benefits himself,
but a cruel man hurts himself.

What typically happens when you do a kind deed? You hold the elevator door open instead of letting it close on the person walking to it; you let the driver pull in front of you in heavy traffic; you help your colleague complete a task, carry the bag for your neighbor. Usually such kind deeds…
Proverbs 11:18

The wicked earns deceptive wages,
but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward.


This proverb is a commentary on the previous proverb: "A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches." The "riches" that the wicked earn are deceptive. They are but the precursor to disaster and misery, be it in this lifetime or the next. The honor that the righteous receive are a sure reward…
Proverbs 11:19

Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live,
but he who pursues evil will die.

One half of this proverb seems easy enough to fulfill, while the other half is impossible. Most people claim that they do not pursue evil, but who claims to be steadfast in righteousness? No one is perfect.

The contrast is between states of attitude. There are those who strive to do the right thing…
Proverbs 11:20

Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord,
but those of blameless ways are his delight.


Meditate on what pleases God:

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love
(Psalm 147:10-11).
Thus says the Lord: Let not
Proverbs 11:21

Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished,
but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered.


While watching a sporting event, such as a basketball or football game, you will usually notice a coach get extremely angry, sometimes for no apparent reason. He screams at the officials. His assistants may have to hold him back. Why is he so angry? He sees what he perceives to…
Proverbs 11:22

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout
is a beautiful woman without discretion.

A gold ring in a pig's snout is a waste of beauty and value. So a woman who acts foolishly, especially in the area of relationships and sexuality, wastes her beauty. Her very beauty ought to be an adornment that enhances her "value." And yet, through indiscretion she wastes it. A gold ring in…
Proverbs 11:23

The desire of the righteous ends only in good;
the expectation of the wicked in wrath.


Note first that the desire of the righteous is righteous desire. The righteous and the wicked may desire the same job and the wicked win out. They may both desire to win the game and the wicked triumphs. But in the end, because the righteous desire righteousness above all, their desires will…
Proverbs 11:24

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want.


The one who gives freely already is ahead because he is free from the control of money and possessions. His security and self-esteem is not bound to possessions; rather, his joy is in blessing others and in furthering the work of God's kingdom. To put it another way, it is…
Proverbs 11:25

Whoever brings blessing will be enriched,
and one who waters will himself be watered.

"They bless me more than I bless them."
"I get a whole lot more than what I give."
These are the kind of statements that are common to hear from those who go on mission trips, do acts of mercy, and get involved in ministry. They know the truth of another proverb it is…
Proverbs 11:26

The people curse him who holds back grain,
but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it.

The crime here is not merely that one is a miser, but that he withholds what is needed for survival. He is not even being asked to give, but to sell. Instead he hordes the grain, perhaps to run up the price; perhaps he is fearful of not…
Proverbs 11:27

Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor,
but evil comes to him who searches for it.


Do yourself a favor; try to be good. The world's proverb is wrong: good guys finish last. The bad guys may think they have moved into first place, but they will only prove Jesus' proverb: the first shall be the last.
The "good guys" who live for God, who place others before themselves…
Proverbs 11:28

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall,
but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.


In _____ we trust. In whom? In what do you trust your welfare? Is it in your bank account? Perhaps your trust is in your skill or training. Perhaps it is in your insurance policy. Perhaps your trust is in your ability to call the shots. God has a way of shaking…
Proverbs 11:29

Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.


Inheritance is the cause of many troubles in households. "Mom knew how much I always wanted the dining furniture." "You never cared about tools anyhow; I should have them." And then there is the money to quarrel over; should the home be sold? But then, it is not…
Proverbs 11:30

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and whoever captures souls is wise.

The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life because good fruit comes from good trees. Jesus noted this. You can tell the heart of a person by the fruit he bears. One can try to imitate goodness, but if his heart is not good his outward goodness will appear superficial…

November

Proverbs 11:31

If the righteous is repaid on earth,
how much more the wicked and the sinner!


This proverb aptly sums up chapter 11. "Righteousness delivers from death"; "a gracious woman gets honor"; "a man who is kind benefits himself"; "the one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward"; "whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live"; "the desire of the righteous ends only in good"; "one gives freely, yet grows…
Proverbs 12:1

Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but he who hates reproof is stupid.

That's a blunt translation! It gets, however, to the essential difference between the wise and the foolish; indeed, it expresses the reason why the wise are wise and the foolish are foolish. The lover of knowledge loves discipline because discipline leads him to knowledge. He wants to be corrected when his thinking is going astray because…
Proverbs 12:2

A good man obtains favor from the Lord,
but a man of evil devices he condemns.


This proverb seems to make the case that we do earn favor from the Lord, that he will accept us into heaven according to our goodness. Those who are good obtain favor; those who are bad lose out.

That last sentence is actually true. God does not receive the unrighteous into heaven…
Proverbs 12:3

No one is established by wickedness,
but the root of the righteous will never be moved.


No one is established by wickedness because the soil of such a heart is too poor to sustain strong roots. The soil is rocky and prevents roots from burrowing deep; it is barren of nutrients that feed the roots; it is infested with weeds and thorns that choke whatever may be lasting…
Proverbs 12:4

An excellent wife is the crown of her husband,
but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

An excellent wife is her husband's glory (1 Corinthians 11:7). She is the fulfillment of the original intention of being a "helper fit for him" (Genesis 2:18). She is her husband's joy, and he delights in praising her: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all"…
Proverbs 12:5

The thoughts of the righteous are just;
the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.


To whom do you look for counsel? Where do you go for advice? You may unwittingly be using counselors who present to you a deceitful view of life. Your counselors may be TV shows through whom you are learning about relationships. They may be movies from which you are learning to accept violence and…
Proverbs 12:6

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the mouth of the upright delivers them.


The intent of the wicked is to harm. Out of anger they may try to ruin another's reputation, perhaps to coax the other to anger and sin. That is what Jesus' enemies tried to do with their questions and slander. The wicked use words to draw blood. Sometimes, though, the…
Proverbs 12:7

The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous will stand.


Good guys finish. The wicked may think that such persons finish last, but what matters is that - first, second, or last - the good guys are left standing in the end. The wicked, no matter how fast and how tough they may be, will eventually be overthrown. Someone faster and stronger…
Proverbs 12:8

A man is commended according to his good sense,
but one of twisted mind is despised.


This proverb presents a virtue that is often overlooked and underestimated, but may be the most important in success. It is the difference maker for ability to manage people and to achieve any goal that involves people. It is good sense; also known as commonsense.
A man may possess tremendous knowledge and…
Proverbs 12:9

Better to be lowly and have a servant
than to play the great man and lack bread.


It is better to have shown the wisdom and done the labor to provide for oneself and one's family, than to give the appearance of prosperity and yet in truth have nothing that is secure. Thus, it is better to not be able to join the fashionable crowd that spends freely…
Proverbs 12:10

Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast,
but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.


The righteous has regard for his beast because he is just, compassionate, and wise. It is a matter of justice to protect and preserve life. God is Creator of the animals, and we must have just cause to harm his creatures, especially those whom he has given to serve…
Proverbs 12:11

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.


This proverb distinguishes between the persons who seem to have the good luck of keeping work and having enough provisions and those who keep running into the bad fortune of not finding the right job or getting the fortunate break. I once commented to a relative about another relative's "bad luck"…

December

Proverbs 12:12

Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous bears fruit.

The wicked sees the ill-gotten gain of other wicked persons and concludes that their way is the way of success. The wicked respect successful wicked people. They want to be like them. In a perverted way, they think that obtaining "success" by evil deeds is clever, even honorable, as they desire above…
Proverbs 12:13

An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips,
but the righteous escapes from trouble.

However he might, the evil person will ensnare himself because he cannot always keep up a false appearance. A powerful political person was caught on tape speaking threats against those who would oppose him. He apologized for a lapse of character, but in truth, the image he tried to convey publicly…
Proverbs 12:14

From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good,
and the work of a man's hand comes back to him.


When a person learns the truth of both statements, he will find so much of the contentment and success he finds missing. "From the fruit of his mouth" - from speaking words that are wise, words that are loving, words that are wholesome - from…
Proverbs 12:15

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
but a wise man listens to advice.

This is the problem of the fool. Because he has a foolish perspective about himself, he cannot learn and escape from his foolishness.
He thinks he is charming when he is boorish. He believes he knowledgeable about things of which he is ignorant. He cannot read the faces of those…
Proverbs 12:16

The vexation of a fool is known at once,
but the prudent ignores an insult.

"What did you say about me?"
"Are you laughing at me?"
"Don't ignore me!"

The vexation of a fool is known at once because his focus is on himself. He is bothered when his opinion is not highly regarded; he is attentive to the attention he receives or doesn't receive. His primary concern…
Proverbs 12:17

Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence,
but a false witness utters deceit.


The two lines seem redundant, but the focus appears to be on the end result of each person. The truth speaker gives honest evidence. Dont you feel good by that expression honest evidence? Your inner sense of justice is aroused, even you aesthetic sense of beauty. Honest evidence yes, this is right; this is good…
Proverbs 12:18

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.


We need to understand the consequence of our rash words words which we speak without giving consideration to the person to whom we are speaking. Rash words are the ones we speak in anger. They are the flippant remarks we make. They are the speaking my mind words and the…
Proverbs 12:19

Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue is but for a moment.


A lying tongue creates a momentary sensation. It riles the emotions as it makes the headlines. But the lie eventually is buried, along with the liar. It is not the lies that are recalled from history, but the words which are noble, which are inspiring, which spread light on truth. And so those who speak…
Proverbs 12:20

Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil,
but those who plan peace have joy.


Delve into the heart of the evil-doer and you will find a heart filled with lies. There are the lies he has in store for others lies by which to cheat, to manipulate, to do whatever he thinks necessary to obtain joy.
There are the lies he tells to himself lies…
Proverbs 12:21

No ill befalls the righteous,
but the wicked are filled with trouble.


The ill addressed by this proverb is the ill of retribution. The wicked are filled with such trouble because they continually rile up grievances. They must protect themselves from the enemies they have created by their stealing and cheating and offending. Their rash tongues invite angry words. Their acts of deceit result in distrust. Their greed…
Proverbs 12:22

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
but those who act faithfully are his delight.

Do you read such a proverb and give thanks that you are not a person who lies? Consider what the Larger Catechism has to say about breaking the ninth commandment.

Q. 144. What are the duties required in the ninth commandment?
A. The duties required in the ninth commandment are, the preserving…
Proverbs 12:23

A prudent man conceals knowledge,
but the heart of fools proclaims folly.

Why would it be prudent to conceal knowledge? It would be prudent to conceal knowledge from people who will misuse that knowledge. They may publicize what ought to be kept private. They may maliciously use the knowledge to hurt others or obtain ill-gotten gain. It would be prudent to conceal knowledge from the foolish, who may…
Proverbs 12:24

The hand of the diligent will rule,
while the slothful will be put to forced labor.

The students who do the best work are the students who are most diligent in their labor. They are the students who excel in grades, get the awards, and win the scholarships. The employees who are most diligent find the same kind of results; so do rulers, athletes, musicians. Indeed in every…