The Blessing of the Lord Makes One Rich

Proverbs 10:15 – 32

The proverbs continue in this passage, extolling the safety in wealth and the destruction in poverty; the life in righteous labor and the sin in wicked wages; the value of keeping instruction and the loss in refusing correction; the lying lips of hatred and the foolishness of slander.  The writer goes further to suggest that few words that are valuable are better than many that are worthless.

22 The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,
And He adds no sorrow with it.

The proverb continues by describing the fool doing evil as if it is a sport, knowing that his fear will come upon him.  However, the wise will have their desires.  Laziness and wickedness lead to destruction and ostracism.

27 The fear of the LORD prolongs days,
But the years of the wicked will be shortened.
28 The hope of the righteous will be gladness,
But the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29 The way of the LORD is strength for the upright,
But destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.

30 The righteous will never be removed,
But the wicked will not inhabit the earth.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
But the perverse tongue will be cut out.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
But the mouth of the wicked what is perverse.

This passage further extols the virtues of wisdom.  In this passage, the benefits of wisdom in a temporal or earthly sense are described.  Riches, favor, strength, safety, a path to success are all promised to those who pursue and acquire wisdom.  Destruction, loss, even annihilation are promise to those who are wicked or simple.  The message is clear:  pursue and find wisdom and the blessings of the Lord will not be far behind!

The Simple Woman (Proverbs 9:13 – 10:14)

This passage again points out the danger of a simple woman.  She lures simple men into her house, claiming to provide them with sweet water and pleasant bread.  However, her guests end up dying.

Solomon then discusses the merits of wisdom.  A wise son makes his father glad, and a foolish son grieves his mother.  Wisdom brings life, while wickedness profits nothing.  Slack hands become poor, but diligent hands become rich.  The basic premise of the passage is how wisdom and righteousness bring blessings, and wickedness brings lack and violence.  The wise receive instruction.  The foolish fall in their foolishness.  The writer sums things up with this:

Proverbs 10:11–14 (NKJV)

11 The mouth of the righteous is a well of life,
But violence covers the mouth of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all sins.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of him who has understanding,
But a rod is for the back of him who is devoid of understanding.

14 Wise people store up knowledge,
But the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.

The bottom line is that wisdom brings many more positive results, and evil or foolishness brings trouble.  Follow the path of wisdom, and be favored and blessed!

The Call of Wisdom (Proverbs 9:1 – 12)

This passage outlines the efforts of wisdom to help the simple and unwise achieve wisdom.  The allegory of a woman who cares for her family’s needs at her house is used, as wisdom is described as building a house, killing meat for the meal, furnishing the table, and calling for the simple to come to dinner.  She offers them the opportunity to eat her bread and drink of her wine, to forsake foolishness and go in the way of understanding.  She then goes on to warn against correcting a scofferor rebuking a wicked man, as you will harm yourself.  However, she encourages the reader to rebuke a wise man, for then he will love you and become wiser.  Solomon then pens the famous words:

10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 

11 For by me your days will be multiplied,
And years of life will be added to you. 

12 If you are wise, you are wise for yourself, And if you scoff, you will bear it alone.”

The simple truth here is that wisdom desires to bless those who embrace her.  Without wisdom, there is no possibility of improvement or bettering of one’s self.  However, the wise man seeks correction and receives instruction at every opportunity.  Don’t shun any opportunity to learn or grow: spiritually, intellectually, emotionally.  God is at every turn of your life longing to help you become the man or woman He had called you to be!

Wisdom Cries Out (Proverbs 8)

This proverb begins with this contention from Wisdom:

8:1 Does not wisdom cry out, And understanding lift up her voice?  2 She takes her stand on the top of the high hill, Beside the way, where the paths meet.  3 She cries out by the gates, at the entry of the city, At the entrance of the doors:  4 “To you, O men, I call, And my voice is to the sons of men.  5 O you simple ones, understand prudence, And you fools, be of an understanding heart.  6 Listen, for I will speak of excellent things, And from the opening of my lips will come right things;

Wisdom, as personified in this passage, is calling to men everywhere to listen to her, for she has something important to say.  She goes on to promise to speak truth, and nothing crooked or perverse.  Her words will be plain to those who understand.  It will be greater than silver and gold or rubies.  She then begins to explain her value.  She speaks of prudence, understanding, and strength.  She detests evil, pride, and arrogance.  Kings and princes follow her precepts, and riches and honor are with her.  The Lord originated and possessed her at the beginning, before the creation of the earth.  Before mountains, hills, earth, dust, the heavens, the deep, the fountains of water, before the shore had been established as the limit of the ocean, wisdom existed and brought order to the earth.  She ends her speech with:

32 “Now therefore, listen to me, my children, For blessed are those who keep my ways.  33 Hear instruction and be wise, And do not disdain it.  34 Blessed is the man who listens to me, Watching daily at my gates,  Waiting at the posts of my doors.  35 For whoever finds me finds life, And obtains favor from the Lord;  36 But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.”

What is the moral of this story?  Wisdom is powerful and full of promise.  Wisdom exalts princes and kings, and is a stumbling block to the wicked and dull.  Wisdom establishes a man’s ways and elevates his station.  In other words, recognize the value of wisdom and seek her ways.  Hear her voice and be blessed.  Especially if your own plans have been uncertain or an outright failure.  Wisdom will lead you in paths of protection and prosperity.  Foolishness or hard-heartedness will lead you to destruction.  Follow God and His wisdom and you will thrive!

The Simple Young Man and the Crafty Harlot (Proverbs 7:6 – 27)

This writing of Solomon recounts a story of watching a young man through a window as he is seduced by an adulterous woman, a harlot.  She was a loud and persuasive woman, enticing the young man with kisses, tapestries, perfumes, and a promise that they would not get caught because her husband was away on business.  He was led into and adulterous affair as an animal led to the slaughter.  He then reminds the reader not to be drawn into the adulteress’ trap.  He poetically summarizes:

24 Now therefore, listen to me, my children;
Pay attention to the words of my mouth: 

25 Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways,
Do not stray into her paths; 

26 For she has cast down many wounded,
And all who were slain by her were strong men. 

27 Her house is the way to hell,
Descending to the chambers of death.

This lesson from the wise man is one any reader could learn.  Enticement seems pleasant, even pleasureful.  When sexual temptation, or any temptation for that matter, is dangled before an individual, a decision must be made.  Will he or she hear and remember the teaching of the wise man, or will that individual stray from the wise (holy) path and sin willfully?  The answer should always be the former.  Heed the words of the wise man and live.  Behave foolishly and die!  The choice seems clear.  Wise up, you simply young man.  Wise up, everyone!

Keep the Law of God (Proverbs 6:20 – 7:5)

Solomon encourages his son to keep his father’s command and his mother’s law.  This will lead and keep the child and be a lamp and a light to his or her path.  It will keep him or her from evil people, seducers or seductresses.  Wisdom guards from lust and sin.  He warns against infidelity, a practice that will sear your life and turn you into a crust of bread.  Solomon further makes provision for the punishment of thieves who are hungry.  They should receive mercy to a degree, but then must restore sevenfold what they took.  Again, though, he states that a man who commits adultery lacks understanding, and the husband of that woman will exact revenge upon him, with no chance of recompense by a gift.  Finally, he offers his son advice to bind the words of his father on his fingers and hide them in his heart, that he might avoid the sinful woman and her sin.

Obviously, this is written during a very patriarchal period, where women are seen negatively, more as property than as equals, and the seductive woman is the problem, not the weak-willed man.  However, this chapter should be seen more in the context of a wise man instructing his children, male and female, to be sexually pure.  Anyone who engages in sexual sin, whether male or female, is in danger of judgement and retribution.  Keep your vessel holy, and save sex for monogamous heterosexual marriage only.  This is God’s plan and purpose, and this He will bless!

Dangerous Behavior (Proverbs 6:1 – 19)

Solomon writes some wise advice for his son concerning several risky behaviors.  First, he warns against co-signing or securing a loan for someone else.  He describes this as a snare from which one should seek to be delivered.  Second, he warns against lazyness and alludes to the example of the ant who works tirelessly and always has food to eat.  He offers a mocking poetic verse,

9 How long will you slumber, O sluggard?

When will you rise from your sleep?

10 A little sleep, a little slumber,

A little folding of the hands to sleep—

11 So shall your poverty come on you like a prowler,

And your need like and armed man.

Third, Solomon warns against the influence of a wicked man who is perverse in his speech and devises evil.  Finally, Solomon names six or seven things that God hates:

17 A proud look,
A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, 

18 A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil, 

19 A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Individuals should avoid becoming bound by promises over which they have little control.  A loan for someone else is at the mercy of the person to whom the money is lent.  However, the guarantor is on the hook for the repayment should the lendee not pay.  Not wise business.  Be responsible for your own debts, not those of another.  Men and woman should also see the value of hard work and dedication, and understand that those who do not work may not be able to eat.  Earn your way, and help others less fortunate when you are strong.  Surround yourself with successful, Godly people.  They will lead you in right paths.  And, finally, love what God loves and hate what God hates.  In so doing, you will succeed!