Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 14:19-35 (ESV)
19 The evil bow down before the good, the wicked at the gates of the righteous. 20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends. 21 Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. 22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness. 23 In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. 24 The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly. 25 A truthful witness saves lives, but one who breathes out lies is deceitful. 26 In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge. 27 The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life, that one may turn away from the snares of death. 28 In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined. 29 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. 30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. 31 Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him. 32 The wicked is overthrown through his evildoing, but the righteous finds refuge in his death. 33 Wisdom rests in the heart of a man of understanding, but it makes itself known even in the midst of fools. 34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. 35 A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully.
Today’s proverbs include several that are central to living out the Gospel. Verses 16 & 17 teach that “fearing the Lord” (which means letting God be the most important factor in every aspect of your life) leads to confidence and a fountain of life. Verses 21, 25 & 31 all teach about “loving your neighbor as yourself.” Together, these teachings look forward to Jesus’ teaching of the “Great Commandment” (found in Mark 12:29-31). In this election year, verse 34 is relevant. It teaches that the greatness of a nation is not found in its power or wealth or size, but in its holiness. Think of that when you hear a politician promise to “make America great.” True greatness is found in having the righteousness to give life to others (see Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 20:25-28).