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Proverbs 16:17-33 (NIV)
17 The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. 18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19 Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud. 20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. 21 The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. 22 Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools. 23 The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 25 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end, it leads to death. 26 The appetite of laborers works for them; their hunger drives them on. 27 A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips, it is like a scorching fire. 28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends. 29 A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. 30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity;
whoever purses their lips is bent on evil. 31 Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. 32 Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. 33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.
What new themes are introduced in this chapter?
Ancient cultures honored and valued the wisdom and experience of old age. They saw the white hair of the elderly as a crown of glory. Today we do everything to delay and hide aging. But one of the gifts of aging is an accumulation of experiences and a broader perspective, called wisdom. A discerning heart manifests itself in practical wisdom for happy and successful living. It is recognized by others through gracious speech. Help me to demonstrate wisdom by what I say, and by the control that I have over the words that come from my mouth. Keep me from words that cause strife or conflict and choose silence instead of spreading gossip. Give me Your practical wisdom in my heart, that I may know how to communicate it to others to gain their trust, calm their fears, satisfy their questions, or change their minds. Such speaking increases learning, both for me and those who hear me. Keep me humble and don’t allow me to have an attitude that communicates superiority over any other person. Anything that I have accomplished in my life was not of my design, but Yours. Throughout life, both good and bad things unexpectedly dropped in my lap and we had to work through them together. There is nothing that is a mistake or happens to me that You are not aware of. Instead, give me patience. You were with me in the past, so I know better now to allow You to help me today and in the future. Let me live in true obedience to You so that I heed Your Word. Give me a true and confident trust in You so that I can happily and calmly rest in Your goodness knowing that You love and care for me. Amen