Proverbs 19 (NIV)
19 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse. 2 Desire without knowledge is not good—how much more will hasty feet miss the way! 3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the Lord. 4 Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them. 5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will not go free. 6 Many curry favor with a ruler and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts. 7 The poor are shunned by all their relatives— how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found. 8 The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper. 9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and whoever pours out lies will perish. 10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—how much worse for a slave to rule over princes! 11 A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense. 12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion, but his favor is like dew on the grass. 13 A foolish child is a father’s ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof. 14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord. 15 Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry. 16 Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life, but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die. 17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done. 18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. 19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty; rescue them, and you will have to do it again. 20 Listen to advice and accept discipline, and at the end, you will be counted among the wise. 21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. 22 What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar. 23 The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble. 24 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he will not even bring it back to his mouth! 25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge. 26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother is a child who brings shame and disgrace. 27 Stop listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge. 28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil. 29 Penalties are prepared for mockers and beatings for the backs of fools.
What do the jarring absurdities (verses 10, 13, 24, and 26) tell you about the practical difference wisdom should make in one’s lifestyle?
Lord, I am concerned about our society today. I see the foolish and wicked behavior that Solomon described in this Proverb. Our country has been blessed with prosperity but people have distorted the achievements of those who sacrificed to make it be so. They display foolish behaviors of selfishness, wastefulness, entitlement, laziness, and violence in order to take the benefits of wealth and pleasures others have worked for. This laziness may be seen in different areas of life including worldly concerns, intellectual matters, and spiritual interests. But the proverbs warn that when you squander the wealth and act recklessly, you cause pain to your family, yourself, and others. When a good portion of society is lazy and has this expectation the result is ruin for everyone. Lord this is not Your design for humanity. Help me to obey Your teachings, open my heart to Your wisdom and cherish understanding. Give me a good sense of what is good and evil. Help me to be patient and work for the things I desire. Help me to show Your love by forgiving others and for correcting children and grandchildren before it’s too late. Help me to be a good steward of all that You have provided for me and give me joy and satisfaction from my work. Let me appreciate what I have and be prudent, wise, and practical with my possessions. Show me ways that I can share my wealth with those who are truly poor and in need. Lord, please wake up our community, church, country, and the world to do the same before it’s too late. I submit to You and Your plan. Amen