Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 20:16-30 (ESV)
16 Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger, and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners. 17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel. 18 Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. 19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets; therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. 20 If one curses his father or his mother,
his lamp will be put out in utter darkness. 21 An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning will not be blessed in the end. 22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”; wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you. 23 Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord, and false scales are not good. 24 A man’s steps are from the Lord; how then can man understand his way? 25 It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,” and to reflect only after making vows.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them. 27 The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord, searching all his innermost parts. 28 Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld. 29 The glory of young men is their strength, but the splendor of old men is their gray hair. 30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.
Many of today’s proverbs are addressed to leaders. They lift up the need for honesty in our actions (vv. 17, 23), and the importance of removing evil influences from our lives (vv. 26 & 30). Verse 22 about not getting even with others leads to some of the most important teachings in the New Testament (see Romans 12:17 & Matthew 7:1-2). Verse 27 looks forward to how God will place the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and one of the jobs of that Spirit is to be a light that searches our hearts, and reveals the bad stuff we need to get rid of.