Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart:
Proverbs 12:1-14 (ESV)
12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid. 2 A good man obtains favor from the Lord, but a man of evil devices he condemns. 3 No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved. 4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones. 5 The thoughts of the righteous are just; the counsels of the wicked are deceitful. 6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them. 7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand. 8 A man is commended according to his good sense, but one of twisted mind is despised. 9 Better to be lowly and have a servant than to play the great man and lack bread. 10 Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. 11 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense. 12 Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit. 13 An evil man is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous escapes from trouble. 14 From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.
By this point in the book of Proverbs, it is easy to grow weary of the repetition and randomness. In our day, we expect our teachers to be organized, to teach in a logical order, subject by subject, and to teach in ways that are interesting to the student. Proverbs violates this! When it was written 3000 years ago, students didn’t have those expectations. That becomes a challenge to modern readers like us when we try to read Proverbs cover to cover, like we are in this devotional guide. One way that helps is to let go of trying to make sense of the entire book. Instead, each day, as you read 10 or 15 proverbs, keep your ears open, and ask, “Which of these proverbs is the one God wants me to know today? Perhaps it will be 12:9 on the benefits of being lowly instead of pretending to be important. Or 12:10 on being kind to your animals. Or 12:4 on being appreciative of your wife.