Archive for the ‘Proverbs 10’ Category

As we studied previously in Proverbs: Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord”

The fear of the Lord means submission to the Lord and His revelation. The fear of the Lord is a state of mind in which one’s own attitudes, will, feeling, deeds, and goals are exchanged for God’s.

When one is afraid of something, he either runs from it or submits to it. The latter idea is in view here. It is a healthy fear, like the fear of electricity or the fear of one’s parents, which causes one to act in an appropriate manner. The beginning does not mean that “the fear of the Lord” is left behind in the course of acquiring wisdom, but that it is the controlling principle of wisdom.

The recurring promise of Proverbs is that generally the wise (the righteous who obey God), live longer (9:11), prosper (2:20-22), experience joy (3:13-18), and the goodness of God temporally (12:21), while fools suffer shame (3:35), and death (10:21).

Ecclesiastes 7:17 “Do not be overwicked, and do not be a fool-why die before your time?”

You see, good lives lived for God sometimes bring long life. One of the commandments is to honor father and mother, and that promises long life. It is pretty easy to see how someone who lives the evil life is certainly in danger of early death. They visit places where killing and cheating is going on (such as beer parlors and gambling places). Fear of God keeps us walking a holy path.

We read in Romans 3 of the evil mouth, tongues and throat.

Romans 3:13-14 “Their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit.” “The poison of vipers is on their lips.”

You see this is describing an evil mouth. This mouth is an opening where the issues of the heart come forth. This person has an evil heart. The message from the heart is in the mouth.

Romans 10:9-10 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

If you send someone out to do a job, you do not want him being lazy and laying around (sluggard). If you have someone this lazy working for you, it is painful to you just like it is painful to put pure vinegar on your teeth. It makes them burn.

 Defined: As the acidity of vinegar causes the unpleasantness and pain to the teeth, and by softening and dissolving alkali of the bone, impairs their texture, and renders them incapable of grinding; Smoke in your eyes causes you to cry, and I believe that is what is meant here. Truly someone who is supposed to do a job and won’t, will bring you tears.

You can imagine how God feels when He calls us to do a job for him and we are too lazy to carry it out.

 Defined: As smoke, by irritating the tender vessels, causes the eyes to smart, and prevents distinct vision; so a sluggish messenger is a continual vexation and loss to those by whom he is employed (see Isa 65:5).

By hating another person, you may become a liar or a fool.  If you try to conceal your hatred, you end up lying.  If you slander the other person and are proven wrong, you are a fool.  The only way out is to admit your hateful feelings to God.  Ask him to change your heart, to help you love instead of hate.  

What really is a “fool”? Really, a fool is someone who has undeniable proof before them and still will not believe. They are not able to determine truth but will prefer to believe a lie.

Once in the Canadian Rockies, we were in a spot surrounded on every side by the most fantastic snow-covered mountains that I had ever seen. No two of them were alike in color or shape, and my brother said, “only a fool could look at this and say there is no God”. You see, a fool has no understanding at all.

Lying is having no understanding of why we must tell the truth. A person who tells something untrue about someone else and tears down their good name has no understanding and is therefore a fool.

Both the harboring and venting of hatred are wrong and will be punished. Slander, (gossip or lies) is forbidden.

The wicked person dreads death.  Those who do not believe in God usually fear death, and with good reason.  By contrast, believers’ desire eternal life and God’s salvation-their hopes will be rewarded.  This verse offers a choice: you can have either your fears or your desires come true.  You make that choice by rejecting God and living your own way, or by accepting God and following him. 

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 10:14 Wise men store up knowledge, but he mouth of a fool invites ruin.

Wise men study and store knowledge before they talk. Fools talk without study, and their stores of knowledge, their minds, are empty. Here is the plain difference between a wise man and a fool – one knows what he talks about, and the other talks out of ignorance.

You have seen and heard both men. The wise man is reserved before speaking, and he is careful while speaking. He is cautious in his claims, deliberate in his declarations, and sober in his speech. The fool loves to talk. One-on-one, he can hardly stop, even for air. In a group, he dominates the conversation, as he keeps words tumbling from his mouth.

Wise men, by prudence and reluctance about talking, are safe (Pr 15:2; 16:23; 20:5). A wise man, when asked a question, will seek to study before he answers, unless he is certain of his knowledge on that subject (Pr 15:28; 24:26; 25:11; 29:11). He is committed to learning all that he can, and only then does he offer it to others (Pr 1:5; 9:9; 18:1,15).

Fools, loving the sound of their words, get in deep trouble. They over-commit in financial transactions (Pr 6:1-5); they get into disputes before knowing the facts (Pr 25:8); they whisper foolishly about others (Pr 25:9-10); they expose themselves prematurely (Pr 29:11); and these are only some of their errors. They talk too much while knowing too little. Their many words reveal they are fools, and they are soon destroyed for ignorance.

Wise men lay up knowledge; fools lay out words. Wise men study; fools talk. Wise men are concerned about truth; fools are anxious to be heard. Wise men are quick to hear and slow to speak; fools are slow to hear and quick to speak. Wise men despise fools. Wise men grow in favor with God and men; fools are despised and rejected by both.

Be a wise man with your mouth, and it will bring success. You begin by learning to speak less and listen more (Pr 17:27-28; Jas 1:19). Emphasize study over speech (Pr 15:28; 22:17-21). Make sure you grasp a situation before answering (Pr 18:13; John 7:24). You then make sure each word properly fits the occasion (Pr 15:23; 25:11). And you present each word with graciousness, using only a pinch of salt, if the hearers require it (Col 4:6).

The holy God of heaven is coming to judge men for their words (Matt 12:37). You will give an account for every idle word – those spoken without study or cause (Matt 12:36). And He hates foolish talking and jesting, the mainstay of this generation (Eph 5:3-7). Are you ready to meet this Judge? “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Ps 19:14).

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 10:28 The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked are cut short

The man who obeys God has a bright future. The man who chooses sin will be destroyed. Every man has desires and plans for the future, but only the righteous man will realize blessings and prosperity. The wicked man will not achieve his desire, and then he will go to hell. The lesson is simple. Obeying God works now and later. Sin will never succeed.

Compare length of life that precedes this proverb (Pr 10:27). Righteousness extends life. God guaranteed it (Eph 6:1-3); Solomon confirmed it (Pr 3:2,16; 4:10; 9:11). But the life expectancy of the wicked will be shortened. Solomon declared it (Pr 2:22; 11:19). Experience confirms it. Sinful living and worldly popularity shorten the human lifespan.

Compare marriage (Pr 12:4). Men enter it with great hope and fond expectations. But the wicked man is soon disgusted with his odious tormentor, which is confirmed by the thousands of divorces daily (Pr 11:22; 30:21-23). The righteous man, demanding the fear of the Lord in a spouse, is blissfully glad with his virtuous wife (Pr 19:14; 31:10-31).

Compare children (Pr 10:1; 19:13). The wicked man expects Benjamin Spock’s child care fantasies to yield perfect children. His expectation fails as he sees the arrogant, greedy, lazy, and selfish product of his amoral, effeminate, and permissive approach to parenting. The wise man, trusting God, Solomon, and six thousand years of human history, trains the foolishness out of his son for great parental joy (Pr 22:6,15; 29:15,17).

Examples comparing a righteous man to a wicked man can be multiplied indefinitely, with the wicked man’s expectations always perishing (Ps 34:12-16). Compare Abraham to Lot, Moses to Pharaoh, David to Saul, and Daniel to Belshazzar. But there is another comparison that is much more serious than longevity, marriage, or children. There is the hope and expectation of death. Only the righteous will find anything glad in that event!

Wicked men think they will live forever, or at least leave a perpetual legacy behind them (Ps 49:6-14; 73:1-20). But they are quickly cut off, are forgotten by all, rot in the grave, and drop into the lake of fire (Pr 11:7; Luke 12:16-20; 16:19-26). They expect heaven, or maybe annihilation, but they wake up tormented in hell (Matt 7:21-23; 23:33; 25:31-46).

Righteous men live with the certain promise of eternal life (Job 19:25-27). Their hope is the gladness of heaven, and the reality will far exceed anything they can imagine here (I Cor 2:9). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself saw the joy that was waiting beyond the grave, and the horrible death of crucifixion was little in comparison (Ps 16:8-11; Heb 12:1-3).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 10:19 When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

A simple rule of wisdom is to cut your words in half. Many words and much speaking greatly raise the chance of sinning with your lips. Because of this dangerous risk, wisdom teaches you to reduce your number of words and maintain silence longer than usual.

A wise man reflects soberly after speaking a great deal, for he remembers the grave warning of the first half of this proverb. If he spoke quite a few words, he has probably sinned in his speech and appears a fool (Eccl 5:3). In this context, silence is very golden.

The God of wisdom tells you to be faster to hear and slower to speak (Jas 1:19). If you emphasized listening and being skilful at that, you would have little time for talking. If you were slow and reluctant to speak, you would have an excellent spirit (Pr 17:27).

Wisely consider your words before you speak, rather than regret them after they are out. Even if you are not very bright, if you can reduce your words, those around you will assume you are wise – this is a rule from Solomon to boost your reputation (Pr 17:28).

Ah, dear reader, have you not wasted many painful hours reviewing words you spoke? Have you often said, “I wish I’d never said that,” or, “Why did I say that?” Such misery could be reduced, if you would simply refrain your lips from idle or foolish speech. If you would hold your tongue, you would not have to worry about words that escaped.

Wisdom is easy – cut your words in half. Talk less. The tongue is a fire, so douse its sparks by swallowing words (Jas 3:1-12). The tongue is deadly; use it slowly (Pr 18:21).

Words and sin are not an arithmetic, but a geometric, relationship. The words you add beyond necessary speech contain most of your verbal sins; those sins increase rapidly the more and longer you talk (Eccl 10:13). If you swallow those extra words that are unnecessary, easily half your words, you will stop many sins. Cutting your words by 50% will reduce your sins of speech by 90%! Wisdom is easy! Bridle your mouth (Ps 39:1)!

If children cut their words in half, there would be less foolishness, teasing of siblings, and dishonoring of parents. If wives did it, they would be less odious, contentious, and overbearing. If employees did it, managers would find their jobs much easier and production and unity would improve. If angry, bitter, and cruel people did it, there would be much less bleeding of wounded souls. If fools did it, they would be esteemed wise.

Of course, there are people who hardly ever speak, and this proverb does not apply to them. They need to use more words to be gracious and a tree of life to others. If they do not learn to speak, their lives will have little value for anyone, and they are a regular source of disappointment and frustration to others. True wisdom feeds many (Pr 10:21).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 10:13 – Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.

Your degree of folly or wisdom is known by your speech. A man with understanding has wise speech that helps others; a man without understanding speaks foolishly and benefits no one. You cannot hide your character for long. You cannot deceive others forever. You will be exposed (Pr 26:26; Eccl 5:3; 10:3). And if your speech indicates you are a fool, the best treatment for you in the wisdom of God is a good beating (Pr 18:6; 26:3).

Notice the proverb closely. The first clause identifies a man with understanding as one who speaks wisely. The second clause gives the instruction to beat the man who does not have understanding. The parallelism of the proverb teaches two principal lessons: (1) your speech proves whether you have understanding or not, and (2) corporal punishment is appropriate for those who speak foolishly and forwardly. The ellipsis – missing words – at the end of the second clause, “and speaks foolishly,” is understood by the first clause.

God and Solomon gave you precious wisdom. Here is advice for life on how to measure the hearts of men and also how to treat them. Good men with wise hearts convey knowledge, godly counsel, and sound wisdom; and they do it in a gracious and loving way. Fools with profane hearts babble about their opinions and little problems in life; they complain about most everything; and they do it in an odious and irritating manner.

What precious wisdom! Wicked persons love to say, “You do not know my heart. I am a good person. I have understanding.” But these are lying excuses to justify their ungodly speech and/or actions. One of the chief lessons of Proverbs is to identify character by speech (Pr 10:19,21,32; 12:13; 14:3,7; 15:7; 16:2; 17:7,27-28; 18:7; Eccl 10:12). The Lord Jesus Christ also emphasized this definite connection (Matt 12:33-37).

Reader! Does your speech prove you a fool or a wise man? It is easy to tell. Can you justify your speech from the Bible? Do you have more friends than you can manage? Do others hold you in high esteem? Do others often seek your advice? If you can answer all four questions positively, you are a wise man. If several of the questions get negative answers, you are a fool! Confess your folly to God. Beg Him for help to control your lips.

Reader! Do others consider you gracious or odious, kind or cutting, helpful or hurtful, cheerful or critical, sober or sarcastic, loving or laughing, judicious or jesting? Honest answers to these contrasts reveal your character. Humble yourself before God. Cut your words in half. Cut your volume in half. Do not speak without something important to say. Study before you speak. Be gracious and positive, always! Praise someone, now!

Your degree of worldliness or spirituality is also known by your speech. It is easy to be an enemy of Jesus Christ – all you have to do is care about the things of this world (Matt 6:24; Phil 3:18-19; Jas 4:4; I John 2:15-17). How can you spot an enemy of Jesus Christ? Listen. They talk about jobs or business, health, politics, or current events. Though you listen carefully, you never hear Christ praised, doctrine exalted, or fervent thanksgiving.

Furthermore, your degree of love or hatred for others is revealed by your words. If you love other saints, which is the greatest evidence of eternal life, you will always be saying good things to them, for them, and about them. The person who is often guilty of backbiting, complaining, slandering, talebearing, or whispering is not only a fool, but also a child of the devil (John 8:44; I Cor 3:3; Titus 3:3; Jas 3:14-18; I John 3:1-19).

Corporal punishment is the best treatment of a person with a foolish tongue (Pr 26:3). If that person is your child, then you can train him in the way he should go with the rod and reproof (Pr 22:6; 29:15). If it is a prospective spouse, end the relationship! If it is a friend, you can easily find new and better friends (Pr 9:6; 13:20; 14:7). Choose wise men with wise speech for your companions, for they will make you better (Pr 22:11; Ps 119:63).

By hating another person you may become a liar or a fool. If you try to conceal your hatred, you end up lying. If you slander the other person and are proven wrong, you are a fool. The only way out is to admit your hateful feelings to God. Ask him to change your heart, to help you love instead of hate.

Here are two easy ways to sin with your speech. You can be a hypocrite and use polite words to deceive people and hide the bitterness and envy in your heart. Or you can spread false and malicious rumors about a person to others. These two sins are in great supply today. Transparent honesty and integrity – clearly visible and known by all – are rare.

Reader, do you see what the wise man Solomon wrote next? He wrote, “When words are many, sin is not absent but he who holds his tongue is wise” (Pr 10:19). It is hard to speak much and not sin – for every sentence raises the chance of sin. So the Preacher gave the wise advice of closing your lips and not talking so much (Pr 17:27-28; Jas 1:19).

When the prophet Isaiah saw the LORD, he was in terror for the sins of his lips (Is 6:1-7). He said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts” (Is 6:5). A right view of God will cause you to hate your speech (Ps 4:4)!

The blunt apostle James had no mercy for the tongue. He said, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (Jas 3:6). He said, “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (Jas 3:8).

Your tongue is called your glory for praising God (Ps 16:9; 30:12; 57:8; Acts 2:26). But it also curses men. “Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (Jas 3:9-10).

You are a fool, if you hide hatred with polite words. Instead of forgiving others and ending conflict, fools cover hatred in their hearts with lies. It is horrible when such evil is in the church. David prayed to be delivered from such hypocrites, whose right hand is a right hand of falsehood and their mouths speak empty pretensions (Ps 144:7-8,11).

You are a fool, if you talk against others. Slander is lying to spread false information or innuendoes about others. Backbiting, talebearing, and whispering are telling the truth about another, but it is information that damages another’s character and reputation. The sin of slander is a violation of the Sixth Commandment against killing, and only very wicked men with evil hearts do it. Limit yourself to saying good things about others.

If you are wise, your tongue is your glory – to praise God and edify others (Ps 30:12; 108:1). It is a precious gift to send worship upward and to feed those around you. If you are a fool, it is your curse – a tool of hypocrisy and murder. It is easy to lie and run others down when they and witnesses are not present to refute you. Be wise (Pr 18:21; Eph 4:29; Col 4:6)! You will give account for every word from your mouth (Matt 12:34-37).