Archive for the ‘Proverbs 13’ Category


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:8 A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.

What will you do for money? How badly do you want to be rich? Will you hear a warning about the desire to be wealthy? Test your character and wisdom. Read on.

Here is one of the more difficult proverbs of Solomon. But you can find a wise lesson and warning, if you look carefully and diligently. Do you desire wisdom enough to take the time to read this proverb, consider it soberly, and grasp the following comments? The love of money is the root of all evil, and it destroys men’s lives, but the poor still crave it!

Commentators see two options. Either, a rich man can buy himself out of trouble, but the poor avoid most dangers by having nothing to attract enemies. Or, the wealth of a rich man attracts thefts and threats, while poverty protects the poor from such violence. In the first option, both riches and poverty are good; in the second option, riches are bad, and poverty is good. These interpretations are obscure; there is a clearer and simpler lesson.

A ransom is the price paid for freedom from captivity, to remove a penalty, or restore a previous condition (Pr 6:35; Ex 21:30; 30:12; Job 33:24; 36:18). Many men lose their souls by not giving up the pursuit of riches. Ambition and wealth become the ransom price of their lives. The desire to be rich and successful is the price, or cost, of their lives. When dying on their beds, men who have chased riches all their lives have an empty life.

They will not redeem their souls by choosing contentment over covetousness and greed. They sacrifice their lives for money, and then they go to the grave with nothing (Eccl 5:10-17). A rich man could enjoy life, naturally and spiritually, if he did not love money. He could be peaceful and quiet, but he chooses the obsession of acquiring yet more. This foolish and destructive fascination with riches is a common disease (Eccl 6:1-6).

Paul warned, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim 6:6-10).

The danger is clear – riches can destroy you. If a man loves money, he will sacrifice his soul and anything else to get it (Pr 15:27; 11:17,29; Hab 2:9-11). Riches are the ransom price of his life. He could buy his freedom and peace, but he will not pay the price, which is giving up his pursuit of riches and being content with what he has. He remains a slave.

Jesus loved a rich, young ruler, who would not give up his riches to follow the Son of God. He would not ransom, or buy back, his life (Matt 19:16-22). Jesus knew the choice was as hard as a camel going through the eye of a needle (Matt 19:23-26), but He also taught that men should be willing to pay any price to save their own souls (Matt 16:26).

What about the poor? How does the second clause of the proverb relate to the first one? You know that it relates, or it would be a separate proverb. But you also see the disjunctive “but” connecting it. Therefore, there is a related contrast in the second phrase.

The poor live without many of the fears, worries, and burdens the rich endure – they even sleep better (Eccl 5:12). They watch the rich in their vain and troublesome pursuit of wealth (Ps 39:6), and they see the rich man die just like a poor fool (Ps 49:6-13). But they will not learn from the object lesson, and they will not hear the wise testify that riches are vanity. They complain about their poverty and wish for the wealth of the rich.

How can you trust the interpretation given above, rather than the two popularized by commentators? The two clauses are related; the two clauses are contrasted; rebuke is not the same as danger or trouble; and the poor refuse rebuke rather than never hearing any. And you can find related or similar instruction in other proverbs (Pr 10:15,22; 11:4,28; 13:7; 14:20; 15:27; 18:11; 19:1,4,7; 22:1,2; 23:4-5; 28:3,6,11,20,22; 30:7-9).

If you are rich, you are in great danger of missing the kingdom of God (Matt 19:23-26). The rich have generally been persecutors, rather than patrons, of Christians (Jas 2:6-7). It is your duty before God to resist trusting your riches, and it is your privilege before God to be willing to give your money away in order to lay hold on eternal life (I Tim 6:17-19).

If you are poor, be content with it (Jas 1:9-11; Jas 2:5; I Cor 1:26-29). Realize that godliness with contentment is truly great gain (I Tim 6:6; Heb 13:5). Remember and believe Solomon’s many rebukes of riches in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes (Pr 10:22; 15:16; 16:8; 28:6; Ps 37:16; Eccl 1:16 – 2:11). If you need more, pray wisely for a moderate increase, and make any godly changes the Bible approves (Pr 30:7-9; I Thess 4:11-12).

Riches are usually a curse. You arrived with nothing; you will leave with nothing; and God does not care how much you gathered during your life. Redeem your soul from this world’s mad worship of materialism and success, and hear the rebuke of wisdom instead. Seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness first, serve only one master, and lay up treasure in heaven (Matt 6:19-21,24,33). You will soon be glad you did.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. 

Faithfulness and integrity are great character traits. You should have them yourself, and you should only associate with those who have them. When others trust you or depend on you, it is your duty and privilege to fulfill their desires and needs as perfectly as possible. This is noble performance that brings God’s approval and blessing and man’s as well.

Faithfulness and integrity are shown here by a messenger or ambassador. Wicked men get in trouble – they are easily waylaid by foolish distractions or pressure to compromise – they are not trustworthy or reliable. A faithful man brings prosperity to those trusting him, for he finishes the job as desired and expected. How often do you get waylaid?

It is a foolish sin to betray the confidence and trust of those who give you an assignment. The prosperous functioning of any society depends on men discharging their duties with diligence and honesty. Wicked men get diverted and fail their commitments. But faithful men make sure they complete the job, and they are a precious benefit to all concerned.

If you send a sluggard to do a job, his laziness will irritate you. Solomon wrote, “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him” (Pr 10:26). If you send a fool, you beg for damage. Solomon also wrote, “He that sendeth a message by the hand of a fool cutteth off the feet, and drinketh damage” (Pr 26:6).

Faithful men bring prosperity to deals. They are health to the transaction, rather than the mischief of wicked messengers. Confidence in knowing a man will finish a job right is a blessing. Solomon wrote, “As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters” (Pr 25:13).

Before email, telephones, and mail, messages were sent from individuals and nations by couriers and ambassadors. Wicked men did not take it seriously, and they would not deliver the message accurately or on time. They would fall into mischief on the way, distracted or diverted by temptations. Faithful ambassadors could be counted on to get the message conveyed accurately and on time. Private and national prosperity were served.

God’s saints should have impeccable reputations before the world, as did Joseph and Daniel (Gen 41:38-40; Dan 6:1-5; I Tim 6:1; Titus 2:9-10). When given an assignment, they should seek to exceed every expectation in keeping it (Pr 22:29; Rom 12:11; Ep 6:5-9). Does everyone know you are always faithful in any assignment or duty? Anything less than total trust in you is not good enough. Start today to be faithful with integrity.

Do you think about those trusting you? Do you fall into mischief, or do you bring them health? Your professional duties are important, but do not forget your parents and others depending on you. Carefully consider your spouse, children, neighbors, church members, etc. Regardless of whether they detailed their trust or not, do you faithfully serve them?

Since God chose communication by a messenger or ambassador for this proverb, consider the importance of correct communication. Do you confuse facts, embellish events, or exaggerate situations. Do you communicate as promptly and thoroughly as you should? Or do others have to chase you down to get what they needed? Do you take the time to be detailed and orderly in communication so there is no misunderstanding?

God chose preaching to send truth to men. Most preachers are wicked messengers, who fall into mischief and do not teach His Word accurately. There were many, even in Paul’s day, which corrupted the Word of God (II Cor 2:17; 11:3-4,13-15; Phil 3:18-19; I Jn 4:1). And this evil trend was going to get worse in the last days (I Tim 4:1-3; II Tim 3:6-7; 4:3-4; II Pet 2:1-2). Timothy was rare, having Paul’s concern for the churches (Phil 2:19-21).

Ministers must be ordained cautiously (I Tim 3:1-13; 5:22). They must be faithful men (I Cor 4:1-2; II Tim 2:2; Titus 1:6-11), who will not be distracted with this world (II Tim 2:4). They must give themselves wholly to their work (I Tim 4:13-16). They must handle the Scriptures honestly (II Cor 4:2) and with much study (II Tim 2:15). When churches have faithful ambassadors, they will have spiritual health (Neh 8:1-12; I Tim 4:15-16).

You must find a minister faithful to his calling by Jesus Christ (I Tim 3:1-7; 4:13-16; II Tim 2:1-7; I Pet 5:1-4; etc., etc.). Elihu, the only man understanding Job’s situation, said of such rare men, “If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom” (Job 33:23-24). Amen!

Paul was the greatest gospel messenger and ambassador, for nothing moved him from his ordained calling as the apostle to the Gentiles, and he was more diligent than his peers (Acts 20:24; I Cor 15:10). He could say at the end of his life, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (II Tim 4:7). Are you thankful for the health he brought? If you are a Gentile believer, you should be thankful (Rom 15:15-21).

The most faithful messenger and ambassador is the Lord Jesus Christ. He told God His Father in heaven before dying, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4). What if He had fallen into mischief in the desert or Gethsemane (Matt 4:1-11; 26:36-46)? But He brought eternal health to His elect children by complete faithfulness, even the death of the cross (Phil 2:5-11; Heb 3:1-6).


Proverbs 13:10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. 

Pride causes fights! And it is the main cause of fights! Without pride, fighting and strife would quickly end. It is arrogant confidence and haughty self-importance that keeps contention – conflicts and quarrels – going. But wise men are humble and prudent to hear other opinions, avoid contentious men, and pass over offences. They are peacemakers.

If there is fighting in your life, family, business, or church, it is because of pride. Is it your adversary’s pride, your pride, or both? A wise man will do what he can to end war and wrangling. He will use soft words (Pr 15:1), gifts (Pr 21:14), love (Pr 10:12), or slow responses (Pr 15:18) to pacify anger and gain peace. He would rather be defrauded or offended than to fight, so he will pass over offences (Pr 19:11; I Cor 6:7).

Men quarrel and war for many reasons, but pride is the trigger or the fuel that initiates, sustains, and escalates fighting (Pr 28:25; 21:24). Believe it! Solomon wrote this about proud fools: “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Pr 26:12). It is impossible to deal with a proud man, for there is no way to convince him of anything against the arrogant conceit of his own thoughts and desires.

James asked these questions, “From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members (Jas 4:1)? Then he answered with a question and statement, “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jas 4:5-6). The root cause of fighting is pride. Solomon and James wrote the same thing, inspired by one Author.

If covetousness, envy, passion, and revenge have roles in conflicts, pride has the lead role. Pride makes men impatient, angry over slights, resentful of contradiction, envious of advantage, angry at competition, scornful of correction, revengeful of offences, conceited of opinion, domineering of conversation, critical of weaknesses, and void of forgiveness. Pride causes these and other perversities of the human soul. God, have mercy and help!

A well-advised man is knowledgeable, wise, and prudent. He asks and receives advice, for he knows safety is in many counselors (Pr 24:6). He is slow to speak, knowing haste exalts folly and does not produce true righteousness (Pr 14:29; Jas 1:20). He ends conflicts by passing over offences (Pr 19:11), fleeing angry men (Pr 22:24-25; 29:22), and cutting off backbiting tongues (Pr 25:23). He hates pride in himself and others (Pr 8:13)! He knows getting down is both wise and Christ-like (Pr 11:2; Rom 12:16).

Peacemakers are the great ones in the kingdom of God (Matt 5:9), for His kingdom is a kingdom of peace (Rom 14:17-19). You should use all your power toward this goal (Rom 12:18; Eph 4:3). If you want to prosper with a happy and long life, then be a peacemaker (Ps 34:12-16). Where can you make peace today? Do it! Let nothing hinder you.

It is the hellish wisdom of the devil that leads to bitterness and fighting, and you should never think or say that such contention is good or acceptable. It also leads to further confusion and corruption in your life (Jas 3:14-16). But the heavenly wisdom of God is peaceable, gentle, full of mercy, and makes peace (Jas 3:17-18). This passage by James is worth its weight in gold. Get familiar with these verses and obey them always.

There is no place for pride or contention among believers (I Cor 11:16). Pride is not of the Father, but of the world (I Jn 2:16). Pride was the sin of the devil (I Tim 3:6). Reader, humble yourself beneath the mighty hand of God, that He might exalt you in due time (I Pet 5:6). If there is any conflict, cold war, quarrel, or strife in which you have any role at all, end it immediately, lest it corrupt your worship in God’s sight (Matt 5:21-26


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored. 

Failure or success? Poverty or riches? Shame or honor? Which do you prefer? Of course, you want success, riches, and honor! But it is far easier to desire them than to get them. There is a basic requirement to get them, and the vast majority of men will not meet this condition. They must humble themselves to regard criticism and accept instruction.

You are making a decision right now about your future. Some will presume they know the lesson, so they stop reading and go back to their little games. Others will read a little further and stop when the author implies they are likely a fool or scorner. Only a few will be thrilled to see an offer of honor and devour each word to gain the prize.

Most men are too proud, rebellious, and stubborn to take reproofs or accept instruction. They want to do things their way. They do not like to be told they are wrong. They love their own opinions.

There is a simple technique for success in a world doomed to failure. Find teachers that have the truth and wisdom of God and submit to their reproofs and instruction. It is that simple. God has revealed the wisdom of heaven to men. If you will find them and accept their correction and teaching, you can deliver yourself from failure, poverty, and shame.

Once you have a teacher, there is another obstacle in the way of success – your own thoughts, imaginations, and opinions. A man that arrogantly presumes he is right is worse than a fool. He is a scorner, and God will blind and punish that man. A fool is too lazy and distracted to learn, but a scorner refuses to be taught.

Learning requires change: either you must correct errors you have learned, or you must add new knowledge to your inventory. The first requires accepting reproofs, and the second requires accepting new ideas through instruction. Pride, rebellion, and stubbornness will not allow a man to do either of these two things. He is a certain loser!

A true teacher is an enemy of your thoughts and imaginations. He must destroy and pull down the strongholds of your mind, where you are holding false ideas and concepts. He must replace them with truth and wisdom, which you have not heard or accepted before. While the relationship is affectionate, the process is definitely conflict.

What keeps you from listening to your teachers – your parents and pastor? Are you too proud to accept correction? Too stubborn to admit you are wrong? Too rebellious to change by another’s order? These are marks of a scorner! You are doomed to poverty and shame, unless you repent immediately and humble yourself before God’s word.

Do you sleep in church? Do you resent being taught by a man younger than you? Do you attend the fastest-growing church in town to avoid preaching? These are marks of a fool! You are doomed to poverty and shame, unless you repent immediately and humble yourself before God’s word.

Jesus made the lesson very plain as He concluded the Sermon on the Mount. He said that hearing His doctrine and not doing it was like building your life on sand. The storms of time and eternity will wash you away! But a wise man will hear His sayings and build his life upon them. He will stand sure in both time and eternity!

Examine yourself in the light of this proverb. If you hear instruction and forget it before applying it to your life, you are a fool. You are heading for certain poverty and shame. If you hear correction and resent it, you are a scorner. You are heading for certain poverty and shame even faster. Wisdom is submitting to reproofs and accepting instruction, for that is the means of learning and growth. God and all good men will honor such a man.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

Do you resent being told what to do? When a parent, teacher, or pastor gives you a law, it is for your own good. Be thankful! Consider it a fountain of life! Their laws are to bless your life and save you from trouble. No one by nature likes to be told what to do, but a noble person recognizes that wise laws are for his good (Pr 6:23; 14:27; 15:24; Ps 141:5).

Ponce de Leon sought the fountain of youth to live longer. Laws from wise men are the fountain of life, in order to live longer and better! They will save you from the snares of death, which are traps of sinful living bringing misery and destruction. If you are wise, you will never resent the correction of a wise teacher (Pr 8:36; Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:20).

Why do parents have rules against playing in the street? Because they want their child to live and not be killed by a vehicle. Should a child resent such a rule? No! Why do good parents restrict activities with the opposite sex? Because they want their children to have loving marriages without scars of fornication. In each case, the parental law is a blessing.

If you are noble and prudent, you will appreciate laws given by those wiser than you. If you desire success in life, you will accept and obey rules given to prosper and protect you. You will grasp the importance of learning from the wisdom of others. And you will remember that the laws they impose are to bless your life and guard you from death.

Why do nations have traffic laws? Schools weapons rules? Militaries authority protocol? Factories safety rules? Airlines maintenance schedules? Drugs precise doses? Electric appliances user warnings? Because the laws and rules are given to protect people from danger and death, and they are given to provide sufficient guidance for great success.

Why do you resent rules? You think you know better? You know the teacher is not perfect? The rule restricts your freedom? The lawgiver is too pushy? You think it is just a matter of opinion? In all these cases, you are being foolish, for the law was given to help and protect you, not please or enrich the giver. Wise men love instruction and correction. Only fools and scorners resent them. Grow up today to start prospering by obeying rules!

God’s laws are perfect, better than any parent, teacher, or ruler can ever give (Ps 19:7-10; 119:96). His commandments are not grievous – not designed to cause pain or trouble (I Jn 5:3). It is foolish rebellion to think Bible rules are to hurt you. Israel with God’s laws was the envy of the world for its wisdom and success (Deut 4:1-8; 6:24-25; 10:12-13; Josh 1:6-9), and so was America when it followed God’s laws (Ps 33:12; 144:11-15).

The Bible is like a mirror that exposes blemishes that keep you from fully pleasing God and men (Jas 1:23-24). If you want to prosper in life, then you will not just hear or read God’s words, you will put them into practice, just like men and women improve their faces before going to an interview (Jas 1:21-22,25)! You can be blessed starting today by drinking from the fountain of life, the law of the wise, to depart from folly and death.

How can you learn more laws of the wise? Trust your parents, who lived your life before you. Seek a multitude of counselors for major decisions. Crave your pastor’s preaching, as he gives forth God’s laws. And read the Bible to know the rules of wisdom to bless your life and protect you from death. The word of God is a lamp and light for your life (Ps 119:105), and it is able to clean up the lives of young men for success (Ps 119:9).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is carful to discipline him

It is not easy for a loving parent to discipline a child, but it is necessary.  The greatest responsibility that God gives parents is the nurture and guidance of their children.  Lack of discipline puts parents’ love in questions because it shows a lack of concern for the character development of their children.  Disciplining children averts long-range disaster.  Without correction, children grow up with no clear understanding of right and wrong and with little direction to their lives.  Don’t be afraid to discipline your children.  It is an act of love.  Remember, however, that your efforts cannot make your children wise; they can only encourage your children to seek God’s wisdom above all else.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 13:13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.

God created us, knows us, and loves us.  It only makes sense, then to listen to his instructions and do what he says.  The Bible is his unfailing word to us.  It is like an owner’s manual for a car.  If you obey God’s instructions, you will “run right” and find his kind of power to live.  If you ignore them, you will have breakdowns, accidents, and failures.

How great is the difference between being destroyed and being rewarded? How great is the difference when it is God that does both the destroying and rewarding? The difference is enormous. But the conditions for being rewarded are clear and easy. Thank you, Lord.

This proverb is similar and typical of many other proverbs by Solomon. He constantly reminded his son and you of the blessing for obeying God’s word and the punishment for not obeying it. If you despise the Bible, you will be destroyed. If you respect and keep what the Bible says, you will be blessed. This is a fundamental axiom for your life.

The God of heaven is holy and jealous (Josh 24:19). He will not forgive or overlook those who despise or reject His word. Since He is the Creator of all things, including every man, woman, and child, He expects their total submission and obedience to Him. His first commandment justly demands your absolute and total love for Him (Deut 6:4-5).

About 1650 years after creation, or about 4400 years ago, God drowned and suffocated the earth with a flood of water (Gen 7:4,23). What brought His great destruction on the earth and the human family? They had despised His word and corrupted His way on the earth (Gen 6:5-7,11-12). He sent Noah to preach and warn them, but they rebelled against the commandments of their Creator, so He destroyed them (I Pet 3:18-20; II Pet 2:5).

God sent another preacher to Pharaoh, King of Egypt, about 3500 years ago. The Hebrews, worshippers of the living and true God, were slave laborers for Pharaoh. Moses brought God’s request for Pharaoh to let His people go to Canaan. When Pharaoh despised the word, God ravaged the land with ten plagues and destroyed his army and him in the Red Sea (Ex 5:2; 12:29-36; 14:28). The lesson of the proverb should be clear.

King Ahab despised the word of the Lord, so God destroyed him in battle with a chance arrow (I Kgs 22:1-40). King Uzziah despised God’s word that only the priests were to serve in the temple, so God destroyed him with leprosy (II Chron 26:16-23). King Jehoiakim thought he could burn the word of God and get rid of its warnings, so God destroyed him and his family and gave him the burial of an ass (Jer 36:1-32; 22:18-19).

But the proverb also promises reward to those who fear God’s commandments. This fear is not servile terror, but rather eager reverence to know and do His will (Ps 1:1-2; 112:1; 119:47-48; Is 6:8; Acts 9:1-6). Though the LORD God is very great, He will bless and reward those who humbly tremble before His word (Is 66:1-2; Acts 17:11; Heb 11:6).

Fearing God and keeping His commandments is the whole duty of man (Eccl 12:13-14). But there is also great reward in keeping them (Ps 1:1-6; 19:11; 37:4; 84:11; 112:1-3), which God’s saints have experienced in all circumstances, such as Abram in Canaan (Gen 13:1-6), Isaac in Canaan (Gen 26:12-14), Joseph in Egypt (Gen 39:1-23), Ruth in Bethlehem (Ruth 2:3), Rehoboam in Jerusalem (II Chr 12:12), Manasseh in Babylon, (II Chr 33:12-13), Esther in Shushan (Es 2:17), and Daniel in Babylon (Dan 1:1-21).

What have you done with the preachers God has sent you? Paul warned against despising prophesying, or preaching (I Thess 5:20). And he foretold irremediable judgment on those who despise or neglect it (Heb 2:1-4; 10:26-31; 12:25). It is your solemn duty and great reward to fear and love the word of the Lord. The lesson of the proverb is clear!