Archive for the ‘Proverbs 14’ Category


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

The fountain of life has been found! Drink from it now, dear reader! The man who fears the LORD will be greatly blessed (Ps 128:1-6). The man who does not fear the LORD will be destroyed by the deadly snares of this ungodly world (Pr 10:27; 22:5; Eccl 7:17).

This is one of the best proverbs of Solomon. Here is a superb promise, a sober warning, and spectacular instruction. The wisdom of this short sentence is wonderful. You have learned many things in life to get where you are today, but this is better than all of them. There are many traps to destroy or kill you in a sinful world, but the lesson will save you.

The fear of the LORD is sober reverence and holy desire to please God that rejects sin and confidence in one’s self (Pr 3:7; 8:13; 16:6). It is the beginning of wisdom (Pr 1:7; 9:10), as those without it are hopelessly lost in self-love and human opinion. It is closely connected to the law of the wise (Pr 2:1-22), which also is a fountain of life (Pr 13:14).

The man or woman who fears the LORD has the wisest impulses and strongest motivation of any living in the world. He or she will be successful in the sight of God and good men, as measured by divine standards. This person will have a glorious life and be saved from the snares that trap others in dysfunctional and painful lives of death and hell.

What can save a man from great attraction to a strange woman? His wife? His mother? His pastor? His children? Not really. The fear of the Lord is the strongest antidote to her beauty and seduction (Eccl 7:26). Nothing else comes close, for only reverent fear of God’s judgment and a great desire to please Him can cause a man to reject her advances, like Joseph did (Gen 39:7-9). Salvation from her wiles delivers a man from the hell and death to which fornication and adultery certainly lead (Pr 2:18; 5:4-5; 7:27; 9:18).

What will keep a marriage happy and prosperous? Both parties fearing the LORD! A husband who fears the LORD will love his wife with the tender affection her Creator intended. A wife who fears the LORD will love her husband with the reverent service that makes for peaceful homes. Two that fear the LORD will make love according to the Inventor’s instructions and solve problems by the Counselor’s wisdom! Therefore, it becomes of greatest importance that spousal selection fix on the fear of the Lord above all else (Pr 31:30). Disregard for this point will cost you fifty years of death. Mark it.

The fountain of life, which is a perpetual supply of good things that make for abundant living, is not dependent on circumstances, for a little with the fear of the Lord is superior to treasure with trouble (Pr 15:16). Ah, dear reader, is it not a treasure here (Is 33:6)? Men search diligently for a fountain of life for physical longevity, but a successful life that pleases God and men is a much greater goal, and the means to it is in this proverb!

Christian parent, this is the most important thing to teach your children. Forget even reading, if it competes with this gift. The fear of the Lord will serve them far better than any academic pursuit, physical exercise, or entertainment. It should be taught as the whole duty of man and the conclusive purpose of life (Ps 34:11; Eccl 12:13-14; Eph 6:4).

It can be established by a godly father living its example and enforcing its claims toward each child. If you love your children, then take time this very day to warn them of His judgments, show them His statutes, and offer them His promises. Point out to them the vanity and vexation of life without the fear of the Lord and the prosperous peace with it.

The fundamental cause of folly, frustration, and pain in life is the lack of the fear of the LORD, which the wicked know not at all (Ps 10:4; 36:1; Rom 3:18). It is only by grace of salvation that men are given this fountain for their parched souls (Jer 32:40), and then they must be taught it, as David and Solomon taught their children (Ps 34:11; Pr 2:1-5).

Jesus Christ feared God like no other, even when facing the torture and death of the cross, and His fear provided a fountain of eternal life to save God’s elect from the death wages of their sins (Heb 5:7-9; John 4:14; Rom 6:23; II Tim 1:9-10). Those who love Him will find a church where God is worshipped with reverence and godly fear (Heb 12:28-29).


Proverbs 14:34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. 

America is doomed as a glorious nation, if this proverb is true! Much of the nation not only neglects righteousness, it despises it with scornful hatred. It not only allows sin, it promotes it with rabid fervor. Unless America repents and returns to righteousness, she is doomed, for this proverb is certainly true! Let God be true, but every man a liar!

There are two possibilities why America still survives. God is preserving her for the sake of the righteous and their prayers for her, as He would have spared Sodom for Lot’s family (Gen 18:23-33), or He is setting her up with the illusionary prosperity of fools, before bringing her crashing down to hell (Pr 1:32; Deut 32:15-25; Ps 9:17; 50:21-23).

God raised Pharaoh up high, but it was not a blessing. It was only for the LORD Jehovah to have the highest monarch of the greatest nation to squash like a bug (Ex 9:16; Rom 9:17). Of course, PTA mothers, who think vegetarian hot lunches at school will make America a better place, do not accept or understand this profound truth from the Bible.

A nation is exalted when it is lifted up, when it is raised in rank, honor, estimation, power, or wealth. A nation is reproached when it is censured, discredited, rejected, or shamed for its faults. The masses once teemed to America’s shores for noble and virtuous reasons. The praises of America were sung far and wide as the golden land of dreams and opportunity. But what was once the joy and hope of nations is fast becoming a byword.

How great is a nation in debt $18 trillion, with that debt growing $2.5 billion daily? How glorious is one thinking Ebonics is an alternative to English? How noble is one where more money is spent on pets than religion? How righteous is a nation calling two men a marriage? And two women and a baby a family? How free are a people where unborn children, though screaming for mercy, are chased across the womb, and pulled apart in pieces by a suction wand, all for a mother’s irresponsible pleasure and a doctor’s fee?

What kind of culture allows a young female to paint her crew cut purple, use white eye shadow, wear studs in her tongue and other body parts, dress in black leather and chains, listen to anarchic music and lyrics, and walk her lover in public places on a leash? That is not freedom! That is insanity! That is not personal taste! That is rebellion against God and authority! She does not have rights! She has responsibilities, to God and nature!

The wickedness of the seven nations of Canaan, which was not much worse than segments of America, caused God to say of them, “And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants” (Lev 18:25). He warned Israel the same thing could happen to them, “Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out” (Lev 20:22).

Why is America declining? Adam Smith, who in 1776 wrote, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,” did not know. Poor fool! But Solomon, the wisest king and political analyst who ever lived, did know. Here is his inspired wisdom from Jehovah: righteousness makes a nation great; sin destroys and shames nations.

There is no New Deal to stop this old proverb! No president or executive action will stave off America’s decline. No legislation can patch the sinking ship. And no court order will stay the hand of the Most High. Unless America repents, she is going down, down, down. More money for education, legislation reforming prisons, or Nike sponsoring basketball tournaments in the ghetto will not roll this snowball back up the hill (Pr 19:21; 21:30).

Political and social projects are vanity and a waste. They miss the problem. They have accomplished nothing of value, and instead they cause further damage by distracting men from the real cure to a charade. As long as man has hope in man, there will be no slowing the decay, for there is no hope in man! Only Jehovah and righteousness can save nations!

How do you measure the exaltation or reproach of a nation? America was once great like Israel was great under Moses, David, and Solomon. Both nations were known for wisdom, justice, peace, morality, witty inventions, riches, strength, honor, good government, excellent laws, and God’s presence (Pr 8:12-21). But as Israel became a reproach, so has America. Now it is known for folly, crime, fear, excess, conflict, debt, poverty, weakness, bureaucratic government, legal confusion, and decayed religion.

What causes the exaltation or reproach of a nation? When a nation fears Jehovah and keeps His Scriptures, that nation will be exalted quickly and surely, for they are following the only manual for public and private wisdom in the universe. When a nation allows and promotes sin, it will become a disgrace and shame, for sin by definition is the choice of perversity over propriety (Deut 4:5-8). The explanation is simple. The true God declared, “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God” (Ps 9:17).

Is America righteous or sinful? Prayer and the Ten Commandments are outlawed in most public places; but sodomy, the Quran, and Harry Potter are defended and promoted. Mein Kampf and The Origin of Species are more popular than the Bible in public schools. The nation allows and defends labor unions, evolution, same sex marriages, murder of a million unborn babies each year, witchcraft, lewd entertainment promoting anarchy and fornication, rebellious children, lesbian pastors, chaotic music, no fault divorces, etc., etc.

The nation’s Christianity has for the most part sunk to the degradation Paul warned Timothy against (II Tim 3:1 – 4:4). They are in love with themselves, unholy, despisers of those who are good, love pleasure more than God, have a mere form of godliness, emphasize silly women, and have chosen entertainment and fables over sound doctrine.

What is the cure? Repudiation of wickedness, repentance for sin, revival of hearts, reformation of conduct, and restoration of Jehovah’s religion. America does not need better schools, economic reform, more teachers, anything from the NEA, more freedom, more pleasure, UNICEF, more shelters for stray animals, or other such ridiculous ideas.

Christian reader, what are you doing to preserve your nation? Your duties are to live righteously, and thus contend with the wicked (Pr 28:4), pray for your nation (Jer 29:7), and hold the line in all areas of moral decay and decline that are rampant in your country (Ezek 22:30). As the Lord agreed to save Sodom for Lot’s righteous family, holy living and praying saints could prolong the tranquility of any nation (I Tim 2:1-3; Dan 4:27).

But rather than sing, “God Bless America,” as if He owes a blessing in spite of sins, America must return to the only wisdom in the universe – the Creator’s will declared in the Holy Scriptures of Jehovah. America must hold the line at Scripture only – the strait gate and narrow way of Jesus Christ – without following the wicked to hell, just one or two steps behind. Restrained compromise is not righteousness; it is presumptuous sin!

Is there long-term hope for America? Maybe, if she turns to repent, deeply and quickly. God told Solomon, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (II Chr 7:14). But even Israel went so far as to forfeit deliverance, no matter who would have been praying for her (Jer 15:1; Ezek 14:14)! See related comments on Proverbs 1:26 and Proverbs 29:1.

Is there long-term hope for America? Definitely not, if she refuses to repent, and if she has entered the final phase of human history. America is not important enough to warrant any known prophetic place in Scripture, but the Bible does not paint a pretty picture of renewal and revival in these last times. In fact, Satan is being loosed for things to get even worse, but the Blessed and Only Potentate will soon come to destroy the wicked and save His elect from them and this world (II Thess 1:5-10; I Tim 6:13-16; Rev 20:7-15).

Until that wonderful event of Jesus Christ’s return that Christians long for with expectant hearts, He has by His grace made believers a peculiar people and citizens of a holy nation, to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Pet 2:9). Believers are members of Jesus Christ’s spiritual kingdom, which is not of this perverse world (John 8:23; 18:36). They should serve their King as perfectly as possible and look for His glorious coming (Titus 2:11-15).

The Psalmist knew there was hope for the righteous, if they would separate from the wicked. He wrote, “Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD” (Ps 144:11-15).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:15 A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his ways.

Skepticism is a virtue. Caution is a sign of nobility. Demanding proof is wisdom. Only the foolish and stupid believe all they hear or read. A wise and successful man will examine things carefully, before he makes his decision. He understands the risks and rewards before he chooses a course of action. He does nothing by chance or mere hope.

The proverb is for safety and success. It is one of the best. Memorize it. It will save you often (Pr 22:3). You live in bad times. Men trust sound bites instead of sound reasoning. The information explosion bombards you with new data every day. Telemarketers, mail order catalogs, advertisements, infomercials, pop-up ads, and the Internet throw opinions, suggestions, and products at you. God inspired Solomon to save you by this pithy saying.

The simple are gullible. They are not bright. They do not have conviction or ability to question and criticize new information. If it sounds good, and something they want to be true, they believe it. If others are enthusiastic about it, they get excited. If it is in print, they believe it true. If a perceived authority says it, they trust it completely, even without evidence. If strangers say it worked for them, that is good enough evidence to buy it.

The prudent are wise. They have discretion. They are not gullible. They are skeptical of anything sounding too good, too easy, too neat. Too good to be true is their motto. They are not impressed by things in print, words by authority, or testimonials from strangers. They want evidence, and it must be valid. If the simple are excited, they conclude it must be wrong. The majority opinion, in this ignorant and perverse society, scares them away.

Learn to reject anything without proof, and learn the rudiments of evaluating proof. A testimonial is not proof of anything; a drawing of the evolution of the horse is fantasy. The public education system neglects logic and rhetoric: they want you gullible to trust their authorities, which are educators, the media, and entertainers. None of whom, in this Bible-rejecting day, have a clue about truth and error. See the comments on Pr 13:16.

Men are vulnerable to fraud in different areas. The old crave a cure for aging and disease, so they buy magazines filled with health speculations, fraudulent advertising, and testimonials of miracles. Young men want to look like Hercules, so they ingest gargantuan amounts of the latest weight-gain powder from the same store that granny visited! Of course, in twenty years they will try a new powder to take that weight off!

Some men fall for financial fraud, because they want to make millions, easily! Others obsess about conspiracies and avoid the electronic cashier at the grocery store, for fear of receiving the mark of the beast! Safety freaks stop flying, because their flight, out of 100,000 each day, might have a passenger with a shoe bomb! And doting mothers play subliminal ocean sounds to their sleeping children to help them learn to swim!

Many hold evolution to be science, though it violates key parts of the scientific method. Many buy lottery tickets thinking they have a chance because they saw a winner on television. Many worship Joel Osteen for his constant repetition they all can be grinning millionaires like him. Many cremate dead relatives because the funeral home said it is better than burial. Many are vegetarians because an emaciated guru said it leads to god.

How could the Tulip mania of Holland occur in 1637? Or the dot.com bubble of 1997-2000? How did America turn its opinion of sodomy upside down in one generation? Why blame banks for the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009, when they loaned the money? How could anyone buy a ticket for the Heaven Is for Real movie? How can network marketing still exist when 98% lose money buying overpriced stuff for the 2%?

Many Christians practice infant baptism, though not even hinted at in the Bible. Charismatics in many places claim to be apostles, though Paul was the last one. Seventh-Day Adventists’ claim to fame is their false prophecy of the Lord’s coming in 1844, yet they have millions of followers still. Catholics at Mass eat a wafer they claim is the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ without any Bible or scientific evidence at all.

Parent, teach your children to be skeptics. It can be enjoyable. Show them the false advertisement you get about the free family cruise to Tahiti. Show them the fine print requiring you to get to Mexico City for departure and the contract to rent expensive condos on four continents over the next four years. Teach them to look for the fine print, and teach them to look around in a full circle, which is circumspection (Eph 5:15).

Teach your children one of life’s greatest lessons – there is no free lunch. Teach them another – no stranger loves them. The salesman and infomercial have one goal, to take their money from their pockets for themselves. Teach them the Bible is the only book to believe absolutely. Teach them that God is the only Being they can totally trust. Remind them that only God and the godly are truly looking out for them and their future success.

Watch the Evening News together, and point out the blather of the anchor, no matter who it is. Watch a Benny Hinn crusade. Tell them he has never healed anyone and screens every sick person several times before they ever reach the platform. Read The Emperor’s New Clothes to them, and explain how often they will need to say, “But the emperor doesn’t have any clothes on!” in this twisted world of peer-pressured perversity.

You live in the perilous times of the last days (II Tim 3:1). Information is the rage. Schools and degrees, books and other media, multiply ridiculously. Men are gorged on information, but there is no truth! Paul warned, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (II Tim 3:7). And it will not get better, for he said, “Evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim 3:13).

Husband, protect your wife. Satan stole Eve’s mind in about ten seconds in Eden, and Paul warned religious creeps would seek to capture silly – weak and vulnerable – women (II Tim 3:6). Protect your weaker vessel (I Cor 14:34-35; I Pet 3:7). What is the cure? Confidence and knowledge in the Bible and a pastor that will preach mainly to you and provide encouragement and doctrine to lead your family (Ps 119:128; II Tim 3:14 – 4:4)!

Here is valuable wisdom. In life, there is truth and error. A wise man will prove all things, reject the error, and tightly hold the truth. Paul taught this rule when he wrote, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (I Thess 5:21). The Bereans were noble for searching the Scriptures to prove even Paul (Acts 17:11). They were not simple. They did not believe impulsively; they proved him out. Believe not every spirit (I John 4:1-6)!

God is absolute truth, and His word is absolute truth (Deut 32:4; John 17:17). Satan is a liar and the father of lies; he has no truth in him (John 8:44). And all men follow one or the other. There is no neutral ground (Gal 1:8-9; Eph 2:1-3; I Tim 6:3-5). By your first birth, you love lies (John 8:45). But as the children of God, you can follow the truth, if you will prove it and pursue it (Jn 8:47; I Cor 2:15; Jude 1:3). Let God be true (Rom 3:4)!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). He is Faithful and True (Rev 19:11). You can trust Him completely, for your future today and for eternity. 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:2 He whose walk is upright fears the LORD, but he whose ways are devious despises him

It is easy to know if you love God or not. A fool says, “You can’t judge me, because you don’t know my heart.” But Solomon says you can know his heart easily. You simply judge him by his actions. Good men show they love God; bad men show they hate Him.

O hypocrite! You have been found out. Your talk is cheap. Your Sunday religion is vain. Your baptism is empty. Your friendship is false. Your words lie. Your actions tell the truth. Your lack of godly living and your wicked choices prove that you truly hate God.

You will soon be exposed before the whole church (Pr 26:26; Ps 144:7-8). You are afraid to say you hate God, but your actions say you despise Him. Your pious words or regular attendance mean nothing, for a man that truly fears God will obey Him in all parts of life.

The man who walks uprightly – does that which is right all the time – fears the Lord. The man perverse in his ways – who regularly disobeys – despises the Lord. This rule is simple; it is accurate; and hypocrites claiming to fear God do not deceive wise men at all.

A common proverb says, “Actions speak louder than words.” Solomon agreed. He said even children are known by their doings, whether they are pure and right (Pr 20:11). Do not believe what you hear, if a person’s actions contradict (Pr 14:15; 26:6-7,24-25).

Good trees bear good fruit; evil trees bear evil fruit. And so it is with man. Unless his heart is good, his actions will be evil. The mouth speaks and the feet walk according to what is in the heart. Evil men cannot bring forth good actions (Matt 12:33-35). No matter how hard a hypocrite tries, wise men see the inconsistent life betraying his words.

Hypocrites do not want to be discovered or judged, for their whole life is a lie. They pretend they fear the Lord in order to get some thing. They defend their inconsistent lives by denying that anyone knows their hearts. But sincere hearts are known by consistent righteousness, and evil hearts are known by sins. The rule is simple to identify character.

Why do men pretend to fear God? Think closely, dear reader. They need something in the church, so they act religious to get it. They need friends, and Christians are friendly. They need a job, and their boss is a Christian. They need a spouse, and the best women are Christians. They want financial help, and Christians are generous. They fear their spouse leaving, so they obligate her as a Christian. They will pretend to keep their family happy.

The fear of the Lord is not a single profession of an emotional event. “Going forward” at a revival is not scriptural or Christian, so it has no meaning at all. “Making a decision” is not walking uprightly; it is just vain thinking. “Getting saved” shows great ignorance about salvation, for there are at least five phases of it. “Being baptized” or “joining the church” are only single, small steps. They alone do not prove the fear of the Lord at all.

The fear of the Lord is a lifestyle of obeying God, keeping His commandments, and hating sin (Eccl 12:13; Pr 8:13; 16:6). The early churches walked in the fear of the Lord, for they gave up their lives to follow Jesus Christ, even at great personal cost (Acts 9:31). Let Solomon’s father David tell you how he walked uprightly in his house (Psalm 101).

Walking is not a step: it is many steps. Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31). If you do not continue, you do not fear the Lord. You are to be in the fear of the Lord all the day long (Pr 23:17). Others can judge your heart.

Few say they hate God. How horrible! But a lazy spiritual life with sin says louder than words that you despise Him (Mal 1:6-14). If you are not sold out for Him, He despises you and your life (Rev 3:14-19). Loving Christ means keeping His commandments (John 14:21-24). Knowing God truly is only by keeping His commandments (I John 2:3-5).

Eli despised God by loving his sons too much (I Sam 2:29-30). He was perverse in his ways by not killing them. David despised God by taking Bathsheba (II Sam 12:9-10). He was perverse in his ways by taking another woman. These great men violated the rule.

O hypocrite, consider your ways. You have been found out! And if your evil heart is known by men, how much more does God know your hypocrisy and wicked heart, before whom all things are naked and opened (Heb 4:12-14)? Repent of your hypocrisy quickly.

O beloved saint, keep your heart with all diligence (Pr 4:23). Pray for God to examine it thoroughly (Ps 139:23-24; 26:1-2). Confess every variance from His holy standard in Scripture. Remember that your heart is only as good and pure as your actions.

What of Jesus Christ’s heart? It was full of the fear of the Lord, and God honored His heart by hearing His prayer (Heb 5:7-9). His perfect life proved a perfect heart! Amen.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.

How successful is your family? How long will it last? What impact will it have for truth and wisdom? God and men will overthrow the house of the wicked, but they will bless and favor the estate of the righteous. Solomon watched families of wicked men come and go, but he saw the godly seed of the righteous continuing in prosperity for generations (Ps 37:34-40). Here is a proverb that condemns the wicked and encourages the upright.

The wicked build houses – solid, substantial, and permanent dwelling places – to get themselves a name (Ps 49:6-14). They trust their wealth, their intelligence, their strength, and their reputations to deliver them. The upright may begin with only a tabernacle – a fragile, temporary tent. But God will tear down the former and bless the latter. The great reversal of fortune is by the decree of the watchers, or angels – God favors the upright!

Sin is the ruin of families. If you want your family to endure and prosper, you need to pursue godliness and holiness like the upright man. You need to set the Lord first in each life in your house (Ps 101:3-8; 128:1-6; 144:11-15). But the wicked will not think about God at all; they want to do their own thing; they cannot sin enough (Ps 10:4; 58:3). The Lord has guaranteed by this proverb that He will overthrow such a man and his house.

Consider the house of Eli, priest of Israel. God had promised that his house would last forever as His chosen priests, but Eli would not stop his sons from sinning. So God overthrew his family in one day (I Sam 2:12-36; 3:1-18). His two foolish sons were killed in battle; Eli fell backward and broke his neck when he heard the news, and his daughter-in-law died in childbirth (I Sam 4:1-22)! The Lord overthrew the house of the wicked.

Consider Joseph. His brothers sold him into slavery at seventeen; he was falsely accused of attempted rape of his master’s wife, and he was thrown into prison. Surely his life and estate had reached rock bottom. But he had resisted his master’s wife’s advances. God raised him out of prison, put him on the throne of Egypt, and made each of his two sons a tribe in Israel – a double inheritance! The tabernacle of the upright flourished!

Other examples of houses being overthrown and tabernacles flourishing could be given, but there are greater reckonings that most ignore – death and Judgment Day. The beggar Lazarus had no house in this world, but he flourished in heaven, while the rich man that lived luxuriously in this world was overthrown and tormented in hell (Luke 16:19-31).

What can you do? Teach your children and grandchildren the Bible so they will fear God and keep His commandments, for His rules are the life, wisdom, and righteousness of your family tree (Deut 4:5-8; 6:4-9; 32:46-47; Ps 34:11; 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3; Eph 6:4). Keep their priorities on Jesus Christ and heaven, lest they be belly worshippers that mind earthly things (Phil 3:18-19; Col 3:1-4; Heb 11:8-10,13-16). Pray for them every day.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:33 Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning and even among fools she lets herself be known.

Wise men and fools differ in two important ways. First, a wise man’s heart is full of understanding, but a fool’s is filled with folly. Second, a wise man has humility to keep his wisdom to himself, but a fool’s arrogance causes him to spew out the foolishness in his heart (Pr 13:16; 15:2,28; 29:11). Wisdom and modesty make a man great, but foolishness and pride make him an offensive loser. Examine yourself. Which are you?

Dissect the proverb carefully. An understanding man, a man with discretion, knowledge, and prudence, keeps wisdom in his heart. He is not agitated or eager to throw his opinion around when opportunities arise. He is content to be a listener. In fact, he would rather not speak unless asked or expected to do so. He is a man of few words, and you often have to work to get him to share his wisdom (Pr 10:19; 15:28; 17:27; 20:5; Eccl 9:17).

However, a fool must tell everyone what he is thinking. His greatest joy is talking, for he believes and presumes he has great insights to offer (Pr 18:2). Once he starts talking, he is difficult to stop. He keeps babbling, whether he knows the subject or not (Eccl 10:12-14). Though a fool is ignorant and stupid, his pride and lack of discretion cause him to pour out the folly inside. He could improve his reputation just by closing his mouth (Pr 17:28)!

Of course, a wise and understanding man will speak, and he will speak a lot in the right setting for the right purpose. He fulfills his purpose from God by being a tree of life to many (Pr 10:21; 11:30; 15:4,7). Though humble about his own natural abilities, like the prophet Agur (Pr 30:1-3), he is committed to acquiring knowledge and wisdom so he can give the certain words of truth to those who ask him (Pr 22:17-21; I Pet 3:15).

Reader, ask yourself two questions. Do you have wisdom and understanding in your heart? Do you keep them there until serious and sober men ask your opinion for noble reasons? Your answers to these questions will indicate whether you are a good person or a despised fool. In fact, better than your answers, what would others say about you? Do others perceive you to be wise and discreet? Or foolish and talkative? Be very honest.

What can you do about your heart? This book of Proverbs offers wisdom throughout (Pr 1:1-6; 8:1-5; 9:4-6). It tells the starting point – the fear of God (Pr 1:7; 9:10). It compares wise men and fools over and over, for you to choose the former and despise the latter. Wisdom is not far away! Change your life – fill your heart with wisdom from heaven! It is the chief goal of a successful life (Pr 4:7). And it brings great rewards (Pr 4:8).

What can you do about your mouth? This book of Proverbs says much about your speech, because it is the main indicator of your heart, and it affects others the most (Pr 4:24; 10:32; 13:3; 14:7; 17:7; 18:7; 20:15; 22:11; 24:26). Solomon assumed you can learn discreet, wise, and gracious speech (Pr 15:28; 16:23; 22:17-18). Since Jesus Christ said you will be judged by your words in the Day of Judgment, it is time you applied yourself diligently to perfect your heart and your speech (Matt 12:34-37; Ps 19:14; 139:23-24).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 14:3 A fool’s talk brings a rod to his back, but the lips of the wise protect them.

Is your speech mostly arrogant or gracious? All speech falls somewhere between these two extremes. Where does your speech fall? Does your speech tend toward being gracious and kind at all times? Or does it tend toward being arrogant and hurtful at times?

Here is one of the problems – you are not a good judge of your speech. Only others can accurately tell whether you are haughty or kind in your words. All men want to justify the way they speak, but it is the hearers that feel either irritated or blessed by your words.

There are consequences to pay for your speech. Harsh and proud speech brings punishment and trouble from God and men; discreet and gracious speech brings blessing and safety from God and men. Can you rule your mouth to protect yourself from trouble?

How you use your tongue, one of the most difficult things to rule, dictates how you are treated in life. Both death and life are in the power of the tongue, and if you indulge yourself in talking, you will realize one or the other result (Pr 18:21). Solomon warned often about the consequences of speech (Pr 10:20,31; 15:2; 21:23; 26:28; Eccl 10:12-14).

What is this rod of pride in the mouths of fools? It is a metaphor describing how the proud speech of a fool hurts others and himself. His tongue becomes a weapon for pain (Job 5:21; Jas 3:9-12). A fool cannot control his proud speech, and it causes others and him grief wherever he goes (Pr 12:18; 13:10; 14:16; 18:6-7,21; 21:24; 28:25; 29:20).

But a wise man is preserved and honored by his tongue. He uses speech for the good of others, and they love him for it (Pr 15:4,23; 24:26; 25:11-12). His gracious and kind words win the blessing and favor of others (Pr 11:16; 22:11; 31:26). He preserves his soul from much grief by wisely dealing with those around him (Pr 6:1-5; 12:13; 15:1; 18:7).

When a fool talks proudly with his mouth, the pride in his words causes others to dislike and resent him. He loses friends and relationships, but in his ignorance does not know why. When a wise man graciously and humbly denigrates himself to always advance others, they respond with affection and appreciation. He gains in friends and honor.

Do you know where your speech falls between arrogance and grace? Since your heart is deceitful above all things, you are a poor judge (Jer 17:9; Ps 19:12). Since men are prone to excuse their own faults, you must accept the judgment of others. Do others think you biting, harsh, proud, or sarcastic? Or do others think you gentle, kind, edifying, or meek? You must crush even the smell of pride in your heart to have acceptable speech (Pr 16:5).

The word of God is plain here. Corrupt speech is to be replaced with gracious and edifying speech (Eph 4:29). Bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking, and malice are to be replaced with kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness (Eph 4:31-32). Your speech is to always be gracious, allowing room for only a little salty seasoning (Col 4:6).

The Lord Jesus Christ spoke with the purest grace ever (Ps 45:2; Luke 4:22). Even officers sent by the Jews to apprehend Him could not believe His excellent speech (John 7:45-46). The wisdom from heaven is distinctly different from the wisdom of hell, and both kinds are evidenced in the heart attitude and speech of men (Jas 3:14-18). Let the wisdom of this proverb dramatically turn your speech today from pride to graciousness.