Archive for the ‘Proverbs 15’ Category

We have said before that humility is very important. We must walk humbly before God. The honor must come from God and not man. If we fear God, we will follow in His ways. We will study his Word and know what His will is for our life. If we fear (respect), Him, our desire will be to please him. This fear actually means we will love Him and respect Him and do everything we can do to obey His commandments and the things He has told us to do (through Jesus), in the New Testament

A person who refuses to be taught is hurting himself more than anyone else. An unlearned person makes many mistakes. He has no facts to work with. The person who wants to understand will listen carefully to someone who knows more, and will even take correction from that person to learn. 

Over, and over again, in the book of Revelation, it is said, “He that hath an ear let him hear”. This is talking about opening your ear of understanding to God. We are to be wise unto salvation. The acquiring of wisdom demands a teachable spirit. 

If we have Jesus in our heart, we have His Light shining within us. Others see in this person a joy unspeakable that radiates out to everyone they come in contact with. A good report makes the bones fat is very similar to the statement: Good news lifts you up. It makes your heart leap within you. 

Whatever is good, sound truth and wisdom stir the heart by relieving anxiety and producing a cheerful face. 

James 5:16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Sin separates us from God. Some have taken this Scripture to mean that God will not hear the prayer of the sinful man. Judge for yourselves from the following scriptures.

 John 9:31 We know that God does not listen to sinners.  He listens to the godly person who does his will. 

1 Peter 3:12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil. 

 I believe God does hear his prayers but will not answer until the sinful man repents.

God is far from the wicked because the wicked has rejected or walked away from God, not the other way around. God does answer the righteous quicker as you can read in in the next Scripture.

Godly, righteous people weigh their answers; those who are wicked do not think before speaking because they don’t care about the effects of their words. When you have something to say, think about it first. Do you carefully plan your words, or do you pour out your thoughts without concern for their impact?

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 15:27 A greedy man brings trouble to his family but he who hates bribes will live

The desire to be rich is dangerous to a man’s family. He will be tempted to accept bribes or compromise righteousness, which will bring trouble to his wife, children, and estate. But a man that hates bribes or financial compromise will preserve and prosper his family.

Greed is excessive ambition and covetous desire for more than you have or should reasonably expect (Pr 1:19; Is 56:11). Gain is financial success or wealth. The proverb condemns lustful desire to be rich, which leads to compromising godliness and wisdom.

The gifts here are bribes, which are given to pay a man to compromise the law or financial wisdom (Pr 29:4; Ex 23:8; Deut 16:19; Is 33:15). A virtuous man will hate such gifts, for he will not sell his integrity or the approval of God for any price.

There are many temptations associated with desire for financial success, and they often bring pain and trouble to a man’s family. But a man who is content with his income, and would never consider cheating for any advantage, will protect and prosper his family.

Beyond bribes, desiring riches brings temptation to compromise in dealings, break the law, violate financial wisdom, overwork, be tempted by investment scams, mistreat employees, cheat on giving, neglect charity, over-expand, deprive the family of affection and time, forget your soul, worry about tomorrow, be carnally minded, associate excessively with the world, be puffed up, despise others, and numerous other sins.

Here is Paul’s sober warning: “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 6:9-10).

God’s ministers cannot be greedy of gain, for such men will compromise righteousness or the gospel for income (I Tim 3:3,8; 6:6-10; Titus 1:7). This rule matched Moses’ requirement for Israel’s leaders to be men hating covetousness (Ex 18:21). And John the Baptist told the Roman soldiers at his baptism to be content with their wages (Luke 3:14).

Two things cost investors and businessmen – greed and fear: greed brings ruin, and fear misses potential profits. Fear is better than greed (Pr 14:23; 21:5; 22:3; 28:11,19,22). There are no free lunches: wise men reject even cheap lunches, knowing they are deceptive. Bulls and bears can make money in any market, but pigs end up eating trash.

Reader, how much time do you spend thinking about getting ahead? Is it the acceptable desire to do with your might what God has given you to do (Eccl 9:10)? Or is it an obsession to rise in the esteem of the world by financial increase (Pr 18:11)? Be warned!

Are you tempted in any area of life to compromise in order to get ahead? In any of the areas listed above? Godly men are content with what they have, for they esteem the Lord and His word their portion forever (Ps 19:10; 73:25-26; 119:11; Heb 13:5-6). And their families will be blessed in the earth for such noble and virtuous men (Pr 11:21; Is 65:23).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 15:29 The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous. 

Prayer is not a right. Prayer is a privilege, a blessed privilege. God is not obligated to hear the prayer of any man, and He will reject the prayer of the wicked. But as He has promised, He will hear the prayer of the righteous. He will answer them tenderly, mightily, and speedily. This axiom was perfectly understood by the Jews (John 9:31).

The wicked are those continuing in sin, any sin, even one sin. They know they are sinning, but they do not care. They do not confess and forsake it. They ignore the warnings of God’s Word, His minister, their whispering conscience, and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. They think they can get away with their sin. They do not think it important enough to forsake and repudiate it. They hide it under a cloak of hypocrisy.

You can hide sin from your parents, your spouse, your children, your church, and your pastor. They will continue to treat you with the same kindness and affection as in the past. You can deceive friends and family with hypocrisy, but you cannot deceive God. This is an important distinction to remember, for your wicked heart will assume foolishly that since you are not punished by others for hidden sins, God will not punish you either.

The LORD sees the very thoughts and intents of each heart (Heb 4:12). There is nothing hid from His holy eyes (Heb 4:13). He perfectly sees and knows every sin of thought, word, and deed (Pr 15:3; Ps 139:1-12). And He does not overlook them. They grieve and offend Him, and unless they are confessed and forsaken, He will not hear your prayers. You are doomed to a life without His blessing, and He will then righteously chasten you.

The LORD is not far from the wicked in location and knowledge, for He fills heaven and earth, and no one can hide from Him (Jer 23:24). But He is far from helping them, comforting them, blessing them, and having fellowship with them. He is near at hand to see their wickedness, but He is far away from answering their prayers. And in the great Day of Judgment, He will tell them to depart from Him into eternal hell fire (Matt 7:23).

So offensive is sin against the holy God of the Bible, especially when you know better, that even your sacrifices become an abomination to him (Pr 15:8). When you rebel against the preaching of His Word, He counts your prayers an abomination (Pr 28:9). He despises your worship, when you are hiding unconfessed sin (Is 1:10-15; 58:1-11).

So great is this offence of rebellion against God that He will laugh and mock when you need Him most (Pr 1:24-31). If you reject His conviction and instruction now, He will laugh at your calamity later. Reader, do not even dare to think you can take preaching lightly. Do not even dare to think you can keep your secret sins and God will be merciful.

Because of Saul’s wickedness, the LORD left him (I Sam 16:14). And though he begged for mercy, the LORD had judged him and given the kingdom to David (I Sam 15:28-30). He was so desperate for his prayers to be heard that he went to the witch of Endor to conjure up Samuel, who condemned him further (I Sam 28:5-20). But David was confident that even in death God’s presence would protect and bless him (Ps 139:7-10).

David also sinned. He hid his sin and learned a painful lesson. He learned not to wallow in his sins. He wrote, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Ps 66:18). So he confessed his sin, and the Lord heard him (Ps 32:5-6). He wrote, “But verily God hath heard me; he hath attended to the voice of my prayer” (Ps 66:19).

Therefore, it is a great duty to examine your soul and life. The man after God’s own heart examined himself often and thoroughly (Ps 19:12-14; 26:2; 139:23-24). Then you must confess, immediately and completely, whatever evil you find by the blessing of God’s light and conviction (Pr 28:13; Job 33:26-28). He will faithfully forgive you (I John 1:9).

Conviction for sin is special mercy from God. It is the loving overtures of your heavenly Father calling you back to Him. When you feel conviction for sin, rejoice that God has not forsaken you forever, and run with that conviction to confess and forsake your sins. If you continue to rebel, He will turn in Fatherly anger and chasten you. Instead, He lovingly says to you, “Return unto me” (Is 44:22; Mal 3:7).

To those who humble themselves and live holy lives, the LORD is always present with deliverance and blessing (II Chron 16:9; Ps 34:15-17; 138:6; Jas 5:16; I Pet 3:12). Listen to the LORD God, and believe His Word, “The LORD is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Ps 145:18-19).

Dear reader, you do not have to be perfect for God to hear your every prayer, but you do need to confess your failures. Consider Elijah, the wild man that he was. When reviewing the power of his prayers, the LORD comforts you by declaring that Elijah was a man subject to the same passions you face every day (James 5:16-18). Thank you, Lord!

The LORD heard every prayer of the Lord Jesus (John 11:42), for He always did those things that pleased God (John 8:29). In His deepest hour of need, though the cross was unavoidable, His Father sent an angel to strengthen Him (Luke 22:43). And the angel of the LORD encamps around you, and delivers you, when you fear Him (Ps 34:7).

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 15:19 The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.

Has your life been rough or smooth the last year? What is your outlook? Does the future frighten you, or welcome you? There is a reason for your answers to these questions. Lazy people have two problems in life – things do not work out well for them, and they are afraid of the future. Diligent men find life is smooth and easy, and they rejoice in the opportunities it provides. How many thorns are in your way? You can remove them!

There are two similes – or identified comparisons – in this proverb. A lazy man’s life is like a hedge of thorns, which is a difficult and painful obstacle hindering progress or travel. He has a hard time going forward, and he dreads the effort and trouble. A righteous man’s life is like a smooth, paved highway, which makes his travel comfortable and fast. He finds progress in life to be easy, and he looks forward to the future.

The proverb contrasts slothful men and diligent men, wicked men and righteous men. The slothful man is contrasted to the righteous man to teach that slothful men are wicked and righteous men are diligent. God and good men despise lazy men, for slothfulness is a sin (Pr 6:6-11; 10:26; 18:9; 24:30-34; 26:16; Gen 3:19; Matt 25:26-28; Rom 12:11; I Thess 4:11-12). God’s solution for lazy men is to starve them (Pr 20:4; II Thess 3:10).

How is a slothful man’s life like a hedge of thorns? By his procrastination and neglect of things needful for his progress and success! Laziness creates numerous hardships that make life much more difficult than God ever intended. By procrastinating and excusing himself from preparing for the future, he arrives at the future without assets, credit, skills, or reputation. He is defenseless before adversity; he has no capital to invest in anything; he is worthless in the job market; and he has no friends to vouch for him.

How is a slothful man’s life like a hedge of thorns? By his negative and wicked attitude! Laziness steals his energy, perverts his heart, and blinds his eyes. He thinks he is too tired to work (Pr 19:15). He grieves at the very thought of work (Pr 26:15). He scorns every opportunity to work in spite of excellent reasons from seven wise and successful men (Pr 26:16). Suggest a job. He will claim it is too cold to work (Pr 20:4). Suggest another. He is afraid of lions in the street (Pr 22:13; 26:13). He will imagine and argue for any excuse imaginable to avoid facing the thorns his own laziness has planted!

How is a diligent man’s life made plain? By his past efforts that make the present much easier! By careful planning and hard work, he has provided those things necessary for his progress and success. He knows where he is going, and he has taken the steps to get there. He accumulates assets, credit, skills, and reputation. He can handle adversity, invest in offered opportunities, obtain replacement employment if necessary, and call upon any number of excellent references to help him.

How is a diligent man’s life made plain? By his cheerful and righteous attitude toward work! Hard work is a joy to him! He rejoices at the opportunity to work. He is thankful for his job. He offers to work overtime. He enjoys helping a business. He appreciates and respects his employers. He sleeps well, but only at night (Pr 6:6-11; Eccl 5:12). He looks forward to rising and going to work in the morning. He dives into projects and finishes them, better than anyone else. He is committed to outworking others (I Cor 15:10).

He looks for opportunities to work more, for he knows that rewards and riches will follow (Pr 10:4; 12:24; 22:29; 27:18). He finds a reward in labor itself (Eccl 9:10). He sees the future full of promise and reward. He does not see anything that scares him: the road before him is smooth and made for speed. He is optimistic about life, because he has faced difficult projects before and watched them melt away before his diligent efforts.

All other things being equal, God can give afflictions and troubles to the best of saints, but He will deliver them out of them (Ps 34:19). Everyone has troubles and gets pricked by thorns from time to time, but the righteous man goes forward and clears the thorns away; he does not hide in his bed or house like the slothful man. He gets up after falling, even if he falls again (Pr 24:16). He never quits or resigns to accept the life of a loser.

If you have been slothful, you know the proverb is true: you know you have a hedge of thorns in your way. It will not go away just because you have read this wonderful proverb by Solomon and agree with its lesson. It will only go away if you get up and attack it with the diligence of a righteous man. If you do not attack it, the thorns will grow larger and larger until the hedge completely chokes your life down to a miserable failure. Get up! Get going! Hate sleep! Hate leisure! Attack your duties with growing thorns in mind!

There is one other little problem. God despises sluggards and will oppose them in all they do. If you have been slothful, then God is your enemy, and nothing is going to work like it should. God will only bless and favor the diligent man. Therefore, if you have been slothful, beg Him for forgiveness before you try to remove the hedge of thorns in your own strength. He will blow against your efforts, unless you repent and beg Him for help.

The same rule applies to your spiritual life. If you are slothful about your religious duties, you will be discouraged and overwhelmed by the Bible, by the religious confusion in the world, and by your own carnality (Luke 8:11-18). But the man who diligently seeks the Lord will easily and surely find Him and His great reward (Jer 29:13; Heb 11:6). Reader! The choice is yours in matters both natural and spiritual. Clear away the thorns today!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 15:6 The house of the righteous contains great treasure, but the income of the wicked brings them trouble.

Shelter and sustenance with love and peace is better than increasing income with pain and trouble. A righteous man enjoys a happy and quiet life with his necessities supplied, but a wicked man has pain and trouble even while increasing financially. The proverb compares the consequences of righteous living to those of a wicked lifestyle.

Many of Solomon’s proverbs have two clauses that make a comparison or contrast, and the right meaning and lessons are found by carefully comparing those clauses. In this proverb you should see: a house compared to revenues, the righteous compared to the wicked, and much treasure compared to trouble. Righteous living makes the difference.

Solomon, king and philosopher (Pr 1:1-6; Ec 1:1-3,12-14), taught that intangibles such as love, peace, and righteousness are superior to tangibles like income, assets, luxurious dining, etc. He often stated the superiority clearly so that you would not miss it (Pr 15:16-17; 16:8; 17:1; 21:19; 28:6; Ec 2:26; 4:6; 7:1). These priorities for living are priceless.

Here he taught the same lesson obscurely – more like a true proverb, or dark saying of the wise (Pr 1:6). The lesson is simple. A righteous man may lack the revenue of the wicked, but he lives in his house with much treasure that the wicked man cannot even imagine – a clear conscience, God’s presence, love, peace, quiet, a coming eternal inheritance, etc.

Wicked men may prosper now, but they will spend an eternity in hell (Ps 17:14-15; 73:18-20; Matt 16:26). While righteous men may not have an impressive balance sheet or the adoration of the world now, God blesses them with favor and advantages far greater, both in this life and the next (Pr 3:31-33; 10:22; 13:25; 23:17-18; Mark 10:28-31).

Wicked men, regardless of their riches, often have strife and trouble in their lives that make their life on earth a hell as well. Covetousness and greed will not let them rest. Fear of loss by many means keeps them nervous and troubled. The brevity of life reminds them that they will leave all they have to some fool behind them who will waste it.

What is the lesson? Righteous living is far better than sinful living, regardless of income. Is there another lesson? Godliness with contentment is great gain (Pr 30:8-9; I Tim 6:6-10). Is there another? A mystery and hidden wisdom of the gospel is that the righteous truly own everything already (Rom 8:17; I Cor 3:21-23; II Cor 6:10). What is the reward for righteous living? Intangible blessings from God, others, and your own heart now, and tangible blessings in heaven in the future (Pr 14:14; Rom 8:18-23; II Cor 4:17-18)!