Archive for the ‘Proverbs 16’ Category

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 16:20 Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trust in the LORD.

You face decisions and dilemmas daily. Only two things are needed for success – wisdom and faith. Wisdom, the power of right judgment, will help you answer and solve each one justly and prudently. Every time you do this, natural and spiritual blessings will follow. Faith, which is belief and confidence in God, will protect and prosper you further, as you honor Him by truth and righteousness over self-preservation and self-promotion.

Success and happiness are easy. They are offered here. How are they obtained? By godly wisdom in decisions and faith in the God of wisdom (Pr 3:5-6; Josh 1:8; I Tim 6:6; I Pet 3:10-12)! Dealing with life’s perplexities by faith in God’s word and providence, you secure the favor of others, the peace and prosperity of prudent choices, and the blessing of God. What rewards! You need to get wisdom and faith and use them today!

Most men face decisions and dilemmas with selfish motives that pervert their judgment and cause them to make poor choices. Rather than trust God to bless a wise and righteous solution, they try to protect and prosper themselves by bending justice and equity. Does this compromise work? Never! It will come home to roost in the disapproval of others, consequences of selfish choices, and punishment from God. Such men are going down!

Where is wisdom found to handle matters prudently and obtain favor of God and men? In the Christian scriptures, the inspired word of God (Ps 19:7-11; 119:130; II Tim 3:15-17)! And much practical wisdom is here in the book of Proverbs (Pr 1:1-7; 2:1-9; 30:5-6). If you will immerse yourself in the word of God, you will accumulate true wisdom to deal with life’s difficulties, and you will accrue great blessings and joy to yourself.

David had great wisdom and favor with the people (I Sam 18:5,14-16,30). How? He valued the Bible highly (Ps 1:1-3; 19:7-11; 119:1-176). It taught him how to deal with Saul’s efforts to kill him, the sedition of his sons, the uniting of a divided nation, and the death of his child? Why did he heed Abigail’s correction? Nathan’s denial? Nathan’s rebuke? He could have acted selfishly many times, but he did not. He trusted God fully.

Joseph and Daniel, foreign captives in the courts of the greatest nations at the time, made choices according to God’s word. Joseph resisted the advances of a beautiful woman and was falsely convicted of attempted rape, but he basked in his pure conscience, the favor of his captors, and God took him to the top of Egypt. Daniel resisted Nebuchadnezzar’s pagan diet and Darius’s religious decree to the peace of his soul, the respect of his captors, and God took him to the top of Babylon and Persia. Grasp the lesson!

God’s inspired wisdom in Scripture brings success and happiness. It has the infallible criterion for a wife (Pr 31:30), the way to pacify anger (Pr 15:1), a secret about generosity (Pr 11:24-25), a warning about scams (Pr 12:11; 13:11), managerial wisdom (Pr 29:21), the danger of cosigning (Pr 6:1-5), the value of savings (Pr 6:6-8), the wisdom of capitalism (Pr 14:4), child training rules (Pr 29:15), and the danger of alcohol (Pr 20:1).

Consider more about the book of Proverbs. It has warnings about whorish women (Pr 6:25), the value of hard work (Pr 22:29), the terrible curse of pride (Pr 16:18), the priorities of life (Pr 15:16; 17:1), the nature of true friendship (Pr 17:17; 27:5-6), the remedy for adultery (Pr 5:19), the value of counselors (Pr 15:22), the evil of sedition (Pr 20:2; 24:21-22), the danger of despising parents (Pr 20:20; 30:17), the value of alcohol (Pr 31:6-7), the wisdom of human society (Pr 30:27), and the care of the poor (Pr 19:17).

The lesson is two-fold. Do not distort the proverb and lose its value by missing either side. Do you apply Bible wisdom diligently, and then do you trust the blessed God of heaven for success? God expects you to use the wisdom He has given – for anything less is tempting Him; but no amount of sagacity or prudence alone will handle all matters – you must have God’s supernatural favor and blessing (Ps 127:1-2; Matt 4:5-7).

A wise man distrusts his motives and doubts his abilities, so he depends on God’s blessing more than his own efforts. He knows he can do nothing without divine assistance, so he casts himself on God’s mercy and promises after choosing a wise course of action. And it is this combination that is true wisdom. Grasp it, and remember it!

Jacob wisely divided his company into two bands and sent generous gifts before meeting Esau, but he wrestled with God all night for success (Gen 32:3-32). David sent Hushai to divert Absalom from Ahithophel’s wisdom, but he begged and trusted God for his success (II Sam 15:31-34). Esther held a double banquet for her husband, the king of Persia, but only after fasting three days and nights for its success (Esther 4:15-17; 5:1-6).

If wisdom is found in Scripture, where is faith found? In the same place! “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Regular reading of God’s dealings with and deliverances of His people will build faith in His providence (Ps 40:4-5; 46:1-11; 77:11-20; 78:1-8; 107:1-43; 111:1-10; 145:1-21; Rom 15:4).

How do you handle life’s dilemmas? By emotion? By instinct? By habit? By fear? By the example of parents? By looking out for yourself? By peer pressure? By popular opinion? By current trends? By pragmatic considerations? These bases for decisions and actions will fail. You missed the lesson of the proverb, and you will miss the success and happiness that wisdom and faith could give you. Thank God, and believe Solomon here.

Wise men learn God’s word and apply it faithfully. They never fear valuing truth and righteousness over self-preservation and self-promotion. They know God’s laws include natural success, bring spiritual happiness, and secure God’s blessing and protection. They never handle a matter any other way than what Scripture indicates, and in this confidence they trust a faithful God for a full reward (Psalm 119:22,94,117,166,173; Heb 11:6).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:11 Honest scales and balances are from the LORD; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

Should a Quarter Pounder weigh four ounces? Should a gallon of milk contain 128 fluid ounces? How about a gallon of gasoline? Do your answers change based on whether you are buying or selling? The great God of heaven expects total honesty in all transactions.

Should the medicine you receive at a hospital or drugstore be 100%, or 99%, pure? Could it make a difference? How about settings and accuracy of diagnostic equipment? Do you want your father to have a perfect MRI? How about someone else’s father?

Should the survey pins of your property boundaries be accurate to centimeters, inches, feet, or yards? Do you want your house’s assessed value close to market value or very close? Does your answer change if your assessment is higher or lower than real value?

Do you feel strongly about these questions? Who says that measurements are important? And who is going to do anything about it, if measurements are not made properly? Should you be able fudge your business transactions a little if no one gets hurt badly?

More than $7 trillion worth of economic transactions take place in the United States each year based on measuring devices. Just a 1% error could amount to over $70 billion, greater than the annual budget of many nations. Small errors add up to big consequences.

A typical convenience store sells 100,000 gallons of gasoline a month. If the owner adjusts his pumps to 127 fluid ounces per gallon, which you could not detect even with measuring cups, he could pocket an extra $20,000 per year. Who would know?

The LORD JEHOVAH knows. He ordained just weights and measurements; He commands them; and He enforces them (Lev 19:35-36; Deut 25:13-15; Ezek 45:10). One of Israel’s sins before being destroyed as a nation was deceitful merchant practices with false balances and weights (Hosea 12:7; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:11). Beware, reader!

God will judge those nations or men who alter weights or measures for gain, because that is an abomination to Him; but He delights in their right use (Pr 11:1; 20:10,23). Honesty and accuracy in economic transactions did not originate with man; they are from God. The laws of the nation of Israel in 1500 B.C. were the envy of the world (Deut 4:5-9).

Compliance with this ordinance leads to economic prosperity, as it has in America. When was the last time you measured your Quarter Pounder, milk, gasoline, medication, or survey pins? Economic trade is allowed to move at full speed with full confidence: not because Americans are intelligent, but because America follows God’s ordinance, whether they individually think about it or not. God’s laws work even for the ignorant.

Before modern scales, sellers provided a balance and weights (buyers did not want to carry weights everywhere, and who would trust theirs anyway). The extra weights were kept in a bag. Stealing was done two ways: the balance and/or the weights were altered. A wicked seller could sell 15 ounces as a pound or 35 inches as a yard to pad his profits.

This proverb helps define the eighth commandment, Thou shalt not steal (Ex 20:15). Since some will fudge transactions to steal from others, the LORD condemns them all in order to establish property rights, economic confidence, and professional integrity. Is your resume true, and do you answer interview questions with perfect honesty, for misrepresenting yourself is attempting to steal a position and salary you do not deserve?

Though the U.S. has an Office of Weights and Measures, under the authority of the Commerce Department, which regularly inspects public measuring devices, there is yet room to cheat by those who do not fear the Lord. You should be thankful for this governmental authority and its protection, but you must apply this proverb to yourself.

Dear reader, do you steal on the job by purloining, pilfering, or small thefts (Tit 2:10)?  Do you coast through jobs, cut corners from job specs, stretch breaks, or pad the time card? Do you pace yourself and make jobs take longer than they should? Should a windshield be installed perfectly, or almost perfectly? Should a sandwich be made according to the company’s precise menu specifications? Or is close good enough?

When buying things, the LORD condemns pointing out faults and then boasting to others you got a great deal (Pr 20:14). For you are using a false balance – to the seller the item was overpriced, and to your friends it was under priced. This is an offence to the Judge of all the earth. Men will even say, “I got a steal!” This is true, for they are truly thieves!

Do you always pay a fair price? When you detect an error in a transaction, do you point it out, even if it costs you more? Do you return extra change from a transaction? You will never get ahead being stingy or tight in your financial dealings (Pr 11:24-26; 19:17; 28:8). This is a mark of profane men and why the poor get poorer and the rich get richer.

How do you treat widows (Ex 22:22)? Do you pay their asking prices? Would you pay her more, if she were below market? Would you give a child without a parent a better deal? Consider well, dear reader. The LORD is watching (Deut 10:18; Psalm 68:5).

How did God punish stealing? Restore the stolen amount seven times (Pr 6:31), and if you could not afford that, you were sold into slavery (Ex 22:3). Simple, proper, perfect!

What if others take advantage of you in minor ways? Jesus taught to let the matter go in the pursuit of peace (Matt 5:38-48). Paul taught that it was better to be defrauded in small things than to bring up a conflict or trial in the church for it (I Cor 6:6-8).

How should a Christian conduct himself in this world? Always exceed the expectations of those trusting you, on both the selling and buying sides and in all other economic transactions and professional relationships. You will always come out ahead, for promotion comes from the Lord (Ps 75:6-7). You will grow in favor with God and men.

Even in the New Testament this commitment to accuracy, honesty, and integrity is exalted, as Paul commanded and illustrated (Rom 12:17; II Cor 8:20-21). Accurate, honest, and liberal conduct is living testimony of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and will cause others to ask a reason of your hope (Matt 5:16; I Pet 2:12; 3:15).



Proverbs: 06:16-19 (16) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him, (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, (19) a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers. 

How bad is sin? God hates it with extreme disgust and intense distaste! Sin is an abomination to the LORD! What men call faults, errors, or mistakes – God calls sin! He despises and abhors sin – He hates it! With our degraded concept of God’s holiness, we cannot know the full extent of God’s incredible hatred of sin. With a degraded concept of God’s character, foolish men imagine that God must be like them.

There is none holy as the Lord (1 Sam 2:2). Even the heavens are not clean in His sight (Job 15:14-16). Worship Him!

The blessed LORD hates all sin equally, with an infinite hatred, but Solomon sought to warn his son about several that destroy wisdom and leave man exposed before his holy Creator. The seven sins are pride, lying, murder, evil thoughts, mischief, false witnesses, and sowing discord.

The fear of the LORD, which is the foundation of wisdom and understanding, includes a God-like hatred for sin. Solomon wrote later in Proverbs, “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the forward (difficult to deal with) mouth, do I hate” (8:13). David wrote, “Ye that love the LORD, hate evil.”

In an effeminate and compromising society, it is impossible to get a proper view of sin. Criminals are pardoned; sin is glamorized by the entertainment industry and justified by the educational system; and all levels of authority allow sin to go unchecked or punish it mercifully and slowly – so leniently and slowly it is no deterrent at all (Eccl 8:11 When the sentence for a crime is not quickly carried out, the hearts of the people are filled with schemes to do wrong).

How bad is sin? God condemned Satan to an eternal hell for pride (Is 14:12-15; Matt 25:41). God condemned mankind to an eternal hell for Adam eating the fruit from a forbidden tree (Gen 2:16-17; 3:1-7; Rom 5:12-14). And He drowned the entire world in a flood of water, without regard to age or sex, for their sin and wickedness (Gen 7:21-23).

How bad is sin? The LORD annihilated seven nations of Canaan for abominable atrocities like adultery and sodomy, two sins glamorized in America (Lev 18:1-30; Acts 13:19). A man was stoned to death for picking up sticks on the Sabbath (Num 15:32-36). And God killed a man and his wife in church for fudging their giving (Acts 5:1-11).

How bad is sin? God required capital punishment for disrespectful children (30:17; Deut 27:16). He required the death penalty for adultery (Lev 20:10), and He measures even the desire for another woman as adultery (Matt 5:28). He considers unjust anger and cruel words as implicit murder (Matt 5:21-26). And He counts the violation of one instruction as breaking the entire law, for even one transgression is of infinite evil (Jas 2:10-11).

How bad is sin? In order for God to accept any man in His presence, He had to send His only begotten Son to be tortured to death in a substitutionary payment for sin! In the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth, we clearly see God’s hatred for sin, for He forsook His beloved Son, when the sins of the elect were laid to His charge (Matt 27:46). God is able and willing to love His elect, only because He views them in Christ Jesus (Eph 1-3-6).

One of the greatest character traits of the Lord Jesus Christ was His love of righteousness and hatred of sin (Ps 45:7; Heb 1:8-9). For this glorious attribute, the blessed God honored Him far above all other men. From His example, we can see that nobility of spirit and approval before God is in direct proportion to love of virtue and hatred of sin.

Reader, if your knowledge of God is from a sweet Sunday School teacher, you probably think God hates the sin, but loves the sinner. Guess again! David wrote, “You are not a God who takes pleasure in evil; with you the wicked cannot dwell. The arrogant cannot stand in your presence; you hate all who do wrong. You destroy those who tell lies; bloodthirsty and deceitful men the LORD abhors. (Ps 5:4-6). 

What should you do? Reorder your value system! Hate Hollywood and the NEA! Teach your children to abhor sin and evil. Teach them to love righteousness and holiness. Exalt good men and women; despise bad men and women. Punish sin severely; reward virtue generously! Love the whole Bible, not just pet verses! Choose to be like David, and hate all evil influences in your holy desire to walk perfectly before your God


(Ps 101:2-8) (2)I will be carful to lead a blameless life – when will you come to me? I will walk in my house with blameless heart. (3)I will set before my eyes no vile thing.

The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me. (4) Men of perverse heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with evil.

(5) Whoever slanders his neighbor in secret, him will I put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, him will I not endure. (6) My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; he whose walk is blameless will minister to me.

(7) No one who pratices deceit will dwell in my house; no one who speaks falsely will stand in my presence.

(8)Every morning I will put to silence all the wicked in the land; I will cut off every evildoer from the city of the LORD.


Lets break these down 

Proverbs: 06:16-19 (16) There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him, (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, (19) a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

 (17) haughty eyes, a lying tongue and hands that shed innocent blood

God hates seven things, and here are three! Though pride, lying, and murder are accepted today, the LORD Jehovah hates them. He has not changed, even remotely, since eternity! If you want war with the great and terrible God, who is holy, then allow one of these sins in yourself or those around you (Ps 47:2; 66:3-5; 68:35; 99:3).

An effeminate society may try to outlaw hatred, but the God of the Bible despises political correctness and still hates sin and sinners (Ps 5:5; 11:5; Mal 3:6; Heb 13:8)! Do not deceive yourself! The dreadful God of heaven is not the senile old man painted by Michelangelo for popes and cardinals to dream about! He is angry at the wicked every day (Ps 7:11)! And He will soon cast His enemies into hell (Ps 9:17; Rev 20:11-15)!

Before excusing or justifying yourself in the condemning light of this proverb, remember three things. God hates more than seven sins – He hates all sin and sinners (Ex 34:7; Nah 1:3). The application is very broad and includes much more than meets the eye (Ps 119:96; Matt 5:21-22). And you will give a full account to Him shortly (Eccl 12:13-14).

The right sense is important here, lest the self-righteous try to escape (Neh 8:8). When the Bible condemns a proud look, a lying tongue, and murdering hands, it intends much more than a sinful face, speech, or actions. It includes every associated sin that would fall under that general category. For example, a proud heart with a humble look is damned!

The LORD hates a proud look! He cannot stand any kind of pride in angels or men. He cast Lucifer and his angels out of heaven for pride (Is 14:12-15; I Tim 3:6; Jude 1:6). He hates self-esteem, strife, haughty thoughts, self-promotion, proud anger, an irreligious life, selfishness, boasting, conceited eyes, and stubbornness among other sins (13:10; 14:3; 21:24; 25:27; 26:16; 30:17; Ps 10:2-6; Is 2:11-12; Rom 12:3; Gal 6:3; II Tim 3:1-5).

The LORD hates a lying tongue! He loves truth, and He hates any kind of deception. The devil is the father of lies, and his children are just like him (John 8:44; Eph 2:1-3). Liars are going to hell (Rev 21:8; 22:15). God hates exaggeration, fraud, misrepresentation, false witnessing, slander, flattery, silence under oath, and joking among other sins of lying (10:18; 12:22; 19:5; 20:23; 26:18-19,28; Ex 23:1; Deut 19:16-21; Job 17:5).

The LORD hates murderous hands! He loves life, for He is the living God, and He gives life and breath to all (Gen 2:7; Is 42:5; Acts 17:25). Life is sacred, not because man is special, but because God created it and defends it! The devil was a murderer from the beginning, and so are his children, who are all going to hell (John 8:44; Rev 21:8; 22:15).

God hates abortion, backbiting, bitterness, debate, envy, grudges, malice, manslaughter, negligent homicide, strife, foolish anger, neglecting child discipline, railing, foolish killing of animals, ignoring cries for help, lack of mercy, wrath, withholding capital punishment, and talebearing among other sins of murder (12:20; 13:24; 22:6-7; 23:13-14; 31:8-9; Ex 21:22-25,28-29; Deut 22:6-8; Matt 5:21-26; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 4:31-32).

God’s word is to be interpreted and applied broadly. Its commandments go far beyond what meets the eye, or the limitations your heart wishes were on them! These are things God hates, and yet they are hardly preached against today! Seeker sensitive types want you to think all is well! But you can see there might be one or two sins that condemn you! You need to teach these things to your children, and you need to humble yourself.

Reader! You are condemned! David put it this way, “If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? (Ps 130:3.) If God marks and records sins, then every man is doomed to eternal judgment. And He does just that! He will show you every violation of this proverb in a day fast approaching (Eccl 12:13-14; Rev 20:11-15).

But that is not the end of the story, for David wrote next, “But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared” (Ps 130:4). Without forgiveness, God would be unapproachable; but there is mercy for those that call upon Him, which only the elect will ever do (John 3:19; 5:40; 6:44; 8:45)! Faith is the result of predestination (Acts 13:48).

God chose to forgive His elect before the world began by ordaining Jesus Christ as a perfect substitute to die for them (John 6:38-39; 10:26-29; 17:2; Rom 5:6-21; 8:29-39; Eph 1:3-11; I Pet 1:20). God owes His mercy and love to none; and He gives it to those He chooses (Ex 33:19; Rom 9:15). If you love Him, He loved you first (I John 4:19).

18) a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,

God is watching your heart and your feet. How well are you ruling your thoughts? He will hold you accountable for them in this life and the next. He hates the wicked imaginations and fantasies of your foolish heart. How well are you restraining and guiding your feet? He hates hasty and impulsive sinners who rush from sin to sin.

Contrary to popular opinion, hate is good. God hates seven sins and sinners, as our context clearly shows (6:16-19). God hates the foolish workers of iniquity (Ps 5:5); He hates lovers of violence (Ps 11:5); He will declare soon that He never knew them – He never had any affection for them (Matt 7:23). David also hated them (Ps 139:21-22). Two of the sins and sinners that God hates are listed in this proverb. Reader, are you guilty?

You cannot hide from Jehovah’s all-seeing eyes (15:3; Ps 11:4). The Creator God sees and ponders all you do (5:21; Jer 17:10). In His holy sight, foolish thoughts are sin (24:9; Ezek 14:4; Matt 5:28). He can divide between your soul and spirit, and every thought and intent of your heart is naked before Him (Heb 4:12-14). He sees where you go and what you do, no matter how well you hide them from others (Job 34:21; Ps 139:1-6).

What is a heart that devises wicked imaginations? It is a heart that forms sinful thoughts from lustful affections and emotions. God described Noah’s generation with very similar words (Gen 6:5). Do you allow lusts of your heart to form sinful ideas and thoughts? This is precisely how sin gets started (Jas 1:13-16). You must guard and rule your heart (4:23).

Do you have sexual fantasies (6:25; Job 31:1)? Do you surmise evil about others (I Tim 6:3-5)? Do you hold grudges (Lev 19:18; Matt 18:35)? Are you puffed up about yourself (Col 2:18)? Do you envy the advantages of others (Jas 3:14-16)? Do you hate anyone in your heart (Lev 19:17)? Do you curse authority at all under your breath (Eccl 10:20)?

What are feet that are swift in running to mischief? They describe a man who is hasty and impulsive to sin (1:16). He has a greedy desire for it; for he not only lacks conscience and restraint, but he also lasciviously craves sin (Eph 4:19). Revenge is sweet to him, and he races to exact vengeance. He is often in trouble, as he speedily goes from sin to sin.

If you have a temper, it is your duty to rule it, or your quick anger will offend the holy God (14:29; 16:32; Jas 1:19-21). Stay away from angry persons, for they will lead you to sin (22:24-25; 29:22). Are you cautious and slow in dealings, or do you rush impetuously ahead (19:2,11; 22:3)? If you have sinned in the past, then turn, run away, and stay away!

The all-seeing eyes of Jehovah are looking for faithful men, for He will put forth His might to bless them (II Chr 16:9; Ps 34:11-16). Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it are the issues of life (4:23). Love the true God with all your heart (Deut 6:4-5). Keep your feet in the way of understanding (21:19). Do not go near the strange woman (5:8). Avoid the wide gate and broad way that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13).

(19) a false witness who pours out lies, and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

Here are two of seven things and persons God hates (6:16-19). He hates liars who falsely witness against others, and He hates pests who cause division in a church. He could have said He hated the lies and discord, but He clearly said He hates the ones doing these sins.

God is holy (Is 6:3; Rev 4:8). He hates sin (8:13; Heb 1:9). He is too holy to love sin or sinners (Job 15:5; Hab 1:13). He hates sinners (Ps 5:4-6; 11:4-7; 139:21-22). In spite of effeminate objections, God hates sin and sinners. The Sunday school lie that God hates sin but loves the sinner is false. God hates sinners, and here He lists two of them.

He will tell the wicked in the last day that He never knew them – He never loved them (Matt 7:23; 13:47-50). He will tell them to get lost, and rightly so! He loves and accepts only those He made holy through Jesus Christ – His beloved elect (Eph 1:3-6; Rom 9:15).

Men bark against this holy doctrine, but let God be true! Does He love Satan, too? They don’t fret about the devil, because their profane and vain babbling is pure selfish pride and love for themselves. They are too arrogant to submit to a holy and sovereign God.

The LORD said, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Ex 20:16). God hates this sin much, so He included it in the summary list of ten. He knew the terrible damage a wicked mouth could do to others, and how little defense there is against it, so He condemned it forcefully (19:5,9; 25:18; Ex 23:1; Zech 8:17). The Bible strongly attacks lying, false accusing, slandering, whispering, backbiting, and talebearing.

When men are tried for their lives, freedom, or fortune, it is imperative witnesses tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth; so our nation solemnly swears them to this duty before taking testimony or cross-examination. God required at least two witnesses in all cases to protect from false testimony (Deut 19:15); if a man testified falsely in Israel, he was punished with the very judgment at stake, no matter how horrible (Deut 19:16-21).

A lying and false accusing mouth can cause enormous harm, for rape of reputation and character is surely worse than that of the body (Ps 35:11-12). Physical violence is horrible, but allows for some defense and recovery; verbal slander and false accusations are worse, and there is very little defense with long lasting damage.

Readers beloved of God, it is your duty to be men and women of truth and principle (Ex 18:21). Carefully consider your thoughts, words, and intent before saying anything about others. Let your lips praise others rather than detract from them, and if you ever must testify of or for another, be scrupulously faithful and honest with every word (14:5).

God also loves unity, especially among His people (Ps 133:1-3; I Cor 1:10; Eph 4:3-4). He hates those who openly or subtly disturb fellowship and peace (6:12-15; 16:28; 26:20; Rom 16:17-18). He condemns variance, debate, envy, implacability, emulations, evil surmising, strife, sedition, tumults, and whispering. Instead He commands and commends peace (Matt 5:9; II Cor 13:11; Phil 3:16; Col 3:15; Jas 3:17-18).

A chord is harmonious blending of coordinated notes; accord is agreement and harmony; and concord is the state of peace and agreement between parties. All three words are related, meaning agreement, harmony, and peace. But discord is an antonym, meaning absence of concord or harmony. It is disagreement, variance, dissension, and strife. Is your church as harmonious as it should be? Do you labor to make all notes blend?

Wicked persons sow discord when they disrupt the harmony, agreement, unity, and peace of a church or other society by spreading the poison of division and enmity. They alienate the affections of men and stir up their passions against one another. They foment strife, contention, jealousies, and confusion by talebearing, insinuations, foolish questions, seditious doubts, forming of cliques, and other perverse means. These separatists are sensual enemies of true saints, and they have not the Spirit (Jude 1:19).

Beloved reader, let us be the peacemakers our Saviour blessed (Matt 5:9). Take every opportunity to promote unity and agreement; work hard to keep yourself and others in harmony with the congregation. Let us seek peace and pursue it (I Pet 3:11). Make the holy endeavour of peace and reconciliation a priority in your life (Eph 4:3; Matt 5:23-24).

Consider well our blessed Lord and His perfect conduct in light of these two sins. The Jews used false witnesses to condemn Jesus to death (Matt 26:59), but He is the faithful and true witness (Rev 3:14; 19:11). The wicked Jews divided over Jesus and stirred up the Gentiles against the apostles (John 9:16; Acts 14:2), but the Prince of Peace destroyed Jew/Gentile enmity and made both one by His cross (Is 9:6; John 11:52; Eph 2:11-22)!




Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 

Kind and gracious words are a dessert for any occasion. They go into the ears and soul with sweet pleasure, and they enliven the heart and even the steps. A person’s face glows by their instant effect, and energy and vitality are restored to those cast down. You create such words out of thin air by your lips, when wisdom guides your speech (Pr 16:23).

Dear reader, do your words promote health? Do you heal others by kind encouragement, wise counsel, and gentle comfort? Or are your words like a piercing sword (Pr 12:18)? Do you leave others bleeding with caustic, critical, calloused, or condemning words? And do you then pour in salt, when you are told to only season your speech with it (Col 4:6)?

Good perfume can rejoice the heart in just nanoseconds, and kind words do the same, when a friend gives sweet counsel from his heart (Pr 27:9). Precious gift of speech! The right words at the right time are beautiful indeed (Pr 15:23; 25:11). There is great power in your tongue, dear reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? For health or harm?

In this modern and synthetic society, many do not know the sweetness or health properties of honeycomb. When did you last eat some? But to the informed, God’s honeybees pollinate plants and also produce a sweet delight with fascinating nutrients.

Honey is a luxurious food God created for man’s benefit (Pr 24:13). He described Canaan, the wonderful land of promise, as a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; Deut 8:7-9). The manna He gave Israel tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex 16:31).

Kings sent honey as gifts (II Sam 17:27-29; I Kgs 14:3), and it enlightened the eyes of Prince Jonathan once (I Sam 14:27). John the Baptist lived on it and locusts (Matt 3:4); Jesus ate it with butter – two important foods of Israel – in his formative years (Is 7:15); and He ate it again after his resurrection (Luke 24:42). Inspired lovers used it to describe the sweetness of their lovemaking in a romantic song of loving spouses (Song 4:11; 5:1).

No one will deny that honey is sweet. It is twice as sweet as sugar! In recipes calling for sugar, only one-half the amount of honey is needed. A full person will reject it (Pr 27:7)! You should get some today from your cupboard or a store and taste it in light of this proverb. Ask yourself if your speech causes pleasure like honey can to your taste buds.

Do you know these facts? Honeycomb contains four foods: honey, bee pollen, bee propolis, and royal jelly. Honey itself has a long history of use for many different ailments in many nations. Ever taken it with lemon or whiskey for a sore throat? Ever used local honey to combat allergies? And there are dozens more of therapeutic uses.

Bee pollen, which collects on the bees’ legs, is sometimes described as the perfect food. With 96 nutrients, it is rich in zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It can energize you, give you a sense of well being, increase your intellectual capacity, and close any nutritional gaps in your diet.

Propolis, a waxy resin the bees use for several purposes, is rich in B vitamins, minerals, and bioflavonoids. It has no equal as a natural antibiotic. It stimulates the thymus gland to produce white blood cells to fight or eliminate viruses, poisons, and waste products.

Royal jelly, secreted by a few nurse bees in each hive, is the exclusive food of the queen bee. This wonder food causes her to live forty times as long as the worker bees and produce double her bodyweight in eggs each day, though genetically identical to them! It contains a high concentration of pantothenic acid and many other complex nutrients.

God said honey was healthful and commended it in the places mentioned above, so you should believe it (Pr 14:23; 16:24). But it is a pleasure to read research confirming Solomon from 3000 years ago. Give God the glory! The Creator reveals true science.

Honey is precious. It is sweet to your taste, enlivens your eyes, energizes your body, and has many nutritional properties for overall health. Your words should be the same. They should cause others to rejoice and be glad they heard you speak, and they should build others up in profitable ways (Eph 4:29). Choose good words to say to someone today.

Your speech should always be gracious, with only a pinch of salt (Col 4:6; Eccl 10:12). Such speech fulfills this proverb. Wise mothers say to children, If you cannot say something kind, then do not say anything at all. Parents love to hear right words (Pr 23:16; 15:26). Your stinger should only be used as a last resort, just like the honeybee.

But is sweet speech manly? Yes, indeed! God created man and inspired this proverb, and Solomon the son of David wrote them. Were these two effeminate? David bravely killed Goliath and won Jonathan’s heart by gracious words, all in one day (Pr 22:11; I Sa 18:1)!

The Lord Jesus could cut and confound the Pharisees when He needed, but His disciples knew Him for gracious and healthful speech (Ps 45:2; Is 50:4). His gracious words at Nazareth caused the whole crowd to wonder (Luke 4:22). And the hearts of two disciples burned joyfully from His precious words on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32).

Unnecessary harshness in speech is not a sign of manliness or the Spirit of God; it is sold by the devil to those whose hearts are not right. It flows from a heart hardened by hatred or pride, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (Matt 12:34). David rebuked his nephews for being too hard (II Sam 3:39), and Jesus did the same to James and John (Luke 9:55). Neither party had the spirit or tongue of the Lord Jesus Christ.

A bitter and biting tongue is a fire from hell; it is a world of iniquity; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (Jas 3:2-12). No man can tame it by himself. Yet you must do all you can to cut it out from your own mouth and those of your children, by God’s grace.

Men like John the Baptist and Elijah had special missions, and you do not know they were harsh in private. They likely were not. They are not examples for common speech.  You should rather choose the law of kindness to govern your choice of words (Pr 31:26).

Who can deny that God’s words are sweet? Are they not sweeter than honey (Ps 19:10; 119:103)? Do they not cause joy and rejoicing in your heart (Jer 15:16)? They are so sweet that those speaking them are described as having beautiful feet (Rom 10:15). Can you remember the sweetness to your soul of hearing the true gospel with understanding?

There is great power in the tongue, reader (Pr 18:21). How will you use it today? You will eat the fruit of how you use it – life or death. Every man shall bear his own burden.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:5 – The LORD detest all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Pride is the inner voice that whispers, “My way is best” It is resisting God’s leadership and believing that your are able to live without his help. Whenever you find yourself wanting to do it your way and looking down on other people, you are being pulled by pride. Only when you eliminate pride can God help you become all he meant you to be.

Do you think you are special? Then repent now before you get hurt! The LORD Jehovah cannot stand anyone thinking highly of himself in his heart. It does not matter how important you might be, or how many friends you might have, you will certainly be punished; the God of heaven will make sure of it. Humble your heart this very minute.

You are nothing (Ps 39:5,11). You are truly less than nothing (Ps 62:9; Is 40:17). You arrived ignorant and helpless, dirtying yourself, and you will leave the same way. If you are very successful, you might leave behind a small estate that will be spent in a few months. The day of your death will be forgotten in weeks, and your grave will be lost.

Your accomplishments are nothing, and they will be forgotten before your funeral, when you cannot recall your own name. You are so fragile and weak that a clothespin on your nose can end your existence (Is 2:22). Your soul lives in a house of clay; the foundation of your body is mere dust; and you can be killed easier than a moth (Job 4:19). Get down!

The blessed and dreadful God of heaven and earth abhors and loathes proud people (Ps 113:5-6). He is extremely disgusted and intensely averse to their arrogance and pompous opinions. He hates them and their proud thoughts and looks (Pr 6:16-19; 15:9). And He will crush and grind them to powder in this world and the next (Job 40:9-14; Dan 4:37).

The words, “proud in heart,” are the specific sin God hates. It is a high opinion of yourself, leading to an attitude of superiority over and contempt for others; it is inordinate self-esteem. Boasting is not the point here. You may keep your pride to yourself. But God sees it, and He will judge it. You must think lowly and soberly about yourself, lest you lie to yourself about your value (Pr 16:18-19; Rom 12:3; Gal 6:3; Phil 2:3-4; II Tim 3:1-5).

Consider this horrible sin! You can avoid things that cause lust of the eyes (Ps 101:3). You can reject opportunities for the lust of the flesh (Rom 13:14). But what about pride? It whispers to your heart every minute of every day and every night! Even in bed your thoughts can be arrogant and critical – comparing yourself to others. In every act and event of life, there is a constant temptation for pride to creep in. Lord, have mercy!

The words, “though hand join in hand,” describe agreement and association with others for safety. It does not matter if others flatter you, or are just as proud. It does not matter what steps you take for protection. It does not matter that you try to be righteous in other areas. You cannot cover for this sin. God will bring you down – fast and hard – for sure!

The first sin in the universe was pride – Satan’s pride (I Tim 3:6). And he was punished for it. How severely? He and his angels are reserved for eternal torment in hell forever (Matt 25:41; II Pet 2:4; Rev 20:10). The devil’s great abilities cannot save him at all.

Are you proud in heart? Find out! Do you wish others treated you better? Why? It must be because you think you are important. Do you worry about others admiring you? Do you resist correction and instruction? Do you envy and resent blessings to others? Can you list any ways you are better than another? Do you gloat a little at their failures?

Does selfishness make serving hard? Are you defensive to reproof and warnings? Do you deserve more public recognition? Can you apologize easily, fully, and quickly? Do you whine about unfair circumstances? Does your spouse have to apologize first? Can you remember others’ past failures? Do you like to argue about “principle”? You may think adultery, drunkenness, and smoking are horrible, but God hates your self-righteous pride!

If you persist, you are done! The Bible is sure: pride brings a penalty! “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Pr 16:18). “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty” (Pr 18:12).  “Surely he scorneth the scorners” (Pr 3:34). “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased” (Luke 14:11). “God resisteth the proud” (Jas 4:6).

If you have a problem with pride, and God will certainly punish you, what can be done? Repent! Fear the Lord, and hate pride and arrogancy (Pr 8:13)! “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up” (Jas 4:10). “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (I Pet 5:6).

Manasseh was likely the wickedest king in the history of Israel, but God freely forgave him, when he humbled himself greatly (II Chron 33:1-13). And if he was the wickedest king, then Ahab was second; but God honored his humility as well (I Kings 21:25-29). What does God require? That you walk humbly with your God (Micah 6:8).

Want to kill pride? Confess your sins fully (Jas 4:5-10). Get a vision of God and crush your heart before Him (Ps 4:4; Is 57:15). Pray like a fool (I Kgs 3:7; Ps 131:2). Never commend yourself, not even indirectly (Pr 27:2). Always admit what you are and have is a gift (I Cor 4:7). Tell your faults, so others will know the real you (Rom 7:8; Jas 5:16).

Apologize quickly and admit unqualified guilt (Mat 5:23-24). Thank those who admonish and correct you (Ps 141:5). Make others and their things most important (Phil 2:3-4). Get down and enjoy the uncomely (Rom 12:16). Do not compare yourself with others (II Cor 10:12). Learn true charity (I Cor 13:4-7). Be a great servant (Luke 22:24-27).

Still want to kill pride? Avoid the spotlight as much as possible (Luke 14:7-12). Enjoy serving those who cannot repay (Luke 14:12-14). Do your charity in secret (Matt 6:1-4). Rejoice at forgiving those who wrong you (Matt 18:21-22). Get down, and enjoy it! The LORD will be pleased, and He will bless you, just as surely as He will punish the proud.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:26 The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.

Why do you work a job or business? Because you enjoy it? Because others expect you to? Out of love for society? Because you want to help some enterprise succeed? Because you are bored? You work because you have to, and this fact of life teaches wisdom.

A life sentence of hard labor was Adam’s curse for listening to his wife rather than God (Gen 3:17-19). Instead of leisurely dressing a garden and enjoying a great variety of easy food, men must scratch in the ground to survive. But whether a man knows about Eden or not, there is a powerful necessity that drives him to hard labor – he must work or starve.

Solomon’s observation teaches wisdom, if you will think upon it. Men work hard by a selfish necessity – for themselves. If they do not work, they will starve. This is man’s condition in the world, whether he wears a white or blue collar: he must labor to eat. If he does not work, he will not eat; the fear of hunger forces him to work every day (Eccl 6:7).

Selfishness is a strong motivator that can produce good results, such as a hardworking society when selfishness is allowed to satisfy itself by diligent labor. Even God’s laws through Moses included divine reasoning about man’s selfishness to govern his conduct (Ex 21:20-21; Pr 27:18). Rightly understood, selfishness is a rule of ethics and wisdom.

A perverse society resents this wonderful motive for labor. Children are given everything, for doing nothing. Parents say, “Let him be a child; there will be plenty of time for work later,” meaning he should play all day. They legislate welfare, which mysteriously multiplies those needing handouts. Others provide meals for men too lazy to work. A government could quickly reduce welfare, increase national productivity, and raise tax revenues by simply punishing any citizens harboring or feeding slothful persons.

Here is the cure for sluggards – no work, no food! This rule is inspired wisdom. Solomon knew laziness was a common problem in young men (Pr 6:6-11; 10:26; 12:27; 13:4; 15:19; 19:24; 21:25; 22:13; 24:30-34; 26:13-15). It is difficult to teach or force foolish young men to work hard. But just a few days without food will produce a laborer! Both Solomon and Paul endorsed and taught this wise rule (Pr 20:4; II Thess 3:8-12).

Here is the profit motive in Scripture! Communism hallucinates, “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” Yet it has never worked! A man will never apply himself diligently for an idiotic theory that gives the lazy as much as the diligent, but he will apply himself for a proportionate reward. Let him see the endless possibilities in a free market system, and he will very gladly do his job well and look for extra work. Wise employers use incentive compensation to raise employee productivity even higher.

The wisdom here can be enhanced or leveraged! Give a man a loving wife and dependent children, and he will work even harder. Two are better than one, because they have a reward for their labor, among other benefits (Eccl 4:9-12). But the extra mouths to feed of those he loves above all others on earth will further motivate him. How does a boy become a man? Right training; no allowance; early job; early marriage; and early baby!

Parent, are you using this proverb with your children? Eating is not a right, except for helpless infants. Even young children can do chores, and they should be required to do them before eating. Most parents have an open-refrigerator policy, which fosters laziness and self-indulgence that leads to an undisciplined life. When most grew up on farms, this proverb was generally practiced, for everyone had to help with the chores in order to eat.

Christianity teaches a great work ethic! Shame on Christians who are slothful at work! Whatever you find to do professionally, do it with your might (Eccl 9:10; Col 3:23). Diligent labor at your own business is part of sanctification for a believer (I Thess 4:11-12). And those disliking hard work are to be starved into enjoying it (Pr 20:4; II Thess 3:8-12), or they are to be excluded from the churches of Jesus Christ (II Thess 3:6,14).

This proverb also rebukes greed and covetousness. The ambitious man, obsessed with the reward of hard work, forgets he will die and leave his wealth to another (Eccl 2:17-24; Luke 12:16-21). He heaps up riches, not knowing who will spend them (Ps 39:6). Therefore, wisdom and true success are learning godly contentment with essentials, not seeking wealth (Pr 12:9; I Tim 6:6-10). Convenient food is the wise choice (Pr 30:7-9).

Pastor, do you labor diligently in your holy calling? The Lord Christ chose you to endure hardness as a good soldier (II Tim 2:3-4). Paul worked night and day to be the greatest apostle (I Cor 15:10; I Thess 2:9). Does your soul crave laboring in order to hear your Captain say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant”? Let Paul’s inspired example and instruction invigorate your soul for Christ’s kingdom (I Cor 9:16; I Tim 4:13-16).

Reader, does your soul crave God and His word? It never will without God’s sovereign grace. Have you checked your hunger and thirst for righteousness (Matt 5:6)? Does it drive you to separate yourself from foolish, worldly pursuits to learn wisdom (Pr 18:1)? You must stimulate your appetite and desire for the sincere milk of the word (I Pet 2:1-3).

Jesus met a great crowd, five thousand men plus women and children, who wanted to make Him king, so He could fill their bellies with free bread and fish (John 6:15,26). He told them to labor rather for the food that endures unto eternal life (John 6:27). Are you laboring for yourself in this crucial matter, reader? This is labor with a fantastic reward!

How much does your soul crave the kingdom of heaven? Jesus described it as a man finding a treasure in a field and joyfully selling all that he had in order to buy the field for its treasure (Matt 13:44). You should pray, “Lord, increase the craving of my soul for Thee and the things of Thy kingdom, and direct my labor fervently toward them. Amen.”

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:9 In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. 

Men have intelligence. They set goals and plan the means to achieve them. Irrational creatures cannot do this; they only react by instincts to stimulus. But the sovereign God manages the details of men’s plans, so that you are dependent upon Him, for He may bless the good man with a favorable outcome and turn the evil man’s plans upside down.

This proverb of Solomon is important. God rules your life. Man proposes; God disposes. Man freely devises; God powerfully directs. Man creatively plans; God masterfully dictates. Man acts as he pleases; God is pleased by how He uses man’s actions. God is the LORD! Your life and its plans are in His hands. Learn how to utilize this knowledge.

Many wander and wonder through life, wishing they knew God’s will for them. But His will is not a mystery, and much of the answer is in this proverb. Commit your works to the LORD (Pr 16:3; Ps 37:4-5); devise a way to achieve your desired godly objectives (Pr 16:1; 15:22; 20:18); believe that He will take care of the details (Ps 37:23; 84:11).

Obedient Christian reader, these words are for you: the LORD gave you a heart, so follow your affections for what you prefer. He gave you a mind, so think of how you might achieve your goals. Once you commit it to God and follow the rules of Scriptural wisdom, go for it! No matter what it is! Simply submit it to God’s will (James 4:13-15).

There is no “perfect” anything, so do not look for it. You live in a sinful world; everything is imperfect. God has not revealed perfect choices. You cannot see even the outcome of the next five minutes. You will waste your life searching, and you will always be frustrated. Most any job will do, if the Lord directs your steps. And this is the same with marriage, house hunting, business deals, family size, and so forth and so on.

Ruth was a poor widow in a foreign land. She devised in her heart to glean fields – pick up scraps after the reapers – a lowly job with little future potential (Ruth 2:2). But the LORD directed her steps to the field of Boaz, a rich, single man who ended up marrying her, and they had David as their great-grandson (Ruth 2:3; 4:17). Give God the glory!

The Jews were condemned by the Persian Empire to genocide! Esther devised in her heart to have King Ahasuerus and Haman to lunch, though she feared for her life to even ask for the meeting (Esth 4:16-17). But the LORD turned the king’s heart toward her with great affection and responsiveness. After she told him of Haman’s evil plans, the King found Haman begging on her bed, and that was that (Esth 7:7-8)! Give God the glory!

Abraham devised a way to find a wife for Isaac, and the servant met Rebekah first. Jacob devised a way to flee from Esau, and the Lord blessed him to become rich with a large family. Joseph chose to be righteous, and the Lord directed his steps to Egypt’s throne. Jesse devised a way to send food to his sons in the army by his youngest son David, not knowing that God was directing David’s steps for a showdown with Goliath.

But look carefully at Esther in reverse. Haman devised a way in his heart to annihilate the Jews, and he manipulated King Ahasuerus into signing the decree (Esth 3:1-15). But the Lord directed him to total humility and ruin by building a gallows, meeting the king at a time that resulted in honoring Mordecai, and falling on Esther’s bed (Esth 5:1 – 7:10)!

Consider Joseph in reverse. His brothers devised a way to get rid of “the dreamer,” who tormented them by his divine revelations, but the Lord directed their steps to sell him into Egypt, where he saved them all from starvation some years later (Gen 45:4-8; 50:19-21). They eventually fulfilled every dream Joseph had about them bowing low before him.

The Jews devised in their hearts to rid themselves of Jesus of Nazareth, but the glorious LORD turned their devices upside down. His crucifixion was God’s choice for the salvation of the very people they hated and hoped to ruin, and He returned in holy revenge to destroy their temple, city, and nation. Every step they took in this most heinous crime was according to God’s eternal purpose (Acts 2:23; 3:18; 4:28; 15:18).

When hearing about plans of wicked men, do not worry. They can bring nothing to pass that God has not already planned from eternity to overrule for His own glory, purposes, and people. The wicked are His pawns or puppets – His sword and His hand (Ps 17:13-14). Remember, He may even allow prosperity to deceive them (Pr 1:32). Remember, He may allow them to be successful for a while to heap up riches for you (Pr 13:22).

When facing a decision and not knowing what to do, here is wisdom. Submit your life and works to the LORD, choose that course that pleases you best within the limits of godly wisdom, obtain the approval of many wise counselors, and move ahead trusting the Lord to take care of the details out of your control. Do not fret about perfect goals or strategies, for you are not capable of picking them. Your Heavenly Father cares for you, and He can more than compensate for any “mistake” you make with an inferior choice.

Learn the additional wisdom of Psalm 127:1-2, where David explained that your best efforts are vain without God’s blessing. Though God expects you to apply yourself diligently to achieve your goals, the outcome truly depends on His favor, not your ability or genius in planning or executing your desire. He wants you to back off unreasonable worries or effort and go to sleep, because He loves you and will provide what you need.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:3 –Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed. 

There are different ways to fail to commit whatever we do to the LORD.

  • Some people commit their work only superficially.  They say the project is being done for the LORD, but in reality they are doing it for themselves.
  • Others give God temporary control of their interest, only to take control back the moment things stop going the way they expect.
  •  Still others commit a task fully to the LORD, but put forth no effort themselves, and then they wonder why they do not succeed.

We must maintain a delicate balance: trusting God as if everything depended on him, while working as if everything depended on us.  Think of a specific effort in which you are involved right now.  Have you committed it to the LORD?

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:22 Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

Understanding is a huge advantage. Some men are winners; some are losers. Can you measure true success and wealth? Some men have a fountain of life inside them, and they are truly great. Others are full of folly, which leaves them bankrupt and destroys them.

Understanding, the power of right thinking, is a wonderful thing, but only a few have it. Folly, which is ignorant stupidity, governs the thoughts and actions of most men. God inspired Solomon to write Proverbs for you to gain understanding and have a great life.

What is understanding? It is the ability to comprehend and grasp the true nature of a thing. It is the correct and proper analysis of a dilemma, event, or situation that sees all the angles and consequences. It is accurate and intelligent reasoning that arrives at the right conclusion by correctly absorbing all the details of an issue and any possible contingencies. It looks beyond mere appearances to see the true essence of a thing.

What is a wellspring? It is the source or head-spring of a stream; a fountain-head. When used figuratively, a wellspring is a source of perennial emanation or supply. It is a continual or perpetual provision or supply of some thing. Solomon described a wise man’s excellent speech as a wellspring, when he wrote, “The words of a man’s mouth are as deep waters, and the wellspring of wisdom as a flowing brook” (Pr 18:4).

Understanding is a wellspring of life by providing a perpetual supply of correct analysis and conclusions for life’s numerous dilemmas, situations, and difficulties. The man with understanding can always choose those alternatives that preserve and prosper his life. The man with understanding is rich indeed. He has a treasury of knowledge and knows how to use it to save himself and those around him from death, dysfunction, and trouble.

But consider most men! They do not have a supply of understanding. They are ignorant and stupid. They are fools. Their thoughts, words, and actions are directed by their own foolish thoughts, which lead them into folly and trouble at every turn. Rather than improving their lives, they create dysfunction, havoc, misery, and pain for themselves (Pr 13:15; 19:8). Every time they turn within to find an answer, they come up with insane and profane ideas. Their folly results in dysfunction, fear, trouble, destruction, and death.

Reader! Do not think yourself above the instruction of folly. You came into this world messing on yourself, and without God’s help, you will end up just as foolish. You were born with a deceitful and desperately wicked heart (Jer 17:9), and only a heart transplant by regeneration and conversion can produce understanding. The world and the devil are intent on taking you down to their base, perverse, and rebellious level of thinking.

You can build a wellspring of life. David wrote, “Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Ps 119:104). And again, “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple” (Ps 119:130). The Bible, which has God’s precepts and words, builds understanding. You can understand more than your teachers and the ancients by keeping God’s precepts (Ps 119:99-100). It is God’s words found in the Bible that teach wisdom and understanding (Deut 4:5-8).

Humbly obeying God’s commands and turning away from evil will give understanding (Pr 28:5; Job 28:28; Ps 111:10). This should make perfect sense to you, since it is the infinitely wise God Who inspired the Bible’s words. It begins with the fear of the Lord (Pr 3:3-6; 9:10), and prayer increases it further (Pr 2:2-3; I Kgs 3:9; Col 1:9). It is God’s inspiration that can give a young man the advantage over old men (Job 32:8; II Tim 2:7).

Nabal and his wife Abigail illustrate the difference between her good understanding and his churlish folly (I Sam 25:3). While Nabal put his whole family at risk by being obnoxiously rude to David’s servants, the wise woman preserved her household by godly reasoning with a very angry David. What did the Lord do? He killed Nabal and gave his beautiful wife to David. Her understanding was a wellspring of life to her and her house.

When natural men think, they come up with ideas like evolution and revolution, but men with understanding know both ideas are absurd. Wise men read the Bible and know that all things were created out of nothing by the command of God (Gen 1:1-3; Heb 11:3) and rebellion against civil authority is the nature of a rabid dog (II Pet 2:10-12). They know that capital punishment works, no matter what the ACLU might say (Gen 9:6; Eccl 8:11). And they know that corporal punishment works better than grounding (Pr 13:24; 22:15).

When several worldly men start thinking together, they come up with ideas like same-sex marriages, which a man with understanding hates as an abomination against God and nature (Rom 1:24-27). When you get several women together, they propose the murder of their unborn babies, while demonstrating to save spotted owls and outlaw corporal punishment (Ex 21:22-25; Job 39:13-18). The instruction of fools is folly. If you put such foolish men and women together in a university, then you obtain maximum human folly!

These mindless morons promote labor unions to protect their jobs, which have the very opposite effect of shutting down their companies or exporting that industry to other nations! They reason that WWII brought the prosperity of the 50’s, but are never able to connect the dots to realize that destruction can never bring prosperity! They call Picasso’s confusion art, illiterate rap music, adultery an affair, and sodomy gay. What folly!

The book of Proverbs, which was given to teach understanding (Pr 1:2), teaches men to avoid get-rich-quick schemes (Pr 12:11; 13:11), warns against cosigning (Pr 17:18), teaches how to deal with an offended person (Pr 15:1), warns about the danger of anger (Pr 14:29), and gives the criterion for a great wife (Pr 31:30), among many other lessons.

But understanding goes much further. It includes knowing how the visible universe was created from nothing by God’s command. The man with it knows the cause and cure of death (Rom 6:23). He knows the purpose for man’s existence on earth (Pr 16:4; Rev 4:11). He knows of a spiritual conflict beyond his sight that exceeds any visible event in importance (Eph 6:12). He knows the future of the universe and Who is really in charge!

Fools should be avoided, because their folly will corrupt your good manners (Pr 9:6; 13:20; I Cor 15:33). How can you spot a fool? Listen (Pr 14:7)! A fool cannot control his mouth. He will be pouring out the nonsense that is in his heart (Pr 15:2,28; Eccl 10:12-14). As soon as you detect that a person speaks contrary to God’s word or without study, avoid them and despise them (Is 8:20; Rom 16:17-18; I Tim 6:3-5,20-21; II Tim 2:23).

Stupidity should be against the law: and it is against God’s law (Rom 1:31). God expects you to use the wisdom He offers by His word, pastors, and parents (Pr 1:22-23; 9:1-6). If you do not accept it and seek it, He will laugh at your calamities (Pr 1:24-33; 8:5,36). This is the most important pursuit of your life (Pr 4:5-7; 16:16; 23:23). What hinders you? What distracts you? What deceives you? Seek understanding with all your might.

Once you gain some understanding, you should become a tree of life to those around you (Pr 10:21; 15:4). When others do not know what to do, you should have the certain answers of truth and understanding for them (Pr 22:17-21). Instead of remaining an infant that needs to be taught, you should be growing in understanding to teach others (Heb 5:12-14). Those that know you should seek to you for advice and counsel for their lives.

What will you do today and tomorrow to build a wellspring of life? The future of your life, family, and estate depend on it (Pr 24:3). Even a poor man can have understanding, though poverty usually proves folly (Pr 28:11). God sent pastors to feed you knowledge and understanding (Jer 3:15; Neh 8:7-8). Do you love their reproofs (Pr 15:32)?

You live in the perilous times of the last days, and it is your holy duty before God to be wise and understand what the will of the Lord is for life (Eph 5:15-17). Instead of turning away from the truth to fables like the rest of the Christian world, you must earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jer 6:16; II Tim 4:3-4; Jude 1:3).

Brute beasts have no understanding, no matter what PETA claims (Ps 32:9). But God blinds proud men worse than brute beasts (Is 44:18-20; Rom 1:18-27; Eph 4:17-19). Hyenas and donkeys do not practice same-sex mating and female musk oxen do not eat their young! Do not look for understanding in this world’s educational system, because God has guaranteed to destroy their efforts (I Cor 1:19-20; 3:19-20; Matt 11:25-30).

If you believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God in sincerity and truth, you have great understanding through the gift of eternal life (I John 5:20). God has opened your heart and mind to know things that are entirely hid from the world. You should always be thankful (II Thess 2:13), for no man can comprehend or discern the things of God without the miracle of regeneration (Ps 14:2; 53:2; John 8:43; 12:40; Rom 3:11; I Cor 2:14).

The Lord Jesus Christ was given great understanding, for in Him was hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Is 11:1-3; Col 2:3). Humble yourself before God and beg Him for some of that wisdom. He will not turn you away or criticize your urgent request (Jas 1:5; Col 1:9-10). Apply yourself to the word of God each day, and give rapt attention to His preachers. You can have a wellspring of life for your great prosperity.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 16:2 –All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the LORD. 

All a man’s ways seem innocent to him.  People can rationalize anything if they have no standards for judging right and wrong.  We can always prove that we are right. Before putting any plan into action, ask yourself these three questions: (1) Is this plan in harmony with God’s truth? (2) Will it work under real-life conditions? (3) Is my attitude pleasing to God?

Do you know yourself? How can you? Your own heart lies to you worse and more than anyone else! “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9). David said, “Who can understand his [own] errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults” (Ps 19:12). No man truly knows himself! You do not know yourself!

Of course you think you are clean and right in all your ways. Your self-righteous heart justifies everything you think, say, and do. Your lying heart leads you to all sorts of folly and sin, and you hardly even know it (Pr 16:25; 30:12). But the LORD weighs your secret ambitions and motives, just as He weighed Belshazzar. And He will find you wanting. Then He will purify you in the fiery furnace of affliction.

Though you cannot know the deceitfulness of your heart, the LORD does. The blessed God says to man, “Who can know it?” Then He answers, “I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings” (Jer 17:10). All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom you have to do, including the thoughts and intents of your heart (Heb 4:12-13).

You are being weighed now. The scales of holy justice are tipping. Examine yourself. Why are you reading this commentary? How are you reading it? Have you already decided it has nothing for you? Do you think you know your spirit? Is this warning for other sinners, those far worse than you? Do you resent this spiritual warning? Are you thankful to God you are not as wicked as other men? Are you too busy for this spiritual stuff? Are you irritated there is not something new and exciting to tickle your ears?

You foolish person. You deceive yourself. Confess your depravity. Repent of your arrogant self-righteousness. True humility is to fall naked and helpless before the holy God of heaven and confess sincerely, “God be merciful to me a sinner” (Luke 18:13). So important is this proverb, Solomon gave it to you twice (Pr 21:2).

It is easy to slide through spiritual instruction – to speed read or listen lazily to satisfy a deceitful conscience. It is easy to apply warnings to others – to identify motes at great distances, while missing your own beam. It is easy to despise others – to thank God you are not as disgusting as they are, while your spirit is weighed in heaven as worst of all!

There is nothing worse than self-righteousness. Consider it well. What is it? Thinking you are righteous and justifying yourself against conscience, correction, and conversion. Such a person has no clue they are full of sin, for they have allowed lofty thoughts of themselves to totally distort their judgment. They only use the mirror of God’s word for others, for they do not even see a need for examining their own faces (Jas 1:21-25).

How will you reason with such a person? You cannot point out their sin, for they cannot see it. Their arrogant self-confidence rejects your reasons (Pr 26:12,16; Gal 6:3). And these scorners will hate you for the effort (Pr 9:7-8). They crucified the Lord of glory for exposing their false and hypocritical religion. Every man is a Pharisee in his own spirit.

What is self-righteousness? It is confidence you are good, competent, intelligent, and capable. It is difficulty in saying you are wrong, foolish, stupid, proud, or rebellious. It enjoys finding or discussing the faults of others. It presumes to accuse others, when having its own set of sins. It always has opinions about others’ conduct without Scripture.

It is the defensiveness to resist and balk at correction. It is the presumption of making judgments and opinions against authority. It is the ease with which you can apply a sermon to most anyone else. It is the thought during a sermon that you do not really need change in that area. It is the response that you are comfortable with things as they are.

It is the lack of thankfulness for correction. It may cry defensively when reproved or warned about sin. It responds, “I am just a failure,” when criticized. It is the excuse, “I am not that bad – you just misunderstand me.” It remembers the sins of others when it is being corrected. It may scornfully mention the sins of the person correcting it.

What can you do? Humble yourself and admit you are at least as wicked in all your ways as the worst sinner you know (I Tim 1:15). Confess your self-righteousness as a putrid stench in the nostrils of a holy God (Luke 18:9-14). Admit your righteousnesses are as clean as used menstrual rags (Is 64:6). Beg the LORD to search and reveal your wicked thoughts to you (Job 34:32; Ps 26:2; 139:23-24). Ask for a clean heart (Ps 51:10).

Prove your clean spirit by letting God’s word correct and teach you (Is 66:2). Receive correction without rebelling (Ps 73:21-22). The blessed God never despises a broken and contrite heart (Ps 34:18; 51:17; Is 57:15). If you go down in humble contrition, He will lift you up (Jas 4:10; I Pet 5:6). Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3).

You must not defer or minimize self-examination. It is the holy exercise of spiritual men, who rightly understand the deceitful wickedness of their own hearts (I Cor 11:28; II Cor 13:5). Every secret thing will soon be exposed before the holy tribunal of the Lord Jesus Christ. Cleanse your hands and purify your hearts from double-minded hypocrisy through critical and sober repentance (Jas 4:8-10). The Lord will lift you up!

Wise men will recognize that the evil within is more deceitful and dangerous to pleasing God than the evil without. While hatred of this world is a good and godly attitude toward the dangerous temptations there, it is the deceitful lusts in your own heart that are your greatest enemy. Constant vigilance with sincere humility before God will save your spirit. Keep your heart with all diligence to reject any lofty thoughts of self that arise (Pr 4:23).