Archive for the ‘Proverbs 27’ Category


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 27:11 Be wise, my son, and bring joy to my heart, then I can answer anyone who treats me with contempt

Children can hurt a father two ways! Or they can reward him both ways! Godly character and conduct by a child makes a father glad, and it enhances his reputation before others. Children may easily please and honor their father by being wise as defined by Solomon.

When a man takes a strong stand for truth, wisdom, and righteousness, his children can make him or break him. They can break him in spirit, by crushing his heart (Pr 17:21,25; 19:13; I Sam 2:27-36). They can stain his reputation, by giving an occasion for enemies to criticize or condemn him (I Sam 2:12-17,22-25; 8:3-5).

On the other hand, if his children live the truth, wisdom, and righteousness their father exemplified and taught, they can both rejoice his heart and give him powerful credibility to silence his detractors. Every father waits and wonders at various times in his life to see what his children will do to his legacy – destroy it, or exalt it.

Children are a wonderful blessing from God (Pr 5:15-18; Ps 127:3; 128:3-4). They are like arrows in the hand of a mighty man, in that they can assist their father and leverage his character and wisdom by multiplying his influence in the world (Ps 127:4). When a man has a quiver of them – a large family – he can be bold toward enemies (Ps 128:5).

But this only works when children are wise and righteous. If they are foolish and wicked, they give their father no advantage. They actually harm him and any cause he pursues. They are a blot on his character and reputation, for his enemies can malign him for his evil offspring. Only noble and prudent grandchildren are a crown to old men (Pr 17:6).

This matter of obedient children for the reputation of fathers is so important that God requires his two church officers – bishops and deacons – to have faithful and obedient children (I Tim 3:4-5,12; Titus 1:6). A man with unruly children at home that he cannot control indicates he would not be able to take care of a church of Jesus Christ.

Solomon was a good son to David. Hiram, King of Tyre, had always loved David very much, and he rejoiced and thanked God on David’s behalf, when he became acquainted with Solomon (I Kgs 5:1-7). And this was after David’s death! Though his enemies might have easily reproached David for his other sons, they had to stand in awe of Solomon.

But Eli’s sons broke his heart, brought God’s severe judgment, and caused Israel to hate his family and God’s worship (I Sam 2:12-17,22-25)! Samuel, who should have learned from this terrible calamity, had wicked sons as well that ended his rule over Israel (I Sam 8:3-5). Simeon and Levi caused their father Jacob’s reputation to stink among the Canaanites (Gen 34:30). Foolish sons can break a father’s heart and ruin his reputation.

If children can make a man glad and great, even before his enemies, then training them should be of the utmost importance. No wonder Abraham took it seriously (Gen 18:19). No wonder Joshua took it seriously (Josh 24:15). No wonder it is a command throughout the Bible (Pr 22:6; Deut 4:9-10; 6:4-7; 11:18-19; Ps 78:1-8; Joel 1:1-3; Eph 6:4)!

Fathers! Do not neglect this duty. If you are slothful in this matter, you will not only ruin your children, but you will also bring much future pain into your life, much grief into your wife’s life, and ruin your personal and family reputation (Pr 17:21,25; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15,17)! What can and should you do today to sharpen your arrows?

Children! Do you understand your duty to honor your parents? God has commanded it, but you can also bring joy to their hearts by being wise and righteous, and you can silence their critics by your noble and virtuous character and conduct. Do not neglect this opportunity, for such things have a way of coming back to punish you (Pr 1:31; Gal 6:7).

The highest compliment and most precious gift you can ever give to a minister of the gospel is your righteous life in obedience to his teaching of the scriptures. Seeing you bear spiritual fruit in your life blesses and gladdens his heart, and a fruit-bearing church defends his reputation against those opposing his doctrine or attacking his person.

The Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of His Father, answered forever the reproaches of God’s enemies. The Son of the woman obeyed perfectly and died obediently, triumphing over the devil in an open show (Rom 8:32-34; Col 2:13-15; Rev 12:7-11). The Father announced His great pleasure and promoted Him over all (Eph 1:20-23; Phil 2:9-11).

Reader! If you claim to be a son of the living God, what is your conduct doing to Him and for Him? Are you gladdening His heart by your wise and sober life? Are you adorning His doctrine and silencing the enemies of the gospel by your virtuous conduct and speech? You have a glorious privilege and important duty. Fulfill it cheerfully today!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 27:26 The lambs are for thy clothing, and the goats are the price of the field.

Can you do economic analysis? God and Solomon expect you to. If you cannot, or will not, you are heading for financial poverty. You will not be alone, for many in this lazy generation think no more about the future than counting the days to their next paycheck. But your Creator inspired a divine library to help you prosper financially over them.

King Solomon, God’s preacher to you for practical wisdom and success, wrote an extended lesson to warn you about the ever-changing economic landscape (Pr 27:23-27). He knew men must prudently consider their means of income, for financial or business success never stays the same and even the most secure positions are soon lost.

In an agrarian society, maximizing the yield of fields to support an estate required careful examination of all species of livestock and plants used to generate food, clothing, and revenue. In this short section, he listed flocks, herds, hay, grass, herbs, lambs, and goats – a diversified business enterprise for sure. Diversification is prudent, but it is not enough.

For each animal and plant segment of operations, a wise man analyzed its vitality and yield, market prices for its product, and compared these to maximize total revenue with the least risk. This is no small task. Farmers may be lightly esteemed by many, but they are often sharp businessmen, even using futures markets to hedge their business plan.

This proverb identified lambs and goats, two segments of the business. Lambs are only the offspring of sheep, and goats with their peculiarities may not be an exciting venture, but they are both necessary. The lambs produce wool for clothing and grow into sheep, and goats can grow and produce milk on almost nothing, giving value to inferior land.

What is the lesson for you? You must analyze each part of your economic endeavors and alter your plans to maximize profit and minimize risk in a changing world. Is your industry growing or decaying? Is your company competitive within your industry? Is your position valuable in your company? Are your skills in demand and marketable? Could you or someone else add another business? What is the prudent expected return?

Do you know the market value of your house? Are you over-exposed to real estate fluctuations? Is it insured? Have you done everything to minimize taxes? Are your investments wise in light of worldwide economic changes and your government’s fiscal policies? Are you diversified? Are you financially liquid to take advantage of exceptional opportunities that might become available? These are some financial duties from God.

If these questions intimidate or confuse you, then you should consult with some wise counselors, either professionals or your successful friends, and let them help you analyze your economic situation. Solomon taught that there is safety in a multitude of wise counselors (Pr 15:22). With their assistance, you can keep the wisdom of this proverb.

What a blessing – the Christian scriptures! From the origin of the universe to its soon renovation, from the attributes of God to the details of salvation, the Bible deals with your whole life, including economic safety and success. Those ignorant of the Bible think it an outdated and impractical doctrinal textbook, but this proverb should open your eyes.

Thank God for inspiring Solomon to write you about the necessary parts of your life – making a living and building a family estate. Read the related commentaries of the verses surrounding this one (Pr 27:23-27). Exalt God’s word by hearing it preached or explained regularly, and by all means obey the wisdom God has conveyed to you for your profit.


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 27:15-16 A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day; Restraining her is like restraining the wind or grasping oil with the hand

Can you restrain the wind? No! Can you hide the smell of cologne – once it is out? No! All those present know if the wind is blowing or whether you are wearing cologne or not. You cannot hide either of them. And if a man marries an odious woman, neither can he hide her obnoxious ways. Those around him know he has a difficult and painful marriage.

There is a woman in this proverb, indicated by the feminine pronoun “her.” You do not want to meet her – and you surely do not want to marry her! She is the contentious woman from the previous verse that cruelly drives her husband crazy (Pr 27:15). The poor man cannot restrain or disguise her any more than he can hide the wind or the strong scent of his cologne. Everyone knows he is condemned for life with an odious woman.

The Creator God inspired Solomon to write this proverb. He made the woman for the man, and He knew her better than all psychologists and therapists combined (I Cor 11:9; I Tim 2:13-14; II Tim 3:6-7; I Pet 3:7). Since Solomon wrote for the benefit of his son (Pr 27:11), he warned often of the seductive threat of the strange woman and of the marital threat of the odious woman. Both women are worse than death (Pr 30:21-23; Eccl 7:26).

The Bible is a library of divine wisdom. It deals openly with subjects often not discussed due to foolish ideas of etiquette. But God loves His children and tells the truth plainly to save them from pain and trouble. When men talk among themselves, they also tell the truth – they laugh and groan about irritating and nagging wives. Of course, her husband cannot tell her, for she would set him straight and send him to the couch for the night!

What is a contentious woman? She is a talkative woman that must express her opinions, correct details in conversation, question most everything, and make constant suggestions no one asked for. She is an irritating, quarrelsome, and obnoxious person. She cannot think, speak, or act graciously, because she cannot identify or appreciate that virtue; she has an arrogant, haughty, incorrigible spirit that argues, criticizes, and questions.

Few odious women think they are odious. Of course not! That is why they are odious! They cannot recognize that the conduct they think is fine and helpful is actually what angers and disgusts those around them. If you suggest she talks too much, she will defend herself by saying her opinions are helpful and useful – how can she be wrong to offer them? When hearing the Bible preached plainly, she assumes it must be for someone else.

How does this woman give herself away? Her husband is beat. He is neutered, for this wretch stole his confidence, strength, and vitality. She talks too much, so you only need listen for the woman with her mouth flapping. If she is not a yacker, look for the sour face that rarely smiles and never warmly. She has no real friends, for no one desires her painful presence. Her social interaction may only be the evil habit of being a busybody.

No man wants others to know he lives in a marital hell, so he tries to hide the odious and repulsive character of his wife. This is what Solomon said was as difficult as holding the wind or the scent of cologne in your hand. Both will get away from you! Both will be discovered by those around you! It is impossible to disguise or hide the hairy, grunting, and stinking sow when trying to display the gold ring in her nose (Pr 11:22)!

Men use various techniques to hide their disgraceful wives. One man tries to hide his contentious wife by avoiding public excursions with her. He works late, finds hobbies, or just refuses to go out. Another may foolishly try to deceive his friends by complimenting her to them (though they all know better). One man will weakly submit to her overbearing demands and questions to avoid a public squabble. And another will pamper her greedy soul with anything in sight to buy a little peace and tranquility for himself.

Such women do not deserve husbands, and no man deserves such a wife. Since this despised wretch can disguise herself during dating, every man must learn how to spot the telltale marks that reveal her cruel character (Pr 30:21-23). They are simple. She talks too much, has a proud spirit, is forward to speak, has opinions on everything, disagrees in public, gets visibly agitated, complains about circumstances, and questions everything.

Another way to avoid an odious woman is to learn graciousness and virtue and reject all women lacking them, for a great wife has both (Pr 31:10-31). The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the genuine thing perfectly. The best way to smell an odious woman is to know the sweet nature of a gracious woman. Still afraid? A gracious woman is always adored by all (Pr 11:16). The odious woman only thinks she is respected.

Some men are male versions of the same thing. They talk too much, complain about everything, argue and debate no matter what is said, question accepted opinions and decisions, and so forth. These men should be avoided in all social unions as much as the odious woman should be avoided in marriage. Contentious persons that cause division and strife should be rejected, for they are destructive of peace and pleasure (Pr 22:10).

There are several lessons. First, every man must test a potential wife and believe the opinions of married men about her. Second, every young woman should emphasize graciousness and virtue above other objectives in her life. Third, every man married to a contentious woman needs to find an attic room or wilderness retreat (Pr 21:9,19; 25:24).

Fourth, every woman tending toward the odious character described here should repent before God, her husband, her children, and seek to live graciously. Fifth, you should warn any young man you know who is about to marry an odious woman. Sixth, every man married to a gracious and loving woman should thank God and take her out tonight!

The Bible helps men by warning them about odious women, but it also teaches women how to be gracious and virtuous, if they will learn the lesson and apply it (Pr 31:10-16; I Tim 2:9-10; 5:13-14; Titus 2:3-5; I Pet 3:1-6). However, most pulpits today are too fearful to tell the truth about females in attendance, so practical and useful subjects like this are seldom or never dealt with. They do not want to offend their odious attendees.

True churches are the bride and wife of Jesus Christ; God arranged for His son to marry them, and they will live forever in intimate bliss with Him in heaven. Does this glorious Husband openly delight in you? Or is He ashamed of your offensive ways? He threatened to spew the church of Laodicea out of His mouth (Rev 3:14-19). He threatened to leave the church at Ephesus (Rev 2:4-5). Is He totally happy with your spirit and conduct?

 


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.

The aroma, odor, or scent of good cologne or perfume can bring deep pleasure to your soul through your olfactory nerves (Pr 7:17; Ps 45:7-8; Song 1:3; 3:6; 4:10). Scent is a powerful sense. The effect is immediate and strong. In the same way, a good and honest friend can lift your spirit and cause great pleasure by sincere and profitable advice. This is an observation of Solomon. Do you have such friends? Are you such a friend?

Man by nature is selfish, and most friends pursue their own agenda and interests in their relationship with you (II Tim 3:1-2; Titus 3:3). They do not tell you this directly, but they talk far more about themselves than inquire about you. They love you for your ears! Their talk is self-centered, superficial, and without tangible value for your soul. They eat with you, banter with you, and flatter you, but they do not truly serve you for your own good.

Most friends are little more than acquaintances. They tell you about their circumstances, and they may even inquire about and listen to yours. They send you a birthday and anniversary card, and you return the same to them. They consider mutual flattery and your companionship when they need it to be sweet, but they know little to nothing of the sweetness described in this proverb. If you lose your health, position, or wealth, they are not nearly as friendly; they may even disappear (Pr 14:20; 19:4,7; Ps 38:11).

Great friends do much more (Pr 17:17; 18:24; I Sam 18:3; 20:17). They are more interested in your profit than their pleasure, your perfection than their peace. They understand true love – the sacrificial desire for your prosperity in soul and body. Hard times in your life do not drive them away from you; hard times draw them closer to you: they know they can fill a greater role and help you more in difficulty than in success.

What is hearty counsel? It is counsel from the heart – genuine, sincere, and affectionate. It is counsel filled with goodwill and kindly sentiment, warm with affection and friendly feelings. It is the opposite of superficial chatter, foolish banter, selfish exchanges, or evil flattery. And it is more than advice and instruction, no matter how true and valuable. Sympathetic understanding is a balm for the soul (Rom 12:15; Job 2:11-12; 42:11).

How is it sweet? It is rare, comforting, and provocative to the soul. It stirs the spirit with confidence, goodwill, hope, joy, and thanksgiving. As pleasant odors can stir the body, so hearty counsel pleasantly enlivens the soul. Pleasures are far better shared, and sorrows must be shared (Eccl 4:9-12). Most measure friendship as sweet depending on what they take from the relationship. But that is not true with godly friends (Matt 7:12; Acts 20:35).

Jonathan and David were the greatest friends in the Bible. They met after David killed Goliath and became Israel’s hero. Though the heir apparent of Israel’s throne, Jonathan loved David for his courage, graciousness, and godliness. While other men would have envied and hated David, Jonathan loved him as his own soul (I Sam 18:1-3). The affection and loyalty were so fervent that Jonathan covenanted his life and service to David, and David covenanted to protect Jonathan’s family (I Sam 18:4; 19:1-2; 20:9-17).

When fleeing for his life from King Saul, David often hid in obscure places for safety. Jonathan, though the king’s son and heir to the throne (I Sam 20:30-31), and though a mighty man of valor himself (I Sam 14:1-17), went into the woods and encouraged David in the Lord (I Sam 23:16). Jonathan reminded David of God’s faithfulness and promised his own. He lifted David up from spiritual discouragement and heartily comforted him. How sweet that friendship and counsel was to both of them that day in the wood!

Consider the counsel Jonathan gave David (I Sam 23:17). He first said, There is no reason to fear my father; God will deliver you (Ps 27:1-14). Then he said, You will be the next king, because God will keep His promise (I Sam 16:13). Third, he humbly submitted to God’s choice of David and promised his devotion and service (Pr 17:17). And fourth, he told David that his father knew he had chosen David over him (I Sam 20:30-31).

Was this friendship and counsel sweet to David? The answer is clear (I Sam 23:18). They made a covenant together before the LORD. Jonathan promised his loyalty and service to David above his father and Israel’s throne; David promised Jonathan his desired position and the perpetual care of his family. How sweet the friendship and counsel was to David! He counted Jonathan’s love greater than the love of any of his wives (II Sam 1:26).

Jonathan was not David’s only friend. This virtuous man had many friends. Consider Ittai the Gittite, one of many of the best of the Philistines that chose treason against their nation to spend their lives serving David (II Sam 15:16-23). Consider Hiram king of Tyre, who did favors for David and his son out of love to him (I Kgs 5:1; II Sam 5:11).

There are other friends in the Bible. Consider Jehu and Jehonadab purging Baal worship from Israel (II Kgs 10:15-28). Do you know of Paul and Timothy and the building of New Testament churches among the Gentiles (Acts 16:1-3; Phil 2:19-22; II Tim 1:1-5)?

Have you read of Aquila and Priscilla giving hearty counsel to Apollos (Acts 18:24-28)? Andrew was a true friend to Peter (John 1:40-42), and Philip to Nathaniel (John 1:43-51). What of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:16-17; 3:1-5; 4:13-17) and Luke and Theophilus (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1)? And Mary, Martha, Lazarus, and Jesus (Luke 10:38-42; John 11:1-46)? And you cannot forget the hearty counsel that Jethro gave Moses (Ex 18:1-23).

Hearty counsel includes rebukes and warnings. David wrote, “Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head: for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities” (Ps 141:5). Kind correction by one who desires your perfection is sweet and true friendship. Contrary to the world’s ideas, true love corrects sin (Le 19:17). Godly men desire wounds of a friend more than kisses of an enemy, and open rebuke is better than secret love (Pr 27:5-6).

David had many wives, but he only had one great friend among them. Who was it? Not his first love, Michal, for she despised his intense love of God and His worship (II Sam 6:20-23). Not the mother of Solomon, Bathsheba, for she participated in the heinous sin of adultery with him (II Sam 11:1-5). It was Abigail, who heartily warned him against ruining his reputation by the murder of her wicked husband (I Sam 25:1-44). How sweet was this counsel? He blessed her and married her as soon as she was available!

Where are such friends found? They are very rare, but they are found among the disciples of Jesus Christ, who have learned true friendship from their Lord and Master (John 13:34-35; 15:11-17). These rare Christians are in the true churches of Jesus Christ, where the Holy Spirit and the Word of God have molded men’s hearts to be the sacrificing, serving, sensitive, and sympathetic friends that this proverb describes (Phil 1:3-5). After all, the blood and doctrine of Jesus Christ are by far the tightest bonds of all among men.

How do you learn such friendship? By the fear of the Lord, the love of Jesus Christ, walking in the Holy Spirit, and the practice of I Corinthians 13:4-7! It is these ingredients and these alone that will make you a heart-rejoicing friend. There are no shortcuts. Neglect one of these factors, and you will be a vain friend (Pr 18:24). You have the ability to relate to other men (Pr 27:19), and you must use it to improve them (Pr 27:17).

There is no room for selfishness, self-protection, or self-promotion in true friendship. You must be willing to expose yourself to your friend in order to help him. How else can you comfort him when he is in trouble “by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God” (II Cor 1:4)? The apostle instructed, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another” (Jas 5:16). Can you develop this heart of a true friend?

How important are such friends? They should be esteemed and protected above your own family members (Pr 27:10). Great efforts must be made to avoid offences (Pr 18:19). Solomon kept Hiram as a good friend, who had always been a lover of David (I Kgs 5:1-18). But foolish and profane Rehoboam forsook his father Solomon’s friends for his own ignorant buddies and lost the majority of the kingdom to his enemy (I Kgs 12:1-20).

Dear reader, will you add the precious odor of true friendship to this vile world? Or will you add the stench of selfish insensitivity? Will you make your way to the house of God and find this soul communion among the saints of God? If your church lacks this kind of friendship, then show them how it is done. And honor those that do it to you. There is no friend like Jesus Christ, so begin by cultivating your relationship with Him.


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 27:18 He who tends a fig tree will eat its fruit, and he who looks after his master will be honored.

With all the problems and concerns a leader has, it can be easy to overlook the very people who most deserve attention-faithful employees or volunteers (those who tend the fig trees). The people who stand behind you, who work hard and help you get the job done, deserve to share in your success. Be sure that in all your worrying, planning, and organizing, you don’t forget the people who are helping you the most.

Success is easy, even for lowly and simple men. All you must do is take good care of a successful boss or owner, and he will take good care of you. The man who keeps the fig tree gets to eat the valuable fruit, so the faithful servant will be rewarded by his master. This proverb is to encourage wise men to diligence and faithfulness in their professions.

You can bet on this general rule! God makes rare exceptions for more important reasons, but if you want to get ahead, make your master so happy he cannot resist cutting you in on the real action. It has happened many times before; it will happen again. A wise servant can be promoted right past a foolish son.

Faithful men are rare today (II Tim 3:1-5; Pr 20:6; Ps 12:1), which makes this proverb even truer now. The contrast between your diligence and others’ laziness will be wider than ever – the same is true of your cheerfulness and their sullenness, your punctuality and their tardiness, your carefulness and their carelessness, and your obedience and their obstinance. Believe it! Find your fig tree, and keep it better than others. Success is easy!

A young boy, with average abilities, starts at a fast food restaurant. He is from a different race and part of town than the owner. The boy fears God and reads a proverb every morning. He is early to work, spit polished, cheerful, raring to go, and goes full speed all day, without complaint or letup. He knows only full speed and faster, nothing slower. Pacing himself makes the day drag and steals the owner’s profits, he explains modestly!

He follows all rules exactly, brings his own lunch, never misses work, asks for more tasks during lulls, cleans beyond his assigned area, does the work of two or three during rush periods, helps a customer change a flat tire, puts his arm shoulder-deep in the grease trap to recover a kitchen timer, does not snitch even a French fry, never questions his boss, does not offer foolish suggestions, and is friendly and respectful at all times to all parties.

Before leaving for the day, he thanks the owner for his job and offers to do anything else that may be needed. When told an employee for the next shift just called in sick in order to go fishing, he enthusiastically volunteers to work a double, though he has to miss his own basketball game that night. He cheerfully works the second shift at full speed, closes the store securely, deposits the day’s sales at the bank, and mails letters for the owner.

When he began, he made minimum wage. After one year, he was a supervisor. After two years, an Assistant Manager. After three years, the youngest Store Manager in the history of the chain. After four years, the owner gave him 25% of store profits on top of his wages and retired to another city. After six years, the owner died and willed him the rest of the store. Today he has 5 stores and is thinking about where to retire.

Too good to be true? Joseph began at minimum wage – slavery! In thirteen years he sat on the throne of the richest nation on earth! He found three fig trees, and he was the best keeper all three had ever imagined – Potiphar, the jailor, and Pharaoh. Let God be true!

Too good to be true? Jacob ran away from home with only a staff. Twenty years later, he had four wives, twelve sons, and very much wealth. He had found a fig tree, a gnarled old tree with potential, and he kept it faithfully in spite of setbacks – Laban. Let God be true!

Too good to be true? Elisha was only a plowboy when he found his fig tree to take care of, the service of God and Elijah. But so faithfully did he serve both masters that he was given a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (I Kgs 19:19-21; II Kgs 2:1-15). Incredible! Let God be true! Let every man of God heed his royal call as a servant of the King of kings.

Too good to be true? Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812) was born in the Frankfurt ghetto and faithfully served Prince Wilhelm IX of Hesse, who later loaned him the capital to build his family fortune. He sent his five sons to the greatest cities of Europe, resulting in the most powerful banking and financial dynasty in modern history. The Rothschild coat of arms has a clenched fist with five arrows symbolizing five banking dynasties from Psalm 127:4. In spite of no faith in Christ, their father created their wealth by waiting on the fig tree of Hesse and being honored according to this proverb. Let God be true!

Reader, how do you keep your fig tree? Faithful diligence brings honor! Waiting on your master brings promotion! Do not complain; get to work! You need sanctification more than you need education! You do not need brilliance; you need diligence! You do not need a sponsor; you need a motor! You do not need an opportunity; you need humility! Your greatest ability should be dependability! Graciousness will always trump genius!

First you must find a fig tree. A fence post is not a fig tree. It may be wood, but it bears no fruit. A dead or dying business is not where you want to be, no matter how much you like it or believe in it. If it is not making money, guess what? It is not making money! Cut your losses! You may keep that fence post in bed with you, but it will not bear fruit. Get away from that business or industry and find one that is necessary and thriving.

An electrical pole is not a fig tree, though it is wood and very tall. The “business opportunity” of a promoter with a shiny watch is just a tall tale. Ignore his leased Rolex and boasts about riches. Such men do not have real fig trees, or they would be eating from them instead of flattering you into a business selling overpriced junk that would never sell in the real marketplace. If he does not have a business without you, do not give him your business. Get away from him! Network marketing is not a fig tree – it is a pyramid scheme where 98% are continually fleeced to pay the 2% that take all the profits.

A silk Ficus tree is not a fig tree, though it looks like one to the greedy and hasty eye. It will not produce figs, no matter how much you water it! Do not listen to enticing stories too good to be true. If they sound too good to be true, that means they are a lie! Simple enough? Reject all promoters that like to talk a lot. If their ideas really worked, the last person they would be talking to is you (Pr 12:11; 14:23; 28:19). Find a real fig tree.

You need a real fig tree that bears real fruit you can see and touch – a successful business in a necessary industry with potential. Solomon suggested farming (Pr 12:11; 27:23-27; 28:19). Food works (Eccl 5:9). Wholesaling works (Pr 31:24). Commercial real estate works (Pr 31:16). Banking works (Matt 9:9). Printing works (Eccl 12:12). Construction works (I Kgs 11:26-28). Just about anything works, if men already need it and/or want it.

Second, keep the tree carefully. The Bible tells you how. You do not snitch a dime (Tit 2:10), answer back to your boss (Tit 2:9), shame your boss (Pr 17:2), or goof off even once (Eccl 10:1). You work harder than anyone else (Pr 22:29), speak when spoken to (Pr 29:19), please your boss well in all things (Tit 2:9), reverence authority (Eccl 10:7), work smart (Pr 14:35), and show friendliness (Pr 18:24). It is easy! Pick the fruit, and eat it.

Does it sound too demeaning for you to serve another man or woman with the faithfulness and passion of a devoted slave? Then you are too proud for success, so get used to watching infomercials on television without any money to buy (Pr 21:25-26). If you are a man, can you serve a boss or business owner so diligently that you are called his work wife? Too silly for you? Good! Other readers with wisdom will take your place.

Does it sound unlikely such a simplistic, old-fashioned approach could work today? Have you listened to social activists that have never worked a day in their lives that discrimination will keep the master from honoring you or the fig tree from bearing fruit? Think Joseph in Egypt! Daniel in Babylon! Esther in Persia! Discrimination is usually a lying excuse of the slothful who want a free handout (Pr 17:2; 22:13; 26:13; 20:4). God makes economic assumptions about men that support the fig tree proverb (Ex 21:20-21).

Third, do everything on and off the job to the Lord Jesus, with a single fervent heart committed to His glory (Eph 6:5-7; Col 3:22-23). If you put His kingdom first in your life, He will add everything else you need or desire (Matt 6:33; I Kgs 3:10-13). If you delight in Him, He will give you the desires of your heart (Ps 37:4). If you walk uprightly, He will not withhold any good things from you (Ps 84:11). God will favor the righteous every time, so commit your heart, mind, and life to Him (Ps 112:1-3).

Reader, do not say you have done all this and are still on the bottom rung, for the rule is as true as any verse in the Bible. It is true as gravity. You have been cheating somewhere, for the rule works. Do you have a tree? Are you keeping it well? Is the Lord first? Is there room for you to improve in one or more of these conditions? Then repent and get busy!

What if you get the wrong tree? Impossible, if you make a reasonable effort to avoid fence posts, telephone polls, and Ficus trees. Your Master in heaven will see your care of even the wrong tree and reward you accordingly (Eph 6:8; Col 3:25). Believe it! The tree has less to do with the overall equation of success than does your diligent labor and love for your Master in heaven. He will solve your tree problem, when you clean up your performance problem! Have you forgotten about Moses? David? Abigail? Mordecai?

What of your religious fig tree? Saul of Tarsus ignorantly picked a horrible tree – it bore poisonous plums – but he kept it faithfully. He did not know any better; but he was perfectly faithful with what he knew. So his Master Jesus promoted him to apostle of the Gentiles for that faithfulness (I Tim 1:12-14). Give God the glory! How are you keeping your tree? With your whole heart? Or with a double mind? Can God count you faithful?

Regenerated reader, there is a glorious fig tree that only you know about. It is the Lord Jesus Christ and His kingdom. Jesus said, “If any man serve me, him will my Father honour” (John 12:26). How much honor? Jesus said again, “Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them” (Luke 12:37). No! Can it be true? Verily, there is a reward for the righteous (Ps 58:11)!

Do you hear the Blessed and Only Master saying, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Matt 25:21,23). This is the truly important fig tree – Jesus Christ. How do you serve Him? A crown awaits the faithful (II Tim 4:7-8)!

How glorious is the honor? “The throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads” (Rev 22:3-4). Glory! Lord, lead me to Thy tree, and I shall keep it faithfully!


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 27:20 Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man.

There is always room for one more fool to live a painful and dysfunctional life and die a miserable death. Hell and destruction are never full. So fools are always lusting after the evil things that will ruin their lives. The eyes of man are never satisfied. Fools rush to their own hurt and loss every day. There is always room for one more. Go on down, fool!

There is no limit to loveless marriages, foolish children, lonely hearts, underemployed sluggards, early deaths, starving dreamers, and other problems. You can join them, reader. Prisons have few vacancies, because another fool shows up to fill the house of pain. Divorce Court never closes, because one more fool chose to marry for lust instead of faith or chose to divorce for feelings instead of facts. A.A. always takes new members, for there is one more lush unwilling to drink water. Hell and destruction are never full.

Fools are hilarious! They always want, wish, and lust for something to make them happy – which they never find! They think a man, a woman, a child, a house, an amount of money, a car, a boat, affection from another fool, marriage, an event, a promotion, or something else will make them happy. But they never find it, no matter how hard and long they look. They are doomed to misery, for they are on a treadmill to nowhere.

They are never content with what they have, even if it is much; they imagine there is something more exciting out there to make them happy. So they live frustrated and lonely lives, searching for Nirvana, and then they die and wake up in hell. What a miserable existence! Hell and destruction are never full! A fool’s eyes are never satisfied!

Hell and destruction are a miserable and painful life and an unnecessary death (Pr 23:13-14). The lake of fire is never full either. It always has more room. But the lesson here is about painful lives. You can destroy your marriage, fail with your children, or live with a lonely and frustrated soul. You too can turn your life into hell and destruction. The grave never says, “Enough” (Pr 30:15-16), so fools find new ways to live and die miserably. No matter how many bodies are cast into the ground each day, there is room for more.

The eyes of man are never satisfied, because man craves anything other than God. There is no end to the lust of the flesh and eyes and the pride of life (I Jn 2:15-17). Every foolish man thinks a little more of this or that will make him happy. He cannot relax; he dreams of something better; he needs another event to bring him a taste of excitement. He refuses to accept his present circumstances, for he thinks himself too good for them. He thinks in the near future he will discover something that will bring him peace and joy.

Give a woman a good husband: she wants a different man. Give him a good job: he wants to work for himself. Give her a warm home and children: she wants something to do. Give him a good income: he wants more. Give her a good body: she wants it better. The problem is not improvement; the problem is out-of-control priorities leading to sin. Why do men with beautiful wives divorce more often than those with average wives? Why are women that could be content with the Lord always frustrated and looking for more?

The strange woman – by her sins of fornication and adultery – takes men down to death and hell (Pr 2:18-19; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; Eccl 7:26). But there is always room for one more fool to use the cover of darkness to go near her house to taste her deceitful offerings (Pr 7:6-10). He sees her beauty and hears her flattery and is sure he has found the treasure of pleasure. Foolish men are not satisfied with their wives, so the punishing ruin of adultery always has room for one more fool to be accepted into its downward spiral to destruction.

Adam and Eve were not satisfied in Paradise, and it cost them everything. He that loves silver will not be satisfied with silver, which is vanity and vexation of spirit (Eccl 5:10). Covetousness is idolatry and a great evil, which leads to constant frustration and unhappiness (Eph 5:5). Men’s hearts always want something else or something more, and this evil fretting against God and lust for new things will take them down to destruction.

Godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). But fools cannot learn the lesson! They hear it, but they cannot learn it. For they have convinced themselves – deceived themselves – that there is something else that will excite and fulfill their little souls. But the blessed God will never let you find anything positive outside Him (Ec 7:14), so those who get their eyes and hearts attached to the things of this life are doomed to misery.

Reader! Are you discontent, frustrated, and suffering misery and pain in your life? It is your fault! You have chosen your own lusts over the things of God and heaven. You protect your pet sins; you resent correction by your teachers; you intend to do things your way. If you will make the blessed God your everlasting portion, you can always be content and filled with joy (Ps 16:11; 73:25-26). If you choose wisdom, you can find life and escape death (Pr 13:14; 14:27). There is always room for one more God-fearer!


Under Gods Command

 Proverbs 27:10 Do not forsake your friend your friend and the friend of your father, and do not go to your brother’s house when disaster strikes you-better a neighbor nearby than a brother far away

Great men have great friends. Here is precious wisdom. But very few men qualify as great friends. It is very prudent to keep such friends, even above a blood brother. A small band of committed and virtuous friends is far better than the natural relationship of family. Blood may be thicker than water, as it is said, but it is not thicker than godly character in Jesus Christ! “There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother” (Pr 18:24).

When trouble comes, and it will come, you want a real friend to stand with you, one that loves at all times and considers your problems to be his own (Pr 17:17). You want a friend that thinks the same as you and will stand with you no matter the cost or difficulty. A cultivated friendship based on character, conviction, truth, and wisdom will far surpass the expected help of a natural brother that is only connected to you by blood and name.

Your success depends on great friends, for there are four benefits (Eccl 4:9-12). When God gives such a friend, it is a great blessing. Solomon used this proverb to help his son rule a great nation that stretched from the Euphrates to Egypt. He himself had benefited much by his father’s friends, Hiram the King of Tyre (II Sam 5:11; I Kgs 5:1-18) and Benaiah, captain of the bodyguards (II Sam 20:23; 23:20-23; I Kgs 1:38; 2:25-46).

Consider inspired history. Joseph found greater kindness from foreign captors than his brothers. David found greater loyalty and service from vagabonds than his envious brothers, and he found greater love and loyalty from Jonathan. Jesus found greater sympathy and loyalty from His disciples than His brothers (John 7:1-5; Luke 22:15).  He knew His true friends were those who heard the word of God and kept it (Matt 12:46-50).

God chose David for his pure heart (I Sam 16:6-13). Jonathan saw this clearer than his envious brothers did (I Sam 17:28). Though losing much, he loved him dearly (I Sam 18:1-4). Loving virtue above family and career, Jonathan chose David over his own father (I Sam 19:1-7). They made a vow against the blood ties of Jonathan (I Sam 20:1-17) and included their children (I Sam 23:42). David valued Jonathan’s love above women (II Sam 1:26), and he saved Jonathan’s son when he was in need (II Sa 9:1; 21:7).

Godly friends are superior to blood brothers, for the relationship is built on a better foundation. They are superior for their regenerated hearts, the precious blood of Christ, the absolute truth of God’s Word, godly hatred of compromise, a life pursuit of holiness, and the hope of eternal life. The Bible recognizes these friends as dear as one’s own soul, even distinguishing them from a precious wife (Deut 13:6; I Sam 18:1,3; 20:17).

Do you understand the importance of this lesson? Without great friendships based in godliness, who will help in the day of your calamity? You will go down and stay down. Two are better than one for four reasons, and you risk your future by not securing good friends (Eccl 4:9-12). A wise man will secure his life and that of his family by doing what is necessary to preserve vital friendships with noble and virtuous men.

There is a place for godly networking, though the objective and methods are infinitely superior to the world’s effort to find contacts and customers for their own selfish ends. The great God instructed His messengers to be lovers of good men (Titus 1:8), as Paul was of Timothy (Acts 16:1-3; Phil 2:19-23; II Tim 1:1-5). Most so-called Christians have no clue about great friends, because they despise men that are holy (II Tim 3:1-5).

What kinds of friends meet the intent of this proverb? The context, unusual in Proverbs, gives valuable traits of godly friends (Pr 27:4-5,9). True friends love at all times, whether you are in good or bad circumstances (Pr 17:17). They are chosen for their fear of God, love of truth, and personal righteousness (Ps 119:63). Do you know such men? You cannot cheat on any of these measures, or you will lose the benefit you are seeking.

The blood of Jesus Christ creates an immediate bond greater than human blood, when two lovers and followers of Christ meet by the kind providence of God. There is no selfishness, self-protection, fear, doubts, or hidden agenda between such friends. They fully trust each other (I Sam 14:6-7), and they strengthen each other in God (I Sam 23:14-18). And they love to unite their zeal in doing great things for God (II Kgs 10:15-16).

False friends, who comprise the vast majority of all men in the world, are fair weather friends – they only stand with you while it is easy and profitable (Pr 14:20; 19:4). Or they are carnal friends, whose friendship is based on worldly compatibility. Or they are weak friends, whom you must constantly help due to their lack of character. David had no use for false brethren or the harsh spirits of his nephews (Ps 101:3-8; 144:11; II Sam 3:39).

Do you deserve great friends? Loners do not have them, for they are too selfish to give. Rebels lose out because their unruly spirits are dangerous and offensive. Compromisers will not have any, for they cannot be trusted. The greater zeal a man has for Jesus Christ, the greater he will be loved by such men. Godliness and virtue attract godly and virtuous men; and godliness and virtue drive away carnal men. Holy living will bring holy friends.

In order to have great friends, you must be friendly (Pr 18:24). In order to keep them, you must not forsake them (Pr 27:10). Friendship is a two-way street, and you are foolish to think that great men should need no encouragement. It is the providential blessing of God that brings great friends into your life, and most of them should be found in your church, if it is a church sold out to Jesus Christ (I Cor 12:18). Some can be thankful they have double brothers or sisters, united by both family blood and Jesus Christ’s blood!


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 27:14  If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.

When is a blessing a curse? When it is flattery! Pay no attention to excessive blessings, compliments, or praise. It is actually a curse, for there is a false or foolish motive behind it (Pr 26:24-28; 29:5). The person has already deceived you, or he is about to deceive you. Godly men are not moved by flattery, nor do they give flattery to others.

The man here praises his friend with a loud voice. What does this sound level tell you about him? It indicates an insincere display rather than a holy and noble compliment. He intends for the friend and others also to hear the blessing. The loud praise is excessive, because it is flattery. His blessing is for other than friendly and sincere encouragement.

He rises early in the morning to praise his friend. What does this timing tell you about the blessing? It indicates a compliment and praise out of place and proportion, for there are other more important things to be done in the morning. The untimely praise is excessive, because it is flattery. His blessing is for other than friendly and sincere encouragement.

The flattery here is between friends. If an enemy used a loud voice early in the morning to praise you, it would be easy to know it was false and dangerous (Ps 5:8-10). But when it is between friends, it is much harder to see its danger (Pr 29:5). Wise men, who value sober warnings, will steel themselves against excessive compliments, even from friends.

God hates flattery. Flattery is a compliment or praise to get another person to believe or do something wrong. It is a trait of depraved men (Ps 5:9). Whores use it to seduce men (Pr 6:24; 7:21), and Israel used it to secure God’s deliverance from enemies (Ps 78:34-37). God will cut off all flatterers and blind their children (Job 17:5; Ps 12:1-3)!

Good men will not give flattering titles to men (Job 32:21-22), though very popular in religion (Matt 23:6-12). Some ministers use “Reverend” or “Father” to obtain flattery from others. Paul never used flattery when in Thessalonica, which is quite contrary to the manipulating and stroking teachers so popular today (I Thess 2:5). True ministers will not flatter: they will name sins, name names, and take no prisoners (II Cor 10:4-6)!

In a marketing era, image is more important than content, appearance than performance, and perception than reality, so it is easy to approve flattery. Sanguines have the temperament for it; salesmen are taught to do it. Rather than objectively present a product by its factual merits, they promote things with loud flattery and feigned friendliness. Compliments from a salesman about any personal matters are manifestly insincere.

Talk is cheap. Wise men ignore most bad things said about them (Eccl 7:21-22), and they ignore all good things said about them (Pr 27:14,21). One act of true kindness is more meaningful than many exuberant blessings. Correction and rebuke are far more valuable for prosperity and success than any compliment.  It is a duty for saints to think soberly of themselves, but this is hard to do, if you enjoy the praise of men (Pr 29:5; Rom 12:3).

Saul flattered David by offering him his two daughters, intending to use the bait to kill him by the Philistines (I Sam 18:17-25). Absalom flattered the men of Israel to steal their loyalty from his father David, king of Israel (II Sam 15:1-6). The citizens of Tyre and Sidon flattered Herod, but God had him eaten by worms for accepting it (Acts 12:21-23).

All praise is not sin. Praise to get a person to believe or do something wrong is sin. Jesus commended His disciples (Luke 22:28). Paul mentioned a fellow believer, who was praised in all the churches (II Cor 8:18).  Paul praised Corinth (I Cor 11:2). Paul praised Timothy (Phil 2:19-22). And both husband and children will praise the virtuous woman for her diligent and noble efforts (Pr 31:28-31). Subversive praise, or flattery, is sin.

Praise severely tests a man’s character (Pr 27:21). Most men are vulnerable to flattery, from men or women; they believe the praise is true, and they will compromise to get more of it (Pr 29:5). But a wise man will prefer the rebuke of a sincere friend above the kiss of an enemy (Pr 27:5-6). Jesus, the greatest example for you, did what He could to hinder praise and popularity (Mark 7:36). Take heed that you soon forget compliments.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 12:27 The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

Finish every job. Slothful men start projects, but they do not complete them. They may enjoy hunting, even though it is difficult and time-consuming, but they lose ambition, energy, and focus when they get home and need to dress and process the meat taken.

On the other hand, a diligent and virtuous man salvages all the meat and does not rest until it is wrapped neatly in the freezer. He knows that any game taken by hunting is a blessing, and he is sure to use it to its fullest. He values any asset and all income wisely.

Hunters take pains to prepare for deer hunting. They sight rifles, scout land, secure a tree stand, carefully select clothing and equipment, rise while it is still cold and dark, carry their stand deep into the woods, fix it in a tree, and wait for the deer. Having shot one, they rejoice with friends, field dress it, and drag it to their truck, where they proudly drive through town to the praise of their friends. The slothful man may seem diligent this far.

But when he gets home, his energy disappears! The carcass fills him with dread – there is so much work to do! So he gives it to his neighbor with great generosity, throws it in a dumpster, leaves it to his dogs, or lets it rot in the garage. Then he orders pizza to relax after his hard day with a well-deserved meal and nap. He does not even clean his gun. What a waste! He squanders the Lord’s kind blessing on the little effort he did make.

But the diligent man is different. He enjoys the hunt, but he knows it is for a purpose. He dresses, butchers, and processes every bit of meat for future use, and he neatly labels and packages it for convenient use by his wife. And he carefully cleans his gun to preserve its value. He is thankful for the gift of the deer, and he works to take full advantage of the Lord’s blessing. He takes of the day’s venison and shares it with his family for supper.

What a difference between two men! The slothful man cannot finish a project to discover the profit of labor, but the diligent man sees the value in finishing every job and properly caring for each asset and all income. Sloth is foolish, wasteful, and destructive. Diligence is wise, resourceful, and productive. The diligent man shall rule (Pr 10:4; 12:24).

Solomon said, “He also that is slothful in his work is brother to him that is a great waster” (Pr 18:9). But the man in this proverb is both. His slothfulness caused him to waste God’s good favor. He did not even have the noble work ethic of profane Esau (Gen 27:30-31).

Every man, every woman, every child, every day, faces this issue on the job, at home, at school, with numerous aspects of life. Good projects are started, but they are not always completed. Interruptions, difficulty, slothfulness, and procrastination keep them from being finished. They leave rotting carcasses in the garage, which soon stink up the home!

Reader, have you started any projects that you should finish today to be productive and value God’s blessings in your life? Or will you squander His goodness by leaving a task unfinished, the cost of labor partly paid, but the full profit still waiting for the diligent man? There is joy in a job well done – when the job is finished. Prove this wisdom. If you continue with partial efforts, the Lord will withdraw the blessing of providing a deer.

Parent, it is your duty to teach your children the self-discipline of finishing every project they start. This requires training, follow-up, and punishment, but it will yield successful and noble children in the future. They will never be successful in life, if you allow them to begin projects without finishing them. Teach them this wisdom of Solomon, and wait for the training to bear precious fruit. Finish this parental project as you should all others.

Here is also a picture of lazy Christians. They hear the same sermon preached to others. Some do not prepare, so it falls by the wayside, and the devil snatches it away. Some may even receive it joyfully, but they allow worldly cares to distract. Without deep conviction, others dread persecution, so they shirk their duty to truth (Matt 13:19-21). Only those who diligently respond and bear fruit are true disciples (John 8:31; 15:8; II Pet 1:9).

How many times have you been graciously given, or diligently took, conviction from a sermon, but later let it slip away? God save you from such waste! Grace in your soul that stirs conviction is precious indeed. Do not squander it. Run with it. Now! Do not stop pressing for the prize of God’s high calling until you get to the end of the road. It is a fact taught by the Lord that the violent take the kingdom of heaven by force (Matt 11:12).

God forbid you make a profession of Christ and then lose your full reward. Men will seek to beguile you out of it, so you must earnestly contend for it (Col 2:18; Jude 1:3; II John 1:8). There is a war for your soul, which you must fight to the finish, lest you become a castaway through spiritual slothfulness (I Pet 2:11; 5:8; I Cor 9:27; II Tim 4:7). For this purpose you assemble with others to be provoked to finish your course (Heb 10:23-25).

The blessed Lord shall not lose one elect soul given to His charge (John 6:39; 17:3; Heb 2:13). Christian reader, are you glad the Saviour rejected all sloth in His life and work? Are you glad He did not leave even one of the elect unsaved? If He had, it might have been you. He went to work; He finished His work (John 4:34; 19:30). Hallelujah! Amen!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 27:12 The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it

Be careful! Be cautious! Do not get surprised! What could happen that might hurt you? Optimism is risky; pessimism is safe. Learn wisdom. Prudent men look ahead and adjust their lives to avoid loss, pain, or trouble. Wise men are vigilant to spot changes coming that could cost them, and so they avoid them. Foolish men live day by day without regard to the future and get caught by life’s frequent changes, and so they are hurt by them.

Some get laid off with savings, a transferable skill, and another job waiting. Others lose their jobs, have no financial cushion, are untrained, and hurt their families and do not know what to do. Some manage the number and timing of their children to be excellent parents. Others reproduce like rabbits not considering the cost, effort, time, or wisdom to get them all to adulthood with character, careers, clothing, cars, and noble spouses!

Do you believe most of what you hear or read? Are you decisive and opinionated? Be careful! Wise men are cautious, critical, pessimistic, and skeptical about unproven assertions or situations. They do not believe all they hear or read, and they do not make decisions without carefully analyzing possible danger (Pr 14:15). Only foolish simpletons naively view the future and rush forward optimistically. And they get punished for it.

Prudence is the power of discernment. It is the discretion or practical wisdom to detect problems or dangers in any situation and avoid them by altering actions to find the most profitable course. Obviously, prudent men move more slowly than fools, because they know that hasty or heady decisions are risky (Pr 14:29; 19:2; 21:5; 25:8; 29:20; II Tim 3:4). This rule for wise living is so important that Solomon repeated it for you (Pr 22:3).

A prudent man – one with cautious discretion – looks ahead and sees fallacies or risks. He hides himself from their danger by altering his beliefs or his actions. He will never be caught believing lies or walking into a trap. On the other hand, simpletons blithely let life happen to them. They do not question what they believe or what they are doing. They keep going forward and get clobbered repeatedly by dangers and risks they overlooked.

Of course, your foolish spirit wants to do what it wants to do, and it wants to do it now! Foolish companions and peer pressure further encourage this insane approach to life. It is prudence – a component of wisdom – that slows men down to consider what they are doing. Only wise men look at every angle in a complete circle – circumspection – before making decisions (Eph 5:15-17). Fools rush ahead in blind zeal and ignorant confidence.

Wise men will not believe anything or do anything, until they prove God’s truth or will in the matter. The Bereans were commended for testing even Paul’s preaching, and the Thessalonians were commanded to do it (Acts 17:11; I Thess 5:21). It is fools that believe the evening news, Ben Spock’s childcare hallucinations, testimonials of any kind, think tanks of the left and the right, or any man because he calls himself a reverend or a doctor!

If it is not a matter of religion or morality, they practice the wisdom of Solomon’s proverbs (Pr 1:1-4), they seek safety in a multitude of counselors (Pr 11:14; 24:6), and they hide like the coney from risk (Pr 30:26; 6:1-5). They do not trust their own opinions (Pr 26:12; 16:2,25; 21:2). They could not care less what everyone else is doing (Ex 23:2). They do not believe anything without strong and tested evidence (Pr 14:15; 13:16).

The best way to become prudent is to learn the Bible (Ps 19:7-11; 119:98-100; II Tim 3:16-17). It contains the truth of God and His will for successful living. The book of Proverbs is Solomon’s inspired rules for a prosperous life. Without God’s truth and precepts, you will be vulnerable to the folly of feelings and vain ideas of men. Without instruction from God’s ministers, you will be tossed to and fro by crafty deceivers (Eph 4:14). You need to be in a Bible-preaching church to fully grow in prudence and wisdom.

Are you prudent to save some of all income, so future financial difficulties can be avoided (Pr 30:25)? Do you insure major assets against catastrophic loss, so you cannot be wiped out (Pr 22:26-27)? Are you very cautious about marriage, either your own or your children’s, to prudently avoid the odious woman (Pr 30:21-23; 31:30)? Have you looked ahead to see if your job, profession, or business will be needed in the future (Pr 27:23-24)? Have you trained your children to avoid them ruining your future (Pr 29:15)?

Have you acquired a transferable skill, or are you unskilled and subject to layoffs (Pr 24:27)? Do you invest in high-yield opportunities, or do you question deals that sound too good to be true? Have you been reading some new version of the Bible without examining its origin, text, and fruit? Do you prove everything you hear at church, or do you assume it to be right? Have you vigorously examined the training of your children to maximize its potential? Do you treat your spouse God’s way to build a lasting marriage?

Did you fall for Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” or did you recognize it as an animated crucifix for Roman Catholicism? Are you a purpose-driven Christian, or do you see the horrible compromise of seeker sensitive Rick Warren (II Tim 4:3-4)? Have you read the “Left Behind” novels, or do you know the antichrist comes before Jesus Christ’s return (II Thess 2:3)? Do you endorse Jim Dobson’s permissive child training, or do you stick with the old paths of inspired Scripture (Pr 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; Jer 6:16)?

The book of Proverbs was inspired by God and written by Solomon to teach you wisdom. The rule of wisdom in this proverb is to be prudently cautious about everything you believe and do, lest you believe a lie or expose yourself to danger. Only fools press forward without critical and skeptical analysis. The Lord is offering safety from frauds and risk, if you will slow down and prove all things (I Thess 5:21). If you continue to let life happen to you without cautious inspection, you will be repeatedly punished.

The greatest future danger you face is the judgment throne of Jesus Christ, when He will examine everything you have done in life (Eccl 12:13-14; Rom 14:10-12; II Cor 5:10-11; Heb 9:27; Rev 20:11-15). It is time to wake up from sleeping and began living a holy life to hide from that day (Rom 13:11-14; Eph 5:3-7; I Tim 6:17-19). Only a wicked fool eats, drinks, and makes merry without regard for the Day of Judgment that is fast approaching. Those obsessed with the foolish pleasures of this life will soon be punished for eternity.