Archive for the ‘Proverbs 28’ Category

We see in this man with the evil eye, a man who wants what belongs to others, a man who is motivated by greed. He has no regard for how he gets what someone else has just as long as he gets it soon.

Money or wealth gotten from evil ways and in a hurry has a way of leaving just as fast. Poverty is inevitable for this man because God will not bless him.

We see bribery associated with this. (piece of bread). Some judges accept bribes and release someone just because of favors or because of who they are. God expects us to treat all men fairly.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:20 “A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.”

Blessings are the product of honest labor. Just as Abraham was rich in gold, silver, and cattle because he was blessed of God, God will bless you abundantly if you have the faith of Abraham. Abraham was saved and blessed by faith. We are blessed and saved by; faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Someone in a hurry to get rich is taking short cuts. His ways are not pleasing to God, because they are not honest. God will hold him responsible for the way he made his money. Wealth in itself is not evil. Our attitude toward the wealth can be very evil.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:22 A stingy man is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.

Greed will distort your vision. You will see temptations other men miss, and you will eye everything as a means for gain. Chasing riches is bad enough, but pursuing them hastily is a recipe for disaster. Ambition, covetousness, and greed are ingredients of financial ruin (Pr 28:20; I Tim 6:7-10). A wise man is content with his wages and lets God make him rich; he will not pursue damning and elusive wealth, either slowly or hastily.

Haste to be rich is the impatient lust for more of a greedy person. He is frustrated by an ordinary job and discontented with ordinary wages. He believes he deserves better; he envies successful men; he covets what they have; he believes others owe him; he allows lustful thoughts. This greed for gain perverts his vision. He measures others by how much he might gain by them rather than how much they could gain from his service to them.

His heart and eyes are obsessed with getting ahead financially. He is constantly thinking of squeezing more money out of every transaction. He wants to buy below market, but he wants to sell above market. He begrudges any activity that does not pay. He hates giving charity, but he loves receiving it. In all his thoughts about money, he overlooks one great consideration – God and good men will take this covetous wretch down to poverty.

Greed for gain corrupts a man’s view of life. He is stingy in giving. He is unthankful in receiving. He is overbearing in transactions. He measures relationships financially. He defrauds his family. He overworks. He underpays. He resents taxes. He may consider bribes. He is angered by acts of God that cost him money. He is easily deceived by get-rich-quick schemes. He despises patient saving. He envies the successful. He is unhappy.

But a wise man scatters his money, knowing it leads to prosperity; he knows miserly thinking leads to poverty and resentment (Pr 11:24-26). A wise man considers the poor and gives quickly (Pr 19:17; Ps 41:1). He knows that a little with fear of God, peace, and righteousness is better than wealth without these things (Pr 15:16-17; 16:8; 17:1; 28:6; Ps 37:16). Generous men have a good eye – they see life’s priorities correctly (Pr 22:9).

Tax collectors and occupying soldiers often have evil eyes – using their jobs for greed, but John the Baptist taught precise accounting and contentment with wages (Lu 3:12-14). Even when buying something, you must hate greed and pay a fair price for it (Pr 20:14).

Heretics, like the mega-church gurus of today, profess gain to be godliness. But they are to be rejected for Jesus Christ’s pure doctrine – godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:3-10). Wise men despise riches and willingly give to others (I Tim 6:17-19).

Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 28:19 He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty. 

Do you want financial success? Then do a basic job well, day after day, obeying the economic wisdom in Proverbs. It will work! God and Solomon guarantee it! Stop going to promotional meetings, hating to work for others, listening to too-good-to-be-true investment ideas, or daydreaming about a better life. Make pleasure and rest your last thoughts (Pr 21:17,20). Consistent hard work at a needed job will work. Following the lying promises of promoters will not work. Learn wisdom: love work: hate distractions!

Men by nature are greedy and lazy. They want more of the good things of life than others have, but they want to exert themselves less than others to get them. Therefore they are tempted by two economic sins – to resent their basic jobs and/or listen to pipe dreams. Learn wisdom: love work: hate greed! Because Solomon had observed these temptations destroying men’s financial lives, he repeated this proverb in similar language (Pr 12:11).

Who in the world wants to be a farmer, when he could be a real estate tycoon driving a sports car and making deals on his cell phone of houses purchased with no money down? Who would choose to be a nurse, when she could be an international photographer for an Internet news magazine? Why be a factory slave, when you could use multilevel marketing of a mineral substitute for Viagra made from sea salt to live on a yacht by 30?

Farming was not the only job in Solomon’s day. But it best illustrated the lesson of this proverb. Farming required hard work, planning, patience, and repetition. It was the most basic of jobs – using the earth to produce food and/or to use the food to raise cattle or other animals for various products. But tilling a field behind oxen became boring and stupid when you heard fantastic rumors of network marketing riches in clothes soap!

The tortoise beats the hare financially. While the tortoise plods forward an inch at a time toward his economic goals, the hare runs at full speed from distraction to distraction, some costing him precious capital, and all costing him valuable time. When they come to the day of reckoning, the faithful labors, sound investments, and patience of the tortoise have given him a comfortable estate. The hare is exhausted, frustrated, and broke!

Solomon despised get-rich-quick schemes. He saw poor men make good income, but foolish ideas wasted it (Pr 13:23). Diligent labor in a basic job brings success (Pr 27:18). Talking about financial fantasies makes men poor (Pr 14:23). Getting distracted from the job at hand is terrible (Pr 27:23-27). Increase is by strength and leverage, not scheming (Pr 14:4). He saw financial exceptions destroying fools looking for a free lunch (Pr 1:32).

Vain persons are everywhere, especially with radio, television, telephones, magazines, newspapers, the Internet, and email. They promote the rich and famous, though they are only 1 out of 10,000. They offer impossible returns to steal your savings for themselves. Governments offer lotteries that are nothing but a tax on the poor and stupid. And liars flaunt the extravagant lifestyle of multilevel marketing “successes,” while ignoring the 98% that bought the overpriced product to pay for the “success.” The net result of these and all other financial “shortcuts” is always negative – you lose! Going down?

Why do any listen to such nonsense? Why would anyone consider lies from a person trying to fleece them of their hard earned money? There are only a few reasons. All of them are sins. Two have been given – discontentment with your job and covetousness for a different life. In addition, some do not like submitting to other men, which is simply pride and rebellion. And last, some through willful ignorance do not examine things with a critical and pessimistic eye to avoid lying snakes (Pr 14:15; 15:22; 27:12; I Thess 5:21).

This generation is obsessed with ease and pleasure – amusement, games, recreation, sports, and relaxation – but these things ruin men financially. If you love pleasure, you are going to be poor (Pr 21:17). If you love sleep, you are going to be poor (Pr 20:4,13). You will learn to despise work, because it is not as much fun to you as riotous living and sleeping in (Pr 19:15). You will waste your money on foolish amusements (Pr 21:20; Luke 15:13). And this childish lifestyle will take you down (Pr 23:21).

Your safety is in God’s word. Hard work works (Pr 10:4; 13:4; 22:29).  Haste makes financial waste (Pr 19:2; 28:20,22). Believe nothing without proof, especially testimonials or “results” above market rates (Pr 13:11; 14:15; 22:3). Taking the easy road will ruin you economically (Pr 6:9-11; 24:30-34). Only one document in the world is totally true – the Bible. Everyone and everything else are liars (Rom 3:4). Obey this proverb; love your job; do it well each day; thank God for success. If you scoff at or neglect this proverb, you will wake up poor with a hardworking neighbor ruling over you.

The proverb’s lesson applies to religious pursuits as well. There is no get-spiritual-quick seminar or television offering that can compete with daily prayer and Bible reading and listening carefully to the preaching of God’s word (II Tim 3:6-7; 4:1-4). Do not follow the vain religious personalities that offer their seductive road to God and heaven. They are liars just like the financial hucksters. There is only one door and Shepherd of the sheep, and the abundant life is obtained by obeying Him and His words (John 10:1-18).






Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:23 He who rebukes a man will in the end gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.

True friendship and esteem depend on your contribution to others’ lives. Those who flatter others may have some superficial friends or foolish companions, who enjoy the empty praise. But those who correct and teach others the way of God more perfectly will have devoted and thankful friends for the profit they obtain for their souls and lives.

What does it mean to rebuke? It means to reprove or reprimand another person for some action or trait that is not acceptable. It is telling another person they are wrong and they need to change. It means to point out their errors and express strong dislike of them.

What does it mean to flatter? It means to praise or compliment unduly or insincerely. It is telling another person positive things merely to make them happy and desirous of your friendship. It means to play on a person’s vanity and cheer them without a good basis.

The proverb does not compare two good things and suggest one is better than the other. Rebuke is a very good and holy thing, for it stops sin in others’ lives and directs them to righteousness. Flattery is an evil thing, for it comforts and encourages men to continue in a course of sin merely for a superficial relationship (Pr 20:19; 29:5; Job 17:5; Ps 12:2-3).

True love will rebuke sin in friends. In fact, loving your neighbor requires you to rebuke them for sin. If you do not rebuke them, you hate them (Lev 19:17). If you love someone, you want to help perfect him by pointing out the things that are wrong in his life (Pr 27:5-6; Rom 15:14; I Thes 5:14). You will risk the relationship in order to hopefully help him.

The rebuke under consideration here is the reproof or reprimand of sin, as measured by the word of God. This proverb has nothing to do with matters of liberty, because neither God nor good men care what you think in matters of liberty. No man has any right to judge in matters that God has not judged in the Bible. Personal opinion is just that!

Consider the value of rebuke. There can be no progress without change, and there can be no change without correction, and correction means rebuke for doing something the wrong way. Disciplinarian fathers will be loved more in the long run than pampering fathers; and athletes generally appreciate severe coaches for getting the most out of them.

Flattery, no matter how cheery, positive, or vain, does no one any good. It merely wastes the earth’s oxygen and creates noise pollution. You leave such a person worse for the experience, no matter how pleasant the flattery sounded at the moment. Eventually a righteous person will avoid flatterers, for they truly prefer rebuke (Pr 27:9; Ps 141:5).

Great men and women are trees of life – they nourish others with wisdom (Pr 10:21; 11:30). But most people are quite worthless, because they never contribute to the profit or perfection of others. They are too fearful to help. They are too ignorant to help. They are too selfish to help. Instead of being trees of life, they are merely rotting fence posts!

The value and vitality of a church depends on the practice of this proverb. There are two great benefits. If church members fulfilled their roles of rebuking one another for sin, a church would grow in grace and holiness (Rom 15:14; Eph 4:16; I Thess 5:14; Heb 3:12-13; 10:24-25). And, look again at the proverb. The church would grow in love and true esteem for one another by the benefit gained from the wise and godly rebukes. Glory!

Most churches are little more than superficial social clubs. After a short session of a form of godliness, which they call a worship service, they engage in idle chitchat and inane bantering. Then they go home backbiting and slandering one another. God forbid! They ought to be soberly confessing their faults to one another, exhorting one another to greater godliness, and rebuking any known sins (Gal 6:1; Eph 4:29; Jas 5:16,19-20).

Why do most Christians never correct or rebuke anyone in matters of godliness? Because they reject the truth of this wisdom! They assume the way to obtaining and maintaining friends is flattery, comfortable chitchat, and foolish talking. They fear losing friends and their favour – the very opposite of God’s wisdom – so they never reprove others for sin.

What is the reward for rebuking others? God is pleased you have fulfilled your role and kept His instruction, and the man you rebuked will love you for it (Pr 9:7-9). However, he may not love you at the moment of your rebuke! And for this you must be prepared. Remember the proverb. It says he will love you “afterwards.” Children will obey strict training when they are old, though maybe not that week (Pr 22:15; Heb 12:11)!

The Lord Jesus Christ, the preeminent example, was always correcting, rebuking, and instructing those He met in life, whether disciples or enemies. And Paul did the same thing, spending his life to correct and reprove the sin he found in lives. Righteous men and women loved them both, for they appreciated the holy efforts to perfect their lives.

If a person were properly convicted about the coming Day of Judgment, there would be little time for anything else but perfecting others by wise rebukes and instruction. For once you stand before the King of kings, you will very strongly wish others had rebuked you more, and others will very strongly wish you had rebuked them more. Why make it the great Day of Regret? Gently and wisely rebuke sin where you see it today.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:26 – He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is kept safe.    

For many people, the rugged individualist is a hero. We admire the bold, self-directed men and women who know what they want and fight for it. They are self-reliant, neither giving nor asking advice. What a contrast to God’s way. A person can’t know the future and can’t predict the consequences of his or her choices with certainty. And so the totally self-reliant person is doomed to failure. The wise person depends on God.

You are your own worst enemy. You have inside you a voice that is dearer than the voice of God or any angel or man. This voice can comfort and convince you against any teaching or warning. This voice is with you twenty-four hours a day, and it always tells you what you want to hear and believe. It helps you make most decisions. You are a fool!

Your heart has a strong opinion on most any topic, whether you know anything about that topic or not. Your heart reacts in an instant against criticism or reproofs, and it controls you with passionate desire for something it wants. Your heart can lull you to sleep about matters it says are unimportant, and it can keep you from sleeping out of envy or hate.

Solomon used heart in this proverb as a metonym for your affections, inclinations, and thoughts. It is your internal set of desires and needs that affects your decision-making. This is not your conscience. This is your anti-conscience! This is the set of passions that drives most men and women. God has spoken about your heart. He said, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer 17:9).

If you listen to your heart, you are a fool! If you follow your heart, you are a fool! If you make decisions even partially influenced by your heart, you are a fool! You are submitting to the most deceitful, depraved, and dangerous source of information on earth. Your heart has gotten you into more trouble in the past than all your enemies combined. You are your own worst enemy. Wisdom is the power to choose truth against your heart.

Adam died in the Garden of Eden the day he ate the forbidden fruit, according to God’s promise and warning (Gen 2:17; 3:6-8). Since he physically died 930 years later, what happened to him the day he took the fruit from Eve and ate it (Gen 5:5)? What died? Not his intellect. He was as intelligent after sin as before sin. Not his power of observation. He could perceive naturally as well after sin as before sin. He was still mentally sane.

But his affections for God and spiritual inclinations died. He was then morally corrupted without any desire to seek God, please God, or obey God. Rather than beg for forgiveness, he made aprons of fig leaves. Rather than repent, he hid in the garden. Rather than confess his sin, he blamed God and Eve for the mess. He was now motivated by selfish impulses that were dead toward God and others (Ps 14:1-3; Rom 3:9-18).

Adam became totally depraved, as theologians call it. Though his brain still functioned intelligently with logical connections based on observations and perceived consequences, his affections and desires were totally different – they were anti-God, anti-truth, anti-wisdom. He hated God and godliness; he loved all the sinful lusts of body and mind now in him. He was now an eager follower of the devil – spiritually dead in sins (Eph 2:1-3).

You were conceived and born this way – dead in sins, hating God, loving the world, obeying the devil, and fulfilling your lusts in every choice. This is the reality of humanity. This is the truth about all men and women, boys and girls. Without a second birth, one by the Spirit of God, they remain in this state of spiritual death and enmity against God. You must be regenerated by God with a new spiritual life to do any good.

Any doctrine of salvation must deal with this fact. Evangelism must deal with this fact. There are no means to influence a person in this dead condition (John 8:43-47; Rom 8:7-8; I Cor 2:14; Luke 16:31). He or she must be given life first; they must be born again first; they must be regenerated before they can or will believe (John 1:13; 3:8; 5:24; 6:44,63; 17:3; Acts 16:14; I Cor 1:18,22-24). Any other doctrine of salvation is false.

Today it is totally acceptable to trust and follow your heart. In fact, you are taught that your heart can decide what is right for you. One man will leave a church and say, “I did not feel right in my heart there.” A man will leave his wife and children for a younger woman, saying, “My heart was not in my marriage any longer.” A man will quit his job and become a homeless loafer by saying, “I am going to follow my heart.” All are fools!

The primary method of teaching today, even at the university level, is to trust your heart. After the professor presents several contradictory views of capital punishment, he asks the bright-eyed little students, “What do you think?” This is not teaching! This is corrupting youth by flattering the idiocy and pride of their hearts. This is conditioning them to think that their opinions are worth considering. This leads to hating anyone that criticizes or opposes them, especially a Bible preacher without a university degree!

Teenagers defy parents because their wicked hearts tell them they are right and their parents are wrong. Adulterers pursue other women because their profane hearts tell them they deserve it and no one will be hurt. The self-righteous leave a church because their hearts tell them their pastor had no right to criticize them like that. Pornography addicts justify another look based on their hearts excusing such an innocent thing.

Where does following your heart lead? To destruction, which is understood in this proverb by comparison to the parallel clause. Fools will be hurt and punished, for their decisions are based on the feelings, lusts, and arrogance of their own hearts. What felt so good in the beginning becomes painfully destructive in the end (Pr 14:12; 16:2,25; 21:2). But the wise man, who follows God’s wisdom rather than his heart’s lies, will be saved.

True wisdom is learning to mistrust your heart, reject its voice, and make all decisions on the basis of absolute and objective truth. Where is the source for such fabulous decision-making? In the inspired words of the living God recorded in the Bible. It is by learning God’s words and training yourself to make decisions based on them that you can be wise and saved from the deceitful impulses of your depraved heart (Ps 19:7; 119:130).

The purpose for ministers is to make war against your heart. They are to cast down all your imaginations and thoughts and bring them into captivity to the obedience of Jesus Christ (II Cor 10:4-6). You do not have a right to your thoughts; you have a responsibility to right thoughts! But most contemporary Christians are obsessed with their hearts and thoughts. They measure everything by how well it matches up with their hearts. Fools!

How wise are you, reader? Ready for a test? Whom do you have a grudge against? Is it right in the light of God’s word? If not, what will you do about it? If you are a Christian woman, do you always dress in modest apparel with discreet accessories and conservative makeup? If not, what will you do about it? The degree of your wisdom is the degree to which you can crush your heart to submit to the words of God in the Bible.

If you learn to walk wisely by the directions of God’s commandments, He will deliver you from all the pitfalls and obstacles that clobber and confuse your heart-following neighbors. If you will trust Him and not lean toward your own understanding, He will direct your paths in good ways. Your future happiness, prosperity, and success depend on your efforts to hate your vain thoughts and love the truth of His words (Ps 119:113,128).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:25  A greedy man stirs up dissension, but he who trust in the LORD will prosper.

Pride causes fighting, but faith brings prosperity. Here are two rules of wisdom – one saves you from conflicts and disagreements, and the other brings blessing and success. These are opposites: proud men do not trust the LORD, and those who have faith in the LORD are not proud. You cannot be both. Are you a proud man or a man of faith?

A man with a proud heart will always be in conflicts – with most everyone at different times. Pride will not let matters drop, for he must avenge himself. Until he feels he has got the last word or act in on a disagreement, he will continue to push, fight, and disagree. Pride will not overlook minor offences; pride will not admit error or ignorance.

Pride will not easily forgive those who seek it; pride will not easily say, “I am sorry”; pride does not want to be corrected, and it resents those who make an attempt to do it. Pride resents the advantages of others, and it seeks to grab whatever honor or position is at stake. Pride does not have sympathetic appreciation for the pain of others.

When a person has pride in his heart, he will not have peaceful relationships with others. A proud husband will not forgive his wife for her minor failures. A proud wife will not submit and obey the husband she chose to be her leader. Proud children will not honor and obey parents in rules that encroach on their freedom or pleasure. Proud employees resent difficult assignments; proud church members resent pastoral rebukes.

Humility can end any conflict by giving in and seeking peace. When a person is at peace with God and themselves, they can overlook the offences of others, they can forgive easily, and they can take correction. They know they are not important, so they do not continue fighting. Submitting and seeking peace is more important than winning the day.

There is another way to live than by pride. Wise men, godly men, put their trust in the LORD. They do not have to protect themselves – the LORD will protect them. They do not have to resent correction, oppose others, and fight to get ahead. The LORD rewards their faith by blessing them by His power. The humble man who trusts the LORD will always outstrip the proud man who puts his confidence in himself. Always!

Fat is good, when it means God’s blessings of peace and prosperity. And the man who believes God will take care of him, without any fighting on his part, will become fat. He will have the blessing and protection of the LORD on his side. He will enjoy peace and safety, while the LORD rewards him for laying down his pride and trusting Him alone.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law resist them. 

The best way to oppose the wicked philosophies and lifestyles of this generation is a righteous life. You can make a strong statement and powerful illustration for truth and wisdom by your actions. You need not even open your mouth to argue for godliness.

If you compromise God’s commandments in your life, you commend and endorse the wicked by agreeing with them against God. Instead of commending the wicked by folly yourself, exalt righteousness and condemn sinners by showing the virtues of godliness.

It is easy to criticize the profane opinions and conduct of a God-hating society. The folly of sinners is visible everywhere. But words are cheap, and words are also very hollow, if you compromise truth in your own life. Can you identify this partiality as hypocrisy?

Many sinners justify their disregard for God, religion, or righteousness by the hypocrisy of others. While this excuse will be rejected by Jesus Christ in the great Day of Judgment, nonetheless it points out the damage and danger of believers living carnal lives.

If wicked persons see compromise or inconsistency in your life, they will be strengthened in their folly and rebellion. They will be comforted that you are not much different from them, so they will continue on in their evil course without any check of conscience.

True Christians are a very small minority, so Jesus called them the salt of the earth and light of the world (Mat 5:13-16). If you compromise, you lose your saltiness and are good for nothing. If your light does not shine brightly, you contribute to the world’s darkness.

Sin is sin. Breaking one command is to be guilty of all (Jas 2:10). If you ridicule sodomy, but fantasize about adultery or defraud your spouse of frequent sex, you are as wicked as the sodomite, and you are a hypocrite (Jas 2:11-13). God will judge such hypocrisy.

Keeping the law contends with the wicked – it fights and opposes them. But forsaking the law praises the wicked. If you cheat and compromise God’s holy standard of righteousness, you praise sinners by your choice to break God’s law just like they do.

Rather than picketing an abortion clinic, love and train your children by God’s Word. A loving family with godly and obedient children in public will say more against abortion than any discussion with the mindless murderers entering the baby-killing facility.

Upset about the high divorce rate in America? Then keep a perfect marriage. Divorce is just one aspect of a dysfunctional marriage; there are many more. Where are you compromising in your marriage? Have you examined it by the light of Holy Scripture?

Angry about the rebellious youth today? Make sure you drive the speed limit to respect civil authority, outwork your colleagues to respect business authority, submit to your husband to respect marital authority, and obey your pastor to respect religious authority.

Sick of hearing about evolution? Live like you know the Creator! Live like you were made for His glory, and He has the right to dictate the terms of your life. Glorify Him in all you do, and speak of Him as your Maker. You can condemn evolution this easy way.

Carnal Christianity is the norm today. It is loving pleasure more than God and having a form of godliness without any authority. Condemn these compromisers by loving God more than pleasure and exalting His authority in your life more than church services.

Christian reader, godly living in every part of your life beautifies the gospel (Tit 2:1,10; Phil 1:27) and protects it from the accusations of the wicked (I Tim 5:14; 6:1; I Pet 2:12). Your goal is to be a blameless and harmless son of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation and to be a light in the world for the glory of God (Phil 2:15; Matt 5:16).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:21 To show partiality is not good- yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread.

A virtuous man is always fair. He exercises righteous judgment and avoids corrupting justice or truth. But a foolish and wicked man will show partiality, when the compromise can benefit him. This weak character makes a man vulnerable to even small temptations.

Warnings against financial haste surround this proverb. Diligent labor works, but vain ideas of quick riches lead to poverty (Pr 28:19). A faithful man works diligently and is blessed; a greedy man cheats for riches and is judged (Pr 28:20). Greed for riches, rejecting diligent labor, leads men to evil ideas, which bring them to poverty (Pr 28:22).

The Bible warns repeatedly against respect of persons – corrupting judgment for family, friends, the rich, the poor, or those who can benefit you. True equity and righteous judgment never consider the persons involved, but look only to the facts and justice of the case. God condemns this form of hypocrisy and compromise in many places (Pr 18:5; Ex 23:2,8; Deut 1:17; 16:19; II Chr 19:7; Jas 2:1-10). See the comments on Proverbs 17:23.

Solomon declared elsewhere, “It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment” (Pr 24:23). And the LORD God declared through Moses, “Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honour the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbour” (Lev 19:15).

All men have special friends, even the Lord Jesus Christ, Who loved and favored John (John 13:23). Preferences do exist among men, which we can even read about in the best of men (Gen 37:3; I Sam 18:1; Phil 2:19-23). But any such affection or bias cannot ever enter into their judgment of the merits of a case. They must see truth and justice only.

A man at first might require a considerable bribe to cheat justice and compromise his ruling, for his inhibitions against corruption keep him from considering a lesser price. But once he has seared his conscience, it is much easier the next time. Soon he is reduced to violating truth for the mere proverbial piece of bread – hardly anything at all. He has set a terrible personal precedent and brought his evil heart into motion. He is likely ruined.

Reader, consider your own partiality. Do you mistrust a teacher criticizing your child due to your sentimental affection for the child? Are you more gracious and serving to successful church members than to others? Are you more merciful overlooking the faults of friends than enemies? Do you apply company policy equally to friend and foe in the workplace? Are you perfectly consistent in your treatment of each of your children?

Jesus Christ’s ministers are gravely warned against preference and partiality in the decisions and judgment of the church (I Tim 5:21). For it is a mark of the profane reprobate that admires and promotes the more advantaged in the church (Jude 1:16). Thus they must be men that are not given to filthy lucre. Let every man of God take heed!

Respect of persons cannot be mingled with the religion of Jesus Christ (Jas 2:1), for it is totally incompatible with the perfect integrity of Jesus Christ and His true saints. Even the enemies of Jesus Christ knew He was impeccably virtuous in this matter (Matt 22:16). Respect of persons is also a practical shame, for those kinds of men that are a temptation for Christians to favor are often the enemies of the gospel (Jas 2:2-10).

This proverb teaches you the great importance of justice, truth, and righteousness. A godly man will settle his heart and make up his mind that he will always say and do what is right, no matter the consequences or influences of his family, friends, or colleagues. This principle of godliness should be instilled in children very young and then enforced.

This proverb also teaches the danger of precedent, deceitfulness of sin, and damage to conscience. Once you compromise your convictions, it is easier to do so again. When you have done it several times, you will have a crowd of evil men expecting even more from you for less reward. You will be trapped by your sin and reduced to a helpless puppet.

What is the cure? Isaiah gave it: “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread” (Is 8:13). Exalt God and His love of righteousness as high as you should, and fear doing anything to ever offend Him. Do not fear them that might kill the body; have no desire for ungodly gain of any kind (Luke 12:4-5; Ex 18:21-22). Put your trust in the LORD, and you will be both safe and fed (Pr 29:25; Ps 37:3).