Posts Tagged ‘transportation’

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 22:26 Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts

Do you live risk-free as possible? God expects you to manage risk carefully. He did not give you what you have to lose it by slothfulness, foolish optimism, naïve dealings, or poor risk management. Part of wisdom is to perceive risks and avoid unnecessary losses.

God expects you to be prudent – to look ahead cautiously, see potential trouble, and protect yourself (Pr 22:3; 27:12). If you presume God will protect you in spite of foolishness or sloth, you sin by tempting Him (Matt 4:5-7). He expects you to use means to reduce risk, while you trust Him to bless the use of the means (Pr 21:31; Ps 127:1-2).

Risk management is an important part of financial prudence and success. In an uncertain world, where you do not know what will happen tomorrow, where many do not repay their loans, where political winds change frequently, where criminals devise new ways to defraud honest people, where the Internet exposes you to every financial fraud and hoax, you must pessimistically assess your risks and protect yourself from unnecessary losses.

King Solomon warned his son against foolish financial risks. It was a common temptation, especially for a wealthy prince, to guarantee others’ debts. The desire to help those in need, whether from charity or pride, could be hazardous to his wealth. The wise king saw the danger of his son over-committing his capital and often warned against it for the economic prosperity of his son and you (Pr 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18; 20:16; 27:13).

Striking hands – shaking hands in our world – used to seal a deal (Pr 6:1; 17:18; Job 17:3; Ps 144:8,11). This simple gesture of commitment could have severe consequences. Done hastily without due regard, a man could create enough contingent liabilities and be obligated to pay off enough debts of others to wipe himself out financially (Pr 22:27). Small risks are one thing, but risking your home and furniture is unacceptable!

Neighborly or brotherly kindness to help a poor man in need or a successful man with a sound investment are two possible uses of co-signing, if the amount of the liability could be easily paid. But the over-confident assuming of debt to impress others is vainglorious folly and a recipe for disaster. Give the poor what he needs instead of assuming a liability that may be forgotten. Tell the businessman to find his investment funding elsewhere; if the deal is as good as he claims, there will be plenty of funds available for it.

Are you prudent with the income and assets God has given you? A symptom of this foolish generation is the many personal and corporate bankruptcies. Nations are also near insolvency. Wise men minimize debt, shun needless risk, avoid co-signing loans, maintain savings, invest cautiously, purchase insurance, and work diligently in a secure trade and industry. They do not get in a situation to lose everything by bankruptcy and transfer their folly to others. They take responsibility to protect themselves and others.

Consider the ways Americans strike hands and take on foolish financial risk. They will reach for the plastic with the slightest temptation or urge. They flash credit cards for frivolous and discretionary spending, and then the bill arrives with a 21% interest rate attached. Many never get out of this black hole. They stay afloat temporarily by making only the bank’s minimum payment and/or using other cards to fund their living. But disaster is just ahead. The cost of high living will drown them. Solomon warned you!

Governments today encourage citizens to over-spend and take on financial risk, so do not listen. Modern governments with central banks have little fiscal restraint, because they want to buy the votes of their constituency, solve every problem, satisfy every lobbyist, and secure the friendship of other nations’ leaders doing the same things. While they can manipulate an economy to save their jobs, you cannot do the same, so protect yours.

They write checks, approve budget deficits, and make promises with little knowledge or regard for the total cost, for they believe they can create or raise money by fiat or printing press to pay their bills. (Or they hope they can survive until retirement when the next administration will be stuck with the bill.) Governments will generally keep spending until the whole house of cards (their financial system) collapses one way or another.

When the boom-and-bust economic cycles show up in a recession or depression, they blame consumers for not spending enough. Though a nation may have a negative savings rate for its overall populace, the government will call for even greater spending by its citizens in an attempt to resurrect the former days of prosperity – but the fear of losing jobs and other results of a recession force even spendthrifts to slow their consumption.

Modern advertising, marketing, and purchasing convenience also encourage persons to spend beyond their means. A constant barrage of seductive displays and implied needs overwhelm the financial caution of many or most. With new credit cards arriving regularly in the mail, it is easy to join the spending generation on the way to the poor house. The government should require warning notices on credit cards, not cigarettes!

Prudent men do not put their eggs in one basket, no matter how attractive a deal appears. They diversify their investments and sources of income. They do not enter business deals under-capitalized, for they know that is a sure invitation for trouble. And they do not over-extend themselves by building too big, buying too much, or living too high.

They emphasize the negative side of any expected return. If they calculate a 50% probability of gaining 25%, a 30% probability of breaking even, and a 20% probability of losing everything, they flush the idea without remorse. They do not spend their waking hours adding up their new wealth from possible success. They understand that even a modest probability of a large or total loss is too much for a prudent man to consider.

They are properly fearful and skeptical of any naked position where an investment is exposed to significant loss. They do not scoff at the idea of hedging or protecting their investment with an appropriate offset. If an investment idea is truly valid, then it will make a good return even hedged. But the crowd mentality and greed of most investors cause them to bull ahead in wishful thinking for raking in huge profits and returns.

Insurance does not indicate a lack of trust in God. It indicates a fear of God! A man who properly fears God will use whatever means he has to protect what God has given him, for he will give an account of it in the Day of Judgment. God and Solomon classified the man who wastes his assets right beside and related to the lazy and slothful man who has none (Pr 18:9). Insurance is a cheap source of protection to easily fulfill this proverb.

Wise men know that riches are not forever, so they are diligent to assess every aspect of their incomes and the security of their assets (Pr 27:23-27). They understand that naivety or optimism is not a result of faith, but of folly! They know that working hard every day without looking to the future is ignorant and dangerous. They periodically assess their resumes, their company, their industry, their nation, and any other significant factors.

A wise man always asks, “What if?” His question is not, what if this venture is wildly successful, how will I spend my millions? His question is rather, if this venture goes bust, can I still support my family and fulfill my obligations? Solomon warned against any financial choice that creates unnecessary or dangerous risk. You have been warned!

There is a much greater risk you face – being cast into the lake of fire by an angry God in the Day of Judgment (Rev 20:11-15). What precautions have you taken against that risk? Instead of merely losing your job and house, eternal torment with the devil and his angels is beyond comprehension. Wisdom in this crucial matter demands you run to Jesus Christ and beg for mercy (Luke 6:46-49; 16:1-6; Rom 10:9-13; I Tim 6:17-19; II Pet 1:5-11).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 30:25 Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.

Ants are wise. You think they are one of the weakest creatures, but they have wisdom that many men do not have. They save part of all income to use later in life. They work hard when the getting is good, and with an eye to the future, they save for harder times.

Solomon also used the ant to illustrate economic wisdom, when he exhorted his son to consider their diligence, their initiative without supervision, and their foresight to prepare and save for the future (Pr 6:6-8). Are you as wise as the ant, or can you learn a lesson from them? Do you have a regular savings program? Do you leave it untouched to grow?

Though ants are very weak – you may crush hundreds of them with a single foot – they use wisdom to preserve and protect themselves. In fact, they prosper by their wisdom. In the summer, they work diligently to accumulate as much food as possible, which they eat during the fall and spring, when underground. They generally hibernate in the winter.

Wise men do not spend all income; only fools spend it all (Pr 21:20). Saving some of your income is not an option or suggestion – it is God’s commandment. You are to learn from the ants (Pr 6:6-8; 30:25); savings protects you from unforeseen danger in the future (Pr 27:12). Not saving some of your income is sinful presumption (Pr 12:27; 27:24).

Savings must be a priority in life, not an option for money left over after expenses. If a commitment to savings is not made before spending occurs, it will not be done. Paying bills is paying others; saving money is paying yourself. Godly economics is simple: pay God first (tithes and offerings), pay yourself second (consistent savings), and live on the rest. There is no need for fancy budgets or financial models – live on whatever is left.

What you save is what you pay yourself. What you spend is what you pay others. How much do you have for all the years of sweat, toil, difficulty, and frustration of working? You have nothing left from all those years, except your savings account and net assets. Is paying yourself – saving some of your income – starting to make sense? Thank you, ants!

Saving less than 10% of gross income is playing games. Wise men will save at least 10%. The change in lifestyle to save 10% is insignificant, if prudence is practiced elsewhere. Many employers today will match your savings in a 401(k) plan. A simple savings program is easy. You pay God first (10%+), yourself second (10%+), and live on the rest. By living on 80% of your income, you will appreciate things more (Pr 27:7). Try it!

Savings creates another benefit – capital! See the important comments on Proverbs 14:4. Every man will have a few opportunities in his life – called time and chance in the Bible – to make big money (Ec 9:11). But you must have capital – savings – to take advantage of these opportunities. Some call this investment capital seed corn, for it is the seed that is planted for a future harvest. The ant’s wisdom has taught you savings and investment.

You never touch savings. It is for the future – dire emergencies and opportunities. If the ants took vacations and ate their food stores, they would die in the fall and spring, when they need those food stores. If you need extra cash for unusual expenses during the year, it comes from cash management and other reserve funds; it does not come from savings. Your saved capital is not to be touched; your seed corn is not to be eaten!

If you invest your capital conservatively and wisely, it will grow during all the hours of the day and night. If you buy bonds, you are earning interest every second of every day and night (Matt 25:26-27). If you buy stocks, you have many people in many companies around the earth working for you every day and night. You are leveraging your limited ability and effort by the multiplied abilities and efforts of many others. Thank you, ants!

Financial success requires diligence, discipline, sacrifice, consistency, and time. The ants do all five well (Pr 6:6-8; 30:25). Diligence is working hard to maximize your income. Discipline is paying the Lord first and yourself second, before spending even a dime. Sacrifice is doing without a few toys and luxuries you want. Consistency is doing it without interruption during your productive years. Time is what allows savings to grow.

If your estate is small and your savings negligible, reader, it is because you have ignored the ants and Solomon’s wisdom. Have you never heard that you ought to save at least 10% of your income for the future – for emergencies and opportunities? Have you never heard? Or are you more foolish than the ants, which save without a ruler or guide?

Preparing for your eternal future is far better than preparing for your financial future. Here is wisdom in its brightest and purest form. As the unjust steward protected himself from unemployment, Jesus exhorted His children to protect themselves from that great accounting to take place in the last day (Luke 16:1-16). Have you looked to the future and laid up a good foundation against the time to come (I Tim 6:17-19)? The Lord Jesus Christ will come soon, and you will face an emergency like no other. Save up for it!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes.

Great women are ingenious and industrious. They are intelligent and diligent. They see business opportunities and leverage them for the benefit of the family estate. They fulfill domestic duties to husband and children first, but they have a mind and drive to do more.

A virtuous woman – the great woman every wise man should marry – is an enterprising woman. She is not content with merely being a limited housewife. She knows she is capable of more, so she does more. The example here is a manufacturing and wholesale business in fine linen and girdles. This woman has an entrepreneurial and ambitious spirit that seeks profitable projects to support her husband and build the family income.

Leisure women, who like the easy life of a limited housewife and resent this proverb, need to remember that a mother gave the advice. This chapter of Proverbs has the words of King Lemuel, but they are the prophecy his mother taught him (Pr 31:1-2). This great mother gave her son godly wisdom on how to be a great king (Pr 31:3-9) and how to find a virtuous woman for marriage (Pr 31:10-31). Wise men and women will love the advice.

In all fairness, the virtuous woman did have servants (Pr 31:15). However, managing servants has its own burdens. But she did not have refrigerators, telephones, email, easy transportation, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, clothes washers and dryers, dishwashers, cheap capital, and a thousand other labor-saving devices, inventions, and sources of information. She was exceptionally diligent, disciplined, focused, and productive.

It is an error of Bible interpretation to believe a woman must be home all the time doing only domestic duties. Some require this even when children are in school, old enough to care for themselves, or married and gone! The “keepers at home” of Titus 2:5 condemns idleness, busybodies, and gossip, which a comparison with I Timothy 5:13-14 shows. It warns against the actions of a strange woman, who wanders wantonly in a city (Pr 7:11).

The Bible error, possibly the Victorian era, and other factors have caused some Christian women to be decorative, pampered, and unproductive objects at home. God never intended this! These women struggle to put boxes of cereal out for breakfast, run a couple loads of laundry through machines, and extort pizza out of their husbands for supper. What do they do all day? Little! The virtuous woman could do their day in an hour!

The virtuous woman is preeminently a diligent woman – extremely hard working for her husband and children. Fearing the Lord (Pr 31:30), this holy woman applies herself physically and mentally from early to late each day. She has no time for chatting on the phone, long emails, window-shopping, tea parties, Bible studies with televangelists, sitting for hours at soccer practice, playing tennis, checking prices at ten stores, sewing clothes that could be purchased, reading for pleasure, art lessons, or other wastes of time.

A woman with small children and no servants has little time for business, but that is true only for a few years of a woman’s life. If she is a good mother and trainer, even children of 7-10 can do many domestic duties. The heart of a great woman is motivated to do more as soon as possible. She does not pace herself, protect a leisure lifestyle, or become a soccer mom. She wants to outwork her husband and contribute financially, so she does!

The virtuous woman is creative, diligent, energetic, focused, intense, and most of all, productive. She gets a lot done every day! She does not lose or waste time. Her family is well cared for, but she does not stop there. She looks to the future and builds the estate. Men married to such women should give them part of their earnings, so they can plow it into greater earnings (Pr 31:16,31). Her husband is famous because of her (Pr 31:23,28).

Christian woman, here is the standard; here is the ideal – the virtuous woman. The lesson is simple: she takes on financial projects to add earnings to the family, whether it is a paid job or a small business. She is not content with the leisurely life of a housewife in an age of many conveniences. She finds opportunities to add income for the family, and she does not sacrifice the family pursuing them. She is the perfect woman. Study her! Copy her!

Christian wife, if your husband and children are well cared for, and you work a full-time job, you are already doing a great deal. There is little to no time for much else. You are to be commended for balancing such large responsibilities in two opposing directions. May God comfort you that you may have already met the standard of this proverb, and may He teach you the principle of mercy toward yourself (Matt 12:7; Pr 11:17).

Christian wife, if you are at home with young children, and resources and time will not allow much outside work, focus on what God does expect. Make sure you are the best companion and lover for your husband, keep an exceptional home, and diligently train godly character into your children, so they can help in the house and soon be great in their lives and endeavors. Be wise as things change to not miss an opportunity for more.

Christian man, here is the standard; here is the ideal – the virtuous woman. There are two inspired criteria that a king’s mother taught: a woman that will be a great wife fears the Lord (Pr 31:30), and she is exceptionally ambitious and diligent, well beyond domestic duties. Require these two traits, and you will have a jewel with value far above rubies (Pr 31:10). If men expected women like this, many marriages would be different and better.

Under Gods Command
Proverbs 20:01 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise

How does wine mock? How does strong drink rage? How do they deceive men? Solomon used powerful figures of speech to warn against excessive drinking and drunkenness.

Wine is good. God made it to cheer man (Ps 104:14-15; Jdgs 9:13; Zec 9:17). A simple, quick test of a person’s knowledge of God and the Bible is his opinion of wine. Cheers!

But to avoid being a deceived fool, you must reject ever drinking too much. Just as eating too much is the sin of gluttony, drinking too much is the sin of drunkenness (Pr 23:21).

To be wise, you must be careful with anything that can shame you or enflame passions. If you arrogantly presume you can handle alcohol without discipline or limits, you are a fool. Kings, prophets, and preachers are extra careful (Pr 31:4-5; Is 28:7-8; I Tim 5:23).

Does this proverb condemn moderate use of wine or strong drink? God forbid! He made both for your pleasure (Deut 14:26; Pr 31:6-7; Eccl 9:7). The Bible’s beverage of choice is wine (Gen 14:18; II Sam 6:19; Ecc 10:19; John 2:1-11), but it was not to be used to the excess of drunkenness (Eph 5:18; Luke 21:34). Jesus often drank wine (Luke 7:33-35).

The proverb has two key metonyms. Metonymy is a figure of speech that substitutes one thing for another. It adds beauty and force to language. The Bible is full of metonymy and other figures of speech, so that superficial readings and primary definitions are often ludicrous, especially of proverbs (Pr 1:6). Fully grasp these common examples:

1. “Step on the gas” substitutes gas for the accelerator pedal. No one is expected to step in a puddle of gasoline. The meaning is only for the driver to speed up the car.
2. “He really used his head” substitutes the location of thinking for the brain. No one thinks he banged his skull. The intent is only that he intelligently solved a problem.
3. “The White House announced” substitutes the place where he lives for the President. No one believes his residence actually spoke, for it is a permanently inanimate object. The meaning is only that the President gave new information to the public.

Examine the first clause, “Wine is a mocker.” Wine is the fermented, alcoholic juice of the grape, and to mock someone is to ridicule or make a fool of him. Wine will stay in a bottle or glass very quietly. It does not do anything rude by itself. It can remain in a wine cellar for many years without ridiculing or shaming anyone. How is wine a mocker?

Wine is not a mocker itself. Wine is a metonym for drunkenness. The figure of speech substitutes a cause for the effect. The Bible says the tongue is a world of iniquity (Jas 3:6). How so? A tongue is only a muscle in your mouth. But the wrongful use of the tongue is sinful! Again, as in this category of metonymy, a cause is put for the effect.

Wine will mock you, if you drink too much of it (Pr 23:29-35). Excessive drinking can make you drunk, losing moral inhibitions, personal self-control, or even basic motor skills. Then you will make a fool of yourself. Though having the best of intentions for wisdom, you will make a joke of your own reputation. Consider what it did to Noah (Gen 9:21), Lot (Gen 19:31-36), Nabal (I Sam 25:36-38), and Elah (I Kgs 16:8-10).

God and Solomon want you to be great. Wine is a wonderful relaxer that cheers and gladdens, but too much can temporarily impair your abilities and potentially harm your reputation. You must set limits to drinking so that you always maintain noble control of yourself. Rules for wine are no different than rules for things like food, sex, sleep, etc.

Examine the second clause, “Strong drink is raging.” Strong drink is a beverage from the fermentation or distillation of various substances, and rage is an outburst of violent anger. Happily for grocers and restaurant owners, beer and whiskey will stay in bottles without fighting, even for years, even on the same shelf! How does strong drink rage?

Strong drink does not rage itself. Strong drink is a metonym for drunkenness. The figure of speech substitutes cause for effect. The Bible says the rod gives wisdom (Pr 29:15). How? A rod is a short stick of wood. It will not move from where you leave it; it knows nothing; it cannot teach. How does it give wisdom? Prudently used for corporal punishment will teach! Again, in this category of metonymy, a cause is put for the effect.

Strong drink can lead to rage, if you drink too much. Excessive drinking will make you drunk, and you may fight for no reason. The loss of inhibitions can cause you to lose your temper and ignore consequences of yelling or fighting. The tongue is loosened first, then the anger, and then the fists. Stories of barroom brawls are Legion. The proverb is true!

If you drink without sober fear for these dangers of alcohol, you are a fool. Drunkenness can creep up on you and relax you into its warm folly before you realize. No wise man will drink without definite limits and conscious care to avoid drunkenness. He is committed to prudent conduct, which does not allow for even small amounts of folly (Eccl 10:1), so he will not risk his reputation by even getting close to drunkenness.

Be wise! The solution is not the lie of the Temperance Movement – total abstinence and Amendment XVIII to the U.S. Constitution in 1920. Thankfully, that amendment was repealed in 1933 with the XXI, so Christians could again enjoy God’s gift. If prohibition is wise, then bread and milk should be despised and outlawed for their roles in gluttony!

Temperance is not abstinence; temperance is self-discipline, a key rule of the Christian’s life (I Cor 9:24-27; Phil 4:5). It is a shame to hear ignorant Christians haughtily condemn beer and wine, while glutting themselves to obesity at a cheap buffet! Solomon’s Proverbs will teach wisdom to those that will humble their hearts and minds to scripture.

A man committed to living a holy and virtuous life for the glory of God will be careful and fearful with wine and strong drink, just as he will with pizza and pies, and just as he will with sex, sleep, and speech. He does not want to sin in any area of life. And leaders are to exemplify this conservative regard for holiness, whom God has put under stricter rules for wine due to their need for wise judgment (Pr 31:4-5; I Tim 3:3,8; Tit 1:7).

Jesus was called a winebibber, or a drunkard, by his enemies (Luke 7:33-35), but He was never drunk. He often drank wine, and He even made much wine for a wedding, but He was always moderate and temperate in its use. He was the epitome of righteous sobriety. He always did those things that pleased His Father, and drunkenness does not please God (John 8:29; Gal 5:16-21). Remember, there are no drunkards in heaven (I Cor 6:9-10).

Rather than rely only on wine for its gladdening effect, He found His greatest joy and pleasure in walking with God through the Holy Spirit. Paul taught you to seek the same balance, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:18). What will such men do? Rather than the songs of the drunkard, they will have a melody in their hearts for singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (Eph 5:19)!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 18.11 – The wealth of the rich is their fortified city, they imagine it an unsalable wall. 

Riches ruin most men. Their pride grows with their money. They see no need for God or most men. They believe they are safe from trouble; they assume they are smart for their success. They are blinded to the fact God made them rich, they cannot avoid death He will soon send, and they will give their most detailed accounting to Him with hell to pay.

Rich men trust their money for safety. It is their strong city. They think they can buy their way out of trouble. It is the high wall around their city formed by their conceit. But their arrogance deceives them! They cannot postpone death; they cannot take a cent with them; and the holy and terrible Judge they will soon meet cannot be bribed by any payment!

The rich think themselves secure from all enemies, as if in a strong city; they imagine the city has a high wall to repulse even aggressive attackers. But both city and wall are the deceit of conceit! Cancer has no regard for money, nor does Father Time. Trouble will breach the wall; death will storm the city; and the final judgment will sweep it all to hell!

You will not fully appreciate this proverb, without reading the one before it. There you find, “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Pr 18:10). What a difference between the righteous and the rich! The righteous find safety in the LORD Jehovah, while the rich look to their assets and income for help.

Can the rich buy themselves safety? They can hire a crop duster to spray their property for mosquitoes! They can post bond for a prodigal son! They can buy politicians for laws to subsidize their businesses! They can pay the best doctors for a nearly perfect facelift! They might even be able to pay the ransom to get a young child back from kidnappers!

So the rich man lives with the arrogant confidence of a conqueror. He eats at the best restaurants, flies first class, and has a chauffeur. He does not worry about unemployment, braces for the children, his failing parents, paying the mortgage off, getting the kids through college, or anything else. He thinks he has it made – until he dies and wakes up naked in the blinding light of the Judge of all flesh, Who has no regard for rich men!

David wrote about these men and their insane thinking (Ps 49:6-14). They cannot buy off Death for any in their family, no matter how beloved. They presume Death will not strike them like others. They see great estates transferred or destroyed when rich men die, but they ignore the warnings and continue in arrogance. They name buildings and parks after themselves to promote their honor. They die like hyenas and rot in the grave, but their descendants or beneficiaries approve their lifestyle and the same arrogance. Fools!

Are you enticed by the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Hollywood and the devils behind it want to sell you that damning picture. Do the gated communities with massive mansions and manicured lawns cause you to envy the wicked? Do you resent your job or your modest home or even your life? Be wise and choose contentment, lest you also fall for their dysfunctional lives, divorces, drugs, drunkenness, and so forth.

Jesus described a haughty rich man, who had more abundance than he could store. He conceitedly boasted he would build bigger barns to hold it all, and he would then begin his luxurious retirement in total luxury for many years. But the Lord said to him, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20). His high wall fell down! His strong city was taken!

The rich are rich by God’s choice (I Chr 29:12; Ps 75:6-7; I Cor 4:7). They ought to be the most humble, for they should know and admit more quickly than others that it was all of God’s sovereign mercy and favor that they have anything. There is no such thing as a self-made man, and anything by inheritance is merely a function of birth. Anything a man has or is able to do is a gift from God, and He should give God all the glory and praise.

There is a terror they dread, and they cannot defer or postpone its visit to their bedroom. It will cause fear in every direction. It will root out and destroy all their confidence. It is the king of terrors – death itself (Job 18:11-14). What lies ahead for the foolish rich man, “He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world” (Job 18:18)?

No wonder Jesus said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved (Matt 19:24). He had just seen a fine young man turn away from following Him due to his money (Matt 19:21-22). Never desire something so dangerous! You cannot serve two masters, so choose God today and hate riches (Matt 6:24). Be thankful for what you have, and give any extra away to those in need (I Tim 6:17-19).

Wise reader, reject any confidence in riches that come your way (Ps 62:10; I Tim 6:17). Do not seek them, as they have damned many souls before you (I Tim 6:7-10). Remember that infinite wisdom says godliness with contentment is great gain (I Tim 6:6). Choose wise Agur’s prayer as your own, and be content with moderate means (Pr 30:8). Build instead your confidence in the LORD by good works (Pr 18:10; I Tim 6:19).

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 20:30 Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. 

Corporal punishment works. Pain is an efficient deterrent and effective instructor. Do you believe both rules in spite of what effeminate fools and social do-gooders say today?

Why are you careful with fire? By studying the laws and theories of fuels, heat, oxidation, combustion, and thermodynamics? By theorizing why fire hurts and destroys? Or because you felt the biting sting of fire when you were young! Ah, yes, fire hurts!

If you want to be wise, and Proverbs was written for that, then submit to God’s word. Let God be true, but every man a liar (Rom 3:4; Ps 119:128). God and Solomon had more wisdom about modifying behavior than any man, group of men, institution, or theory on earth! Freely given without charge, they wrote it down for your great profit and success.

Foolishness and wickedness are terrible human traits, causing much pain and suffering, including ruined lives and estates and death. How can these traits be reduced? Sin is more than a bad habit; it is the inborn reaction of deceived rebels (Jer 17:9). Most men must be beaten, bruised, and wounded before they will change or improve. This is the lesson.

Do you wisely wound those who need it? Do you receive wounding well when you need it? Do not resist the wisdom taught here. Severe and wise punishment is far less painful than unrestrained self-will or obstinate rebellion. A fool not corrected will cost himself and those around him far more than the light sting of a whipping. This is the application.

Parents drive foolishness from children with the rod (Pr 22:15; 23:13-14); God scourges foolishness from His children (Pr 3:11-12; Heb 12:5-11); friends correct one another by verbal blows (Pr 27:6; Ps 141:5); and Jesus was bruised and wounded for our iniquities (Gen 3:15; Is 53:5,10). Corporal punishment greatly reduces crimes. This is the result.

Until recent decades of perverse thinking and loud talking by social engineers, everyone knew corporal punishment worked. They used to say, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” In a wise society, magistrates beat criminals (Deut 25:2-3), and employers beat offending employees (Pr 29:19; Ex 21:20-21).

Solomon’s inspired wisdom is despised today. Social dreamers and arrogant educators teach that flattery and freedom work better than corporal punishment. Read Benjamin Spock’s, Baby and Child Care. They do all they can to outlaw parental spanking of children, just as they have outlawed flogging for maintaining order and discipline in schools, the military, and society. But look at the results! They have miserably failed!

What a beautiful proverb! Here you see the nature of proverbs as clearly as anywhere.  The words are chosen and arranged to create maximum beauty, force, and rhythm; but the sense is slightly hidden for you to discover and enjoy. Can you find a few metonyms?

This beautiful and wise proverb teaches God’s ordinance of corporal punishment. But today’s enlightened world prefers the darkness of the perverted speculations of educators. They will suction a million screaming babies into pieces in their mothers’ wombs, while protecting teenagers and criminals from ever being touched! These perverse persons are the devilish corrupters of nations, and the results of their policies are visible everywhere.

With only a few proper lessons from a rod, children will grow up into mature and wise adults (Pr 22:6,15). Feed them for 17 years without this tool, and you will have a child that brings you shame, ruins his life as well, and is a burden to those around him (Pr 23:13-14; 29:15). The self-restraint needed to prosper and succeed in life is brought by the rod and reproof. Correct children, and they will give you rest and delight (Pr 29:17).

Let parents remember the rule – the rod works. Let school principals and magistrates consider – the rod works. Let friends recall – sharp reproofs work. The wise use of corporal punishment will correct fools and sinners and reform the heart. This is not fanciful advice of the ignorant: these are inspired rules of the wisest man ever! Are you wise enough to grasp who is right? God and Solomon or Ben Spock and UNICEF?

Let every man gratefully and humbly receive wounds from God and man, for they are designed for his learning (Pr 3:11-12; 9:7-9; 27:5-6; Ps 141:5). Without them, there is no evidence that either God or men love you, and there is no hope for your improvement or perfection. You should look for a church where you are wounded weekly by preaching!

Some natural men limit this proverb to foolish medical advice. They say the blue color around a wound is evidence that infection is being purged from it! And they say that developed abdominal muscles (“a six-pack” of stripes on your belly) promote the health of your lower internal organs! What an ignorant travesty of interpretation! Forget it!

God hates sin but loved His elect, so He severely bruised and wounded the Lord Jesus by the Jews and Romans. During the hours leading to His death, He turned blue from many wounds, and many stripes covered His back. Why? Because He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace, and by His stripes we are healed (Is 53:5,10). His blue wounds and many stripes cleansed us from all evil!

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 28:13 – He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

It is human nature to hide our sins or overlook our mistakes. But it is hard to learn form a mistake you don’t acknowledge making. And what good is a mistake if it doesn’t teach you something? To learn from an error you need to admit it, confess it analyze it, and make adjustments so that it doesn’t happen again. Everybody makes mistakes, but only fools repeat them.

Under Gods Command
Jesus Appears to His Disciples

John 20:19-23 On the evening of the first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were over joyed when they saw the Lord. “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone his sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Jesus was giving the disciples their Spirit-powered and Spirit-guided mission-to preach the Good News about Jesus so people’s sins might be forgiven. The disciples did not have the power to forgive sins (only God can forgive sins), but Jesus gave them the privilege of telling new believers that their sins have been forgiven because they have accepted Jesus message. All believers have this same privilege. We can announce the forgiveness of sin with certainty when we ourselves find repentance and faith.

Under Gods Command

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.

Is revenge sweet? Your spirit and the world say that it is. But the Lord God of heaven declares it is sin. Who will you believe? Solomon warned his son against this sin (24:28-29). He told him not to even think or speak about repaying evil to anyone. Rather than take things into your own hands regarding your enemies, let the LORD take care of them.
When someone hurts you, the natural response is anger and thoughts of self-defense and revenge. You react immediately, instinctively, and violently. It is due to your depraved heart inherited from Adam. Paul described his own natural instincts this way: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3).

Mankind loves to fight and war. Rather than overlook offences, you want to repay! Rather than forgive wrongs, you can hold a grudge forever! Paul described your warlike character very graphically, “The poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known” (Rom 3:14-17).

Revenge comes from pride: a humble man does not worry about repaying evil. Revenge is blinding: it can easily lead to horrible crimes, including murder. Solomon’s proverbs are about wisdom, and the blinding rage of revenge perverts your ability to perceive, understand, and judge correctly. It destroys wisdom. And it leads to sinful actions.
The situations at stake are personal offences against you. Offences against God are to be dealt with as the Bible directs: rebellious children are to be punished; sinning church members are to be excluded; violent citizens are to be executed by the king; etc. Personal offences are to be overlooked, and personal enemies are to be loved (Matt 5:38-48). This is the law of Jesus Christ, and it is the highest form of charity and wisdom in the world.

Rather than returning evil for evil, a noble and wise man will return good for evil, thus avoiding the blinding danger of grudges and revenge, calming his enemies with kindness and patience, and glorifying God in a difficult matter (25:21-22) Lev 19:18, Rom 12:17-21. Here is wisdom! Learn it today!

You should not even think about revenge, not even in your heart, not even when evil befalls your enemies from other sources! God and Solomon condemned any joy when your enemy falls (24:17-18). Sinful thoughts against another are murder (Matt 5:21-22)!

Who are your enemies today? Are there any that you resent? Are you harboring a grudge or thoughts of revenge against any? Maybe your spouse? Maybe a colleague or boss at work? Maybe a neighbor? Maybe a church member? Confess your sin to God, and look for opportunities to befriend them! Treat them as you want them to treat you, not as they have treated you. This is true wisdom! This is true Christianity!

The best revenge is to leave enemies to God. He is most fair, His judgments most awful. Vengeance is His: He will repay. David left Saul to the Lord, though he could have killed him. What was the result? Saul fearfully consulted a witch, killed himself, was hung up for display by Philistines, was cremated, had his bones buried under a tree, and his family was cut off from the throne!

His sister and Korah wickedly confronted Moses. Rather than punishing these arrogant and profane rebels himself, he left the matter to the LORD. Miriam was sharply rebuked by the Lord, became white with leprosy, and was quarantined outside the camp (Num 12:1-15). What of Korah? He was swallowed alive by the earth (Num 16:1-40)!
Only the Lord can create and sustain a loving and peaceful spirit in a man, so that anger and revenge are only fleeting thoughts of folly. Faith in God is the cure, for He will always take care of His own. Believe it! If you are guilty of vengeful thoughts, confess your wickedness to God, cast yourself upon his mercy begging for strength, pray for your enemies, and seek opportunities to do good to them. This is wisdom and the will of God!