Archive for January 8th, 2019

Proverbs 14:21-24

In Proverbs 14:21-24 Solomon drives home the point on the prior verse, Solomon tells us not to despise those around us. It is sin! Men and women are made in the image of God, and therefore we are commanded to love our neighbor. To despise is to hate, so to despise your neighbor is to sin. “Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor”. Instead we are to love and support those in our patch. The generous heart is the happy heart. The link between the first and second lines of this proverb shows that whoever has mercy on the poor, he should never do it in a superior manner that would show they despise the poor they say they help.

Those who create evil and are wicked fall off the path. Doing evil is an obvious sin, but even the plotting and devising of evil leads us astray. God cares about our heart and mind as well as our outward actions. “Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness”. In contrast, those who plan for good find love and are faithful. The wicked will plot their evil, but wisdom leads us to devise good for others and ourselves. This will bring the blessings of mercy and truth into our lives. God loves to bless us when we align with His ways.  Creating good causes Him to respond.

One of the common themes in Proverbs is the impact of hard work. As a principle, hard work is always rewarded. Even if there is not an immediate profit from the work, there is reward from God and in the building and demonstration of character. “In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty”. Contrast that with only talking.  It doesn’t bring the same kind of outcome at all. If labor leads to profit, then anything that distracts from labor – such as idle chatter – will keep profits away, and lead to poverty. We can imagine a group of employees gathered together with idle chatter and entertaining conversation leading to no profit for their employer. That is a poor outcome for all.

Money again comes up as Solomon talks about the relationship it has to wisdom.  Since Solomon was definitely a wealthy man, he sees things clearly from that perspective. Solomon was smart enough to know that riches can come in several ways. He knew that one of the ways riches came was through wisdom and hard work. When this is the case, those riches are like a crown of the wise, both evidence and reward of their wisdom. “The crown of the wise is their wealth, but the folly of fools brings folly”. For those who reject wisdom, they only crown they get is more folly. Their foolishness is multiplied. It just continues to flourish and grow.

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