Proverbs 15:13-16

In Proverbs 15:13-16 Solomon begins by reminding us that our heart impacts our outward expression of life. If someone has happiness and joy, it should be seen on their face. They should have a cheerful countenance. What do people see when they look at your face?  Cheerfulness, or sorrow? “A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed”. The heart has a huge impact on how we appear to those in our patch. Those who have deep sorrow in their heart will display their broken spirit. We can observe both the happy and the sad with understanding and sympathy for both the merry heart and those with sorrow in their heart.

Solomon continues talking about the impact of our heart this time in regards to how we pursue learning. The scoffer avoids wisdom’s correction but the one with understanding and wisdom in his heart will seek after more wisdom. The drive comes from deep within. “The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouths of fools feed on folly”. In this sense, the normal course of humanity is that the wise become wiser and the fools feed on more foolishness. If the desire to pursue wisdom and knowledge is not within us, we won’t do it whether we figure out the impact on our life or not.  We must nurture our heart.

Solomon paints a picture of two kinds of life we can choose to live.  One ends with affliction, the other a constant opportunity to feast. It’s the outcome of evil vs. good. “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast”. When a cheerful heart instead of an afflicted heart marks our attitude towards life, there is a sense of continual bounty and enjoyment. Our approach to life and living determines the outcome of our life.  Life doesn’t happen to us.  We happen to life. So it is important to understand that God has a plan to bless us more than we deserve IF we live a life of righteousness that is expressed as a cheerful heart.

Solomon compares the drastic life outcome difference between having a walk with God vs life alone. Especially in our materialistic and consumer age, we constantly want more, and we fear living with little. Yet life is better with little if lived with reverence and honor to God. “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it”. To have great treasure and great trouble is not a good life. Because the fear of the LORD spares us from much trouble, it is better to have that than great treasure.

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