Proverbs 19:1-4

In Proverbs 19:1-4, Solomon begins this section by focusing on the importance of integrity.  God  cares about the heart of a man, not how much money he may have. Previous proverbs have been seemingly critical of the poor, but here Solomon recognized that not all poverty is caused by moral failure or weakness. There are definitely poor people who walk in integrity. “Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.” The Book of Proverbs is honest about the disadvantages of poverty. Yet it also recognizes that being poor is in no way the worst thing a person can be. It is far worse to be a fool who speaks twisted, perverse things.

One of the other things that isn’t good is when we are driven but don’t have knowledge.  When a person with desire has no wisdom (is without knowledge), it is never good. It may be very common, but it is not good. Action does not mean good if it is not driven by knowledge and wisdom. “Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.” Solomon listed a second thing that was also not good—the one who rushes toward sin (hastens with his feet). Speed when it is applied toward the wrong thing makes it worse. On this side of eternity we will struggle with sin, but we don’t have to run towards it. We should be people who battle against sin, not run towards it.

We are able to fully destroy things on our own.  We don’t need others to pull us toward ruin, we manage to find our way all by ourselves.  It is possible that hanging with the wrong people can cause us to move toward it more quickly or easily, but at the end of the day, it is our choices that cause us to sin.  It is our own poor choices (folly) that causes the wrong outcomes. “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.” God intended us to live in peace with Him, but because of rebellion (both inherited and chosen), we are in many ways at odds with the Lord. The foolish man has no peace with God; their heart actually turns against the Lord. They are angry and perhaps bitter against God for their own bad choices.

Scripture tells us that money is the root of all evil. In relation to friendship, that can also be true. When a person is wealthy, it draws many people to them in apparent friendship. Yet these friendships may not be sincere or meaningful. They are likely based on what the person with money might do for them, and if they don’t get their expectation met, they move quickly to someone else. “Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.” Unfortunately many of these ‘friendships’ are based on what someone can gain, not for what they can give. Money will never be the foundation of a strong lasting friendship.

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