Proverbs 19:13-16

In Proverbs 19:13-16 Solomon continues to describe the importance of character and how people choose to live.  He begins with some thoughts on the family – first with a foolish son.  It is grieving to any parent to have a foolish son or daughter. This may run from grief to ruin as the grief destroys the father’s health and life, or as the father ruins himself to rescue the foolish son. We must remember that as parents, we cannot take responsibility for the choices and decisions our kids make.  We can only support and encourage them. “A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.” Solomon continues to talk family and transitions from a man’s problems as a father to the potential problem as a husband. A wife who often contends (fights, argues) with her husband is like a continual dripping in at least three ways:

  • It is an always-present annoyance and trouble
  • It wastes and destroys, eroding good and valuable things
  • It points to some underlying, more basic problem

He balances his comments on family with words around the goodness parents can provide in the way of shelter and inheritance for their kids. There are many good things that kids may receive as an inheritance, including material things such as houses and riches. They are blessed to have such things. “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” But far beyond money and stuff, is a fantastic spouse to share life with. A gift beyond the inheritance one may receive from fathers is this gift from God—a prudent wife. A wife of wisdom, self-control, and appropriate living is a greater gift than money or property. A wife who is not prudent may waste whatever wealth a man has. Every man with a prudent, wise wife should give thanks to the Lord. Certainly I’m in that camp of grateful husbands.

Next Solomon addresses those who are not hard workers. There are many problems with laziness, and one of them is that it leads to more laziness, sending the lazy man into a deep sleep. There is no work to be done from a deep sleep. The outcome of a slothful life is not desired. “Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.” There is a great price to be paid for laziness, one of those prices is the hunger one suffers as their needs are not met through hard work. The lazy man puts themselves in a trap of sleep and hunger. There must be balance though.  It is equally problematic to be a work-a-holic who spends all their time working and no time on God, family or self.

How then shall we live?  It’s really not rocket science.  Scripture is clear, and Solomon says it straight and clearly – we need to do things God’s way. Obedience to the Word in obedience to the commandments of God is of real, practical benefit. Obedience guards and keeps the life and the soul well of the wise man who lives according to God’s word. “Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die.” There is an alternate choice – disobedience. If we choose that, we die. To abandon wisdom and live carelessly in our ways is to invite death. God gave His commandment to give us life and to keep us from death. We have to choose to walk in obedience though.

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