17 Better a dry crust with peace and quiet
than a house full of feasting, with strife.
That speaks volumes about how important wisdom is in decision making. You can marry all sorts of people and be within God’s moral laws, but there are many ways to choose unwisely. Several Proverbs point to the folly of marrying just for beauty. If your spouse has an ugly character you will soon regret your decision.
2 A wise servant will rule over a disgraceful son,
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the Lord tests the heart.
That reminds me of Psalm 139:23-24 (Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.). We can fake it with family, friends and the world but God knows every thought.
4 A wicked man listens to evil lips;
a liar pays attention to a malicious tongue.
We should be very careful with what we listen to. It is so tempting to listen to gossip, but how many times have you found that the information was inaccurate and unnecessary?
5 He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.
That verse convicts me when I think of people I have looked down upon. It is so easy for me to forget who made them.
6 Children’s children are a crown to the aged,
and parents are the pride of their children.
Not in our culture! We live in a culture of death, where abortion is seen as a good option for many. Parents and grandparents pay perfect strangers to crush and dismember their unborn children and grandchildren. Mercifully, Jesus can provide forgiveness and healing for these people, but shame on us for letting this procedure be legal.
7 Arrogant lips are unsuited to a fool—
how much worse lying lips to a ruler!
8 A bribe is a charm to the one who gives it;
wherever he turns, he succeeds.
This isn’t encouraging bribes, just noting that they can be effective.
9 He who covers over an offense promotes love,
but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends.
10 A rebuke impresses a man of discernment
more than a hundred lashes a fool.
A key success factor in life is being coachable. I do better learning via reading and Podcast sermons and shows rather than via input from others, though personal advice can be invaluable.
11 An evil man is bent only on rebellion;
a merciless official will be sent against him.
12 Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs
than a fool in his folly.
That sounds like hyperbole, but consider that at least you know to run from the bear. Too often we can be influenced by fools, media, entertainment, etc. because we let our guard down and think it is safe.
13 If a man pays back evil for good,
evil will never leave his house.
14 Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam;
so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
15 Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent—
the Lord detests them both.
People often refer to God’s justice only in the sense of ensuring that the innocent are not punished. This is critical, to be sure, but God doesn’t want the guilty to be acquitted.
16 Of what use is money in the hand of a fool,
since he has no desire to get wisdom?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man lacking in judgment strikes hands in pledge
and puts up security for his neighbor.
If a loan expert thinks your friend or relative can’t pay back a loan, he/she is probably right! So why should you sign for the loan?
19 He who loves a quarrel loves sin;
he who builds a high gate invites destruction.
20 A man of perverse heart does not prosper;
he whose tongue is deceitful falls into trouble.
21 To have a fool for a son brings grief;
there is no joy for the father of a fool.
My daughters tend to make good and wise decisions, and I am continually grateful for that!
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the course of justice.
24 A discerning man keeps wisdom in view,
but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son brings grief to his father
and bitterness to the one who bore him.
26 It is not good to punish an innocent man,
or to flog officials for their integrity.
27 A man of knowledge uses words with restraint,
and a man of understanding is even-tempered.
28 Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent,
and discerning if he holds his tongue.
The Bible has so much to say about our words and their power for good or evil.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.