22 A good name is more desirable than great riches;
to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.
It is amazing and a bit scary how quickly you can lose a good name. Even a lifetime of achievement and good works can be ruined with a careless decision.
2 Rich and poor have this in common:
The Lord is the Maker of them all.
3 A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge,
but the simple keep going and suffer for it.
I am writing this just a few days after Hurricane Ike hit Texas, so this was timely!
4 Humility and the fear of the Lord
bring wealth and honor and life.
5 In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares,
but he who guards his soul stays far from them.
In the New Testament Paul says that “bad company corrupts good character.” I didn’t believe this as a kid but looking back I see how true it is. But it can impact adults as well. We need to take the message of the Gospel out into the world, but our core should be a solid group of authentic Christians who hold us accountable.
6 Train a child in the way he should go,
and when he is old he will not turn from it.
That is a famous verse about parenting. It typically seems to be interpreted as “teach your kids the right things, then they’ll go off and be wild, then they’ll return to God.” I also heard an interesting interpretation that it was about looking at your child as an individual, with the emphasis on the “he” (i.e., Train a child in the way he should go . . .”
Regardless, it is clear that teaching God’s way is always the best way.
7 The rich rule over the poor,
and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Excessive debt has destroyed so many marriages and lives. I highly encourage people to use ministries like Crown Financial or Dave Ramsey to learn good money management practices and get out of debt. You can’t serve the Lord to your full potential if you are always stressed about debt and wasting money on interest payments.
8 He who sows wickedness reaps trouble,
and the rod of his fury will be destroyed.
9 A generous man will himself be blessed,
for he shares his food with the poor.
10 Drive out the mocker, and out goes strife;
quarrels and insults are ended.
11 He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious
will have the king for his friend.
12 The eyes of the Lord keep watch over knowledge,
but he frustrates the words of the unfaithful.
13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!”
or, “I will be murdered in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit;
he who is under the Lord’s wrath will fall into it.
That is an interesting verse – it seems to say that the encounter with the adulteress is a punishment.
15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.
Children are not born good. They are cute, but selfish, prideful, covetous, etc. They need to have bad habits driven from them.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth
and he who gives gifts to the rich—both come to poverty.
Sayings of the Wise
17 Pay attention and listen to the sayings of the wise;
apply your heart to what I teach,
18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart
and have all of them ready on your lips.
19 So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I teach you today, even you.
20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you,
sayings of counsel and knowledge,
21 teaching you true and reliable words,
so that you can give sound answers
to him who sent you?
22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
and will plunder those who plunder them.
24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man,
do not associate with one easily angered,
25 or you may learn his ways
and get yourself ensnared.
26 Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge
or puts up security for debts;
27 if you lack the means to pay,
your very bed will be snatched from under you.
This is simple: Don’t co-sign loans for someone else unless you plan to pay the debt. If the professional lenders think the person is a bad credit risk, who are you to disagree with them?
28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone
set up by your forefathers.
29 Do you see a man skilled in his work?
He will serve before kings;
he will not serve before obscure men.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.