Greetings! I always enjoy coming back to the Proverbs.
24 Do not envy wicked men,
do not desire their company;
2 for their hearts plot violence,
and their lips talk about making trouble.
How many times do we envy those who mock God? We shouldn’t envy anyone, let alone people who are unsaved.
3 By wisdom a house is built,
and through understanding it is established;
4 through knowledge its rooms are filled
with rare and beautiful treasures.
5 A wise man has great power,
and a man of knowledge increases strength;
6 for waging war you need guidance,
and for victory many advisers.
I have erred many times by not asking advice from others, probably because I didn’t want to hear what they had to say. But I would have been better off in the long run by listening to them.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the assembly at the gate he has nothing to say.
8 He who plots evil
will be known as a schemer.
9 The schemes of folly are sin,
and men detest a mocker.
10 If you falter in times of trouble,
how small is your strength!
11 Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?
13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;
honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.
14 Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul;
if you find it, there is a future hope for you,
and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Do not lie in wait like an outlaw against a righteous man’s house,
do not raid his dwelling place;
16 for though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again,
but the wicked are brought down by calamity.
17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove
and turn his wrath away from him.
19 Do not fret because of evil men
or be envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future hope,
and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.
If we keep an eternal perspective we won’t be as troubled by evil people today.
21 Fear the Lord and the king, my son,
and do not join with the rebellious,
22 for those two will send sudden destruction upon them,
and who knows what calamities they can bring?
Further Sayings of the Wise 23 These also are sayings of the wise:
To show partiality in judging is not good:
24 Whoever says to the guilty, “You are innocent”—
peoples will curse him and nations denounce him.
25 But it will go well with those who convict the guilty,
and rich blessing will come upon them.
Sometimes people just think of justice as the innocent being set free, but God also loves when justice is done to those who are guilty.
26 An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.
Sometimes we are tempted to tell friends what they want to hear instead of the truth, but the honest answers always work out best.
27 Finish your outdoor work
and get your fields ready;
after that, build your house.
28 Do not testify against your neighbor without cause,
or use your lips to deceive.
29 Do not say, “I’ll do to him as he has done to me;
I’ll pay that man back for what he did.”
30 I went past the field of the sluggard,
past the vineyard of the man who lacks judgment;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a bandit
and scarcity like an armed man.
Many people are poor through no fault of their own, but many more made bad decisions and are suffering the consequences.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.