12 Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge,
but whoever hates correction is stupid.
2 Good people obtain favour from the Lord,
but he condemns those who devise wicked schemes.
3 No one can be established through wickedness,
but the righteous cannot be uprooted.
4 A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
5 The plans of the righteous are just,
but the advice of the wicked is deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood,
but the speech of the upright rescues them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more,
but the house of the righteous stands firm.
8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.
Owning my mistakes is important. Listening to others is important, trusting God’s discipline is important. Humility and correction is important. I have within me a “nobody is going to tell me what to do” incendiary gene. I actually like it. I don’t know why. I know it’s dangerous and I know it can send me into dark places.
God will protect us if we trust in him. I can accept that but I have a hard time taking forthright direction from others whilst living in a religious culture where that was praised and encouraged. I can respond very easily if I am led through a process of thinking. If I understand the why and trust the person that is leading the process is not doing it out of self interest then it’s easy to hear.
I don’t know if I equate what I can best describe as blind obedience as serving God. That seems to be something of the Pharisees that Jesus reserved his strongest words for. I know I want to live with authenticity.
These verses contrast the evil man and the righteous man. They show what is behind both of them and how God will deal with them.
I want to trust God. Men will do what men do. They will sin. It takes humility and faith to trust another sinner enough to allow them to direct your life. I will never be a doormat but I need to find the right place in this. I am resistant.
To invite others in who I don’t trust have my best interests at heart or don’t believe will understand my heartbeat.
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant
than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
10 The righteous care for the needs of their animals,
but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel.
11 Those who work their land will have abundant food,
but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
12 The wicked desire the stronghold of evildoers,
but the root of the righteous endures.
Verse 9 is about being authentic, real and honest. In the old order of things, I pretended to be somebody I was not. I said things and did things to fit in and be accepted, to be appreciated and to gain approval. Today is different. I am no longer somebody I am not. I am somebody I am.
Position, wealth or influence are alluring and the only time they are worth having is when you don’t care about whether you have them or not.
Verse 10 makes me think about the old adage of kicking the cat. Of course the person that kicks the cat or the dog or beats the donkey has no issue with the said animals. He is angry with himself. I know that my anger is expressed on inanimate objects. There is something about those acts of aggression being a result of what’s on the inside. Squeeze an orange …what comes out? Orange juice. Why does Orange juice come out? Because it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside. Does it matter if the person doing the squeezing loves or hates oranges? No, still Orange juice comes out because that’s what’s inside.
Squeeze or put pressure on a man. What comes out is what’s on the inside. Does it matter if it comes from a place of love or hate? Not really because what comes out is what’s on the inside. Pressure will always reveal what’s inside. It may mean kicking the cat, it may mean throwing a hammer at a fence, it may mean an outburst of rage, it may mean peace or calm. Our goal is love.
Verse 11 is about work ethic. Not my struggle. Sometimes I think my only real arsenal is my work ethic. It is a gift. I remember Tony (the producer of the early records that we made back in our rock and roll days) reportedly having a conversation with my mum (she used to manage his insurance as a broker). Once he realised she was my mum he began to tell her about how talented I am and his vision for what I could do. She apparently replied “I don’t know about that. He works hard. I will give him that”.
I may at times seem impressive. I have gifts that I can use, some that impress people. I can write, I am creative, a good speaker, articulate and expressive communicator, insightful, I am a strategic thinker, systematic and methodical, can create an engaging story and lots more but the point is I have been a tree without roots (Verse 12). It looks good above the surface for a while but it’s going die.
I am now a tree that grows properly from its roots. I have strength and nourishment because God is my root. The fruit is not just ornamental fruit that looks good but sustaining fruit.
13 Evildoers are trapped by their sinful talk,
and so the innocent escape trouble.
14 From the fruit of their lips people are filled with good things,
and the work of their hands brings them reward.
15 The way of fools seems right to them,
but the wise listen to advice.
16 Fools show their annoyance at once,
but the prudent overlook an insult.
17 An honest witness tells the truth,
but a false witness tells lies.
18 The words of the reckless pierce like swords,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips endure forever,
but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.
20 Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil,
but those who promote peace have joy.
21 No harm overtakes the righteous,
but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
22 The Lord detests lying lips,
but he delights in people who are trustworthy.
23 The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
but a fool’s heart blurts out folly.
These verses are largely about honesty and integrity. Some verses hit me as I think about my life.
Trapped by my own words
My way seeming right despite it obviously being wrong
Reckless words, blurring out folly!
Words are powerful.
Words can hurt, and words can heal.
They can cause untold damage.
After all my deceit, even my honest words are difficult to trust. It hurts but it is a necessary part of recovery and restoration. I have to remember that when I speak it is not my job to convince anyone. That is God’s work. When I remember that it is a game changer in communication. The only thing that carries any weight are my actions.
The truth does not change. If something is true now, then it will always be true. This is like wisdom (Proverbs 8:22-31).
Lies do change. Liars will frequently change their story to suit their hearers and the situation. ‘Many witnesses spoke lies against Jesus. However, their accounts were all different from each other.’ (Mark 14:56)
Verse 23 talks about it being prudent to be quiet. A wise man is still wise in his silence.
I have to remember that I have no one to convince, nothing to prove. I should just live and do what I need to do. I can allow people to think whatever they need to think. The pressure is off.
24 Diligent hands will rule,
but laziness ends in forced labor.
25 Anxiety weighs down the heart,
but a kind word cheers it up.
26 The righteous choose their friends carefully,
but the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy do not roast any game,
but the diligent feed on the riches of the hunt.
28 In the way of righteousness there is life;
along that path is immortality.
This small selection of wise sayings covers a lot of ground.
The virtues of diligence and having a good work ethic. Those who work hard get the rewards in life such as “roasted game”. I have always worked hard and perhaps at times when everything else about who I am is falling apart my sheer hard work has kept me going.
The value of empathy and being with someone who is feeling anxious. Looking out for others. I am not the most empathic person but I know I could be drawn into the story of a client in the addiction rehab that I used to run or someone who was hurting in the fellowship. I understand people who lose sight of God and lose heart with religion. I have been there. I understand people who are sad and disappointed by life. I know that pain. Those are the moments I can feel empathy. I find it hard to have any empathy for people who have everything together.
The importance of choosing the right friends. I read a quote this week from Jim Rohn “You are the average of the five people you hang around with the most”. I think that’s about right.
Walking with God brings eternal reward. No further comment needed.