8 A person is praised according to their prudence,
and one with a warped mind is despised.
9 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.
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.
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[a] 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.
Marcus, my friend, has a point. Proverbs look like a series of disconnected wise sayings from an explosion in a Chinese fortune cookie factory. If we look at them individually, and forget Proverbs 1:7 (The theme of Proverbs), we see a string of impossible to remember randomness. However, we do see terms that come up again and again: Righteous, wicked, lazy, diligent, fool, and wise. These create the big picture. We can measure ourselves by how much we fall into one category or the other. The solution as we see that we are still in need of correction is not just to roll up our sleeves and try harder. Our solution is to look harder for God. It is in finding more of God that we become the wise, righteous, diligent person that we long to be. The wise person is blessed when they weep tears at the absence of righteousness (Mtt. 5).
- What various characteristics do the wise have in this passage?
- How is true wisdom obtained?
- Do you have the time to sit still and know God?
- Why do people want to rush through lives without biblical wisdom?
- Pray that God will refresh your thirst for him.