Humans perceive through their senses. But without good judgment constantly weighing how we feel to what’s morally right…we can easily go astray. When we allow our feelings to overrule our understanding…we jump from one thing to another with no forethought – no discipline – simply doing what feels good at the moment. But by having wisdom always in view, we will consider things through eyes of Godly insight and sensibility…not by fickle, momentary feelings.
Accepting or rejecting counsel depends on our mind-set. If we respect and trust the person, we listen…for we know the wise words coming from them may sting, but they are sincerely wanting to only mold us into a better person. But what if that rebuke comes from someone we barely know, will we be as eager to listen? This is why it’s so important to build bridges of trust with someone before you attempt to correct or chasten them. When we know that person has only our best interests at heart…we’ll be more prone to listen and change.
We see a need…the Holy Spirit nudges us to give, whether that be our money, time, or talents…but we resist, make excuses, or just plain say, “No way!” The very greatest thing we can learn from this Proverb is to not repress a generous impulse. For when we silence that compulsion to be unselfish…we are denying others and ourselves a blessing. We are stopping God from using us to further His Kingdom work…and we are depriving ourselves of His favor. So don’t suppress a generous impulse when it happens…for the Lord is depending on you to fill that specific need.
You don’t hear the word “sluggard” used very much today. It’s definition is an habitually lazy person. The sluggard in this verse, refuses to work, but wants everything he desires to be just handed to him. I see many Christians that are sluggards in the Lord. They long for a closer walk with God…but they want someone else to do all the heavy lifting for them. They want someone else to hand feed them choice bits from God, because they’re too lazy to open the Bible up for themselves. Or they’d rather listen to a pod-cast on their phones than get their back-sides up off the couch and actually go to Church. Laziness in the Lord will get you nothing. But diligence in the Lord will strengthen you from the inside out. For when you are motivated to know God better…He will meet you more than halfway.
I love how Webster’s Dictionary defines nagging…to find fault incessantly, to complain or constantly scold. That’s what this Proverb is addressing…a contentious wife who is always finding fault, clashing verbally over often petty matters, and demanding the last word. No wonder her husband is out in the garage or in his man cave hiding out. No one wants to live in that kind of environment. And elsewhere in Proverbs, we find this interesting idea that coincides, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
You don’t hear the word “folly” used much now a days…to the point I had to look it up for the correct definition. According to Webster, folly means a lack of good sense, a foolish act or a stupid idea. So we may not call it folly today, but yet we can see a lot of it across social media! People taking chances and performing dangerous acts on a dare, or acting the fool in front of a camera without thinking first how it might impact their life tomorrow. Proverbs 13:16 tells us that, “a fool exposes his folly.” So think about it – anytime you act on a foolish idea before you first think about the consequences…you risk revealing just how stupid you look to others.
In this commercialized world where we are constantly bombarded by advertising telling us to “Buy! Buy! Buy!” … this verse stands in stark contrast. In fact, elsewhere in Proverbs, the author is even more emphatic when he writes , “Wisdom and understanding are more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold.” (Proverbs 3:13-14) So what he’s saying is that our choices have eternal consequences…that by choosing wisdom and understanding, they will yield better and lasting benefits…that material possessions are not what make us who we are…and by choosing wisdom and understanding over riches – the result will be a life marked by purpose, and peace…not things.
What goes around, comes around…or better yet, you look for trouble, and it’ll find you. Or elsewhere, in Psalm 7:16 to paraphrase, “The trouble you cause will return back to you…the violence you create will come down on your head.” But if we seek what is good and morally right, we will receive favor…favor before God…and favor before men. And as we seek good, not only are we changed, but what we seek changes…for we are aligning ourselves with the Holy Spirit and seeking God’s Will, not our own.
We all have things we’ve done that we’re not proud of. Lapses in our character where we actually thought we could hide willful sins…but God saw everything. And the longer we attempt to cover-up and rationalize sin, the harder it is to admit we’ve crossed the line. David in Psalm 32:5 told the Lord, “I acknowledge my sin to You, and do not cover up my iniquity.” The first part of David’s confession was Relent. We need to yield to God and admit we’ve messed up. The second part was Repent. There needs to be true remorse and shame for our sin. We’re sorry for what we’ve done, not just sorry we got caught. Finally, we need to Remove the sin from our life…by whatever means it takes. By keeping a short account with God, we won’t find ourselves outside His Will and far from His compassion.
I look at the unethical and immoral activity in the world today and I think to myself, “God, don’t You see this and aren’t You going to do something?” It’s then that He gently reminds me that, #1…God doesn’t see as we do. (Job 10:4) and #2…His eyes are on the ways of men, He sees their every step. (Job 34:21) The wicked of this world may think they’re getting away with their evilness…but God is still watching. And in the end, Hebrews 4:13 tells us, “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” There is coming a day of reckoning for all of us…the good as well as the bad…the righteous as well as the unrighteous.