Friday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Proverbs 11-13 (NKJV)
11:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is His delight.
2 When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom.
3 The integrity of the upright will guide them, but the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them.
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, but the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
6 The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the unfaithful will be caught by their lust.
7 When a wicked man dies, his expectation will perish, and the hope of the unjust perishes.
8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead.
9 The hypocrite with his mouth destroys his neighbor, but through knowledge the righteous will be delivered.
10 When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices; And when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.
11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted, but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.
12 He who is devoid of wisdom despises his neighbor, but a man of understanding holds his peace.
13 A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.
14 Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.
15 He who is surety for a stranger will suffer, but one who hates being surety is secure.
16 A gracious woman retains honor, but ruthless men retain riches.
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
18 The wicked man does deceptive work, but he who sows righteousness will have a sure reward.
19 As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.
20 Those who are of a perverse heart are an abomination to the LORD, but the blameless in their ways are His delight.
21 Though they join forces, the wicked will not go unpunished; But the posterity of the righteous will be delivered.
22 As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout, so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
23 The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.
24 There is one who scatters, yet increases more; And there is one who withholds more than is right, but it leads to poverty.
25 The generous soul will be made rich, and he who waters will also be watered himself.
26 The people will curse him who withholds grain, but blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.
27 He who earnestly seeks good finds favor, but trouble will come to him who seeks evil.
28 He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage.
29 He who troubles his own house will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart.
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.
31 If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner.
12:1 Whoever loves instruction loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid.
2 A good man obtains favor from the LORD, but a man of wicked intentions He will condemn.
3 A man is not established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous cannot be moved.
4 An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who causes shame is like rottenness in his bones.
5 The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.
6 The words of the wicked are, “Lie in wait for blood,” but the mouth of the upright will deliver them.
7 The wicked are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous will stand.
8 A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.
9 Better is the one who is slighted but has a servant, than he who honors himself but lacks bread.
10 A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.
11 He who tills his land will be satisfied with bread, but he who follows frivolity is devoid of understanding.
12 The wicked covet the catch of evil men, but the root of the righteous yields fruit.
13 The wicked is ensnared by the transgression of his lips, but the righteous will come through trouble.
14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, and the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him.
15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise.
16 A fool’s wrath is known at once, but a prudent man covers shame.
17 He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit.
18 There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health.
19 The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.
21 No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, but the wicked shall be filled with evil.
22 Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.
23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, but the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.
24 The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
25 Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.
27 The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.
28 In the way of righteousness is life, and in its pathway there is no death.
13:1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2 A man shall eat well by the fruit of his mouth, but the soul of the unfaithful feeds on violence.
3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.
4 The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; But the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.
5 A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.
6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7 There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.
8 The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, but the poor does not hear rebuke.
9 The light of the righteous rejoices, but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
10 By pride comes nothing but strife, but with the well-advised is wisdom.
11 Wealth gained by dishonesty will be diminished, but he who gathers by labor will increase.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
13 He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health.
18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
21 Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
23 Much food is in the fallow ground of the poor, and for lack of justice there is waste.
24 He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
25 The righteous eats to the satisfying of his soul, but the stomach of the wicked shall be in want.
Proverbs are often viewed like vending machines: do what it says, and God will spit out the proper blessing for what you have done/earned. How often pastors hear, “I raised up my child in the way he should go, but now he has departed from it!” As in Job 40, such is an accusation against God and unwise attempt at self-justification. The answer is in two questions: “Which of us has any more perfectly raised our children than we have perfectly done anything else in life?” and “If Jesus taught the Twelve and they departed, why would we think that our teaching others would absolutely rob them of their ability to sin and reject Christ?”
Proverbs that speak of results in this life are not “do this, get that” promises for which we have a claim against God if we don’t receive as we desire. Those speaking of ultimate ends come to pass in their time. Thus, “The righteous is delivered from trouble, and it comes to the wicked instead,” may not be seen universally in this life, but it ultimately comes to pass at death and for all eternity. Again, “The merciful man does good for his own soul, but he who is cruel troubles his own flesh,” must never be read as law pertaining to salvation. Being merciful doesn’t earn salvation, but “does good for your soul” in acting upon the mercy you have received and teaching you about the proper reaction to mercy. Being cruel, though, requires us to forget God’s mercy and to harm our peace, expending energy in such a way that it is bad for both body and mind.
O Holy Spirit, grant us understanding of Your Word in accord with its consistent message and Your merciful purpose of bringing us everlasting life; In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.