Saturday after the Twelfth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Proverbs 14-16 (NKJV)
14:1 The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish pulls it down with her hands.
2 He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.
3 In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them.
4 Where no oxen are, the trough is clean; But much increase comes by the strength of an ox.
5 A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.
6 A scoffer seeks wisdom and does not find it, but knowledge is easy to him who understands.
7 Go from the presence of a foolish man, when you do not perceive in him the lips of knowledge.
8 The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.
9 Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is favor.
10 The heart knows its own bitterness, and a stranger does not share its joy.
11 The house of the wicked will be overthrown, but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
13 Even in laughter the heart may sorrow, and the end of mirth may be grief.
14 The backslider in heart will be filled with his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied from above.
15 The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.
16 A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident.
17 A quick-tempered man acts foolishly, and a man of wicked intentions is hated.
18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
19 The evil will bow before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends.
21 He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.
23 In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.
24 The crown of the wise is their riches, but the foolishness of fools is folly.
25 A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.
26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge.
27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.
28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, but in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.
29 He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, but he who is impulsive exalts folly.
30 A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones.
31 He who oppresses the poor reproaches his Maker, but he who honors Him has mercy on the needy.
32 The wicked is banished in his wickedness, but the righteous has a refuge in his death.
33 Wisdom rests in the heart of him who has understanding, but what is in the heart of fools is made known.
34 Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.
35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.
15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness.
3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.
4 A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.
5 A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.
6 In the house of the righteous there is much treasure, but in the revenue of the wicked is trouble.
7 The lips of the wise disperse knowledge, but the heart of the fool does not do so.
8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but the prayer of the upright is His delight.
9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD, but He loves him who follows righteousness.
10 Harsh discipline is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates correction will die.
11 Hell and Destruction are before the LORD; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.
12 A scoffer does not love one who corrects him, nor will he go to the wise.
13 A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
14 The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness.
15 All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, than great treasure with trouble.
17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fatted calf with hatred.
18 A wrathful man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger allays contention.
19 The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway.
20 A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother.
21 Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly.
22 Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.
23 A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!
24 The way of life winds upward for the wise, that he may turn away from hell below.
25 The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD, but the words of the pure are pleasant.
27 He who is greedy for gain troubles his own house, but he who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous studies how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours forth evil.
29 The LORD is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.
31 The ear that hears the rebukes of life will abide among the wise.
32 He who disdains instruction despises his own soul, but he who heeds rebuke gets understanding.
33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom, and before honor is humility.
16:1 The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirits.
3 Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established.
4 The LORD has made all for Himself, yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
6 In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice.
9 A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD directs his steps.
10 Divination is on the lips of the king; His mouth must not transgress in judgment.
11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD’s; All the weights in the bag are His work.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness, for a throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings, and they love him who speaks what is right.
14 As messengers of death is the king’s wrath, but a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of the king’s face is life, and his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil; He who keeps his way preserves his soul.
18 Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
21 The wise in heart will be called prudent, and sweetness of the lips increases learning.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it. But the correction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, and adds learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.
26 The person who labors, labors for himself, for his hungry mouth drives him on.
27 An ungodly man digs up evil, and it is on his lips like a burning fire.
28 A perverse man sows strife, and a whisperer separates the best of friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbor, and leads him in a way that is not good.
30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things; He purses his lips and brings about evil.
31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness.
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.
“The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way, but the folly of fools is deceit.”
To “understand your way” is not just looking forward, but backward, as well. It is to be honest about where you’ve been and how it relates to where you wish to go. The fool deceives himself about where he has been and thus has no real path to betterment. This is true in worldly things, as well as in spiritual; consider 1 John 1:8-10 and the folly of self-deceit described there!
“He who walks in his uprightness fears the Lord, but he who is perverse in his ways despises Him.”
As Luther warns us in the theses for the Heidelberg Disputation, we must fear that our best good works are mortal sins, or they may actually become such, leading us to trust in ourselves instead of in Him. The proper fear of the Lord is always looking at ourselves in this way, that we would not allow anything to come between us; the perverse one despises the Lord—that is, thinks so little of Him that he believes he and his perversion should always be accepted by God. Thus:
“A wise man fears and departs from evil, but a fool rages and is self-confident.” For, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Knowing our place before God also teaches us our place with men: “He who despises his neighbor sins; But he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.”
Father in Heaven, grant that we may judge ourselves rightly by Your Word and thus live in the way that honors Your saving us by grace alone, through faith in Christ alone. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.