Monday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Proverbs 20-22 (NKJV)
20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
2 The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.
3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, since any fool can start a quarrel.
4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.
5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.
6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?
7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.
8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment scatters all evil with his eyes.
9 Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”?
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the LORD.
11 Even a child is known by his deeds, whether what he does is pure and right.
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.
13 Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.
14 “It is good for nothing,” cries the buyer; But when he has gone his way, then he boasts.
15 There is gold and a multitude of rubies, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, and hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.
18 Plans are established by counsel; By wise counsel wage war.
19 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.
20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in deep darkness.
21 An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning will not be blessed at the end.
22 Do not say, “I will recompense evil”; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
23 Diverse weights are an abomination to the LORD, and dishonest scales are not good.
24 A man’s steps are of the LORD; How then can a man understand his own way?
25 It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, and afterward to reconsider his vows.
26 A wise king sifts out the wicked, and brings the threshing wheel over them.
27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.
28 Mercy and truth preserve the king, and by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.
29 The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head.
30 Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, as do stripes the inner depths of the heart.
21:1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.
2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
4 A haughty look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked are sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
6 Getting treasures by a lying tongue Is the fleeting fantasy of those who seek death.
7 The violence of the wicked will destroy them, because they refuse to do justice.
8 The way of a guilty man is perverse; But as for the pure, his work is right.
9 Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the simple is made wise; But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The righteous God wisely considers the house of the wicked, overthrowing the wicked for their wickedness.
13 Whoever shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will also cry himself and not be heard.
14 A gift in secret pacifies anger, and a bribe behind the back, strong wrath.
15 It is a joy for the just to do justice, but destruction will come to the workers of iniquity.
16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding will rest in the assembly of the dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
18 The wicked shall be a ransom for the righteous, and the unfaithful for the upright.
19 Better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and angry woman.
20 There is desirable treasure, and oil in the dwelling of the wise, but a foolish man squanders it.
21 He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness, and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty, and brings down the trusted stronghold.
23 Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.
24 A proud and haughty man—”Scoffer ” is his name; He acts with arrogant pride.
25 The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor.
26 He covets greedily all day long, but the righteous gives and does not spare.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination; How much more when he brings it with wicked intent!
28 A false witness shall perish, but the man who hears him will speak endlessly.
29 A wicked man hardens his face, but as for the upright, he establishes his way.
30 There is no wisdom or understanding or counsel against the LORD.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the LORD.
22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold.
2 The rich and the poor have this in common, the LORD is the maker of them all.
3 A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.
4 By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches and honor and life.
5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse; He who guards his soul will be far from them.
6 Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
7 The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
8 He who sows iniquity will reap sorrow, and the rod of his anger will fail.
9 He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor.
10 Cast out the scoffer, and contention will leave; Yes, strife and reproach will cease.
11 He who loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips, the king will be his friend.
12 The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the faithless.
13 The lazy man says, “There is a lion outside! I shall be slain in the streets!”
14 The mouth of an immoral woman is a deep pit; He who is abhorred by the LORD will fall there.
15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
16 He who oppresses the poor to increase his riches, and he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty.
17 Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge; 18 For it is a pleasant thing if you keep them within you; Let them all be fixed upon your lips, 19 so that your trust may be in the LORD; I have instructed you today, even you. 20 Have I not written to you excellent things of counsels and knowledge, 21 that I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, that you may answer words of truth to those who send to you?
22 Do not rob the poor because he is poor, nor oppress the afflicted at the gate; 23 For the LORD will plead their cause, and plunder the soul of those who plunder them.
24 Make no friendship with an angry man, and with a furious man do not go, 25 lest you learn his ways and set a snare for your soul.
26 Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; 27 If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?
28 Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.
29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men.
“The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the LORD has made them both.”
There is great wisdom in the book of Proverbs, but we must always remember that wisdom for the sake of wisdom is worthless. Like everything else in creation, wisdom was meant to be used in service to the Lord Who made all that is visible and invisible. The Father Almighty made everything perfect for us to enjoy and make use in faith and obedience to His good design. But man’s sin corrupted creation, and now we often fail to hear and see the holy purpose of such things.
The world that is now broken with sin often quotes the Proverbs of Scripture, but it doesn’t do it faithfully. People think they are being “deep” or “profound” by quoting wise sayings, but if they are not appealing to this wisdom in seeking God’s kingdom and righteousness, then they are just vainly serving themselves.
The Lord’s message to us throughout all the Scriptures is that He is the One Who saves us from sin and death, and it is only by His grace that we are able to hear and see the blessings that teach us about our salvation. All true wisdom points to faith in Jesus Christ, because He is the only One Who brings us back into the perfect, holy relationship with our Father in Heaven that He originally intended for us.
We pray: Almighty and Everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and that we may obtain that which Thou dost promise, make us to love that which Thou dost command; through Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.