Tuesday after the Thirteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Proverbs 23-25 (NKJV)
23:1 When you sit down to eat with a ruler, consider carefully what is before you; 2 And put a knife to your throat if you are a man given to appetite. 3 Do not desire his delicacies, for they are deceptive food.
4 Do not overwork to be rich; Because of your own understanding, cease! 5 Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven.
6 Do not eat the bread of a miser, nor desire his delicacies; 7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, but his heart is not with you. 8 The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, and waste your pleasant words.
9 Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words.
10 Do not remove the ancient landmark, nor enter the fields of the fatherless; 11 For their Redeemer is mighty; He will plead their cause against you.
12 Apply your heart to instruction, and your ears to words of knowledge.
13 Do not withhold correction from a child, for if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. 14 You shall beat him with a rod, and deliver his soul from hell.
15 My son, if your heart is wise, my heart will rejoice—indeed, I myself; 16 Yes, my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak right things.
17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day; 18 For surely there is a hereafter, and your hope will not be cut off.
19 Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. 20 Do not mix with winebibbers, or with gluttonous eaters of meat; 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and drowsiness will clothe a man with rags.
22 Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. 23 Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction and understanding. 24 The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him. 25 Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice.
26 My son, give me your heart, and let your eyes observe my ways. 27 For a harlot is a deep pit, and a seductress is a narrow well. 28 She also lies in wait as for a victim, and increases the unfaithful among men.
29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has complaints? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? 30 Those who linger long at the wine, those who go in search of mixed wine. 31 Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; 32 At the last it bites like a serpent, and stings like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart will utter perverse things. 34 Yes, you will be like one who lies down in the midst of the sea, or like one who lies at the top of the mast, saying: 35 “They have struck me, but I was not hurt; They have beaten me, but I did not feel it. When shall I awake, that I may seek another drink?”
24:1 Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; 2 For their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.
3 Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; 4 By knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is strong, yes, a man of knowledge increases strength; 6 For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.
7 Wisdom is too lofty for a fool; He does not open his mouth in the gate.
8 He who plots to do evil will be called a schemer. 9 The devising of foolishness is sin, and the scoffer is an abomination to men.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. 11 Deliver those who are drawn toward death, and hold back those stumbling to the slaughter. 12 If you say, “Surely we did not know this,” Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it? He who keeps your soul, does He not know it? And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?
13 My son, eat honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is sweet to your taste; 14 So shall the knowledge of wisdom be to your soul; If you have found it, there is a prospect, and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Do not lie in wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; Do not plunder his resting place; 16 For a righteous man may fall seven times and rise again, but the wicked shall fall by calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; 18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.
19 Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the wicked; 20 For there will be no prospect for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the LORD and the king; Do not associate with those given to change; 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin those two can bring?
23 These things also belong to the wise:
It is not good to show partiality in judgment. 24 He who says to the wicked, “You are righteous,” him the people will curse; Nations will abhor him. 25 But those who rebuke the wicked will have delight, and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 He who gives a right answer kisses the lips.
27 Prepare your outside work, make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house.
28 Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, for would you deceive with your lips? 29 Do not say, “I will do to him just as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.”
30 I went by the field of the lazy man, and by the vineyard of the man devoid of understanding; 31 And there it was, all overgrown with thorns; Its surface was covered with nettles; Its stone wall was broken down. 32 When I saw it, I considered it well; I looked on it and received instruction: 33 A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest; 34 So shall your poverty come like a prowler, and your need like an armed man.
25:1 These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter. 3 As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4 Take away the dross from silver, and it will go to the silversmith for jewelry. 5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the presence of the king, and do not stand in the place of the great; 7 For it is better that he say to you, “Come up here,” than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whom your eyes have seen. 8 Do not go hastily to court; For what will you do in the end, when your neighbor has put you to shame?
9 Debate your case with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another; 10 Lest he who hears it expose your shame, and your reputation be ruined.
11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. 12 Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise rebuker to an obedient ear.
13 Like the cold of snow in time of harvest Is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters. 14 Whoever falsely boasts of giving Is like clouds and wind without rain.
15 By long forbearance a ruler is persuaded, and a gentle tongue breaks a bone.
16 Have you found honey? Eat only as much as you need, lest you be filled with it and vomit. 17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house, lest he become weary of you and hate you.
18 A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow. 19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth and a foot out of joint. 20 Like one who takes away a garment in cold weather, and like vinegar on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For so you will heap coals of fire on his head, and the LORD will reward you.
23 The north wind brings forth rain, and a backbiting tongue an angry countenance.
24 It is better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
25 As cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a far country. 26 A righteous man who falters before the wicked is like a murky spring and a polluted well.
27 It is not good to eat much honey; So to seek one’s own glory is not glory.
28 Whoever has no rule over his own spirit is like a city broken down, without walls.
“Do not be envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them; for their heart devises violence, and their lips talk of troublemaking.”
Proverbs often makes the point that the wise and righteous person should not seek after the things of evil men or be envious of such men and their possessions. It is a constant temptation for us to look at the wealth that worldly people have and think that we could have similar success if we did things “their way.” From the beginning with Eve, Satan has always tempted us with getting what appears good by compromising what God tells us is truly good.
Everyone, faithful or unfaithful to God’s wisdom, can testify that things are not always what they seem. Wealth and success can, and often does, have drawbacks and downsides. And sometimes failure and poverty are more a matter of perspective than they are a hopeless state of doom.
The greatest wisdom that the Lord has ever shown mankind is the foolishness of the cross of Jesus Christ. Even though it appeared that Jesus was poor and defeated throughout His ministry and death, there was far greater wealth, power, and glory that could only be seen through the eyes of faith, which are given by the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus’ righteous victory over the devil and his false teachers is more valuable to man than any wealth or success that anyone else could ever accomplish.
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.