19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.
20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.
22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
doesn’t know he’ll end up broke.
-Proverbs 28:17-22 The Message
17 If one is burdened with the blood of another,
he will be a fugitive until death;
let no one help him.
18 Whoever walks in integrity will be delivered,
but he who is crooked in his ways will suddenly fall.
19 Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread,
but he who follows worthless pursuits will have plenty of poverty.
20 A faithful man will abound with blessings,
but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good,
but a man will do wrong for a piece of bread.
22 A stingy man hastens after wealth
and does not know that poverty will come upon him.
-Proverbs 28:17-22 ESV
Verses 17-18 studies: A sinner’s conscience will drive them either to guilt or death. The guilt that builds up will probably result in repentance. Death will probably happen of refusal to repent. It is no act of kindness to try to make them feel better. The more guilt they feel, the more they are likely to turn to God for repentance. If we interfere with the natural consequences of his act, we may make it easier for them to continue in sin.
Verse 20 study: Faith and wisdom may lead to riches, but giving priority to riches is a severe error.
Verse 21 study: Just a tiny bribe can have messy results in maintaining order and justice in society.
Verse 22 study: A stingy man, a miser. Poverty will come. This means two things.
Miser lacks the wisdom to keep wealth and gain it.
12 When good people are promoted, everything is excellent,
but watch out when the bad are in charge!
13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.
15 Lions roar and bears charge—
and the wicked Lord it over the poor.
16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.
-Proverbs 28:11-16 The Message
11 A rich man is wise in his own eyes,
but a poor man who has understanding will find him out.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great glory,
but when the wicked rise, people hide.
13 Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who fears the Lord always,
but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear
is a wicked ruler over poor people.
16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor,
but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
-Proverbs 28:11-16 ESV
Verse 11 study: The rich don’t correlate with unrighteousness or poverty with wisdom and righteousness. There is that tendency, nevertheless. Those who believe they are wise in their own eyes are fools more than those who see folly as wisdom.
Christ the Wisdom and Power of God
18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written,
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”
20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. -1 Corinthians 1:18-25 ESV
The rich believe they are wonderful, not depend on anyone; they take credit for everything. It is called a hallow self-esteem issue. Even though the poor use dependence on God in their struggles, they develop richness in spirit that no amount of wealth can provide. The rich can lose all their material wealth, while no one can take away the poor man’s character. So don’t be jealous of the rich; money may be all they will ever have.
Verse 12 study: Righteousness leads to social order and happiness, while unrighteousness destroys and alienates.
Verse 13 study: It’s natural to hide our sins or overlook our mistakes. It is hard to learn from your mistakes. It is hard to learn from your mistake that you don’t acknowledge making. What good is a mistake if you don’t teach yourself anything? To learn from an error, you must admit it, confess it, analyze it, and make adjustments so it doesn’t happen again. Everybody makes mistakes, but only fools repeat them. There is something in us that won’t let us admit that we were wrong. This is why we admire those who openly admit to their mistakes and sins. These types of people have a strong self-image. They don’t always have to be right to feel good about themselves. Be willing to reconsider, admit wrongdoing, and change your plans when necessary. Always remember that the first step to forgiveness is confession; as you confess, you prompt mercy from mankind and God. Well-being in one’s life is linked to orderliness and an intensely personal relationship with God. Unconfessed sins are the ultimate disorder in life. Confession and repentance lead to restoring a right relationship with God based on his mercy. All other relationships depend on this.
Blessed Are the Forgiven
A Maskil of David.
32 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity,
and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me;
my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah -Psalm 32:1-4 ESV
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. -John 1:6-9 ESV
Verse 14 study: Blessed and whoever hardened his heart. One who will set his will against the Lord. To fear means to revere and honor the Lord.
3 But I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and though I multiply my signs and wonders in the land of Egypt. -Exodus 7:3 ESV
13 Still Pharaoh's heart was hardened, and he would not listen to them, as the Lord had said. -Exodus 7:13 ESV
Verse 16 study: Tyranny is contrary to wisdom. It demonstrates a lack of discernment. The second line implies that the greedy tyrant brings its own destruction.
hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.
8 Get as rich as you want
through cheating and extortion,
But eventually, some friends of the poor
is going to give it all back to them.
9 God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won’t listen to him.
10 Lead good people down a wrong path
and you’ll come to a bad end;
do good, and you’ll be rewarded for it.
-Proverbs 28:6-10 The Message
6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.
7 The one who keeps the law is a son with understanding,
but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
8 Whoever multiplies his wealth by interest and profit
gathers it for him, who is generous to the poor.
9 If one turns away his ear from hearing the law,
even his prayer is an abomination.
10 Whoever misleads the upright into an evil way
will fall into his own pit,
but the blameless will have a goodly inheritance.
-Proverbs 28:6-10 ESV
Verse 6 study: Integrity is having a relationship with God and knowing it is more important to have that relationship with God than those who are rich.
Verse 7 study: Companion vs. Shame
Verse 8 study: Interest and profit is the grace of God and understanding that helping others is for truth and honesty, not for gain.
Kindness for Poor Brothers
35 “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. 36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. 37 You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan, and to be your God. -Leviticus 25:35-38 ESV
19 “You shall not charge interest on loans to your brother, interest on money, interest on food, interest on anything that is lent for interest. 20 You may charge a foreigner interest, but you may not charge your brother interest, that the Lord your God may bless you in all that you undertake in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. -Deuteronomy 23:19-20 ESV
God gives justice by not allowing the greedy rich to keep their wealth but giving to those willing to aid others.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous. -Proverbs 13:22 ESV
16 Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.Proverbs 22:16 ESV
13 “This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty:
14 If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword,
and his descendants have not enough bread.
15 Those who survive him the pestilence buries,
and his widows do not weep.
16 Though he heap up silver like dust,
and pile up clothing like clay,
17 he may pile it up, but the righteous will wear it,
and the innocent will divide the silver.
18 He builds his house like a moth's,
like a booth that a watchman makes.
19 He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more;
he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone. -Job 27:13-19 ESV
17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will repay him for his deed. -Proverbs 19:17 ESV
As a result, God’s long accounts of the world’s resources will be back in the hands of the righteous.
Verse 9 study: Why pray if you won’t listen? God won’t listen if we go back and sin as soon as we get off our knees. He listens if we are willing to forsake our sins and follow him. At the same time, he will listen faithfully no matter how bad our sins are. What closes his ears is not the depth of our sins but our secret intention to do it again.
Verse 10 study: Misleading is a conversation to have with people. God’s justice is implied here; there is a special judgment on those who seek to seduce God’s people.
19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. -Matthew 5:19 ESV
6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. -Matthew 18:6 ESV
28 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
bold as lions.
2 When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of fundamental understanding
to straighten things out.
3 The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.
4 If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
5 Justice makes no sense to the evil-minded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.
-Proverbs 28:1-5 The Message
28 The wicked flee when no one pursues,
but the righteous are bold as a lion.
2 When a land transgresses, it has many rulers,
but with a man of understanding and knowledge,
its stability will long continue.
3 A poor man who oppresses the poor
is a beating rain that leaves no food.
4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
but those who keep the law strive against them.
5 Evil men do not understand justice,
but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.
-Proverbs 28:1-5 ESV
Verse 2 study: For a government or a society to endure, wisdom is needed, and it is hard to find. Anarchy is prevailing. When a person is selfish, it quickly spreads to others. A greedy employee that steals from their company ruins their productivity. A drunk driver is making state highways dangerous. A spouse who is selfish and has an affair breaks up several families. When you don’t live for other concerns or consider their feelings, it can affect the results; it contaminates the entire nation. Are you part of the problem or solution? The unrighteousness and political instability in Israel’s northern kingdom go hand in hand, while a wise or righteous person help maintains order.
Verse 3 study: The change of Hebrew vowel produces the reading, “a ruler who oppresses the poor.” Excessive rainfall and a wicked ruler can do harm.
Verse 4 study: The law of Moses, but wisdom instruction is in view. Wisdom literature often seems to reflect more on human experience in created order than on God’s revelation in Scripture; the Hebrew sages were men of God who knew the law and its demands.
Verse 5 study: Justice is part of God’s character. A person who follows God treats others justly. The beginning phases of justice involve concern about what is happening to others. Christians can’t be indifferent to human suffering because God isn’t. We shouldn’t contribute to human suffering through selfish business practices or unfair government policies. Be sure you are more concerned for justice than the bottom line. Justice refers to God’s moral rule of the universe or the good of the order of things, which is God’s rule as the basis. Those who seek the Lord recognize faith and the purpose of life to serve God. Understanding it entirely does not imply complete knowledge of infallibility, but a renewed mind that knows things because it knows then as they are interpreted by god’s revelation in Scripture.
25 When the grass is gone, and the new growth appears
and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered,
26 the lambs will provide your clothing,
and the goats the price of a field.
27 There will be enough goats’ milk for your food,
for the food of your household
and maintenance for your girls.
-Proverbs 27:22-27 ESV
Verse 22 study: Solomon considers foolishness almost indestructible. You mix things together with a bowl and a rod. A fool is unteachable even when the most drastic measures are taken.
Verses 23-27 studies: With our fortunes uncertain and life short, we should be mindful about what we do with our lives. We should act foresight to pay attention to our homes, families, and careers. We should be stewards like a farmer with his land herds. Thinking ahead is a duty, not an option for God’s people. Economic resources of a renewable sort are preferable to riches that cannot be replaced. Pay attention to the providential order of nature ensures provisions for our needs. The implications of this passage are more evident in the modern context. This passage is also rare praise of wisdom for planning ahead.
18 If you care for your orchard, you’ll enjoy its fruit;
if you honor your boss, you’ll be honored.
19 Like water mirrors your face,
your face reflects your heart.
20 Hell has a voracious appetite,
and lust just never quits.
21 The purity of silver and gold is tested
by putting them in the fire;
The purity of human hearts is tested
by giving them a little fame.
-Proverbs 27:17-21 The Message
17 Iron sharpens iron,
and one man sharpens another.
18 Whoever tends a fig tree will eat its fruit,
and he who guards his master will be honored.
19 As in water, face reflects face,
so man’s heart reflects the man.
20 Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied
And never satisfied are the eyes of man.
21 The crucible is for silver, the furnace is for gold,
and a man is tested by his praise.
-Proverbs 27:17-21 ESV
Verse 17 study: When you are around good people, mental sharpness comes with it. A meeting of minds can help people see ideas with clarity, refine them, and shape them into brilliant insights. But this will require discussion partners who can challenge each other and stimulate thoughts. This helps focus on an idea without involving egos in the discussion; people who know how to attack the review and not the thinker. Two friends who bring their ideas together can help each other become sharper. This is a positive effect of interaction with others on one’s character.
Verse 18 study: The problem and concerns a leader has, they can overlook essential people who deserve attention; faithful employees or volunteers. People who stand behind you, work hard and help you get the job done to earn to share in your success. So when you are worrying, planning, and organizing, don’t forget the people who are most helpful to you. Diligent work and honest service are rewarded.
Verse 19 study: Water reflects our outward appearance, just like the thoughts of our hearts reveal our inner nature and character.
Verse 20 study: The parallel with destruction implies that the insatiability of the eyes involves endless desires that become destructive.
Verse 21 study: Praise tests a person, just as metal is tested through high temperatures. How does praise affect you? Do you work to get it? Do you work harder after you’ve got it? Your attitude towards praise says a lot about your character. People with high integrity are not swayed by praise. They stay in their inner convictions and do what they want, whether or not they are praised. Choose how your character is, praise, or high integrity. You are genuine if you can survive the comments of acquaintances.
then nothing the world throws my way will upset me.
12 A prudent person sees trouble coming and ducks;
a simpleton walks in blindly and is clobbered.
13 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
be wary of accepting what a transient has pawned.
14 If you wake your friend in the early morning
by shouting, “Rise and shine!”
It will sound to him
more like a curse than a blessing.
15-16 A nagging spouse is like
the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;
You can’t turn it off,
and you can’t get away from it.
-Proverbs 27:11-16 The Message
11 Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad,
that I may answer him who reproaches me.
12 The prudent sees danger and hides,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
13 Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
and hold it in pledge when he puts up safety for an adulteress.
14 Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice,
rising early in the morning,
will be counted as cursing.
15 A continual dripping on a rainy day
and a quarrelsome wife are alike;
16 to restrain her is to control the wind
or to grasp oil in one’s right hand.
-Proverbs 27:11-16 ESV
Verse 11 study: Parents are usually right in wisdom before others because of the parents’ success. They can pass knowledge on to their children.
Verse 12 study: Prudent = simple. Discretion is the better part of valor.
Verse 14 study: This reference is to say that saying this is a false representation of friendship when that is not the case. Closed-minded friends may look at it as evil intent when your intent is to be good in motivating your friend.
Verses 15-16 study: Unnecessary arguments, and unwanted advice, are all forms of torture. People tend to nag because they believe they are not getting through. Nagging hinders communication more than it helps. Stop and learn your motives when tempted to engage in destructive habits. Are you concerned about yourself, having your way, wanting to be right, more than about the person you are pretending to help? If you are concerned about others, your communication should be better to react or effectively get through them. Surprise them with words of patience and love and see what happens.
7 When you’ve stuffed yourself, you refuse dessert;
when you’re starved, you could eat a horse.
8 People who won’t settle down, wandering hither and yon,
are like restless birds, flitting to and fro.
9 Just as lotions and fragrances give sensual delight,
a sweet friendship refreshes the soul.
10 Don’t leave your friends or your parents’ friends
and run home to your family when things get rough;
Better a nearby friend
then a distant family.
-Proverbs 27:6-10 The Message
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend;
profuse are the kisses of an enemy.
7 full One loathes honey,
but to one who is hungry, everything bitter is sweet.
8 Like a bird that strays from its nest
is a man who wanders from his home.
9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.
10 Do not forsake your friend and your father’s friend
And do not go to your brother’s house on the day of your calamity.
Better is a near neighbor
than a brother who is far away.
-Proverbs 27:6-10 ESV
Verse 6 study: What would you prefer? A friend’s wounds or an enemy’s kisses? A friend who has your best interest at heart has to give you uncomforting advice sometimes. But you know it is for your own good. An enemy will whisper words you want to hear and send you on your way to be ruined. We always want to listen to what we want, even if an enemy is the only one saying it. A friend’s advice is always better, regardless of how much pain it causes. Wounds of a friend mean similar to “open rebuke.” Tough love is always better than hypocrisy.
Verse 7 study: This proverb is not limited to food. It expands to anything with an appetite.
Verse 8 study: Rootlessness hurts the wanderer and people who should be relating. In other words, humans need personal relationships.
Verse 10 study: This proverb tells us we should have relationships outside the immediate family. Relatives are sometimes unwilling or unable to come to our aid.
24-26 Your enemy shakes hands and greets you like an old friend while plotting against you.
When he speaks warmly to you, don’t believe him for a minute;
he’s just waiting for the chance to rip you off.
No matter how shrewdly he conceals his malice,
eventually, his evil will be exposed in public.
27 Malice backfires;
28 Liars hate their victims;
flatterers sabotage trust.
-Proverbs 26:23-28 The Message
23 Like the glaze covering an earthen vessel
are fervent lips with an evil heart.
24 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips
and harbors deceit in his heart;
25 when he speaks graciously, believe him not,
for there are seven abominations in his heart;
26 though his hatred be covered with deception,
his wickedness will be exposed in the assembly.
27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims,
and a flattering mouth works ruin.
Proverbs 26:23-28 ESV
Verse 23 study: Looking at vv. 24-26, the Hebrew text is complex, but the apparent meaning is good surface can hide an opposite nature beneath.
Verses 24-26 studies: This proverb means people with hate in their hearts may sound pleasant enough; don’t believe what they say.
Verses 25-26 studies: The person in v. 24 must be avoided. People will eventually see through their deceptions.
Verse 27 study: Troublemakers make trouble for themselves.
7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. -Galatians 6:7 ESV
This is supposed to link to verses 23-26 as a theme of retribution. The emphasis is not on direct divine judgment but on the self-destructive nature of folly looking to destroy others.
Verse 28 study: Hatred is the most extensive breakdown in human relationships.
15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. -1 John 3:15 ESV
Human speech has the potential for evil, and misuse cannot be excused.
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. -James 3:5-10 ESV
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