As a Christian most of my beliefs point me towards conservative values.  When I was deprived of work and lost unemployment benefits I might have faced real poverty.  Was I “lazy” because I needed help?  I was able to move to Arizona and live with my father.  Walking on the trails and seeing how others had to live was revealing.  Sadly a lot of people do not make it, and we must notice jobs moving overseas.  There are also hard working people who can’t pay their bills.  God had to warn Israel against taking advantage of their own people.  Are we better than Israel to be exempt from the judgment of God?

Proverbs 13:9-16

9 The light of the righteous rejoiceth: but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.

Light is vision and it is the revelation of good and bad things in our path.  This book of wisdom is a spiritual light and it gives life and light to the righteous.  Only God can make us righteous, and this light is not available to evil men.  Those who descend into wicked ways will stumble in darkness.

10 Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.

Humility generates peace while pride cannot consider another opinion.  Pride doesn’t listen to the other side, and forces itself on others.  A good fair hearing is wisdom and may even learn another way to a good end.

11 Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase.

Vanity is pride in one’s appearance, abilities, or talents.  The beautiful people of Hollywood might be an example.  There are other ways that produce wealth quickly and these may all encourage flashy spending to go with a flashy reputation.  Perhaps popularity provokes one to pay to keep the party going.  It seems to be a lot harder to save money on an hourly job, but those earnings may include more appreciation of value.

12 Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.

Oh how we wish there was a great leader for our nation.  So we try a new leader and endure another eight years of bickering and battles with congress.  Will we ever see an end to the corruption in our government?  Since the kings of Israel nations have sought their great hope.  For a season it was King David, but he too sinned.  There was finally a son of David who is the king of kings.  He is the great branch, our tree of life.  He is coming back soon.

13 Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded.

In times like these we can see people who are at peace, who are calm in the storm.  Those who trust science are angered by those of simple faith in God.  Many people defy the laws of God and refuse to repent.  Without the redemption of Jesus they are as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.  They are waiting for the fire of the end times unless they hear the invitation of Jesus.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and he saves his people.

14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.

Simple honesty is rewarding, and kindness is a great testimony.  With the acceptance of salvation comes the mind of Christ as well.  Our desire to do good is multiplied by the gifts of God to deliver us from the traps of evil.

15 Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.

Daniel was in serious trouble.  His nation was defeated by the Babylonians, and he was a prisoner of war.  Remembering the example of Joseph may have helped.  Joseph, a convicted sex offender, had become the prime minister of Egypt.  Daniel by good understanding did the same in Babylon.  Those who rebelled against Babylon were punished harshly.  Perhaps there are times when we should obey god and king to produce good works ourselves.

16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.

If we have knowledge of good and evil we should work to promote the good.  We should step up to testify against evil.  We should refuse to join the works of darkness.  But some will always take a bribe, embrace a temptation, or cheat their way to power.  That power is a house of cards that God will blow away.

We have watched kings come and go without making the changes that declare greatness.  Both sides of our arguments are corrupt, and few dare to speak up.  At times those whistleblowers themselves are blown away.  God is patient to watch men rob their neighbors until they expose their own crimes.  Then there is an end to all of this.  When a man receives faith in Jesus, he is transformed, and his poverty becomes treasure in heaven.  His earthly tent becomes a mansion in the Kingdom of God.