Wisdom is delivered to those who are willing to learn. These proverbs come from a loving father to a generation that is strong in their own understanding. Deviation from wisdom will bring a few pains that should help the learning process. Adherence to them should help one grow grey hair and comfort to age well. Forgetting or abandoning wisdom will cost you the inheritance of life.
15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
Real wisdom; when and where have you seen it? Does it reside with a rich man, a government official, a parent, or a pastor? We seem to be moving away from a rich man even though the writer of Proverbs was Solomon, a rich king. Even he fell away from the words of wisdom in the face of so many opportunities for temptation. He recovered at the end of his life but isn’t it better to find and follow wisdom early? There is your treasure of immeasurable value.
16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
Surety is a security deposit or collateral on a loan. The law requires that a garment given as a security deposit be returned before the end of the day so the poor are not abused in borrowing. But one who is foolish enough to lend to a stranger deserves to have his garment taken from him. And one who is both foolish and rebellious to hire a prostitute should be required to pay a fine as well.
17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
When a lie is born it leaves the mouth as sweetly as candy going in. It seems to defer the anger of people who are robbed or offended by covering a crime. Of course when the lies unravel they may have the offender’s mouth literally filled with gravel if he gets himself killed and buried.
18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
Good advice is needed in every decision, especially in war. If you think you are not at war, are sickness and poverty your friends? You will know who your enemies are when they take away your Medicare and social security. Everyone is a soldier in the army of the Lord.
19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
Gossips live to reveal your failures, and they are investigators of everybody’s business except their own. Identify those who are sweet talking you as enemy agents serving the prince of darkness. Cover you secrets and cover your friends secrets by being quiet and distant from these dark warrior spies.
20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
Parents are you greatest supporters, desiring to see your success. You are in error if you see them as enemies, and disrespecting them is to hate yourself, and you will harvest your own destruction.
21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.
Better to get a trust fund that comes in regular installments than a lump sum inheritance. Confidence in a large treasure is the delusion of wealth that vanishes quickly. The needs of our senior years will sorely miss the treasure that was spent on the vanity of our youth.
22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the Lord, and he shall save thee.
I feel pain from shoddy merchandise, greedy employers, and corrupt government. At times inanimate objects cause injury and I may even curse those blameless and lifeless things. If my faith grows I should have peace in all circumstances, even as my joints feel the pain of my trials. I should never have an enemy in my sights for revenge if I believe that God is our judge. I disrespect God if I think I can do his job for him when he has told me not to do so.
23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord; and a false balance is not good.
God repeats himself when he knows that we really aren’t paying attention. He previously said that bad measurement is stealing and he hates to catch us doing that. Be sure that he always catches us doing bad things. We are bad by nature, he is good my nature, and aware of everything that is done. He reminds us again because we will forget again. Cheating is wrong, and we will pay for it. So will the rulers who ignore it instead of delivering justice.
24 Man’s goings are of the Lord; how can a man then understand his own way?
HE CAN’T. God has stuff going on that we cannot understand. How can we know that losing my job is part of my life that will bring me something better? How could I find a wife who had the faith to live with a contract worker? How can I know how her death might help me complete a mission for God? This is the time to ask him for our path, because we do not know how it should go; only he does.
25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.
It’s a trap! That is a warning to keep you from destruction. To take food dedicated to the priesthood in the Old Testament was one example. Now taking the authority of doing something for holy reasons is still not to be taken lightly. If you make any vow; to avoid caffeine, or to be a missionary, it is serious. To enquire of God about such a decision is not to be a hindsight: ask him first. And if he leads you to make a promise, give him all of what he wants, not just part of it.
26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.
A wise king does not gather the evil people to be his partners in crime. A wise king seeks out evil men with power and destroys them. A wise king leaves no room for evil and violent men to keep harming his people. His authority is a wheel that crushes them.
27 The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching all the inward parts of the belly.
I am no brilliant light, but in this dark world even my little candle can expose the darkness that still lingers in my heart. God gave me this spirit to expose the corruption that I need to let him cure. But I have to see and surrender the things he hates.
28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.
Mercy and truth are assets a king needs because he has enemies. Enemies will use failure as weapons to turn the people against their king. If he is not truthful he will have no people. If he is merciful his enemies will remember that he has saved them too. The King must reflect the mercy and grace of God.
29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the grey head.
Yes, they need that to overcome the problems they earn by not hearing their parents! That is the strength that takes them through the early labor jobs. That strength covers the gaps when there isn’t enough to keep family and home working. But it slowly grows into the wisdom that will advise THEIR children when they try to lift the burdens by themselves. If the grey head has the real glory they will have learned to trust God to carry the heaviest burdens.
30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.
Being black and blue is blood working to heal the hidden damage of bruises. An open wound that turns blue may be a sign of gangrene though, so more medical care may come from your doctors. The healing needed for behavior problems is the marks of a good whipping. But again, if behavior problems do not respond to correction more severe results may follow. For gangrene it may mean amputation. For rebellion against God even Christians may be cut off.
Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. Romans 11:22