This killed the Roman empire, so can we expect to last longer than they did?   Corruption is the reality of America as we now it this year.  It permeates every level of our government and its contracting.  Elected officials must spend most of their hours calling for donations.  Those donations must be so huge as to include the attached strings of a bribe.  God has a higher standard, and we are expected to live as citizens of HIS Kingdom, not this fading nation.

Proverbs 21:1-15

1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Kings resisted Israel, but they could be turned even the days of Daniel.  Nebuchadnezzar became as a wild ass, and the leaders of today also show this ability.  Solomon got wisdom, then abandoned it until God called him back to the light.  David was close to God’s heart but god had to bring him home from a vile sin.  No one can be great without serving the King of Kings.

2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

Aren’t we good people though?  I am really a good person, right?  At least until I find the Holy Spirit searching my motives, passions, greed, and lusts.  Why am I really going in this direction?  At the end of the day I need to repent of the impulses to follow my own black heart.  God is always there to welcome this prodigal son to back repentance.

3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

A rich man can make great donations to medical research, art, and churches.  That is especially easy if he gets his wealth from oppressing the poor or stealing.  Honesty is expensive, and real compassion reaches real people.  Our reality is more often having to sacrifice what little we have to help those who have less.

4 An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.

It is destroying both big political parties in America and we continue to follow such leaders.  No one is always right, and no one is always wrong until they turn from God.  We should always hear both sides but only follow God.  The lesser of two evils is still evil and these have no conscience.  Their works remain embedded in either open or covert greed and sin.

5 The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.

Parents who lived through the depression years bought the cheap cars and saved all they could.  They left goods and good lessons to their children.  Today we want to be given “credit” for what we have not yet earned.  This will lead to a harvest of bad debt collections and poverty.  Bad credit belongs to those who cannot wait to earn.

6 The getting of treasures by a lying tongue is a vanity tossed to and fro of them that seek death.

We are learning more about the wealthy men of our modern world.  All too often the “leaders” of today have inherited wealth from illegal, immoral, and criminal empire building.  They may not inherit the death penalty in this life but God has reserved a second death for the guilty.

7 The robbery of the wicked shall destroy them; because they refuse to do judgment.

Drug lords seem to be the ultimate promotion of evil that destroys their customers.  Their time is limited but they are not the only ones who deal violence to our world.  the criminals who we have elected are only hiding under a veneer of legality.  When they do not submit to the word of God, they miss the self judgment that could save them.  God has reserved destruction for the evil ones who leave this world for his spiritual realm.

8 The way of man is froward and strange: but as for the pure, his work is right.

If I live as a natural man I will continue boldly in secret sins that will shock the world around me.  Only by living in supernatural gifts from God can I be pure enough to produce good works.

9 It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

A man will have more peace living in an attic closet if he can escape from a nagging wife.  A woman who cannot show the peace of God will take the joy out of a house of wealth and prosperity.  We who hope to be the “Bride of Christ” should remember to show peace in the house of worship as well.  The bridegroom is not yet married to us and he has many places to live other than a contentious house of worship.

10 The soul of the wicked desireth evil: his neighbour findeth no favour in his eyes.

Evil men do not know what goodness is, and they covet the rewards of sin.  They make plans to snare others, and neighbors are never shown any mercy.  No one can be safe from them, even their partners in crime are targets for betrayal.  There is no “brotherhood of thieves” when they are cornered.

11 When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise: and when the wise is instructed, he receiveth knowledge.

Life often punishes us until we begin to consider what we are doing wrong.  How much we can endure before we begin to keep wisdom!  But as that wisdom grows, we get more skilled at recognizing good advice.  In time we welcome godly counsel, and hear instruction like these proverbs as a map to peace and security.

12 The righteous man wisely considereth the house of the wicked: but God overthroweth the wicked for their wickedness.

While living an honest life we can observe the frequent destruction of the lives of the sinners around us.  We can see how the wicked prosper and still recognize that these always end in destruction.

13 Whoso stoppeth his ears at the cry of the poor, he also shall cry himself, but shall not be heard.

A small town in Wyoming doesn’t have a lot of poverty.  Perhaps godly people are content with less and whine less when they are grateful for a little.  Perhaps they can get by with wild game and gardening.  But am I just hiding from the troubles of the world around us?  Can we afford to ignore the job losses and oppression of the urban unions?  Without industry our nation will fail to lead with the technology that makes us strong.  There is a time limit on the wealth of those who cannot hear the needs of our workers.  Banks and corporations with no conscience may one day utter inaudible cries for help.

14 A gift in secret pacifieth anger: and a reward in the bosom strong wrath.

NO!  I check other bible studies if they can help my understanding before I write about an obscure passage.  But here too many suggest that offering a bribe is a good thing.  No, other scripture warns us not to take bribes and an honest man would be offended by this.

He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live.  Proverbs 15:27

So I will suggest that bringing roses home when your wife is mad at you is a better comparison.  This is to defer anger, not to procure a contract by unfair competition.  A gift that will be close to the heart of an offended friend is a peacemaker.  So a wise congressman may be advised to reject the money of a lobbyist in favor of giving his voters honest stewardship of their taxes.  This might save them from the righteous anger of voters who have been awakened to the corruption of this latest election.  We will welcome as a heartfelt treasure this real service, as opposed to the current pattern of greedy self serving “public servants”.

15 It is joy to the just to do judgment: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.

Honest men take pleasure in doing the right thing, it requires no reward beyond that.  It is the greatest mistake to think there is no God to punish the wicked.  But take heart in the opportunity to accept the gift of forgiveness from Jesus Christ.  God did not leave us to our own weak nature.  It was the gift of his son that gives us supernatural help to turn from our weakness.  God has opened the door to life that we could not break down by our small strength.