God allows us freedom to make our own choices, but he includes a warning about making the wrong choices.  Does god punish us?  He warns us not to touch the top of the stove.  We aren’t tall enough to see the danger, but it is waiting for us.  Hell wasn’t mad for man, but it is the top of the things we should consider unwise.  Here are the warnings that steer us away from that pit.

Proverbs 22:1-15 

1 A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.

A rich man with a reputation for cheating and stealing will have an enemy waiting for him when he meets the Lord in judgment.  How many of our great leaders will be found among the transgressors?  May we be found in our poverty among those who have no stain on their name.

2 The rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.

As god is the father of all of us, may the rich also be found among the righteous.  No one will be greater or lesser because of our lifetime earnings.

3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.

We can’t always foresee the weather, but there are some things that give obvious warnings.  If you recognize the signs of an evil man it is wise to relocate or take a defensive position.  But foolishness may even ignore a rabid pit bull, and suffer the mauling of the mad dog.

4 By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour, and life.

The fear of the Lord is wisdom, and humility wins his favor.  Riches that come with honor and a long life are only found in the Lord.

5 Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

Sinners have a hard life ahead of them.  But those who keep their relationship well with God are far from those dangers.

6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

This is an assurance to those who have taken time to teach their children about God.  There may be a season of sorrow if children try a road that leads to pain.  But we should keep them in prayer knowing that God often calls them late in life.  Israel may seem to be far from their messiah, but God has promised them a reunion.  They will find their brother, who everyone thought was dead, and they will know joy.

7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.

Oh don’t we know it today.  America is completely sold over to the rule of the rich today.  The poor majority are totally enslaved to the banks, and there is no justice against usery.

8 He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity: and the rod of his anger shall fail.

Now we see this happening in the news all the time now.  We witness stories about the minions of evil feeling free to openly attack the weak and helpless with their wealth and power.  So why am I at all distressed if I believe God to make this right?  I must be the one who needs to read this and start living by faith instead of by sight!

9 He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.

Being assured of my own prosperity by faith in God, I am not afraid of running out of the provisions of life.  As such I can give to the poor regularly with confidence.  My eye is bountiful because my faith sees what is not yet there as being real and substantial already.

10 Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.

One individual can cause division among many others.  He can bring a lot of anger against any group he is associated with.  But there is a solution if his group is willing to recognize the problem and its source.  They have to remove the problem person to preserve their unity and good reputation.

11 He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.

Honesty and righteousness are merits that are rare and appreciated.  This will be an asset that is welcomed by wise leaders.  We still have a few honest people and wise leaders.  This word indicates that we have hope, and righteousness has rewards.

12 The eyes of the Lord preserve knowledge, and he overthroweth the words of the transgressor.

The disgrace of the words of evil men are the opposite of the grace of righteous words.  This is an offense to God and here he promises to unmask evil.  His will be done.

13 The slothful man saith, There is a lion without, I shall be slain in the streets.

Wow…that is one wild excuse for being lazy.  Being lazy has a great list of excuses and this should provoke some kind of changes.  Anyone who is that lazy should be able to read a message that is coming directly from God.

14 The mouth of strange women is a deep pit: he that is abhorred of the Lord shall fall therein.

Oh the women in question here is more than just strange.  That is a woman who is not your wife, not familiar, and not chaste.  If you consider sex to be a casual entertainment then you are slipping on the edge of a very dangerous fall.  One who lives in sin is not to expect protection from God.  Expect some of the joys of modern free love, such as unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and death.

15 Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

We are born in sin, and childhood is the season for trying out every idea, good and bad alike.  If we know that god chastens us, we owe our children the same correction.  We can’t be soft hearted if it would lead to them having a hard life, or even death.

The world is caught a conflict between philosophies of oppressive legalism and total permissiveness.  There is a ditch on both sides of the road so we should let God be the driver.  Human nature wants to jerk the wheel towards the nearest destruction.