In Chapters 1 – 9, Solomon shares his thoughts (often to one of his sons), and presents the information as a story or as a teaching time. Solomon encouraged / admonished / exhorted his children to listen to him and make wise choices. Solomon often talked about the consequences of unwise choices, as well as the joy that comes from wise choices.
Starting with Chapter 10, Solomon changes his writing style from stories or teaching times to two sentences, normally contrasting good and bad choices around a variety of subjects. We know these are contrasting pairs of thoughts because of Solomon’s extensive use of the word “but”. Since a lot of these proverbs are random collections of Solomon’s sayings (proverbs), there will no longer be an outline to show the flow of thought or progression of story.
Since Solomon has changed his writing style, I will change mine as well. I will pull out a few proverbs and add comments to explain or show its application.
“A wise son brings joy to his father,
but a foolish son brings grief to his mother.”
(Proverbs 10:1 NIV)
Solomon reminds us that as children, our actions and attitudes reflect on our parents, either for good or not-so-good. As parents, our children’s actions and attitudes reflect on us, whether we like it or not.
“Lazy hands make for poverty,
but diligent hands bring wealth.”
(Proverbs 10:4 NIV)
As the Apostle Paul so clearly stated, “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
“The wise in heart accept commands,
but a chattering fool comes to ruin.”
(Proverbs 10:8 NIV)
Hmmm… do you suppose that is why God gave us two ears, and only one mouth?
Are we teachable, and will therefore close our mouths and open our hearts and minds to what a faithful friend or our boss will tell us? Or are we proud, argumentative, and stubborn, insisting on our own way?
“Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out.”
(Proverbs 10:9 NIV)
When we follow the Lord’s commands and precepts, we have nothing to be ashamed of, and can look ahead to where we are going. When we take shortcuts that put us on or over the edge of unethical / immoral / illegal, we are always looking over our shoulder for someone to call us out. People might not know the wrong we’ve done, but they know the suspicious behavior that we exhibit. This also works well to study and know our children, and watch their change in behavior as signs or clues to when something is going on in their lives.
“Hatred stirs up conflict,
but love covers over all wrongs.”
(Proverbs 10:12 NIV)
Peter reminded us of this truth as well: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 NIV)
The Apostle Paul also focused on our care and concern for one another in 1 Corinthians chapter 13. Without love as the basis for our actions and attitudes, life is a selfish and cold place.
“What the wicked dread will overtake them;
what the righteous desire will be granted.”
(Proverbs 10:24 NIV)
Do we live in fear, or in faith? Solomon is saying that if we are walking with the Lord and living according to His commands and precepts, we can live in faith and not fear.
Remember God’s words to Joshua, as they were about to enter the land that God had promised them?
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:7-9 NIV)
God’s promise was true for Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Solomon, and for us as well. Dare to dream, share the desires of your heart, and ask the Lord where He might use you today.