Today’s selected proverbs:
“The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”
(Proverbs 14:1 NIV)
Are we in the home construction business, or in the home demolition business? What do our actions, our words, our thoughts say about how we treat those in our own home? Let us use our words and actions to encourage and pray over and love on those around us, to build them up in Christ.
“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean,
but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.“
(Proverbs 14:4 ESV)
God uses natural means to provide for us. Work was ordained before the fall of man, to feed ourselves, and to care for the world He entrusted to us (Genesis 1:29-30; 2:15). After the fall of man, the work got harder and messier (Genesis 3:17-19). If we want to eat, we have to work. If we want a good harvest, we have to put in the hard work and deal with the mess along the way.
“There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.”
(Proverbs 14:12 NIV)
Solomon uses a combination of previous proverbs to tie together two truths – one, about living in community and seeking the advice of wise and trusted people around us, and not just foolishly doing whatever we justify in our own mind (Proverbs 12:15); and two, a reminder of the warnings against adultery, and its consequences (Proverbs 7:27).
While Solomon’s maxim is around the topic of adultery, it is also true of any number of other topics, such as our use of money, business dealings, relationships, just to name a few. While the consequences of not seeking wise counsel might or might not be death, the consequences will likely end in financial, relational, or emotional ruin.
“Whoever is patient has great understanding,
but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.”
(Proverbs 14:29 NIV)
Easier said than done, in our society of instant gratification and self-induced stress. As followers of Christ, we are called to live differently, according to His standard. Paul reminds us of the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit working in and through us: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23 NIV)
“A heart at peace gives life to the body,
but envy rots the bones.”
(Proverbs 14:30 NIV)
Solomon knew long ago, before doctors and scientific research and studies now tell us: Our emotional state has a direct correlation to and impact on our physical state. Choose joy and contentment for a long, happy, and fulfilled life.
“Righteousness exalts a nation,
but sin condemns any people.”
(Proverbs 14:34 NIV)
How do we measure the well-being of a nation or people group?
- by its economy?
- by its natural resources?
- by its trade with others?
- by its military might?
- by the number of people living there?
- by its wisdom or scientific achievements or technological advances?
- by its arts or culture?
In God’s eyes, Solomon says, the well-being of a nation is measured by and exalted for its righteousness. Conversely, a nation is condemned and disgraced by its sin.
This so applies to us… please take time out to pray for our nation (2 Chronicles 7:14). We desperately need revival, as individuals, as churches, as communities, and as a nation.