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Proverbs 19

<Link to Proverbs 19>

Today’s selections:

A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and whoever pours out lies will not go free.”
(Proverbs 19:5 NIV)

Solomon refers back to Deuteronomy 19:16-21, where God lays out the punishment for a false witness.  And what was the punishment if a person was found giving false witness (lying under oath)?  The false witness would receive the punishment due the one being accused.  In a world where “eye for eye” was the law, this was both significant and severe.

Solomon has brought up this topic before, in Proverbs 6:19;14:5,25.

Bottom line, always tell the truth, no exceptions.  And yes, even if it’s someone you don’t like, or has done you wrong, still tell the truth.

The one who gets wisdom loves life;
    the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.”
(Proverbs 19:8 NIV)

The Bible translation called “The Message” accurately paraphrases this verse as follows:

Grow a wise heart—you’ll do yourself a favor;
    keep a clear head—you’ll find a good life.”
(Proverbs 19:8 MSG)

The idea here is that to grow wise (to use the mind and intelligence God gave us) is to take look out for our needs, to care for our souls and mind and body and emotions.  When we do that, our future is bright.  This is not a license to be selfish, but a call to be diligent and intentional.  Likewise, this is not a promise of wealth and prosperity, but of finding favor with God, and the blessings that come from walking with Him.

Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
    but a prudent wife is from the Lord.”
(Proverbs 19:14 NIV)

Solomon is comparing and contrasting the source of our blessings.  He says that while we may inherit houses, wealth, land, etc. from our parents (and thus be thankful to them for the gift), we must give God the glory for a prudent (wise, discerning, and resourceful) wife.  That is a gift from God, and no one else.

Listen to advice and accept discipline,
    and at the end you will be counted among the wise.”
(Proverbs 19:20 NIV)

To listen to advice means to be teachable.  To accept discipline means being willing to make mistakes and learn from them.  Solomon says that by doing these two things, we will accumulate wisdom over the course of our lives.  We will never be completely wise this side of heaven, but we have a lifelong journey of learning and applying what we’ve learned every day ahead of us.

We must commit to being a life-long learner, a student of what is going on around us.  If we don’t, we are destined to repeat our same mistakes again and again.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
    but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
(Proverbs 19:21 NIV)

Solomon reminds us that we may have many thoughts, plans, and emotions swirling around in our minds, but ultimately it is God’s will that carries the day.  Only those ideas that God approves of will succeed.  We may launch other ideas and projects, but if the Lord is not in them, they will ultimately fail.

The fear of the Lord leads to life;
    then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”
(Proverbs 19:23 NIV)

Solomon regularly reminds us that the fear (healthy respect, reverent awe) of the Lord is the key to life.  When we live in that relationship to the Lord, we have contentment, and nothing can take us off course.  There will be storms in our life, but none that will destroy us or ultimately change the direction we choose when we decide to follow the Lord.


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