Proverbs 20

<Link to Proverbs 20>

Today’s selections:

The righteous who walks in his integrity—
    blessed are his children after him!
(Proverbs 20:7 ESV)

Solomon combines two words here – “righteous” and “integrity”.  The first word (righteous) identifies this person as part of the faith community, one who says they follow the Lord.  The second word (integrity) indicates the person’s life is blameless.  In essence, Solomon is saying this person lives out what they believe… they “walk the talk”.

Solomon tells us that the children benefit from the parents living out their faith.  What a great thing to pass down to our children – both a godly example of how to live, as well as a blessing on them.

Even children are known by the way they act,
    whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right.

(Proverbs 20:11 NLT)

Solomon is talking about young adolescents here, the same age group as he addressed during his first nine chapters of Proverbs.  He is saying that we are to be observant parents, seeing our children’s actions, watching their choices, understanding why they do what they do and say what they say.

Solomon implies that if the child’s actions are not wise, that the parents will help the child develop right thoughts, actions,  and choices through training, discipline, and godly example.

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!”
    Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.”
(Proverbs 20:22 NIV)

We need to pay particularly close attention to this proverb, as Solomon rarely gives a direct order in his writings.

When we are wronged, the natural human tendency is to seek revenge, to provide payback for being wronged.  In his strongest voice, Solomon directly commands us in the negative – “Don’t seek revenge!”

So what is our alternative?  To wait on the Lord, and let Him make things right.  This may take more time that we would like, but God will provide justice in His time and in His way.  He promises this over and over in His Word.

In Romans 12:17-21, the Apostle Paul reminds us of God’s promise in Deuteronomy 32:35, where God promises justice for those who follow Him.  What is Paul’s conclusion?  Leave room for God’s justice.  Instead, overcome evil with good.

The human spirit is the lamp of the Lord
    that sheds light on one’s inmost being.”
(Proverbs 20:27 NIV)

Solomon reminds us that God made us in His image, and as such, we are a spiritual being as well as a physical being.  That being said, we then have the capacity and responsibility to make moral and spiritual decisions.

And what do we use as our guide to help make these decisions?  God, through His Holy Spirit, puts Himself in us, to guide us and direct us.  Our choice is whether we listen to Him and obey Him, or go our own way.  He also gives us His Word as a written record of both good and bad examples of living for Him.

Solomon reminds us that God looks past our actions, past our thoughts, and sees clear down to our motives – and helps us see why we do what we do.  God knows us better than we know ourselves; consequently, it is always wise to stop and listen to what He has to say to us.  He knows best, and has our best interests at heart.