Proverbs 16:26

Be Blessed in Your Work

The laborer’s appetite works for him; his hunger drives him on.

Adam was created to tend and enjoy the magnificent garden God had given him. When he sinned, God turned the first couple out of the garden to a frustrating soil that bore thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17-19).

While our frustration may be part of God’s curse, there are also blessings that come from our work. We have the satisfaction of filling our family’s physical needs, which drives us on. There is also the joy of helping others and filling community needs. Also, there is a real joy in diligently using the talents and brains God has given us in a useful way.

We need to be careful, however, that our work is not done in vanity (Habakuk 2:13) or for evil coveteousness (Isaiah 5:8; Habakuk 2:9), and therefore labor toward our own ruin. Nor should it occupy so much of our time that we have no time or energy left for our families or for the worship of God and the study of His Word (John 6:27). All our work should be centered in the One who truly supplies all our needs. We should find our true reward there, as we labor to honor God.

Scriptural Examples

Boaz. He blessed his workers and they blessed him. He worked alongside them in the fields and even slept beside them during the time of harvest (Ruth 2:4; 3:7).

Jeroboam. Solomon observed how well this young man did his work, so he put Jeroboam in charge of a large labor force. Jeroboam was blessed by his godly diligence (1 Kings 11:28).

Paul. Paul was determined to work at a trade, even though he was in “full-time ministry.” He was a tentmaker who supplied his own needs and was not a burden on anyone (Acts 18:3; 20:33-34).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, thank You for my work. In it I am given satisfaction and fulfillment, yet also frustration, difficulty, and conflict that show me my faults and aid in my sanctification.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 16:25

Warn Yourself and Others of Self-Delusion

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Since Adam’s fall, people’s hearts have been radically affected. Although we think we know what is good for us, the Bible says we are blind (John 12:40; 2 Corinthians 4:4) and cannot know the truth. Jesus described the Pharisees as “blind guides” who taught self-salvation. Their teaching didn’t come from God.

Today, many in the visible church are being led by modern “blind guides.” They are deluded into thinking that the way to reconciliation with God is through their good works or the taking of some external sacrament. Others teach that it’s not important what people believe about God, as long as their belief is sincere. There are many such ways that lead to death, but Jesus says He is the only way to life (John 14:6). A person must be regenerated, or born from above (John 3:3). Only then is blindness healed and spiritual truth discerned (Acts 9:18).

Every manmade religion in the world is what may be termed “auto-soteric.” That is, if you want to reach heaven you must do it yourself. This seems so right to fallen people, but leads to death. Only biblical Christianity is different. It is “hetero-soteric.” The saving is done by God through Christ’s atoning work on the cross. Ours is an alien righteousness (Romans 3:21-26), coming from God and not ourselves.

Scriptural Examples

Lot. After Lot and Abram’s herdsmen argued over grazing land, the two agreed to part company. Lot decided to settle in the land that looked best to him, down by Sodom. It was a way that seemed right to Lot, but in the end brought big trouble (Genesis 13:7-12).

Saul. In opposition to the Word of the Lord, Saul did what he thought best and did not kill all of the captured sheep and cattle. Samuel rebuked him for going his own way. Ultimately he was stripped of his kingdom (1 Samuel 15:20-22).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, thank You for sending Your only Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. He is the only way to reconciliation with You. Help me to be a true witness of His gospel of grace.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:24

Speak Words of Sweetness and Health

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Honey is a food that is mentioned often in Scripture. God promised the Israelites a land flowing with milk and honey. John the Baptist ate a diet of locusts and wild honey. Honey from the honeycomb is both sweet and nutritious. The soul is satisfied with its taste, and the bones with its nutrition.

In the verse above, pleasant words are likened to the honeycomb. Words of counsel, sympathy, and encouragement both satisfy the soul of the hearer and “strengthen his bones” (KJV).

Solomon exhorted his son to listen closely to his words for they would be life to him and health to his whole body (Proverbs 4:20-22). The words of God are like that. In them we find life that is eternal, a sweetness that surpasses any earthly pleasure, and a strengthening and encouragement that brings joy and contentment in the midst of trial, sorrow, and difficulty.

Scriptural Examples

Jonathan. Jonathan was strengthened and given energy by the honeycomb. He ate, ignorant of the foolish order his father had given the army of Israel (1 Samuel 14:24-30).

David and Jonathan. Later, with sweet and healthy words, Jonathan strengthened and encouraged his friend in the matter of Saul’s envy and attempted murder (1 Samuel 23:16-17).

Cleopas and companions. They met the risen Lord but did not recognize Him immediately. He spoke to them of the sweet Scriptures. Later, their eyes were opened (Luke 24:13-31).

Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch. In the eunuch’s chariot, Philip explained the sweet, healthy Word of God. The eunuch received Christ by faith and was baptized (Acts 8:35-36).

The Philippian jailor. Paul and Silas spoke words of life as they gave the gospel to this man following an earthquake (Acts 16:25-34).

Prayer of Application

Lord, thank You for the sweet and healing words of the gospel of Christ, which You have applied to my heart. Help me to speak these same sweet words to others as I walk in this life.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:23

Allow Your Heart to Instruct Your Lips

A wise man’s heart guides his mouth,and his lips promote instruction.

The mind is the seat of reason, and the heart the seat of affection. A person may have a great knowledge of God in his mind but, if none of it is transferred to his heart, his vast knowledge has no practical effect upon his life for righteousness. On the other hand, knowledge and understanding enter the heart through the mind.

Both the mind and heart of people are desperately wicked (Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:9-23). Unchanged by the power of God, a person’s heart in this wicked state teaches his lips only foolishness, regardless of his mind’s knowledge. Only through the Spirit of God, circumcising his heart with the new birth (John 3:5), can a person’s mind and heart be transformed to the pattern of righteousness (Romans 12:2). Then, and only then, will a person’s heart guide his lips in righteousness and holiness, setting them apart for God’s service.

Scriptural Examples

The Pharisees. Jesus charged them with having evil hearts, out of which flowed the evil of their lips (Matthew 12:34-35).

Peter. The impetuous disciple had spoken foolishly on an earlier occasion, but by the Spirit of God he later spoke with discernment about Jesus’ identity (Matthew 16:16-17) and preached with power at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41).

Paul. This brilliant Pharisee did not have true wisdom in his heart until he met Christ on the Damascus road (Philippians 3:4-11).

The nation Israel. Their hearts were always going astray. They did not rest in God by faith, and hence their mouths complained and murmured against Him (Hebrews 3:10).

Balaam. Balaam was a seer who knew of the God of Israel, but didn’t know Him. His mouth betrayed his lack of wisdom as he spoke to the donkey in his madness (2 Peter 2:15-18).

Prayer of Application

Lord, You have given us many examples in Scripture of people who were wise in heart and who used that knowledge to instruct others in Your way. Help me to follow their example.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:22

Let Your Understanding Refresh Everyone

Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.

There is a wide gap between head knowledge and real understanding. Some people have the knowledge of the way of truth but not the understanding. An example is Balaam. Peter calls people like him “springs without water,” and warns us of their empty, boastful words (2 Peter 2:15-18). Of what value is a spring or well without water? There is only promise and no refreshment.

But true understanding from the Holy Spirit becomes a spring of water welling up unto eternal life (John 4:14). A person that has understanding should be like a lamp that gives light unto all the house (Matthew 5:16) and like salt that preserves food and makes it tasty (Matthew 5:13).

In contrast, the fool who says “No” to God (Psalm 14:1) teaches only folly. How readily this is seen today in liberal churches that have departed from the Bible to follow false doctrines. Truth to them is ever-changing, depending upon the latest whim of the majority. Such foolishness will bring God’s punishment.

Scriptural Examples

Moses and the waters of Marah. This bitter wellspring in the desert was made sweet by God as Moses threw wood into it. The wood speaks of the person and work of Christ, who was hung on a tree of wood and gave to all who would believe on Him the true fountain of eternal life (Exodus 15:22-25; John 3:16).

Paul and Barnabas. With godly understanding welling up from their hearts, these apostles encouraged and strengthened the disciples (Acts 14:21-22).

The Hedonists. Paul said he fought the fight of faith because of the water of eternal life. Otherwise, he might as well teach the foolishness of the Hedonists—that people should eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow they die (1 Corinthians 15:32).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, increase my understanding of Your holy Word so that I might be a fountain of life for others. May I always be ready to share the reasons for the hope within me.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:21

Speak Sweetly from a Heart of Wisdom

The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.

Wisdom that is only in your mind and not in your heart causes conceit. Merely knowing what to do doesn’t assure that you will act wisely. But wisdom that is seated in the heart provides consistency for your daily walk and has great practical value.

Jesus told the Pharisees that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34-35). So, too, He said that we shall recognize the essence of a person’s character by his actions and fruits (Matthew 7:15). The person who has the wisdom of God dwelling in his heart will be known by his prudent life and by the sweetness of his speech. Conversely, the rebellious man will be known by his foolishness and godless chatter.

One specific way today’s Christians need to put this principle to work is in our practice of discernment. Often the enemy is from within the visible church, which is being buffeted by both new and ancient heresies. We need to pray for both wisdom and sweetness in dealing with those who espouse philosophies and practices that contradict the Word of God.

Scriptural Examples

Jethro. Moses’ father-in-law gave him prudent advice in the matter of selecting competent men to aid in the administration of justice for Israel in its wilderness journey. Moses selected 70 leaders who could assist him (Exodus 18:17-23).

Abigail. With sweet wisdom and pleasant words, Nabal’s wife pacified the anger of David and prevented him and his men from destroying her household (1 Samuel 25:18-31).

Paul. Paul told the Corinthians that his message and preaching came not through his own mind and wisdom but from the power of the Holy Spirit. The sweet Spirit that spoke through the great apostle still speaks to us today (1 Corinthians 2:1-4).

Prayer of Application

Father, make my life and speech prudent and sweet through Your wisdom, and let not my mind be puffed up in fleshly pride. Rather, seat Your wisdom down deep in my heart.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:20

Exercise Wisdom Combined with Faith

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

If a person has true wisdom he will understand his natural, or earthly, wisdom cannot be trusted. He will realize his dependence upon his Creator, by faith acknowledging that true instruction and wisdom come from above (James 3:17).

And where does this heavenly wisdom lead? It leads to the qualities of Christlikeness that God desires us to exhibit. Faith leads to goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love (2 Peter 1:5-7).

To fully lean upon God for all of our needs, just as a child relies completely upon his parents, is the key to blessedness in this life. Where then is anxiety or worry? Where is fear? These are all cast out by God’s perfect love and provision (1 John 4:18). It’s not easy.

As a youth, I was encouraged to “stand on my own two feet” and be independent. Then, as a new Christian, I was faced with the obligation to trust God completely and not lean upon my own wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-6). It is a formidable transition, one I have not begun to finish, but one well worth the trials involved in its accomplishment.

Scriptural Examples

Joseph. God’s wisdom in a time of national emergency, a famine, worked through this man who trusted in God’s leader- ship. God provided for Egypt and began the Egyptian formation of what was to become the nation Israel (Genesis 41:25-44).

Ahithophel. The advice of this man was set aside by the Lord who intended to bring disaster upon Absalom. God’s wisdom overcomes even the best human wisdom (2 Samuel 17:14).

The apostles. These men used godly wisdom in setting up the office of deacon and in selecting the men who would fill the office (Acts 6:1-7).

Prayer of Application

Lord God, increase my wisdom in the daily struggles that are set before me, and increase my faith and trust in Your provision for my every need. Blessed is he who rests in You.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:18-19

Walk in the Spirit of Humility

18) Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. 19) Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

The person who lifts his eyes up in pride fails to watch the pathway beneath his feet and sets himself up for a fall. We need to focus our eyes on Christ, examining our secret faults in the light of His Word. Then we will have an accurate understanding of who we really are and won’t be tempted to think too highly of ourselves. People don’t need more self-esteem. We need more God-esteem, and less of self.

We need the attitude of the publican who beat his breast and cried out for mercy, rather than the Pharisee who tried to justify himself (Luke 18:10-14). Better, we need the attitude of Christ, who humbled Himself to be born a child, then sacrificially gave Himself over to His oppressors so that we, His brothers and sisters, might have eternal life (Philippians 2:5-9).

Scriptural Examples

Eve. Puffed up by Satan’s swelling words, and desirous of gaining wisdom supposedly above and beyond that which came from God, Eve pridefully rebelled against God’s command and then prompted Adam to do the same (Genesis 3:6-7).

Abraham. In humility, Abraham refused to take part in the division of the spoils of battle with the king of Sodom and others. Abraham made sure that all of the glory for victory belonged to God and not to people (Genesis 14:21-24).

David. He pridefully counted his troops, rather than giving the glory for his security to Almighty God (2 Samuel 24:1-10).

Amaziah. Following the defeat of the Edomites, this king of Judah set up his own gods and worshipped them. In his pride he refused to listen to the rebuke of a man of God and subsequently suffered defeat and destruction (2 Chronicles 25).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, in Your tenderness help me to see myself as I really am. Teach me to walk humbly as one plucked out of the fire with no redeeming qualities, except that You saw fit to do it.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 16:17

Walk the Highway of Righteousness

The highway of the upright avoids evil; he who guards his way guards his life.

When God saves us by His grace, He places our feet on the highway of righteousness. Although we sometimes stumble, God is faithful to forgive us (1 John 1:9) and to set our feet on the road of righteousness once again.

Dr. J. Vernon McGee told the story of the Prodigal Pig, who went with the prodigal son when he returned to his father’s house. The pig was treated like royalty. He was washed and given new clothes and taught to eat with a fork. But the pig felt out of place and soon became homesick for his father’s house, the pig pen. So he returned there (2 Peter 2:22).

Dr. McGee said life is like the Pasadena Freeway near his home. Some folks are going one way toward their father’s house, and the rest are going the other way toward their father’s house. We can’t really know which is which. Only God knows for sure. But Jesus tells us that we may be pretty sure who is going where on the freeway of life by the fruits of their lives (Matthew 3:10;7:16) .

Scriptural Examples

Enoch. He walked on the highway of righteousness with his God, and God was so pleased that He snatched Enoch from the earth. He did not taste death (Genesis 5:24; Hebrews 11:5).

Joseph. When he was tempted by Potiphar’s wife, Joseph declared adultery would be a sin against God. Joseph understood the principle above. Any departure from the highway of righteousness is ultimately rebellion against God (Genesis 39:9).

Jesus. He lived a life of absolute righteousness and told His hearers to put His words into practice. Faith in Christ is not just intellectual ascendance to a set of facts about Him or the exercise of some sacrament like baptism or communion. It is a lifelong highway of obedience (Matthew 7:24).

Prayer of Application

Father, lead me in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake, and for Your glory. I know if I confess my sin You are faithful and just to forgive me and to cleanse me from it.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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Proverbs 16:16

Desire Wisdom Before Wealth

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to choose understanding rather than silver.

How different wisdom and wealth are. Wisdom is eternal, while worldly wealth is temporal and fleeting. Wisdom, even without wealth, is a treasure house for the whole community, while wealth without wisdom brings greed, theft, hatred, and every sort of evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

People labor day and night for gold and silver, yet the true treasure of life escapes them. Why? Because to their depraved minds, true wisdom has no value. But for those led by the Spirit of God, there is no greater treasure than godly wisdom. Jesus spoke of a man who found such a treasure in a field and went out and sold all that he had and bought that field (Matthew 13:44).

Now, there is no way that we can buy our salvation. Jesus’ parable teaches that the value of wisdom greatly exceeds any temporal treasure. Even if someone would gain the whole world but lose his soul, what profit would there be? (Matthew 16:26). Wisdom is the gift of God (James 1:5), but unlike earthly wealth, which also comes from God, all who seek God’s wisdom find it.

Scriptural Examples

Solomon. God asked Solomon what gift he would like. He asked for a wise and discerning heart. God opened his storehouses and gave Solomon the wisdom for which he asked, as well as the wealth and honor he had not requested (1 Kings 3:5-13).

Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar recognized the wisdom of Daniel as 10 times greater than that of his own wise men. Daniel attributed his wisdom not to himself but to the gift of the sovereign God of Israel (Daniel 1:20; 2:23).

Joseph. Stephen spoke of the wisdom of Joseph and how as a result of the wisdom God gave to this patriarch, honor and wealth were his as well (Acts 7:9-14).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, who graciously gives us all things for our benefit, equip me with wisdom that I may walk in Your ways and lead others to an understanding of Your truth.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

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