Proverbs 10:31-32

Speak Wise and Appropriate Words

31) The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but a perverse tongue will be cut out. 32) The lips of the righteous know what is fitting, but the mouth of the wicked only what is perverse.

Wisdom has many sides. It’s not just what we say that shows forth wisdom, it’s how we say it, when we say it, where we say it, and to whom we say it. In Ephesians 4:15, Paul tells us to “speak the truth in love.” Our words should well up from a heart that knows God and seeks to please Him.

The wicked person will only speak that which is self-serving and perverse, as he seeks to elevate himself at the expense of his neighbor (Romans 3:11-14). He will use innuendo and gratuitous flattery to serve his own purposes. The Bible teaches that the non-Christian cannot help but sin in all he does, and bears only corrupt fruit (Matthew 7:17).

But the righteous person speaks with gentleness and mercy. He speaks at the fitting time, and doesn’t blurt out in public those things that are best said in private. The righteous man seeks out the proper person to whom to speak, and doesn’t spread gossip. He doesn’t slander others or belittle them to attempt to show himself in a better light. His words transmit at all times the sweetness and grace of his Savior.

Scriptural Examples

Daniel. What wise and fitting words poured from Daniel’s lips. In these verses, he told Nebuchadnezzar his own dream, then interpreted its meaning to that king of Babylon. His words were fearless, yet full of tact and grace (Daniel 4:4-27).

Nebuchadnezzar. But the foolishness and wickedness of Daniel’s listener soon was apparent as he did not repent before the Living and True God. God took his kingdom and sent Nebuchadnezzar out like a wild beast (Daniel 4:28-33).

Prayer of Application

Lord God, help me to speak only appropriate and fitting words, so that the sweetness and grace of Christ may be reflected in me and that He might be glorified in all that I say.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:29-30

Walk in the Lord’s Strength

29) The way of the Lord is a refuge for the righteous, but it is the ruin of those who do evil. 30) The righteous will never be uprooted, but the wicked will not remain in the land.

The KJV renders “refuge” here as “strength,” a term Derek Kidner translates “stronghold.” But, of course, the Lord is all of these things. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 46:1, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (KJV).

What is the way of the Lord? It is the path of righteousness upon which each saved person should have his feet firmly planted (Jeremiah 6:16). But it is an alien way to us, and to attempt to walk it in our own strength is futile. Only God can supply the means to keep His way (2 Samuel 22:33-34).

And how are we to appropriate this strength? It is only through faith in the One who says He will give it to us (Ephesians 1:18-20; Philippians 4:13). We need to walk daily by faith, trusting in the One who can deliver us from evil. We need to be rooted and grounded in the Lord Jesus and His Holy Word. But the wicked do not even see their need for strengthening, because there is no inner conflict between evil and righteousness within them.

Scriptural Examples

Babylon and Tyre. These ancient cities typify the wicked who trust in their earthly wealth and power. It was only a matter of time before they met ruin and destruction (Jeremiah 51:49-54; Zechariah 9:3-4).

Nicodemus. This high-ranking Jewish official timidly came to Jesus to ask about the Kingdom of God (John 3:1-21). Later, we see him strengthened in his faith as he tended to the burial of his Lord by his gifts of myrrh and aloes (John 19:39).

The Old Testament saints. These people accomplished all sorts of incredible things because “through faith” their “weakness was turned to strength” (Hebrews 11:32-34).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign God, Your ways are so much higher than my ways, and Your thoughts so far above mine. Teach me Your ways, O Lord, and strengthen me in the path of righteousness.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 10:28

Make Your Joyous Hope Certain

The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.

Hope for the future is the fuel that drives every man and woman on earth. Hope drives us on and spurs us to work hard, to go to school, to save, and to make plans for a better tomorrow. Hope that sees only darkness and destitution ahead is no hope at all. True hope, however, has as its basis a solid foundation, and it is at this point that the hope of the wicked and the hope of the righteous part company.

The solid foundation of the Christian is Jesus Christ and His Word. It is a joyous hope built on the historical truth of the resurrection of our Lord (1 Peter 1:3, 21). We are born again to this new and living hope, and receive faith as the sure evidence of it (Hebrews 11:1). Our hope is that we, like Jesus, will be resurrected bodily, and reign eternally with Him in the Kingdom of heaven at His coming. We need to make our “calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10).

The hope of the wicked is based upon nothing. He hopes for a life after death, yet sets his feet on the shifting sands of his own good works to get him there. He hopes for good things in this life, while all around him he smells the aroma of death.

Scriptural Examples

The weeping sowers. Though we may shed many tears, as did the sowers in Psalm 126, there is a sure joy set before us, and them, just as there was before Jesus (Psalms 126:6; Hebrews 12:2).

The Christian make-believers. These people called Jesus “Lord” and even preached, drove out demons, and performed miracles in His name. But Jesus said He never knew them (Matthew 7:21-23). These verses tell us that there will be many who will come in Jesus’ name, but would not be His true disciples. Are you one of these, or have you taken steps to make certain your calling and election? If you are unsure, see your pastor for help.

Prayer of Application

Lord God, thank You for the sure hope You have given me of resurrection. I accept it by a faith based on the solid foundation of Christ and His Word. Thank You, Lord.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:27

Fear the One Who Gives Life

The fear of the Lord adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

There are perhaps three senses in which the fear of the Lord brings long life. First, our actual number of days on this earth may be lengthened by a life led by the Holy Spirit. Our habits will be purer and our minds will not be beset with worry and anxiety. Second, the days themselves will be longer, as we are given a fuller, more meaningful life by our Savior (John 10:10). The third sense, of course, is that our years will never end if we continue in the fear of the Lord (Hebrews 6:11-12).

The wicked person’s years are cut short. His worldliness and bad health habits may do it. Even if he should live many years, they will be years filled with the guilt and sorrow that accompany unforgiven sin. He never knows the new life which God provides by grace, and chooses instead to cling to his worthless idols (Jonah 2:8). When the unsaved man does die, his death, unlike that of the Christian, is an eternal death.

Scriptural Examples

Jehoram. This wicked king’s life was cut short at age 32, but more importantly, we’re told that his death brought no one’s regret. He wasn’t even given the honor of being buried in the tombs of the kings of Israel. He, like many other kings of Israel, failed to fear the One who could bring life 2 Chronicles 21:6(, 20).

Jesus. Weren’t His days cut short? Yes, but only because He took upon Himself our wickedness and died in our place upon the cross, to the end that we might have life. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Isaiah 53:4-6; Hebrews 1:8; John 14:6).

Judas. His days were cut short as he threw himself over the precipice of suicide into an eternity of darkness. He walked the dusty trails of Judea with the One who gives life, yet he chose instead the way of death (Matthew 27:1-10).

Prayer of Application

Eternal God, thank You for the new life that You have given me by grace alone. I deserved death, but in Your infinite mercy You resurrected me to a new and living hope. Thank You, Jesus.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:26

Don’t Hire (or Be) a Sluggard

As vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes, so is a sluggard to those who send him.

There is vivid imagery here. Vinegar will truly set your teeth on edge, and acrid smoke stings and blinds the eyes. A slothful employee is like these distasteful elements.

A central principle of a successful business is to hire good people. Without able employees your business is doomed from the start. We who are employers, or who hire employees, need to take this responsibility very seriously.

In today’s society, lawsuits are common, so proper hiring is even more important. Firing those who set our teeth on edge or blind our eyes with smokescreens is becoming more perilous daily. Take your time in the process. Get a consensus from others on the job. Don’t fill the position too quickly. Review resumes and check references. You cannot be too careful.

What are the spiritual implications of this verse? We, too, are sent ones, as Jesus sends us in Matthew 28:19-20. Are we vinegar to God’s teeth and smoke to His eyes? Or are we taking an integral and productive part in the Great Commission for which our Lord has “hired” us? With God’s help, let each of us follow Christ’s command with diligence, and avoid the path of the sluggard who displeases his boss.

Scriptural Examples

The reluctant son. Jesus told the story of a son who refused to go to work for his dad, but later went. The other son said he’d go, then refused. How this latter young man reminds me of employees who promise so much in the interview, but deliver so little when the chips are down (Matthew 21:28-31).

The Laodiceans. Christ addressed one of His seven letters to this church. They were a bunch of “sluggards”whom Jesus promised to “spit out of [His] mouth” (Revelation 3:15-16).

Prayer of Application

Father, You have called me to be diligent in all things and to do the work to which I am called in a profitable manner. Help me to fulfill that role at my job and in the Great Commission.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 10:24-25

Prepare to Meet God

24) What the wicked dreads will overtake him; what the righteous desire will be granted. 25) When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever.

What do the wicked dread? They dread the God who will ultimately overtake them and sweep them away like a storm. People hide themselves in religion, good works, temporal wealth and position, revelry and promiscuity, drugs and alcohol, and other diversions. But whatever they try will not extricate them from the coming storm of God’s wrath. All paths lead to God in this respect; that God will one day judge all people in justice by the One he has appointed (Acts 17:31). Only by faith in Christ will any person find shelter from the coming storm (Acts 2:21).

What do the righteous desire? The same thing that the wicked dread—to meet God face to face (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2). When we are born again, we are born into an inheritance that shall stand firm forever (Romans 8:35).

Scriptural Examples

Adam and Eve. The first couple tried to hide from their Creator in the garden. Later, God would provide a covering of animal skins to hide their shame. The death of those animals spoke of the death of the One who would be slain to provide a covering of the sins of all who would believe Genesis 3:6-10(, 21).

The Babel builders. These men sought to avoid God and make a name for themselves. But God confused their languages and scattered them over the face of the earth (Genesis 11:4-8).

Sennacherib. This Assyrian king flaunted his power against the God of Israel. His entire army was swept away by the storm of God’s angel of death (2 Kings 19:35).

Stephen. The first Christian martyr saw heaven opened and his Lord standing at the right hand of the throne of God. Surely his desire was granted as the stones struck (Acts 7:55-60).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for saving me from the wrath that is to come. In doing so, You put my feet on a path that leads to the desire of my heart. I will meet You face to face one day.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:23

Delight in God’s Wisdom

A fool finds pleasure in evil conduct, but a man of understanding delights in wisdom.

A young man was saved at a revival meeting one evening. The next day he was telling all his friends about his experience when someone asked, “How do you know you were saved?” The young man answered, “I was there when it happened.”

I was “there” when I got saved too. And what happened was shortly made clear to me. My mind began to be transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit from a mind that took pleasure in evil conduct to a mind that delighted in God’s wisdom.

I have always been a person who loves to laugh and have a good time. Before that day many years ago, that laughter and all those “good times” came in coarse joking, obscenities, sexual immorality, impurity, drunkenness, and the like (Galatians 5:3-5). Then, miraculously, my life changed and I began to delight in God’s Word, the joy of walking with Him, and in the fellowship of other believers. Over the years, His wisdom has grown to be the delight of my heart and those other sins only a dim regret.

Someone may ask me, “Bob, how do you know you were saved?” Well, I was there when it happened, and I am here as it continues to happen. Only by God’s Spirit working in my mind and heart could these things be so.

Scriptural Examples

Men of Sodom. They came to Lot’s door seeking their evil pleasures. They demanded that Lot’s visitors come out and have sex with them. God rained down fire and brimstone upon the city in judgment of its sinfulness (Genesis 19:1).

The Benjamites in Gibeah. These men raped a young woman who was the concubine of a visitor to their city. Because of their foolish evil conduct, judgment came upon the tribe of Benjamin, which suffered near annihilation (Judges 19:1-30).

Prayer of Application

Precious Savior, thank You for giving me new birth. Since that day many years ago, You have changed me from one who delights in sin to one who delights in Your wisdom and Word.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.

Proverbs 10:22

Understand the Source of All Wealth

The blessing of the Lord brings wealth, and he adds no trouble to it.

Proverbs 10:4 says that the “hands of the diligent bring wealth.” Here, we’re told that wealth comes from the Lord. Which is true? They both are. It is the combination of our diligence and God’s blessing. The slothful person seeks wealth without diligence. The practical atheist seeks wealth through his own diligence. But God distributes wealth as He sees fit.

My friend Walt Henrichsen once startled a group of businessmen by saying, “There is no correlation between how hard a person works and how much money that person earns.” His statement went against everything we had ever learned about wealth creation.

But the person who understands that God is the true source of wealth has a humble dependence upon his Source and a call to diligence that leaves the results to God. He understands that riches are used as a blessing for one’s family and for Kingdom work, not for vain exercises of egotism. In this way, wealth becomes a blessing and not a curse.

But for the slothful one who wins the state lottery, or the diligent atheist who strikes it rich, wealth can bring trouble in spades. It is worthless compared to the incalculable riches of knowing the One from whom it comes (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

Scriptural Examples

Job. His story makes it clear that it is God who bestows the blessing of wealth. Job’s riches were from God, who took them all away and then restored them two-fold (Job 1:10; 42:12).

The rich young ruler. This young man asked Jesus, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Seeing his covetousness, Jesus told him to give all his wealth away. The young man didn’t realize that he was talking face-to-face with the One who had given him his riches in the first place (Matthew 19:16-22).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign God, You are the source of all blessing. Help me use the blessings You provide as a blessing to others, as I provide for my family, and for those who lack this world’s goods.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:20-21

Seek Silver Lips of Eternal Nourishment

20) The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. 21) The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of judgment.

The Old Testament is a rich treasury of the person of Christ. Some say He is to be found on every page. I wouldn’t bet against it. One of my favorite pictures of the Lord is found in the tabernacle. God saw to it that it was made precisely according to the plan which He set forth (Hebrews 8:5). God intended it to be a shadow of the real tabernacle in heaven, even our Lord Jesus (Hebrews 9:24). Perhaps its gold spoke of His deity, while its wood foreshadowed His humanity. Silver was used in the bases that supported the tabernacle walls, as well as in other ornamentation and utensils. Silver speaks of redemption.

In Matthew 17:27, Jesus told Peter to go fishing. Jesus said he would find a coin in the first fish he caught. He was to use the coin to pay the temple tax. This temple tax dated back to the wilderness journey in which God had imposed a half-shekel “ransom” on all those counted in the census. The silver half-shekel was to be an offering to atone for their lives (Exodus 30:12-15). What irony that the Savior of the world paid the atonement tax that He didn’t owe.

So it is that we have been appointed heirs of the atonement that Christ purchased for us and His ministers of reconciliation. Our tongues should be of choice silver in speaking of the eternal nourishment He gives through His body and His blood.

Scriptural Examples

Phillip. Phillip’s tongue was indeed of choice silver. He journeyed into Samaria and there proclaimed Christ. He healed many and brought great joy with the news of salvation (Acts 8:3-12). Later, Phillip led an Ethiopian eunuch to Christ by explaining to him what the eunuch was reading (Acts 8:28-39).

Prayer of Application

Glorious Savior, help me always to speak words of nourishment. To Christians, may they be words of encouragement and joy. For the lost, may they be words of eternal hope.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readbobbeasley.com

.

Proverbs 10:19

Watch Your Words

When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.

James’ epistle has much to say about the tongue. He says in 1:19 that we should be quick to listen and slow to speak, and in 1:26 that if we consider ourselves to be religious, and yet do not keep a tight rein on our tongues, our religion is worthless. The tongue is a fire (James 3:6), corrupting a person, setting him ablaze.

My friend Walt Henrichsen uses the analogy of the volcano. As we grow in the Word and in the control of the Holy Spirit, we undergo the process of sanctification. We begin to filter our words through a biblical grid, which serves like a cap on Mt. Vesuvius. The old volcano deep within us still seeks to blow out words of anger, sarcasm, and the like. But as we grow in Christ, we should begin to speak sanctified words. As the old self in us is crucified (Romans 6:6), and the new self is given a new desire and perspective, we should produce godly speech. The volcano is capped.

How are we to practice reining in our wicked tongues? Before you speak, pause and ask yourself, “Is it kind? Is it true? Is it profitable? Is it necessary?” If the answer to those questions is “Yes,” then go ahead and speak. If not, hold your tongue.

Scriptural Examples

Miriam and Aaron. They began to speak against their brother Moses because he had taken a Cushite wife. They were also jealous of Moses’ special relationship with God. Read Numbers 12:1-9 and see why God was upset with them.

Job and friends. Elihu accused Job of multiplying words of emptiness (Job 35:16), and Job accused his friends of the same (Job 27:12). As usual, God had the last word (Job 38:2; 42:7).

The praying pagans. Our Lord spoke out against those who would multiply their words in prayer, thinking they would be heard for their verbosity (Matthew 6:7-8).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, thank You for delivering me from the power of sin in my life. Continue to work in me, Lord, to the end that the words of my mouth would be few and pleasing to You.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
Visit www.readjosephus.com

.