Proverbs 19:8

Find True Self-Esteem in Esteeming Others

He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; and who cherishes understanding prospers.

What irony is here. We know wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and ends in obedience to His commandments (Psalm 111:10). It is a path of selflessness, self-denial, and even self-loathing, not self-love (Luke 14:26). Yet the proverb says he who gets wisdom loves his own soul. How is this true?

As Jesus said, the person who seeks to save his life will lose it, and the one who seeks to lose his life for Christ’s sake will find it (Matthew 16:25; Mark 8:35). Therefore, I find true love or esteem for my own soul, not through self-promotion, but through selfless devotion to the gospel and to others. Real “self-esteem,” then, is really “other-esteem.”

Our problem is not that we think too lowly of ourselves, but too highly. The Bible says people are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). We are dead in trespasses and sin (Ephesians 2:1). But God, who is rich in mercy, makes us alive in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-5). He opens our blind eyes to see our need for a Savior (Acts 13:48).

Receiving wisdom from God, the believer in Christ has a desire to walk according to his new nature. The new soul—regenerated by God—is to be loved, for it is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit. This is the true wisdom which comes from God. The person who hates this wisdom harms himself and loves death (Proverbs 8:36).

Scriptural Examples

Paul. Paul once put his confidence in the flesh and took pride in his fleshly wisdom. He claimed to be faultless in legalistic righteousness. He had very high self-esteem and loved his life as a zealous Jew. Then he had an encounter with Christ and his mind and heart changed. The things he formerly saw as wise, he now considered rubbish. He had found newness of life in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:3-9).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, thank You for the new heart You have implanted in me. By Your Spirit, help me to deny self and seek to obey Your command to love and exalt others.

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

.

Proverbs 19:5, 9

Beware the Consequences of the Selfish Lie

5) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will not go free. 9) A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who pours out lies will perish.

Deceit is a common theme in Proverbs. Notice that in verse 5 the liar “will not go free,” while in verse 9, we see his final forecast of doom. The truth is a fragile thing, and easily bent or broken. Shading the truth ever so slightly so the listener is deceived is a gross offense before God.

But what about times when lying actually preserves lives, such as those who protected Jews hiding from the Nazis before and during World War II? Is it always wrong to lie? Scripture itself has many instances where lies have been utilized for good and not for evil. I am reminded of the Egyptian midwives who lied to Pharaoh (Exodus 1:15-19). I think also of Ehud secretly presenting tribute to Eglon the Moabite king before dispatching him with a double-edged sword (Judges 3:16-21).

The answer, I believe, lies in the motivation for the deed. If our motive is injustice, greed, convenience, or to elevate self, then lying is always wrong. But if our motives are selfless, we may find that, in wartime, deceiving the forces of evil is a weapon for good. But let’s hope that we will never be forced to tell a lie.

We might also say that men like the Nazis seeking people to kill didn’t deserve the truth.

Scriptural Examples

Pharaoh. Time after time Pharaoh lied as he promised to let God’s people go. Only after the death of all the firstborn did Pharaoh do what he promised. But he was not to escape God’s wrath. He soon went swimming in the Red Sea (Exodus 7-14).

The disobedient son. Jesus told this short parable. A man asked both his sons to work in his vineyard. One said “No,” but then he later went to work. The second said that he would go, but never did. Which of the two did his father’s will? The first. The second was a liar and a deserter (Matthew 21:30).

Prayer of Application

Sovereign Lord, keep my tongue from lies. Sometimes I am tempted to shade the truth just a little for a selfish motive. Strengthen me, Lord, that I may tell the truth in all such instances.

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

.

Proverbs 19:4, 6-7

Beware of Economic Class Favoritism

4) Wealth brings many friends, but a poor man’s friend deserts him. 6) Many curry favor with a ruler, and everyone is the friend of a man who gives gifts. 7) A poor man is shunned by all his relatives—how much more do his friends avoid him! Though he pursues them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.

If you doubt the truth of these verses, try winning the lottery. “Friends” will come out of the woodwork. I once knew a man who became very wealthy. His gifts to charity were extraordinary. When the news broke that he was a fraud who was giving away his investors’ funds, his “friends” sought to distance themselves far from him.

We sometimes think the salvation of a prominent person will greatly enhance God’s work. That may or may not be true. God doesn’t need anyone’s money, social position, or popularity. God values people of faith who will humble themselves, pray, and serve others (Luke 22:26-27).

You might ask, “What about the Great Ruler, Jesus? Why don’t more people curry His favor?” Good question. Christ holds out the riches of salvation to everyone free-of-charge. You’d think that people would be clamoring to receive them. But no! Why? Because most prefer riches (or or some other idol) to spend on their lusts (James 4:3).

Scriptural Examples

Elihu. This young man held his counsel until Job’s friends had spoken. He said he would show partiality to no man because of his position. Why? Because he feared the Lord’s retribution. Elihu was never criticized by God (Job 32:21-22).

The dinner party host. Jesus said we should not invite those from whom we seek favor or repayment. Then we will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous (Luke 14:12-14).

Prayer of Application

Father, help me to look beyond the world’s system of values to see the values You hold dear. All people, regardless of their place in society, have dignity because they are in Your image.

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

.

Proverbs 19:3

Beware of Accusing the Lord

A man’s own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the Lord.

Here is a picture of the two-faced person. His own foolishness is the cause of his trouble, but he blames it on someone else, namely God. People who will not give God the time of day when things are going their way (Romans 1:21), are the first to accuse Him when disaster or trouble strikes.

As Christians, we need to be careful not to accuse God of wrongdoing. By His grace He saved us; how shall He not freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32). Every circumstance of our life is in perfect compliance with His will for us (Romans 8:29-30) and is working to our ultimate benefit and to His glory.

All of this doesn’t mean that nothing bad will ever happen to us. Many have lost children, jobs, loved ones or health, not understanding why God would let it happen to them. We may be tempted to blame God. But remember, God can see the end from the beginning and is working in all things according to His good purpose (Philippians 2:13). Therefore, let us trust Him in every circumstance, taking trouble and trial along with the blessings of life, and press on without murmuring (Philippians 2:14).

Scriptural Examples

Rachel. Rachel was jealous of her sister Leah and accused Jacob, screaming, “Give me children or I’ll die.” Her cry was really against God for her inability to conceive (Genesis 30:1-2).

The Israelites. Complaints against God began even before the people left Egypt (Exodus 5:21). They continued at the Red Sea (14:11-12); for lack of food (16:2-3); at the bitter waters of Marah (15:23-24); and for lack of water (17:2-3).

David. Following God’s judgment upon Uzzah for steadying the ark of the covenant with his hand, David foolishly became very angry with the Lord (2 Samuel 6:7-8).

Prayer of Application

Lord, You have saved me by grace alone and are working all things out to the pleasure of Your will. Who am I to doubt and question You? Help me not to complain.

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

.

Proverbs 19:2

Know God’s Way First, Then Move Ahead

It is not good to have zeal without knowledge, nor to be hasty and miss the way.

True integrity springs from the fear of the Lord, as does knowledge of Him (Psalm 111:10; Proverbs 9:10). The person that lacks the knowledge of God is lost and is like the “beasts that perish(Psalm 49:20). He has no proper direction for his life, no solution to his problem of guilt. He has no underpinnings of support in times of trouble, nor outside strength to bolster him. Principally, he lacks hope. Only the grave awaits.

But we who know God often act as if we do not. We may not apply His wisdom and commands to our lives (Hebrews 5:12-14). We may act rashly and in haste, without thoughtfully and prayerfully seeking God’s way. Carefully consider your actions and your words and compare them with God’s Word. Then you won’t be driven impulsively and won’t need to apologize to others and to God for hasty and foolish behavior.

Scriptural Examples

Moses. He observed an Egyptian beating one of the Hebrew slaves and in rashness and haste murdered him, then buried his corpse in the sand. He fled Egypt (Exodus 2:11-15).

Joshua. Basking in the victories the Lord had delivered at Jericho and Ai, he acted rashly and hastily. Without consulting God, Joshua allowed the Gibeonites to live (Joshua 9:3-15).

David and Uzzah. When the ark of the covenant was recaptured, David put the ark on a cart, a hasty mistake as it was supposed to be carried between long poles (Exodus 25:27). The oxen stumbled and the ark began to fall. Uzzah reached out in haste to catch the ark, and God struck him dead (2 Samuel 6:3-7).

The centurion on shipboard. Paul warned him that disaster awaited if they sailed on, but the centurion rashly decided otherwise. The ship was lost, yet without loss of life (Acts 27:6-22).

Prayer of Application

Father God, forgive me for my sometimes hasty words and actions. Strengthen me, Lord, in the knowledge of You through Your Word, that I might do Your will and not sin.

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

.

Proverbs 19:1

Prefer Integrity to Riches

Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.

In business as in life, a person is often faced with difficult decisions. For instance, suppose you found out that the company you manage uses a particular software on 10 computers, but has only purchased licenses for four. The chances that you will be discovered for this copyright infringement are slim indeed, and it will cost $2,100 to purchase the other six, which in turn will adversely affect the bottom line. What do you do? This proverb gives you the answer. Spend the money and let the bottom line suffer. Don’t forfeit principle for pragmatism.

Wealth is honored more in our society than is the hidden heart of integrity. That’s one reason why BMWs and big homes are popular. There’s nothing wrong in owning a BMW or a big home, but in God’s economy, the heart of integrity is worth much more. What good is it for a person to be rich in the things of the world but poor in the things of God? (Luke 12:21).

Scriptural Examples

Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. What might have been viewed by some slaves as an opportunity for personal advancement, Joseph fled with his integrity intact (Genesis 39:8-12).

Shiprah, Puah, and Pharaoh. The midwives feared God more than they feared the perverse king, so they refused to commit sin by killing the newborn Hebrew boys (Exodus 1:15-19).

Peter and Simon Magus. Peter, in his integrity, rebuked Simon and his money and called upon him to repent of the perverseness and sin in his heart (Acts 8:18-23).

Paul, Barnabas, and the Lyconians. In Lystra, Paul healed a man who had never walked. The people called Paul and Barnabas “Hermes” and “Zeus” and proceeded to worship them. But the apostles would have none of it (Acts 14:8-15).

Prayer of Application

Father, sensitize my heart to keep Your commandments. Point out areas in my life that may deviate even slightly from truth, justice, or even the smallest breach of integrity.

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

.

Proverbs 19: Introduction

God’s Providence

God governs the universe “sustaining all things by his powerful word(Hebrews 1:3). God “gives all men life and breath and everything else(Acts 17:25). We in the 20th century seem to have lost sight of this great truth of God’s providential care for His creation. We speak of events happening by “chance” or “luck,” as if those concepts really had any power of their own. But Jesus said “even the very hairs of your head are numbered(Matthew 10:30). God governs His creation.

But, then, is God the author of sin? God forbid! We humans have been created with a will of our own and are responsible for our actions. We cause events but God makes the events we cause, even our sin, work to His glory. Proverbs 19:21 says, “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” We may scheme and make plans, but it is God’s will that will be done.

Consider Joseph’s reaction to seeing his brothers who had sold him into slavery. Did he seek revenge for their actions against him? No. He knew God’s providential hand was at work even in their sin. “Joseph said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives’ (Genesis 50:19-20). Trust only in the Lord’s providential hand.

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

.

Proverbs 18:24

Be a Friend Like Our Heavenly Brother

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Other translations state that the person who makes many friends invites destruction. Either way, we have real wisdom. In order to make friends, a person must reach out to others; but if he does so indiscriminately he invites problems. What good is it if a person’s many friends desert him in times of trouble? He’s worse off than the unfriendly person, because at least the latter knows where he stands. It is not the number of our friends that counts but the quality of such friendship.

As Christians, we need to seek true friendship only with those who share our faith. The bond that unites Christians is stronger than blood. My best friend in the Lord was also my natural brother until his death in 2011. We were twice blessed.

But my brother and I have had an even closer Friend. He is the Lord Jesus. He helps us in many ways: in escaping temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13); in cheering us up (John 14:17); in comforting and healing us (Psalm 41:3); in dispelling our fears (Psalm 23:4); and in giving us the blessed hope of an eternal dwelling place with Him (John 17:24). Oh, to be like Him as a friend to others.

Scriptural Examples

Abishai, Benaiah, and Eleazar. While engaged in battle against the Philistines, David happened to mention how he would like some water from Bethlehem. These three friends slipped through the Philistine lines to get it for him (2 Samuel 23:13-17).

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Job’s three friends should be given some credit for sticking with him when he was down and out. We can’t say the same for Job’s wife and the rest of his family and servants (Job 2:9, 11-13; 19:11-13 ).

Priscilla and Aquila. These friends of Paul risked their lives for the great apostle (Romans 16:3-4).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, thank You for the Friend we have in Jesus. Strengthen me through His friendship, that I might be a true and trusted friend to those You have called me to serve.

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

.

Proverbs 18:23

Even in Wealth, Be Dependent upon God

A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly.

I was discharged from the Army and began my business career in 1964. I didn’t really like the “dog-eat-dog” business world from the beginning, but stuck with it because I had a dream of financial independence.

The poor man in the verse above is dependent upon the rich man, who has no sympathy for his plight. He doesn’t listen to his pleas for help and answers harshly. This particular rich man is selfish, which he thinks keeps him from becoming poor. How wrong he is.

This rich man fails to see he is totally indebted to God for every dime he has (Psalm 145:15-16; Matthew 6:26-33). When he dies, he will take none of it with him. If he is unsaved, he’ll stand naked and penniless to face judgment (Acts 17:31). Then, though he may beg for mercy, he will not be heard (Luke 16:19-31).

In the years since 1964, I have seen that financial independence can be like a mirage that vanishes as you approach it. When we think we’ve got all the financial resources we need, we worry about losing them. We’ve just switched our dependence to a bank account. True independence, I’ve learned, comes from total dependence upon the living God. He is our stronghold and refuge, our very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1).

Scriptural Examples

The prophet’s widow and her husband’s creditor. This poor woman asked Elisha to help her. Her dead husband’s creditor was coming to take her two sons as his slaves. Through God’s providence her sons were not taken (2 Kings 4:1-7).

Lazarus and the rich man. Jesus told the story of a beggar who sat at the gate of a rich man. They both died. Lazarus entered “Abraham’s bosom,” but the rich man entered torment in hell. His trust in riches became a curse to him (Luke 16:19-26).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for the freedom and independence I have in my dependence upon You. You have given me Your Word, that I may know You and Your provision for me.

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

.

Proverbs 18:22

Choose Your Spouse with Great Care

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

The key to this proverb is that a good wife, or a good husband, one who will provide mutual support, encouragement, sympathy, and love, is from the Lord’s favor. A wife or husband who doesn’t do these things isn’t necessarily good at all, and in fact can make his or her spouse miserable.

How does one go about getting this favor from God? First of all, through prayer (Genesis 24:12-14), the medium God has given us to request blessings from Him. Second, we may receive a good spouse through the wisdom God gives us in His Word. We should marry only in the Lord and avoid being unequally yoked with unbelievers (1 Corinthians 7:39). Third, we should be careful not to rely too much upon the physical attractiveness of a potential partner, but rather seek out qualities that may be seen in godly men and women in Scripture. Finally, as married people, we should always seek to bless our partner in all things, as heirs together of God’s gracious gift of life (1 Peter 3:7).

Scriptural Examples

Manoah’s wife. This woman, whose name Scripture does not give us, was the mother of Samson and a true blessing to her husband. When a visit from the Angel of the Lord promised her a son, Manoah was afraid because they had seen God face-to-face. His wife uttered words of comfort and wisdom that calmed him (Judges 13:1–14:3).

Boaz’ wife. For me, Ruth is the finest example of womanhood in the Old Testament. Her loyalty, simplicity, beauty of soul, humility, obedience, faith, and love are exemplary (the book of Ruth).

Job’s wife. In contrast, this godly man had a foolish wife. As her husband sat stricken in affliction, she urged him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9-10).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, help those who seek a spouse to do so prayerfully and with a sound mind, relying on You and Your Word. Thank You for my spouse, who is truly a gift of grace.

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

.