Proverbs 20:19

Beware of the Person Who Talks Too Much

A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.

Although the KJV uses the term “flatters” instead of “talks too much,” Derek Kidner points out that the person in this proverb is one who babbles on like a fool, revealing secrets not so much from malicious intent but from an empty mind. We are to use caution in our conversations with a person like that because the next secrets to be revealed may be our own.

The Lord warns us in Matthew 12:36 that we shall give account on the day of judgment for every idle word that we speak. I’ve got some explaining to do! Sometimes I feel pressure to keep a conversation going and may say the first thing that comes into my mind without thinking. I didn’t have a malicious purpose, it was just foolishness. Nevertheless, I need to confess it and seek the Lord’s strength to prevent its reoccurrence.

There are those to whom this foolish babbling or chattering comes naturally. They talk on and on about the neighborhood’s latest juicy morsels without compunction. Normally we don’t have to look far to find such a person. Apparently they do it because their idle minds have nothing else to do. It fills the time, and elevates the talker at the expense of others. Beware of people like these if you don’t want your secrets spread all over town.

Scriptural Examples

The Thessalonian busybodies. They had nothing better to do than to go around being busybodies. They were evidently spreading gossip and revealing secrets of other members of the Christian community. Paul rebuked them (2 Thessalonians 3:11-12).

The young widows. Apparently, some young widows had traded their love for Christ for sensual desires. They went from house to house talking too much. They were gossips and busybodies. Paul condemned their activities (1 Timothy 5:11-15).

Prayer of Application

Lord God, help me to control my tongue and to speak only appropriate words of encouragement and truth. And, Lord, when- ever I hear gossip being spread, help me to stop it.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:18

Go to Battle Armed with Good Advice

Make plans by seeking advice; if you wage war, obtain guidance.

In my lifetime, I have seen our U. S. Presidents struggle often with decisions when war hung in the balance. I am sure any such decision is an agonizing one, and only made after the counsel of many advisers. I personally would not want to be faced with the responsibility of sending young men and women into armed conflict.

But every Christian is engaged in spiritual warfare (Philippians 1:30), so I see this proverb in that light. Each Christian needs to establish his personal strategy in the struggle against Satan and his minions who would make war with God. We should do this armed with godly counsel and advice. There are as many different roles in the battle as there are soldiers. Some will fight in foxholes along the front lines, while others will be engaged in supplying the front line troops with bread, prayer, and encouragement. God distributes different gifts to different people.

Each one’s calling in the battle plan will be in accordance with the gifts God has given him, and should be established in the counsel of the Word of God. It should also be in the counsel of the wise advice of our pastors, elders, and other mature warriors of the faith.

Scriptural Examples

David. At war with the Philistines, David sought the counsel of God as to whether or not to attack. God said he should, so David attacked and was victorious. But then the enemy entered the Valley of Rephaim, David once more inquired of God. This time, the Lord gave him tactical instructions. David was to circle around behind enemy lines and as soon as he heard the sound of marching he was to attack. David defeated the Philistines again (2 Samuel 5:17-25).

Prayer of Application

Father, You have drafted me into spiritual warfare. Help me to take up Your battle cry and, armed with advice from Your Word and godly people, pitch daily into the fray.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:17

Beware the Aftertaste of Sin

Food gained by fraud tastes sweet to a man, but he ends up with a mouth full of gravel.

The food gotten both honestly and deceitfully tastes sweet at first. The difference lies in the aftertaste. The sweetness of fraudulent food will turn to gravel in the mouth of the eater.

Two principles are at work here; natural and spiritual. The natural principle might be: “You have to live with the consequences of your actions.” In other words, if you stay up late drinking wine, be prepared to have a hangover in the morning (Proverbs 23:31-32). But some people seem to get away with sin. Enter the spiritual principle. Nobody gets away with sin. The Lord who sees all says, “It is mine to avenge, I will repay(Hebrews 10:30). Sin that tastes sweet always winds up as gravel.

As I was meditating on this proverb I thought of the food that endures to eternal life, our Lord Jesus (John 6:35). He is the food that comes in truth, always satisfying with never a bitter aftertaste. He bore our sins on the cross and “ate gravel” for us that we who are hidden in Him might never taste of it.

Scriptural Examples

Eve. Eve saw that the fruit was pleasing to the eye and looked nutritious. She wanted the wisdom that it held, even though she knew that it was off limits. The first bite must have been delicious. She gave some of it to Adam. Immediately thereafter its taste turned to gravel (Genesis 3:6-24).

Aachan. This man deceitfully hid some of the plunder from Jericho. Following the initial defeat at Ai, Aachan’s sweet food of fraud became gravel in his mouth (Joshua 7:21-25).

Ananias and Sapphira. They sold some real estate and announced that they were going to give the entire proceeds to the common fund. But they kept back a portion for themselves. Shortly, they both ate the gravel of their sin (Acts 5:1-10).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, help me to resist the temptations in life that promise sweetness and deliver gravel. Rather, help me to walk in the righteousness that You have laid forth in Your Word.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:16

Don’t Be a Sucker

Take the garment of one who puts up security for a stranger; hold it in pledge if he does it for a wayward woman.

We are warned many times in Proverbs about being surety for a stranger, as in co-signing a note at the bank (Proverbs 6:1-5; 11:15; 17:18, for instance). Here we have a picture of a person who comes to you for a loan, the purpose of which is to pay “the debt of a stranger whose reliability is unknown, and the debt of a wayward woman whose unreliability is known” (NIV Study Bible notes, p. 974). This person foolishly does something that exceeds what Christian charity requires, and then asks you to join him in his foolishness. If you do make the loan, get collateral to back up the debt should he default. Don’t be a sucker.

Often, Christians seem to be easy marks because of our desire to follow the Lord in doing good. But there is a limit to Christian charity. If people ask you to lend them money so that they can help a stranger, don’t do it unless you can afford to lose what you have given. If you decide to go ahead, take collateral if you ever hope to see your money again.

Scriptural Examples

Joshua and the Gibeonites. This man of God and mighty warrior was suckered into believing the story of a group of Gibeonites. These men had heard of the victories of the Israelites over Jericho and Ai, so in their fear they resorted to a ruse to get out of a sticky situation. They pretended they were from a far country, put on old sandals and clothing, and carried cracked wineskins and moldy bread. They said they had come a long distance in order to make a treaty with the invading Israelites. Joshua and the men of Israel saw the Gibeonite “evidence” but didn’t ask God for wisdom in the matter. They foolishly struck a binding treaty with men who actually lived in the land they had come to conquer (Joshua 9:3-26).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, help me to be wise and to understand the limits to which I can go in Christian charity. At the same time, keep my heart and mind open to the real needs of others.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:15

Let Wisdom Be Your Wealth and Adornment

Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.

Gold is known for its beauty, lustre, permanence and weight, and is valued for its scarcity. Rubies are precious stones of rare beauty. Both gold and rubies are prized for their intrinsic value and for their beauty in jewelry. The world puts its trust and gives its honor to things like gold and rubies.

But there is jewelry of far greater value that is much more beautiful than mere gold or rubies: the lips that speak knowledge. This is not the world’s knowledge but the knowledge of God, or divine knowledge, that transcends our ability to mine gold and rubies. It is a gift from God and must be sought from Him and His Word.

Isaiah 52:7 speaks of the beauty of “the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace…who proclaim salvation.” How feet and lips of beauty are needed in this world today. Let your trust and ultimate security rest in His knowledge, then let your lips be your precious adornment.

Scriptural Examples

Solomon. Solomon could have asked God for gold and rubies but he asked for wisdom to tell right from wrong and to govern God’s people. Because of his request, the Lord also showered Solomon with wealth and honor (1 Kings 3:5-13).

The merchant and the pearl. Jesus told of a merchant who sold everything he had to buy a pearl. The pearl of wisdom was the key to the kingdom and was infinitely more valuable than all his other possessions (Matthew 13:45-46).

The rich young man. He asked Jesus how to inherit eternal life. Jesus discerned his coveteousness and told him to sell his “gold and rubies” and follow after Him. The man was sad, seeing wealth of more value than eternal life (Matthew 19:16-22).

Prayer of Application

Father, what a treasure is stored up for those who love You. Give us wisdom to use our lips to tell others of it, to the end that we might bring glory to You, wisdom’s great Source.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:14

Avoid Hypocrisy at All Costs

“Its no good, its no good!” says the buyer; then off he goes and boasts about his purchase.

The hypocrite is deceitful. He says one thing with his lips, but his heart is in another place. Here we see a buyer who bad-mouths the seller’s product, hoping to strike a better deal. So what he knows is good he says is bad. The seller, on the other hand, might attempt to deceive the buyer by claiming some benefit of his product that is beyond his product’s ability to deliver. For the Christian application, we may talk the talk of faith, but fail to walk the walk. This is hypocrisy.

We live in a world of inconsistency. We are promised something verbally and yet on reading the fine print we find the opposite is true. Advertisements promise enjoyment for smokers but deliver cancer, emphysema, and heart disease. TV commercials promise fun and popularity for beer drinkers but often deliver broken lives and homes. The world offers fulfillment and satisfaction in so many of its ways, but in the end often delivers guilt and shame. Only in Christ is found the consistency that brings full joy and peace and confidence. Follow Him and avoid the trap of the world’s hypocrisy.

Scriptural Examples

The Israelites. Time and again they would honor God with their lips, yet their hearts and minds were unfaithful to His covenant with them (Psalm 78:34-38).

The adulteress. She promised the simpleminded youth enjoyment in her bed. It was safe. Her husband was on a long trip. He followed her, little knowing that while she promised sweetness and excitement she delivered death (Proverbs 7:10-23).

The Pharisees. Jesus called them hypocrites (Matthew 15:7) and warned His disciples of their devious ways. They were false prophets who kept people from the Kingdom (Luke 11:39-52).

Prayer of Application

Father in Heaven, keep my life free from hypocrisy. As I grow in Christ, help me to follow His commands consistently, that my life will bear the fruit of which my lips speak.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:13

Rise and Shine!

Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare.

“Rise and shine” were my mother’s words as she made the rounds getting all of us sleepyheads out of the sack. It was a tough job. That bed was so warm and cozy. Just a few more minutes to roll over and drift back to sleep…but no: “Rise and shine!” Mom knew the secret. A day stood waiting to be conquered and every moment lost was a moment never to be regained.

The army changed me. As soon as my eyes opened in the morning, my feet would hit the floor. Now I love the morning. I guess I’m what you would call a “morning person.” But let me confess that I am guilty of another form of sleepiness, a form which also can lead to a kind of poverty: spiritual drowsiness. I am sometimes a sleepyhead on matters of discernment. My eyelids often close when I should be watchful in prayer (Matthew 26:40). I need to awake to the “rise and shine” exhortation of Paul: “Wake up, O sleeper!” and live wisely, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:14-16).

Scriptural Examples

Samson. Samson slept both with his eyes and his mind as Delilah learned the secret of his miraculous strength and cut off the seven braids of his hair. Those eyes that longed for sleep would soon be put out by the Philistines (Judges 16:19-21).

Israel’s watchmen. The Lord spoke of these leaders of Israel who were blind and lacked knowledge. They loved to sleep and lie around all day dreaming, never satisfied as each sought his own way (Isaiah 56:10-12).

Eutychus. This young man sat in a third-story window listening to Paul preach. Sleep overcame him and he plunged to his death. Paul rushed down to him and restored him to life. Let’s not be like Eutychus; let’s be watchful (Acts 20:9-12).

Prayer of Application

Father, teach me that I have only one life and it will soon pass; only what’s done for Christ will last. Place my feet on the ground and give me the energy and strength to rise and shine.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:12

Rejoice in God’s Sovereign Grace

Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both.

Jesus called Lazarus from the tomb. He was stone cold dead and had even begun to stink. He was just like you and me before salvation. Could Lazarus have done this on his own? No, he was dead. Dead men don’t make choices (John 11:1-45).

Many believe they were merely spiritually sick when they chose to follow Christ. But Ephesians 2:1 states that they were, in fact, dead in trespasses and sins, blind and deaf to the things of the gospel. Can dead bones live? Yes, but only by the grace and sovereign breath of God (Ezekiel 37:3-5).

Jesus says that the necessary condition of our salvation is to be born again, or “from above(John 3:3). What decision did you have in your first birth? Absolutely none. And neither do we “decide” to be born again. We need God to breathe in us His breath of life before we can either hear or see the gospel and respond to it in faith, which is our response to God’s grace and is also God’s gift. (Ephesians 2:8-9) Rejoice that He has chosen you and given you the power to believe (John 15:16; John 1:12). Joyfully give God all the credit.

Scriptural Examples

Cleopas and companion. These men were walking along the road to Emmaus discussing the events surrounding Jesus’ death. The resurrected Lord came and walked beside them but they were kept from recognizing him. Jesus began to explain things to them; then after breaking bread their eyes were opened and they understood who He was (Luke 24:13-32).

Paul. On another road the great apostle was blinded. Soon, he was to receive both hearing and sight (Acts 9:3-7). I believe Paul’s salvation story was repeated three times in Acts to emphasize the fact that God has to act first in anyone’s salvation.

Lydia. In Philippi, Paul’s message caught the ears of a businesswoman from Thyatira. When the Lord opened her heart, she responded to the gospel of Christ (Acts 16:13-15).

Prayer of Application

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. Father, I rejoice in Your sovereign grace that saved me.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:11

Observe Your Children Closely

Even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right.

In old computer lingo when the Mac first came out, we used to hear the acronym, “WYSIWYG.” It stood for “What You See Is What You Get.” What you see on the screen will be duplicated when it is printed on paper. Little children are like that. Not yet adept at masking their fears and feelings like adults, what you see is who they are.

A secular proverb says, “Large oaks from little acorns grow.” A character flaw may begin as a little acorn. If left unchecked it will one day become a large oak. We as parents need to observe our children closely. When we see acorns of selfishness, vengefulness, pride, dishonesty, and the like, we need to stifle that trait’s growth by discipline and fervent prayer before it forms into a settled habit.

Conversely, we are to encourage and seek to strengthen character traits in our kids that will mature into large oaks of righteous behavior. Don’t forget to reaffirm correct behavior in your children. Train up your children in the Word of God and watch as it does its transforming work in their lives.

Scriptural Examples

Jacob. Jacob’s character was seen very early when he came forth from the womb holding onto Esau’s heel. It was a glimpse of the personal ambition and deceit that would mark his later life (Genesis 25:26; Hosea 12:3).

Samuel. The Lord’s hand was upon Samuel from his youth, and Samuel’s words were without defect. All Israel recognized that he was to be a prophet of the Lord (1 Samuel 3:19-20).

John the Baptist. The Spirit’s hold upon John was evident even from within Elizabeth’s womb (Luke 1:15, 44).

Jesus. Jesus’ messianic mission was discerned by both Simeon and Anna as they served in the temple. His character and holiness were evident from His youth (Luke 2:25-52).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, help us parents to be discerning of the character traits of our children even from birth, then help us to raise those children in the fear and discipline of the Lord.

Copyright 2016 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 20:10

Practice Absolute Honesty

Differing weights and differing measures—the Lord detests them both.

If a someone owns a grocery store and permits its produce scales to weigh just a slight bit heavy, so that for every true pound of potatoes he is charging for 1.02 pounds, then he has stolen from his customer just as certainly as if he had pilfered the tires from his customer’s car. Actually, what the grocery owner has done may be worse than common burglary, because he has done it in the context of a seemingly honest business transaction in which an innocent party is tricked.

We Christians must practice squeaky-clean honesty in all our dealings. We must do this not just because we know that our God is omniscient and that His judgment is like a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:29). We are to do it primarily out of love for Christ and a desire to see His name glorified in us.

Scriptural Examples

Satan. Called “the king of Tyre,” it is nevertheless Satan who is described by Ezekiel. At one time a blameless and beautiful creature, Satan’s heart became proud and he engaged in sins and dishonest trade. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44), and the father of dishonest scales, too (Ezekiel 28:12-19).

Jacob. Although Jacob used dishonest means to steal his brother Esau’s birthright and in some of his dealings with his father-in-law, Laban, toward his latter years God changed him. When his sons returned from Egypt, Jacob insisted that they return the silver in their sacks (Genesis 43:12).

Judas. Judas complained to Jesus that the perfume lavished upon Him by Martha’s sister Mary was a waste. He said its value could have been given to the poor. But Judas didn’t care about the poor. He was a dishonest schemer who would probably have kept the money for himself (John 12:4-6).

Prayer of Application

Lord, every day I run into situations where my honesty is tested. It may be in financial matters, in my associations, or in my home. Help me, Lord, to be honest in every way.

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

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