Proverbs 12:27

Conserve God’s Precious Resources

The lazy man does not roast his game, but the diligent man prizes his possessions.

This verse has always reminded me of bird hunting in Mexico. We always brought home dove or duck, but we rarely brought back any quail. They were so precious to us and so good to eat that we would clean them in the field, stuff them with tomato and onion, wrap them in tinfoil, and throw them on the hot coals of the fire. Soon there was a feast fit for a king.

The lazy man here has enough energy to go hunting. It’s his attitude that is atrocious. He doesn’t hunt for food. Maybe he just goes out to be with the boys and have a good time. Whatever his reason, he leaves God’s resource to rot on the ground.

God’s “common”* grace has bestowed upon humankind many vital and precious resources. Unfortunately, many have done their best to exploit and destroy them. God gave us authority over the earth, but that authority carries with it responsibility. If we are truly God’s servants we will conserve His precious resources.

*NOTE: God’s common grace isn’t common in the way we usually use that term. Distinguished from God’s saving grace, it simply means that God gives the rain to both the righteous and the unrighteous – to everyone on earth. (Matthew 5:43-45)

Scriptural Examples

Esau. Here is a man who loved to hunt and who prized his kill. But there was a more substantive gift which he cared less about: his birthright as the first born son of the patriarch Isaac. He was a godless man who sold his precious birthright for a bowl of red stew (Genesis 25:29-33; 27:30-36; Hebrews 12:16-17).

The Egyptians. Warned by God through Joseph, the Egyptians conserved the first seven years of harvests. By the time the famine arrived, they were ready for it (Genesis 41:1-57).

The manna. God sent the Israelites manna each morning. On the sixth day, they would collect enough for two days, so that on their Sabbath day, they wouldn’t have to work in gathering it. By the manna, God taught His people to trust in His provision, and to follow His orders precisely (Exodus 16:22-23).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, we are often a wasteful people, and consume more than we ought. Help me to see areas in my life where I can be more diligent in conserving the gifts You so graciously give.

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

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Proverbs 12:26

Beware of Being Misled by Wicked Friends

A righteous man is cautious in friendship, but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

The righteous person differs from his wicked acquaintance in his relationship with God. He is called into a more excellent family, set on a more excellent path, fed food and clothed in a more excellent way, and is given a more excellent hope. The Christian should therefore be careful not to rush into friendships where his moral insight into appropriate behavior would be harmed.

Satan was led by his insatiable quest to war against God, and therefore tempted Eve to commit a seemingly innocent act of eating a piece of fruit. Although warned, Adam and Eve couldn’t fathom the fatal consequences that would follow. And so it is, that we, too, are potentially blinded to the consequences of sin in our lives. One way to avoid sin is to avoid friends who would lead you to violate the clear teaching of God’s Word.

Scriptural Examples

Abram. The patriarch was circumspect in his association with others. Following his rescue of Lot from Kedorlaomer and the kings associated with him, Abraham was met by the king of Sodom. The Sodomite monarch told Abram he could keep all of the plunder stolen from the city if he would return the people. But Abram told the king he would not so much as keep the thong of a sandal so it could not be said that Sodom made Abram rich. In this way, Abram distanced himself from the city and its sin (Genesis 14:1-24).

Lot. Conversely, Lot lived among the people of Sodom. He apparently was the city’s only righteous man (2 Peter2:7-8). Peter tells us how Lot was distressed and even tormented by the awfulness of the deeds of the Sodomites. His problem was he settled there in the first place, instead of distancing himself from it as Abram did (Genesis 18:16-19:38).

Prayer of Application

Heavenly Father, others who do not know Christ may seek to mislead me into sinful ways and habits. Protect me from their deceit and wickedness and lead me in the way everlasting.

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

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Proverbs 12:25

Speak Comforting Words

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.

A few years ago, I went through a very difficult trial in my life. I was weighed down in sorrow. Thank God for His Word, which lifted me up and took the weight off my back. The Word reminded me of my hope in Christ, and gave me courage to keep on keeping on. I used to go to sleep reciting the 23rd Psalm. His rod and His staff comforted me. Jesus commands us not to worry (John 14:1). His instruction is precious and always comforting.

But also precious beyond words is the comfort offered by other believers during times of trials. Sometimes we can get so discouraged that we don’t even want to open the Bible. Then, the comforting words of a dear brother or sister are sweet indeed. God has sent us His Comforter and I believe that He speaks through the mouths of people like you and me. Open your heart to the Holy Spirit and ask Him to make you His vessel of comfort and encouragement to those around you.

Scriptural Examples

Ruth. All of the men of her family died in Moab, leaving only Naomi and her two daughters-in-law. Only Ruth stuck by Naomi, offering her comforting words (Ruth 1:16-17).

Elijah. Elijah was feeling alone and discouraged. “I am the only one left,” he said, “and now they are trying to kill me, too.” But God came to him with encouraging words. He said that He had reserved 7,000 who had not bowed their knee to Baal. Refreshed, Elijah got up and into action (1 Kings 19:9-21).

The Philippian jailor. Paul and Silas were thrown into jail in Philippi. That night, an earthquake opened the doors of the jail. The jailor was about to kill himself when Paul spoke comforting words to him. No one had tried to escape. Later, more comforting words brought salvation (Acts 16:12-34).

Prayer of Application

Dear Father, how I need the comfort and encouragement of Your Word and of Your children. Help me through my experience to be one who is able to comfort and encourage others.

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

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Proverbs 12:24

Prepare to Reign with Christ

Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labor.

We have here two polar positions in life—a ruler and a slave—and two reasons for it. The business person who has laid the foundation of a solid education, then diligently applied his time and intelligence to the solution of problems, should move up in the ranks of leadership. Conversely, the person who was slack in his educational efforts and who does not apply himself to the job may never be promoted, and may even be fired. We all know of instances where a slothful person has been elevated, but that is the exception and not the rule.

As Christians we have another eternal sphere in which we are focused, and where it is imperative that we show diligence. Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 that we will live with Christ eternally if we died with Him, and if we endure in patient and faithful service, we shall also reign with Him. However, if we disown Him, He will disown us. If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, but what a scourging rebuke to be found faithless in God’s sight. Be diligent in His work and look forward to your reign with Christ.

Scriptural Examples

Joseph. Pharaoh looked for a diligent man to rule. Who else should it have been but the man who had shown himself wise and discerning (Genesis 41:39-41).

Joseph’s family. Upon their arrival in Egypt, Joseph’s brothers and their families were assigned to the land of Goshen as their home. Because of their experience, Pharaoh entrusted them with his cattle (Genesis 47:6).

The wise and faithful servant. This servant was diligent and obedient, even in his master’s absence. When he returned, he would put the servant in charge of all he owned (Matthew 24:45-51).

Prayer of Application

My Lord and God, please give me the desire and then the strength to diligently serve You every moment of my life. May the diligence of my life bring honor and glory to Your name.

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

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Proverbs 12:23

Speak with Discernment

A prudent man keeps his knowledge to himself, but the heart of fools blurts out folly.

A few years ago, my older brother Bill was on a summer mission to Qingdao, in China. In his letters to me, he used such phrases as “think about my bad knee.” I knew that he was using a code because he knew that his letter was being censored, so he used “think” instead of “pray.” His ministry among the people was his garden, where seeds were sown and a harvest was taken. He had to be particularly discerning when talking to the Chinese people about Christ. His group could get into much trouble by looking like they were proselyting.

We may not live in a country where such concealment is necessary or where such a code would be advisable. But we do need to be discerning about our speech, particularly with those outside the church. To discuss with them deep truths regarding Christ is not prudent when they will not even accept the elementary truths about Him. Keep it simple, and always pray for, and rely upon, the leadership of the Holy Spirit in all your conversations with unbelievers.

Scriptural Examples

Abraham. The patriarch kept quiet about the mission to Mt. Moriah on which God had ordered him to go. He spared his family great stress by doing so (Genesis 22:1-7).

Joseph. When he first received his brothers in Egypt, Joseph chose to keep his identity a secret. By doing so, he disciplined them and heightened the suspense and impact of his ultimate unveiling (Genesis 42:7).

Esther. In the court of a foriegn king, Esther prudently concealed her identity as a Jewess (Esther 2:10).

Jesus. Jesus often cautioned the disciples to keep the truth about Him secret until the timing was right (Matthew 16:20.).

Prayer of Application

Father, I find that too often my mouth speaks before my brain is engaged. Give me a tongue of discernment, one that will have wisdom to speak only words that bring glory to You.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 12:20-22

Joyfully Rest in the Truth, Delighting God

20) There is deceit in the hearts of those who plot evil, but joy for those who promote peace. 21) No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble. 22) The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in men who are truthful.

The non-Christian’s heart is inclined toward deceit. He is a slave to his imaginings of evil (Genesis 6:5; Ephesians 2:1-2). He is filled with trouble, and indeed born to it (Job 5:7). His lying lips are an abomination to the Lord. Except for the gracious intervention of God, he will die in that condition (Ephesians 2:4-5).

The Christian seeks peace for his neighbor. He delights in the truth, and does not lie. At least he should know better (Romans 8:6). He receives the joy that comes from a clear conscience (2 Corinthians 1:12). He does not fear evil (1 John 4:18), because all circumstances, even the lying lips of the wicked and their abominable deeds, will work to his eternal benefit (Romans 8:28).
This is the one who delights God: the one whom God has called to salvation and who rests in and obeys the truth of God. He produces a crop of righteousness (Matthew 13:23) through faith in Christ. God seeks these people to worship Him (John 4:23), to glorify Him in all that they do (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Scriptural Examples

Ananias and Sapphira. This early church couple joined others in selling their property and distributing the proceeds among the poor (Acts 4:32). However, they deceitfully withheld a portion of the proceeds from a sale, retaining it for their own use. There was nothing wrong in doing that, but they had apparently led others to believe that they were actually giving it all. In fact, they lied to the Holy Spirit, who knows our every thought and motive. God dealt very severely with them. First, Ananias fell down dead. Later, his wife, Sapphira, also perished. God used their example to train others in His church (Acts 5:1-11).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, I humbly ask You to take away the vestiges of evil that remain in my heart. Crowd them out with Your truth, Lord, that I might bring You joy in all that I do and say.

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

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Proverbs 12:19

Speak Words of Eternity

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment.

Truth is like an endless river, flowing crystal clear in an uninterrupted eternity of time. The same truth in Noah’s day is true in our day and will be true for the ages to come (Hebrews 13:8). The lying tongue wants to darken the truth, as mud or pollution in the river. This is the basis of Satan’s work. He is intent upon damming, diverting, or dimming the river of truth. He pours his lies into the river because he is the father of lies (John 8:44).

Today, many deny the existence of the river of truth. Like the scorning Pilate they ask sarcastically, “What is truth?” To them, all truth is subjective, and is to be determined by each individual for himself. But in spite of them, the river flows on. Those lips will speak only for a moment and then pass away.

The Bible admonishes us all to speak its truth in love (Zechariah 8:16-17; Ephesians 4:15) and avoid that which would hide or darken it. Delight yourself and refresh others in the clear and eternal river of truth, which is the Word of God (John 17:17).

Scriptural Examples

Shimei. Shimei cursed David (1 Samuel 16:5) but David let him live. Upon Solomon’s ascent to the throne he sent for Shimei and allowed him to build a house in Jerusalem while restricting him to the city. Shimei agreed, then broke his word three years later and went out in search of some runaway slaves. Solomon found out about it and confronted Shimei. The king then put the liar to death for the wrong he had done to his father, David (1 Kings 2:36-46).

Peter. Jesus asked, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus blessed Peter and told him that the truth had been revealed to him by the Father. This revelation of truth was to be the “rock” upon which the eternal church is founded (Matthew 16:15-18).

Father, thank You for the certainty of Your enduring and perfect Word. Help me to know the Word, Lord, so that I may be able to speak its truth to others who need it desperately.

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

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Proverbs 12:18

Speak with a Kind Tongue

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.

I have never been pierced by a sword, but I did put a telephone pole climber’s spike through my foot as a boy and I understand the pain that is involved. I have also received harsh words from a loved one that put a pain in my chest like that of a sword’s piercing. It took several hours for the pain to subside. I pray that I will never hurt someone like that. Words can cause deep wounds, and there are reckless people who use such words without compunction.

But God calls us to kindness (Galatians 5:22). Our first consideration must always be for the glory of God, and then for the welfare of others (Matthew 22:36-40). God has treated us with incredible kindness. How then can we treat other human beings with anything but the same? Shall we not rebuke others? Yes, we must rebuke them when necessary, but in kindness, hoping for reconciliation between parties (2 Corinthians 2:5-7).

Scriptural Examples

Jesus. Our Lord was often the recipient of reckless words. Because He associated with people of low estate, and attended banquets and parties, the Jewish leaders falsely said of Him, “Here is a glutton and a drunkard(Matthew 11:19).

Jesus. As He stood before the Sanhedrin, and truly testified of Himself, He was falsely called a blasphemer (Mark 14:64).

Jesus. They accused Him also of sedition (Luke 23:5) and of anarchy in plotting the destruction of the temple (Mark 14:58).

Jesus. But our Lord always spoke with kindness, except in moments of righteous rebuke (Matthew 23:1-39). Even then, His were words of truth, not slander. Our Lord spoke words of comfort and encouragement to the poor and the sick. We are called to walk in His steps.

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for the example of Jesus, who spoke words of life and salvation. Help me, Lord, to treat all people with kindness. Not because they deserve it, but for Christ’s sake.

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

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Proverbs 12:17

Speak with an Honest Tongue

A truthful witness gives honest testimony, but a false witness tells lies.

The ninth commandment (Exodus 20:16) teaches us not to bear false witness. That is, we are not to seek to injure anyone by lying. But it goes beyond just avoiding injuring another. We are to speak the truth and even rejoice in it (1 Corinthians 13:6). The truth should be spoken in love. We need to keep firmly committed to the One True Witness, who came seeking our best.

The false witness speaks lies. Or he will use half-truths to deceive others. By taking the truth out of context, or by only giving a portion of the truth, he deceives. That is the wicked person’s intent. The spiritual person should seek the whole truth, and speak it in love and righteousness.

When a person is called as a witness in a court of law, the bailiff will ask him to take an oath that goes something like this: “Do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?” We should always do that, speaking the truth in love.

Scriptural Examples

Doeg the Edomite. David lied to Ahimelech the priest that he was on a mission from King Saul, and asked for food and a sword. Ahimelech gave both to David. Doeg overheard all of this, but when he reported it to Saul he deceitfully left out parts of the whole story. At Saul’s command, Doeg killed Ahimelech and 84 other priests (1 Samuel 21:1-7; 22:9-10).

The false witnesses. The Sanhedrin looked for some false witnesses to trump up charges against Jesus. Many were apparently rejected because of their obvious error and conjecture. Two witnesses came forward who spoke part of the truth. Jesus had indeed said, “Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up” (John 2:19), but never in the context of anarchy or blasphemy against God (Matthew 26:60-61).

Prayer of Application

Father in heaven, place in my heart a true spirit of love for others and help me never to lie. Strengthen me in my love for them, so I will seek good for all and harm for none.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 12:16

Respond to Others in Godliness

A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.

In a real sense, our sanctification as Christians centers on God changing our responses to false accusations and insults. You may not have a problem with proper responses to contrary people, but I do. To become angry when provoked is always a sinful response. The prudent person will overlook an insult and respond in a way that promotes peace.

In Southern California, as in your own state, God has given us a training ground for practicing godly responses. It is called a freeway. There is something about being cut off by someone who changes lanes at high speeds in heavy traffic that always brings out the worst in me. I don’t often respond in a godly way.

God is not pleased by angry responses, and now the minute I even think wrongly of the other driver, I am convicted of it. May God help us to respond in godliness and Christlikeness, and with a blessing as opposed to a curse.

Scriptural Examples

Moses. At Meribah, God commanded Moses to answer the people’s rebellious murmurings about their lack of water by speaking to the rock, and water would pour forth from it. Moses gathered the people together, but was very angry and sarcastic, calling them rebels. Then he angrily struck the rock twice with his staff and water gushed out for the people to drink. The Lord accused Moses and Aaron of the same sin of which they had charged the people: not trusting Him (Exodus 20:2-13).

Jesus. Jesus showed us precisely what our response should be when attacked or accused unjustly. He was held up to scorn and bitter reproach, yet He remained calm and silent (Matthew 26:63; 27:14) and did not seek to retaliate. Instead, He trusted God, who knows human hearts and is able to judge justly (1 Peter 2:21-23).

Prayer of Application

Father, teach me the proper response to those who rankle me with contrariness. Change me, Lord, into the likeness of Your Son who answered His accusers calmly and peacefully.

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

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