Proverbs 28:23

Consider the Long-Term Value of Rebuke

He who rebukes a man will in the end [KJV: “afterward”] gain more favor than he who has a flattering tongue.

I must confess that I am not very adept at rebuke (either giving or receiving!). I would rather not take the chance of harming a friendship, so many times I just let the opportunity pass. Do you have that problem too? If so, this proverb is ours to study, chew over, and act upon.

The flattering tongue brings momentary pleasure perhaps, but in the end leaves a bitter aftertaste (Proverbs 26:28; 29:5). The gentle rebuke may bring momentary bitterness, but afterward it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace (Hebrews 12:11). If we could only see the long-term benefits of rebuke we would be more receptive to encouraging others in righteousness.

A non-believing friend of mine once commented that he couldn’t understand why some studied the Bible constantly. I told him that the Bible was written to rebuke us in our sin and to lead us to the gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 3:15). After we’re saved, it is to teach and rebuke us, to correct us, and to train us in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16) which is true freedom.

Likewise, we need to gently rebuke others for sin in their lives. We should never do it to show some supposed superiority. Conversely, we are to approach others humbly and prayerfully, knowing that we share the same weaknesses.

Scriptural Examples

Peter and Paul. In 2 Peter 3:15, Peter speaks of his “dear brother Paul.” The rebuke which Peter had suffered from Paul is recorded in Galatians 2:11-19. Peter proved the truth of this proverb through this incident.

The Corinthians and Paul. He rebuked them for allowing a member to live in sin with his father’s wife. Later, we find that the church had set the matter straight. Paul did not overlook sin, but rebuked his converts (1 Corinthians 5; 2 Corinthians 2:1-10).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, thank You for Your Word, which is profitable in every way for our edification and rebuke. Thank You also for the godly rebuke of faithful Christians who care for me.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:22

Beware the End of Greed’s Rainbow

A stingy man [KJV: “he that hath an evil eye”] is eager to get rich and is unaware that poverty awaits him.

We conclude here the trilogy which began at verse 20 and see that the pot at the end of greed’s rainbow is not filled with gold, but with poverty. How ironic that the eagerness for riches leads to the exact opposite. And it’s not just monetary wealth that this “pot of poverty” is missing. Lacking also is the sweet fellowship of friends, the joyous peace of knowing God, and the sure foundation of faithfulness and service to Him.

But the pot of poverty isn’t entirely empty. There are two consolation prizes for the person with the “evil eye.” First, there are reams of regret. He will look back and see how his life was wasted by his foolish search for the elusive buck. Second, he’ll find cartons of condemnation. For eternity he will try to flee from the God he snubbed on earth, but he’ll never be able to escape His fury.

Christian, what business do we have being stingy, we who have been justified by Jesus’ life, death and resurrection? Let’s lay up instead treasures in heaven which cannot vanish like the wind (Matthew 6:19-20). The Christian who eagerly pursues only temporal riches will find only loss, when he unwittingly exchanges the eternal for the temporal (1 Corinthians 3:15). Follow instead the rainbow of God’s true riches.

Scriptural Examples

The rich young ruler. Jesus’ words struck right to the heart of this young man’s problem. His eyes were on greed’s rainbow. He rejected Jesus’ advice and went away sad (Matthew 19:16-26).

The rich men. They had fattened themselves at the expense of others. But they were fattened in anticipation of their own slaughter. Their wealth was rotten and corroded. It would testify against them and eat their flesh like fire (James 5:1-5).

Prayer of Application

Father, You are the source of all riches. Help me to freely use all You have given me to bring honor to Your name and to further Your Kingdom on earth. Keep me from stinginess, Lord.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:21

Beware of that First Step on Greed’s Path

To show partiality is not good—yet a man will do wrong for a piece of bread.

In this verse we have the first step down the path to destruction (Proverbs 28:20). It’s just a little step, but left unchecked it will establish a habit, a character, then ultimate ruin. God’s Law deals heavily with the sin of perverting justice by favoring one person over another (Leviticus 19:15, for instance). The problem is most often associated with judges, but no one is exempt from its practice. The first step is to do a small favor for someone as a bribe of “a piece of bread.

A headwaiter accepts a $50 tip from someone and gives your reserved dinner table to him. A policeman tears up the speeding ticket of a prominent businessman with connections at City Hall. A preacher favors a parishioner because of his large contributions. A senator accepts the gift of a trip to South America by oil interests there.

Not amazingly, I suppose, the national economies of some countries are based on a system of bribes and payoffs. U.S. businesspeople doing business abroad are often faced with the moral dilemma of either paying a bribe or returning home empty-handed. Mexico is one such country. There, the practice is called mordida, or “little death.” The giving and receiving of bribes is commonplace there. Mexican economic perils are also common knowledge. Could it be that Mexico is but a national example of someone who took the first step along the path of greed and is now reaping the whirlwind?

Scriptural Examples

The false prophetesses of Israel. The Lord told Ezekiel to speak out against these women who prophesied out of their imaginations. Their goal was to ensnare people with lies about God. They profaned Him for a few scraps of bread and treated the people unjustly. Destruction lay ahead (Ezekiel 13:17-19).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, many are those who are ensnared in this lethal game of bribe giving and taking. I pray that its practice will not overtake America, as it has other nations, to their great peril.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:20

Walk the Path of True Riches

A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.

A person doesn’t need to live long to discover the god so many are serving: “the almighty buck.” Of course, God commands us to earn a living for our families (1 Timothy 5:8). And note in this proverb riches are not in question. The contrast is that of the faithful person versus the one who is “eager to get rich.” The latter wants his dollars now and he doesn’t care how he gets them. He will not go unpunished.

The faithful person is the person who seeks to please God. He puts the Word of his Lord into practice. He “pursue[s] righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness(1 Timothy 6:9-11). In contrast to this man who dwells safely (Proverbs 1:33), is the man who chases “the almighty buck.” He “fall[s] into temptation and a trap…into ruin and destruction(1 Timothy 6:9). Notice in 1 Timothy 6 money is not the root of all evil, it is the love of money. To desire to get money more than to desire to please God means trouble. Many have stumbled at this point, because their greed has led them to unfaithfulness.

God controls all of the riches in the world. If He wants you to have wealth, you’ll get it. If He doesn’t, all the work, plans, and chasing in the world won’t make you rich. The secret of real wealth, whether one is rich or poor, is to be faithful to God.

Scriptural Examples

The coveteous capitalists. Isaiah warned those who would accumulate great tracts of farmland. Although desiring to be rich, their greed would only impoverish them. Their mansions would become desolate and their fields barren (Isaiah 5:8-10).

Zacchaeus. He was wealthy due to his penchant to steal. But an encounter with Christ changed his heart, and his eternal destiny as well (Luke 19:2-10).

Prayer of Application

Father, I have followed the quick road to wealth, and it led to ruin and pain. I’ve found the riches You give are much more valuable and lasting than money. Thank You, Lord.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:19

Set Realistic Goals and Work Toward Them

He who works his land will have abundant food, but the one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.

A good farmer will have his whole year planned. He knows exactly when to plow and sow and harvest and mend the fences and feed the animals. He has daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals that he sets for himself and his helpers. Then he gets up in the morning with one thought in mind: to accomplish what he has planned. He sets realistic goals and then goes to work. Each day he accomplishes just a little, so at harvest time his family’s table is set for another year.

The “one who chases fantasies” (or rainbows) believes that money grows on trees. A man moved to Los Angeles because he had heard that money flowed freely in L.A. He got off the bus, saw a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk, and said to it, “You’re just gonna have to lie there, $100 bill. I’m not gonna work my first day in Los Angeles.” This fellow will chase whatever looks promising at the time without regard for setting reasonable, attainable goals and then working toward them. As a consequence, his table is always bare.

Set for yourself worthwhile goals in your business, family, physical, and spiritual lives, then work toward them diligently. God honors goals and will take you places with them you never thought possible.

Scriptural Examples

Solomon and the Temple. Inheriting David’s goal for the construction of a dwelling place for God, Solomon finished the drawings, planned the work, and built the temple that his father had longed to see (1 Kings 5:1-6:38).

Paul. Paul was a great goal-setter, and was undoubtedly the greatest church planter who has ever lived. How did he plant all those churches? One believer at a time.

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, it seems so simple, but realistic goals are powerful. Thank You for setting the goal of the Cross for Jesus, and for His work in marching toward that dark yet joyous hour.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:18

Walk the High Road of Moral Purity

He whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but he whose ways are perverse will suddenly fall.

While we may want to see believers in line one of this proverb, and unbelievers in line two, I want to apply it just to believers. One Christian steers a course of integrity and the other a course of compromise. They both may be heading for heaven, but one is on the high road and the other on the low.

The higher path is not necessarily the easier path. Believers are called to suffer pain in this world and oftentimes the most blameless suffer the most (Job 1:1). But God draws a great distinction between different reasons for suffering (1 Peter 2:20-21). Suffering for righteousness’ sake is praiseworthy, but suffering for sin is not. Let’s look at two biblical examples of men who took opposite paths.

Scriptural Examples

Two patriarchs: Abraham and Lot. Both of these men trusted God for salvation (2 Peter 2:7). But Lot went down to wicked Sodom with his family, while Abraham stayed in the hills. The destruction of Sodom broke Lot’s family apart. On the other hand, God never had one word of rebuke for the righteous Abraham. He trusted God and His promises, and although he saw his share of trouble, he became the ancestor of all who would receive God’s free gift of salvation (Genesis chapters 12–15, 19).

Two prophets: Daniel and Jonah. Both of these men were called to serve God outside of the nation Israel—Daniel in Babylon and Jonah in Nineveh. Daniel served with integrity, and even though he suffered, God carried him through it to safety. Jonah, on the other hand, refused God’s orders. He was thrown from the ship for his sin and only by God’s grace rescued by a giant fish. God brought Jonah through his trials also, but was not pleased with his ways (The books of Daniel and Jonah).

Prayer of Application

Dear heavenly Father, keep my feet on the high path of Your law, for I am powerless to follow it unless Your Spirit provides strength and stability for my daily walk.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:17

Do Not Stand in the Way of Justice

A man tormented by the guilt of murder will be a fugitive till death; let no one support him.

We have gotten used to seeing news reports of candlelight vigils outside penitentiaries where a death row inmate is to be executed for his crime. Many today consider themselves more compassionate than God, and therefore protest the taking of anyone’s life, even one who butchered his victims. But God says that a murderer shall die (Numbers 35:16 ; Exodus 21:14).

Most arguments against capital punishment surround the notion that it is not a deterrant. But God does not demand capital punishment on its use as a deterrant. Rather, He commands it because we are made in His own image. Even in a fallen state, humans have great intrinsic worth in God’s sight (Genesis 9:6). The murderer has sinned against God more than he has sinned against the corpse.

Most murderers will be tormented by the guilt of their deed right to their grave. In some cases, it is perhaps more merciful to execute them. Some murderers have committed suicide rather than to face their terrible guilt. Judas Iscariot is a foremost example of that. God will exact His penalty, one way or another. But, of course,with God there is forgiveness. No sin is too large for God’s grace in salvation through faith in Jesus Christ.

Scriptural Examples

The cities of refuge. God established six such cities where a person accused of murder could flee to escape the “avenger of blood.” The avenger could kill the accused on sight outside the confines of a city of refuge. They provided a safe haven for the accused until he could receive a fair hearing (Numbers 35:1-34).

Paul and the snake. Even the pagan mind had a sense of the justice of God. Shipwrecked on the island of Malta, Paul had a viper bite his hand, only to shake it off into the fire without ill effect. But before he did so the islanders said, “This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live(Acts 28:1-5).

Prayer of Application

Father, many claim to cherish human life, but in their practice degrade it. You have commanded in your Word that whoever takes a life will forfeit his own. Return us to Your Law, and help our justice system operate fairly.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:15-16

Husbands, Lead Your Homes in Love

15) Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked man ruling over a helpless people. 16) A tyrannical ruler lacks judgment, but he who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long life.

Derek Kidner says the tyrannical leader is subhuman (15), stupid (16a), and short-lived (16b) (p. 171). That brings to my mind a picture of old Archie Bunker, who in the 1970’s TV sitcom All in the Family, ruled his household from a self-styled throne of malicious accusations, thoughtless insults, and self-indulgent despotism. But his program was not short-lived. In fact, on the contrary, it set records for longevity. Why? I believe one reason was many saw their own fathers in Archie Bunker. The show allowed them to laugh at some very painful memories of their childhood.

The Bible condemns Archie Bunkerism. Just because God has given men the responsibility of leadership in the home doesn’t give them a license to be tyrants. Men are commanded to love their wives “just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her(Ephesians 5:25). Was Christ a tyrant? Did He come to bully the Church? No. Of course not! He came to serve and tenderly shepherd His people. In love, He came to die for them and to save them.

Scriptural Examples

The seventy judges. At his father-in-law’s suggestion, and with the Lord’s approval, Moses appointed men to help him rule the Israelites. Their qualifications? That they feared God, were trustworthy, and hated dishonest gain. All of the people, the family of God, would then be satisfied (Exodus 18:21-23).

The beasts of Daniel’s vision. Daniel had a vision of four beasts coming out of a troubled sea. They represented the tyrannical rule of four major kingdoms that were to come on earth, which would ultimately be burned up (Daniel 7:1-12).

Prayer of Application

Our Father in heaven, in Your wisdom and providence You have given men the role of family leadership. Help all of us in that role to lead in love and in the grace of Christ.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:14

Thrive on God’s Law

Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

What does it mean to “fear the Lord” on a consistent basis? I believe it begins with an understanding of the gospel: who I am and who God is, and the great moral gulf between us that has been bridged by Jesus Christ. It means to live in utter dependence upon Providence, and to trust God’s Word to guide us. It means to love His law and to obey it (Psalm 119:97, 113, 163, 165).

We who have been born again never need to fear the Lord’s condemnation (Romans 8:1). We are given a desire to serve and please Him that brings us true liberty. No longer is God’s Law understood to be a taskmaster that we must keep perfectly in order to be saved. (The law never saved anyone.) Rather, the Law has become an expression of God’s grace and we love it because it brings freedom from the traps that this life holds for the unbeliever.

The person who fears the Lord wants to keep the moral law for two basic reasons. First, he stands in awe of his God and he wants to please Him. Second, he realizes that God, in His infinite wisdom, has given people His Law as a guide to a happy, fulfilling, and productive life. The Christian puts God’s wisdom above his own and relies completely upon God’s judgment.

Hardness of heart is simply unbelief (Hebrews 3:15-19). Those who turn their backs on God’s way fall into trouble, just as the Israelites who refused to trust and believe God in the wilderness. Don’t be like them. Fear the Lord and thrive on every word that proceeds from His mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3).

Scriptural Examples

Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. These men feared the Lord much more than they feared the flames of the king. They were blessed of God as they survived the furnace without so much as a singed beard. They declared that even if they died, they wouldn’t let their hearts be hardened, but would trust God (Daniel 3:16-18).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for the Law, which provides a lamp for my eyes and a path for my feet, keeping me from sin and trouble. May my feet never stumble into pathways of unbelief.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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Proverbs 28:13

Both Confess and Forsake Your Sins

He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

Charles Bridges comments that both God and people cover sin. God covers sin in free unbounded grace, and people in shame and hypocrisy (p. 538). You can do it, or you can let God do it, but you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

The mature believer is not someone who never sins. Rather, he has become acutely aware of his sin and is humbly dependent upon God for mercy and forgiveness. Many seem to be preoccupied with their image and don’t want anyone to think they struggle against sin. But all Christians do. Each of us needs to confess our sins to God (1 John 1:9), and to one another (James 5:16), and thereby encourage each other toward purity of life.

Bridges goes on to say that “while the hypocrite confesses without forsaking, the hearty forsaking here is the best proof of sincere confessing” (p. 540). In other words, to confess without forsaking is a sham. If we do sin, we must forsake it anew each time, asking the Spirit to work His righteousness in us.

Scriptural Examples

Adam and Eve. They attempted to cover themselves with fig leaves, but God provided them with the covering of the skins of animals He slew as a testimony that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness (Genesis 3:7-21; Hebrews 9:22).

Saul. God gave him the assignment of completely destroying the Amalekites—their men, women, children, sheep, and cattle. But Saul disobeyed and tried to cover his sin, saying that he’d kept some animals to sacrifice to God (1 Samuel 15:1-23).

The woman’s accusers. When the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery to Jesus, He wrote something in the sand and the people quietly disbursed. Did Jesus write, “Adulterer,” “Murderer,” “Blasphemer”? (John 8:1-11)

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for the grace that removes each blot of sin from my life and imputes to me Christ’s righteousness. Help me to confess and forsake any remaining sin in my life.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
Bob’s new eBook “The Life of Flavius Josephus”- A Paraphrase, is now available for $0.99 at www.Amazon.com. Visit www.readjosephus.com for more information on that book and the soon to be released “The Jewish Wars” – A Paraphrase

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