Proverbs 15:18-33: Many Wise Words
August 21, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Here in this section, there are many wise words worth reflecting on, acting on, believing and practicing. First, a proverb about temper:
“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel” (15:18).
If you are in a situation where there is much conflict, look around for a “hot-tempered” person. And if you want to solve the conflict, find someone of patience. Or be patient yourself.
Then a proverb about laziness:
“The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway” (15:19).
Laziness creates its own problems, for all progress requires surmounting difficulties, and that requires work. The sluggard looks at the thorns and lets them block his way. But for the upright, the path is a highway. The lesson: work hard and follow God uprightly.
Now a proverb about being a child:
“A wise son brings joy to his father, but a foolish man despises his mother” (15:20).
When a son is wise, a father glows with joyful pride. When a son is foolish, he is despising his mother. Act, therefore, in ways that bring joy and honor to our parents.
A proverb about folly:
“Folly brings joy to one who has no sense, but whoever has understanding keeps a straight course” (15:21).
There are people who find delight in folly, whereas those who have understanding keep a straight way or course before them.
Now a proverb about planning:
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (15:22).
The way to ensure that plans succeed is to have many advisors. In this case that common (extra-biblical) proverb, “too many cooks spoil the broth,” is not true. When it comes to planning, you want many advisors.
A proverb about finding exactly the right thing to say at just the right time:
“A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—and how good is a timely word!” (15:23)
There is something joyful about finding the right word at just the right time. How? Go into a situation prepared, prepare yourself daily with habits of Bible reading and prayer, shape your mind in a certain course, so that when the moment comes, there is a well of apt replies to draw upon.
A proverb about prudence:
“The path of life leads upward for the prudent to keep them from going down to the realm of the dead” (15:24).
Prudence leads our path upwards. Here wisdom/prudence is again connected to spiritual realities. Because real wisdom is rooted in the fear of the Lord (and that fear of God is found finally in submitting to Christ), this kind of biblical wisdom keeps us from judgment and death.
A proverb about pride:
“The Lord tears down the house of the proud, but he sets the widow’s boundary stones in place” (15:25).
The proud may have their house, but in the end, it will be torn down. Pride comes before a fall. But for the widow, the Lord looks after and protects her property by keeping the “boundary stones” in place.
A proverb about thoughts:
“The Lord detests the thoughts of the wicked, but gracious words are pure in his sight” (15:26).
God detests wicked thoughts. We can think that God only cares about what we say or what we do. But God even knows what we think. Trust in Christ, then, for forgiveness of sins of thought as well as of deed. And out of the overflow of that graced heart, let gracious words now bring delight to God.
A proverb about greed:
“The greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live” (15:27).
Greed for more and more, lack of any contentment, will in the end bring ruin to households, finding a shortcut to even more prosperity. But the person who refuses unrighteous gain and turns his back on a bribe, that person will establish the kind of character on which a life can be built.
A proverb about disciplined speech:
“The heart of the righteous weighs its answers, but the mouth of the wicked gushes evil” (15:28).
One of the marks of a righteous person is the careful consideration of what to say. They “weigh” their answers, considering which one is better, which one is the right word at this particular time. Whereas the wicked let their mouths run away with them; they gush evil words.
A proverb about prayer:
“The Lord is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous” (15:29).
If someone is outside of Christ, rebelling against God, then it is no wonder that to them God seems a stranger. But for the righteous in Christ, he hears their prayers.
A proverb about good news:
“Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones” (15:30).
There is something about a message of good news that not only cheers the spirit but gives health to the bones. Try focusing today on the good news of the gospel. Let the hope of Christ fill your heart and mind, shed light in your soul, and also, if God wills, bring increasing health to your disposition and therefore your physical constitution, even your bones.
A proverb about correction:
“Whoever heeds life-giving correction will be at home among the wise” (15:31).
How is it that you can become wise? The first step is to heed correction. The great and most secure path to wisdom is to be willing to learn.
A proverb about discipline:
“Those who disregard discipline despise themselves, but the one who heeds correction gains understanding” (15:32).
Discipline is not pleasant, but to disregard it is foolish, and actually a sign of self-hate, for discipline is good for you. But if you heed correction, you will learn more, you will gain understanding.
And finally, a proverb about humility:
“Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor” (15:33).
Wisdom is not only based on the fear of the Lord; the fear of the Lord is also the core of what wisdom instructs us to do. And humility? Strangely, when you are humbled, you might well be on the edge of honor. Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand that in due course he will lift you up.
Many wise words worth reflecting on, acting on, believing and practicing!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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