Proverbs 29:1-14: Be Wise!
September 22, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy” (29:1).
This comes as a serious warning. When you are rebuked by a godly person, make sure you open both ears and take what they are saying seriously. If you are not sure whether what they are saying is accurate, seek out someone you trust who can help you assess whether you need to take what they have said to heart or not.
“When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice; when the wicked rule, the people groan” (29:2).
Another proverb, of many, on the importance of godly, strong, good leadership. Leaders, work hard at being “servant leaders.” Followers, pray for your leaders and encourage them. And if you have a leader who is righteous, then rejoice!
“A man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth” (29:3).
Sensuality leads, as often as not, to gradual degradation and even financial ruin. Instead, be wise, love to become wiser, and you will bring joy to your father!
“By justice a king gives a country stability, but those who are greedy for bribes tear it down” (29:4).
Anyone who has lived in a place where those in authority frequently accept bribes will know the truth of this proverb. Bribery and corruption go together like hand and glove. Instead, seek to act in justice and fairness in your leadership, and support leaders who seek to serve that way.
“Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet” (29:5).
Don’t flatter people; speak the truth in love. It is, as we do, so that the church of God is built up (Ephesians 4:15-16).
“Evildoers are snared by their own sin, but the righteous shout for joy and are glad” (29:6).
Even the righteous can weep and mourn, but the righteous have a source of joy even in the midst of calamity and sadness. There is a rock underneath them that cannot fail them; there is a future hope that cannot disappoint them; there is a Savior who will never leave them. How good it is to be in Christ!
“The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern” (29:7).
One of the signs of a righteous person is a care about justice for the poor. We too often in the Western church have tended to distinguish between personal, or individual, righteousness, and the justice that is demanded of those who are poor. Let it not be so; let those who are righteous also be those who advocate for the justice for the poor.
“Mockers stir up a city, but the wise turn away anger” (29:8).
Mocking, sneering, agitating: all coarse dissension and social disease. What to do? Again, the answer is: wisdom! A wise person will find a way even then to turn down the heat and diffuse the anger.
“If a wise person goes to court with a fool, the fool rages and scoffs, and there is no peace” (29:9).
Do what you can to avoid going to court!
“The bloodthirsty hate a person of integrity and seek to kill the upright” (29:10).
Sometimes you think that a person of integrity would have no enemies, but it is not the case. A man or woman of integrity will be opposed by people who have no integrity. There is a grand battle in this world, not of flesh and blood, but between Christ and the “principalities and powers” (Ephesians 6:12).
“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end” (29:11).
People who quickly lose their temper, who are angry without reason, are showing that they have not yet developed wisdom. How to calm someone who is angry? The wise will find a way—in the end.
“If a ruler listens to lies, all his officials become wicked” (29:12).
The inner circle of a leader, those who are close to him, will (if he listens to them) affect him. If you are in leadership, make sure you surround yourself with people who are godly and who are wise. Friends matter: chose friends who will influence you for good, not for ill.
“The poor and the oppressor have this in common: the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both” (29:13).
We are all made in the image of God and sustained by his sovereign power. The truth of God’s rule is what gives protective power over the poor and oppressed in the face of their oppressors.
“If a king judges the poor with fairness, his throne will be established for ever” (29:14).
If you are in leadership, make sure you are fair with those who are poor and powerless. Do not be tempted to not give them justice because they are not powerful enough to demand it. We all must give an account to the living God. And when a leader is fair with the poor, his rule is viewed as being intrinsically just, and not merely just when it pays. It gives you the moral high ground and establishes your administration. Act with justice at home and at work and remember that doing what is right is always the right thing to do.
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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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