Daily Bible Studies
|Series Theme: Studies in Proverbs (Proverbs 10-12)|
If you have already used the first set of Studies in Proverbs (Ch.1-9) you will know the basis of these individual proverbs, and as 10:1 tells us, they are the Proverbs of Solomon, the wisest man in the world.
Perhaps these proverbs are some of the most difficult to study and make notes on, because each one tends to be standing on its own (though there are some that run together).
What we will do therefore is simply take three verses for each study and when it comes to the comment, we will seek to roughly balance the space for each verse. Of course we could say considerably more about each verse and so we would wish to encourage you to meditate on each one if you have the time and make your own notes. The notes provided here are, therefore, purely starters to stir your thinking.
Because of their nature, it is impossible to provide a "Think" or “Recap” as we usually do in these studies, and so instead we will simply provide a few words summary at the end of each chapter, just to jog your memory.
The Challenge of these Proverbs
As we will repeat at the end, in a day when pluralism says all views are equally right, Solomon's proverbs scream into the market place, “No they aren't!! Some things are right, and the opposite are wrong! Certain attitudes an actions are good, and others are definitely bad! When we meditate on the proverbs we see that in God's eyes there is black and white, bad and good. This is the major challenge of these timeless verses which, although written nearly three thousand years ago, are still as relevant to us today as they were to the people of Solomon's day.
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:1-3
A. Find Out:
1. Who brings what to his father? v.1a
2. By contrast, what does a foolish son do? v.1b
3. What are we told about ill-gotten treasures? v.2a
4. But what does righteousness do? v.2b
5. How does the Lord provide for the righteous? v.3a
6. What does he do about the wicked? v.3b
First sonship (v.1). Two sons, one wise, one foolish. We're not told what wise or foolish means, we're taken to understand that. We'll find that out as we consider the proverbs which so often contrast them.
We'll know what sort of son a young man is by his words and his actions. It will be quite clear. What is highlighted here is the effect they will have on their parents, and to see this we need to understand something of the general way fathers and mothers work!
Fathers tend to look with expectation on their children, they want them to achieve well. Mothers, on the other hand, tend to be more concerned when the child has difficulties. Thus the wise son has greater impact on the father, and the foolish son on the mother. These are generalities but true never the less. The father tends to think better of the son who does well and be little concerned when he runs into difficulties (“he'll learn by it!”). Meanwhile mother, although proud of her achieving son, actually gets more stirred when a son goes astray.
Second, success (v.2). If the success gained in life has been gained badly, it is superficial and of little real value. If we obtain success immorally then the personal cost to us has been too great, and however wonderful we look on the outside with our big house and expensive car, the cost to us on the inside is devastating.
The real value in life is not riches but righteousness. Righteousness is the currency that counts with God, while riches count only with foolish, sinful men. Righteousness is what leads to eternal life. Material goods count only for now and do nothing for our eternal destiny. Here is a vital principle to be observed in life - and in eternity.
Third, supply (v.3). Again a distinction between the righteous and the wicked. Righteousness is the currency, we said previously, that counts with God and where there is this currency it brings provision. We may not know where it comes from but it comes ultimately from the hand of God. The whole Bible testifies to this truth, that God does supply for His children, those who trust in Him.
Meanwhile the wicked person pursues wealth and success but is never satisfied, there always seems something missing. Without God he can never be satisfied. A wicked person in the eyes of the Bible is the godless person, the one who rejects God and lives his or her own way. They put their values in material things but have not realised that God has designed us to have a spiritual dimension in life - Him- and without this all else will never satisfy. Here is a second vital principle to be observed in life - one which many never understand.
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:4-6
A. Find Out:
1. What do lazy hands do? v.4a
2. Yet what brings wealth? v.4b
3. Who is a wise son? v.5a
4. Who is a disgraceful son? v.5b
5. What comes to the righteous? v.6a
6. But what comes to the wicked? v.6b
At first sight some of the proverbs look so obvious. They are about everyday life and seem so simple, and the temptation is to ignore them - which we do at our peril!
These three verses are all about prosperity and success. We look at different people and think it was chance that brought their success. Observe!
First a general principle (v.4). Doing nothing brings poverty! Work actually brings supply. When God made this world He gave abundant supply in terms of fruit, vegetables, crops and raw materials. But if we are to be more than fruit and vegetable pickers we need to work - and that's just how life is. Crops don't get produced and get into barns without effort. Wood and stone don't turn into buildings on their own.
Next comes the harvest principle (v.5). In natural creation fruit, vegetables and crops come to fruition at a particular season. Ignoring the seasons, ignoring the crop, means we miss the abundance. There are seasons of plenty and the wise person is there taking advantage of that.
“Sons”? In the time of Biblical families the son carried on the business with the father, the business of survival to be carried on after the father. To be a son meant to take on responsibility. A wise “son” is alert to the season and makes the most of it. The “son” who misses the time of plenty simply brings disgrace and poverty to the family.
Finally, the law of blessing (v.6). Blessings are God's decrees of goodness. We said previously that righteousness is the currency of the kingdom of God and “purchases” supply from God. A crown designates a ruler. Blessings from God designate they are rulers in righteousness with the seal of God's approval. The wicked, on the other hand, speak wrongly and violence and upset ensues. What a contrast. Diligence (v.4), wisdom (v.5) and righteousness (v.6). These are to be our characteristics.
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:7-9
A. Find Out:
1. Whose memory will be what? v.7a
2. Yet what will happen to the name of the wicked? v.7b
3. Who accept commands? v.8a
4. What happens to a chattering fool? v.8b
5. Who walks securely? v.9a
6. Who will be found out? v.9b
First, how we are remembered (v.7). We have to see the whole verse otherwise we could think the writer simply means that the righteous has good memories (which is true). But the second half contrasts the first. It's good to remember good people. Their memory helps us to stand true today. This thought should help us stand today, not merely thinking about what I'm achieving today, but also thinking about the memory I'm creating for others. Will my children be blessed and be able to stand stronger when I'm gone and they remember my life? The memory of the wicked, by contrast, rots or decays. With the passing of time truth is spoken and their reputation (for what it was) falls apart, until nothing is left worth remembering.
Second, how we react to direction (v.8). The wise person receives instruction and, responding correctly, does what is required and achieves much. Because he is wise, he knows that a good worker takes the directions of his employer. By comparison, we see the chattering gossip who (by implication) disregards instruction and sits chattering, doing little and achieving less. Their life falls down around them and they are too busy talking to notice! Which sort of worker would we like to employ? Which sort of worker are we?
Finally the rule of life we follow (v.9). There are those who walk in integrity - honesty, openness, goodness - and they have nothing to fear. The one who maintains integrity knows he has nothing to fear, he can be trusted. There are others who walk on a crooked path - deceitful, untruthful, and conniving. They constantly fear being found out for what they are. Eventually what they are will be revealed, they fool themselves if they think it will be otherwise. This isn't just about work, this is about all of life. Righteousness (v.7), wisdom (v.8) and integrity (v.9) - these are to be our characteristics.
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:10-12
A. Find Out:
1. Who causes grief? v.10a
2. Who comes to ruin? v.10b
3. What is the mouth of the righteous like? v.11a
4. What happens to the mouth of the wicked? v.11b
5. What does hatred do? v.12a
6. What does love do? v.12b
These three verses all speak about how wrong attitudes create wrong words and deeds. They also reiterate what we've already seen in earlier verses.
Verse 10 is unusual. Previous verses have contrasted good and bad. This verse simply has two expressions of bad. A person who “winks maliciously”? This is one who conveys one thing (a wink conveys, ‘I'm with you') but has a bad underlying motive. If you're taken in by a wink, you'll come to grief. Then again we have the chattering fool (seen previously in v.8) - a gossip, a time waster. Both appear relaxed and at ease but both cause downfall. Don't get taken in by or go along with these two!
Verse 11 gives two uses of the mouth . The mouth of the righteous can be a ‘fountain of life'; from it can come good things that edify, build up, encourage, inspire and bless. Yet the things that come from the mouth of the wicked (also v.6) cause upset, hurt dissension, distress and eventually cause a kick-back on the speaker. Violence is the end product. The Bible has much to say about our words (see esp. James 3:1-12). Words are an expression of our heart and wrong words reveal a wrong heart. Where there is a wrong heart we need to take steps to correct it and ensure a good and right relationship with God.
Verse 12 shows two underlying attitudes of heart - hatred and love - and shows the effect they have. Hatred in a person stirs them up. Something has upset them and they have not dealt with it properly, so they allow it to fester and grow within them. It soon turns bad and becomes hatred. They will not remain quiet and still, but will cause dissension and upset. Love on the other hand is peaceful, calming and healing. It accepts and forgives and as such covers the wrongs done against it. Cultivate love in you, destroy any vestige of hatred.
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:13-15
A. Find Out:
1. Where is wisdom found? v.13a
2. Who deserves the rod? v.13b
3. Who store up what? v.14a
4. What does the mouth of the fool invite? v.14b
5. What to the rich is their wealth like? v.15a
6. But what does poverty do? v.15b
First discernment and folly (v.13). Wise words come from a person who is discerning. Discerning? Yes, who distinguishes between right and wrong, good and evil, who knows the difference. The person who understands these things will speak wisely. The person who does understand these things will speak foolishly and rashly, harshly and carelessly. This person lacks judgement, this person deserves punishment for what they bring on others.
Second , knowledge and folly (v.14). The person who is wise seeks out knowledge. The person who is wise realises they need to be informed. Ignorance is only cherished by the fool, who speaks wrong and foolish things because he doesn't know the truth. The ignorant fool speaks without understanding because he lacks knowledge. His words have no basis. If you follow such words they invite ruin.
Finally, riches and poverty (v.15). Some people romanticise poverty. Not so the writer of the Proverbs! Riches become the security for the rich man. They guard against hunger, provide against much illness, they open the doors for the future. All good gifts come from above (James 1:17), from God. Yet reliance on riches and not on God is folly. The temptation of riches is to make you feel secure and self sufficient. That's why Jesus said “it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23). Would the world be a better place if EVERYONE was rich? Probably not, it would just mean a world of rich sinners! Poverty does not help - it merely brings hardship, ill-health and life breakdown. When Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor” (Mt 5:3) he added, “…in spirit”. Awareness of spiritual poverty is of value, not material poverty. That's why Paul took a collection for the needy Jews of Jerusalem in a time of famine (see 2 Cor 8,9). If we have plenty we should share with the needy when we can (1 Jn 3:17).
Chapter: Proverbs 10
Passage: Proverbs 10:16-18
A. Find Out:
1. What brings life to whom? v.16a
2. To contrast, what then brings what to whom? v.16b
3. Who shows the way to life? v.17a
4. Who leads others astray? v.17b
5. Who is a liar? v.18a
6. Who is a fool? v.18b
How we use our money (v.16). The verse isn't specific about specific uses of it, but the way we use it will reveal the nature of our heart. A righteous man uses what he earns and it brings life. In other words he uses his income and it generates life or blessing. “Life” is mentioned again and again. Life here means aliveness, wholeness, vitality, a sense of goodness in being alive. The wicked, on the other hand, use their income for wrong ends and the result is that the law catches up with them and they are punished. Note that the righteous earn “wages” which means they work legitimately for it, while the wicked simply have income, indicating a lack of effort. Money for nothing is their attitude. Punishment is their end.
Discipline (v.17). Discipline is that which is brought to you rather than simple self control. A wise man heeds the discipline that is brought to him, and it brings understanding to him which in turn leads him on the right path to life. The person who ignores correction is a self-centred person and to justify them doing their own thing they will seek to get others to do the same thing and go their way. It is the way of destruction and thus they lead others astray from the right path in life.
Words (v.18). Words, of course, are spoken and then have effect. However, a man may conceal hatred in his heart, and not show it, storing up vengeance. When his lips then speak good words they are lying words for they do not match the heart. Then there is the person who spreads false words about another. Such a person is just a fool. Our media today is often careless about the truth and spreads unsubstantiated stories. It is just another form of slander under the guise of truth seeking. But it is still slander and such vendors are fools. Why is such a person a fool? Because their lies will eventually bounce back on them and the whole process of bringing untruth out demeans and pulls down our society, it is destructive.
A. Find Out:
1. When is sin not absent? v.19a
2. Who is wise? v.19b
3. What is choice silver? v.20a
4. What by contrast is of little value? v.20b
5. What do the lips of the righteous do? v.21a
6. But what happens to fools? v.21b
All three verses today are about words, about speech. Verse 19 brings a general warning that when you say a lot, you are bound to sin. Why? The answer is probably that because the old sin nature is still lurking waiting to have a say, the more you say the more likely it is that you will say something wrong! Solomon's conclusion is that the person who holds his tongue is the one who is wise, for (implied) he will limit his sin.
Having given this warning he then declares (v.20) that the words that are spoken by a righteous person are of great value (choice silver). Why? Presumably because they can bring wisdom (10:31), blessing (10:11), wisdom and protection (10:13) and peace and harmony (15:1). When he compares the heart of the righteous person with that of the wicked, he basically says, there is no comparison! The heart of the wicked does not do any of the things just listed, and so in fact is of little value, it doesn't add to the good of the world!
Finally (v.21) Solomon says that the words that come from a righteous person actually nourish or feed many other people. How? Well words have the ability to lift people, to cheer them, encourage them, give them hope, stir them, challenge them to better things. In all these sorts of ways the good words that come from a righteous person can bring blessing to other people. These words feed them and build them up. Yes words can have a very positive effect on others. Then he compares all of this to the words of a fool (implied that it is their words). Fools say stupid things and stupid things alienate you from others and get you into trouble, and trouble leads to more trouble and trouble leads to death, whether it be physical or spiritual. Yes, words can have a very detrimental effect upon you and can result in you being isolated from the rest of the world, and even lead to your death. How important it is that our hearts be right, and our words be right.
A. Find Out:
1. What brings wealth? v.22a
2. What doesn't the Lord do? v.22b
3. In what does a fool find pleasure? v.23a
4. In what does a man of understanding delight? v.23b
5. What will overtake the wicked? v.24a
6. What will be granted the righteous? v.24b
First of all blessing and prosperity (v.22). When God blesses a person, He blesses them in material practical ways. Many Christians fear the physical and material and have taken on board Greek thinking that divided spirit from body and saw body as evil. Not so in the Bible (read the Song of Solomon!). God has made us with bodies and has given us an amazing material world to enjoy. God isn't a killjoy, He doesn't give blessing and bad things - just good. Sin and Satan bring bad, but not God.
Second, finding pleasure (v.23). There is pleasure in material things but if we seek it only in material things we'll soon fund it palls. A fool finds pleasure in doing wrong things. It's one of the things that mark him out as a fool. Wrong things will eventually rebound on him. The man of God who has understanding delights in wisdom, the knowledge from God of what is right and what is wrong. Pleasure for him comes from living in the way God has decreed is good.
Finally, outcomes of lifestyles (v.24). The wicked live in fear. God has made us with a conscience and each of us knows that when we do wrong, eventually there will be a kick-back. The wicked knows that his wrong doing will eventually rebound on him - and it will! The righteous, by contrast, have godly and righteous desires - that is why they are called ‘righteous'. They are those in relationship with God, and in that relationship they have good and godly desires, desires to please God, to bless Him and bless others, and because those things are pleasing to God, He will grant them. These verses reveal the goodness of God as it comes to us - the blessing of good things, the source of pleasure for us, and the certainty of getting our heart desires when we are godly and righteous. We are righteous because we are like this and we get these things because we are righteous.
A. Find Out:
1. Who are gone when a storm passes? v.25a
2. Yet who remain? v.25b
3. What two unpleasant experiences are mentioned? v.26a
4. To what are they compared? v.26b
5. What adds length to life? v.27a
6. But what happens to the wicked? v.27b
First a question of security and stability (v.25). Jesus, (Mt 7:24-27) telling of two house builders, gave the same sort of picture. A storm comes and it affects different people in different ways. When a storm comes (and “storm” can mean all different sorts of upsets in life) the wicked are left devastated. They have nothing to hang onto. In the same storm the righteous cling on to God and find He is a rock, a fortress (e.g. Psa 18:2). It is a simple fact of life and it is true. The key question is how will we act when a “storm” comes?
Next comes a simple but telling picture that describes the lazy person , the “sluggard” (v.26). A dictionary defines “sluggard” as a lazy, slow inactive person. When an employer sends such a person on a task, it is not good news. The effect they have is defined by two descriptions: vinegar to the teeth (which is sharp and unpleasant) and smoke to the eyes (which stings). Both of these experiences are unpleasant and cause discomfort. Such is the effect of a lazy person to those who send him on a task. When we're given a job, how do we do it?
Finally thoughts about length of life (v.27). First the fear of the Lord adds length to life . The fear of the Lord means respect and a life that honours God. In doing this it means we receive the blessing of the Lord on our lives, part of which means life, health and well being. No wonder such a person's life is extended. Compare them to the wicked and we find the life of the wicked is one of dissipation, of squandering away of life, of misusing the body in a whole variety of ways. No wonder their life is shortened. Yes, this is not a guarantee that every righteous person will live to a ripe old age but it should be the standard for the godly person. And there is the problem. We life in an ungodly environment which encourages us to forget God and thus we drift in our values, our standards our ways of life. May we be more careful.
A. Find Out:
1. What brings joy to the righteous? v.28a
2. What happens to the hopes of the wicked? v.28b
3. What is a refuge to the righteous? v.29a
4. Yet what it is to the wicked? v.29b
5. What will never happen to the righteous? v.30a
6. But what will happen to the wicked? v.30b
First looking towards the future (v.28). Two words are contrasted: prospect and hopes . The prospect for the righteous is more like the real use of the word hope in the Christian sense. Hopes in verse 28 are just things the wicked want to happen. Prospect and hope when it is used in the Christian sense are sure and definite anticipation of the future. For example, as a human being I might hope I will become rich, but there is not certainty of that, it's just something I would like to happen. On the other hand as a Christian I have a hope that when I die I will enter heaven. Now that is a sure and definite certainty. It's still the future so it's a hope and something I have to believe by faith, but because Jesus has promised it, it is a sure, certain, guaranteed expectation. The future for the Christian is guaranteed joy. The many and varied hopes of the unbeliever are unlikely to be fulfilled.
Next there is the way of the Lord (v.29) . What is this? It is the will of God that He has decreed and, in that, the way He works things out. For the righteous Christian this means security, safety, a refuge. The believer knows that God is completely for them (Rom 8:31 ) and therefore life with the Lord is a refuge, a way (or path) of security. Yet for the wicked who do evil they find God and His ways of working bring their downfall. He judges their evil deeds.
Finally there is stability and permanence (v.30). Because the believer is walking in the way of the Lord and that is a place of complete security and refuge, it also means they can be sure of not being uprooted and cast down. They can be secure in His love. But of course, as we've noted above, the wicked are opposed by God and therefore they will not remain, they will be uprooted and cast away. Accepting each of these things is very much a matter of faith and if we struggle with them it's simply a sign of the days in which we live.
A. Find Out:
1. What brings forth wisdom? v.31a
2. What will be cut out? v.31b
3. What do the lips of the righteous know? v.32a
4. What does the mouth of the wicked know? v.32b
5. What does the Lord abhor? v.1
6. In what does He delight? v.1b
Yet again in this chapter Solomon speaks about words as he has already done in v.11,13,14,19-21. His first statement appears very obvious – the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom - but is it that obvious (v.31)? If it is, it is because we take it for granted that the righteous person will speak good things. More than that though, they will speak wise things. Righteousness is equated with wisdom. Right living in the sight of God, Solomon knows, will mean right understanding and right understanding will lead to wise speech. The unrighteous man speaks with a perverse tongue – purposefully speaking what is wrong. They know it is wrong (this is implied by perverse). One way or another they will eventually be silenced.
He goes on that the righteous person knows what is fitting to say, what is apt or appropriate (v.32). There are some things that should never be said, and some things that are better not said. At other times there are things that need to be said or even should be said. The righteous and discerning person knows what should be said or not said. The wicked person couldn't care less and so says whatever they want regardless of situation or person. In fact they delight in ‘putting their foot in it'!
As we move into chapter 11, Solomon speaks about honesty in business . Here is a seller of goods that are sold by weight, and so he fixes the scales to ensure the buyer gets less than he has paid for. This is deceit, this is fraud, and the Lord hates this sort of thing. The Lord hates perverting the truth in whatever form it comes, for He knows that it means one person doing harm to another. Integrity and honesty are basic requirements for a civilised society to conduct business. When they are absent injustice, unfairness and lies prevail. This is not the world as God designed it to be. He delights in accurate scales, in completely honest dealing, He delights when people are strictly honest because that ensures the welfare of all.
SUMMARY - Proverbs 10