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Proverbs Chapter 29 – Part 2

Practical wisdom you can use

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Hello everyone. Let’s turn to Proverbs 29:13 and we will pick up the Bible Study through the book of Proverbs there. Proverbs 29:13

13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: the Lord lightens both their eyes.

This is a little bit of a difficult translation. But a better translation is: The poor and the oppressor have this in common: The Lord gives light to the eyes of both. So what verse 13 is saying—no matter who you are, we really have a whole lot in common. We’re human beings. We breathe the same air. We are on the earth together and everything comes from God. Whether we are poor, everything ultimately comes from God. Whether we’re rich, same comment. Whether we are oppressing someone or whether we’re being oppressed, the bottom line is: The very life we have and what keeps us alive comes from God. So having said that, we ought to learn to respect one another and treat one another right.

13 The poor and the deceitful man meet together: —

They have this in common.

13 — the Lord lightens both their eyes.

He gives light to the eyes of both of them. So if each one will focus on God and then begin to respect one another, it’ll all work out right. Not too many people do that in this situation where the poor and the oppressor are having to deal with one another. But if they would do that, it would be a lot easier on everyone concerned.

Just realizing that look, you know, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the fact that we can see with our eyes the light of each day, all come from God. It’s true with you. It’s true with me. How about if we settle down and respect one another and deal with one another with more concern, especially on the part of the oppressor. That’s putting God in the picture and that always improves everything.

14 The king that faithfully judges the poor, his throne shall be established forever.

See, it’s easy for a leader to show favor to the well-off or to the pretty or to the talented. The real test is, how is he going to treat the poor, the easily overlooked, the neglected? There’s the real test of his character. And if the ruler, the king, the leader will take care of those who have the greatest needs, then his throne, his rulership, his leadership is going to be stabilized and firmly established forever, in the sense of as long as he lives. That’s the key. It’s a matter of character. And character will take into consideration everyone’s needs and gives special attention to those who have the bigger needs. Not showing favoritism, but simply taking care of those and spending time and resources to take care of those that have the greatest needs. Yet they could be the ones that can be the most easily overlooked. But because he’s a good ruler, he won’t overlook them. That man’s leadership, that man’s position will put down deep roots and will be established on a firm foundation and will go on for a long time because of that attitude.

15 The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame.

Correction, instruction, taking time with children from birth through to adulthood, even though it takes time, even though it’s somewhat painful to discipline sometimes, even though it interrupts what we would otherwise normally like to do—we still realize that one of our greatest responsibilities is that of parenting. And therefore we let other things go so we can be a fully engaged and effective parent. When we do that and when we correct our children or reward our children or encourage our children or hug and kiss and love our children or discipline our children, whatever the need might be and we do it in love and never in abuse, the end result of that is that child is going to change for the better. That twig is going to grow tall and straight, not be bent in the wrong way, so to speak. Wisdom will come as a result of that.

15 — but a child left to himself —

One who has a father and mother that don’t take time with them. They’re so busy. They’re so diverted and distracted by other things. They’re so caught up in the rat race. They don’t take time to listen to the child. They don’t take time to talk to the child. They don’t take time to compliment the child or to correct the child or to discipline the child or to train the child. They simply don’t want to be bothered with the child.

Sometimes the children, they’re rattling around the house all by themselves. They’re called latch-key kids. Sometimes they get home from school and don’t even see their parents before they go to bed. And then they get up the next morning and have to make their own breakfast and catch the bus and they still don’t see their parents. Sometimes they see their parents but not enough. And when they see their parents, the parents are so tired that they have no time for their child. The end result in that situation is usually disaster and shame. But someone who puts as a priority the responsibility of parenthood, the end result of that, if they do it God’s way, will be wonderful for everybody concerned. So let’s take the admonition in verse 15, and let’s make sure we don’t leave our children to themselves. One thing, it can be very, very dangerous. But morally and ethically and in character matters, it also can lead to tremendous shame on the family and on the child because the child needs love and direction, correction and training and care and tender time and strong time with parents. Education is as much something that should be done in the home as something that should be done outside the home. In fact, the most important aspect of education takes place in the home, not elsewhere.

You know when somebody talks about, “Well he’s a well educated man.” What do you mean by that? If a person is really well educated, a large part of that education took place in the home, in the family and with the parents. And the education outside the home simply built on the education that was given in the home, and that child was not left to himself in a case like that.

16 When the wicked are multiplied, transgression increases: but the righteous shall see their fall.

It doesn’t matter in what strata of society or human life you’re talking about, you insert wickedness and you let it multiply, and sin will multiply and pain and suffering and punishment and penalties will multiply. You can’t disconnect any of those things. They’re all interwoven.

But the righteous that practice righteousness, they will also multiply in righteousness and they will live long enough to see the fall and failure of the wicked. The wicked are not going to get away with that. You break laws, you can’t succeed. You want to get an airplane off the ground, you have got to obey the laws of aerodynamics. You break those laws of aerodynamics, the plane is not going to fly. Or if lumbers off the ground, it will crash.

Everything in the universe is governed by laws. And those laws were given by the Great Lawgiver, God Himself. And they are sustained by the Great Lawgiver, God Himself and Jesus Christ, His Son. We get in line with those laws, be they physical laws or spiritual laws—the results are wonderful. We get out of line with those laws, be they physical laws or spiritual laws—the results are painful and disastrous. It has to do with the difference between wickedness—breaking the laws, and righteousness—keeping the laws. One will fail—the wicked. The other will succeed—the righteous. And the righteous shall see the wicked fail. Not that they relish that. It’s just, they will be there when that occurrence takes place, generally speaking. Because they will continue, but the wicked will not.

17 Correct your son, —

Do it in love, be accurate. Do it with diligence and consistency. Take the time to love him, love your daughter, compliment them, praise them, encourage them. Be truthful in doing that. But there comes a time when correction needs to take place as well. And what happens when we take the time to do that? And the punishment fits the infraction, it’s appropriate to the mistake, and it usually has to do with attitude because action flow from attitudes. And it all has to do with helping the child learn not to do that and get hurt, but do the other and be happy.

17 Correct your son, —

And what happens?

17 —he shall give you rest; yea, he shall give delight unto your soul.

And it’s a wonderful thing to see that happen. And even though it takes time, it’s very rewarding for everyone concerned, and God will help us do that. And He gives a lot of instruction to His word on how to go about doing that.

18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: —

No big thinking. No big picture. In some cases, no inspired preaching and teaching and understanding of prophecy—the people perish. They cast off restraint. They get restless. They begin to overthrow the bounds of what is right. And therefore the result is not good and pleasant. But look at the opposite end of the spectrum that’s mentioned here in the last part of verse 18. A very, very important verse. It says:

18 — but he that keeps the law, —

All ten of the commandments, and we can’t do that without God’s help. We can’t even understand that without God’s help. But He will help us to understand His law. And He will give us the strength and the guidance to learn how to more and more effectively keep that law, both in the spirit and in the letter. Loving God and loving our neighbor. Having no other God before the true God. Not making any graven image. Not taking His name in vain. Keeping the Sabbath day holy. Honoring our father and mother. Not killing or hating anyone. Not committing adultery or lusting after others. Not ever stealing. Not ever lying, and not ever coveting. All ten of the Commandments.

18 — he that keeps the law, —

What is the result?

18 — happy is he.

Happiness does not depend on nouns and pronouns or adjectives. Happiness does not depend on people, places, and things. Happiness depends on keeping God’s law. And the more thoroughly we keep God’s law, the happier we will be.

Psalms 119:165 also says: “Great peace have they who love thy law and nothing shall offend them.”

So the more fully we learn to obey God’s law, the greater the peace of mind and peace in our lives we will have, and the happier we will be. People spend all kinds of money and all kinds of time, and go all over the world and spend their lives looking for happiness in the wrong place. They think it has to do with people or they think it has to do with places, or they think it has to do with things. It has nothing to do with any of that. Those are just contributing factors that enhance it or can kind of modify it one way or the other.

At the bottom line, very central core of the matter of happiness is the law of God. And that is a tremendous understanding of truth that can bring tremendous benefits and change for the better in everyone’s lives, and that’s what it says in verse 18. Let’s follow that.

19 A servant will not be corrected by words: —

Or by mere words.

19 — for though he understands he will not answer.

Or he will not respond. Now, that is an unprofitable servant. That’s a servant that is not really stepping up and fulfilling his responsibilities. A good servant will be corrected. But all too often, an employee or a hired hand or a servant or someone that you’re responsible for, all too often, human nature is such, they don’t like to be corrected. And sometimes words just won’t do it. You’ll have to take some action. You’ll have to show them, “Listen, you either do this or you’re going to be fired” or “You’re going to be reduced in your responsibility” or you know, “I mean it, you need to get here on time and I’m not playing games.” Otherwise, when you’re done talking, they’re just going to keep on doing what you wanted them to change. They’re just going to keep coming in late or doing sloppy work. So sometimes you may have to mix actions with the words. Otherwise, you’ll get no response. And as a leader, you’ve got to have the courage to step up and do that.

20 You see a man that is hasty in his words? there is more hope of a fool than of him.

A knee-jerk reaction, a rush to judgment, an impulsive outburst, or a jumping to a conclusion is never wise. And it never really gets good results. We ought to get the facts. We ought to make sure we understand what we’re talking about and we ought to arrive at conclusions. We ought to think before we speak. Because once we speak, the words are out there. But before we speak, they’re still our words and we’ve got them inside.

So we need to make sure, we’re not hasty in our words, hasty in our actions, hasty in our decisions. We don’t need to drag. Sometimes we have to move fairly quickly. But don’t do it in a hasty manner. Do it in a deliberate, methodical, well thought out manner, even though sometimes it has to be rather quick. Otherwise, we’re just like a fool and we know that there’s no hope for a fool until they quit being a fool.

21 He that delicately brings up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.

In other words, you treat those under you well, you treat those that you’re responsible for well. They’ll be loyal to you and they’ll end being like a member of the family. That’s what that’s talking about.

22 An angry man stirs up strife, and a furious man abounds in transgression.

And they love it. It’s just the way they are. They like to start fights. They like to see fights. Sometimes they like to be in fights.

22 — and a furious man —

Gets a rush or she gets a thrill out of sin and out of chaos and out of violence and out of destruction and out of fights and arguments. It’s just the way they are and it’s what they like to do. And so they just keep on doing until it gets so painful, they either back off a bit, or even as a result of their actions, they get hurt or even killed.

God does not want us to be that way. God is not an angry being. Jesus Christ is not a furious being. They’re all about love. Now, they also are powerful when it comes to sin and wrong doing. And they deal with that in no uncertain terms. But they don’t have this hateful, mean streak that an angry man and a furious man have. And they don’t want us to have that mean streak either. Rather they want us to operate and think and be filled with a core character base of love that makes peace, not stirs up strife, and that abounds in obedience, not in transgression. And we can do that and they’ll help us do it, and the results are wonderful.

Verse 23, a very, very important verse, very important.

23 A man's pride —

Or a woman’s, anybody’s.

23 — shall bring him low: —

Shall knock him over, shall be his downfall. It can be pride of appearance, intellectual pride. It can be political pride. It can be athletic pride. It can be musical pride. Pride comes in all shapes and forms. It can be proud because you’re tall, proud because you have blond hair, proud because you’ve been somewhere, proud because you have a degree, proud because you know a lot about the Bible. Pride can crop up in any situation with anybody. And every time, if it is not repented of and rooted out without exception, it will bring you down every time.

But notice the good part of this verse. Notice the other side of this equation.

23 — but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

Honor shall uphold the humble in spirit or the humble in spirit will retain honor. The choice is pride or humility. And humility is one of the very most important things that a Christian can have. It’s one of the most important parts of our character. Nothing but good things come out of humility.

A person who is humble is thankful. They’re teachable. They’re a pleasure to be around. They care for other people. They are tuned in to what God says. But someone who’s filled with pride is obnoxious. They don’t care what God says. They don’t care what other people think. They don’t care about the needs of anybody else. It’s Satanic. That’s where pride originated. Lucifer rebelled against God and became Satan, and he was lifted up with pride and he’s the author of it.

But humility traces all the way back to Jesus Christ and God. When Jesus Christ was on the earth, He was perfect in every way and He was humble. And that’s what we need to do. Grow in humility, grow in meekness, grow in the proper perspective of where we fit in to any situation and where God fits in to any situation. Because that’s what humility is all about. It’s the reality of you and your situation and God and His greatness.

23 — honor shall uphold the humble in spirit.

A man's pride shall bring him low. There’s no exception to that. That’s the way it’ll go every time.

24 Whoso is partner with a thief hates his own soul: he hears cursing, and bewrays it not.

A better translation: Whoso is partner with the thief hates his own life. He hears an oath but tells nothing. In other words, he’s gotten involved with a thief or a dope dealer or a crooked person and he’s going to do damage to his life and to his soul and to his loved ones. He’s going to pay dearly for that, and he’ll start lying. He’ll start being a false witness. He will start hearing an oath, but stay quiet about it when he ought to speak up and say “No, that’s not true. This is the way it should be. This is the way it happened.” He will end up in a pit with no way out.

So that’s what we need to do. Be careful who we are around and be careful who we are friends with and be careful who we walk with. And make sure that it’s certainly not with criminals and thieves and liars because then we become like them and suffer with them. That’s the warning.

25 The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe.

Or secure. I mean, if there’s a mad dog in the yard, I have a healthy fear, I’m not going out there. If there is a deranged criminal walking down the street, I have a healthy fear, I’m not going to mess with him. But I’m not going to fear him to the point to where I’m going to walk away from God, and I’m not going to fear that mad dog in the yard to the point to where I’m going to break the commandments. That’s simply a healthy fear.

An unhealthy fear is to fear others to the point to where you start compromising on what God says. An unhealthy fear is to fear a situation to where that then will lead you to do the wrong thing. That’s what God wants us to avoid. So we don’t make our choices in life regarding how we live, regarding our conduct and regarding what we believe, and regarding our relationship with God based on what other people will think, and based on what they may or may not do to us. That’s the wrong fear. That’s the unhealthy fear. That’s the fear of man that brings a snare.

Rather, we put our trust in the Lord. We trust in God. We care what He thinks. We stand in awe of Him. We have a healthy fear of Him and what He says. And when we do that, that gives us tremendous security. And we can rest and sleep at night. And we can have confidence to go through our day and accomplish a great deal. Because we’re walking with God and we stand in awe of Him and we care what He says and what He requires more than we care what man might say or require. He comes first.

26 Many seek the ruler's favor; but every man's judgment comes from the Lord.

Yes, people, they forget about God and think it’s all about what others think of them. When in fact, they ought to care about what God thinks of them. Because after all, He’s our judge. He’s the one who is going to render the judgment as to what’s going to happen to us and whether we’re going to be blessed or punished. So the big thing is to please God. Not be men pleasers, but rather please God. Now should we go out of our way to offend others? No, we’re to let our light shine. We’re to consider the feelings of others in terms of respecting them and caring for them. But we are not to consider the opinions and thoughts of others to the point to where we let them start to define what we’re going to do and determine the way we’re going to be. That’s idolatry. That’s breaking the first commandment.

The one that we look to, to determine what we’re going to do and define who we’re going to be is Almighty God, His Son Jesus Christ and their word in the Bible. That’s true Christianity. So that’s what it’s talking about here.

26 Many seek the ruler's favor; —

Oh, we’re so concerned about what others think including our bosses and those that are over us. And we should be concerned in terms of letting our light shine. But not concerned in terms of letting them dictate, determine, and define us in our lives. That’s wrong. That’s taking it too far.

What we ought to do is seek God’s favor. He’s our judge and He’s the one we look to first and foremost about everything, not human beings. And we don’t fear man in those matters, but we stand in awe of God. Verses 25 and 26 of Proverbs 29—those verses are closely linked.

The last verse in Chapter 29 of Proverbs, verse 27. This is a theme that you’ll see running throughout the Bible: “Woe unto Him that calls good evil, and evil good.” “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

There must be a clear delineation between right and wrong, and good and evil in our minds and in our lives. We must draw a line between those two choices—like the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. And not compromise on that line, not bend it, and not in any way, shape, or form budge on the difference between right and wrong. Because God never does. And so if we think the way He thinks, we must never do that either. Notice what verse 27 says.

27 An unjust man is an abomination to the just: —

They will never agree with that unjust man. They will never go along with that unjust man. They will never approve of that unjust man and his actions. They won’t hate him but they’ll hate the sin. And notice the other side of this verse.

27 — and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

The wicked don’t like the upright. They like the wicked. They feel uncomfortable in the presence of the upright until they repent and want to be upright themselves. And so there’s always a delineation, always a difference. They’re always polls apart, this situation where you compare the upright with the wicked. They have nothing in common. The wicked love wickedness, and the upright love righteousness. Therefore they don’t like one another and they don’t like to be around one another.

However, the upright must love the wicked, not what they do, but love them as someone made in the image of God and be willing to reach out and help them if they will be helped. But not agree with their state of wickedness and not agree with their actions of wickedness. There is a clash right away between the just and the wicked because of a clash of attitude and values. And the two can never come together and agree. The wicked must change and become like the upright. And the upright must become more and more like God who is perfect.

So we’ll stop there in verse 27 and we’ll pick the Bible Study up the next time with Proverbs Chapter 30.

This is Charles Bryce with the Enduring Church of God.