King Solomon has some wisdom for me. It is about “evil” or bad people.
God is love (1 John 4:8); the absence of love in a person is un-God-like and therefore evil. And an absence of love manifests itself in unloving behavior. I like to think I am a “good person”. I like to believe the best about others.
Don’t envy evil people; don’t even want to be around them. All they think about is causing a disturbance; all they talk about is making trouble.
~King Solomon Source: Proverbs 24:1-2
I must consider God’s mercy, justice, patience, etc. The lack of these godly qualities in anyone constitutes evil. That evil then manifests itself in behavior that is unmerciful, unjust, impatient, etc., bringing more harm into the good world that God has made.
As it turns out, we lack a lot: “As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one’” (Romans 3:10).
- How does it start? It starts with envy. It is that simple. Maybe it is their wealth or maybe it is their popularity. It is very subtle.
- What is Gods’ goal for me? God wants me to hang out with good people, his chosen people. Jesus is clear in his mission.
- Why is God’s goal important? If I hang out with bad people, their influence will rub off on me. They are nothing but trouble.
- How could things be worse? There are bad people and there are evil people. Evil people are destined for God’s justice. Elsewhere in Proverbs we read that “Good people celebrate when justice triumphs, but for the workers of evil it’s a bad day.” (Proverbs 21:15)
I have a goal. I have a plan. I have dreams. They involve money.
What does wisdom say about that?
- What is my goal for wealth? I am overwhelmed with messages about wealth and retirement. They are everywhere I turn. Jesus says “Be generous. Give to the poor. Get yourselves a bank that can’t go bankrupt, a bank in heaven far from bankrobbers, safe from embezzlers, a bank you can bank on. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Luke 12:33-34)
- Am I willing to wear myself out to get it? Trying to get wealthy will wear me out. There just enough hours in the day and there is always more to do.
- Do I understand that wealth is fleeting? Jesus says “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
- What is God’s goal? God’s goal for me is focus on Jesus and being a good citizen of the Kingdom of God. God wants me to love. God wants me to use my money to be generous to others.
“Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich;
Riches disappear in the blink of an eye;
wealth sprouts wings
and flies off into the wild blue yonder.” ~King Solomon
Source: Proverbs 23:4-5
This proverb does not condemn wealth; it warns against the pursuit of wealth. Ecclesiastes also warns about pursuit of wealth and its inability to satisfy (Eccl 5:10).
It describes two situations: In one, a person pursues wealth but never enjoys it or finds satisfaction (Eccl 4:7–8). In the second, someone loses all their wealth and is left with nothing (Eccl 5:13–17).
These verses warn against overwork for the sake of gaining riches. This speaks not against being industrious but against consuming oneself for money. Wise restraint in this area (as well as in what one eats at a banquet, vv. 1–2) is needed, especially in the present day when materialism drives many people to excessive workloads in order to accumulate more money.
The reason for this advice is that riches are temporary and unstable .The first part of 23:5 is literally, “If you cause your eyes to fly after it” (i.e., wealth). Ironically, flying after wealth results in wealth flying away like an eagle.
Generosity is interesting. It brings a blessing and happiness to me.
That happiness takes many forms. The greatest is the joy of doing what our Father desires. He says to give and obedience is its own form of blessing.
The focus of generosity should be on the poor. Solomon challenges us to have a mission with our generosity. Here, we have lots of opportunity for sure.
GOD is generous. He is caring and in a good mood. Always.
Jesus has a goal for us. We are to be generous.
A generous man will himself be happy, for he shares his food with the poor. ~King Solomon Proverbs 22:9 (The Message Bible)
In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s desire for His children to show compassion to the poor and needy. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7). He also said that those who show mercy to the poor, the sick, and the needy are in effect ministering to Him personally (Matthew 25:35–40) and will be rewarded accordingly.
There is no doubt that poverty’s reach is both widespread and devastating. God’s people cannot be indifferent toward those in need, because His expectations for us in regard to taking care of the poor are woven throughout the entirety of Scripture.
- For example, look at the Master’s words about the goodness of King Josiah in Jeremiah 22:16: “He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me, declares the MASTER?”
- And Moses instructed his people how to treat the poor and needy: “Give generously to [them] and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the MASTER your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to” (Deuteronomy 15:10).
- This sentiment is perfectly captured in Proverbs 14:31: “Whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”
God has a goal for me. My job is to focus on it.
Some times my thoughts wander off when I am praying and meditating. They move away to my “agenda” and what I believed I should be focused on.
The Messiah Jesus has His own agenda. Better to follow it. Jesus directs my thoughts where He wants them to go. My heart is in His hand. It moves according to His direction.
Honesty and Integrity
What kind of legacy do I want to leave my children? What is the most important thing I can do? What will make it easy for them in life?
Great questions. Here is God’s answer.
Be God-loyal. Pretty straightforward. The things I think may be important pale in light of being loyal to Him. That is what will help my children.
Hold your tongue
Holding my tongue is easier said than done some days. Someone says something and off I go. I react. I speak. I regret it.
God’s wisdom teaches me to pause. I should forgive what they say. I should forget what they say. Many times we forgive but we don’t forget.
If I can forget it, I am truly liberated and free.
His wisdom teaches me to pause. Rather than respond I need to forgive first. Then I need to forget. Then I have nothing left to say about the offense that started everything to begin with.
God’s goal for me is that I know how to hold my tongue.
Smart people know how to hold their tongue; their grandeur is to forgive and forget.
Proverbs 19:11 (The Message Bible)
Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of disciples of King Jesus.
Ephesians 4:32 commands, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you.”
Similarly, Colossians 3:13 says, “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Master forgave you.”
The key in both passages is that we are to forgive others as God has forgiven us.
Why do we forgive? Because we have been forgiven!
I am a fool. Many times I run off at the mouth.
I think what I have to say is important and I don’t care what others have to say. I know that is sad but it is true.
Fools care nothing for thoughtful discourse; all they do is run off at the mouth. ~King Solomon
Source: Proverbs 18:2 (The Message Bible)
Discourse involves asking questions (wise ones) and listening.
The best conversations are where I ask lots of relevant questions and really listen. God’s goal for me is to be wise. That requires “wise” listening.
That is wisdom. I need more of that.
The good news is that Jesus teaches me. I have been redeemed from missing God’s goal (aka sinning) and can break away from my natural inclinations.
I don’t want to be foolish. The following is a partial list of some characteristics of a fool from the book of Proverbs:
- A fool hates knowledge (1:22)
- Takes no pleasure in understanding (18:2)
- Enjoys wicked schemes (Proverbs 10:23)
- Proclaims folly (Proverbs 12:23)
- Spurns a parent’s discipline (15:5)
- Speaks perversity (19:1)
- Is quick-tempered (12:16)
- Gets himself in trouble with his proud speech (14:3)
- Mocks at sin (14:9)
- Is deceitful (14:8)
- Despises his mother (15:20)
- A foolish child brings grief to his or her parents (17:25; 19:13)
- A foolish man commits sexual immorality (6:32; 7:7–12)
- A foolish woman tears down her own house (14:1)
Yikes! A great case to WISE UP!
The ultimate description of a fool is one who “says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ We are told they are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good” (Psalm 14:1; 53:1). Although fools can choose to become wise by heeding wise counsel and applying it (Proverbs 8:5; 21:11), the Bible warns against associating with fools (Proverbs 14:7).
Proverbs 13:20 says, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”