Author Archives: Anthony Baker

About Anthony Baker

Husband, dad, pastor/preacher/teacher, musician, and Time Magazine's Person of The Year in 2006 (no joke!). Loves coffee (big time), good movies, and sarcastic humor. Currently pursuing a Doctorate of Ministry. Most importantly, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. All glory belongs to Him!

Could You Handle It?

Proverbs 10:16

“The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.”

It’s Not About Money

There is a popular saying that has been around a long time. It goes, “Follow the money.” The idea is that if you want to know who’s behind something, or what’s at the root of something, then just follow the money trail – there you’ll find the answer.

But in reality, it’s not always just about money. Money is amoral. Money is neither good, nor evil. What people do with money has a lot to do with the heart of the person spending it.

It’s What You Do With It

Every once in a while a different translation can help to shed light on certain truths. You see, in verse sixteen it is not about the “labour” or the “fruit” as much as it is about the “righteous” and the “wicked.” Look at how the New Living Translation treats this passage…

The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin. – Proverbs 10:16 NLT

The point of this proverb is to highlight the differences between the righteous and the wicked. The difference is that the same money, the same labor, can bring life, or it can be used to dig deeper into sin, but it all comes down to choice. What a person does with their money; what a person works for each week; these are outward indicators of the heart.

Ask Yourself this Question

If wealth was dropped into your lap tomorrow, how would you handle it? If you were to become a millionaire tomorrow, would it be the end of you, or the beginning? Either way, don’t blame or give credit to the money. The state of your heart, right now, is what would determine the outcome.

Are you poor? Could you handle wealth? If not, then you may have issues that are worse than an empty bank account.

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Saving Words

Proverbs 10:14

“Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.”

A Penny Saved

I am not sure where the saying “A penny saved is a penny earned” originated. For the longest I was under the impression that Benjamin Franklin coined it (coined it – now that’s funny), but evidently it originated much earlier in the 17th century. That’s OK, though. Whoever “coined” the “penny saved” idiom, if not already dead, is probably too thrifty to sue over copyright infringement.

Nevertheless, the idea of the idiom is that not spending a penny is the same as saving a penny. And when you save a penny, you grow richer in pennies by the day. Too bad pennies aren’t even worth pennies any more. But I digress.

You may be wondering what saving pennies has to do with today’s verse. Well, like pennies, or dollars, or pounds, or whatever, a wise man knows not to use up all his words. He knows there is profit in saving his wisdom for the right time.

A Penny Wasted

Even though pennies are of little value these days, they do have some value. Save enough of them and you could eventually have some money on hand. The foolish man, however, fails to recognize how things add up, so he spends his words quicker than a child’s allowance in a game room.

This sorta reminds me of what my wife tells young children when they won’t stop talking. She says, “Don’t use up all your words.” Wisdom teaches us to use our words carefully, but a fool speaks until he’s proven bankrupt.

A penny saved is a penny earned, and a watched word is wisdom stored.

A Prayer

Lord, some of us love to talk. Help us to save our words instead of spending them all in one place. 


Need a Rod?

Proverbs 10:13

“In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.”

Whack On the Head

One of my favorite television shows of all time has been NCIS. I love the combination of drama, action, and genuine humor that is so characteristic of each episode. The characters in this crime drama have become almost like family over the years. And when I read verse thirteen, I thought of two of the main characters, Jethro Gibbs (Mark Harmon) and Tony DiNozzo (Michael Weatherly).

So many times, when DiNozzo says or does something inappropriate, Gibbs is famous for coming up behind DiNozzo and whacking him on the head (as a form of endearment, of course). Instead of getting a “rod” to the back, DiNozzo gets a palm to the back of his skull, all because he said something stupid.

I’ve Heard it Said

I have heard it said somewhere that the less you say, the smarter you appear. Likewise, the more one runs his mouth, the more ignorant he appears, not to mention how obnoxious he becomes. Have you ever met a person like that? Someone who thinks he knows everything, but is “void of understanding?”

People love to hear the words from the genuinely knowledgeable. In their words wisdom can be found. Good can come from listening to one who has experience in a matter. People may even seek him out to hear him speak.

On the other hand, people tire quickly of the one who thinks he is an expert. He has no wisdom, only pride. This man constantly offers his advice on anything and everything from love to lampshades, even though he has never been in a relationship and he’s a filament short of a light bulb. Solomon essentially says that this man is asking for a beating.

The Back Saver

Having been in ministry a while, I have visited my fair share of hospitals, jails, and prisons; not to mention broken homes and funeral homes. In so many of those places there are people who have suffered from the result of foolishness. Void of wisdom, they suffer the consequences of their actions. Yet, when offered help, they speak again of things they refuse to understand.

Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him (Proverbs 22:15 ESV). That leads me to believe that wisdom in the mouth of an adult could be a back saver.


Another Perspective on 10:12 (Web Exclusive)

Proverbs 10:12

“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.”

Hatred

One of the problems with people is that they can’t tell the difference between love and hate. Even recently a now-former professional football star’s wife came out in his defense after punching her in an elevator. She thinks he loves her!

False love can take many shapes. Envy, lust, jealousy, and possessiveness all dress up like love, but underneath the woolly exterior is a hungry, deadly beast. In reality, what many call “love” is actually hatred. The love of a man towards his wife, as explained in the fifth chapter of Ephesians, is clearly defined as a sacrificial one, the kind that would no sooner strike his wife than himself.

Real Love

True love can be seen in the last part of 10:12. True love would rather deal with hurt privately than publicly. A real love would bear reproach, suffer shame, and seek the greater long-term good rather than immediate retribution.

Jesus showed true love for the world by going to the cross, bearing our sin, our shame, and our blows.

Now that I think about it, maybe Mr. Rice’s wife loves him more than he loves her.


Does Your Dog Bite?

Proverbs 10:10

“He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.”

Biting Dogs

If you have ever owned a dog, or been around them, I am sure you have heard someone say, “Does your dog bite?” The reason they ask this question is because one can never tell if a dog is safe by appearance.

One of my favorite scenes in any movie came in the Peter Sellers classic, the Pink Panther Strikes Again. In that scene Inspector Clouseau asks a hotel manager, “Does your dog bite?” The manager replies as he shakes his head, “No.” Clouseau then reaches down to pet the little dog and gets bit.

Angrily, Clouseau said, “I thought you said your dog did not bite!” The manager replied, “That is not my dog.”

Commenting on this verse, the great Matthew Henry said, “The dog that bites is not always the dog that barks.” In other words, the dog that bites is not always the one you expect.

Prating Fools and Winkers

Some fools are easy to spot (Spot – get it?). They run around acting like idiots, saying things that are obviously out of line with all wisdom, and make their true colors known. They are the barking dogs with foaming mouths. They are the wild hounds running the streets. They are the ones you know are trouble, so hopefully you stay away.

Other people are like the quite, fluffy dogs who look at you with big brown eyes, just begging to be petted. Then, just as you trust them, they explode into a white hot ball of canine terror* and rip your arm off. They are the ones who seem so friendly, so sweet, yet anything but nice.

The prating fool is someone who will come to an end by his own making. He is dangerous, but mostly to himself. But the man that “winketh” is bound for destruction, but not before he hurts the unwary who trust him.

Fakers are Biters

If there is anything I hate, it is fake concern. God hates it, too. “Winking” friends allow you to think they care about what you are going through; that they are concerned with your pain; that when the time comes they will find a way to help you through your difficulties. They may even say things like, “I’ll be praying for you, brother.”

The fakers, the winkers, want to let you think they care, but their goal is to use you for their own gain, even if the gain they seek is their own self-edification. Shame on those who say they care only to look pious and holy! They are nothing more than biting dogs, and somebody always gets hurt.

*”White hot ball of canine terror” is a line from a great Steven Spielberg cartoon, “Family Dog.”

Whose Lips Matter Most?

Proverbs 10:8

The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall. 

Open to Instruction

As of this writing, I am about to enter into a new phase of life, a new field of ministry, a place for which I feel a tad bit (maybe more) under-prepared. At the very least, I know that in this new position I will be faced with responsibilities and challenges I’ve yet to encounter; therefore, I have been seeking advice from other pastors who have personal experience.

If there is anything I’ve learned in life, it’s to not think I know everything. If I’m willing to admit I need advice, there’s a good possibility I will be successful in my future endeavors. But advice and counsel are not exactly what is being discussed in the above verse/proverb; we’re talking about “commandments.”

Receiving Commandments

Commandments are not “advice,” but prescriptions for life. They are not given with options; they are our orders – period.

As a matter of fact, they are so important that Solomon (the preacher) tells us in Ecclesiastes that other than fearing God, nothing is more important than keeping his commandments…

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. – Ecclesiastes 12:13

The difference between being open to advice and receiving commandments can be huge! Being open to the wise instruction of others is not the same as being humble and obedient. It’s not all about us; it’s all about God.

Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. – Deuteronomy 13:4

Prating and Falling

When we examine the word “prating” in today’s proverb, what we find is that it means “to open the lips, i.e. to begin to talk”* and carries with it the idea of someone running off at the mouth with as much understanding as the babbling of a brook.

The “wise in heart,” or those whose character is humble enough to know that there’s One who knows all, stands (ironically) in stark contrast to the fool who is so confident in himself that he runs off at the mouth without any regard for the commands of God.

So he falls. Or, rather, is made to fall.

The wise in heart knows he can’t stand in his own strength, but obeys the One who will help him to stand. The prating fool is too busy listening to his own lips that he can’t even hear his Creator, so the fall is not by accident.

LORD, give is a wise heart that listens to and obey Your commands. 


*Wilhelm Gesenius and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles, Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2003), 793.


Blessings Will Stick

Proverbs 10:6

“Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.”

Nothing Stays

Have you ever heard the old adage, “Like water off a duck’s back?” The reason for that saying comes from the fact that ducks never get “wet,” just in the water ( now that will preach!). You see, because of the oil in a duck’s feathers, the duck can be in the water, have water poured over it, etc., but never actually get wet. The water doesn’t soak in, but runs off.

My head is similar to a duck’s back. There is nothing on my head to make anything stay put. Everything just runs off, down my neck, and under my shirt, especially when it rains. The upside is that I never have to dry my hair when I get out of the shower.

Except Blessings

But the awesome thing is that no matter how slick my bald head is, God is able to heap blessing after blessing on top of it. My glasses won’t stay put; hats get blown off; I cant wear flowers; but the Lord can pile blessings as high as He wants. How is that? Must be a God thing.

I don’t deserve blessings. I don’t deserve anything from God. If you only knew me like I know me, you’d wonder how any blessing would stay on my head. Yet, my Lord is merciful. He is able to do what man and water can’t.

The Wicked

The mouth of the wicked, on the other hand, is covered up with violence. What that means exactly is debatable, but the idea implied is that one usually gets what he deserves. The wicked can be compared to a swimmer in wool clothing and a wool coat. When he gets in the water, he’s sunk.

In General

Generally speaking, this proverb tells us that there are consequences for our actions. The way we live will come back either to bless or haunt us. Right living brings peace, while wicked living never ends well.

Do you want to be thought well of? Live justly. Do you want to reap the rewards of righteousness? Live right. Otherwise, even though there may be some temporary benefits to living like the Devil, the end result of wickedness will have you covering your mouth in shame.

A Prayer

Jesus, even though I am not worthy, thank you for your blessings. My righteousness is in you. I am only “just” because “the just shall live by faith.”  Thank you for your mercy, for when I was yet wicked, you saved me, cleansed me, and put a crown on my head. You are my glory, and I will praise you for your immeasurable goodness to me.