Proverbs 21 (New International Version)
1 In the LORD’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
that he channels toward all who please him.
1 Timothy 2:1
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
2 A person may think their own ways are right,
but the LORD weighs the heart.
3 To do what is right and just
is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
6 A fortune made by a lying tongue
is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.
Here is a recent example of the truth of this verse. Bernie Madoff is the former chairman of the NASDAQ stock market board of directors, and the admitted operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. He is currently serving a 150-year sentence in federal prison in North Carolina.
7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
for they refuse to do what is right.
8 The way of the guilty is devious,
but the conduct of the innocent is upright.
9 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
10 The wicked crave evil;
their neighbors get no mercy from them.
11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.
12 The Righteous One takes note of the house of the wicked
and brings the wicked to ruin.
13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
will also cry out and not be answered.
If we were to reword this verse into positive form, it would go something like — Whoever hears and responds to the cry of the poor can be sure the Lord will hear and answer his prayers as well.
“While ministering in Africa, I met a Christian worker who raised his 6 children on $10 a month. He told me the story of how children in his village were going blind because of a disease that could be prevented with medicine that only cost 50 cents. He began to pray and ask God to send a rich person to their village to help give the money for the medicine, but no one ever came. As he kept praying, the Lord told him he should give the money to buy the medicine. But with 6 children and only a $10 a month salary, he couldn’t see how he could do this. But he and his family prayed and decided that every month they would buy the medicine to help one child. When I last spoke with him, he’d been doing this for 7 years and had saved 84 children from going blind. And his family saw God meet all of their needs.”
–Dr. Brian Kluth
Lord, open my ears to the cries of the poor. As I help provide for their needs, you will surely take care of mine. Amen.
14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.
15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
but terror to evildoers.
16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
comes to rest in the company of the dead.
17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.
18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
and the unfaithful for the upright.
19 Better to live in a desert
than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.
20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
but fools gulp theirs down.
21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
finds life, prosperity and honor.
22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.
23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
keep themselves from calamity.
James 3:2 (New Living Translation)
Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.
24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
behaves with insolent fury.
25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
but the righteous give without sparing.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
how much more so when brought with evil intent!
28 A false witness will perish,
but a careful listener will testify successfully.
29 The wicked put up a bold front,
but the upright give thought to their ways.
30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
that can succeed against the LORD.
Acts 5:34-39 (New Living Translation)
But one member, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was an expert in religious law and respected by all the people, stood up and ordered that the men be sent outside the council chamber for a while. Then he said to his colleagues, “Men of Israel, take care what you are planning to do to these men! Some time ago there was that fellow Theudas, who pretended to be someone great. About 400 others joined him, but he was killed, and all his followers went their various ways. The whole movement came to nothing. After him, at the time of the census, there was Judas of Galilee. He got people to follow him, but he was killed, too, and all his followers were scattered.
“So my advice is, leave these men alone. Let them go. If they are planning and doing these things merely on their own, it will soon be overthrown. But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even find yourselves fighting against God!”
31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
but victory rests with the LORD.
“Be Thou My Vision” played on piano by Greg Howlett.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.
Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.
High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.