Proverbs 19 (NIV)
1 Better the poor whose walk is blameless
than a fool whose lips are perverse.
2 Desire without knowledge is not good—
how much more will hasty feet miss the way!
3 A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
yet their heart rages against the LORD.
“Fools will try to blame God when they ruin their lives . . . The fool is not willing to accept failure as his own. Of course, to blame God is also folly.”
–Allen P. Ross
4 Wealth attracts many friends,
but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
5 A false witness will not go unpunished,
and whoever pours out lies will not go free.
6 Many curry favor with a ruler,
and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.
Scripture tells us that “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17). So let us thank the Lord for all his good gifts to us! HERE is Don Moen and “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart.”
7 The poor are shunned by all their relatives—
how much more do their friends avoid them!
Though the poor pursue them with pleading,
they are nowhere to be found.
8 The one who gets wisdom loves life;
the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.
“The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.”
“Angry people are not always wise.”
–Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
–Michel de Montaigne
9 A false witness will not go unpunished,
and whoever pours out lies will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury—
how much worse for a slave to rule over princes!
11 A person’s wisdom yields patience;
it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense.
Once I was visiting with my friend RK and relating an incident which had caused friction and ill will between a mutual friend, “Jack,” and another person. Jack was quite hurt and discouraged by what had happened, and frankly, the other person was clearly at fault. RK said, “I know a way to prevent such things from ever happening.” I was astonished at his remark — what inside information did he have?
Then RK said, “It is really quite simple. Choose NOT to be offended.”
Choose NOT to be offended. It has become a motto for me! When people say the wrong thing, whether unthinkingly or deliberately, I say to myself, “If they are unaware, oh well, it is not my problem. If they are trying to hurt me, I will sweetly deny them that satisfaction. I choose NOT to be offended.” And I let it go. If someone does something which makes my life more difficult and I find myself getting knotted up about it, I remind myself, “Life is full of ups and downs. Choose NOT to be offended and just get on with it.” And I stop the pity party.
1 Peter 4:8 says, “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.” In my youth I thought it meant that my love covered other people’s sins, particularly the people I liked and could be generous and forgiving towards. Now I know it is God’s love that covers all our sins. Only with Christ’s forgiveness can I live at all! With that clearly in mind, then, I have found it easier and easier to take my friend’s advice and choose NOT to be offended.
12 A king’s rage is like the roar of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish child is a father’s ruin,
and a quarrelsome wife is like
the constant dripping of a leaky roof.
‘Three things make a house intolerable: tak (the leaking through of rain), nak (a wife’s nagging) and bak (bugs).”
–an Arab proverb, from Derek Kidner
14 Houses and wealth are inherited from parents,
but a prudent wife is from the LORD.
16 Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life,
but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die.
17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
Proverbs 19:17 (KJV)
He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
We are to give to the poor out of pity. Not to be seen and applauded, much less to get influence over them; but out of pure sympathy and compassion we must give them help. We must not expect to get anything back from the poor, not even gratitude; but we should regard what we have done as a loan to the Lord. He undertakes the obligation, and, if we look to him in the matter, we must not look to the second party. What an honor the Lord bestows upon us when he condescends to borrow of us! That merchant is greatly favored who has the Lord on his books. It would seem a pity to have such a name down for a paltry pittance; let us make it a heavy amount. The next needy man that comes this way, let us help him.
–Charles Haddon Spurgeon
18 Discipline your children, for in that there is hope;
do not be a willing party to their death.
“It is far better that the child should cry under healthy correction than that parents should later cry under the bitter fruit to themselves and their children of neglected discipline.”
19 A hot-tempered person must pay the penalty;
rescue them, and you will have to do it again.
“An ungovernable temper will repeatedly land its owner in fresh trouble.”
20 Listen to advice and accept discipline,
and at the end you will be counted among the wise.
21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart,
but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
James 4:13-15 (NLT)
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.”
“The LORD’s purpose shall prevail.” The Bible has many stories of disrupted plans. On his second missionary journey, Paul had sought to bring the gospel into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus stopped him (Acts 16:6–7). This must have seemed mystifying: Why was Jesus disrupting plans that were in line with a God-given mission? The answer came in a dream one night: Macedonia needed him even more. There, Paul would plant the first church in Europe. It’s sensible to make plans; a well-known adage goes, “Fail to plan, and you plan to fail.” But God may disrupt our plans with His own. Our challenge is to listen and obey, knowing we can trust God. If we submit to God’s will, we’ll find ourselves fitting into His purpose for our lives.
22 What a person desires is unfailing love;
better to be poor than a liar.
23 The fear of the LORD leads to life;
then one rests content, untouched by trouble.
24 A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he will not even bring it back to his mouth!
25 Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence;
rebuke the discerning, and they will gain knowledge.
26 Whoever robs their father and drives out their mother
is a child who brings shame and disgrace.
27 Stop listening to instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
It was once said that the brain stops learning at a certain age, but research has since shown the brain constantly shapes and changes throughout our lives, which means we can continue learning at any age. This is what is known as “brain plasticity.” Exercising our brain plasticity means we are participating in activities that involve the entire body that directly relates to learning.
28 A corrupt witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked gulps down evil.
29 Penalties are prepared for mockers,
and beatings for the backs of fools.