Proverbs 20:1

Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,

    and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1 ESV

The book of Proverbs is the book of wisdom. The challenge presented throughout the book is discerning between the path of wisdom and the path of folly. Here, the writer erects a very clear road sign: “whoever is led astray by [alcohol] is not wise.” Read the sign. Heed the warning.

Proverbs 19:5

A false witness will not go unpunished,

    and he who breathes out lies will not escape.

Proverbs 19:5 ESV

This verse requires us to “believe in the dark what we know to be true in the light.” In other words, this verse requires great trust in the Lord to do what is right because so frequently it appears that false witnesses do go unpunished. In other words, they get away with it! Sometimes we have stories like Jezebel who was punished for suborning false witnesses against Naboth (1 Kings 21). But so often, we are left asking “when is their punishment coming?”

Once again, the writer presses us to recognize that not all of God’s actions are plainly visible to all, nor do they all occur in this life. The latter will seem like a cop-out for those who do not believe in God’s ultimate justice in the life to come. I get that. But disbelief doesn’t make it less true. The naturalist is left with frustration that justice isn’t served. Those who believe in a supernatural life can rest, knowing that ultimately God will mete out justice in a perfect way.

Proverbs 15:2

The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,

    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Proverbs 15:2 ESV

Here’s another take home test from Proverbs. Spend a day or two simply listening to what comes out of your mouth. Do the results of your research suggest you are wise or a fool?

Proverbs 14:2

Whoever walks in uprightness fears the Lord,

    but he who is devious in his ways despises him.

Proverbs 14:2 ESV

I want to focus on the second clause in this verse. “… but he who is devious in his ways despises [the Lord].” This reveals God’s view of sin, and perhaps our own weak view of the sinfulness of sin. Sometimes we may think, “A little lie is not right, but it certainly doesn’t mean I despise the Lord.” Well, this verse argues against that effort to minimize the nature of sin. I don’t think we sit around thinking about these kinds of things, but perhaps we should.

How does being devious indicate that I despise the Lord? Primarily because it means that my affections are for that which is the opposite of the Lord. Jesus said that we can’t serve two masters (Mt. 6:24), but so often we try to do just that. We try to serve the flesh and the spirit. We chase death, but want life.

Think back over the last week or so. Have you done, said, or thought things that suggest you despise the Lord? If so, did you recognize it on the moment, or are you realizing it now after seeing the connection in this verse?

Lord, please help to see – in real time – how my actions/thoughts/words betray my love for you.

Proverbs 12:3

No one is established by wickedness,

    but the root of the righteous will never be moved.

Proverbs 12:3 ESV

Here, the author is focusing on the foundation of the wicked vs. the foundation of the righteous. Wickedness does not provide a firm foundation regardless of any appearance of stability or success that may come with it. In the end, it is unstable. On the other hand, the righteous sets his roots deep in the Lord, and they will not be moved.

David says it this way:

For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,

    for my hope is from him.

He only is my rock and my salvation,

    my fortress; I shall not be shaken [moved in KJV].

On God rests my salvation and my glory;

    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.

Psalm 62:5-7 ESV

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