Proverbs 19:2

Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Proverbs 19:2 ESV

This verse reminds me of being in a store with a kid. The first thing that catches his attention results in, “Can we get this?” No thought of what it costs. No thought of what it does. No thought of how easily it may break or become outdated. Simply, “I see it and I want it … now.” So many things in life come with a cost, but a broken soul doesn’t think about those things. It simply wants.

How do you fight desire?

Proverbs 19:8

Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;

    he who keeps understanding will discover good.

Proverbs 19:8 ESV

One of the ways to demonstrate appropriate self-love is to get sense. In other words, pamper yourself by getting wisdom. That may sound strange since we usually think of getting pampered at the spa or at a dinner marking a special occasion.

Following the theme of Proverbs, are you caring for your soul appropriately by pursing wisdom?

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 19:3

“When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,

    his heart rages against the Lord.”

Proverbs 19:3 ESV

The fool is revealed in two ways in this verse. First, note that his own folly brings ruin. The natural end of folly is ruin.

Second, the fool does not accept his own responsibility in creating his circumstance; he blames someone else. In this case, “his heart rages against the Lord.” Raging against the Lord demonstrates his folly in extra measure. Not only does he blame someone else, he blames the one who would guide him to wisdom.

When you find yourself in a fix do you catch yourself blaming someone else? Do you blame God?

Proverbs 19:1

“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity

  than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.”

Proverbs 19:1 ESV

Note here, the connection between integrity and wisdom. In this case, this connection is presented in contrast as integrity vs. fool.

The words “better is a poor person” are counterintuitive in a consumer-driven culture where more, particularly wealth, is considered better. But the writer is not, as some might misunderstand, saying “poor is better.” He qualifies the type of poor person who is better. That is, the poor person who “walks in his integrity.” The point here isn’t being poor or rich, it is being honest.

Since the goal is integrity, the author is saying – again, in contrast to worldly ideals of wealth and power – being poor with integrity is better than any other state of being without integrity. The writer says exactly this in Proverbs 28:6 (ESV), “Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.”

Now, to close the loop on the contrast between integrity and fool, I should say that integrity is a matter of wisdom. Thus, those who lack integrity also lack wisdom. In other words, those who lack integrity are fools.

What is your commitment to wisdom? Can you be satisfied to be “a poor man who walks in his integrity,” rather than “a rich man who is crooked in his ways”? Or, is wealth – or worldly comfort – more important to you than integrity? To check yourself, examine the areas where you are willing to cut corners.

Lord, help us to examine our hearts accurately and to be so committed to integrity that we can be satisfied with living in poverty IF we have integrity.

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