Bible Reading: Proverbs 13.1-11
Proverb 13:1-11: A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not respond to rebukes. 2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things, but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence. 3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin. 4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied. 5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked make themselves a stench and bring shame on themselves. 6 Righteousness guards the person of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner. 7 One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth. 8 A person’s riches may ransom their life, but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes. 9 The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out. 10 Where there is strife, there is pride, but wisdom is found in those who take advice. 11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
These verses in Proverbs contrast the two opposite choices we have in life. We can enter 2019 doing life our way or God’s way. But the choice we make also grants two opposite consequences. The first six verses are about choices of our hearts in personal relationships. The last five verses address fiscal and moral responsibilities.
The choices of the heart start young as we learn to accept the loving discipline of our parents (v. 1) while a rebellious child will not listen. The consequences are not immediate but begin to show up as life is lived out. In the following verses the willing disciple enjoys goodness (v. 2), guards his mouth and preserves his life (v. 3), is abundantly satisfied (“fat” v. 4), hates falsehood (v. 5), and assists and encourages other believers (v. 6).
The opposite consequences are the result of rebellion: violence (v. 2), disaster from smack talking (v.3), never satisfied in life (v. 4), acts shamelessly (v. 5), and is overthrown by his own wickedness. This is an attention grabbing contrast for us to strongly consider.
Finances are also addressed in this passage. Some people pretend to be rich but have nothing but debt while others live modestly and have money in the bank (v. 7). A person with money in bank can stave off hard times but a poor person has no recourse when rebuked (v. 8). For one the light shines brightly while the other goes dark (v. 9). Wisdom in all areas of life not just financial comes from wise counsel but presuming to know it all gives strife (v. 10). Finally, wealth gained by fraud fades away but the one who saves little by little will have an increase (v. 11)
As we start the new year let’s pray: to be wise in our choices, practice self-control, stir ourselves to action, and influence others for good.
Memory Verse: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 1 Peter 2.9