BDBD is Proverb 14:13

As verse 10 declares that “each heart knows its own bitterness and no one else can share its joy” so verse 13 echoes and builds the thought, “even in laughter the heart may ache, and joy may end in grief.” I may be able to disguise and hide my true emotion from others, but God and I still know. Some even hide their emotions from themselves, or worse yet their emotions are a swirling mess like debris in the winds of a tornado destroying things they collide into.

When Rachel gave birth to her second she named him with her last breath Ben-Oni meaning “son of my trouble” (Genesis 35:17-18). There was joy at the birth and heartache because the mother died. Though this event matches these two proverbs, it is not the thought today.

Some emotions may linger in my heart for long periods of time affecting in some way any and every event in my life, even opposite emotions. Heartaches and grief born in the loss of someone loved may never go away. Jacob, Rachel’s husband and Benjamin’s father always harbored the loss of his beloved Rachel. Every time he saw Benjamin he was reminded of his deceased love and thus did not risk losing Benjamin (Genesis 43:6). Know deep emotions to learn why I do what I do, perhaps then I may overcome. Meditation of self in light of the Word of God can be of great benefit.

BDBD is Proverb 14:12

“There is a way that seems right…” is an open-ended statement in that the way that seems right is undefined. Surely these ways are in full view of the Lord that leads to death as is stated concerning the wicked’s evil deeds in chapter 5:21-23. Still, why did the Lord through Solomon make this an open-ended proverb?

The intent of Proverb 14:12 is to help the reader begin to examine the way they are living. Still, if a person believes that the way they are living is right, meaning the way God intends them to live, can that person be convinced to examine their lives in light of God’s word? And even if that person becomes convinced that their way of living is leading to death will they have the power and will to change their ways?

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in “The Plight of Man and the Power of God” wrote to his generation in the middle of WWII, “In the same way as morality alone fails, the gospel of Christ succeeds. It starts with God and exists to glorify His holy Name. It restores man into the right relationship to Him, reconciling him to God through the blood of Christ. It tells man that he is more important than his own actions or his environment and that when he is put right, he must then proceed to put them right. It caters for the whole man, body, soul, and spirit, intellect, desire and will, by giving him the most exalted view of all, and filling him with a passion and a desire to live the good life in order to express his gratitude to God for His amazing love. And it provides him with power. In the depth of his shame and misery as the result of his sin and failure, it restores him by assuring him that Christ has died for him and his sins, and that God has forgiven him. It calls him to a new life and a new start, promising him power that will overcome sin and temptation, and will at the same time enable him to live the life he believed and knows he ought to live.”

BDBD is Proverb 14:11

The proverb here is a prophecy for “will be destroyed” and “will flourish” are future tense. Just when will the prophecy be fulfilled? One clue is the nature of the dwelling for the wicked and for the upright. The wicked’s dwelling is a house in all English translations. The upright’s dwelling is a tent in all English translations. One is a permanently located expensive home, the other a mobile modest tent. Strange then it is for Solomon who built an expensive palace for himself and another for his Egyptian wife to write this proverb prophecy. Surely there is more to this prophecy than a quick reading will reveal.

The author of Hebrews wrote, “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” (Hebrews 11:8-10) The heart, mind, and faith of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were aware of and believed in a future inheritance that would flourish. So they lived in tents.

Hebrews continues, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance. And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.” (Hebrews 11:13-14)

Jesus before his arrest, death, and resurrection gave his disciples direction concerning when this proverb prophecy will come true. He said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:36-39) Until the prophecy is fulfilled I am to live by faith, my heart a tabernacle for God.

BDBD is Proverb 14:10

The true core mood of a person’s heart is known only by the owner and God (1 Chronicles 28:9). Whether bitter or joyful, happy or sad, fearful or brave, puzzled or enlightened the heart’s presence is thine heart alone. The heart, “leb” in Hebrew (a transliteration) is used to describe the seat of one’s feelings and emotions and is associated with thought and will. Some people may spend years, or even a lifetime, not understanding the depths of their emotions.

The two opposing heart states focused on in this proverb are bitterness (Hebrew “morra”) and joy (Hebrew “simha”). Biblical examples of bitterness are 1 Samuel 1:10; 1 Kings 8:38; & Mathew 26:75 and examples of joy are 1 Chronicles 29:17-22; Ezra 6:16, 22; Easter 8:16; & Matthew 13:44. Though external circumstances and situations will make a person bitter or joyful, the heart’s reaction to these is controlled by the heart’s owner. My ability to control my heart depends on myself alone.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart.” Proverbs 17:3) A clear benefit of a personal submissive relationship with God is that he matures and molds the heart so that it fares better in every and any life event. So that one event experienced in the past will bring bitterness, yet experiencing it again later will bring joy.

  During the Last Supper, “Jesus saw that his disciples wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, ‘Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” (John 16:19-22)

BDBD is Proverb 14:9

Sin is an inherent condition of everyone born (except Christ) (Romans 3:23), a condition that we own but cannot sell or give away. It is just there affecting every aspect of human existence in a bad way like rot in an orange, an apple, and a pomegranate. God hates sin, is not affected by sin, and is fully capable of not only dealing with it but eliminating it and the damage it causes (Romans 6:10).

The reason God hates sin is multitudinous. His solution to sin is transitional and liberating. It is based on love. It is beyond ultimate power. It is simple. It is pure. It is wonderful. It is eternal. It is free. It is one-sided conducted and one-sided received. God’s solution to amends for sin is Christ Jesus, his one and only Son (Hebrews 9:26-28). Sin’s amends through Jesus’ blood is best defined by emotion.

“Fools mock at making amends for sin.” Why? I know why. Does the fool know why? Mocking liberating amends is folly to the upright who know God’s goodwill. I shed tears for those who mock amends for sin because they are rejecting life.

“He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10) “Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43) Last night I had a vision, a dream before I awoke, one that I had before. My graduation is at hand. I am getting ready to leave for the commencement with my classmates. “Goodwill (favor, forgiveness, a pleasing thing) is found among the upright.”

BDBD is Proverbs 14:8

Prudent in the original Hebrew portrays a person who is cunning and crafty as is further defined in BDBD for Proverb 12:23. There I learn that the cunning stores and covers the knowledge of Jesus, his words, and his kingdom in their soul’s vault (also 10:14; Matthew 13:45-46). The proverb in 14:8 tells me that the wisdom of the prudent is to compare and search their soul and their ways with the word of God that they so treasures.

A fool does not treasure the word of God, refuses to examine their soul in light of the word of Jesus, and therefore deceives themselves and others (though not everyone is fooled by their deception). What they do treasure does not bring them success in the eyes of God and seldom in the eyes of others. Instead, it leads them toward their own destruction. All this is out of fear of something that never happens as they perceive it (John 3:19-20, 12:44-47).

The disciples knew that Jesus often went to lonely places by himself to pray (Matthew 14:23; Mark 6:46, 14:32; Luke 6:12, 9:28, 11:1) Though his apostles saw this routine they only record one of these secluded lonely prayer times. Surely the Lord’s prayer on the Mount of Olives (Gethsemane) just before he was betrayed and arrested is the prayer of a prudent wise man (Mark 14:32-42).

BDBD is Proverb 14:7

This proverb gives a reason for staying away from a foolish person; his words are not knowledge. Stay around them long enough and I will be a talking fool too. The Bible has much to say about the company that I should and shouldn’t keep. The key to keeping this wisdom is to know who is foolish and who is wise.

I have learned that I cannot determine who is wise and who is foolish by the clothes they wear, the position they hold, and not even what others say about them. In the first century in Israel, the fools were prominent men in expensive clothes, in high standing in their congregation, teachers, preachers, and most well respected. The wise followed a country preacher who wore road dusty clothes, in low standing in their congregation, were not trained teachers or preachers, and did not command respect. “Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees (and Herod).” (Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15; Luke 12:1)

Jesus said the wise are those who put his words into practice (Matthew 7:24). Jesus said the wise are like little children whom God the Father revealed his truths (Matthew 11:25). Jesus said the wise are those who keep the oil of the Holy Spirit because they do not know when he would come back and so are always prepared and ready to keep their light lit. (Matthew 25:4) Jesus taught the wise servant is the faithful who feeds his people with the truth in spirit, word, and action (Luke 12:42-43).

Am I the fool that I should keep myself away from?

BDBD is Proverb 14:6

A mocker is a person who is excessively proud and arrogant (21:24). They are bullies full of insults, hatred, and strife (9:7-8, 22:10, 29:8). They resist correction (13:1, 15:12) even though they deserve flogging (19:25, 21:11). Unlike the humble and discerning they do not fear the Lord though they harbor and react to vague fears.

A mocker seeks wisdom, yet because he refused to fear the Lord he finds none for fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding (9:10). A mocker refuses to acknowledge his burdened nature, though alone in dark places, it is his fixation.

A discerning person is exceedingly humble and gracious. They are a blessing to others full of kindness, goodness, and faithfulness. They accept correction and discipline (1:5, 15:4). Unlike the proud and arrogant the discerning fear the Lord and they house faith in him.

A time is coming, Jesus taught, that the mocker will cry out when he dies, “Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue because I am in agony in this fire,” for his soul will be in hell and the discerning Lazarus will be in paradise (Luke 16:24). The mocker will hear this reply, “Remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” (Luke 16:25)

BDBD is Proverbs 14:5

Facts about a truthful witness and a false witness are elsewhere in Proverbs (6:19, 12:17, 25:18). So being a truthful witness is important to God. A truthful witness does not deceive.

Jesus called his followers to be his witnesses. He meant that in everything he taught and did his followers were to say and do the same. “You are witnesses of these things,” he told us (Luke 24:48). So am I a truthful witness who does not deceive? Or am I a false witness who pours out lies?

If those who I associate with know that I am different because of my faith in Jesus, then perhaps I am a truthful witness. Yet, being different isn’t a good indicator that I am true. It just indicates that others know I am different.

If no one turns to Jesus for salvation and leadership does it mean that I have not been a truthful witness? Perhaps. Yet, even a donkey –a beast without speech- spoke with a man’s voice and restrained Balaam, a prophet from madness, when it was a truthful witness. (2 Peter 2:16) A truthful witness talks and does as the Spirit enables no matter the response to his or her message. When I allow the Spirit to carry me along, then I am a truthful witness who does not deceive.

BDBD is Proverb 14:4

The meaning behind this proverb is more than the powerful beast of burden the farmer uses to plow his field. The Lord God is concerned about the field of humans that can be changed to produce much wonderful fruit. (Matthew 3:23)

The reason we don’t produce fruit is that our souls are in need of cleaning and repair and our spirits are dead. Spirits are dead because they are not receiving nutrition from the Son of God, Jesus. Jesus taught his disciples, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

Workers are needed to spread the message of Jesus. His words need to be planted into others’ souls. Workers are also needed to help people grow in Christ and mature. No sapling will produce seeds. It must grow and mature with much sunlight, water, and nutrition. Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)

So as Jesus stated, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Luke 10:2) “Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.” Am I an ox or a sapling?

BDBD is Proverbs 14:3

If my back hurts because I have been beaten, perhaps I have been beaten because of something I said for “a fool’s talk brings a rod to his back…” Yet, my back cannot blame my lips and tongue for they only move as the heart commands. For the heart is the command of the lips and tongue and it is the back that suffers. When the back hurts the whole body suffers, and it is the heart that is the cause though few know it. They only ask, “Why have I been beaten?”

Is there a pattern of beating and suffering in my life? Does the same pain keep coming back and never leave? If so it is wise to seek the cause of the pain. Ask the question, “How do I contribute to the pain?” Or better yet, “What part of me is the real cause of the pain?” Perhaps it is my lips and tongue. Perhaps they are only an intermediate cause, not the root cause. It is better to curve the heart to control the mouth and thus save the back from the beating of a rod.

“The lips of the wise protect them” for the wise realize that God is the only cure for a heart that is the result of a rod repeatedly beating on the back. The wise cries out from the heart through the lips, “Save me Lord Jesus and take total control of my life. Make new my heart. Make it like yours. Change my heart, then you God will protect my back from the beating rod from the cause of sin and death.”

BDBD is Proverbs 14:2

A pattern exists for the response to the Lord God. Some fear him and others despise him. My response is an indicator of my heart’s status. If I fear him then my walk is upright, meaning my heart is such that it compels me to do righteous things. Others plainly can see that I am a good person who is inclined to do good things.

If I despise the Lord then my ways are devious, meaning my heart is such that it compels me to do devious things. Something devious is a terrible act hidden behind something that appears to be good. A devious act is hidden because everyone else despises it and is revolted by it. So those who despise the Lord live a life of deception and lies. They know that if people really knew their heart then they would hate them.

Fearing the Lord seems to be a much easier and lighter way to live than despising him. The person who despises the Lord has to work much harder to stay in society and have others still associate with them. This explains why so many are inclined to isolate themselves from society.

In C.S. Lewis’ short story (I forget the name this morning) someone is shown the difference between two societies. One is in the cracks of the street bricks of another. The one that exists in the cracks consists of people that are slowly scattering because they don’t want to be near other people. Fearing the Lord brings people together. Despising the Lord separates.

BDBD is Proverbs 14:1

“The wise woman builds her house…” begins this simple yet direct proverb. “Wise woman” found in every English translation comes from the original Hebrew words “hokmot ishsha” (a transliteration). Ishsha is the first name Adam gave the woman the Lord created from his rib to be his wife (Genesis 2:22-24). “Builds her house” found in every English translation comes from the original Hebrew words “bana bayit” (a transliteration). They imply children and family is the house she builds. The proverb is not referring to an enterprise or business.

The wise woman is compared to a foolish one; “iwwelet” in Hebrew (a transliteration). The foolish woman tears down her family.

The woman of the household has the power, authority, and ability to rule her children. She will not always be about or able to control them. Yet, she always is in charge. Her husband should be sure to let their children know that their mother is the authority that they are to submit to and learn from.

The Bible’s examples of wise women include Hannah, Samuel’s mother (1 Samuel 1:7, 2:7), Ruth, King David’s grandmother (Ruth 3:11), and Mary the virgin mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30, 38). These childless women shared faith in their Lord in most extraordinary ways before they became mothers and grandmothers of influential and prominent leaders.

BDBD is Proverb 13:25

Understanding the truth of this proverb is to examine what makes the righteous heart content and what the stomach of the wicked pangs of hunger is for. The two are not the same. The wicked desire the plunder of evil men (12:12) and revenge (Leviticus 19:18). The righteous desire God who is full of love and mercy (Psalm 27:8; Mathew 9:13) and his prosperity (Psalm 122:9). Jesus proclaimed, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)

The heart of the righteous is satisfied for the Lord fills it daily with bread. Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty… I am the bread of life… the bread that comes down from heaven, which a man may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” (John 6:35, 48, 50-51)

When first reading this proverb I thought, “This is hard to believe.” I thought this because I compared myself to the wicked who have many more possessions than I do. Then I realized that my heart is content. I knew that my satisfaction is from God who dwells in my soul. Sure, God’s favor and blessing give the righteous a competent estate, a heart to use it, and comfort and satisfaction in it when he desires. Yet, the apostles and prophets went through a time of prosperity and poverty. Paul happily stated while in prison, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well-fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12)

BDBD is Proverb 13:24

No one likes to be disciplined, sometimes not even after it has accomplished its goal. (Hebrews 12:10) Yet, because of the nature of the human heart discipline is sometimes the only mechanism that will accomplish the goal. “…We have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness.” (Hebrews 12:9-10) God, who abundantly loves me is careful to discipline me. (24) Therefore, I endure hardships as God’s discipline. (Hebrews 12:7)

“Rod” here is a figure of speech for discipline of any kind. God-directed hardship is a rod of discipline. He has other rods too. So when human parents lovingly believe that their child needs to be disciplined they are not being instructed here that a physical rod is the only blessed means.

“Discipline” here in the original Hebrew is “musar” (a transliteration). It can also be translated as instructed, corrected, reproof, and chastened. Discipline thus has a clear goal. One goal is to lovingly and wisely correct folly that is bound to a child’s soul (22:15). Another goal is to keep one from the path of destruction and even death (19:18, 23:13-14). The rod imparts wisdom (29:15) when other forms of education do not or will not work. It even keeps a mother and father from disgrace and promotes a healthy and happy family (29:17).

BDBD is Proverb 13:23

The proverb in verse 23 is unlike most of the rest of the proverbs in the book in that it is not a comparative proverb upon a quick read. However, within its meaning, it does compare the poor with the powerful who often become and maintain wealth at the poor’s expense. Some would say the modern slogan for this proverb is “social injustice”. However, like any other mantra, the meaning of the term social injustice is defined broadly and inconsistently.

Since human justice is defined by imperfect people, naturally human justice is used by the imperfect for their own benefit. The poor man’s abundant harvest is stolen by the corrupt hiding behind anti-social and anti-Christ laws. Eventually, legal injustice turns into riots that lead to either deceptive change, violence turned into a revolution, or repentance and submission to God’s way. Only the latter helps the poor reap the benefit of a field that produces abundant food.

Is there any hope for the poor living in an unjust society? Yes. Hope is found in the Lord. David declared, “Say to my soul, ‘I am your salvation.’ …My whole being will exclaim, ‘Who is like you, O LORD? You rescue the poor from those too strong for them, the poor and needy from those who rob them.'” (Psalm 35:3, 10)

BDBD is Proverb 13:22

What I do with my wealth can be an indicator of my soul’s condition. “A good person leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (22) Simpler words are, “Am I selfish?” If I am selfish then what do I cherish? The righteous treasure their grandchildren. The sinner treasures wealth and money even more than themselves. The righteous prepare for their young treasures. The sinner will lose their treasure though they prepare it for themselves. The rich soul does not help themselves. The poor soul will have nothing in the end.

Job agrees, “Here is the fate God allots to the wicked, the heritage a ruthless man receives from the Almighty… Though he heaps up silver like dust and clothes like piles of clay, what he lays up the righteous will wear, and the innocent will divide his silver.” (Job 27:13, 16-17) The result of the decisions my soul makes is under the eye of God. He controls fate. He allots the goods.

BDBD is Proverb 13:21

Why does misfortune pursue the sinner? Why is good and prosperity the reward of the righteous? The answers are the same for both. God’s nature and character does not change. God created everything based on his nature and character. The person who is in sync with God’s character and nature has a better life. The person who is not in sync often meets misfortune and disaster.

From time to time I have either listened to young children perform a concert or watched them dance in sync as part of a school curriculum. Most keep the tempo, play on the cord, and keep in step. Usually, there are a few who did not practice because they just don’t want to do it. The few that are not in sync with the rest become the objects of ridicule and discipline. So is the same with people not in sync with God and his creation.

The Lord God told Moses and the people of Israel, “So be careful to do what the LORD your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left.
Walk in all the way that the LORD your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess.” (Deuteronomy 5:32-33) And the Holy Spirit wrote through Paul, “For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:12-13)

BDBD is Proverb 13:20

The birds of a feather flock together,” goes an old saying. The inaccuracy of this saying is that it implies I don’t have a choice of the company I keep. Solomon states, “He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” The fact is I choose who are my friends and who I associate with.

How this is implemented depends on my current social state. If I have companions who refuse to have a personal relationship with Jesus, then I should not remain in a close relationship. Determining if another has a personal relationship with Christ is not so easy to determine. When I was a new Christian in my late teens the mother of a young lady I began dating convinced her believing daughter that she should not date me, an unbeliever who did not go to their church. Though the young lady witnessed to others, twice she ended our relationship as her mother directed without knowing the secret that I had asked Jesus to forgive my sins and take full control of my life.

I recognize that Solomon is not saying I should not interact with someone living a life full of foolish decisions. Jesus told his Father, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15) Jesus and the apostles interacted with all, and the result was that some turned to a life of faith in God. So I am to choose who are my close friends and choose to treat others with respect though I should not make them frequent and close companions.

BDBD is Proverb 13:19

The longing of the soul is not always apparent. Though I may ignore and suppress it, the soul’s longing remains still. Since a longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, I should seek to find out what my soul longs for. I need to be honest with myself, no longer keeping my soul in the dark, but stepping into the light of truth. I need to do some soul-searching, discover what I long for, and fulfill it.

Since mankind was made to be one with the Highest God, in the Highest God, and with the Highest God in the beginning, then everyone’s soul longing is to be the way we were made. Sweet to the soul is to have the longing for an intimate and eternal relationship with God fulfilled. “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:1-2)

Is it true that everyone’s soul has a hidden and suppressed longing to be in communion with God? Is this my soul’s longing in the sad times and the happy times? It seems that some do not have this soul desire. They appear to enjoy the darkness and hate the light. Why? “This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” (John 3:19-21)

So it is not that they do not have the soul’s longing to be one with God. Rather, they detest turning from evil because they are full of darkness (evil) and chose to believe that God will not forgive them and will instead expose their evil deeds. They will not accept that God’s light is sweet.

BDBD is Proverb 13:18

Discipline is again addressed in the book of Proverbs. Ignoring and refusing discipline invites poverty and shame. Is the discipline from God or from human authority? Certainly, these predictions are true when the discipline and corrections are from God. The correction of God can be trusted to bring the outcome stated here, whether shame or honor.

However, correction and discipline from humans may or may not bring these outcomes. If the person who has authority over me has ill intent or is not wise, then the opposite may be true. The Lord sent a prophet from Judah to Israel to deliver a message to the king of Israel. He was to return to Judah directly after delivering the Lord’s message. While returning the prophet was met by an older prophet who convince him to go to his house and eat instead of returning directly to Judah. The younger prophet obeyed the older and died. (1 Kings 13) Surely the correction of the older should not have been obeyed. I need to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading for sure but weigh discretely the discipline and correction from others.

BDBD is Proverb 13:17

Jesus commanded his disciples to go and preach the gospel. He makes me a messenger and an ambassador. He tells me, “A trusted envoy brings healing, a wicked messenger falls into trouble.”

I have started to read again the booklet “The Plight of Man and the Power of God” by Martyn Lloyed-Jones. The book is five messages he delivered in Edinburgh in March 1941. World War II had begun. The world was in shock for their generation had just gone thru World War I (1914-1918). Mr. Martyn addresses the church, Jesus’ messengers.

Message one. “We must rouse ourselves and realize afresh that though our gospel is timeless and changeless, it nevertheless is always contemporary. We must meet the present situation and we must speak a word to the world that none else can speak.” He continues, “I would say again that her (the church’s) failure, in general, to deal vitally and realistically with the situation during the last war is one of the saddest chapters in the history of the Christian Church… Surely it must be obvious by now that that whole view of life was entirely wrong and false.”

Mr. Martyn said that they were wrong in their message and refused to accept any belief that they were wrong, “…in spite of dwindling Church membership and attendance, and in spite of the obvious deterioration in the general tone of life…” Are Jesus’ followers, my generation making the same mistake? Have we fallen into trouble?

BDBD is Proverb 13:16

A prudent person as presented in Proverbs is cunning and subtle. They act with and out of knowledge. They learn and become familiar with the ways of people; how all interact, how one type of person will respond to another, and how someone influences and even controls others. They understand how to respond and act in every situation. They are as graceful in social settings as a professional dancer before a large audience. They work with the knowledge they have obtained.

I think of Jesus who when presented with many different social settings responded not only well but in the most amazing ways. The words he said to the Samaritan woman by the well, to Zacchaeus in the tree, the Pharisee who accused him of being demon-possessed, and his disciples who wanted to send away the crowd after he taught all day. Jesus was a prudent man who acted out of knowledge.

A fool as presented in Proverbs is rough, crude, and blunt. A fool is like a chef who cuts open and chops up an onion causing eyes to burn and tears to flow down faces. I think of King Saul who fixated on David using Israel’s army to search deserts for a young fugitive as rival armies raided his neighbors.

Today who will I be like? King Jesus or King Saul? Will I be prudent or the fool? Sometimes I want to hide away and not engage in the day. Other times I want to explore what God has in store for me during the next 12 hours. Lord, help me to not chop an onion.

BDBD is Proverb 13:15

Since good understanding wins favor, what does it mean to have good understanding and good sense? Ask anyone passing by and a different answer will be received. The Lord told Israel when he gave them the laws of the Mount Sinai covenant, “Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’” (Deuteronomy 4:6)

So the Lord gives good understanding and good sense. David told Solomon (the author of this proverb), “May the Lord give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the Lord gave Moses for Israel.” (1 Chronicle 22:12-13; Psalm 119:104) Understanding and sense are only good when I apply the Lord’s words in my daily actions. James, the brother of Jesus wrote, “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.” (James 3:13)

The way of unfaithful and treacherous people is hard and rough. They do not win the favor of God or people because they refuse to follow the Spirit of God and the word of the Son of God. They follow the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. (Jeremiah 7:24; Ephesians 2:1-4; 2 Peter 2:10) They “follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 18). Following natural instincts is a hard life compared to following God’s Spirit.

BDBD is Proverb 13:14

A snare is used to catch animals thus providing a meal. A snare is camouflaged so the animal does not know it is there. A snare means death for the animal.
I like everyone was born with no understanding of how to live in this world. Slowly as I aged my parents, grandparents, friends, and teachers instructed me about life.
Some teaching was wisdom, others were foolish. Some help me mature, and others were adolescent folly. The teaching of the wise was a fountain of life.
The fact that I have to be turned from the snares of death means that my inclination is to step into the hidden snare of death. The human natural tendency is self-destruction. For me, the teaching of Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets has been the teaching of the wise.

BDBD is Proverb 13:12

The proverb in verse 12 about hope deferred can be linked to verse 11 concerning gathering money little by little. I have been saving up money for many decades. However, events beyond my control have taken each small pile away. Just recently a medical surgery required the latest small pile. My hope is delayed to the point where now my heart is sickened. Will my longing be fulfilled? I ask as Job did, “What strength do I have, that I should still hope? What prospects, that I should be patient?” (Job 6:11)

Hope is a core state of the soul that is usually based on an expectation of a positive outcome in the future. However, my future is unknown, and so when hope is based on an unknown eventually an unexpected negative outcome changes the base soul state to disappointment and discouragement.

What if hope is not based on the expectation of the unknown future? Hope can be based on God and his love, compassion, and concern for me can’t it? Sure hope is based on the surety of God’s character. “O Lord… you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me,” so prayed David from the depths of an isolated hole of discouragement. (Psalm 25:4-5, 1)

BDBD is Proverb 13:11

A person who has little money, no money, or even debt will look at this proverb and think, “I don’t care how I get money or if it lasts only a little while, I only know I want some relief now.” I don’t know how to respond to such thinking for being constantly in debt and poor is a drain. So I sit here and look at my soul to find a reply.

Dishonest money is wealth gained by extortion (Psalm 62:10), deceit (Proverbs 21:6), fraud (Hosea 12:7), and bribes (1 Samuel 8:3), Deuteronomy 25:15-16 states, “You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. For the LORD your God detests anyone who does these things, anyone who deals dishonestly.” Yet some will risk their life for profit especially if they are in debt. I still do not have an answer.

Waiting for a promise to be filled takes faith. Where there is faith there is hope. David was anointed and given a promise as a young lad. He waited many years for the anointing to be realized for an evil king was seated on the throne. Many years later after hardship and more hardship, the evil king died, and even then David did not realize the fulfillment of the promise. Only many years later in his mid-life did David become king of all Israel. “Be patient,” is my answer. “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33) Trust and believe. Save little by little.

BDBD is Proverb 13:10

Pride is one of the sneakiest of emotions. Pride can linker in and influence many other emotions without being detected by the owner. Like a thorn in a field of wheat so is pride there hiding under the tall stalks taking away needed water and nutrition.

Where there is a quarrel, pride has been at work. Pride only breeds quarrels. Pride works in the heart stirring up emotions that lead to quarrels. Arrogance leads to an oppressive and overbearing character. Those who are subject to another’s ego strike back. So, another quarrel begins.

Wisdom is found in those who take advice. A humble person listens to what others say. Sometimes when someone gives me advice I can feel the work of pride. Many emotions are there. I don’t know it, but it is pride that is at work. Not all advice is good, but no advice should start a good quarrel. The counter is humility that listens and considers advice. “Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:4)

BDBD is Proverb 13:9

Light and lamps are often used in the Bible as a metaphor for life, as is the case in this proverb. “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.” Perhaps this was Solomon’s observation, but most definitely this is a promise of God.

Jesus taught the crowds, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21-22, Luke 11:33) God gives life to do good deeds which honor God.

Jesus taught another crowd, “Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be completely lighted, as when the light of a lamp shines on you.” (Luke 11:34-36) This brings me back to Solomon’s proverb. If my eyes are bad meaning I refuse to see the work of God through others, and if I, therefore, refuse to praise God for that work meaning my light is not lit, then I can expect to be snuffed out.

BDBD is Proverb 13:8

You cannot get blood from a rock,” goes an old saying. Similar is Solomon’s proverb. “A poor man hears no threat,” meaning, “No one kidnaps a poor person for ransom,” and “No one robs a poor person.” A poor man needs no security measures because he has nothing worth protecting.

A rich man must always be on his guard against thieves and kidnappers. The world’s history is full of people and nations that became wealthy by taking the riches of their neighbors. Solomon was right, “A person’s wealth becomes the ransom for the lives of the rich.”

Jesus taught a proverb that has an interesting twist. I have never heard this parable mentioned during a church service even though my literary mind sees it as a literary work of art. He taught, “But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:43-44; Luke 12:39-40)

Jesus is the thief who is coming at an unexpected hour to take from the evil ruler of this world, Satan. (1 Thessalonians 5:2,4) Jesus will take those who are members of his kingdom of light away from the wrath to come. As Jesus’ amazing parable declares, “How can anyone enter a strong man’s house and carry off his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can rob his house.” (Matthew 12:29)

BDBD is Proverb 13:7

Solomon makes a simple observation; one pretends to be rich and another pretends to be poor. Yet, he does not say why this is so, probably because there are several reasons why and the point of proverbs is to make us think about ourselves, our lives, and those around us.

The point here is am I putting up a facade, pretense, and appearance? If I am why am I? What am I attempting to accomplish? One of the main reasons, perhaps the only reason that matters for pretense is that I may not like the social, mental, and physical ramifications of being what I have become. The rich don’t like the isolation and heartless attention wealth brings. The poor don’t like the isolation and heartless inattention poverty brings. So they pretend to be the opposite without having the strings of their alter-reality. Yet, I have observed that the pretense weighs more heavily on the soul than the truth of existence.

Paul wrote the astounding statement, “… I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11b-12) What is the secret? The answer he continues with is, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (4:13) Being content resides in a life reality of Christ in my soul.

BDBD is Proverb 13:6

Solomon declares that righteousness guards. Righteousness is two-fold. First, being righteous is having a right relationship with God. Second, righteousness is those actions that result from a right relationship with God. Marks of righteousness are actions that incorporate and emanate love, perseverance, courage, compassion, consistency, integrity, peace, joy, and a sense of what is appropriate. Thus, righteousness guards a person living in a field of these virtues.

The person who is not morally good is overthrown by their lifestyle. Their life is undermined and overthrown by their own wickedness. Before pride of life sets in my heart I must remember that if not for the grace of Christ I would have remained living a lifestyle of immorality.

Oh, on the surface I was as white as a tombstone. But inward I was full of dead men’s bones. Immoral thoughts and attitudes resided in my heart. Sometimes they would break through the walls of my tomb. So now in me righteous ways are possible because through grace I have been saved, through faith from a body of death. (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8-10) I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for me to do. Through these God guards me.

BDBD if Proverb 13:5

The newest public opinion is to know ourselves and celebrate it with pride. The underlying popular belief is that somewhere in the existence of every person is a core basic identity that we have to find. The pure and real identity that this person is according to modern thought is not made by the influence of others. The identity just sits there in our souls, so some people believe and we have to find it and be proud of it.

A slightly different view is the nurture and nature theory. A long-standing debate in biology and sociality about the balance between two competing factors that determine fate and identity: genetics and environment is called nurture and nature theory. This belief is that others influence our self-identity (nurture) and yet our physiological being is who we are (nature).

Views about id seem to ignore God and our relationship with him. The righteous relationship with God molds id into the character of Christ Jesus and he is truth. So naturally the righteous hate what is false. Having a hostile relationship with God is embracing wickedness which brings shame and disgrace to the id. That which is Stephen is influenced by my reaction to God as much as nurture, nature, and the identity that sits in my soul.

BDBD is Proverb 13:4

The meaning of this proverb is direct and easy to understand. If I want something and even crave it I have to diligently work for it. Few things are freely received and even most gifts have strings attached to them. Laying in bed and sitting in an easy chair watching TV seldom satisfies my soul when it wants something else.

Cain was a restless wanderer because the soil no longer yielded its crops and he feared someone would kill him as he killed his brother. He wanted to have a happy life, but the craving of his restless soul was never fully satisfied. Cain was not diligent in satisfying his soul’s desire to be in the presence of the Lord stemmed from a lazy offering. (Genesis 4:3, 7, 13-14, 16)

Desire, no matter how intense, will lead nowhere until I am willing to work for what I desire. The human heart desires acceptance in the presence of the Lord more than anything. That desire remains until my soul enters into full submission to the Lord’s will. “Cover their faces with shame so that men will seek your name, O LORD.” (Psalm 83:16)

BDBD is Proverb 13:3

Surrounding the powerful, rich, and famous are armed guards. Nations have men and women who go before and behind their rulers ensuring absolute protection. Outside Windsor Castle, the guards in funny coats are very strict and serious about their watch. David had groups of mighty men who fought at his side. So dedicated and steadfast should I be as I guard what my lips say.

James the brother of Jesus declared, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. …the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. ” (James 1:26, 3:5-6)

Peter with his lips declared one moment, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” which Jesus commended. (Matthew 16:16) A few days later when Peter used the same lips to try to convince Jesus to not allow himself to be crucified was rebuked, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:23) Saying good and right words should not cause me to stop guarding my lips. Otherwise, I may speak rashly and come to harsh rebuke or even ruin.

BDBD is Proverb 13:2

Amazing is the fact that one sentence, phrase, and even a word can stay with the recipient for hours, days, and a lifetime. A kind word can yield all kinds of good. An encouraging compliment will develop into an enjoyable and profitable career. The first “I love you” can be the seed of a home full of happy children. Truly the fruit of their lips a person enjoys good things.

The opposite is true. A cruel word can yield all kinds of violence and evil. A discouraging put-down will develop into low self-esteem and a lifetime of struggles. One “I hate you” is a heartbreak that can be the beginning of a divorce. Also true is that with the fruit of their lips lives a joyless person.

If the unfaithful have a craving for violence, shouldn’t I have a craving for kindness and gentleness? Some people engage others with the intent to say harsh words because they enjoy controlling others. So here is a secret they do not know; a more powerful way is to be like Jesus whose kind and uplifting words are as potent 2,000 years later as they were the day they were spoken. And Solomon’s proverbs inspired by the Holy Spirit have raised and fallen empires for 3,000 years.

BDBD is Proverb 13:1

Jesus had a lot to say about fathers, especially His Father. Jesus had no human father. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus. The Holy Spirit of God came down upon her, and the power of the Most High God overshadowed her. So, Jesus, the holy one is the Son of God. (Luke 1:35) Jesus proclaimed clearly, “I and the Father are one.” (John 10:30, 17:11,21)

God proclaimed that Jesus was his son. When John baptized Jesus, “A voice from heaven said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.'” (Matthew 3:17) When Jesus brought three of his disciples to the top of a mountain he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. “A bright cloud enveloped them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!'” (Matthew 17:2,5)

Since I have been adopted through Jesus the Son of God, I am a son of God. (Romans 8:23; Ephesians 1:5) So now God my father is telling me through Solomon’s proverb, “A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.” Jesus made a direct personal judgment saying the same thing, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!” (John 8:42-45)

BDBD is Proverb 12:28

Immortality and life in paradise are desired by all. But how to cheat death? Here is a promise of God, “In the way of righteousness there is life; along that path is immortality.” Paul wrote the same, “To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, God will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7)

What is paradise like and what will I be like in paradise? “…we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:51-58)

BDBD is Proverb 12:27

The philosophy that everyone shares everything counters basic human nature concerning being diligent and lazy. Some people tend to be lazy while others tend to be diligent. Forcing the diligent to give the rewards of their efforts to the lazy turns the diligent into demoralized sluggards and the lazy into bitter complainers.

People that are lazy become hungry enough to hunt for food. Yet, being lazy when they do obtain the food they do not prepare it. Lazy people will not roast their game.

People with a diligent disposition prize their possessions. They take care of that which they worked hard for. They keep it up and clean. Their property does not have trash in it, the grass is always mowed, and bush and flower gardens are well kept.

Yet, whether a person is well-to-do or lacks in comparison to his neighbor they both need something this world cannot satisfy. The all-encompassing human need is only satisfied with a personal relationship with God through Jesus. Some are diligent and others are lazy when it comes to possessing a loving and fearful relationship with God. Some people tend to be lazy while others tend to be diligent in obtaining, preparing, and eating spiritual food (BDBD). Some cherish taking time to be with God every morning while others cherish a little more slumber.

BDBD is Proverb 12:26

Several ways to translate this seemingly disjunct proverb into English exist according to five different references I have. The NIV presents two translations to the first half; “A righteous man is cautious in friendship,” and “a righteous man is a guide to his neighbor.” The translator’s dilemma is in the last two of three Hebrew words in the first half of the proverb, “tur rea”. The first half’s grammar is an adjective, a verb, and then a noun.

The general meaning of this proverb deals with how I interact with my neighbor and friends. Everyone needs a friend; someone who they can confide in, trusting them with secrets of the heart and mind. Yet, so few actually have this kind of relationship with someone. The reason so few have such a friend is the same reason the divorce rate is so high.

I laugh because verse 26 is a Biblical proverb about friendship that is just as confusing as making a friendship so close that it lasts beyond death, just as David and Jonathan’s friendship did. How to make friends and who to have a close friendships with? (1 Samuel 20:42)

Verse 26 is a warning and guide about making friendships that aligns with the Lord’s command to Israel as they were about to enter the promised land, “Ammonite or Moabite… they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam… to pronounce a curse on you… do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live.” (Deuteronomy 23:3-6)

Verse 26 also aligns with Jesus’ words, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9) The lyrics to an early Christian contemporary rock song by AD, “The Only Way to Have a Friend is to be One” comes to mind.

“Deep in every heart there’s a desire
Just to be accepted as we are
Everybody needs to know that he’s wanted
But everybody’s always wanting more

The Son of God came down to be a servant
The world did not receive Him as a King
And if we take the Lord as our example
It ain’t how much you get, it’s what you bring

You got to show somebody your salvation
Show someone the mercy you’ve been shown
And if you heed the very first commandment
You’ll take your brother’s burdens as your own
The only way to have a friend is to be one.”

BDBD is Proverb 12:25

Anxiety is the result of a lack of faith in Jesus and his Father. Anxiety is trusting in myself instead of trusting in God. Anxiety is mentally playing out all the possible wrongs no matter how improbable. Anxiety is a matter of the mind more than reality (Psalm 139:23). A sure result of fear caused by faithless thoughts is “an anxious heart weighs a person down.” “What does a person get for all the toil and anxious striving with which they labor under the sun? All their days their work is pain and grief; even at night, the mind does not rest. This is meaningless.” (Ecclesiastes 2:22-23)

All around me every day I encounter and walk by people with anxious hearts. The Lord instructs me, “a kind word cheers up.” However, what can I do when my heart is filled with anxiety? Paul instructs from the view of cell bars to those who were being persecuted, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:4-7)

As strange as it sounds this I have found true. Singing a hymn and a song to the Lord with all sincerity of praise and worship cheers the heart. Praying Biblical verses with believing lips and heart cheers me up. Instead of focusing my thoughts on selfish what-ifs and might-be, I focus my hands and feet on someone else who truly needs the Lord does fill my heart with hope and gladness. Sometimes actions are the kind word that cheers up the anxious people I pass by every day.

BDBD is Proverb 12:24

Ever since Adam and Eve sinned any occupation has had thorns and thistles. That is to say, there are setbacks, unforeseen mishaps, and many other circumstances that cause me to want to give up. Even diligent hands become sore, cut, and form calluses.

Self-motivation such as will, persistence, and hope is needed to keep working for meeting the needs of the day. Those who keep striving to pay the bills and put food on the table can eventually rule for as Solomon wrote, “diligent hands will rule…”

Laziness is similar to giving up. A part of Adam’s thorn curse is that every hour slack is equal to seven hours of work. I experience the law of slack every time I take a vacation. When I come back from a vacation work has piled up so high that more time is needed to catch up than was taken off. “Laziness ends up in forced labor”, so wrote Solomon.

Yet, I will still take a vacation though the return has filled the field with thistles and forced labor.

BDBD is Proverb 12:23

What do I treasure? What is important to me? That which I consider valuable, precious, and worth hoarding depends on my soul’s vault; my thought and my emotional safe. Jesus taught, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34)

Solomon wrote, “A prudent man keeps (conceals) knowledge to himself…” Prudent in the original Hebrew portrays a person who is cunning and crafty; like the “…merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it,” so said Jesus when teaching about the kingdom of God. (Matthew 13:45-46) The cunning stores and covers knowledge in their soul’s vault.

I don’t know if there is a limit to what I can know. However, I do know that what comes quickly to mind and heart is based on repetition. Why then, should I relive that which Christ has forgiven and healed? Why bury in my conscious so deeply something that neither I know God values? Instead, as Paul wrote, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8-9)

BDBD is Proverb 12:22

Is there such a thing as a clean lie or a white lie? Can I say something that is not factual and yet be truthful? This is to say, can I out of kindness not tell someone the truth when I speak to them? These have been a long-term personal debate.

I do not refer to keeping information and truth to myself. I am also not referring to refusing to answer questions or divulging information. I know that I can practice these and still be a truthful man that the Lord delights in.

Jesus always was truthful. He often began statements with, “I tell you the truth…” Jesus did not have lying lips. And I am amazed at how Jesus answered people and how he addressed people. What drove such wisdom? How can a person be compassionate and truthful? Yet I see that at times Jesus’ words cut to the heart. Always they were said with love and compassion.

Perhaps what I should answer when asked a question that seems to require a cutting answer is a loving truth. A husband and a wife must always be truthful. They need to trust that their spouse’s lips are not lying. The covenant of truth and trust is a vital part of love and respect.

If I prepare a meal that my spouse says was delicious when it wasn’t we may go on eating a bad meal for years. If I believe that a trip is not wise, I need to kindly speak up or a week may not be a time to remember. Yet I also need to say, “Though I do not like the taste of this and I do not have good expectations concerning this trip I will keep an open mind,” for a kernel of wheat must die to produce more grain and hot spice and ketchup changes the taste of poorly prepared food.

BDBD is Proverb 12:21

Jesus, on the night he was betrayed told his Apostles, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Yet Solomon wrote, “No harm overtakes the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.” What am I to make of this seemingly contradiction?

My life has had trouble and hardship just as Jesus said. Is Solomon wrong? Upon closer look the answer is no. Solomon said Harm will not overtake. The words harm and overtake are key.

Trouble has come, but harm did not overtake me. God, after testing my soul with trouble, turned my life circumstances around when I kept my faith in him. My life has had happiness, fun, and ordinary events, the mix of human experiences after trouble came and went. I learned not to give up on God and his promises to me. I always have my Lord to give me comfort and rescue me.

If I were wicked, where would I turn for rescue and help? Who would be there to take away the trouble? How would I take heart?

BDBD is Proverb 12:20

   Peace making is in the realm of the work of God. Jesus proclaimed, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5:9) The blessing of joy falls on the peace making children of God. “Those who promote peace have joy.”

   How can I live as a peacemaker? I will be the opposite of those who plot evil. “Deceit is in the hearts of those who plot evil…” Lies are in the realm of evil plots. The realm the existance of being a peacemaker includes an honest loving and aware heart.

   Jesus is the king of peace. He is the pinnacle of peacemakers. He brings together by removing that which separates. He used his body and blood to bridge the gap that seperates people from God. He spoke the truth and all who believe him pass into his body thus becoming one with God.

  There exists in my life people who are not at peace with me. I am thinking of them right now. I learn here to be the person who actively seeks peace with them. The way to start is to pray continually for them, asking God to bless them and open our hearts to bridging the gap or better yet remove the gap that seperates us. I will promote peace by praying for my enemy.

BDBD is Proverb 12:19

Forever is the reality. The reality of forever depends on a confession of the heart. A true confession that Jesus is the forgiving and loving Lord of my life moves Lord Jesus to arrange for me forever with him in Paradise. “Truthful lips endure forever…”
   A confession that Jesus was just a man, perhaps a prophet at best, and that God either does not exist or if there is a God it does not care about me is a lie that ends and takes me with it. “…a lying tongue lasts only a moment.” Which one of these two confession I make and keeps sets my forever reality.

BDBD is Proverb 12:17

Solomon’s proverb here is such an obvious truth that it seems more like two definitions than a proverb. Of course: a truthful witness gives honest testimony, whoever speaks the truth declares what is right, and the person who will speak the truth will reveal righteousness. This is learned at a very early age.

The second half is just as easy to agree with: a false witness tells lies, a false witness speaks deceit, and the witness of falsehood reveals deceit. This also is learned at a very early age.

Sitting among some deep thought-provoking proverbs the simple verse 17 is almost comical. Who doesn’t know this? The surprising truth is many do not know themselves. They do not know when they are a truthful or a false witness. What was I yesterday? How do I define myself? Is the Holy Spirit telling me something about myself that I have been ignoring?

The Hebrew here makes the apparent future tense a continual act or habit. Paraphrased, “He who accustoms himself to speak the truth in common conversation will be an honest testimony in public judgment and therefore can be depended upon with an honest testimony all the time.” If I ask those who know me if they trust my word all the time, what would they answer?

A false witness who pours out lies is one of the six things the Lord hates (6:19). Reckless words mames souls, carving wounds that may never heal (12:18, 25:18; Psalm 57:4). A mouth of lies is an open grave (Psalm 5:9). I dismiss my words that do not conform to the truth as justifiable. Yet, God does not distinguish. Jesus said the religious leaders of his day were dead men walking because they did not accept or speak the truth (Matthew 23:47).  Am I like a white-washed tomb, which looks beautiful on the outside but on the inside is full of dead men’s bones?

BDBD is Proverb 12:16

Self-control is one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit. (16, 29:11; Galatians 5:22-23) Self-control pertains to my emotions. Emotions are a vital part of human existence. They reflect the nature of God. God has self-control. When I exercise self-control I am reflecting the image of God created in me through the Spirit.

Controlling my emotions is not to say I suppress my emotions. When I suppress emotions I build up a damn that contains my emotions. They build up inside me. Eventually, the emotion damn breaks causing my emotions to rush out and flood everything around me. A flood of emotions can destroy the nature of my existence, especially those I love who are close to me.

A fool shows his annoyance at once” (16). “A fool gives full vent to his anger” (29:11). “A prudent man overlooks an insult” (16). “A wise man keeps himself under control” (29:11). Controlling annoyance and anger means that I do not react quickly. I do not react physically. I do not speak harsh words. To do this I seek the power of the Holy Spirit to convert annoyance and anger into peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). Later, when I am alone I can and should seek to deal with the source of my annoyance and anger. This is not easy for me. Like any muscle, mastery of emotions takes continual exercise.

Oh Lord, grant me the control of the Spirit like David when the Benjamite cursed him and threw stones and dirt at him when David fleed Jerusalem because of his son’s revolt. (2 Samuel 16:11-14)

BDBD is Proverb 12:15

How do I know if the choices I make are correct? How do I know if the way I chose to go is the best? I am not thinking about the everyday choices though choices are sure to be made today. I am thinking about big life choices: should I get more education, where should I get the education, should I continue to date this person, should I ask her to marry me, should I get a new job, should I move to a new place, should I get this medical procedure, should I divorce, retire, give up? After all, “The way of a fool seems right to him” as much as a wise man.

Solomon says that the wise listen to advice. Yet, one important fact is omitted. I need to take into account the person giving the advice. The character Christian in the second most-sold book in printing history “Pilgrim’s Progress” meets several people who give him terrible advice. 1:20, 21, 25, and 30 state that the wise listen to the advice of wisdom. Sometimes I accept someone’s advice because it lines up with a foolish decision I already decided in my heart to do.

St. Ignatius learned meditation from the Benedictines monks. He developed that into the Examen, a five-step meditation practice that he believed opened up a Christian to the leading of the Holy Spirit. He taught that the Holy Spirit would reveal the inner heart’s desire which is in line with God’s will for me. I learned of this around 4 years ago and it has helped. Yet I keep in mind Jesus’ words, “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”

I believe that the answer to how to make the right life decisions includes listening to wise advice, meditation, knowing the Bible, and prudent sound reasoning. Once a decision is made don’t look back and second guess. Don’t ask me, “What if?” Simply pray, “Lord Jesus, I want to make the right choice which is your will. I have made this choice. If it is the best choice help me reach the goal you have set for me. Wash me with your blood. Fill me with your Spirit. Let me know your will. Give me all that is needed to carry through.”

BDBD is Proverb 12:14

My ancestors were farmers until the day that they died with the exception of my father who was a foreman in a factory. I visited both my grandfather’s farms many times. I knew where my great-grandfather’s and his father’s farms were located. The farmer’s lives my ancestors lived consisted of hard work with their hands. Every spring they planted seeds and every fall, God willing they harvested a crop. The work of a farmer’s hands rewarded them as God enabled them.

Solomon’s parable equals the reward of hard-working hands to the fruit of one’s lips. “From the fruit of his lips, a man is filled with good things.” A person who speaks with wisdom will reap a harvest from those words. Wisdom is not the same as intelligence and knowledge, though both can enhance my wisdom. Wise words are laced with the knowledge and love of God and others.

Working in a field every year is needed, so continually speaking wise words of love is needed. “The mouth of the righteous man utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks what is just.” (Psalm 37:30)

Paul wrote of his evangelistic work, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God’s secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-7)

BDBD is Proverb 12:13

“Sinful talk” as defined elsewhere in the Bible is slander, gossip, lies, false testimony, and vulgar language, “Sinful talk” does not involve love, compassion, and grace. The more a person lies, the harder they have to work to keep up the lie. Eventually, so many lies are created to cover other lies that a house of lies is built. Rooms are added to hide the truth that exposes a former lie till one become lost and trapped in the house of lies that they have built. Much work is needed to keep each room in the house of lies in proper appearance. A person will become a slave in their house of lies. Solomon was right. “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk.”

A righteous man escapes trouble. Speaking the truth is often very hard especially when it exposes our weaknesses or fears. Sometimes confessing the truth means we might have to give up something we cherish. The truth is sometimes said in ways that turn it into malicious talk. Not all truth is said in love. The truth always contains the love of God though it may be hard to live with. Speaking the truth does not guarantee that we will escape temporary trouble for Jesus always spoke the truth and yet was crucified by those who spoke lies. Yet speaking the truth will eventually enable the righteous to escape trouble, even if it is only the fact that they are free from having to keep up a room in the house of lies. For though Jesus was crucified though he spoke the truth, on the third day he rose from the dead and on the fortieth ascended into paradise.

BDBD is Proverb 12:12

The root of the righteous flourishes” is a better translation from Hebrew than most English translations because “fruit” does not appear in the Hebrew text “shoresh saddiq natan (a transliteration)”. The translators consider the widely used and defined “natan” to refer to yielding something, yet the text does not say what. So they add fruit to the proverb. So I consider my own translation. Here it is: “<The> deep root <of the> righteous delivers (that is, it gives).” LOL: I can take time to look at the Hebrew because it is a cold rainy winter Saturday morning and the coffee tastes mighty fine and I had my first good night sleep in 3 days since the outpatient surgery.

The wicked desire the plunder of evil men.” So why does someone desire (covets) the plunder of evil (people)? And does that make them evil, or is the desire the result of their evil soul? The original Hebrew text in the first half of this proverb is “rasha hamad mesoda ra” (a transliteration). A word for “men” does not appear in the original Hebrew though many translators speculated people were the evil owners of stuff that other wicked people desired to be like and take from. I am going to consider a simpler translation, “<The> ungodly wicked desires (and covets) the snare (and net) of evil (and wickedness).” This simple translation really ridicules the wicked.

Now I am going to put together the two parts of the proverb as translated by BDBD. “The ungodly wicked desires the snare of evil, whereas the deep root of the righteous delivers.” This is the main theme of the whole book of Proverbs repeated in varying ways in differing parables.

Jesus corrected his disciples misunderstanding about the human soul with these words, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’ For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, and slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean'” (Matthew 15:18-20a) The heart seeks what the heart is. If it is evil it desires evil. If it is pure it seeks the pure. The sad fact is that all are born with an evil soul. “No one is righteous, not one.” (Psalm 143:2; Romans 3:10; Galatians 3:11)

Jesus made it clear that the only way to have a pure heart was to ask God to purify it through him. Then will a person escape the snare of evil, and a person will naturally and automatically be delivered.

BDBD is Proverb 12:11

Proverbs 12:11 and 28:19 are very similar. The first half is identical. “He who works his land will have abundant food”. The second half is slightly different and thus adds to my understanding. “He who chases fantasies lacks judgment” and “The one who chases fantasies will have his fill of poverty.”

Most of the world’s population were farmers until mid last century. Though many are still farmers, others now obtain the substances for living by other means. A modern application for “works his land” is to “work constant, true, and hard at an honest living”. A continually applied effort even when crop diseases, floods, droughts, and pests destroy a year’s effort does obtain abundant food for self, family, and maybe some extra for selling.

Chasing fantasies” means then as now “get rich quick schemes” and “schemes for making easy money”. Another saying is, “If it looks too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Getting rich quick ideas often require a large down payment and sacrifice. When it fails poverty follows. An old saying is, “A sucker is born every minute.” (A human is born once a minute.)

A question I need to meditate on is why am I so easily drawn into financial fantasy propositions that never pay off? The answer is I become tired and frustrated with the daily grind and I lose hope. A more important question is why do I waste my time thinking about things I cannot afford and make plans that will never happen? Some dreams are so unrealistic that they deprive me of time, thought, and effort on a long-term plan for financial security.

Paul wrote, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:12) What is the secret? Jesus proclaimed, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“ (Matthew 11:28) And, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27) Therefore, I can find peace and satisfaction in Jesus while I work at an honest occupation.

BDBD is Proverb 12:10

Care, compassion, and knowing the life of animals are part of the heart of the righteous. When God created man one of the activities God and man shared was a parade of all the animals that the Lord had created. On that day man named the animals for the Lord had given mankind the responsibility and privilege of being Lord over all the earth and the animals in it.

Animals are employed in our service. Thus, I will not destroy an animal by making its labor more than it can handle. Nor will I deny an animal food, water, and rest. I will bring it happiness as time permits.

Wild animals that roam the earth freely are under my care. I will provide them litter-free land and water for this is under the tent of care for the need of my animals. Some animals have been domesticated and are raised for service and food. These will have a good existence even if they eat bugs and small ugly things in the sea.

Cruelty towards animals exists more now than in generations in the past. The kindest acts of the wicked are cruel -puppy farms, polluted streams, oceans, and land. Beating, denying food, and water. Neglect and isolation. Pretending or intending to show mercy and yet not follow through does not escape the Lord’s justice for he commissions us with a command to love thy neighbor, including animals.

BDBD is Proverb 12:9

The fallen nature of mankind contains a desire to be somebody important. Sadly, most are concerned more with appearances rather than substance, often to their detriment. What drives this unhealthy and unhelpful practice?

All have a good desire to be accepted and loved by our peers and neighbors. Usually, our peers and neighbors do not supply the acceptance and love that we crave, especially if we are seen as nobody. At a young age, many discover that if we are somebody, then others are more prone to supply these needs. So outward we begin to look good, while inside we have no substance and no food. Everyone knows that high school clicks form that isolates have-nots. This practice continues thru adulthood and even permeates Christian congregations. What then counters this unhealthy and unhelpful practice?

Accept this truth, “Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant”. In Solomon’s day, even people of moderate means had servants. (Judges 6:15,27) A modern application is to be able to afford to hire contractors to repair things around the house. The point is to stop spending money and time on appearances and apply these to what is practically needed. I apply this truth as being able to accept who I am based on what God says about me instead of what others think of me. Paul wrote, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:3-5)

BDBD is Proverbs 12:6 & 8

The words I say and don’t say reveals my character. While there is truth in the understanding that a person’s perspective warps their judgment, the judgment of several cannot be discounted. When Jesus spoke he opened the truth and people were amazed at his wisdom and praised God. (8; Matthew 13:54, 15:31; Mark 1:22, 27, 7:37; Luke 4:36)

The speech of the upright rescues them (6), but from what? Righteousness is stated to deliver from death (11:4), from evil desires (11:6), and the destruction of their city (11:11). So could it be that the words I speak are the tools that rescue? This is true only if I am righteous and my character is as such. Then the words I speak will be praised as being wise. (8)

Jesus taught that a person must be careful as to what they say. “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” (Mark 7:4-7) Have I become a Pharisee and teacher of the law that keep rules taught and promoted by the church, yet have weak connections to Jesus’ words. So many traditions exist that do not deliver from death. So many are mere rules taught by men.

BDBD is Proverb 12:7

Wicked men are overthrown and are no more, but the house of the righteous stands firm.” The theme of this comparative proverb has already been declared in 10:25. Solomon is the author of these proverbs. As an absolute authority monarch anointed by God’s prophet and sanctioned by his father King David, Solomon had to have known that the principle is seldom true in this world.

Jesus’ parable about the house built on sand and another on a rock were referenced when I thought about 10:25. There I realized that Jesus’ parable and these two verses surely reference a judgment to come.

Yet, there is more here than a prophecy about the judgment to come. The houses of wicked people seldom last more than three generations, and none more than ten. And the houses of righteous people are often inherited by those who become wicked within three generations and definitely in ten. The morality of houses of the world changes from one generation to the next. The legacy of the parents is altered by their children and grandchildren. As Solomon said elsewhere, “There is a time for everything under the sun…”

No one is righteous, not one.” (Psalm 143:2, Romans 3:10) Does this mean that all are overthrown and will be no more? Yes, except for the grace of God no one would remain. Cleanse my anger, Lord. Help me see hope in this world full of those who are not righteous. Help the religious selfish and the irreverent heartless become like Jesus. Grant me peace in you.

BDBD is Proverb 12:5

Naughty or nice?” asked the question not far but nigh.

Know not now?” considering the question not far but nigh.

Plans and advice!” check thy heart not far but nigh.

Righteous or wicked?” considering the heart not far but nigh.

Answer thyself whether naughty or nice.

For the plans of the righteous are just.

The advice of the wicked is deceitful.”

Thy plans just?” answered the question not far but nigh.

Thy advice deceitful?” answered the question not far but nigh.

Know now if they are naughty or nice.

Pray to God for mercy and thanks nigh.

BDBD is Proverb 12:4

The union between a man and a woman as husband and wife by means of the Spirit of God is sacred and wonderful. Conjugal symbiosis is in all aspects of human life; soul, body, spirit, social, and economic. The interaction is dependent on unconditional mutual surrender. What one does affects the other; whether it be for good or for harm.

The wife of noble character is her husband’s crown. Her noble character is further defined in 31:10-31. Ruth had a noble character, known as such by all (Ruth 3:11). A noble wife is virtuous, capable, and strong. She is respectful, loving, truthful, trusting, humble, kind, compassionate, resourceful, and seeks the kingdom of God with all her being. A man would sell all he owns to buy the field where her character resides. She brings her husband honor and joy (4:8-9).

A disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones. He grows weak and fragile. She shames and rots her husband’s bones. Jezebel did not have a noble character (1 Kings 18:4, 19; 19:1-2, 21:7,14-15; 21:25; 2 Kings 9:10, 37)

The church is the bride of Christ. Am I more like Ruth or Jezebel to my master Jesus? Am I of noble character or dishonorable? Am I Christ’s crown or the spear in his side?

BDBD is Proverb 12:3

  This thing called life is full of unexpected events as much as a watermelon is full of seeds. The next moment could have many seeds that need to be dealt with. Today may have have many juicy tastes or be rotten smells that must be lived.
   The person who is well established will handle life seeds and rotten smells much better then the person who is unstable. Their mental, emotional, physical, and especially spiritual health is good. The cope well.
   My ability to cope with unexpected events today depends on my character. The wicked are not well established and thus are swept away by powerfully devastating life events. The righteous cannot be uprooted. This is repeated in Proverbs several times. Jesus taught it in his parable of the houses build on rock and sand.

BDBD is Proverb 12:2

Do good or scheme; two choices for me to make. What do these mean to me? Doing good in the Bible is defined by two commandments; love God with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength and love my neighbor. 3:3 states, “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.”

To scheme and to be crafty means to devise a large-scale systematic plan or arrangement for attaining a particular object or putting a particular idea into effect. When the Lord saw that man’s wickedness was widespread on the earth during Noah’s time and that every scheme his mind thought of was nothing but evil all the time he brought a flood to the whole earth as judgment. (Genesis 6:5)

Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: ‘He catches the wise in their craftiness’; and again, ‘The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.’” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20) “There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him:… a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,” (Proverbs 6:18)

BDBD is Proverb 12:1

Discipline and correction are one of the themes of Proverbs. The theme is first recited in 1:7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline (instruction).” Discipline is cited as a source of knowledge, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge…”
   Why does the Lord God teach with disciple? Because I am stubborn and slow to learn. God’s discipline is seldom harsh, yet always cutting. Jesus often rebuked his stubborn disciples with rhetorical questions. “How long will I live with this unbelieving generation?” “Are you slow to learn? How many loaves did we have left over?”

I can hear Jesus today, right through the Holy Spirit, the Wonderful Counselor if I ask for him to talk and if I quiet my mind from my scattered thoughts. Meditation as taught by Ignatius of Loyola and the Benedict Order is good.

What is revealed I must obey. If I don’t I am stupid for “whoever hates correction is stupid.” When I read the Word I must “trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.”

BDBD is Proverb 11:31

God is alive and active on earth. The principles that God set at the creation of the world are still in place. This is why there are consequences for decisions made and actions taken. It does matter if a person is righteous or ungodly and the sinner; ramifications exist and natural processes flow to their outcome.

This weekend I was afraid that a friend was about to spill a glass of iced tea and lemonade as we ate a fine evening meal. So I quickly reached for the glass, only to knock it over myself. The day before I was moving about the kitchen in the early Friday morning and caused a glass of chocolate milk to fall and shatter on the kitchen sink. Then on the last day of the weekend, I noticed a cushion on the couch my friend was seated on was moving towards a stand with a coffee resting on it. I reach to stop it from spilling over and, yes you guessed it, I knocked it over. Action and reaction, consequences and circumstances exist for all.

Since simple cause and effect like these exist no matter if the person is righteous or a sinner in action, then the same cause and effect is in effect with moral and ethical decisions and actions as well. If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!

Does this apply to all Biblical laws? Yes. Do cause and effect bear out evenly from one person to the next? No. Do ramifications nullify grace and mercy? No. Does every act receive its just reward and punishment on earth? No. Is a judgment to come thus not needed? No. If a righteous person sins, is there no punishment and loss of reward on earth? No. (1 Peter 4:17-18; Luke 23:31) If a sinner suddenly does what is right and just will good come to their lives? Yes. If a sinner does not change their ways, will their life continue to spiral into a pit of misery and anguish? Yes. Therefore, stand in awe of God and sin not. Go about doing good unto others. When I sin, fall on the mercy of God, perhaps he will soften the blow of cause and effect.

BDBD is Proverbs 11:29-30

In the beginning, when God created Adam and Eve, God had a family plan. “God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’” (Genesis 1:28) “Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” (Genesis 4:1) Cain killed his younger brother Able and brought trouble to his family. He was driven from the Lord’s presence.” (Genesis 4:13-14) The fool became a servant to the wise son of Adam and Eve, Seth.

In the beginning, when Jesus created the Church, my Lord had a family plan. He blessed them and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you …you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. ” (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8) He who wins souls is wise.

The apostles planted a seed in Ananias and his wife Sapphira and they believed in the name of the Lord. then Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit and kept for themselves some of the money they received from the sale of land for they pretended to give all to the church as a gift. (Acts 5:1-4) Ananias and Sapphira brought trouble to their church family. He who brings trouble on his family will inherit only wind. The fruit of the righteous is the tree of life. Be careful to ensure the financial welfare of the family, not me.

BDBD is Proverb 11:28

Trust is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Some say trust is earned and this is true to a degree for many degrees of trust exist. Trust is a mental decision. I trust more than I know. I trust all kinds of devices will work when I use them.; my automobile, my house keys, my computer, etc. I also have varying degrees of trust in people.

Trust is not the same as faith. Faith comes from a belief system and is therefore permanent. Trust does not come from a belief system. I have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek him. Whereas, I trust that the food I just made will taste good. I hope it will taste and smell excellent when I start cooking it. However, I have faith that Jesus will come again and finish what he started.

Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will thrive like a green leaf. The righteous thrive because they have faith in God; his love, his truth, his commitment, and his mercy. Those who trust in riches will find that, as Jesus warned, “…thieves steal, will rot, decrease in value, and run out.”

BDBD is Proverb 11:27

Good and goodwill, what are they? What I consider good and goodwill another will not. Jesus defined goodwill as doing to others as I want others to do with me. All have a secret desire for love and respect. Some may want love more than respect while others may desire respect more than love. Women want to be loved more than respected and men want to be respected more than loved, especially when in a covenant relationship before God.

A husband that seeks good – disposition; benevolence; kindness. – towards his wife in the love she craves from him will find her giving goodwill towards him. A wife that seeks good – disposition; benevolence; kindness. – towards her husband in the respect he craves from her will find her giving goodwill towards him.

“A man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh…  However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.” (Ephesians 5:31,33)

Yet very bad comes to the one who searches for it, especially in a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. A spouse that seeks to serve themselves instead of their bonded partner will not find goodwill. They have invited evil into their bed, pain that will eat their soul, mind, and spirit. I will seek to love my wife.

BDBD is Proverb 11:26

Hoarding is an enticing tight dress or shirt and straight pants that are hidden in the back of our soul closet. Hoarding is a matching outfit with coveting. Hoarding comes out of the closet when scarcity arrives in our neighborhood. The hidden hoarding outfit is put on in times of social need. We put it on and look in the mirror believing that we are sexy and alluring. Yet, our neighbors curse us because we are hoarding when they are in need, especially due to continual raising prices.

Blessing crowns the person who is willing to sell. Jesus taught, “I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?” (Luke 16:9-12)

BDBD is Proverbs 11:24-25

The one who freely gives gains even more”, and “The generous one will prosper”, and “The one refreshing another will be refreshed”. These nonsensical proverbs are made true through God.

What makes a person freely refresh others? What gladly loosens tired purse strings? What causes a hand to willingly give rather than take? Love for others and fear of God. The greatest of these is love. Love is nonsensical to fallen man and wisdom from God.

I can think of a few people to who I will freely give anything including my life; a woman who I made a covenant with before God and my children. There are some people that I would be hesitant to freely give, and some that I would not give. Yet this is not how God does. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) God gave freely to those who declared him an enemy. Jesus’ Father in heaven “causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

BDBD is Proverb 11:23

The desire of the righteous ends only in good” (23). I seek that which ends in good. Then, I need to meditate to determine and understand what I really desire. Meditate on the righteous. Am I righteous? Do I desire as a righteous man or a religious man? The two are not the same for God determines righteousness not as men and women do. If God has determined that I am righteous then my desire is as he desires and that ends only in good.

The end being good does not mean that the beginning or anywhere in the middle will always be what I consider good. The suffering of Christ was not good physically, mentally, and emotionally. Yet, it ended in his resurrection glory and the resurrection and glory of those who believe in him. The desire of Jesus ends in good.

The hope of the wicked ends only in wrath” (23). I do not seek the wrath of God. Then meditate to determine and understand my hope and expectations. Meditate on the wicked. Am I wicked? Do I desire as a wicked man or a shrewd steward? The two are not the same for Jesus taught his followers to be shrewd (Matthew 10:16; Luke 16:8) If God has determined that I am wicked then my hope is not as he hopes and that ends only in his fury.

BDBD is Proverbs 11:20-21

The opposite of love is to detest. The Lord loves and detests. The Lord loves when we express faith, hope, and love from the heart; especially love. (1 Corinthians 13;13) The Lord detests men of a perverse heart (20). A perverse heart resides in the wicked (21).

The word detests (i.e. abomination) is a word that elsewhere expresses abhorrence of pagan practices (Deuteronomy 18:9, 12; Jeremiah 4:1, 7:10, 30, 44:4,22) and moral abuses (3:32; Ezekiel 18:12-13, 24). What the Lord detests is often taught in Proverbs (e.g. 3:32, 6:16, 8:7, 11:20, 12:22, 15:8,9,26, 16:5, etc.). Here, I learn the Lord detests men of perverse hearts.

The Lord delights in those whose ways are blameless (i.e. without fault, righteous). The word delights is a word that elsewhere is linked with rejoicing (8:30,31; Song of Solomon 1:4). To delight in someone and find joy in someone are emotions that stem from a love for that someone. When I find myself having delight and joy because an amazing woman has entered my life means that I am loving who she is as a person. Thus, when the Lord delights in someone’s ways, he is loving their personality.

The Lord’s love for someone and detests for someone has outcomes. “The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free.” (21) The Lord’s judgment is coming. Everyone will be judged according to what they did while in the flesh. (Revelations 20:12-13) Jesus taught, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.” (Matthew 25:31-33)

BDBD is Proverb 11:19

The truly righteous man attains life, but he who pursues evil goes to his death.” A person might read this and think, “How can I attain life since I am already breathing and my heart beats? Am I not alive already?”

One man who came to talk to Jesus made just that statement when Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” The man replied, “How can a man be born when he is old? Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:3-4) Nicodemus was being sarcastic for he was as righteous as his society and religion defined it.

Since Nicodemus was a truly righteous Jew in the first century why did Jesus tell him, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again?” The seeming contradiction between verse 19 (our BDBD verse) and Nicodemus is in Jesus’ answer, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” (John 3:5-8)

The Spirit of God makes a person righteous and so they attain life. So why doesn’t everyone attain life? Why wouldn’t Nicodemus see the kingdom of God? Why do those who pursue evil go to their death (19)? Was Nicodemus pursuing evil? The Holy Spirit is very picky about whose spirit is born and whose spirit remains lifeless. Jesus revealed to Nicodemus the action that the Spirit is looking for so that he may grant any person’s spirit life. He declared, “Everyone who believes in the Son of Man may have eternal life.” (John 3:15) The truly righteous confess and live the belief in Jesus, the Son of God.

On this day of Thanksgiving (as celebrated in the US) I am thankful that the Holy Spirit who is very picky has granted my spirit life. He has made me a truly righteous man through faith in Jesus.

BDBD is Proverb 11:18

Raising crops has been an ongoing human activity for mankind since before the flood. Every culture has farmers with small gardens to 1,000-acre fields. Sowing seeds is a familiar practice. If a farmer wants a harvest of wheat they sow wheat seeds. If a farmer wants oats they sow oat seeds. If a farmer wants rice they sow rice seeds. Fruit and vegetable farms also sow seeds according to the crop they want.

What does it mean to sow righteousness? Galatians 6:7-10 explains, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have the opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”

Sowing righteousness is living and doing the right action. The more I am good to others the more I change. The more I change the more I grow into a character whose heart has faith, hope, and love. “The wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” (James 3:17-18) “The wicked man earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness reaps a sure reward.”

BDBD is Proverbs 11:16-17

Kindhearted women and kind men are celebrated. Kindness is selfless, compassionate, and merciful. Being kind means doing to others as I want them to do to me. Being kind gains respect and benefits the giver and receiver.

Jesus describes the kind person this way, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:38-48)

Ruthless and cruel people are the inverse of kind people. Though the ruthless may gain wealth, they lose respect and bring trouble to themselves. Being ruthless and cruel is a decision to not resist those impulses. A repeat offender has decided to not be kind for personal gratitude and gain.

BDBD is Proverb 11:15

Putting up security for another and striking hands in a pledge were talked about in detail in chapter 6 verses 1 thru 5. There the Father tells his son to escape such a trap as quickly as possible. These two phrases are referring to business responsibilities for someone else’s debt or for some other obligation like paying back a debt because I paid for something on credit.

Here the truth is stated that he who puts up security for another will surely suffer. The bondsman trade is a similar type of transaction. The bonding company charges a fee, usually between 12% and 15% of the bond amount so a person who is charged with an alleged crime does not have to be in jail as they await trial. Unlike a cash bond, this fee is non-refundable.

Jesus is like a bondsman in that he put up himself as a bond so that I can go free as I await trial. More than that, on the day of trial I will be found innocent of sin because he paid the price for my sin. Jesus is my bondsman and my scapegoat. Surely Jesus suffered when he put security for me.

1 Peter 2:21-25 states, “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth. When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”

BDBD is Proverbs 11:11-14

Civic righteousness is the subject of verses 11-14. The blessing of the upright comes from God’s blessing and teaching through them. The upright’s good influence and desire for justice for all as well as their prosperity are how a city and nation is lifted up out of the dregs.

“Remove the wicked from the king’s presence, and his throne will be established through righteousness.” (Proverbs 25:5; 28:2; 29:4, 14) “In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it; one from the house of David; one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of the righteous” (Isaiah 16:5) His name is Jesus. Those in his kingdom still in this world are the upright.

The members of his kingdom still in this world know when to hold their tongue (12) They keep a secret (13). And they are among the many advisers who make victory sure (14). The mouth of the wicked destroys society. They deceive, are dishonest, and sow discord. They lack judgment and thus deride their neighbor (12). They gossip and lack pure and true guidance (13,14)

So herein lays a foundation for my character development; love, faith, and hope – the greatest of these is love. These are good for me and bring civic righteousness.

BDBD is Proverb 11:10

When the righteous prosper the city rejoices. Surely this is true for the right way to live, interact with others, and doing in God’s eyes surely brings prosperity to all. Joy and happiness fill the hearts of many.
    When the wicked perish, there are shouts of joy. Surely this is true for the wrong way to live, interact with others, and doing in God’s eye brings suffering to society. People begin knowing who is to blame for society’s woe. When the wicked die people have hope.
   I can be a positive influence in my family, town, and country simply by living righteously. Sometimes I doubt that I am making any good impact for others simply because I am one small person who has faith in Jesus and believes his ways are true and good. Yet, here I see that a few small acts of faith, hope, and love can make others rejoice though I do not see evidence of it.

BDBD is Proverbs 11:7-9

The wicked and the righteous are compared in these verses as in the rest of this chapter. The wicked can have power over others in this world (7). The wicked can have hope and expectations too. Yet, when death comes their hope perishes and their power comes to nothing (7).

The godless and the wicked have similarities though these life choices are different. The godless speak and write lies about others, especially their neighbors (9). Yet, just because a person speaks a lie doesn’t mean they are godless. A person of God when they speak a lie will accept their error and do all they can to make recompense. The godless liar will keep up the lie.

Many reasons exist why lies are spoken; to protect self or others, to do damage to others, out of fear, out of pride, to gain attention, to gain power, and to impress others. All lies are an insult to God who is the origin of truth. Jesus called the Spirit of God the Spirit of Truth. (John 16:13) Jesus said of the devil, “He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44) When a lie is spoken for whatever reason we speak the language of the devil.

Many times I have been in situations where telling the truth was hard and it was hard not to lie. These are times when my integrity and character are being tested. “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!  No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:12-13)

Through knowledge, the righteous escape lies (9).

BDBD is Proverbs 11:4-6

Making a straight way means easily and quickly reaching a goal. The righteousness of the blameless makes a straight way for them. How?

The righteousness of the upright delivers them. Verse 4 says it delivers them from death. The delivery in verse 6 is from evil desires.

Jesus taught, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)

Who is to blame? The wicked are brought down by their own wickedness. The unfaithful are trapped by their evil desires. I learn to take control of my evil desires and wicked thoughts. Like any muscle, it takes time and has pain. But after every workout, I feel better.