The book of Proverbs is about wisdom. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. It isn’t enough to have knowledge. We also need wisdom, which is the ability to use that knowledge. Wisdom comes from applying knowledge in such a way that you live according to God’s wise principles. Foolishness is the result of ignoring God’s wise principles. Wisdom results in favor and blessing and success in this life and ultimately eternal success in the Life-To-Come! Foolishness results in harm and loss, and perhaps eternal loss. Just because you believe in Messiah and you have faith and read the Bible, means that you have some wisdom, but it doesn’t mean you have wisdom in every area of life. Proverbs help us acquire wisdom for all of the many decisions we need to make in the varied areas of life.
The Benefits Of Being Righteous
15:6 Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, but trouble is in the income of the wicked. Being righteous – which means being in a right relationship with God and consistently doing the right things, brings great rewards – in this life and the Life To Come. Wealth comes into the home of the righteous. The wealth comes in the form of family love and unity and peace; children who tend to go in the right direction and have meaningful lives; wealth in the area of finances means economic discipline and hard work and savings that leads to the family’s needs being met. But trouble is in the income of the wicked. The wicked – those who continue to rebel against their Creator tend to take moral and spiritual and financial shortcuts. Their lack of the fear of God will eventually catch up to them and cause them trouble. So, make sure that you are in a right relationship with the Three-In-One God, and are doing the right things. Don’t compromise morally, spiritually or financially. You and your family will be much better off! Righteousness pays, and evil causes you to lose, so it only makes sense to choose to be righteous!
15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but the prayer of the upright is His delight. The Lord is a morally and spiritually Perfect Being. He is wise, and is not fooled by those who make a pretense of religion. Not every prayer, every act of worship is the same to Him. He finds their religion detestable. He does not want the mere external trappings of religion but genuine faith and morality. Those who deny the basic doctrines of the Faith like the inspiration and inerrancy of the Scriptures (the Bible is accurate, reliable, without errors); the doctrines of the Trinity and the deity of the Messiah; salvation by grace through faith alone; the virgin birth; the incarnation; the Messiah’s resurrection; the Second Coming; the reality of Heaven and Hell; those who go against basic Biblical morality and who are pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality, like Obama who claims to be a Christian – their religion is hypocrisy that will be rejected by the Creator. And if they don’t repent, ultimately they will be punished. So, make sure your religion is genuine and that you are upright – morally straight, not twisted!
15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but He hears the prayer of the righteous. The Lord is a Supremely Moral Being, and that affects who He is close to and who He is far from, who He listens to and who He rejects. And, you want to be close to the Eternal God who is the Source of life and love and blessing and meaning! You want Him to accept you and listen to the things that concern you. You don’t want Him to reject you and not listen to you and not answer your prayers. So, if you are smart, you will make sure that you are not wicked, that you are not defying Him; and you will make absolutely sure that you are righteous – that you are in a right relationship with the Three-In-one God, and doing the things that He considers to be right.
15:9 The way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves the one who pursues righteousness. The Lord is perfectly righteous. And, He makes moral distinctions. He does love the world of fallen human beings, but He does not love everyone equally, in the same degree. He loves the righteous more than the wicked, the repentant more than the unrepentant. Also, love means doing what is best for someone – even if they don’t understand it or like it. Being loving to a drug addict is to intervene and get him off of his drugs which are ruining him – not enable him to continue his destructive way of life. The loving thing for God to do to the wicked is to eventually remove the wicked from the new Heavens and the New Earth where only righteousness will exist. It is good to be loved by a husband or wife, son or daughter, friend or brother or sister. Their loves enriches our lives. How much better to be loved by the eternal God who is the Source Of Life! So, since the way of the wicked is an abomination to the Lord, but He loves the one who pursues righteousness, if you want to experience the maximum amount of the love of God, make sure that you are actively and thoughtfully and dedicatedly pursuing being in a right relationship with God, and consistently doing the right things.
The Benefits Of Having A Positive Attitude
15:13 A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, but when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken. In a fallen, satanically controlled world that is in rebellion against God and is under a curse, there are many things that are discouraging. We must not focus our mental and emotional attention on them. If we do, we will most likely become depressed. This is also a world which evidences the reality and glory and power of God, a world that still has great beauty in it, a world in which love and truth exist, a world that has been redeemed by the incarnation and death and resurrection of the Son of God. This is a world in which God is living in His people who are promised to live forever; this is a world that we know with confidence will be recreated and renewed. Therefore if we are smart, we will choose to focus our mental and emotional attention on those things. If we do, we will be happier people, and that happiness will be reflected in the way we look.
15:15 All the days of the afflicted are bad, but a cheerful heart has a continual feast. All of us are afflicted in many ways. We can choose whether our perspective is that life is miserable or life is good, whether we are upset or cheerful. Don’t let the afflictions, trials, challenges, hardships and difficulties of life in a fallen world get you down! Afflictions are part of life, and if we co-operate with God, He will help us endure all of our trials, and our afflictions will have a positive benefit. They will improve us! Since a cheerful inner attitude makes life seem like a continual delicious banquet, focus on the positive things. Trust in God, and whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, think about those things. If we do that, we can experience life as if it were a continual feast!
15:30 Bright eyes makes the heart happy; good news brings health to the bones. Human beings are affected by their environment. Bright and sunny weather can improve our mood. When it is grey and overcast and cold, it is easier to get depressed. And, we can be like the weather. If our attitude is bright and sunny, we can make those around us happier. And, since our minds affect our bodies, if we are happier, we may even be healthier. So, be careful who you spend time with. Sour, dour, pessimistic, depressed individuals can depress you. And, we are can be affected by the kind of mental atmosphere others project. Depressing people, godless and hopeless philosophies and ideologies, gloomy books, news accounts that are mostly bad, can have a depressing, destructive influence on the impressionable. Good news, good books, good thoughts, beautiful art, great music, good movies, good activities – positive wholesome things can make you happier and healthier! Be careful about who you associate with, and consider what kinds of influences you expose yourself to. A person can be pessimistic regarding the world, and the awful direction our nation is headed, and how sin has ruined humanity (blessed are those who mourn!), but that person can still be optimistic and happy if those thoughts are compensated for by thoughts about the coming of the Savior, and God’s love for us, and the indwelling of the Spirit, and the fellowship of the community of the Believers, and the resurrection of the righteous and the sureness of Heaven and Eternal Life and the New Heaven and the New Earth.
Things That Are Better Than Money
Wealth can buy some good things, but wealth can’t buy everything. Wealth can’t buy peace and happiness.
15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and turmoil with it. Having a little, but enough so that one’s need are met, combined with knowing and respecting the Lord with the result that the right things are done and therefore problems are minimized, and the conscious is kept clean – that is far better than being rich because you have not respected God’s righteous standards and you find yourself in a situation like Bernie Madoff, who did not fear the Lord, had great treasure and now has turmoil for the rest of his life, and has brought great turmoil to his family.
Wealth can’t buy peace and happiness, and wealth can’t buy love or family happiness. 15:17 Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred. A poor family that has few material possessions, so that the family can only afford a minimum diet of vegetables, but has family love and happiness, is better off than the wealthy family that can afford a rich diet and other luxuries but has no love among the members of the family. Family love and unity is worth sacrificing material things for. Family peace is not worth the extra time of an overly demanding job that creates resentments and alienation among members of the family. A close, loving family is worth a less demanding job, less time at work, a smaller house, a less-nice car, fewer and less costly vacations and fewer material things.
The Danger Of Materialism
15:27 A greedy man brings trouble to his family, and he who hates bribes will live. We need things to live. We need things like food, clothing, shelter, transportation, medical care to support ourselves and our families. But, we need to have the right attitude toward these things. We don’t want to become greedy, never being satisfied when our needs are met, always wanting more and more. That kind of greedy dissatisfaction brings trouble to that person and his family. The never-satisfied individual will spend too much time pursuing material things, and not enough time serving God and family. Things may become more important than people, than God, than family. And, that greedy person might be tempted to take shortcuts – like bribes, and that will get him into trouble. We need to trust God, and work hard, and learn to be content with what we have and not cut moral and ethical corners to enrich ourselves. That is the smart attitude toward wealth.
The Benefits of Hard Work And Good Character
15:19 The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway. Hard work and good character are essential to a productive, good life. You will get to a good destination, like the man who is traveling on a highway. Laziness and being morally and spiritually twisted makes for a life that ultimately leads nowhere – like a man who is walking and gets stuck in a patch of thorns.
The Benefits Of Getting Good Advise
15:22 Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed. This dark satanically controlled world is complex and confusing. There are real and powerful fallen angels who are trying to harm us using lies and deception. There are many false religions, ideologies and opinions that will greatly harm us. There are men who will lie to us in order to take advantage of us. There are situations that we will encounter that will be complex and we need to discern the dangers that they contain. We will encounter situations in which we need to make a choice, and if we make a wrong choice, we can damage ourselves and others. We are a fallen race, and we are easily confused. We come into this world knowing little. We don’t have the reservoir of wisdom that someone with more life experience has. The smart individual learns to seek out the advice of older, wiser, godly individuals, and individuals with expertise in the areas they need help with. That individual who does that is much more likely to avoid harmful mistakes and succeed in what he wants to do.
The Two Paths
15:24 The path of life leads upward for the wise that he may keep away from Sheol below. Life is a journey, and there are two, and only two paths that one can take in the journey through life. There is the path that leads upward to God and Heaven and eternal life. The wise travel that path. They know the true God, and are in a right relationship with Him, and are living their lives by the wise moral and spiritual principles and other laws that the Creator has designed into the universe. Sadly, only a minority of human beings choose to walk on that path. Then, there is a second path, and that is any other way that does not include faith in the Three-In-One God and faithfulness to Him and His teachings. That path leads to Sheol – the place of the dead. Those people – sadly, the majority of mankind, will not come to a good destination. They will not enter into life in the Heavenly Jerusalem. Make absolutely sure that you are on the path of life! You are crazy not to!
The Lord Favors The Humble And The Disadvantaged
15:25 The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow. Adonai is not only eternal and all-powerful and all-knowing, but He is also all-just. He is a God of morality and righteousness and fairness. The Lord favors the poor and disadvantaged, like the widow, and wants to protect her and her property from society’s predators – and so should we. On the other hand, those who are not disadvantaged and who are proud – which means that they have an attitude of independence regarding God; they don’t want Him to be God and to be in control; they don’t want to submit their lives and decisions to Him, to live according to His will – they will find that the Lord does not want to favor them and protect them. He wants to eliminate that attitude of independence and rebelliousness – because their pride is offensive to Him, and because their pride is destructive to them. By being independent of their Creator and ignoring His desires, they are a danger to themselves and to others. The Lord favors the humble and the disadvantaged, and so should we. And, what is true of an individual in this case is also true of a nation. The Lord will tear down the house of a proud nation. Sadly, the United States has become proud, having that arrogant attitude of independent rebelliousness toward God. Don’t be surprised if our national house is torn down – and it seems to me, that tearing down process is well under way.
The Need To Bring Our Thoughts Into Conformity With God’s Nature
15:26 Evil thoughts are an abomination to the Lord, but pleasant words are pure. The Creator is not in impersonal force or ideal, but a Person. And, this Supreme Person is morally perfect. He is offended by evil, which is anything that violates His standards, and His standards come from His upright, pure, perfect nature. He detests and must reject that which is evil. And since He is all-knowing, He knows our thoughts and the things we are planning. Therefore if we are smart, we will bring our thoughts and plans and words into conformity with His thoughts and His words. That pleases the Lord, and He will reward us. If we don’t bring our thoughts and plans and words into conformity with His thoughts and His words, He may ultimately reject us – something we don’t want to happen.
The Benefits Of Receiving Correction
15:31 He whose ear listens to the life-giving correction will dwell among the wise. Human beings are prone to error – even human beings who grow up learning about God and the Bible. Ignoring the wise and beneficial principles that God has designed into the universe will lead to harm, death, maybe the Second Death, which is eternal death in Gehenna, Hell, the Lake of Fire. So, the smart individual will listen to correction when it comes to him. He will humble himself, consider, pray and then change his direction. If he does, he will greatly benefit himself. He will be back on the path that leads to life. He will live among the wise, who will live forever with the wise God and with the wise angels.
15:32 He who neglects discipline despises himself, but he who listens to correction acquires understanding. The man who loves himself takes care of himself. The one who hates himself harms himself. We live in a God-designed universe, and when we violates the laws and principles He has built into it, we harm ourselves. A human being despises himself if he does not pay careful attention to the truth – which is knowable. The person who neglects the Bible, and who ignores those who know the truth and who are trying to correct him and teach him, harms himself and therefore hates himself. Love yourself by listening to correction when it comes to you, so that you will be benefitted. You will acquire wisdom and understanding and you will be much, much better off!