Let’s dive in to Proverbs 18:
(18:1) To be “unfriendly” is selfish. Selfishness may be common but it defies common sense.
(18:2) The fool doesn’t want to learn from anyone but loves to talk about he/she thinks.
(18:3) The NLT says it best, 3 Doing wrong leads to disgrace, and scandalous behavior brings contempt.
(18:4). The opinions of the wise are deep (i.e., rich with meaning) and refreshing, like a flowing spring.
(18:5–8) Verses 6–7 are connected (lips, mouth, mouth, lips). Are you constantly quarrelling? Watch the words you say. Verse 5 refers official proceedings, whether they are court cases or community decisions, it’s not wise to take the side of an evil person (v. 5). The odds of such happening are reduced by the fact that caustic and selfish people expose themselves by their words (vv. 6–7). On the other hand, many have a perverse attraction to malicious gossip (v. 8).
*It is as hard to refuse to listen to gossip as it is to turn down a delicious dessert. Taking just one morsel of either one creates a taste for more. You can resist rumors the same way a determined dieter resists candy — never even open the box. If you don’t nibble on the first bite of gossip, you can’t take the second and the third
(18:9–12) Several proverbs on personal security stand together. First, Proverbs teaches that laziness leads to personal calamity (v. 9). Second, The Lord is the only real source of security (v. 10). Third, wealth does offer some protection, but the danger of wealth is that it gives the illusion of greater security than it can provide (v. 11). Fourth, the very time when a person feels most secure (and is most arrogant) is when disaster is likely to occur (v. 12). *In imagining that their wealth is their strongest defense, rich people are sadly mistaken. Money cannot provide safety — there are too many ways for it to lose its power. The government may cease to back it; thieves may steal it; inflation may rob it of all value. But God never loses his power. He is always dependable. Where do you look for security and safety — uncertain wealth or God who is always faithful?
(18:13–14) To “answer before listening” (v. 13) implies an arrogant (and rude) spirit. It indicates that a person is unwilling to be instructed or, in the case of interpersonal dealings, that they prejudiced and unwilling to hear differing opinions. Verse 14 points out that a person’s attitude, for good or bad, is the single most important factor in confronting adversity.
(18:15–19) In these concise statements, (verse 15 and verse 17) there are three basic principles for making sound decisions: (1) get the facts before answering; (2) be open to new ideas; (3) make sure you hear both sides of the story before judging. All three principles center around seeking additional information. This is difficult work, but the only alternative is prejudice — judging before getting the facts.
18:16 makes an observation without making moral judgment. Gifts to public officials may or may not have been acceptable for a given set of circumstances, but the intelligent juror would have need at least to know of the practice. Verse 18 speaks of a practice that was widely practiced and highly regarded in ancient Israel, the casting of lots to settle disputed matters. The intent is to give the controversy over to God. Finally, v. 19 warns that controversies must be justly and rightly settled if the life of the community is to continue to function smoothly. The wise jurist will not leave a dispute unresolved, for fear that greater troubles follow.
(18:20–21) The Power of Words, Verse 20 states that people have a sense of self-satisfaction about their own words. To put it another way, they enjoy airing their own opinions. But the tongue can be dangerous. The purpose of these verses is to warn against being too much in love with your own words. You should recognize the power of words and use them with restraint. Voicing your own views, here described as eating the fruit of the tongue, can be an addictive habit, but should be evaluated according the its results.
(18:22) This verse states that it is good to be married. Today’s emphasis on individual freedom is misguided. Strong individuals are important, but so are strong marriages. God created marriage for our enjoyment and he pronounced it good. This is one of many passages in the Bible that show marriage as a joyful and good creation of God (Genesis 2:21-25; Proverbs 5:15-19; John 2:1-11).
(18:23) This verse does not condone insulting the poor; it is simply recording an unfortunate fact of life. It is wrong for rich people to treat the less fortunate with contempt and arrogance, and God will judge such actions severely (see Prov 14:31).
(18:24) Loneliness is everywhere — many people feel cut off and alienated from others. Being in a crowd just makes people more aware of their isolation. We all need friends who will stick close, listen, care, and offer help when it is needed — in good times and bad. It is better to have one such friend than dozens of superficial acquaintances. Instead of wishing you could find a true friend, seek to become one. There are people who need your friendship. Ask God to reveal them to you, and then take on the challenge of being a true friend.
Need some good caring friends? Why not try participating in a Connect Group at Upwards Church?
Until tomorrow, Darrell