Good afternoon! Happy Tuesday, we have more great stuff today: Parenting, Debt and more.
Your Reputation 22:1 Your character is more important than your cash flow. A person who has wealth at the cost of a bad reputation has paid too high a price.
Rich and Poor 22:2–5 Rich and poor have equal standing before the Lord. The central idea is that those who are well off must never forget that they, just like the poor are totally dependent on God for life and livelihood. So live with humility before God. This naturally flows into v. 4, which says that all the good things of life come from humility before God.
On the surface vv. 3, 5 both state that the wise see and avoid trouble but the ignorant or headstrong plunge into it. In the context of vv. 2, 4, the verses explain that the failure to see danger happens because of arrogance and refusing to follow God. In v. 3 such people are described as “simple” (or “stupid”) in v. 5 they are described as “wicked.” Also “thorns” and “snares” are not just economic or personal dangers but moral dangers as well. To be humble in the sight of God is to be aware of your limitations. The humble are more secure, more aware of dangers, and more financially stable than the proud.
Parenting: 22:6, 15. There is a lot of misunderstanding about verse v. 6.
“In the way he should go” is literally, “according to his the child’s way.” It is natural to want to bring up all our children alike or train them the same way. This verse implies that parents should discern the individuality and special strengths that God has given each one. While we should not condone or excuse self-will, each child has natural inclinations that parents can develop. By talking to teachers, other parents, and grandparents, we can better discern and develop the individual capabilities of each child. Many parents want to make all the choices for their child, but this hurts him or her in the long run. When parents teach a child how to make decisions, they don’t have to watch every step he or she takes. They know their children will remain on the right path because they have made the choice themselves. Train your children to choose the right way.
Verse 15 Young children often do foolish and dangerous things simply because they don’t understand the consequences. Wisdom and common sense are not transferred by just being a good example. The wisdom a child learns must be taught consciously. “The rod of discipline” stands for all forms of discipline or training. Just as God trains and corrects us to make us better, so parents must discipline their children to make them learn the difference between right and wrong. To see how God corrects us, read Prov 3:11,12.
Debt 22:7. Does this mean we should never borrow? No, but it warns us never to take on a loan without carefully examining our ability to repay it. A loan we can handle is enabling; a loan we can’t handle is enslaving. The borrower must realize that until the loan is repaid, he or she is a servant to the individual or institution that made it. The point is to get out of debt as rapidly as possible. Debt is debilitating and demoralizing. No one can live the happy, prosperous life Proverbs recommends in that condition.
Reaping What You Sow 22:8–9. The concept of reaping what your sow (harvesting what you planted) is familiar in the Bible. Trouble comes from wickedness, blessing comes from generosity.
Words and Character 22:10–14. Proverbs warns us about the significance of our words. We will see that our words reveal our character. Five character types represent five ways words can be used. The mocker causes quarrels (v. 10), the pure impresses even a king (v. 11), the liar is undone by God (v. 12), the lazy make excuses (v. 13), and the prostitute seduces and traps (v. 14).
22:10–11 In v. 10 the mocker is an obnoxious troublemaker. Harmony is restored by removing such people. By contrast, those whose minds and words are peaceable find themselves welcomed on the highest level (v. 11) rather than being driven away.
22:12 In v. 12 God’s eyes see everything. He causes those who distort the truth to be exposed.
22:13 In v. 13 the sluggard (lazy) makes excuses. This proverb refers to the excuses a lazy person might use to avoid going to work. The excuses sound silly to us, but that’s often how our excuses sound to others. Don’t rationalize laziness. Take your responsibilities seriously and get to work.
22:14 In v. 14 the adulteress’s enticing words draw victims into a trap. At the same time, the trap is also the way God exposes or punishes those who fall for this seduction.
Poverty v. 16 reveals poverty will occur by taking advantage of the poor, as well as extortion, bribery or any other method than doing honest work.
Listen 22:17–21 Is a reminder to listen to wise counsel (God’s Word). (v. 17) is followed by two reasons (vv. 18–19) and a description of what follows (vv. 20–21). This passage reminds us of what was taught earlier in the book, especially Prov 1–9. Verse 19, stresses the result of wisdom’s work: we are drawn closer to the Lord. And v. 21, says they are meant to instruct the us in the truth and mold us into a reliable person.
Don’t Exploit the Poor 22:22–23 The Lord is viewed as protector of the poor. Here the verses warn the powerful not to use legal devices to exploit the poor, or they find themselves facing a much higher judge. The warning is depicted with an image of God doing to the rich exactly what they do to the poor (v. 23).
You Become Who You Hang Out With 22:24–25 This could be taken to mean simply that if you hang out with quarrelsome people, you will become like them and get into trouble. People tend to become like those with whom they spend a lot of time. Even the negative characteristics sometimes rub off. The Bible teaches us to be cautious in our choice of friends. Choose people with characteristics you would like to develop in your own life.
Debt 22:26–27 verse 26 is saying that it is wise to be slow to countersign a note or to be liable for another person’s debt. As in 6:1–5, these verses warn us about bad debt. The bed, (a place of rest) is symbolic of all that is house and home.
Boundaries 22:28 In Joshua 13 the land was divided and the boundaries marked out for each tribe. Moses had already warned the people that when they reached the promised land they shouldn’t cheat their neighbors by moving one of the landmarks to give themselves more land and their neighbors less (Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17). “Gerrymandering” — changing political boundaries so that one group of voters benefits and another loses — is a modern form of moving boundary markers.
Quality Work = Recognition 22:29. This is a verse for those unwilling to stop at what seems good enough in job performance and push on to doing the best job possible.
Thanks for reading God’s word! Like we read, you will grow in wisdom and character and God will bless you as you follow Him. The sections about your friends 22:24–25 and character 22:10–14 are a great opportunity to remind us to participate in a Connect Group which will help you meet the right types of friends as well as get you into God’s word and His ways (to improve your character). Just go to www.Upwards.Church and hit “Get Connected”
Also about the poor, our church has a ministry to the homeless in Austin called Blessing Bags. We pack over 200 sack lunches, toiletries, towels, clothes on and go downtown to deliver them once a month. This Friday we are packing the bags, this Saturday we go down to deliver them. If you would like to join us we would love that! You can go here for more information: Upwards Church Blessing Bags
Until tomorrow, Darrell
Classic Bible Commentary
J Vernon McGee’s Through the Bible
Life Application Bible Notes
Matthew Henry Concise Bible Commentary
New American Commentary