A Life of Fear
28:1 A guilty conscience and awareness that they have many enemies made leaves the wicked person continuously anxious and paranoid.
Selfishness Ruins Even Nations
28:2 “It has many rulers” may mean each person’s selfishness quickly affects others. A selfish employee who steals from his company ruins its productivity. A selfish driver who drinks before taking the wheel makes the highways unsafe. A selfish spouse who has an adulterous affair often breaks up several families. When enough people live for themselves with little concern for how their actions affect others, the resulting moral rot contaminates the entire nation. Are you part of the problem . . . or the solution? For a government or a society to endure, it needs wise, informed leaders and it needs people who have hearts that care about God and others more than just their own selfish desires. This is why I love being part of this church where God changes hearts! With Christ, we change lives which changes communities which changes our nation.
Do What is Right and Go the Right Way
28:3, 8 Verse 3 a ruler ought to care for the rights of the poor as rain should help a garden, but instead he only beats them down. Verse 8 give examples of how the poor can be oppressed by the wealthy—making loans and then charging high interest rates. It adds that those guilty of such abuses will lose all their money to generous people.
28:4, 7, 9 Verses 4, 7, 9 are somewhat unusual in Proverbs in that they directly speak of the Old Testament Law (Torah). In v. 4 a person’s attitude toward God’s laws will determine their evaluation of people and their choice of friends. This naturally leads to the sentiment of v. 7, keeping the law keeps a person from the companion of gluttons and disgracing their father. Verse 9 adds that those who reject God’s laws will lose the companionship of Him, as indicated by His rejection of their prayers. Taken together these verses teach that God’s law is a guide to choosing friends and maintaining good relations with family and God.
28:5, 10 Verse 5 deals with understanding or not understanding justice while v. 10 describes people who lead others into error. Verse 5b is in agreement with the central teaching of Proverbs that the fear of The Lord is the beginning of knowledge (1:7).
28:6, 11 Verse 6 -Don’t be jealous of the rich; money may be all they will ever have.
Through dependence on God in their struggles, the poor may develop a richness of spirit that no amount of wealth can provide. The rich man can lose all his material wealth, while no one can take away the poor man’s character. Verse 11 shows that rich people often think they are wonderful; depending on no one; they take credit for all they do. The wealthy think that their money proves they are smarter and morally superior, but the poor see that they are actually morally bankrupt.
Happiness or Hiding
28:12 and 28:28a teach that when righteous people are in charge it brings happiness and hope to all people. But when the wicked are in charge, people go into hiding. The wicked dehumanize, bring despair and fear. Lets pray, support and elect the righteous in every level of leadership.
Acknowledge Your Sin
28:13–14. This verse (28:13) almost reads like 1 John 1:9. Something in each of us strongly resists admitting we are wrong. That is why we admire people who openly and graciously admit their mistakes and sins. These people have a strong self-image. They do not always have to be right to feel good about themselves. Be willing to reconsider — to admit you are wrong and to change your plans when necessary. And remember, the first step toward forgiveness is confession. Verse 14 to “fear the Lord” means to respect and honor him
28:15–16 The tyrant is compared to the lion and the bear as being both vicious and subhuman (v. 15). This idea is reinforced in v. 16, in which he is said to “lack judgment,” Understanding is a fundamental human trait; the ruler who embraces understanding and righteousness will enjoy a long life.
Guilt and Innocence
28:17–18 Guilt will drive a person to repentance or to death itself because of a refusal to repent. It is no act of kindness to try to make the wrong doer feel better; the more guilt he feels, the more likely he is to turn to God and repent. If we interfere with the natural consequences of his act, we may make it easier for him to continue in sin. Courts will punish murderers (v. 17), but the innocent do not have fear of punishment. Whether by the hand of God or of men, the wicked will fall (v. 18b).
Prosperity the Right Way (28:19–27)
Proverbs doesn’t condemn prosperity, but always rejects greed. These verses compare diligence and hard work with the desire for quick and easy money. Greed can be manifested in unrealistic business enterprises (v. 19), accepting bribes (v. 21), using flattery (v. 23), taking from one’s parents (v. 24), and general greediness (vv. 22, 25).
28:19 “Fantasies” or get rich quick schemes are way to go broke. The point of the verse is that hard work is the only way to prosperity; anything else is a waste of time.
28:20. Verse 20 is like v. 19, but compares “faithful” (devotion to what is right) and being eager for wealth. Any person who thinks they can find a quick route to riches by taking shortcuts is in trouble.
28:21–22. One quick route to easy money is by accepting a bribe (v. 21) and people can be bought off very cheaply. Those who will sell their integrity in any way for money (v. 22) end up in poverty.
28:23 This verse speaks of another way of gaining position and wealth—by flattery. Eventually people see through it, flattery or the money from flattery won’t last either.
28:24 Stealing from parents for the sake of money is the most appalling. The language is strong. I like the way the New Living Translation says it, 24 Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.
28:25–26 A greedy person causes strife everywhere. But those who trust in The Lord do not cause quarrels and really will be satisfied. Verse 26 to trust yourself is foolish, but to trust God is wise. It’s like the wise and foolish builders of Matt 7:24–27.
Those Who Give More Have More
28:27 Those who give will lack nothing. God wants us to identify with the needy, not ignore them. The second part of this proverb could be restated positively: “those who open their eyes to poor people will be blessed.” (see Prov 11:24,25). Never forget who meets our needs, God’s Word promises that He will supply all our needs (Philippians 4:19).
Until tomorrow, Darrell