A Study of Proverbs
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
Prepared by Daren Schroeder
Presented at the Godley church of Christ (Summer 2018)
Northern Romania Bible School (Fall 2018)
THE BOOK OF PROVERBS
INTRODUCTION & PURPOSE OF PROVERBS
(1) SECTION OR CLASSIFICATION OF THE BOOK OF PROVERBS: The book of Proverbs is considered one of the books of poetry, or sometimes called wisdom literature (along with
Job, Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon).
(2) NAME OF BOOK: The book is named after its form of literature. A proverb is a short, wise,
memorable saying that serves as a guide to right and successful living.
(3) THE BOOK OF PROVERBS IS THE WISDOM OF GOD: The wisdom of Almighty God that will generally lead man to successful and fruitful living. (God knows something about wisdom! If we are wise, we will hear Him!
(4) HEBREW PARALLELISM. The literature of the Book of Proverbs can also be classified as
Hebrew poetry in which parallelism is frequently used. Understanding this helps one to correctly understand the proverbs. Very frequently in this type of literature the second line of the proverb is parallel to the first line. Many times the second line is restating the same thing as the first line. For instance, Proverbs 1:20 says, “Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice.” Understanding the nature of Hebrew parallelism helps us understand that the second line here is not teaching something different than the first line. Sometimes, however, the second line develops a contrast with the first line. For example, Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” Frequently we see righteousness contrasted with foolishness within one proverb like in Proverbs 15:20 which says, “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish man despises his mother.”
(5) UNDERSTANDING THE NATURE OF PROVERBS: Proverbs are not something that hold true every time. For instance, Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” This Proverb does not guarantee the success of a child that is raised in a good home, but generally it will hold true. Proverbs are principles not promises!
(6) NOT ALL OF PROVERBS ARE ACTUALLY PROVERBS, STRICTLY SPEAKING. Chapters 1-9 are more extended sections of wisdom literature that address various themes. Chapter 10 begins what can purely be defined as proverbs. It is a collection of concise, wise statements, one after another). However, the book reverts to several topical sections again near the end of the book.
(7) AUTHORSHIP: Solomon is the predominant author of the book. He wrote chapters 1-29
(see 1:1; 10:1; 25:1). Others are written (or, at least collected by obscure figures named Agur (the son of Jakeh, see 30:1 and King Lemuel, see 31:1). According to 1 Kings 4:32, Solomon was the author of 3000 Proverbs as well as 1005 songs. We have about 800 of his proverbs in the book of Proverbs.
(8) DATE: Most of Solomon’s Proverbs were written before 931 B.C., but chapters 25-29 were
collected by Hezekiah around 230 years later (see 25:1). Thus, the collection of Proverbs was
likely completed sometime during the 5th century B.C.
(9) DIVISIONS OF THE BOOK: (Adapted from Nelson’s Complete Book of Bible Maps and Charts)
Proverbs can be divided up as follows:
1. The Purpose of Proverbs (1:1-7).
2. Proverbs to Youth/A Father’s Exhoratations (1:8-9:18).
3. Proverbs of Solomon/First Collection of Solomon (10:1-24:34).
4. Proverbs of Solomon/Second Collection by Hezekiah (25:1-29:27).
5. Numerical Proverbs of Augur (30:1-31).
6. The Words of King Lemuel/The Virtuous Wife (31:1-31).
(10) STRUCTURE AND GENERAL OBSERVATIONS
1. Chapters 1-9 are basically topical in nature.
2. In chapters 10-15 extensive contrasts are made between righteous and foolish living. (See
also chapters 28-29). The word “but” is used 240 times in Proverbs!
3. Chapters 10-22 are basically “stand alone” proverbs.
4. Chapter 23:3-13 has a heavy concentration of “Do not’s” (used 6 times in 11 verses).
These words are used a total of 150 times in Proverbs!
5. Chapters 25-26 uses the word “like” to provide a vivid portrait of wise and foolish living.
6. Chapter 30 is the numerical chapter.
7. Most of chapter 31 concerns the virtuous woman.
(11) MAJOR TOPICS ADDRESSED:
Pride, anger, hatred, self-control, marriage, parenting and children, adultery, drinking, the tongue, money, work ethic, business, a good name, righteousness, friendship, generosity and others.
THE PURPOSE OF PROVERBS
THE GENERAL PURPOSE OF PROVERBS (v. 2)
Verse 2, in a general way, tells us what Proverbs is about. The Proverbs are for the purpose of imparting wisdom, instruction and insight.
- Wisdom - “skill” (Strong) or “shrewdness” (Brown-Driver-Briggs). This wisdom will allow one live life and all that it entails effectively.
- Instruction - “correction, discipline, instruction” (Strong). The instruction of the Proverbs helps mold one’s life into what God intends.
- Insight - “understanding” (Strong) or “discernment” (B-D-B). Without the enlightening of such wisdom, mankind walks in darkness. (See Ps. 119:1-5.)
These certainly are distinct words, but we also remember that this is poetical language. David is likely not seeking to make a huge distinction in these terms. He writes these things to impart the vastness of the Creator’s wisdom, to the created, so that they know how to order their lives in a righteous and successful manner.
Without God’s guidance, we are confined to human wisdom and our own “trial and error.” These avenues have serious shortcomings. Jeremiah said, “I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (10:23). Mankind can avoid so much agony by turning to the wisdom of God early in life! (see Eccl. 12:1).
TO LEARN WISE DEALING (v. 3)
The Proverbs are written that we may learn “wise dealing.” The words that are to characterize our “wise dealings” are: “righteousness,” “justice,” and “equity.” Proverbs teaches us the right way to conduct ourselves in this world. It teaches us how to make wise and righteous decisions and judgments. It also teaches us how to be fair and impartial.
TO TEACH DISCRETION TO THE YOUNG (v. 4)
The word prudence can be defined as “shrewdness.” This shrewdness is not deceitful nor manipulative, but it is a maturity and wisdom that is beyond one’s years. The youth that is guided by God’s wisdom from an early age and internalizes it as his/her own ambition, will become skillful and successful at life.
The word “simple” can be defined as “naive” or “openminded.” The problem is that the simple are openminded to the ways of the world in stead of the ways of God. They are too wise (in their own mind) to hear the wisdom of God or the wisdom of others.
TO MAKE THE WISE MAN WISER (v. 5)
The book of Proverbs is written for the one who already possesses a certain degree of wisdom. It is the wise man who is willing and able to receive more wisdom. “The fool despises wisdom and instruction” (v. 7). So the fool remains a fool. But the Proverbs will lead the wise man to become still wiser yet. It is important to understand that the Proverbs is not just about making someone more knowledgable or smarter, but providing principles to live by that will generally lead to a great amount of success.
Could you use more wisdom in your relationships? Could you use more wisdom in dealing rightly with people? Could you use more wisdom with money? Could you use more wisdom pertaining to your character? Could you use more wisdom concerning your words? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then Proverbs has something for you!
UNLOCK THE RIDDLES (v. 6)
Solomon was known for devising and solving riddles, which was apart of the culture he lived in. In Proverbs he imparts that ability to his readers. We are not talking about how to solve some trivial puzzle, but the skillful unlocking of the successes that God wants us to find in life! Perhaps one of the great “nuggets” of wisdom we will see is that man often defines success itself, wrongly!
THE FEAR OF THE LORD (v. 7)
The word “fear” may be defined as “terror, respect or reverence” (B-D-B). If an individual does not have proper respect for the Lord, He will not seek after His wisdom and will do so to his own hurt. Our respect for the Lord is the foundation upon which true wisdom and life itself is built.
The “fear of the Lord” is mentioned several other times in Proverbs. Interestingly, it is frequently seen as vital to life:
- It “prolongs life” (10:27).
- It is “the fountain of life” (14:27).
- It “leads to life” (19:23).
So, we can conclude that fearing the Lord is a good thing!
DO NOT BE ENTICED TO SIN
THE PROTECTION AND BLESSING: A father and mother’s instruction will help keep their children from much harm (vv. 8-10). Most parents have taught their children basic principles of decency and morality. These basic principles can serve an individual well in life if they are heeded.
THE PARENT’S COUNSEL: “My son, if sinners entice you, do no consent” (v. 10). This is the basic teaching of this section. Verses 11 through 18 gives an example of a possible enticement. In verses 11 and following, the father is explaining the plan of the wicked. Remember that this is poetic language. Such enticers would not actually say, “let us ambush the innocent without reason” (v. 11), though that is certainly their intention. Such evil doers only think of their own interests.
The enticement of this evil plot is not the desire to do harm to someone, that is simply a necessary means through which they can obtain what they really desire. What sickening greed! People are merely something in their way of obtaining what they want! The motivation and enticement of the plan is to fill their own houses with plunder (v. 13). Surely this is one of the reasons that greed and covetousness is strongly condemned in the Scriptures! (see Lk. 12:15; Mt. 6:24; 1 Tim. 6:10).
Ironically, the suffering and death they cause to others will be turned upon themselves (see v. 18). (See Gal. 6:7-8.)
CONCLUSION: The parent’s conclusion as to why their son should not consent to the enticement of sinners is found in verse 19 which says: “Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain; it takes away the life of its possessors.” Greed can be very appealing, but can lead to a miserable life!
WISDOM CALLS. DO YOU HEAR?
WISDOM IS AVAILABLE: In this section wisdom is personified (given human-like characteristics). She is seen as abundantly available to all who desire her, but unfortunately, many have no desire for her whatsoever.
Wisdom often comes in the form of reproof (see verse 23, 25, 30). Nobody likes to be corrected, but what a great opportunity it presents the wise man for growth and keep him from so much trouble!
Many reject wisdom because they are “simple” (v. 22) - “naive or foolish” (B-D-B). Their desire is to continue in their purposeless ways, not having enough foresight to see where their foolishness will lead them. Thus, wisdom mocks them (v. 26) and will allude them. Choosing not to fear the Lord (v. 29), they will “eat the fruit of their way” (v. 31).
CONCLUSION (vv. 32-33): This section concludes with the great motivation man has for obtaining wisdom: “but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster” (v. 33). Those who hear the cry of wisdom will be blessed in the present and not have the dread of the future!
THE BLESSING OF SEEKING WISDOM
DILIGENCE IN SEEKING AFTER WISDOM (vv. 1-5)
Not all will obtain the blessedness of wisdom. Great emphasis is placed on the concerted effort needed to obtain wisdom. Notice the son who will gain the blessedness of this wisdom: He “receives” it; he “treasures” her; he is “attentive” to wisdom; he “inclines his heart” to her; he “calls” for wisdom; he “raises his voice” for her; and “seeks wisdom like silver.” This diligent pursuit of wisdom will lead to understanding the fear of the Lord. Many never come to know the blessedness of that knowledge. (See James 1:5-6.)
THE BLESSINGS OF SEEKING AFTER WISDOM (vv. 6-20)
The Lord will provide wisdom since He is the source (v. 6). Notice this wisdom comes from his mouth. God’s Word is wisdom.
(1) It shields them (v. 7).
(2) It guards their path (v. 8).
(3) It helps them understand righteousness and justice (v. 9).
(4) It brings pleasantness to the soul (v. 10).
(5) It brings discretion and understanding (v. 11).
(6) It brings deliverance from evil and those who have chosen the way of darkness (vv. 12-15).
(7) It brings deliverance from the forbidden woman (vv. 16-19). Great emphasis is placed upon this particular danger and the devastation it can lead to, here, and elsewhere in Proverbs. While any sin is dangerous, the consequences of this kind of sin can be much more far reaching.
THE CONCLUSION (vv. 20-22)
Those who seek after wisdom and righteousness will generally be blessed, but those who are wicked will heap trouble upon themselves.
THE BLESSING OF TRUSTING THE LORD
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO TRUST IN THE LORD? (vv. 1-12)
(1) Remember your father’s teaching (v. 1).
(2) Keep steadfast love and faithfulness (v. 3).
(3) Trust the Lord with all of your heart (v. 5).
(4) Not being wise in our own eyes (v. 7).
(5) Honoring God with our wealth (or, gain) by giving the first portion to Him (v. 9).
(6) Do not despise the Lord’s discipline (v. 11).
THE BLESSINGS OF TRUSTING THE LORD: (vv. 1-12)
(1) Length of days (v. 2).
(2) Peace (v. 2).
(3) Success with God and man (v. 4).
(4) The Lord will make our paths straight (v. 6).
(5) It will bring healing and refreshment (v. 8).
(6) Your barns will be full (v. 10).
THE VALUE OF FINDING WISDOM: (vv. 13-24)
(1) Better than silver and gold(v. 14).
(2) Better than jewels (v. 15).
(3) She provide long life, riches and honor (v. 16).
(4) Ways of pleasantness and peace (v. 17).
(5) She is a tree of life (v. 18).
(6) She is life for your soul (v. 22).
(7) She will allow you to walk securely (v. 23).
(8) She will protect you from fear (v. 24).
THE LORD KNOWS SOMETHING ABOUT WISDOM (vv. 19-20)
(1) It was through His wisdom that He established the earth and the heavens (v. 19).
(2) The internal water stores of the earth as well as the water above the earth, are products of His wisdom (v. 20).
* The same wise God who is responsible for creation has made His wisdom available to the created!
WHAT WISDOM WILL NOT DO: (vv. 25-31)
(1) Fear the terror of the wicked (v. 25).
(2) Withhold good from those we can bless (v. 27).
(3) Delay to do good to your neighbor (v. 28).
(4) Plan evil against your neighbor (v. 29).
(5) Contend for a man without reason (v. 30).
(6) Envy a man of violence (v. 31).
THE CURSE AND BLESSING OF THE LORD (vv. 32-35)
(1) The devious is an abomination to the Lord, the upright are His confidence (v. 32).
(2) His curse is on the wicked, He blesses the dwelling of the righteous (v. 33).
(3) Scorners will get scorn in return, the humble will obtain His favor (v. 34).
(4) The wise will receive honor, the fool obtain disgrace (v. 35).
THE FATHER’S TEACHINGS THAT WILL LEAD TO LIFE AND PEACE
In this section Solomon shares some particular pieces of wisdom that will lead a son (or, anyone else) to a life of peace and blessings. Let’s notice the particular teachings:
(1) Love and Faithfulness (v. 3). The word for “love” here (or, “părăsească bunătatea, in Romanian) could be better translated: “kindness” (Strong). It is the idea of treating others well or kindly. The word “faithfulness” carries the idea of “truthfulness.” These character traits allow one to find favor and success with God and man (3b).
(2) Completely Trust in the Lord (vv. 5-8). The word “trust” means to “be confident, sure, or careless” (Strong). Man’s trust is in the ways of God, instead of one’s own eyes. Through allowing God to direct one’s life, fearing the Lord and turning from evil (v. 7), healing and refreshment will be brought to him. (See also Mt. 6:25-34.)
(3) Honor the Lord with Your Wealth (vv. 9-10). The Law of Moses specified that the “firstfruits” of one’s increase was to be given for the Lord’s cause (see Deut. 26:1-19; also Lev. 23:10). Notice in the text of Proverbs 3:9, the emphasis upon the word “all.” All blessings are from God. It makes sense then, that we honor God from all of our increase! Blessings will abound for those who will honor God in this way!
(4) Receive the Lord’s Discipline (vv. 11-12). The word “discipline” can entail both instruction and correction. To “despise” this discipline means to “turn it away or refuse it.” It is easy to do that since discipline convicts man of wrongdoing and foolishness. Great motivation is found in receiving discipline when we understand that the Lord’s discipline is from His abundant love for us!
THE INCOMPARABLE TREASURE OF WISDOM
Perhaps Solomon is thinking back to verse 9 where he spoke of honoring God with one’s firstfruits. This may be difficult for some, but the real difficulty lies in not understanding the supreme worth of wisdom! Solomon knew something about silver and gold, and yet the wise man knew that the value of wisdom far exceeded that of precious jewels.
Wisdom Brings Blessings in the Following Forms:
(1) Long life (v. 16). Sometimes this refers as much to the quality of life as to the actual length of life.
(2) Riches and honor (v. 16).Interestingly, the wise man often ends up prospering more than the one that was blessed with silver and gold!
(3) Ways of pleasantness and peace come to him (v. 17). Wisdom makes us lie down in green pastures (see Ps. 23:2).
(4) The wise man will be called “blessed,” receiving the “tree of life” (v. 18). The “tree of life” is reminiscent of the lost tree in Genesis 3. Through wisdom, man find life again!
CONCLUSION: (vv. 19-20)
The blessings mentioned are certainly ones that almost everyone desires, the problem is with faulty method employed to obtain them!
The wisdom of God is seen in His creation (v. 19). Beholding the wisdom of God as Creator gives amazing testimony or confidence in His wisdom for life! God knows something about wisdom and how to obtain true blessings!
WISDOM WILL AVOID THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR
True wisdom will allow man a good measure of security, stability and confidence in life. Solomon says, “Do not” do these things because they will bring a curse upon man:
(1) Do not be afraid of the ruin of the wicked (which is inevitable, v. 25). Instead of that, God’s people will receive the favor and blessing of God (v. 26).
(2) Do not withhold good when you have the opportunity to do it (v. 27). Do good now if possible! Don’t delay (vv. 27-28). Don’t procrastinate with doing good!
(3) Do not devise evil against your neighbor (v. 29).
(4) Do not “contend” with a man for no reason (v. 30). The word “contend” can be mean to “fight physically or with words” (B-D-B). Christians are to be “peacemakers” (Mt. 5:9).
(5) Do not envy or desire the way of a man of violence (v. 31).
Notice the Contrast Between the End Result of the Wicked and the Wise:
(1) The wicked are an abomination to the LORD (v. 32). The word “abomination” means that which is “disgusting” (B-D-B) in the sight of God. But “the upright are in his confidence” (v. 32). They have the favor of God (see 1 Pt. 3:12.)
(2) The Lord will curse “the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous” (v. 33).
(3) To the wicked (or, “scorners”) He “is scornful” (v. 34). A scorner is one who arrogantly mocks another (B-D-B). God will return the same thing upon them (see Gal. 6:7).
(4) The “wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace” (v. 35).
WISDOM PASSED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION
WISDOM PASSED FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION (vv. 1-5)
Wisdom is not just something learned by experience, but it is instruction and insight that should be passed from one generation to the next through teaching. Solomon learned much from his father! Parenting is about training and preparing children for life and eternity! (see Dt. 6:1-4; Eph. 6:1-4).
TREAT WISDOM RIGHT (vv. 6-7)
(1) A father, and parents in general, should teach a great affection for wisdom! (Terms of courtship or marriage are used here.)
a. Don’t forsake her, but love her (v. 6).
b. Prize her highly, and embrace her (v. 7).
c. Seeking to instill this mindset in children is of great importance!
(2) Be faithful to her (wisdom) and she will greatly bless you! (vv. 6, 8-12).
a. When wisdom is properly esteemed, a person will be kept and guarded by her (v. 6, 13).
b. He will be exalted (v. 8).
c. He will be given a graceful garland and a beautiful crown (v. 9).
d. The years of life may be increased (v. 10).
e. His steps will not be hindered (v. 12).
f. In other words, the wise man will win!
THE SPECIFIC COUNSEL OR WISDOM OF THE FATHER (vv. 14-19)
(1) The specific teaching here is to not join with the wicked in their ways (v. 14). The wise son will avoid such participation, and keep himself from unnecessary temptation (see also 2 Tim. 2:22-23).
(2) Verses 16-17 give insight into the scope of the life of the wicked. They live in order to devise and participate in wickedness and violence.
(3) The wise son is urged to contemplate the difference between where the path of the righteous and wicked will lead to (read 18-19; see also Gal. 6:7-8).
FINAL MOTIVATIONS AND EXHORTATIONS OF THE FATHER (vv. 20-27)
(1) Give serious attention to what I am telling you, don’t let these things escape you (vv. 20-21).
(2) They will greatly bless you and bring you true life (v. 22).
(3) Watch your thinking and what fills your mind (v. 23).
(4) Guard your talk (v. 24).
(5) Don’t set your sights in the wrong direction, but look straight forward (vv. 25, 27).
(6) Consider the results of your decisions and actions (v. 26).
WARNINGS AGAINST ADULTERY
PROVERBS 5; 6:20-35; 7:1-27
WHY BE ATTENTIVE TO A FATHER’S INSTRUCTION? (5:1-6)
(1) Because of the enticement of the adulterer (v. 3). She wets the fleshly appetites of man.
(2) Giving in to enticement leads to very bitter consequences (vv. 4-5).
(3) When man joins in with those who do not ponder the path of their feet, he is not pondering his own path! (v. 6, see 4:26).
THE CONSEQUENCE OF THE SIN (5:9-14)
(1) Great regret! Solomon pictures an older man looking back at his life with great regret, but it is too late! Learning to honor the Lord in one’s youth is a great blessing (Eccl. 12:1). Today is the next best day to begin living wisely!
THE FATHER’S COUNSEL (5:7-8; 15-19)
(1) Stay away! Don’t go near! (vv. 7-8).
(2) Instead, enjoy the wife of your youth! Not only will it be satisfying, but there will not be any horrible consequences and regret! (vv. 15-19). (See Heb. 13:4.)
A FATHER AND MOTHER’S TEACHING WILL PRESERVE THEIR SON (6:20-24)
(1) A son who takes to heart the instruction of his parents will be preserved from the evil woman.
AN EXAMPLE OF A FATHER’S TEACHING (6:25-35):
(1) It warns against letting one’s desires go too far (v. 25).
(2) In verse 26 he may be referring to the cheap price (availability of such a woman) and thus the lurking danger. Or, he may be referring to such a woman leaving a man with nothing but a loaf of bread. In other words, she will cause him to lose everything. Either way, this serves as a somber warning!
(3) In verses 27-31 he shows how ridiculous it is to think that one can escape such immorality without suffering great harm. It may cost him everything that is of value!
(4) In verses 32-34 Solomon gives further consequences, indicating that this sin will destroy him, dishonor him, disgrace him, and likely bring great revenge upon him.
7:1-27: THE SEDUCTIVE NATURE OF THE ADULTERESS (THE FOOL IS NO MATCH FOR THE SEDUCTRESS!)
TREASURE THE FATHER’S WORDS (1-5)
(1) Since they bring life, keep them always before you (vv. 1-4).
(2) The main reason here for keeping wisdom ever before you is to keep you from the adultress (v. 5).
A PORTAIT OF THE FOOL (6-9)
(1) He is described as “simple” and “lacking sense” (7, 8). He is not foolish merely because he is young. Joseph was young and wise in a similar regard (see Gen. 39:1-12).
(2) He seems to know what he is doing is wrong… going to her in the cover of darkness (v. 9).
(3) But, he has not pondered where is feet are taking him. He hasn’t adequately thought about the consequences of his foolishness!
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ADULTERESS WOMAN (7:10-21)
(1) She is very aggressive (vv. 10-13). ESV/ASV - “wily in heart.” KJV - “subtil.” This word can have the meaning of “hidden.” Perhaps it means that she hides the evilness of the situation, or makes light of it.
(2) She has made preparation and plotted evil (vv. 14-20). The sacrifices she offered were likely “peace offerings” denoting friendship.
(3) Note throughout this “scene” that she flatters, entices and gives confidence to his vanity.
(4) The foolish young man is compelled by her seductive speech (v. 21).
THE PORTRAIT OF THE FOOL CONTINUED (22-23; see again vv. 6-9)
(1) He is “simple” and “lacks sense” (vv. 6-9). He is foolish!
(2) He follows her like an ox to the slaughter (v. 22). This is a vivid picture of his ignorance of where his sin is leading him! (see also v. 23). He did not ponder the path of his feet! (4:26).
A FINAL PLEA REGARDING THIS MATTER (7:24-27)
In these final verses Solomon makes one more sobering plea for the young to take heed to his counsel lest their lives be destroyed for momentary pleasure. (See also Heb. 11:24-25.)
WISDOM FROM THE ANT: WORK ETHIC
The sluggard lives for idleness and is sluggish in both business and in life. Such slackness and aimlessness can lead nowhere but financial ruin. Solomon steers such an individual to study the ant.
READ PROVERBS 6:4:15:
“Give your eyes no sleep and your eyelids no slumber; save yourself like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the hand of the fowler. Go to the ant, O sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food in harvest. How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man. A worthless person, a wicked man, goes about with crooked speech, winks with his eyes, signals with his feet, points with his finger, with perverted heart devises evil, continually sowing discord; therefore calamity will come upon him suddenly; in a moment he will be broken beyond healing.”
WAKE UP! (vv. 4-5)
Before directing the slacker to learn from the ant, in verses 4-5 Solomon directs him to save himself from his slackness like an animal that is being hunted! This is a graphic portrayal of the danger of laziness and the effort that one should put forth to escape its grasp. It is an urgent matter!
Remember that we are dealing with poetical language here. Solomon is not suggesting that the wise man literally should not sleep. The human body simply will not live and function very long without sleep.
Verses 9-10 gives a little more insight into the meaning where Solomon says, “How long will you lie there, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest.” Clearly the admonition has to do with too much idleness. (See also Eph. 5:16.)
There are simply too many necessary and important things to do to give an inordinate amount of time to idleness. Solomon primarily has in mind that a person should do what they need to do to increase the certainty of their future provisions. Though what Solomon teaches here is certainly true, the Christian should make certain that the spiritual is more of a priority than the physical (see Mt. 6:33).
I also want it to be clear that rest and relaxation are not bad things. In Mark 6:31 Jesus instructed his disciples saying, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” Rest isn’t just a good thing, it is essential. It is important for physical, emotional, and even spiritual health. It brings refreshment to life. It can benefit our relationships with family and others. It can help us clear our mind and see life from a different (and better) perspective.
LEARN FROM THE ANT (vv. 6-8)
In verses 6-8 Solomon has some advise for the sluggard. He says that he should study the ways of the ant, and learn from her. Notice the admirable traits that the sluggard needs to learn from the ant:
1. She is productive without oversight. She does not have to be constantly pushed and prodded to get something done. She has self-initiative. The Christian, of all people, needs to grow in exercising self-initiative. He or she shouldn’t have to be pleaded with to assist with the Lord’s work! Isaiah said, “Here am I, send me!” (Is. 6:8). (See Titus 3:1.)
2. Specifically, the ant makes constant preparation for the future (v. 8). The ant doesn’t just live for the “now.” She doesn’t say, “I’m good for today, I’ll just eat, drink and be marry.” Isn’t it ironic that humans (of all creatures) are the ones who do that? We have greater capacity for wisdom and more to live for than any other creature!
The ant prepares her bread in the summer, and gathers her food in the harvest (v. 8). She is not negligent. The idea here is that the ant is not only diligent, but does what she needs to when she needs to do it. She prepares her food at the right time. She gathers when it is time gather. Someone has said: “The ant thinks winter all summer and she thinks summer all winter.” She makes sure that she makes adequate provision for the future. The wisdom of the ant demands that we do the same!
The ant is one of the tiniest creatures that mankind in general is well acquainted with. Everybody has seen and have observed (to some degree), the conduct of the ant. It is a tiny and simple creature but yet has the capacity to teach the crown of God’s creation great wisdom! With the capabilities endowed to man, he should not need such instruction, but woe to him if he needs it and yet refuses to learn!
THE INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE OF LAZINESS (vv. 9-11)
(1) Verses 9-10 describe not only sleep, but aimlessness and unproductive activities that are not of any real benefit. What are some ways that our culture “folds their hands”? (smart phones, tablets, television, sports, etc.)
These things are not bad in themselves (kept in proper perspective), but when they take the place of taking care of ourselves, and our families, both physically and spiritually, then there is a very serious problem! (see 1 Tim. 5:8). We need to learn from the ant!
(2) Slackness generally leads to poverty (v. 11). This certainly does not mean that poverty is always a sign of laziness. That simply is not true. There are other factors involved. However, one is generally not compensated, and should not be, for being lazy. If one is doing well and has provided for his future, that is certainly not a sign of laziness. The worker earns (is worthy of) his wages (see 1 Tim. 5:18). The one who is unwilling to work is not deserving of his next meal (see 2 Thes. 3:10). But even what the lazy man has, often comes to nothing because of neglect.
THE WICKED CONDEMNED (6:12-19)
I want to say a quick word about this section because I think there is a connection, or a progression here. If the slothful are rebuked for doing nothing, what about those who are doers of evil? They certainly stand condemned!
(1) We should learn from the ant to be diligent and to have self-initiative. Diligence for the Christian should certainly exceed physical matters. See 1 Corinthians 15:58. We should not need to be pleaded with to be involved in the Lord’s work!
(2) We should seek to do the right things at the right times. “Be ready for every good work” (Titus 3:1).Sometimes timing makes all the difference in the world. For example, it is not good enough to say, “I changed the oil in my car.” The question is, When you did you change the oil? Or how many miles was it before you changed the oil? Timing matters. Timing matters spiritually, too. Today is the day of salvation! (2 Cor. 6:2). Don’t postpone things of eternal importance!
(3) We should understand that sometimes there is an overlap between the physical and the spiritual. Or, saying it another way, sometimes the physical impacts the spiritual. The wiseman who takes care of physical things and prepares for the future, will many times be in a better position to serve for spiritually and give more toward the Lord’s work. (See Eph. 4:28.)
(4) We should prepare not only for tomorrow, but for eternity. It is simple to understand why… Heaven is in the balance, not only for us, but for our families and others we can influence. If we have the wisdom of an ant, we will consider her ways and live wisely, both physically and spiritually.
SEVEN THINGS THE LORD HATES
Proverbs 6:16-19 tells us six things, actually seven things, that the Lord hates. The context though, really begins back in verse 12 as the wiseman discusses the calamity that will come upon the wicked man. He is described as the kind of person who “continually” is involved with evil because he has a “perverted heart” (v. 14).
God is a God of love, but God is also a God of hate. However, God’s hate is not like the hate of man. Man’s hate is rarely justified, while God’s hate is always justified. We would do good to learn well what the Lord hates!
The word “hate” is defined as an “enemy or a foe” (Strong). The word “abomination,” which is also used in our text, can be defined as something that is “disgusting.” This word is often used of God’s people when they were involved in idolatry, mixed marriages (which were forbidden) and immorality (B-D-B).
We might find the wording of verse 16 as being a bit peculiar, but like the rest of Proverbs, this is merely a form of Hebrew parallelism. I do not believe that Solomon is making distinction between six things that God hates and one thing that is an abomination to Him. He hates them all and all of them are an abomination unto Him. It is imply worded poetically.
So our text mentions seven particular things that God has very strong feelings about. Seven things that go against the nature of God. Lets notice what they are as we seek to understand the nature of God better, and seek to live in harmony with Him.
(1) “Haughty eyes” (v. 17). Haughty eyes has to do with a lofty or exalted (BDB) view of oneself. (Literally: “Eyes of loftiness” - JFB).
Such a view of oneself is but the beginning of evil. It reminds me of mankind in Genesis 11:5 where the people said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” God had told them to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. But arrogantly they are more concerned with making a name for themselves.
King David’s attitude was much different than that. He says in Psalms 131:1-3: “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.”
The who stand so loud and proud need to down and quiet on their knees and recognize their place before the Lord.
(2) “A lying tongue” (v. 17). A lie may be defined as an “untruth, deceit, or false statement” (Strong). The Lord has made it abundantly clear that He does not want mankind to be deceitful with their words. “Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another” (Eph. 4:25).
You may remember that the scribe in Luke 10 asked Jesus, “Who is my neighbor?” (v. 29). Jesus responded by giving the Parable of the Good Samaritan. The two men, the priest and the Levite, who walked by the man that was left for dead… they walked past their neighbor.
When do we lie to our neighbor? When we have the opportunity to tell someone (anyone) the truth and we choose to tell them something else.
Revelation 21:8 says, “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Our culture tells us that we should lie to stay out of trouble; that we should lie when it is in the interest of financial gain; and that we should lie when we feel threatened. If you are in the practice of lying, perhaps you have believed a lie yourself! Lying won’t get you anywhere. Or, lying will get you to a place you don’t want to be.
(3) “Hands that shed innocent blood” (v. 17). This phrase is normally used not only of violent conduct toward another, but the taking of life. Abel is such an example of innocent blood that was shed.
Since God created human life and He did so in His own image (see Gen. 1:27), it is a serious matter to shed the blood of the innocent. The word “innocent” tells us there must be a time when the shedding of blood is permissible to God. In both the Old Testament and in the New Testament, God gives authority for the taking of human life under certain circumstances. In short, He has given the civil authorities the right to “not bear the sword in vain” (Rom. 13:4). But the emphasis in Proverbs 6 is from the other perspective. No one, including the civil authorities, has the right to take the life of an innocent person.
Those who commit robbery and leave the victim in a pool of blood, they will bear the burden of their sin, unless they repent (Rom. 13:3). Doctors who abort, or destroy human life, will answer to the Creator of that life. I don’t think that Solomon ever thought about abortion when he wrote this passage, but I also believe that God did when He inspired him to write it. God hates the shedding of innocent blood and so should we.
(4) “A heart that devises wicked plans” (v. 18). By “wicked” we are talking about evil or sinful plans. There are some who sit around and put great thought into the evil they can do.
Can you imagine the time and effort that is put into some of the schemes we hear about? How do they come up with these things?
I think of the telephone schemes that are used on older folks, and others. I think of the lady who came to the church in Lobelville, TN after services one Wednesday night. Her daughter spoke for her because “she was deaf and mute.” She said they needed money, so I told her I couldn’t give her any money, but I could walk with them across the street and get them some groceries, and all the sudden she could understand me perfectly, and she hit the road. A couple days later the woman was on the news after being caught by the police.
Getting much more sophisticated and sinister, some of you may call a man named Jim Jones who formulated a plan that lead to over 900 people dying, close to 300 of them children. The plan was very elaborate and took many years to plan and years to execute.
It is a matter of what the heart is set on! Jesus says in Matthew 6:22-24, “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! ‘No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.’”
Proverbs 16:13 says, “Commit your plans to the Lord.” We need to scheme up good things that will help lead others to be blessed and souls to be saved! That can happen if we will allow God to be in control of our heart!
(5) “Feet that make haste to run to evil” (v. 18).
Here we have portrayed the one who anxiously is looking for something bad and sinful to participate in… almost like the devil has just taken control of them. The sad reality is, he has.
Have you ever noticed how folks can assemble so quickly to engage in violent protests? Wouldn’t be wonderful if they would have so much enthusiasm to assemble to worship!
Instead of running to evil, we are told to flee from sexual sin! (see 1 Cor. 6:18). Joseph literally fled from such a situation (see Gen. 39). David, unfortunately, did quite the opposite when he sought out such an occasion (see 2 Sam. 11).
The apostle Paul says, “Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thes. 5:18). If something is evil or sinful according the standard of God’s Word, the Christian needs to flee from it! God hates evil and we should to!
(6) “A false witness who breathes out lies” (v. 19).
The thing that God hates, mentioned here, is similar to the “lying tongue” of verse 17, but this time it is in court or pertaining to legal matters. A “lying tongue” in the court of law can cause the skewing of justice and God does not want that.
One interesting fact we observe in the Law of Moses is that God doesn’t want the poor to be vindicated on the basis of favoritism towards them (see Lev. 19:15). Of course, He doesn’t want it to work the other way either (see James 2:1-5).
(7) “One who sows discord among brothers” (v. 19).
The one who “sows discord” is the one who brings on needless strife and contention between brethren. God desires for the unity of mankind, but especially so for His people! The Lord prayed for the unity of believers (see Jn. 17). Christ died so that all mankind might be joined together in one body (see Eph. 2:11-19). Who are we to destroy the unity for which Christ died?
Rather than saying things that are untrue, hurtful, and unnecessary, Christians are to use words that impart grace to the hearer (Col. 4:6) and bring about peace and unity (see Mt. 5:9; Rom. 12:18). The Lord wants his body to be built up in love (Eph. 4:16). Those who instead are unwilling to repent of such discord, are to have fellowship withdrawn from them (see Rom. 16:17). This shows the seriousness of this sin. It shows that God hates such discord. Now listen very carefully to this. The text does not say that God hates the discord. The text says, He hates the one who causes the discord. The same thing could be said about all of these things.
Have you noticed that the things that God hates are things that are contrary to His nature?
(1) The Lord is not haughty in spirit. He is meek and lowly in heart (Mt. 11:28-30).
(2) The Lord cannot lie (Titus 1:2). Every word He has spoken is truth. He Himself is truth (Jn. 14:6). His people must be people who are bound to truth.
(3) The Lord does not take the lives of the innocent. Someone else is responsible for that. We must value human life as He does.
(4) His plan and desire is to save, not to commit acts of wickedness.
(5) The Lord is not quick to run toward evil, but abounds in providential acts of kindness to man (James 1:17).
(6) The Lord is not, and will not be, a false witness, but gave perfect testimony of His Father and will accurately testify on our behalf before the Father (Heb. 4:14-16).
(7) The Lord is not the source discord, but rather He is the Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6).
O, to be like thee, blessed redeemer! This is my constant longing and prayer! If that is our truly our prayer, let us seek to leave the paths of sin and to follow the path of our Lord!
THE ETERNAL NATURE OF WISDOM
THE CALL OF WISDOM (vv. 1-5)
Wisdom here is personified as calling out to man. She wants to be heard and she needs to be heard! This is the case because mankind tends to lack wisdom. Man tends to be simple and foolish (v. 5), in great need of instruction. (See James 1:5-8.)
HEARING WISDOM PRODUCES RIGHTEOUSNESS (vv. 6-21)
The wise man now lists many of the reasons that wisdom should be heard:
(1) Wisdom speaks “noble things” (v. 5), things that are right and true (v. 6).
(2) Wisdom teaches that wickedness is an abomination to ones’ lips (v. 7). Words of wisdom are “righteous” (v. 8) and “straight” (v. 9).
(3) The value of wisdom is incomparable, even with gold, silver and jewels (vv. 10-11).
(4) Wisdom is related to prudence, knowledge and discretion (v. 12).
(5) Wisdom is unrelated to (or, hates) evil (v. 13), which includes pride and arrogance (v. 14).
(6) Wisdom provides counsel, sound wisdom, insight and strength (v. 15). Such wisdom is of great value to good leaders (v. 16).
(7) Wisdom wants to be sought after and used (v. 17).
(8) Wisdom extends the blessings of: riches, honor, enduring wealth and righteousness (v. 18).
(9) Wisdom produces that which is of greater value than gold and silver (v. 19).
(10) The path of wisdom is righteous and just (v. 20).
(11) Wisdom will grant an inheritance (v. 21).
THE ETERNAL NATURE OF WISDOM (vv. 22-31)
This section lends credibility to wisdom.
(1) Wisdom was in existence before the world was created. Wisdom, of course, resides in God Himself!
(2) That wisdom is seen in every element of God’s creation.
(3) Wisdom existed before any material thing, but yet it is something that we can partake of today!
(4) Obviously, the one who partakes of that wisdom is wise!
WISDOM IS DESIRABLE (vv. 32-34)
(1) The world was blessed by the wisdom of God, and so will man be if he walks in they ways of wisdom! (v. 32).
(2) Our ears ought to be wide-open to wisdom and instruction. Watch for it daily! (vv. 33-34).
“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord, but he who fails to find me injures himself; all who hate me love death” (vv. 35-36).
CHARACTERISTICS OF WISDOM
Wisdom Takes Care of One’s Responsibilities (vv. 1-2)
(1) Notice the repeated use of the word “her.” Wisdom bears its own burden (see Gal. 6:5).
(2) Notice the emphasis on the activity of wisdom: “Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.”
(3) The wise person is active and takes care of his responsibilities.
Wisdom Wants Others to Be Wise (vv. 3-6)
(1) The wise man desires others to also live with wisdom (v. 4).
(2) He wants to help the fool to be wise and to join him in living wisely (v. 5).
(3) He calls out appealing to the quality of life that wisdom can bring to the simple (v. 6).
Wisdom Does Not Rebuke the Fool (vv. 7-12)
(1) Rebuking or correcting the fool or the wicked causes oneself harm (v. 7).
(2) Verses 8-9 shows the contrast between the way the fool receives correction and the wise. The fool will hate you for offering correction. The wise man will love you and become wiser.
(3) The difference between these two classes of people is rooted in their knowledge and respect of the Lord (v. 10). The wise man brings a better life upon himself (vv. 11-12). Whereas the fool brings evil upon himself that he alone will bear (v. 12).
Folly Personified (vv. 13-18)
(1) She is loud, seductive and knows nothing (v. 13).
(2) Notice how folly is contrasted with wisdom (compare with vv. 1-2). She sits at the door of her house; she takes a seat on the highest places of the town (v. 14). She also is seen and observed by all, and exerts great influence.
(3) As wisdom calls out, so does folly! (v. 15). She calls for those who lack sense (v. 16).
(4) The message of folly is twisted or corrupt, but is very enticing (v. 17). (Compare this with the fruit of the tree of life that Adam and Eve were told not to eat from - see Gen. 3).
(5) The simple do not understand that the way of Folly is the way of death (v. 18).
(1) The wise will be diligent in taking care of their responsibilities.
(2) The wise will see correction as an opportunity to learn and grow.
(3) The wise will not waste their time correcting those who have no concern for righteousness. (See also Mt. 7:6.)
(4) The wise will see where folly leads to even as so many are enticed by her.
WISDOM AND OUR WORDS
We should not be surprised that the book of Proverbs has so much to say about our words. There is much power for both good and for evil in the words that we choose to use. 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…”
Christians want to use their words in a way that honors God, that guides others toward the Lord, and that benefits their own families.
As we consider what Proverbs says about our words, let’s evaluate our own words and how we can use them more wisely.
Solomon refers to the slanderer as a “fool” (10:18). The word “slander” means “whispering, defamation, evil report” (B-D-B). Slander occurs when someone speaks unjustified evil of another or with less than righteous motives.
We gain additional insight into the word “slander” in 11:13 where slander is referred to as the “revealing of secrets.” In other words, slander is something that has no business being repeated. Solomon says that the “trustworthy” person will keep the matter “covered.”
Unfortunately, some maliciously look for opportunities to slander. Proverbs 12:6 says they “lie in wait for blood” (12:6). They looking for an opportunity to betray or to belittle. Social media has made slander so easy, and also so cowardly.
Instead of having an appetite for defaming and hurting one another, the ceasing of whispering will lead toward the ceasing of quarrels (26:20-22).
Many times slander is dishonest, but not all dishonesty slanders someone else. However, all dishonest words are wrong. 12:17 says, “Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit.” The honest individual does not distort the truth based on his personal bias or any other reason.
NOTICE THREE REASONS FOR NOT USING DISHONEST WORDS:
(1) “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (12:22). An abomination is something that is disgusting in the sight of God (B-D-B). This word is often used of idolatry. The Lord Himself is truth (Jn. 14:6). The devil is a liar (Jn. 8:44). God’s children are of the truth because they are born of Him (1 Jn. 3:9; 5:4). Lying and dishonesty words have no place in the Christians’ life (see also Eph. 4:25).
(2) “A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin” (26:28). Many times dishonest words are used for the purpose of intentionally hurting someone. Can you imagine that? Intentionally bending the truth for the purpose of hurting someone! The words of a fool spreads strife (16:28). A Christians’ words are to be gracious (Col. 4:6). They are to uplift the hearer (Eph. 4:29).
(3) A “dishonest tongue falls into calamity” (17:20). Dishonesty is normally used for selfish purposes. Ironically, it does not benefit the liar, but brings him great harm! (see also 12:7, 13; 21:6.) In contrast, the wise man’s words will preserve and bless his life (14:3).
THE POWER OF GOOD WORDS
In noticing what Solomon says about our words, we see that it is not just a matter of restraining the malicious use words. Notice what our words can and should do:
(1) Good words keep us from much trouble. By restraining his words, the wise man (17:27-28) keeps himself out of much trouble(21:23). The tongue of the fool brings suffering, but “the tongue of the wise brings healing” (12:18).
(2) Good words and guarded words preserve relationships. The tongue of the fool brings quarreling (20:3). In contrast, “a soft answer turns away wrath” (15:1).
(3) Good words spread knowledge and wisdom. Wisdom is found, or shared in the restraining of words (10:13; see also 18:4) and it spreads knowledge 15:7.
(4) Good words bring great joy to others. A “good word makes him glad” (12:25). Solomon also says, “an apt answer is a joy to a man” (15:23). Our words can bring joy or suffering to others. “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (16:24). “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver (25:11).
In contrast to good words, there is no hope for the one who will not restrain his tongue (29:20).
“The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom, but the perverse tongue will be cut off. The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse (10:31-32). Jesus says, “for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Mt. 12:37).
What do you need to work on the most concerning your words?
PROVERBS AND OUR WORDS OR COMMUNICATION
GENERAL CHARACTERISTIC OF THE TONGUE
(1) It has power for life and death (18:21)
CHARACTERISTICS OR THE NATURE OF FOOLISH WORDS:
(1) They are rash (12:18).
(2) They are not fitting of a prince (17:7).
(3) They express what they think without reserve (29:11).
FOOLISH WORDS ARE USED FOR HARM:
(1) They are slanderous (20:19).
(2) They separate friends (17:9).
(3) They cause quarrels (20:3).
(3) They destroy neighbors (11:9).
(4) They are scorching (16:27).
(5) They are flattering (28:23).
(1) They sometimes have a momentary “benefit” (a perceived benefit) (12:19).
(2) They are an abomination to the Lord (12:22).
(3) They cause strife (16:28).
(4) They lead one into calamity (17:20).
OBSERVE THAT THERE ARE MANY WRONG AND DANGEROUS WAYS TO USE OUR WORDS!
This is why Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 5:2, “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Eccl. 5:2; see also Prov. 29:20).
CHARACTERISTICS AND BENEFITS OF WISE WORDS:
(1) They are restrained or guarded (17:14; 17:27; 13:3; 29:11).
(2) They keep one out of trouble (21:23).
(3) They make friends (22:11).
(4) They have untold value and worth (25:11).
(5) Sometimes they will rebuke… later they win favor (28:23).
(6) They are a fountain of life (10:11).
(7) They share knowledge (15:7) and wisdom (10:31).
(8) They make others glad (12:25).
(9) They answer softly and turn away wrath (15:1).
WISDOM AND RELATIONSHIPS
In this lesson we will look at what Proverbs has to say about friendships and relationships in general. In looking into this, the thing that caught my attention is the focus of the wise man on the issue of anger. He addresses other aspects of friendship and relationships, but much of what he says is related to the subject of anger. So, that is where we will begin.
ANGER AND RELATIONSHIPS
(1) “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man.” The person described here is not merely the man who occasionally becomes angry, but the one is angry. He is habitually angry. The danger is not just that such a man may hurt you, but possibly even worse, he will likely influence you to be a whole lot like him! It is very difficult to habitually be with someone who is angry, and not become angry. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’”
The Proverb writer instructs us to purge your life of walking hand in hand with angry people.
(2) Anger is a Serious Detriment to Relationships. Perhaps anger is more detrimental than any other factor in a relationship. This is the reason that Solomon said not to make friendship with an angry man. It will be detrimental to you and it will be detrimental to your relationships as well.
It is usually not what has caused anger that is the worst of problems, but that which results from the anger itself. Anger is not very rational; it is not very thoughtful; it is seldom kind; it is almost never helpful.
The Proverb writer says in 10:12: “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” Hatred might be viewed as “inflamed anger.” That strong negative emotion can do very serious damage to any relationship.
In 1 Corinthians 13 the apostle Paul says, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends” (vv. 4-8).
(3) Fighting Back Against Anger. How do we deal with an angry man? Or an angry friend? Or an angry family member? Or anyone? We all know what seems to come so natural. You fight back! Rise up at least to their level of intensity!
How do you fight against anger? With the love that we just mentioned. People are often angry because they are hurting or struggling in some way. See past the veneer to someone who has a need that you can may be able to help with.
Seek to be patient. Seek to understand. Being rude or retaliatory in nature is not going to help them. It won’t help you either!
Many times we can do absolutely nothing to keep someone from becoming angry, but when they are angry we often have great power to either cultivate that anger further or to alleviate it.
Solomon says in Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Do you see how the angry man can be taken either direction? You can make him absolutely furious, or you can soften him like butter!
It is easy for us to say things like, “You make me angry!” The truth is no one can make, or force you to be angry. They don’t have that power over us, or they shouldn’t! Instead, we have power over them. They can’t force us to be angry, but we can (we have the ability) to take their anger away. “A soft answer turns away wrath.” It is not easy do, but it can be extremely effective.
Fight back against anger. Do it quietly with love in your heart!
(4) Concerning our own anger, the wise man says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger” (19:11). “Good sense…” Sometimes the Proverb writer really knows how to make me feel bad! The man with good sense will be slow to become angry. James says, “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20).
Look at lists of virtues in the Bible. You see them in Hosea 2:19-20, Micah 6:8, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, Galatians 5:22-23, but you don’t see anger mentioned in any of these. However, you do see anger (and similar words) in the other kind of lists in the Bible (see Gal. 5:19-21; Rom. 1:29-32; Col. 3:8).
Working on becoming slow to anger can greatly ben