Proverbs 13 (8-19-17)
Open your Bibles, and let’s dig a little deeper into Proverbs 13. Like last week, I want to highlight a few of Solomon’s points of wisdom from Proverbs 13, and I pray they are a blessing to you as they are to me.
Proverbs 13:3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
The tongue is a sharp tool that can build people up or tear them down. We must guard our words and not vomit at the mouth, because the words we say can and do affect people. James tells us a similar counsel when he says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19). We should let our words be thoughtful, so they can be helpful and God-honoring. Speaking up before we know all the facts can and does cause problems. Further, we should choose our words wisely. As Psalm 58:4 says, “They spit poison like deadly snakes; they are like cobras that refuse to listen.”
Here, David is talking about people who misuse their tongues and how literally poisonous it can be. Washington Irving once said, “The tongue is the only tool that grows sharper with constant use.” Paul said in Colossians 3:16, “Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise. Use his words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts.” And Hebrews 10:24 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.” May we use our words wisely and for God’s glory.
Proverbs 13:13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself, but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
The holy word of God is not hidden in a cave in the distant reaches of the farthest mountaintops. It is in your hand! You have this book! Many in the world do not have access to it yet, but you do have access to it. You can hold in your hand a book whose words are the very words of God. God has saved you from the enemy, put a holy sword in your hands, and said “GO! Teach this to others and make disciples of the nations; go fight.” But all too often we are guilty of setting our sword down and making our lives about something else. Some even go so far to reject the word of God and claim a better way. This is what Solomon is warning us against. Nothing should come close to what we ought to feel for the value of God’s word to us. This is why the psalmist cries out in desperation, “Incline my heart to your testimonies” (Psalm 119:36). He is asking this of God because, as great as the Bible is, there are just too many distractions and too many fleshly temptations. We must fight to take the word with us, to be in it, to value it, and know it, and study it.
Psalms 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.”
Do you meditate on it day and night, or do you ignore it or even despise it? The problem for many is we spend far too much time doing the exact opposite of this teaching. Instead of avoiding the counsel of the wicked, the way of sinners, the seat of scoffers, we spend more time with them than in God’s word. We do this mainly by the media we consume. Just think about the hours of TV, internet, social media, and music you sit with in comparison to God’s holy and living Word. No wonder so many Christians are spiritually malnourished and often feel distant from God. We need a far less diet of these things and a far greater diet of God’s word. May we “hold fast to the word of life” and be rewarded as we walk in the light.
Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
The simple truth is we don’t like discipline, nor do we enjoy disciplining those we love. But God’s word is clear that discipline done in love is the very thing that is loving for those whom God has entrusted to us. Hebrews 12:6 says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.” It is often our laziness that causes us to put off proper discipline of our children or those put under us. But this is a self-serving thing that not only affects us but those God has entrusted to us. The very heartbeat of raising a child in the Lord is to raise them in loving discipline. It is these disciplines that God uses to help shape and mold our children. We must not be quick to throw away the very things God has given us to mold our children in the name of being their friend or our laziness. Parenting is hard work, and the practice of loving discipline is a key part of how we best love and shape those in our care. Let us not hate our children by sparing the very discipline that corrects their sin and points them back to what is right. May we also not ever discipline in sin or anger but in love and care for their growth.
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Disaster pursues sinners,
but the righteous are rewarded with good.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
13 Whoever despises the word brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.
16 In everything the prudent acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools. (ESV)