Proverbs 19 (10.9.21)
Warnings! They are a good thing. Sometimes we foolishly think to ourselves warnings are a drag, they dampen the party, or they ruin the day’s fun. But I contend warnings are a beautiful gift that keep us from greater, or total, ruin.
Think about it. When you are enjoying a gorgeous day riding/driving on a mountain road, it is a bummer to see the sign that says, “25 MPH curve ahead.” But consider what that ride/drive would be like if you didn’t have that warning. You could very easily misjudge the intensity of that curve and your momentum could take you right off the road. Or another example: you have planned a beach vacation for weeks. You have driven many miles to be there and can’t wait to jump into the ocean, but as you run up to the water, you see a huge sign that says, “Sharks in the water.” You are very disappointed to find out your day of swimming is ruined. You might even be mad at the presence of the sign and see it as the reason for your busted day. But consider what your day would be like if the sign were not there, and you went swimming in shark-infested waters. That sign is a great blessing and help. Without that warning, you might not have all your limbs or even your life.
This is the way we need to read many of the proverbs—not as a bummer list of dos and don’ts, but as a blessed gift of helps to navigate this treacherous and wicked world. God is good, and His word is good and good for us. So, let us approach the warnings Solomon wisely gives us in the Proverbs with joy and a desire to heed their counsel and to honor God in our following them. A number of the proverbs in chapter 19 are great and helpful warnings to us. They give us a chance to pause and consider how we are doing and what we want to stay away from.
Let me point out one more thing before we look at a number of these proverbs today. Many proverbs give us the pragmatic consequence, or practical reward, for doing or not doing that particular thing. But let us consider our ultimate aim and worship. We who are in Christ live for God above all else. Therefore, our motivation for doing what is right and not doing what is wrong must be the Lord and not just the pragmatically acquired benefit or avoided penalty. We do what honors God because it honors God. He is the reason; if not, then our motivation is potentially idolatrous in nature, and we miss the purpose of these things entirely.
Ok, look with me at something Solomon says twice in this proverb, which makes it especially stand out:
Proverbs 19:5 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
Proverbs 19:9 A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish.
A false witness will not go unpunished. Solomon says that while the lie might gain you a moment or a season, you will not escape. Escape what? Judgment! The righteous Judge of all sees and will judge all. Yes, if we are in Christ, we have an advocate, and by His blood we are forgiven. But we will still stand in judgment, and either He will pay for our deception, or we will.
Let us instead speak truth and receive our consequences with honor and uprightness. Instead of covering sin with more sin in lying about it, let us see our sin and confess what it is: sin. This is our way to honor God and repent. If we do not repent, all we do is give birth to more sin and reap the consequences of what will come.
Proverbs 19:13 A foolish son is ruin to his father, and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
In verse 13, we read another emphasis of Solomon that is a warning about how we treat our family. A foolish son brings ruin to his father. Our sins do affect others; this is especially true of our immediate family. When God entrusts a child to the leadership and authority of his/her parents, that means the parents are highly connected to, and responsible for, him/her. This means when a child is foolish and sinful, it has great effect on the parents.
This is so very true for marriage as well. Solomon’s example is the argumentative nature of a wife toward her husband. A wife is designed by God to joyfully submit to her husband’s headship and spiritual leadership. This means when she is argumentative, instead of submissive, it is a great pain to a husband and a ruin to her part of the gospel testimony that marriage is to portray. Additionally, it breaks down the God-given design for a healthy marriage and the deep oneness a husband and wife are intended to have. We all must realize, when contemplating sin and acting selfishly, that it will not just impact our own lives but the lives of many around us. If you are feeling convicted by this proverb and are seeing the error of your normal practice, then take a moment to confess your sin and to repent from your ways by committing to a new practice and habit that honors the Lord and not yourself.
Proverbs 19:15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.
Our sin is so self-serving. This means we will take the road of least resistance which can cause us to be very lazy. Slothfulness and laziness will truly catch up to you. Many of life’s struggles come about simply because of laziness—not having enough money to pay the bills, being overweight or experiencing health problems, wasting away your day’s responsibilities because you are only a consumer and not a producer, etc. What is an area of your life with which you are lazy? Identify it, confess you have not stewarded it unto the worthy glory of the Lord, and take an active step to begin to steward it better. Maybe it is reading your Bible, working out, being creative and romantic with your spouse, spending quality time with your children, or watching less TV or social media. Whatever it might be for you, get up and make the most of every day the Lord entrusts to you under the sun. Those who reject Jesus and live only for their own flesh lack the true inspiration and motivation to live each day to the fullest. But those who belong to Jesus and are given today to live for the eternal glory of the King have the greatest motivation ever given to anyone. Let us make the most of it for His glory, our joy, and other’s eternal good!
By His grace and for His glory,
Pastor Joshua Kirstine