Proverbs 24:15-34

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

Proverbs 24

15 Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:

The unscrupulous person is warned against trying to dispossess a righteous man of his home. The wicked man is pictured as ready to pounce on the righteous man's property.

16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

A righteous man may fall into trouble or calamity seven times, but he will recover each time. The wicked can stumble to his ruin in a single misfortune.

17 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:

A man of good character should never rejoice when trouble catches up with his adversary, or be happy to see him stumble.

18 Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.

If the Lord sees anyone harboring a gloating, vindictive spirit, He will consider that spirit more punishable than the guilt of the enemy.

19 Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;

Believers are warned not to get all upset over the apparent success of evildoers and not to envy the wicked.

20 For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.

The prospects of the wicked are very bad. They have nothing good to look forward to. Instead, the light of their life will be extinguished.

21 My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:

Reverence and respect are commanded for the Lord and the king who is the Lord's representative.

Believers are warned against those who are out to change divine institutions or to overthrow civil governments.

22 For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?

Rebelliousness against divine institutions will bring sudden and unimaginable calamity on the guilty ones.

The Christian is taught to obey human government as long as he can do so without compromising his loyalty to the Lord. If a government orders him to disobey the Lord, then he should refuse and humbly take the consequences. Under no circumstances should he join any plot to overthrow the government.

23 These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

When judging matters of right and wrong, partiality is wrong.

24 He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:

The judge who pronounces the wicked righteous will be cursed by the people and hated by the nations.

25 But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.

Judges who rebuke sin will be rewarded by God and blessed by men.

26 Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.

A right answer is an honest answer. It is literally upright or straight words.

Those judges who render honest and just verdicts will win the kiss of approval from the people.

27 Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.

It is important to have one's priorities straight.

Just as a man must clear away the trees and cultivate the land before building a house, so he should get his own life in order before having a family. Thus, the proverb may be a warning against rushing into marriage with all its responsibilities before a person is spiritually, emotionally, and financially prepared.

28 Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.

A false accusation should never be brought against one's neighbor, and lies should never be told about one's neighbor.

29 Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.

Even if the neighbor has done these things, there is no excuse for returning evil for evil.

Romans 12:19 - Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

30 I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;

31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.

32 Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.

33 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:

34 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth [i.e. a robber, a bandit, a prowler]; and thy want as an armed man.

Staying in bed and resting when it is time to work leads to poverty. With no crops to harvest, a lazy person has nothing to eat and nothing to sell to others for income. Suddenly he awakens to the reality of his plight. Poverty comes on him surprisingly like a bandit or suddenly like an attacking soldier.

Just as is true in the physical realm, when we succumb to laziness in spiritual matters, our lives become infested with the works of the flesh. There is no fruit for God. Our spiritual defenses are down, and the devil gains a foothold. The result of our coldness and backsliding is poverty of soul.