Proverbs 28:14-21

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Proverbs 28

14 Happy is the man that feareth alway: but he that hardeneth his heart shall fall into mischief.

One element of true happiness is to have a tender heart before the Lord. This person is sensitive to sin and confesses and forsakes it. It is the one who becomes hard and unrepentant who falls into trouble. God resists the proud and brazen, but he does not resist a broken and contrite heart. He forgives those who confess and forsake their sins.

15 As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people.

A roaring lion is frightening. A ranging bear is a charging bear, and he is likewise frightening. They are compared to a wicked ruler who rides roughshod over the poor people. He strikes fear into their hearts. He is cruel and devastating like a lion or bear.

16 The prince that wanteth [i.e. lacks] understanding is also a great oppressor: but he that hateth covetousness shall prolong his days.

The ruler who lacks understanding. He is apparently seeking to get rich at all costs. He is covetous and a great oppressor, which indicates that he will trample on others to gain wealth. The ruler who hates covetousness and lives unselfishly for the good of his people will prolong his days. This suggests that the people might rise up against the ruler who is seeking to get rich at all costs and that they might overthrow him. Of course, God may also overthrow him. In either case he will not likely live long; whereas, the ruler who refuses to abuse his power for personal gain will enjoy the blessing of a long life.

17 A man that doeth violence to the blood of any person shall flee to the pit; let no man stay him [i.e. support him, help him].

The willful murderer is a fugitive, racing toward his doom. No one should seek to obstruct or interfere with justice. God has said, "Whosoever sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." Does this suggest that we should be careful about delivering someone whom the Lord is chastening and, thereby, get in God's way? Dealing with someone who is experiencing God's chastisement or wrath requires care and much prayer for guidance. It is always right to help people get out of sin and get right with God, but it is never right to get in God's way. So, when judgment falls on someone, be careful that you don't get in God's way. I knew a lady who would get in between her husband and their child when the husband was going to spank the child. As far as I know, it was not an abusive situation. As you can imagine, the child did not turn out very well.

I look back on my life as a young teen. At age 13 and 14, football was my god. My dream in life was to play professional football. Now, I was not big enough or good enough to do this; but playing in the NFL was still my dream and football was still my god. In my freshman year in high school I separated a shoulder on the second day of practice and missed the entire season after the first game. In my sophomore year I suffered a kidney and spleen injury in the first game of the year that hospitalized me for 9 days and caused me to miss my entire sophomore football season after that first game. I determined that I would still go to the practices each day to be a part of the team. Sitting and watching my friends play but being unable to play was so boring that I couldn't stand it; so I went home after school. This whole thing was orchestrated by the Lord. Getting hurt and being unable to play and being so bored by the practices that I went home and no longer attended the practices was actually one of the best things that ever happened to me in my whole life. I was so bored that I actually picked up my Bible and began studying it. It was about this same time that the Auca Indians murdered five young men in South America, and God used the study of His Word and my boredom as well as these martyrs to change my entire life. He got my attention and called me into the ministry. It was also at this time that I became interested in a certain young lady whom I later married. She has been one of the higher highlights of my life. I am thankful that no one could talk me out of believing in the chastening hand of God in my life and of studying the Bible and preparing to serve the Lord although some tried. I had at least one teacher who told me that I was wasting my life and my mind by my desire to serve the Lord. He was disappointed in me, but he did not know any better.

18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.

Saved is used in the sense of delivered from a problem or of safety in this life rather than in the eternal salvation of his soul. Eternal salvation from the penalty of sin is not obtained by walking uprightly but by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. The upright walk is a fruit of salvation and will result in being delivered from many problems in life that the unsaved experience. The man who vacillates from one form of crookedness to another will ultimately fall. He is perverse in the way he lives and will come to his doom. His fall will be sudden and unexpected.

19 He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

The diligent farmer will have plenty of food. The one who engages in non productive activities with worthless people will lack sufficient food because of his lack of diligence. Instead, they will chase their dreams and not get their work done.

20 A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.

A faithful man is an honest or trustworthy man who does not make haste to be rich. He does not covet great wealth. He will be richly blessed, but the man who seeks to get rich quick will find himself using devious, dishonest, or unscrupulous ways to get rich which will get him into much trouble. He will not be richly blessed.

21 To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.

To have respect of persons means to show partiality. This person is open to bribes, even to insignificant bribes such as piece of bread. Our consideration should always be to do what is right rather than on how we can get the biggest payoff.