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Day 156 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Proverbs.
Proverbs 10 & 11 – The proverbs and sayings of chapters 10–31 are here divided into the following topics: the tongue, humility, emotions, family, work and money, and friendship and conflict.
The tongue. How we use words is a major theme in Proverbs 10–31. Every day we speak words, each one marked by either wisdom or folly. The book of Proverbs guides us toward wise words that can be a fountain of life to others.
Our words, not just our deeds, matter to God. For example, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord” (Proverbs 12:22). Telling a lie might not bother us that much, but true words count heavily with God. He created the universe by His word (Psalm 33:6). He saves us by His word (1 Peter 1:23–25). He will judge the world by the sword of His mouth (Revelation 1:16; 19:15). He is the Word (John 1:1, 14), and He never lies (Titus 1:2). But the Devil is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44; Acts 5:3).
The wise understand that we are caught up in a great spiritual battle of truth versus lies. If we tell a lie, we are taking sides against “the Amen, the faithful and true witness” (Revelation 3:14), betraying Him and one another (Colossians 3:9). It is because of who Jesus is that “Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment” (Proverbs 12:19). Lying can have a certain appeal, as it offers a shortcut to getting one’s way. But the Bible reveals how important words really are. True and loving words from God bind us to Him in covenant (Exodus 24:8), and true and loving words among ourselves bind us together in community (Ephesians 4:15–16).
Wisdom transforms how we use words. “The lips of knowledge are a precious jewel” (Proverbs 20:15). Thoughtful words are a rare treasure in this world of trivial chatter. When “a precious jewel” comes from the lips of a wise person, others pay attention. Literal jewels might catch people’s eyes, but jewel-like words catch people’s ears. It was said of Jesus, “No one ever spoke like this man!” (John 7:46).
How do you allow Jesus to guide the words you use?
Proverbs 12 – Work and money. The book of Proverbs takes a positive view of work and money. God created this world, with its many opportunities and rich treasures, and called it “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But by what practical means does His bounty enter into our possession? Through our own hard work: “Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread.” There are rare exceptions, but the pattern God has wisely established is that He provides for us through our own efforts. “A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich” (Proverbs 10:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:11–12; 2 Thessalonians 3:6–12). Wisdom, therefore, rejoices in the dignity and benefit of hard work—mindful that the land and the strength to work it are from God (Proverbs 2:21–22; 8:14; 10:30).
Wisdom cautions us against “worthless pursuits.” Not every career dream or business venture is realistic, no matter how hard we work. The word “follows” in this proverb is a strong word, suggesting intense effort. But by their nature, the only bounty some pursuits will produce is “plenty of poverty” (Proverbs 28:19).
Nor can get-rich-quick schemes or gambling help us make money God’s way. “Wealth gained hastily will dwindle, but whoever gathers little by little will increase it” (Proverbs 13:11; cf. 28:20). Windfalls rarely make a lasting difference for good. But faithful, steady effort deepens our character even as it builds our wealth.
When we have financial problems, our primary business is not with man but with God, for “the blessing of the Lord makes rich” (10:22). Our employers do not provide for us; God does. Let us fulfill our financial obligations, but let us trust in the Lord alone. And let us always remember this: “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it” (Proverbs 15:16×17; 1 Timothy 6:6–10).
Through all the ups and downs, in good times and bad, here is our unfailing assurance: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5). Moreover, there is one pursuit that cannot possibly prove worthless. Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26). Jesus Himself is the only treasure that cannot fail.
How do you remember that God is your ultimate source for all you truly need?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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