by Pastor Mark Hudson
Bruce Waltke labels Proverbs 10:1-22:16 as collection II.
Collection IIa is 10:1-15:29 called Antithetical parallels of the righteous vs. the wicked. The main headings are as follows:
10:1b-16 The wise and the fool defined by their comportment in wealth and speech
10:17-11:31 Deeds and destinies of the righteous and the wicked contrasted
12:1-28 Two subunits on Speech and Deeds
13:1-25 Good Teaching, ethics, and living
14:1-32 Living in wisdom
14:33-15:4 Upholding righteousness with a gentle tongue
15:5-19 The importance of instruction
15:2029 Consequences of righteousness and wickedness
In chapter 14, the greater detail is as follows:
Living in wisdom
14:1-7 Walking in wisdom
14:8-15 Not walking by sight
14:15-32 Contrasting social characterizations and consequences
14:15-18 Contrasting wisdom characterizations and their ethical comportment
14:19-24 Contrasting consequences of social comportment using mostly ethical terms
14:25-32 Contrasting characterizations and consequences of life or death
14:33-35 (is included in the next section).
Let’s look at vs. 8-15, where the godly person does not walk by sight. On one hand, the concept of walking by faith seems to be understood by believers. We say we walk by faith and profess to comply but all we know is the world by our senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling, etc. I see the milky way. I see my family. I see snowflakes. Yet, the Bible reminds us there is something beyond our sight. There is reality that we see but there is more beyond our sight. So, how does Proverbs add to this concept?
In verse 8, the prudent person makes decisions considering all the factors regarding one’s deeds and their consequences, the effect on others while fools deceive – possibly themselves and others. In v. 9, the upright realize that when (not if) they do wrong, they need to repent to God and make amends to those who were hurt. The upright realize sin, guilt, confession, and sacrifice are part of living uprightly before a holy God and others in their community. Fools mock at such things. The fool sees nothing beyond himself. The fool cares not a whit if others are offended, hurt, or burdened by their behavior.
One of the verses on self-deception is found in v. 12. We need revelation to guide us because we may think a way is right, but sin ends in death. People may really believe there is no God. They might really think the sin we think is so destructive: abortion, homosexuality, adultery, pornography, etc. is a good thing. For some, they think these things are to be fought for, protected, and proudly embraced. A believer is one who is constantly going to church to learn, to prevent being deceived and to reorient our lives to God. Verse 15 is like verse 12. The prudent person is a thinking, contemplating, sober-minded person. The simple are gullible and believe everything. I realize what we believe regarding the gospel may be fanciful to some, but we believe this because a person rose from the dead and the Bible is well-attested and true. What can the ungodly hold on to for their assurance? Where can the put their trust? How can they be confident of their position?
In 14:25-32, Waltke labels this section: contrasting characterizations and consequences of life or death. Verses like 14:27 are scattered throughout Proverbs. “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” or the beginning of knowledge (1:7), wisdom (9:10), is instruction in wisdom (15:33), leads to life (19:23), and as 14:27 concludes, “that one may turn away from the snares of death.” When we show reverence to God, our life is so much better. What a simple concept that we fight against . . . and pay the consequences for. Look at v. 29. “Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.” If you heat up slowly you like this verse. For those who reach the boiling point rapidly it stings. But being in control of your passions and ourselves is important to God. We are not to be governed by our desires. Rather we are to control our anger and be disciplined in our entire lives. How trite that sounds to modern ears. And what a mess this world is in.
Finally, look at v. 31, “Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his maker, but he who is generous to the needy honors him.” God cares for and protects the poor (Ex 22:25ff; 23:11; Lev. 25:35ff; Deut 15:7ff, etc.). This has motivated Christians to give to the poor in multiple ways. We care for those within our church that we cannot always make public, you, our members, give to national and international disasters, we provide scholarships for families so their children can go to camps or mission trips, we provide advice and financial guidance for those who need it. God is insulted when we take advantage of the poor or oppress the poor. We do well to heed this. We need to treat the poor with dignity and respect and value their contribution to our church and community. Because God does.
Dear heavenly Father, we need Your help to live lives that conform to Your will and to the world You established. We would be adrift in the world without Christ who lived this book of Proverbs and fulfilled all of Scripture. He showed us how to live wisely by listening and loving people who were far from You to bring them close to You. He served the poor and valued their lives by spending time with them. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so our lives will conform to Your will. In the name of our Glorious Lord and eternal Savior. Amen.