Opinion

WISDOM FOR EVERYDAY LIFE

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Dr. Joyce Rosalind Aryee, Executive Director, Salt and Light Ministries

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. – Proverbs 1:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. – Proverbs 3:5-6.

INTRODUCTION

Proverbs 16-18 are part of a larger division of the book of Proverbs that contains wisdom for everyday life. Three of the most well-known proverbs are found in these chapters:

  1. “Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall’’ – Proverbs 16:18.
  2. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected’’ – Proverbs 18:10
  3. “The one with many friends may be harmed, but there is a friend who stays closer than a brother’’ – Proverbs 18:24.

These three proverbs show the diversity of topics and teachings presented throughout this book. From these proverbs alone, we are reminded that pride is a destructive sin, God is our Protector, and everyone needs the support and love of trusted friends.

What these and all other proverbs have in common is that they teach us how to put God’s values into practice in our daily lives, which is something we will spend the rest of our lives learning how to do.

PROVERBS 16:1-33

To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end— even the wicked for a day of disaster.

The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, He causes their enemies to make peace with them. Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.

The lips of a king speak as an oracle, and his mouth does not betray justice. Honest scales and balances belong to the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making.

Kings detest wrongdoing, for a throne is established through righteousness. Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks what is right.

A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, but the wise will appease it. When a king’s face brightens, it means life; his favor is like a rain cloud in spring.

How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!The highway of the upright avoids evil; those who guard their ways preserve their lives. Pride goes before destruction,a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit along with the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.

Whoever gives heed to instruction prospers, and blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord. The wise in heart are called discerning, and gracious words promote instruction. Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent, but folly brings punishment to fools.

The hearts of the wise make their mouths prudent, and their lips promote instruction. Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

The appetite of labourers works for them; their hunger drives them on. A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire. A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good. Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity; whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

PROVERBS 17:1-28

Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife. A prudent servant will rule over a disgraceful son and will share the inheritance as one of the family.

The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart. A wicked person listens to deceitful lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue.

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Eloquent lips are unsuited to a godless fool— how much worse lying lips to a ruler!

A bribe is seen as a charm by the one who gives it; they think success will come at every turn. Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. A rebuke impresses a discerning person more than a hundred lashes a fool.

Evildoers fostered rebellion against God; the messenger of death will be sent against them.

Better to meet a bear robbed of her cubs than a fool bent on folly. Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good.Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.

Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the Lord detests them both.

Why should fools have money in hand to buy wisdom, when they are not able to understand it?

 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity. One who has no sense shakes hands in pledge and puts up security for a neighbour.

Whoever loves a quarrel loves sin; whoever builds a high gate invites destruction. One whose heart is corrupt does not prosper; one whose tongue is perverse falls into trouble.

To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool. A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

The wicked accept bribes in secret to pervert the course of justice.

A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth.

A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.

If imposing a fine on the innocent is not good, surely to flog honest officials is not right.

The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.

Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.

PROVERBS 18:1-24

An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.

Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.

When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach.

The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.

It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice.

The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.

The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.

The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it a wall too high to scale.

Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

To answer before listening— that is folly and shame.

The human spirit can endure in sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge, for the ears of the wise seek it out.

A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.

In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.

Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.

 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city; disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.

From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled; with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

The poor plead for mercy, but the rich answer harshly.

 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Remain Blessed!

Please continue to join us on Asempa 94.7 FM – Sundays 5.30 am., Sunny 88.7 FM – Tuesdays 5:30 am; and YFM 107.9 – Sundays 6.30am; for our Radio Bible Study as well as Sunny FM 88.7 FM every Sunday at 3:30 pm. for Hymn and their Stories.

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