Proverbs 21 is encouraging for times like we are seeing now – especially the ending.
Proverbs 1-4 discuss how the Lord treats the righteous and pure versus the wicked and evil.
A king’s heart is like streams of water in the Lord’s hand:
He directs it wherever He chooses.
All a man’s ways seem right to him,
but the Lord evaluates the motives.
Doing what is righteous and just
is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.
The lamp that guides the wicked—
haughty eyes and an arrogant heart—is sin.
The first verse speaks of the Lord directing us “wherever He chooses.” Do not worry about what you will do or how you will be used, even if you are injured or disabled feel inadequate. The Lord spoke to the prophet Jeremiah, saying, For this is what the Lord says: “When 70 years for Babylon are complete, I will attend to you and will confirm My promise concerning you to restore you to this place. For I know the plans I have for you”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you... Just as the Lord had plans to bless the Jews at that time, He has plans for His followers today.
The plans of the diligent certainly lead to profit,
but anyone who is reckless certainly becomes poor.
Making a fortune through a lying tongue
is a vanishing mist, a pursuit of death.
The violence of the wicked sweeps them away
because they refuse to act justly.
A guilty man’s conduct is crooked,
but the behavior of the innocent is upright.
Better to live on the corner of a roof
than to share a house with a nagging wife.
Verses 5-9 talk about the benefits of being diligent and truthful, rather than becoming a liar, lazy, or complaining. Telling the truth makes you more believable, and then there is no need to worry about needing to cover for a lie. Honesty is a preferred quality in a person.
A wicked person desires evil;
he has no consideration for his neighbor.
When a mocker is punished,
the inexperienced become wiser;
when one teaches a wise man,
he acquires knowledge.
The Righteous One considers the house of the wicked;
He brings the wicked to ruin.
The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor
will himself also call out and not be answered.
A secret gift soothes anger,
and a covert bribe, fierce rage.
Verses 10-14 speaks of wisdom and righteousness, which are two closely related qualities. A wise person makes decisions after taking the time and consideration to think about what they are doing.
Justice executed is a joy to the righteous
but a terror to those who practice iniquity.
The man who strays from the way of wisdom
will come to rest in the assembly of the departed spirits.
The one who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
whoever loves wine and oil will not get rich.
The wicked are a ransom for the righteous,
and the treacherous, for the upright.
Better to live in a wilderness
than with a nagging and hot-tempered wife.
These proverbs provide examples of how wisdom is the best path and wickedness is a crooked, wrong way to live.
Precious treasure and oil are in the dwelling of a wise person,
but a foolish man consumes them.
The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love
will find life, righteousness, and honor.
A wise person went up against a city of warriors
and brought down its secure fortress.
The one who guards his mouth and tongue
keeps himself out of trouble.
The proverbs continue again with the benefits of wisdom – how it brings honor and allows you to evade trouble.
The proud and arrogant person, named “Mocker,”
acts with excessive pride.
A slacker’s craving will kill him
because his hands refuse to work.
He is filled with craving all day long,
but the righteous give and don’t hold back.
The sacrifice of a wicked person is detestable—
how much more so when he brings it with ulterior motives!
A lying witness will perish,
but the one who listens will speak successfully.
A wicked man puts on a bold face,
but the upright man considers his way.
No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel
will prevail against the Lord.
The next proverbs speak of the effects of wickedness and describe how it will harm you.
A horse is prepared for the day of battle,
but victory comes from the Lord.
Horses always provided an advantage on the battlefield in the past. They added height, providing the rider with a height advantage, wider perspective, the ability to move more quickly and horses also have better hearing than people. They will sense when something is odd or unusual – like a person creeping around where he shouldn’t be. The Lord will carry you to victory if you trust and believe in Him!
Also, I’m now publishing short stories on Reedsy! Please feel free to read them and critique them. Thank you!