Reid Ferguson

Proverbs 10:8-15

 

Probers for Living

Series: Digging Deeper into Proverbs

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1 The proverbs of Solomon.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.
2 Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,
but righteousness delivers from death.
3 The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry,
but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.
4 A slack hand causes poverty,
but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
5 He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,
but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.
6 Blessings are on the head of the righteous,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing,
but the name of the wicked will rot.
8 The wise of heart will receive commandments,
but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
9 Whoever walks in integrity walks securely,
but he who makes his ways crooked will be found out.
10 Whoever winks the eye causes trouble,
and a babbling fool will come to ruin.
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.
12 Hatred stirs up strife,
but love covers all offenses.
13 On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.
14 The wise lay up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool brings ruin near.
15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
the poverty of the poor is their ruin.
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin.
17 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life,
but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.
18 The one who conceals hatred has lying lips,
and whoever utters slander is a fool.
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking,
but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.
20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver;
the heart of the wicked is of little worth.
21 The lips of the righteous feed many,
but fools die for lack of sense.
22 The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.
23 Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,
but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.
24 What the wicked dreads will come upon him,
but the desire of the righteous will be granted.
25 When the tempest passes, the wicked is no more,
but the righteous is established forever.
26 Like vinegar to the teeth and smoke to the eyes,
so is the sluggard to those who send him.
27 The fear of the Lord prolongs life,
but the years of the wicked will be short.
28 The hope of the righteous brings joy,
but the expectation of the wicked will perish.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to the blameless,
but destruction to evildoers.
30 The righteous will never be removed,
but the wicked will not dwell in the land.
31 The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom,
but the perverse tongue will be cut off.
32 The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable,
but the mouth of the wicked, what is perverse.

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Solomon: The Wise of Heart

 

Continuing on course, let’s turn over a few more of the verses in Proverbs 10 and tease out some additional thoughts.

Proverbs 10:8 The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.

Comment: The contrast in this verse is in hearing over speaking. The wise are interested in hearing the Lord, and others steeped in the Lord’s wisdom. Fools are only interested in babbling out their nonsense. They want to be heard, but care little to listen.

When we are more interested in teaching others, than in being taught, we become babbling fools. As James will remind us – it is a frightening thing to become a “teacher” – and we ought not to pursue it incautiously. Better to be students, learners, disciples – than strive to be known as a teacher. The greater the subject matter – in this instance, the Word of God – the greater the responsibility.

Oh Lord – give me a hearing, humble heart. Make me to be your own attentive student. Let me not fall into feeling the need to point things out to others and get them to hear me – but in all things to have a quiet heart before you that seeks to learn, and be changed by your grace.

Proverbs 10:11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.

Comment: Here is a high and necessary question to ask ourselves – How do our words impact others? Do we minister life to them? Or violence? Healing, or stripes? Do we build others up, or tear them down? Add burdens, or help remove them? And nowhere does this topic transect our lives more than in the home. What if husbands were building their wives up, instead of hurting them with their words? What if wives were encouraging their husbands instead of enumerating their failures? What if parents (especially fathers) were conscious of how easily they can provoke their children to discouragement by berating or caustic remarks – and children understood that demeaning their parents to others was coarse and painful?

Father, precious Father, let my words feed and refresh and nourish the hearts and lives of others, and let me not (as I have so often in the past) send out the stings of death and destruction through an acid and poisonous tongue. Deliver me from ungracious words, unseasoned with salt. With my spouse. With my children. With my siblings. With my parents. With my co-workers. With my brothers and sisters in Christ. With the lost. With those who sin against me. With you.

Proverbs 10:15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

Comment: Men can live illusory lives no matter what their circumstances. The wealthy can imagine themselves safe and unassailable by virtue of their material goods, and the poor can reason that the reason for ruin in life is their lack of material goods. Both views are lies.

No one has any more guarantees in life – especially in spiritual terms because of how much money they have. The money itself can be lost in a moment, and more – the individual can be lost in a moment – beyond the help of the most fabulous wealth. No one is “better” because they are rich (or worse) just as no one is worse (or more virtuous) simply because they are poor. These states say no more about the soul of the individual before God than being wet or dry does. They are simply external states – states which can be used to defile us, or can be utilized to grow in grace. But by themselves, they impart and mean nothing. Alexander Whyte noted: “PROSPERITY,’ says Bacon, ‘is the blessing of the Old Testament, but adversity is the blessing of the New.’ ‘How many saints,’ exclaims Law, ‘has adversity sent to heaven! And how many poor sinners has prosperity plunged into everlasting misery!”

Heavenly Father – make us to know the whole of all true wealth is found in having you, and the only true poverty is lack of you.

~ Reid

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Reid Ferguson

Reid serves as the pastor for preaching and vision at Evangelical Church of Fairport in Fairport New York. A native of Rochester, N.Y., he has served in various ministry areas during his life, including: a founding member of the former Mark IV Quartet, Youth Pastor at ECF, former board member of the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals (F.I.R.E.), and author of The Little Book of Things You Should Know About Ministry (Christian Focus Publications, 2002). Pastor Reid blogs regularly at Responsive Reiding.