|<< Prov 15|
|This is the New King James text of the passages.|
Proverbs 16-18 Listen
The Book of Proverbs is made up of short statements of conventional wisdom, often based upon the Mosaic Law. These were written by King Solomon. The first nine chapters of Proverbs serve as an introduction to wisdom. The rapid-fire statements begin in chapter 10. For more general information about Proverbs, click here to read the introduction.
How about casting lots? (Proverbs 16)
1 The preparations of the heart belong to man,
But the answer of the tongue is from the LORD.
2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
But the LORD weighs the spirits.
3 Commit your works to the LORD,
And your thoughts will be established.
4 The LORD has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
5 Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD;
Though they join forces, none will go unpunished.
6 In mercy and truth
Atonement is provided for iniquity;
And by the fear of the LORD one departs from evil.
7 When a man’s ways please the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
8 Better is a little with righteousness,
Than vast revenues without justice.
9 A man’s heart plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps.
10 Divination is on the lips of the king;
His mouth must not transgress in judgment.
11 Honest weights and scales are the LORD’S;
All the weights in the bag are His work.
12 It is an abomination for kings to commit wickedness,
For a throne is established by righteousness.
13 Righteous lips are the delight of kings,
And they love him who speaks what is right.
14 As messengers of death is the king’s wrath,
But a wise man will appease it.
15 In the light of the king’s face is life,
And his favor is like a cloud of the latter rain.
16 How much better to get wisdom than gold!
And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil;
He who keeps his way preserves his soul.
18 Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
19 Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.
20 He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
And whoever trusts in the LORD, happy is he.
21 The wise in heart will be called prudent,
And sweetness of the lips increases learning.
22 Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it.
But the correction of fools is folly.
23 The heart of the wise teaches his mouth,
And adds learning to his lips.
24 Pleasant words are like a honeycomb,
Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.
25 There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
26 The person who labors, labors for himself,
For his hungry mouth drives him on.
27 An ungodly man digs up evil,
And it is on his lips like a burning fire.
28 A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.
29 A violent man entices his neighbor,
And leads him in a way that is not good.
30 He winks his eye to devise perverse things;
He purses his lips and brings about evil.
31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory,
If it is found in the way of righteousness.
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty,
And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
33 The lot is cast into the lap,
But its every decision is from the LORD.
The Practice of Casting Lots
Casting lots was basically the visual equivalent of throwing dice today. Therefore, casting lots (to the Old Testament observer) may seem like an arbitrary selection of something or someone based strictly upon chance. However, Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:33, "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD." We see a precedent in Leviticus 16:1-10 (see notes) that validates it as a God-recognized way for determining God's mind on an issue. The casting of lots was used in that passage to determine which goat would be freed (the "scapegoat") and which one would be sacrificed. The discovery of Achan as the culprit was apparently done by casting lots in Joshua 7:10-26 (see notes). And that's also the method used for distributing the land to the Tribes of Israel (Joshua 16, see notes). Saul was identified as the new king by Samuel, presumably with lots in I Samuel 10:19-24 (see notes). In I Samuel 14:36-43 (see notes) Saul used this technique to identify his own son (an unlikely suspect) as the culprit. Peter even used this procedure to select the replacement for Judas in Acts 1:12-26 (see notes). In the Old Testament, at least the people recognized that the casting of lots was a legitimate way of deciding an issue. That's a major reason why it worked.
Christians today have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit by which we make our decisions. The Holy Spirit today stands as the replacement for the Old Testament practice of casting lots. You must agree: Direct Holy Spirit leadership on an issue is better than throwing dice.
Following are a few Proverbs that particularly catch my eye:
Pay particular attention to verses 2 and 25. Solomon points out that man's carnal nature tends to plan at the exclusion of God...and comes up with a different plan.
Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the spirits.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, But its end is the way of death.
The key to a godly thought life
Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established.
It worked for Solomon...and he got both!
Proverbs 16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.
Here's an oft-quoted proverb:
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Hoary means gray.
Proverbs 16:31 The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, If it is found in the way of righteousness.
Maintain your cool.
Proverbs 16:32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
Here's a verse on casting lots:
Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap, But its every decision is from the LORD.
For more information, see the box to the right of this screen.
Laughter...good medicine? (Proverbs 17)
1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness,
Than a house full of feasting with strife.
2 A wise servant will rule over a son who causes shame,
And will share an inheritance among the brothers.
3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the LORD tests the hearts.
4 An evildoer gives heed to false lips;
A liar listens eagerly to a spiteful tongue.
5 He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker;
He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
6 Children’s children are the crown of old men,
And the glory of children is their father.
7 Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool,
Much less lying lips to a prince.
8 A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor;
Wherever he turns, he prospers.
9 He who covers a transgression seeks love,
But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
10 Rebuke is more effective for a wise man
Than a hundred blows on a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion;
Therefore a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12 Let a man meet a bear robbed of her cubs,
Rather than a fool in his folly.
13 Whoever rewards evil for good,
Evil will not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water;
Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts.
15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just,
Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
16 Why is there in the hand of a fool the purchase price of wisdom,
Since he has no heart for it?
17 A friend loves at all times,
And a brother is born for adversity.
18 A man devoid of understanding shakes hands in a pledge,
And becomes surety for his friend.
19 He who loves transgression loves strife,
And he who exalts his gate seeks destruction.
20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good,
And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil.
21 He who begets a scoffer does so to his sorrow,
And the father of a fool has no joy.
22 A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.
23 A wicked man accepts a bribe behind the back
To pervert the ways of justice.
24 Wisdom is in the sight of him who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father,
And bitterness to her who bore him.
26 Also, to punish the righteous is not good,
Nor to strike princes for their uprightness.
27 He who has knowledge spares his words,
And a man of understanding is of a calm spirit.
28 Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace;
When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.
The necessity of trial
Proverbs 17:3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.
Here's a grandparents verse
Proverbs 17:6 Children’s children are the crown of old men, And the glory of children is their father.
(How many grandchildren do you suppose Solomon had?)
What do you do when you catch a friend in unbecoming activity?
Proverbs 17:9 He who covers a transgression seeks love, But he who repeats a matter separates friends.
(Watch out for the friend that seems to cover for you, but then forsakes you by repeating the offense to others.)
This is going around today.
Proverbs 17:15 He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, Both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD.
Let's talk about real friendship
Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.
(True friendship, one based upon brotherly love, thrives in adversity.)
Laughter is the best medicine...or at least a good one.
Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.
Two sides to every story (Proverbs 18)
1 A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.
2 A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.
3 When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.
4 The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.
5 It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.
6 A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
7 A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
8 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body.
9 He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.
12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.
13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him.
14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?
15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.
17 The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.
19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.
20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.
22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the LORD.
23 The poor man uses entreaties,
But the rich answers roughly.
24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Solomon had no tolerance for a lazy person.
Proverbs 18:9 He who is slothful in his work Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.
Remember, there are two sides to every story
Proverbs 18:17 The first one to plead his cause seems right, Until his neighbor comes and examines him.
It is good to marry.
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.
Here's the action of casting lots again.
Proverbs 18:18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease, And keeps the mighty apart.
For more information, see the box to the right of this screen.
What do you look for in a friend?
Proverbs 18:24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly, But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.