Proverbs 19:1-3,16 ESV
“Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the Lord.”
“Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
he who despises his ways will die.”
A person who walks (in conduct, in practice) with integrity is a person who is honest, trustworthy, honorable, reliable, and upright (decent, morally pure). One who is crooked is one who is dishonorable, not trustworthy, unfaithful, and a liar. He is corrupt, immoral, perverted, and twisted. So, it is obviously better to be a person of integrity than it is to be a person who is crooked in speech and is foolish (unwise, reckless, thoughtless).
A person who desires without knowledge is often an unwise person who goes by his feelings rather than by using his God-given brain and common sense. He follows his senses rather than the teachings of Scripture, and rather than the commands of God, which are God’s moral laws given to us for our protection. The foolish person acts without thinking. If it feels good he does it regardless of the consequences or who gets hurt in the process.
Although human beings are responsible for their own behaviors, they will sometimes blame others for their own wrong decisions. And sometimes they will even blame God, that somehow God did not stop them or protect them, even though they are the ones who decided to do wrong. Yes, it is up to us whether or not to keep the commandments of God. And if we do, we will live for eternity, but if we do not, we will die in our sins without God.
Proverbs 19:20-22 ESV
“Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.”
Now the advice and the instruction which we are to listen to and to accept needs to be godly and biblical counsel and not the thinking and reasoning of human beings in their flesh. We have many people out there giving us all sorts of counsel and advice, a lot of it in memes on social media, some of it through devotionals or books written by people professing faith in Jesus Christ, and some of it coming from preachers and their sermons.
But we need to be discerning about what advice or what counsel we receive to make certain that it aligns with God’s counsel to us and that it is not contrary to the teachings of Scripture. For just because it sounds good it doesn’t mean it is good. And just because someone quotes Scripture does not mean he is teaching the truth of the Scriptures. So ask, “Does the teaching and the advice align with God’s plans and purpose for our lives?”
Yes, as humans we may make many plans which don’t align with God’s plans and purposes for our lives. And they could even be good plans, but they may not be what God has for us to do, and they could be what we are doing in place of what he has for us to do. So it is good for us to search out what the Scriptures teach regarding God’s plans and purpose for our lives and then for us to submit to our Lord and to do his will out of pure love for Him.
Proverbs 19:23 ESV
“The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.”
The fear of the Lord is to take God and his word seriously, to believe what it says, and then to do what the word teaches us we must do as followers of Jesus Christ. It is to believe God when he says if we live according to the flesh that we will die in our sins and that we will not have eternal life with God. It is to believe God and his word when it teaches us, too, that we must walk now according to the Spirit and no longer under the control of sin.
Too many people today in America professing faith in Jesus Christ and heaven as their eternal destiny do not walk in the fear of the Lord, for they do not honor God with their lives nor do they take his word to heart unless they are claiming for themselves the promises of God that they like. But they ignore the fact that the promises of God are all conditional, such as we must walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh if we want salvation from sin and eternal life with God (Rom 6&8; Gal 5:16-21).
Yet, when this says here that we will not be visited with harm if we walk in the fear of the Lord, this is not saying that bad things will not happen to us or that we will not have to suffer for the sake of our faith in Jesus Christ. We will. Jesus said we will. The harm we will not be visited with is the wrath of God. We will not die in our sins but we will live with Christ for eternity if we walk in obedience to our Lord and if we are not living in deliberate sin.
Proverbs 19:27-29 ESV
“Cease to hear instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A worthless witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
and beating for the backs of fools.”
Oh, this is absolutely true! If we stop up our ears so that we refuse to listen to the truths of the Scriptures, it will not go well for us. We cannot expect the protection of God over our lives. We cannot expect that our sins will be forgiven and that heaven will be our eternal destiny. For the Scriptures teach that we must walk by the Spirit so that we do not fulfill the sinful passions of the flesh. And if we do not do that, heaven is not our eternal destiny.
Also, if we stop up our ears because we don’t want to hear from God what we don’t want to hear, we will most certainly stray from the teachings of Scripture and from purity of devotion to our Lord in order to follow after the ways of the sinful flesh, instead. We can’t tell God “No!” time and time again and then expect him to protect us from all evil or to help us to flee temptation to sin against him. We have to obey his teachings.
Not many people today are taking God and his word seriously. Many people are mocking the Scriptures, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Many professing Christians think that they don’t have to obey the Lord or forsake their sinful practices, and so they continue on in their deliberate sins taking God’s grace for granted. But it will not end well for them, for if we make sin our practice, and if righteousness and obedience to our Lord are not our practice, we will not inherit eternal life, regardless of what we think.
[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 12:1-2; Col 3:5-10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-11; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; Rom 8:24; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 1:18; Ac 26:18]
Rejoice in the Lord
By Ron Hamilton
God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.
I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.
Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.
O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried and purified,
I shall come forth as gold.
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