Proverbs 21:17- 26

We continue to work our way through these wonderful wise sayings recorded in the Bible.

Verse 17 reads like this in The Message: ”You’re addicted to thrills? What an empty life! The pursuit of pleasure is never satisfied.” Many a person can testify that following after ‘Hedonism’, the belief that pleasure is the highest good, is a dead – end Street. Solomon knew this from experience. (See Ecc.2:1-11; 1 Tim.6:10; 1 John 2:15-17). We can enjoy life’s good pleasures as gifts from God, but if we go after them as ends in themselves, and look for meaning in them we will be bitterly disappointed.

”What a bad person plots against the good, boomerangs; the plotter gets it in the end.” (18) The Message. The righteous will be delivered from trouble. The trouble will come upon the wicked person instead. The wicked will serve as a ‘‘ransom’’ to free the righteous (see Prov.11:8). Remember that ‘Proverbs’ is dealing in general principles. It is not stating what unfailingly happens, but what regularly happens. (Although in eternal terms it always comes to pass. What the wicked have done will bounce back on them, if they do not repent.)

There is undisguised humour in the self-evident truth of (19). It is a terrible thing to have an unhappy home life; to try to live amidst perpetual conflict. You are better off single than in a marriage like that. It would be better to live alone than have to try to share life with a continually angry partner. The cloud they live under will also cover you and make your world dark and grey.

There is wisdom in saving and not squandering (20). Foolish people can’t keep their money. They have to blow it today, and then they are in need tomorrow. They live now and pay later.

If you seek to be right with God and live right, many other good things will come to you unsought (21; see also Prov. 3:1-4; Matt.5:6; 6:33). ”Whoever goes hunting for what is right and kind finds life itself –glorious life! The Message. Put first things first and everything else will follow in rightful order.

”One sage entered a whole city of armed soldiers -their trusted defenses fell to pieces.” (22) The Message. The point here is that wisdom is more effective than strength. The ”weapons” of the wise (godly) man are spiritual, not physical, and they have ”divine power to demolish strongholds.” (2 Cor.10:4).

Here are some final thoughts in today’s passage

You can save yourself a lot of trouble by keeping your mouth shut! (23).

You don’t want to be like this person (24). He is a negative example to avoid.

You certainly don’t want to be like the ‘sluggard’ (25, 26), that is a lazy individual. ”Lazy people finally die of hunger because they won’t get up and go to work. Sinners are always wanting what they don’t have; the God-loyal are always giving what they do have.” The Message. It is one of the marks of a righteous life that you are generous. Such a life is not ”empty” (17) but one of fulfillment and joy.

Prayer: Lord God, please continue to renew my mind and transform my life. Thank you for your peerless wisdom.