When the wicked increase, transgression increases; but the righteous will see their fall. Proverbs 29:16
There is a principle at work here - and one that has been seen again and again in the world. The more the wicked increase in a society, the more that the society will turn toward wickedness. This is not a recent phenomenon - it has been happening ever since the fall of man. In fact, one of the most powerful examples of it was not long after man fell into sin.
We read in Geneis chapter 6 of this kind of situation. "Now it came about, when men began to multiply on the face of the land, and daughters were born to them, that the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were beautiful; and they took wives for themselves, whomever they chose." The progression here is fascinating to see. First the wicked began to multiply. You might wonder why I think the wicked multiplied - and not the godly. The reason for this is because man is sinful - and will always orient himself toward his sin and ungodliness unless God intervenes by His grace to change things. The next step was that the wicked began to modify - and they modified God's intention for marriage. They married at will - based on something other than God's plan. This led to the wicked multipliying even more. The god-desired role of the family was perverted and rather than pass on godliness - men began to pass on and even grow in his wickedness.
We read in verse 5 of that same chapter of Genesis, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Two more things began to happen. The wicked began to magnify their wickedness. God saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth. The original intent for creation was to magnify the Creator, God. Now it was filled with men who magnified the creation, man. The second thing that happened was the the Wicked began to meditate on their wickedness. Every intent of the thoughts of their heart became evil continually. God's desire was for men to meditate on Him and His Word - instead, they meditated on their godless desires - which led to even worse conditions.
The wicked then turned to mayhem and murder in their wickedness. God said the following to Noah about this in verse 13 of chapter 6 of Genesis. “The end of all flesh has come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence because of them; and behold, I am about to destroy them with the earth." James warns us in chapter 4 of his letter that the cause of our fighting is our lusts that wage war within us. This leads us to even kill so that we can fulfill our lusts that rage for more within us. The sad ending of all this is that the choices of the wicked led to the condemnation of the wicked. God destroyed that generation.
As we turn our attention back to our proverb - we see just what Solomon is communicating to his sons - and to all who would read these words. When the wicked increase, transgression among men increases as well. But in the end the righteous will see their fall. Wickedness cannot reign long in a land - it consumes it to a point of catastrophe. It did so in Noah's day - and we read that as it was in the days of Noah, so also it shall be in the days of the coming of the Son of Man. The ungodly will always be ungodly - and the wicked will seek to multiply their wickedness. But what is there for us to learn from this - just don't be wicked? No, there is a message for us today - one that will magnify the grace of God in the gospel.
How can we keep the wicked from increasing? Every time a child is born - another ungodly heart enters the human race. We are fallen - and we multiply into more fallen men and women over time. The answer lies in the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the ONLY way that we can stem the tide of the wicked multiplying on the earth. We must multiply! We must be about sharing Jesus Christ with all who are around us. We must take the one thing that can take a wicked heart and transform it into a godly one. That one thing is the gospel of Jesus Christ! Jesus sent us into the world to make disciples of all the nations. As the early church took that mandate seriously they multiplied disciples - leading them to Christ - baptizing them as they identified with Christ - teaching them to obey all Jesus commands - and then doing it in each and every generation until the end of the age. This, and only this, can stand against the wicked and their wickedness multiplying in a society! May God give us grace to accept no substitutes in this matter - no political or social or military option which in the end will only fail. May we see that the glorious mandate to minister the gospel - and make disciples IS God's only answer for our world!
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. Proverbs 29:15
I find it an interesting thing to listen to the "child-rearing" experts argue in our day. I include in this those who speak for and against the idea of spanking or corporal punishment for a child. This proverb answers both groups with wisdom. Let me address both groups with what is taught in this passage.
First, let me address those who say that any kind of spanking is wrong. Some even assert that this is child abuse. This runs up against the Scriptures which here teach us that we are to use the rod and reproof with a child to train them up in the way that they should go. Note it says the rod and reproof. The reason I draw your attention to this is because is lists both. There are some who assert that the "rod" is meant to be the rod of one's mouth - or - their words. That doesn't work for two reasons. First of all the rod of our mouth is as least a stretch for how the Scriptures address this instrument that is used for the purpose of punishment and instruction. This rod was usually either a stalk of bamboo that was cut into a two to three foot long rod. There were also small limbs of trees (usually of a flexible type) that were stripped of all other branches and used for the purpose of administering discipline. The other problem is that there are other passages in Proverbs that speak of striking the child with the rod. It is foreign to the Scriptures to have a child-rearing discipline that is without the use of corporal punishment. It was used to administer a controlled amount of pain to be associated with disobedience to deter a child from continuing in a type of behavior. It was not ever meant to be abusive or excessive - it was meant to be instrtuctive. This is where many who "spank" need to be addressed by this passage as well.
Unfortunately there are some who represent "spanking' as the administering of rod - and that alone. I've heard some adults say things like this, "My parents beat me - and that was good enough for me." This gives the impression that all that is done is spanking. That is foreign to the Bible too. Note that the passage says the rod and reproof are used. This means that not only is corporal punishment used - but instruction as well. The child is taught that certain behaviors are not appropriate. They are wrong - and as such are foolish. If we spank "only" and do not take the time to instruct our children - they will grow up wanting to avoid "bad behavior" because of an aversion to the pain it may cause - but they do not understand anything except to avoid the pain. There is a higher purpose behind good parenting under God.
The important thing to note here is that the rod and reproof give wisdom. The purpose here is for a child to learn to be wise. Too often any form of parental discipline is done because children are annoying and interrupting a parent. That is NOT good child-rearing! We want to teach our children to be wise as they learn to view all things from God's perspective (the basic definition of wisdom). They are "spanked' to help turn them from foolish, sinful, wicked behavior. But as they are disciplined - they are pointed to God's way, which is infinitely superior. And even as discipline is applied they need to be taught the gospel. Oh that we would not miss this vital thing in discipling our chidlren.
All things point to the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we rear them to be good kids - we must not see this as the end because we can NEVER make them good enough to stand before God. That is why as we are instructing them to obey our commandments, we must teach them that God's commandments and Law are infinitely higher and MUST be obeyed. We must instruct them that their disobedience to us is proof that they are sinful and fallen. This helps them to see that their sinfulness is ultimately against God, Whom they have chosen to disobey. Disobedience to us must be punished, but there is a much higher punishment for disobedience to God's Law. Even in discipline we show them mercy, love, and grace - so that they can see that even greater is God's mercy, love and grace shown in the gospel. Then let them know the most important truth. Tell them that there is One Who came to pay the ultimate price of their disobedience before God. That One is Jesus Christ Who died on the cross to pay the price of their rebellion and make them right with God. Oh, dear parents - even in discipline we need to point to the gospel!
Tomorrow, I'll finish commenting on this particular proverb. The reason for this is that I do not want to casually glance over the shot fired across the bow of motherhood here. God is not beating up on mothers with what He says. Much to the contrary - He is speaking of their importance. More on that tomorrow. It is my hope that what today's proverb has taught you is the importance of fighting the right battle when it comes to corporal punishment of children. Some want to make it all about spanking or not spanking. God does not place the importance of what He is saying here about such things. He is seeking to have godly parents focus on teaching and training their children to be wise. He wants the foolishness of a fallen child to be countered - first by the discipline of parents - and then ultimately by the gospel.
He who robs his father or his mother and says, “It is not a transgression,” is the companion of a man who destroys. Proverbs 28:24
At first glance this proverb seems a little severe. Who would rob his father and mother - and then assert that he had not sinned. Yet this proverb is lived out again and again in our cities and towns as children wnat that their parents have - and resort to robbery and even destruction to obtain it.
I had the sad priviledge of watching my mother's family almost disintegrate due to a dispute about the inheritance and the dividing of furniture and possessions when the homestead was separated to the children. This is one of the ways that this proverb is seen in our world. A greed for and a sense of entitlement to a parent's wealth will lead children to do horrific things to their parents. Lizzie Borden killed her father and step-mother by hacking them to death with an ax. This unfathomable action took place because Lizzie and her sister feared that their father was about to change his will and keep them from his riches, which they had wrongly assmed were theirs. In this way we see that this kind of greed which seeks to steal what belongs to father and mother is a companion of a man who destroys.
The other way I see this passage fulfilled is in our current drug culture. Those who get hooked on drugs will do anything to get them. They will even steal from their parents to get their next fix. Often, when confronted about their behavior, the drug addict will bitterly state that they should get what their parents have - even absolving themselves of responsibility of stealing from them. The booty they take from their parents is then poured down a hole as they buy more drugs and exhaust what they've stolen on another temporary high. Following this sordid path has led to numerous overdoses by these drug enslaved chidlren. Their robbery leads to their destruction.
The wise man knows that two of the commandments of God are to honor one's parents as well as not steal. When they ignore these commandments and do as they see fit, they put themselves on a path toward destruction. Sin in David's household led to such a demise for Absalom. Embittered over his sister's rape at the hands of a half brother - he felt he had a right to first kill his brother - then to steal the kingdom from David - then to rape 10 of his father's concubines in front of all Israel. His last act of rebellion was to gather an army which he himself led to find and kill his father. All the robbery of this bitter young man was a companion of what would eventually destroy him. Caught in an oak tree by his own hair - hanging between earth and heaven with his failed attack falling apart all around him - his life ended with a man thrusting a spear through his heart. Oh that we would learn from such horrific cautionary history, and honor our parents. Our parents are not perfect - but they are ones God has given us to teach us ultimately to honor Him. To do otherwise is to put yourself in a direct collision course with the one who will destroy your life. Therefore learn to bless and not curse your parents. If they have failed you in some way or another - learn from the grace God has given you - and love them with affection born of mercy.
Stripes that wound scour away evil, And strokes reach the innermost parts. Proverbs 20:30
Physical punishment . . . here is a topic that brings out the most strident opposition in a lot of people. When it refers to children some call it child abuse - and when it comes to the punishment of those who break the law the phrase "cruel and unusual punishment" is used. So what exactly is God's take on the idea of corporal punishment and some kind of physical response to disobedience and criminal activity?
There are two levels to understand this Proverb - that of the physical and the responsibility of parents and the state - and a purely spiritual level and how it relates to our growth in a relationship with the Lord. I'll begin with what is being addressed most clearly here - which is the response of parents and governing officials to disobedience and crime.
Our justice system has turned away from the biblical view of crime and punishment. We try to rehabilitate criminals without thought that they need to acknowledge that they've stepped over a very serious line in their behavior. The results are not encouraging at all. We have overcrowded jails and prisons where repeat offenders abound. We've gotten to the point where we have more people interested in the rights of the criminals than in the rights of those they infringed upon with their godless behavior. Our prisons therefore have revolving doors on them - and with the present focus, there are few who are rehabilitated while incarcerated. Put our current record next to one of a modern state that practices physical punishment for a crime. Several years ago a young American citizen was arrested from a crime in one of these states. He was convicted and sentenced to a caning. People in the United States, especially among liberals, went ballistic. Yet the facts should be viewed without all the hysteria. Their crime rates are much lower than ours. What they see currently and have seen in the past is that truly stripes and strokes do scour away evil in the heart. They do reach the innermost parts of a person. They are a very powerful deterrent to crime and disobedience.
The spiritual level is little diffeerent. God disciplines those He loves and, according to Hebrews 12, He scourges every son He accepts. How does God deal with His own children? He disciplines them with scourgings - stripes and strokes that scour away the evil of our hearts and make us think twice about being disobedient again. We are fallen beings and have a sad tendency to ignore God and His commandments and turn instead to what our flesh cries out for constantly. The way God deals with this is to bring us into discipline. Anyone who has ever experienced this discipline knows that it is stern but loving. There is no doubt that God loves us when He disciplines us - but He is dead serious about it too. He knows what is at stake - and is wanting to deter us from walking in rebellion and sin. These things will hurt us - and in some cases even destroy us - therefore He takes it very seriously a trip to the proverbial spiritual woodshed. But do not ever be mistaken . . . God does these things because He loves us. The same should be said for parents and for a society that crafts effective physical punsihments for those who break the law.
Physical punishment and corporal punishment may be unpopular with the liberal elements of our society - but in all honesty, they are wrong. Yes there need to be limits put in place - there needs to be a humane way to practice the death penalty - and there should be wisdom in a parents administration of discipline. Yet there also should be a full acknowledgement that the sinful nature of man will not respond to a call to reform alone. It is in the best interests of a family - and indeed a society to practice physical and corporal punishment. How do we know? The Word of God informs us.
A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them. Proverbs 20:26
If a leader of a nation is wise - he will know that leaving the wicked alone to do what they want will ultimately be very bad for that nation. To do otherwise is to leave a group of people who have no regard for law or for any kind of self-restraint for the good of others around them. The wicked do not care if their actions cause problems and suffering for others - they just have a will to do what they want to do. This is why we the king is told that he needs to winnow the wicked and drive a threshing wheel over them. Let's take a look at what these two pictures reveal to us.
The word "winnow" is an agricultural term. It means to separate the wheat from the chaff in processing grains. The word came from the word for wind - because often the process for this involved beating the wheat on a threshing floor - and then tossing it into the air where the wind would blow away the chaff and the wheat kernels would fall to the floor where they would be gathered to make flour for bread. Because of this process, the word winnow came to mean other processes used to separate what is worthless from what is of value. That is what it means in our proverb today. The wise king uses the law to winnow the wicked in his society. He establishes and enforces law in order to separate the worthless elements from society. This makes for a law-abiding culture which can prosper. If he does not winnow out these elements of society - there will be a very detrimental effect on the culture. People who lie and are untrustworthy in life - will be this way in business. Some might wonder why this is important - until they see the kinds of things we have seen in the financial world where stock brokers bilk people out of their entire life savings by setting up a ponzi scheme to take other people's money. Dishonesty and a lack of integrity actually will cost a society . . . actually billions of dollars . . . which we've actually seen.
The king is also encouraged to drive a threshing wheel over the wicked as well. Whereas the word winnow has a separating aspect to it, the word does not bring to mind much violence. This is not the case with the threshing wheel. This was a heavy stone wheel that was pulled by oxen or horses (or in Samson's case, by a man) that would roll in a circle over wheat or corn that was put in its path. As the heavy wheel rolled over the grain it would crush the grain separating the wheat from the chaff. This was then further "winnowed" by letting the wind blow away the chaff as the grain fell to the floor. The picture though here with the threshing wheel was a violent one. It involved punishment and a crushing process. Thus a wise king will set up law so that it punishes the wicked for their actions. This will further eliminate the elements of a society that are evil and wicked - while preserving the godly who will submit to the law.
At this point I must make a point - especially because of the day in which I am writing this post. We currently have a very foolish president in the United States. I say this because he has recently made it clear that he has no respect for the laws of our land - or the Constitutional process by which they are established. He has chosen in recent months to disregard laws concerning the sale, distribution, and use of mariuanna. He has decided in dictatorial fashion that this is not good for us - and has decided on his own (with no act of congressional approval - or the approval of the courts) to not enforce the law. Almost every study ever done on the long-term affects of this drug is that it is a gateway drug to more serious and harmful involvement in the use of illegal drugs. He has also decided not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act - because he sees it as unfair. This is even though the law was passed with overwhelming support - and was signed by a fellow Democrat. He has unilaterally decided to also give amnesty to illegal aliens who have come into our country illegally (Yes that was bad grammar, but felt the need to emphasize the word illegal - meaning not legal - or said another way - breaking the law). These are just three things he has done - unfortunately the lack of any respect for the law is rampant in his administration. He has effectively made himself a law unto himself - choosing enforcement options at his own whims - with a complete disrespect for any kind of constitutional prccess. This is foolishness - and will damage our nation in the end. The populace will follow his example - and will also have a disregard for the law as well - except the parts they agree with - and want to keep. As a result there will be a rapidly growing wickedness that will at first creep into our society - but then later will flow into it like water from a broken dam. Pray with me for our president. Pray that he will be wise - and will see the wisdom in enforcing the laws as given - not just as he wants them to be at the time. Pray that he will see the wisdom of enforcing all our laws - regardless of whether he personally likes them or not. Oh, also pray one other thing - that the people of the United States will have wisdom this November to not re-elect anyone who does not show respect for our laws - and our constitution.
He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently. Proverbs 13:24
Child discipline is an issue today that is quickly being taken over by worldly psychologists and child-advocates who think that spanking a child or administering any kind of coporal punishment is child abuse. Yet from what we see in Proverbs today, child abuse should be defined a little differently. It should be defined as those who refuse to apply the rod of discipline to their children in a loving way so as to train them to be unselfish.
The rod is mentioned here - and is it mentioned because the parent is supposed to apply the rod to the child's rear-end in a controlled way for the purpose of training that child properly. This is to be done without a fit of anger or rage - for disciplining under that kind of spirit will often lead to over-disciplining a child - or hitting them out of anger - rather than out of a desire to train and teach. The wise man and woman discipline their child - because to refrain from discipline is to hate your child. These are strong words - and need to be examined.
When we refuse to discipline a child - we are leaving them to the dictates of their sinful nature. Contrary to the world-view of modern psychology, the Bible does not teach that man is basically good. The Bible teaches that we are evil because of man's fall into sin. Because of that event - and the effect it had on all mankind - we are basically selfish and self-centered. Left on our own, we will become little monsters who demand our own way. There is also another problem with the sinful nature and the way it works in our hearts. The natural man does not submit himself to rules or authority very well. A child will learn to say, "No" early in life, and needs to be trained to submit to authority and to rules. Our sinfulness has us react to rules by wanting to buck them and do our own thing. This needs to be an area of child training. We need to teach our children to obey - and to submit to the authority that is over them. Without this they will not function well in society. When a child learns to be obedient, learns to be respectful, learns to work hard and be selfless in his attitude and actions it is a blessing to all those around him. Consider what an entire society would look like with this kind of parenting?
The Bible says that we need to discipline our children "diligently." I will be honest with you - that this is difficult to do. At times I would only discipline my children when they annoyed me enough to merit my all-important time and effort. Hope you got the sarcasm in that statement. Disciplining your children diligently requires a full commitment to seeing character and godliness developed in them. You cannot just discipline them when you get mad because they are making your life difficult. Discipline requires a full commitment of your life.
This may seem like a lot, but let me give another testimony about this kind of child-rearing. We have 6 children - 2 guys and 4 girls. We are not model parents by any stretch of the word. God has given us much grace as we stumbled and tried our best in this whole thing called parenting. But one thing we have noticed is that when you give yourself to parenting after this model - you truly enjoy being with your children throughout your life. We love being with our kids - and have the best time when we are. They are a delight to our hearts. I remember sharing with someone in a grocery store that we have 6 children. Her response was whether we were still sane - and how much Prozac we needed to handle that many kids. I smiled when she said this, but quickly stated that our kids were a delight - and that God gave us much grace and that is what helped us rear 6 kids. That is the joy of living this way and rearing your children. It is a blessing not only to your children as they mature - but it is a blessing to you and your wife as well. The truth is that God is maturing not just your kids - He is maturing you as well.
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished, But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered. Proverbs 11:21
Punishment is something people do not want to discuss. We live in a day when we are uncomfortable talking about people being punished. Yet Scripture makes it very clear that God is going to bring judgment upon the wicked and the evil. Today's proverb addresses these things.
The proverb starts off with an interesting Hebraism. The proverb says, "hand in hand" as it begins. This phrase means that though people join hand in hand. It speaks of those who are evil. There are many evil men and women who feel that if they join hands - their evil can prevail. One of the most famous of biblical examples of this is the people who joined together together to build the Tower of Babel. They did this so that they would not be scattered. They constructed the tower in rebellion against God. Their thought was that together their project would prevail against God's will. But this is why the verse opens up with this statement - assuredly. Thus we know that even though every wicked man and woman on the planet were to join hands to stand agaisnt God - the fact is that they will not go unpunished. God's judgment WILL prevail - and His authority and power will prevail over any who choose evil. The evil man will be punished - end of story.
But there is more - because God promises that the righteous will be delivered from the wrath of God. He promises that there will be deliverance for the seed of the righteous. God is going to destroy the wicked - but His grace will cause the righteous to be delivered from that judgment and wrath. The righteous here are not those who are self-righteous - but rather those who are righteous by faith. They have believed on the lamb of God who was slain from the foundation of the world. Their righteousness was not based on their own works - but rather on the work of Jesus Christ. This is what will deliver the righteous from the judgment of God. They are delivered because of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. That is what speaks for them before a holy God.
Remember this . . . one man will face punishment - while another will be delivered from the wrath of God. One embraces evil - the other what is right. In the end the one who chose righteouensss made the truly wise choice. For no matter how many hands were gathered together - they will never stand before a holy God. All that will matter in that day is whether we have the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.
The rich man's wealth is his fortress, The ruin of the poor is their poverty. The wages of the righteous is life, The income of the wicked, punishment. Proverbs 10:15-16
To rightly understand the first proverb here in verse 15, we must push on to read it with the proverb in verse 16. If we do not do this, we will think that the acquisition of money is the end of man's existance. Although God encourages us to prepare for the future and to work hard so that through His blessing we may leave an inheritance to our children's children, this does not mean that gaining wealth is to be our highest aim.
We first learn of the fact that money can provide a measure of protection. The rich man's wealth is his fortress. There is much that a rich man can do to protect himself from harm due to his wealth. He is protected from much in life due to this. A fortress is a place one stays during an attack - it was a place of safety. For the rich man - his wealth can prevent him from a quick ruin by difficult circumstances. One example for us to remember is the wisdom of setting aside money for problems that we know will come in the future. The man who acquires some wealth can set aside money for problems that ARE going to come. In our society, if you own a car or other mechanical item, you are assured that a breakdown of some sort is in your future. If you spend everything you have - you will not have anything set aside for this difficulty. The wise man acquires wealth for this very purpose. He puts money away for the repair and replacement of such items. Therefore when a difficult time comes, he has money for these things. The poor man often is ruined by such situations. He does not know what to do and often sees ruin come to his financial picture because of debt he obtains seeking to fix or replace things or he just has to do without, which could be a very problematic hardship. Wealth can be a protection for us.
The problem with this proverb is that one might think wealth is the ultimate protection. Therefore we must gain wealth however we can. Such thinking is ungodly - and will lead to ruin, if not now - then in eternity. Therefore we have a clarification in the next verse. We are told that the wages or income of the righteous is life - which the income of the wicked is punishment. If we are seeking righteousness - a life that pursues God and desires to do what God says is true and just - we will be blessed. We may not have a tremendous amount of money - but we will have what is necessary at the end of the age. We will have life! The wicked though, however rich they may become, have a serious problem. Their income will be punishment. Thus a man may be tremendously wealthy by all outward appearances - but he may be dirt poor in spirit. The rich farmer in the gospels had enough to tear down his old barns and build new ones to fill with even more earthly riches - but the very night his soul was required - he was found destitute.
Remember that wealth and riches are defined in a number of different ways in Scripture. They may be physical wealth - or they may be spiritual riches in Christ Jesus. It is wise to remember that to be physically wealthy according to James is to be put in a humble place by God. It is difficult for an earthly rich man to enter heaven - because he has a bad tendency to trust his riches. To be poor is also defined different ways. Whereas it may be a bad thing to be financially poor - it is a blessed state to know that we are poor in spirit. Realizing these things will help us better define true wealth and true poverty.
On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found, But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding. Wise men store up knowledge, But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand. Proverbs 10:13-14
A godly mouth can be a great blessing to anyone who has one granted to him by the grace of God. Such a mouth, though given by God, must be disciplined to follow Him only - and not the foolishness of the natural man.
The wisdom of God is found on a certain kind of man. He is called a discerning man. The Hebrew word used here is "bin" and it speaks of someone who through the use of the Scriptures is able to determine the difference between what is of God and what is not. This discerning heart and mind instructs the lips of the wise man. We learn later in verse 14 that this man stores up knowledge. This knowledge is a practical knowing of God and of the world that is around him. Thus this wise man instructs his mouth with this knowledge. He learns to know much, but not always speak what he knows. He has learned that he can NOT say things and be a blessing. Thus he seeks to quell within himself words and statements that will unnecessaily disburb the peace in relationships. Many an argument and fight could be prevented if one or the other of the two combatants would have practiced this wisdom. They would keep their words to themselves - knowing that sharing their "knowledge" would be done more from pride than from love. We know from the New Testament that knowledge puffs up - but love edifies. We can share all our knowledge - and by doing so cause a disturbance as others react to our pride. The wise man stores up knowledge within - and only brings that knowledge out at the direction of the Holy Spirit - Who will direct him to use that knowledge to build up and encourage others.
We are also told of the fool - and his mouth. These two verses go together because they speak of the speech of one - and then the consequences of the other. The next verse reverses this order - trading the wise man for the fool in his speech - and the fool for the wise man in the reward or retribution that results. The consequences of the fool is a rod for his back. His words are the source of his punishment - for they evidence his foolishness and lack of regard for what is right. A proverb from the Talmud expresses this wonderfully when we read there, "that which a wise man gains by a hint, a fool only obtains by a club." The wise man learns - instructs his mouth and heart with that wisdom - and therefore avoids problems and public discipline. The fool chooses to let his mouth run - and with that overactive mouth - ruin comes to him.
Biblically we can remember the difference between Solomon and his son, Rehoboam. Solomon began his reign seeking God and requesting wisdom from Him. His son Rehoboam had an opportunity to win over the people - but chose the foolish counsel of his friends. That led him to speak harsh, unkind, oppressive words to the people. In the end he lost all but one tribe - which God granted to him because of His promise to David. But how the foolish mouth granted him much destruction and difficulty. The wise mouth, though, was blessed in many wonderful ways. So take the time to listen - and allow God's wisdom to sink deep enough into your heart so that it instructs your mouth on what to say. Doing this promotes blessing.
He will not accept any ransom, Nor will he be satisfied though you give many gifts. Proverbs 6:35
Adultery is always stupid. There is no amount of money or ransom that a man will accept for the love and purity of his wife. God gave us marriage and is the very essence of love - and bequeathed to us the gift of loving someone else. One of the most wonderful expressions of His love is seen when a man and woman commit to one another in marriage. That picture is used in Ephesians 5
to show the love of Christ for His church. The love that exists in marriage is supposed to be very strong - and thus breaking it is not something that can be paid back by any amount of money.
We read in Song of Solomon 8:6-7 these words that will help us understand why there is no ransom for adultery. "Put me like a seal over your heart, Like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, Jealousy is as severe as Sheol; Its flashes are flashes of fire, The very
flame of the LORD. Many waters cannot quench love, Nor will rivers overflow it; If a man were to give all the riches of his house for love, It would be utterly despised." Love is as strong as death - that is why often a divorce is described as being as devastating as a death in a family. Love is as powerful as death, jealousy is like death, and again is described as like "flashes of fire" and "the very flame of Jehovah." These are not light, fluffy passing descriptions. They are powerful and honestly, frightening! When you choose to love someone and commit to them for life in marriage, this is the power that is released. That is why no ransom will be accepted for adultery - no gift will seem appropriate. We read in Song of Solomon that if a man were to give all the riches of his house for love - the one offered the money would utterly despise the offer. Love is more powerful than ANY amount of money ever offered.
Unfortunately, a movie I know of but have not seen, illustrates our point. The move was called, "Indecent Proposal." I would NOT encourage anyone to see it - so I will describe what I've read about it. In the movie a young couple are given an indecent proposal by a rich man to pay them $1,000,000 for the wife to commit adultery once with him. After weighing what they could do with that much money, they unwisely agree to this indecent proposal. The wife commits adultery and they are paid the money. But the film examines the carnage that follows as, you guessed it, jealousy begins enraging this man over what has happened. Just like it says in Song of Solomon - no amount of money is worth love. Any amount is utterly despised. The man comes to realize too late that the purity and sanctity of their relationship is not worth any sum of money - not even a million dollars. Even a ransom of that enormous amount is something despised and abhorred by a husband and wife. Thus when one partner sins for usually far less, it is a foolish choice indeed that they are making. They are selling out their vows for nothing more than a fleeting promise of forbidden pleasure. What they will pay in the end would make them recoil from such actions. The problem is that "in the moment" they do not think, nor do they reason with any kind of biblical or moral judgment. They destroy themselves and their marriage in a bid for the illusive promise of a night of passionate pleasure. What they most likely do not know is that the indulgence will cost them more than they could ever imagine. This is why, dear saints, Adultery is always stupid.