Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity, than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool. Proverbs 19:1
There are those who are rich today in the entertainment industry because they employ perversity to make money. This will always have a short-lived, short-sighted profit margin because mankind is fallen. There is a certain joy that man has in embracing perverse speech and actions. Initially, there is the thought that this is wrong - that men shouldn't speak this way. But this is overcome as mankind begins the process of searing their conscience over the years of their existance. But, as Solomon says here, it is better to be a poor man who walks in integrity - than to be a rich, perverse-speaking fool. Let's take a few moments to look at the important concepts in this passage.
The One Perverse in Their Speech . . . This is the Hebrew word "iqqesh" and it means to be crooked. It was used to describe those who were morally, religiously, and socially perverse. They lived out their perversions of the truth and of morality among men. We are told that this kind of perversity destroys a man in Proverbs 28:6 and that this kind of perversity has as its source - a perverse heart from which is flows. Then their perverse heart issues forth perverse speech - which God says "pours" forth from them like water.
There are those who say that foul language is just a matter of semantics. They argue that we are the ones who have determined what is foul language - and if you removed the definers - then anything would be acceptable. This is an interesting, though fatally flawed reasoning. The truth is that so-called foul language is given that distinction because it speaks of things that are - well - foul. Common "curse words" involve references to defecation and crude sexual references. These are things God meant to either be hidden behind closed doors - or to be something holy to be protected from the perversity of fallen men. Yet the worldling loves to use such terms, finding them liberating and powerful as they use them to manifest their ignorance. As my mother told me - these words are used instead of adjectives usually - and they only reveal how utterly ignorant someone is. She had me consider exactly what the person would be trying to say - and after being amused at their comments - I agreed that they are frequented by the ignorant and those lacking any grace toward others. As Proverbs intimates - these people - reveal by their words that they are fools.
The poor man, though, is the man who walks in integrity. He has a completeness and honor about him. God uses this word to speak of Abimelech, who acted with a clear conscience in initially taking Abraham's Sarah to be considered his wife. He acted with innocence - and his righteousness was revealed in how far he went to make things right and to testify to Sarah's integrity. We are told again and again in Scripture that walking and speaking in this way will guard us and protect us. Who cares if we do not get the riches the world offers to the perverse. We have something far more valueable. We have the favor of God. May God give us grace in the midst of a perverse generation to continue to embrace purity and integrity in life.
Proverb a Day
Each day, we'll take a look at a verse from the chapter of Proverbs for the day. Our hope is to gain wisdom each day - and from that wisdom - to have understanding to make godly decisions in the throes of everyday life.
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