As a reminder, our daily goal is to read the chapter from Proverbs that corresponds with the day of the month (today, being the 19th of February, the reading is Proverbs 19). My goal is to take a few moments of your time and choose one or two verses from the chapter as the basis of an expositional devotional. I pray that you find my effort a blessing and a challenge.
Today’s devotional is taken from Proverbs 19:1-2, two parables that address two very different themes and applications.
Proverbs 19:1 – “Better [good; pleasant] is the poor [destitute; needy] that walketh [behave] in his integrity [innocent; complete; sound; whole], than he that is perverse [crooked; twisted; perverted; devious] in his lips [language; words], and is a fool [thick headed; stupid; silly].”
Proverbs 19:1 addresses what few believe, or at least practice in our day: It is better to be a poor man of excellent character and integrity, than a man of position and possessions whose lips betray the heart and perverseness of a thick headed fool!
Since we are on that subject—How honest are you in your words and conversation? Do you value your integrity more than you value riches? Are you given to slighting the truth in your words and actions, hoping for an advantage in business? Don’t be a fool, “honesty is the best policy!” (Benjamin Franklin)
Proverbs 19:2 states two things that “are not good.”
Proverbs 19:2 – “Also, that the soul be without knowledge [perception; i.e. common sense], it is not good; and he that hasteth [hurry; make haste] with his feet [walking; journey] sinneth [sin; miss a goal; go wrong].”
Reading this parable brings to mind one of the foolish sayings of our society: “Do something, even if it is wrong!” Really? I know the point of that idiom is to not be idle, but to do something without weighing its moral value and consequences is sheer folly!
One casualty of our day is what folks used to call Common Sense! The America of the 19th century was an agrarian society. With the exception of the one-room schoolhouse, the education of America’s youth took place on the farm where children worked side-by-side with their parents and grandparents. Taking a page from Deuteronomy 6:6-9, families shouldered the responsibility of instilling in their children the qualities and values that encouraged godly character, morality and Common Sense. Sadly, our schools have become institutions that exploit the natural silliness of youth and nurture a generation that pursues pleasure while rushing headlong into self-destruction.
Mom and dad, instilling character, moral values and Common Sense in your child does not take place by osmosis, it is something you must purpose to teach and model. Raising a fool takes no effort at all; it is the natural bent of your child’s heart.
Having stated an earlier idiom by Benjamin Franklin, I close with another: “Haste makes waste.”