In today’s devotional, Solomon returns to an oft-repeated pattern that draws a contrast between the ways and reputation of the righteous and those of the wicked. We will consider Proverbs 12:8-10.
Proverbs 12:8 – “A man shall be commended [praised] according to his wisdom [godly wisdom and insight]: but he that is of a perverse [wicked; perverse] heart shall be despised [shamed; held in contempt].”
A man of godly wisdom is esteemed by his peers and praised for his insight and discernment; however, men despise a man with a wicked heart and perverse thoughts.
In Proverbs 12:9-10, Solomon gives us an insightful spiritual principle into men’s character.
Principle–A man reveals his manner of character by how he treats those in a weaker or lesser position than himself [examples of disparity: Economic—rich or poor; Social—blue collar vs. white-collar; Education—basic or degreed]. Solomon sets forth two illustrations of this principle.
Proverbs 12:9 – “He that is despised [lightly esteemed; a nobody], and hath a servant [one who meets his needs], is better than he that honoureth himself [proud, self-promoting], and lacketh bread [comes to poverty; cannot put food on his table].”
Solomon introduces two men to us in Proverbs 12:9. The first is “despised” because he is numbered among the “Who’s He” crowd as opposed to the “Who’s Who” pack. His is a humble life, but he is blessed to have a faithful servant who ministers to him. The contrast with the humble man is one who is egotistical, self-promoting and living above his means. This man, Solomon says, will invariably come to poverty. What a sobering reminder as we have become a debtor nation and people.
Proverbs 12:10 offers us insight into the character of the righteous who treat their animals with dignity and the wicked who are cruel, mistreating the weak and defenseless.
Proverbs 12:10 – “A righteous [just; lawful] man regardeth [knows; considers; cares for] the life of his beast [pets; livestock]: but [by contrast] the tender mercies [kindness] of the wicked are cruel [always cruel; mean-spirited].”
The wicked, however, are often cruel and abusive by nature. Wicked men abuse those who are weaker and both men and beasts are often victims of their cruelty.
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith