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].”
Righteous men are generally good, compassionate, kindhearted men. It comes as no surprise that the righteous evidence a caring spirit to all—even pets and dumb livestock.
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