Today’s study in Proverbs 14 affords us some common sense insights by drawing upon a contrast between men of wealth and the state of the poor (14:20-21, 31).
Proverbs 14:20 – “The poor [needy; destitute] is hated [odious; detested; opposed] even of his own neighbor [friend; companion]: but the rich [noble; wealthy] hath many [abundance] friends.”
It is no surprise that men of position and wealth enjoy the company of many friends, not because they are the object of affection, but because men love what riches afford—pleasure, security and indulgence. The poor, however, are often scorned by the very ones from whom they seek charity.
Proverbs 14:21 – “He that despiseth [disrespects; holds contempt; treats as insignificant] his neighbor [friend; companion] sinneth [against God and his fellow-man]: but he that hath mercy [gracious; shows kindness] on the poor [lowly, meek, depressed], happy [blessed] is he.”
It is a sin and disgrace when a man treats one less fortunate than himself with contempt and disdain. A man’s wealth and station in life might give him different standing with men; however, before God the rich and poor are eternal souls. Solomon reminds us in Proverbs 22:6 that the Lord is the “maker” of the rich and poor.
Proverbs 14:14:31 – “He that oppresseth [defraud; wrongs; cheats] the poor [needy; weaker; helpless] reproacheth [mocks] his Maker [Creator]: but he that honoureth Him [Creator] hath mercy [shows kindness] on the poor [destitute; needy; beggar]. “
When a man loves and honors his Creator, he will be charitable toward the poor.
My closing proverb suggests two lifestyle strategies.
Proverbs 14:22 – “Do they not err [wander; stagger; go astray] that devise [plow in a field; engrave on metal] evil [sin; wickedness; calamity]? but mercy [loving-kindness; good] and truth [certainty; trustworthiness] shall be to them that devise [plow in a field; engrave on metal] good [moral goodness].”
Like a farmer plows and plants his seed in rows anticipating the harvest, a wicked man plots and plans to do evil, planting seeds that yield fruit to his own demise.
When a man chooses to live a moral life, he does so contrary to his fleshly nature and God rewards him with His truth and loving favor.
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith