State of the UnionToday’s devotional proverbs touch upon various themes…some political, some personal and all practical.

Proverbs 28:16 – “The prince [ruler; governor; commander] that wanteth [lacks; destitute; has need] understanding [discretion] is also a great [heavy] oppressor [abuser; ill-natured]: but he that hateth [set against] covetousness [unjust, dishonest gain; gain by violence] shall prolong [lengthen; draw out] his days [time].”

Herein is one of the great ironies of our nation.  We elect men and women to office to be representatives of the fundamental philosophy of our democracy: ”of the people, by the people, and for the people” [Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address].  We too often end up with politicians who fail our trust and adopt a perverted, elitism that oppresses the people with taxes and policies that erode our liberties.

Solomon warned his son—a ruler that lacks spiritual understanding and discretion will abuse his privilege and his people. His lust for power, position and possessions will oppress a nation; however, a leader who hates the spirit of covetousness and unjust gain will enjoy the trust of his people and his reign and the nation will prosper.

fall of the powerfulProverbs 28:17 – “A man that doeth violence [oppress; defraud; deceive; wrong] to the blood [shedding blood] of any person [soul] shall flee [flee away; hide; escape] to the pit [dungeon; well]; let no man stay [retain; grasp; support] him.”

Men show pity and mercy for a good man who has fallen on hard times; however, an abusive, violent man deserves neither pity nor help. He has, as some would say, “Made his bed, now let him lie in it!”

Proverbs 28:18 – “Whoso walketh uprightly [perfectly; with integrity; blameless] shall be saved [delivered; avenged; preserved; removed from danger]: but he that is perverse [crooked; his path twisted] in his ways [journey; course of life; path] shall fall [cast down; overthrow; fail] at once [altogether].”

Continuing the theme of the previous proverb, a just man, one who walks with sincerity and integrity, will enjoy the security of knowing the Lord is with Him and will keep him in his ways. By contrast, a perverse, wicked man may enjoy a season of God’s patience and longsuffering; however, his fall will come suddenly.

Proverbs 28:19 – “He that tilleth [labor; cultivate; work; serve] his land farmer's family[ground; soil] shall have plenty [be satisfied] of bread [grain; food]: but he that followeth [pursue; chase; run after; persecute] after vain [empty; worthless] persons shall have poverty enough.”

Those who lived through the “Great Depression” (1929-late 1930’s) have told me that families raised on the farm took little notice of the great trial that took hold of our nation. A farmer’s family was not rich; however, they never went hungry.

Verse 19 illustrates that truth and takes up an agricultural theme that would have been a common, everyday observation in Solomon’s day.  A farmer tills the ground, plants his seed and anticipates a harvest that will fill and satisfy his family. Pity the home whose father neglects his work to run with fools; his end will be one of poverty and sorrow.

Proverbs 28:20, 22 – “A faithful [moral; steadfast] man [or husband] shall abound [be great; mighty; chief] with blessings [prosperity]: but he that maketh haste [hurry; be pressed] to be rich [grow rich] shall not be innocent get rich[guiltless; go unpunished; blameless]22 He that hasteth to be rich [wealthy] hath an evil [wicked; sinful] eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.”

“Get rich schemers” abound in our world and those who fall prey to their wily ways seem to never grasp the adage’, “If it looks too good to be true, it is!”

My friend, it is far better to be a plodder eking out a living than a fool falling prey to the lure of fast riches or ill-gotten gain.  A moral, hardworking, man may content himself with little; however, such a man enjoys the fruit of honest labor.  Pity the family of a fool whose life is a path of  scams and schemes for they invariably come to poverty and sorrow.

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith