laborLaboring by the sweat of his brow is the curse borne by Adam and his race since the fall (Genesis 3:17-19).  It has been the burden of man that should he eat, he must labor for the food his stomach craves.

Proverbs 16:26 – “He that laboureth [serves; toils in misery] laboureth [drudgery of labor; severe work] for himself; for his mouth craveth [urges; motivated by hunger] it of him.”

Happy is the man who labors in a profession he finds fulfilling; however, the curse and lot of most men is they must bear the humdrum of daily work to fill their stomach!

Many of our fellow citizens have no incentive to labor because welfare programs have robbed them of a motivation to work.  Fill a man’s belly with food apart from labor and you rob him of the need to work to nourish himself and his family.

The Bible has a solution to the moral dilemma of a welfare state overrun with free loafers: [If] any would not work, neither should he eat” (2 Thessalonians 3:10).

The character, bent, and ways of ungodly men (16:27-30)

ungodlyI ask you to notice in the following proverbs four qualities that define wicked, morally bankrupt men and women.

Proverbs 16:27 – “An ungodly man [“man of Belial” – Satan; wicked; worthless; evil] diggeth up evil [sin]: and in his lips [language; speech] there is as a burning fire.”

The wicked are troublemakers by nature.  They are often ruthless in their attacks and relentless in their pursuit of any detail they might pervert and use to destroy the life and testimony of God’s servant.  The words of the wicked are like sharp barbs that wound and sting.  Lies, slander and libel are the tools of his trade and he cares not that he destroys lives, homes and the testimony of the godly as surely as a wildfire destroys everything in its path.

James 3:5-6“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

The wicked not only conspire to destroy good men with their words, they also stir up strife and discord with their gossip and slander.

Proverbs 16:28 – “A forward [perverse] man soweth strife [contention; quarrels; discord]: and a whisperer [talebearer; slanderer] separateth [scatters; divides; severs] chief friends [familiar; best; more than an acquaintance].

liesMalicious talebearers become a cancer in the midst because of their proclivity to lie, distort and deceive.  Those foolish enough to believe their whispers suffer the sorrow of destroyed families and ruined friendships.

Thirdly, the cruelty of the wicked leads others down a path that eventually destroys them.

Proverbs 16:29 – “A violent [cruel] man enticeth [deludes; flatters] his neighbour [associate; companion], and leadeth [carries away] him into the way [path] that is not good [best; favorable].”

The wicked flatter the simple to believe he is their friend and leads them out of the way of God’s Truth and Law.  What begins as a flattering word may eventually lead another to a sad and tragic end.

Finally, with little more than the wink of an eye and the “biting of the lip” [in this instance, not so much what the wicked say as what they do not say] good men are set upon a path of sorrow and shame.

Proverbs 16:30 – “He [violent, wicked man] shutteth [fastens; closes] his eyes to devise [fabricates; weave; plot] froward things: moving [pinch; biting] his lips he bringeth evil to pass [to an end; conclusion].”

Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith