Scripture reading – Proverbs 13-15
Our study of King Solomon and the wisdom he expressed in his proverbs continues with today’s Scripture reading, Proverbs 13-15. Our devotional commentary will consider two proverbs from Proverbs 13 that are taken from my devotions posted at www.HeartofAShepherd.com. As a reminder, brackets like these are used by this author to amplify meanings and definitions.
“A Biblical Perspective on the Cause of Class Envy” (Proverbs 13:4)
Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.”
Honest hard labor has fallen out of favor in our nation. Rather than encouraging employees to give employers an equal measure of labor for wages paid, politicians and socialists provoke class envy asserting the “working class” is oppressed. Proverbs 13:4 reminds us that nothing has changed about the heart of an indolent man when it comes to fruit for his labor. His lot is to always be in want.
Proverbs 13:4 – “The soul [mind; heart; appetite] of the sluggard desireth [craves], and hath nothing [lazy, foolish men are never satisfied]: but the soul [mind; heart; appetite] of the diligent [one who acts decisively] shall be made fat [be satisfied].”
Notice the sluggard (lazy) desires and craves what others afford only through labor. He wants the same things, but he is too indolent to work and save to satisfy his passions. He “hath nothing” and becomes a burden to his family and society.
The contrast to the sluggard is the diligent man. The diligent man is by definition, decisive and quick to act. He is industrious, using his time, talents and resources wisely. While the sluggard is left wanting, the hardworking are made fat, satisfied and content with the fruits of their labor.
If your parents imparted to you the discipline of hard work in your youth—thank them! They have given you a gift that has shaped your life and character in a way you will only appreciate when you are older.
“A Friend’s Character Will Either be a Blessing or a Curse” (Proverbs 13:20)
The theme of Proverbs 13:20 is Influence [the sway or effect one has on another]. Notice the truth Solomon imparts regarding the influence of friendships:
Proverbs 13:20 – “He that walketh with [befriends; is a companion of] wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”
Every good parent will be concerned and vigilant about the friends and influences in their son or daughter’s life. Why? The power and responsibility to influence others is a fact we all share! People influence us Verbally by what they say or communicate [examples–letters, emails, social media]. In addition, a friend’s Actions and Attitudes have an influence on us.
Too few parents are willing to accept the responsibility of examining honestly their child’s friendships and understanding that friends have a powerful influence on a child’s character and ultimate destiny.
Solomon’s proverb is direct: A wise man will seek the company of likeminded men–those who evidence wisdom and discernment; however, a “companion of fools shall be destroyed” [the picture drawn by the word “companion” is of cattle that graze together. Ever notice how a herd of cattle grazing in a large pasture stand together, often feeding in the same direction?].
The apostle Paul warned believers in Corinth: “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners” (1 Corinthians 15:33).
The word “communications” can also be translated “companions”; the word “manners” can be translated “morals”. Literally, don’t be misled: wicked, sinful friends will defile one’s moral judgment [i.e. spiritual discernment; the ability to discern right and wrong].
Lesson – The character of one’s friendships is a mirror of one’s own character.
Friendships have the power to edify or destroy. If you run with fools, you are a fool! If you choose the company of those who have godly wisdom and discernment, they will influence you to be the same.
Reflect on the people who bear influence upon your life, thoughts and values. Are your friends spiritually minded men and women? Is their influence edifying? Do your friends strengthen you spiritually? Are you under sound Biblical exposition and influenced by godly relationships?
Psalms 1:1 – “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.”
Copyright – Travis D. Smith