Scripture Reading – Proverbs 22-24
Proverbs 22:1 – “A Good Name: Better Than Silver and Gold”
Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is one of my heroes. Born in 1809 on the western frontier of the United States in the state of Indiana, Lincoln’s life story is inspiring. The son of a farmer, Lincoln’s childhood home was a log cabin. He was homeschooled and largely self-educated.
This man of the most common stock would challenge a nation to confront its soul and weigh its fundamental declaration that, “all men are created equal.” Honest Abe, The Rail Splitter, The Great Emancipator was mocked by his enemies; however, even they admired his character and reputation for honesty.
Proverbs 22:1 calls you to consider the reputation associated with your name.
Proverbs 22:1 – “A good name [honorable reputation] is rather to be chosen than great riches [wealth], and loving favour [grace] rather than silver and gold.”
A good name is not something you can purchase with silver and gold. Your reputation is something you earn. Your parents named you when you were born; however, your character and life choices have shaped and colored the hue of your name. What character qualities come to mind when someone hears your name?
Solomon challenged his son that it was better to be an honorable man, than to possess wealth, but be cloaked with dishonor.
Proverbs 22:2 – A man’s worth is not defined by what he owns, but by what or who owns him.
Parable 22:2 – “The rich and poor [destitute] meet together [concur; encounter]: the LORD is the maker [Creator] of them all.”
There is little difference between the rich and the poor; with the exception the rich man has much goods. We are all God’s creatures. The rich man is no better than the poor man, and a poor man is no less than a rich man.
Whether rich or poor, we are sinners in need of a Savior Redeemer—Jesus Christ. Regardless of the designer label in our clothes, we need God’s mercy and grace. In the end, death is the great equalizer of both the rich and poor.
We read in the Book of James:
James 1:9-10 – “Let the brother [believer] of low degree [poor circumstances] rejoice in that he is exalted [rich in Christ]: 10 But the rich, in that he is made low [humbled]: because as the flower of the grass he [rich man] shall pass away.”
Romans 5:8 – “But God commendeth [demonstrated] His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Proverbs 22:3 – A Word to the Wise and a Warning to the Foolish
Proverbs 22:3 – “A prudent [cunning; sensible] man foreseeth [perceive; understands] the evil [sin; wickedness; adversity], and hideth [conceal; hide; shelter] himself: but the simple [foolish; silly] pass on, and are punished [condemn; inflict a penalty].”
We are living in dangerous, uncertain times and Proverbs 22:3 challenges believers to be wise and discerning in a world that is no friend of the spiritually-minded. Consider the contrast between two men who are polar opposites when it comes to discernment—the Prudent and the Simple.
The Prudent man is a learner. He is a student of the Scriptures [the Wisdom of God] and human nature. His senses are exercised by the Word of God and a lifetime of experiences. He is wary of the wiles and ways of the world. Prudence dictates that he foresees the ways of the wicked and withdraws himself from the consequences of their sinful ways.
The Simple are not learners. They are stubborn, and ignore the admonitions of their parents and have disdain for godly counsel. They pursue the pleasures of sin, giving no thought to their tragic end. The Simple rush past moral restraints and headlong down the path of self-destruction. This same proverb is repeated in Proverbs 27:12, thus magnifying the need to read and heed its truth.
Proverbs 27:12 – “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished.”
Truth – Men who are wise will seek and heed godly counsel.
Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith