Proverbs 12

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“A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth, And the recompense of a man’s hands will be rendered to him” (Proverbs 12:14 NKJV).

April 3, 2017

The one whose word and deed is marked by wisdom and diligence will be “satisfied with good” and receive appropriate “recompense.” Yet, when has the world seen such a one who has both? In truth, the Lord Jesus is the only One who has demonstrated both word and deed in perfect balance and beauty.

As regards word, even the temple guards sent to arrest Jesus reported, “Never has anyone spoken like this man!” (John 7:46).

And as regards deed, the multitude who witnessed Jesus causing the deaf to hear and the mute to speak, were astonished and said, “He has done all things well!” (Mark 7:37).

Those who would be truly “satisfied,” and receive a desirable “recompense,” will trust in Christ’s word and work, rather than their own. As the apostle Paul wrote, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

“The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.” (Proverbs 12:16 ESV)

April 4, 2016

We live in an increasingly thin-skinned world. People seem so easily offended. Nearly every category of humanity is declaring victimhood. Yet, the Bible describes those who are easily offended as foolish. On the other hand, those who ignore an insult are called “prudent” or wise. Jesus is both our model, and our source of strength, for living with this kind of unoffendable wisdom. It was He who declared from the cross, “Father, forgive them they don’t know what they’re doing” (Luke 23:34). His identity was unassailable from others for it rested in the Father’s approval. That’s the key. If our identity depends on the approval of others, we will be continually “vexed” by every felt offense. But if our identity is secure in Christ, we will care only for His approval, wanting only to please Him in everything. When our identity is found in Jesus, we are unoffendable when others insult us.

“Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad” (Proverbs 12:25 NKJV)

April 9, 2015

Are your words a pressure cooker or a pressure release for others? When you see someone struggling with anxiety, do they need something more to worry about? Or do they need a “good word” that lifts them up? Consider how people perceive you. When they see you coming, what do they expect? Does anxiety grow in them, anticipating criticism or trouble? Or do they lean towards you, hungry for the blessing of your words? Of course, the best word is God’s Word. Fill your heart and mind with His Word and you’ll find that it flows from your tongue when needed to bless others.

“Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave” (Proverbs 12:24 NLT)

April 8, 2014

Many aspire to leadership, yet few qualify. Many think this due to politics or birthright, but the few who work hard and find themselves elevated know better. Leadership comes to those who first serve well. Great leaders begin as great followers. Obey those in authority over you. Make their job easier. Make your boss look good. Work hard and those over you will take notice. Many want to steer the boat, but few volunteer to row. Yet, it is the callouses from rowing that prepare the leader to steer.

“Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing” (Proverbs 12:18 NLT)

April 5, 2014

Some are quick with a sarcastic remark and even quicker to say, “I was only kidding.” Yet, their words are cutting and hurtful. Others offer words that are like medicine to the hearer. Their words edify and encourage. Take note of the impact of your speech. Your words reveal the state of your heart. Fill your mind and heart with God’s Word and know wisdom. Then, open your mouth to let healing words of blessing flow to others.

“Wickedness never brings stability, but the godly have deep roots” (Proverbs 12:3 NLT)

March 28, 2014

The wicked man is like a plant without roots. It will wither in drought and be blown away by storms. But the godly are like a plant that draws water from deep roots during dry spells and clings to the rocky soil during storms. Both plants look similar in good weather, but bad weather reveals them. What do dry spells and storms reveal about you? Repent and sink your roots down into the Living Water and around the Rock of God’s Word.

“The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor” (Proverbs 12:24 ESV)

April 8, 2013

A very practical proverb for those who desire achievement. It teaches us that the one who is “diligent” (Marked by persevering, painstaking effort; conscientiousness in accomplishing one’s duties; hardworking) will eventually be recognized and promoted to leadership positions. And the one who is “slothful” (Disinclined to work or exertion; lazy; slow and apathetic in behavior) will end up having to work menial jobs just to pay their debts. We make much of education these days, but not enough of hard work. ‘Work hard and don’t quit’ is a good word for those in secular as well as sacred work.

“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice” (Proverbs 12:15 ESV)

April 4, 2013

The foolish are know-it-alls. They pridefully think they know more that others and will not hear advice. They stumble and fall in the darkness, but will not admit error. But the wise are humble and listen to advice, seeking the wisdom of others before acting. The most profound implication of this truth is found in how one responds to God’s Word. Are you right in your own eyes like the fool? Or will you wisely listen to the Word’s correction, repenting and choosing to obey?

“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel” (Proverbs 12:10 ESV)

April 1, 2013

As believers we are called to steward God’s creation. This includes the way we treat both God’s creation and His creatures. Those who have a biblical worldview have an appropriate regard and balanced respect for all that God has made. Ironically, even today’s Deuteronomy reading includes instruction on not destroying fruit trees when taking possession of the promised land. A biblical worldview also gives a wise order of priority to our stewardship, rightly placing humanity as the crown of creation and therefore deserving of our highest respect.