1 A wise son heeds his father’s instruction,
but a mocker does not respond to rebukes.
2 From the fruit of their lips people enjoy good things,
but the unfaithful have an appetite for violence.
3 Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
4 A sluggard’s appetite is never filled,
but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
5 The righteous hate what is false,
but the wicked make themselves a stench
and bring shame on themselves.
6 Righteousness guards the person of integrity,
but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7 One person pretends to be rich, yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 A person’s riches may ransom their life,
but the poor cannot respond to threatening rebukes.
9 The light of the righteous shines brightly,
but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10 Where there is strife, there is pride,
but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
11 Dishonest money dwindles away,
but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
but whoever respects a command is rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death.
15 Good judgment wins favor,
but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.[a]
16 All who are prudent act with[b] knowledge,
but fools expose their folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honored.
19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but fools detest turning from evil.
20 Walk with the wise and become wise,
for a companion of fools suffers harm.
21 Trouble pursues the sinner,
but the righteous are rewarded with good things.
22 A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children,
but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
23 An unplowed field produces food for the poor,
but injustice sweeps it away.
24 Whoever spares the rod hates their children,
but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content,
but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.
Scripture is a guide to life. Because it lays out God’s intended design for His creation, it is a field guide on how we can live our best life. In turn, the more we live our lives in a way that corresponds to Scripture, the more fulfilling our lives will be.
There is no promise of an easier life, as followers of Jesus, nor a safer or more affluent life, but we do live a better life. The best life lived matches up with God’s design for human flourishing. Here’s the tension many of us feel; that flourishing may be vastly different than what we often have in mind. For example, ‘blessed,’ in God’s economy, means rich relationship. It means living purposefully. It means a wealth of resources in Heaven.
Proverbs 13 teaches us that righteousness generally results in satisfaction and fruitfulness, while wickedness results in want and hurt. Deep down, we know this is true. We have seen plenty of prideful people progress toward their fall; we’ve witnessed the Proverb’s accuracy play out in devastating ways, and yet how quickly we can be convinced to forget it.
In the moment of temptation, a gentle whisper sneaks a thought into our minds,
“Surely, this won’t be true for me.”
When the opportunity to live against our design arises, we cease to think long-term. When we lie, we believe that momentarily the truth will stay hidden. When we cheat, we imagine no one will notice the cut corner. When we wrongfully sexually fantasize, we think that, as long as it’s not publicized, it will not hurt anyone.
We love to believe good actions will bring good consequences, but we convince ourselves that the opposite truth will not apply.
Men, God has our best in mind. We can strive constantly, but contentment cannot be found in a particular income, job, or person. A life immersed in and corresponding to design is the only complete life. What is your design? That you live in a relationship with God through the work of His Son, Jesus, according to the wisdom we have been studying. It keeps others’ current and eternal well-being in mind; it is a life lived on purpose, for the glorification of God, and not yourself.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Matthew 22:36-40 NIV
Father, I believe that Your design for my life leads to blessing in the most crucial moments. I want to be content in my circumstance, not constantly striving to find myself in a different one. I long to live how I am supposed to live so that I will be a student of Your Word. Thank You for revealing the secrets to human flourishing to us. Thank You that a life lived following You is a blessed life. Amen.