1 An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends
and against all sound judgment starts quarrels.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding
but delight in airing their own opinions.
3 When wickedness comes, so does contempt,
and with shame comes reproach.
4 The words of the mouth are deep waters,
but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.
5 It is not good to be partial to the wicked
and so deprive the innocent of justice.
6 The lips of fools bring them strife,
and their mouths invite a beating.
7 The mouths of fools are their undoing,
and their lips are a snare to their very lives.
8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.
9 One who is slack in his work
is brother to one who destroys.
10 The name of the Lord is a fortified tower;
the righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city;
they imagine it a wall too high to scale.
12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.
13 To answer before listening—
that is folly and shame.
14 The human spirit can endure in sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15 The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge,
for the ears of the wise seek it out.
16 A gift opens the way
and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.
17 In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right,
until someone comes forward and cross-examines.
18 Casting the lot settles disputes
and keeps strong opponents apart.
19 A brother wronged is more unyielding than a fortified city;
disputes are like the barred gates of a citadel.
20 From the fruit of their mouth a person’s stomach is filled;
with the harvest of their lips they are satisfied.
21 The tongue has the power of life and death,
and those who love it will eat its fruit.
22 He who finds a wife finds what is good
and receives favor from the Lord.
23 The poor plead for mercy,
but the rich answer harshly.
24 One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
You don’t have to live very long in this world to figure out that life comes pre-packed with storms… health challenges, broken relationships, careers derailed, financial hardship, grief, loss. Sometimes, it seems like life is stacked against us. Where do we turn in seasons like these? The answer, repeatedly, is God.
God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Some may read today’s passage and think, or hope, that running to Jesus will protect us from whatever peril has arrived at the door; that nothing bad will happen to those of us who have put our faith in Him. However, the reality of our situation is that we are all merely passing through a broken world. Whether or not you are a Christ-follower, we are all susceptible to immoral or seemingly unjust things happening to us.
One of the calls of Proverbs 18, especially in light of verse 10, is to run to Jesus—not to escape hardship, but as recognition that unto ourselves we are unable to sufficiently navigate life on our own. It’s only through God that we can find refuge from wickedness, contempt, and quarrels. Jesus is the One who protects us from the Enemy and places us above whatever he may do to try to discourage us or turn us away from God.
As the strength and security of God cover us, we find protection and certainty that allows us to continue to move forward in life no matter what is coming against us.
Today you can rest in the knowledge that when trial, temptation, and hardship come, you are safe, not safe from, safe to…
- love those who have wronged us
- live generously amid scarcity
- display joy in the valley of grief
- maintain self-control when tempers flare
- offer hope to the hopeless
- walk with certainty when you are uncertain about what awaits around the corner
- live as a victor rather than a victim
God always makes good on His promises. He will always be more than enough for all we need, our refuge and strength. He can give us all we need to move through life with a “safe to” attitude and posture.
Father, thank You for being our strong tower. Thank You that we can always find refuge in Your presence. Lord, we don’t want the things of this world to cause us to shrink back. We want to continue to take the ground You’ve already won for us. No matter what comes our way, we choose You alone to be our refuge. Give us eyes to see and ears to hear every reminder of Your goodness, grace, and mercy that strengthens and allows us to move into our day positioned to love, live generously and offer hope to the world around us.