#21 in series
The Proverbs Guide Book
#21 in series

Proverbs 21 – A Refreshing Relationship

The Fight Club Team
4 min read

1 In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water
    that he channels toward all who please him.

A person may think their own ways are right,
    but the Lord weighs the heart.

To do what is right and just
    is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.

Haughty eyes and a proud heart—
    the unplowed field of the wicked—produce sin.

The plans of the diligent lead to profit
    as surely as haste leads to poverty.

A fortune made by a lying tongue
    is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.[a]

The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
    for they refuse to do what is right.

The way of the guilty is devious,
    but the conduct of the innocent is upright.

Better to live on a corner of the roof
    than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.

10 The wicked crave evil;
    their neighbors get no mercy from them.

11 When a mocker is punished, the simple gain wisdom;
    by paying attention to the wise they get knowledge.

12 The Righteous One[b] takes note of the house of the wicked
    and brings the wicked to ruin.

13 Whoever shuts their ears to the cry of the poor
    will also cry out and not be answered.

14 A gift given in secret soothes anger,
    and a bribe concealed in the cloak pacifies great wrath.

15 When justice is done, it brings joy to the righteous
    but terror to evildoers.

16 Whoever strays from the path of prudence
    comes to rest in the company of the dead.

17 Whoever loves pleasure will become poor;
    whoever loves wine and olive oil will never be rich.

18 The wicked become a ransom for the righteous,
    and the unfaithful for the upright.

19 Better to live in a desert
    than with a quarrelsome and nagging wife.

20 The wise store up choice food and olive oil,
    but fools gulp theirs down.

21 Whoever pursues righteousness and love
    finds life, prosperity[c] and honor.

22 One who is wise can go up against the city of the mighty
    and pull down the stronghold in which they trust.

23 Those who guard their mouths and their tongues
    keep themselves from calamity.

24 The proud and arrogant person—“Mocker” is his name—
    behaves with insolent fury.

25 The craving of a sluggard will be the death of him,
    because his hands refuse to work.
26 All day long he craves for more,
    but the righteous give without sparing.

27 The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable—
    how much more so when brought with evil intent!

28 A false witness will perish,
    but a careful listener will testify successfully.

29 The wicked put up a bold front,
    but the upright give thought to their ways.

30 There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan
    that can succeed against the Lord.

31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle,
    but victory rests with the Lord.

Most of us were raised in a culture that celebrates following the rules. We’re told to color inside the lines, follow the leader, and mind our “pleases” and “thank yous.”


Being polite is beneficial. Being obedient is a trait worth ascribing to. But if we’re not careful, somewhere along the journey of growing into manhood, we begin to twist the well-intended idea of obedience into one of reciprocation. It’s that idea of “you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.” 


We see this transformation creep into many areas of our lives. Perhaps nowhere do we see it more than in our walk with God. We can start to live our lives for God. We follow His rules. We obey His Proverbs, trying to be good people, doing what is “right,” and avoiding things that aren’t. But if we’re honest, sometimes this way of life can turn into more of currying favor, playing by the rules so that we feel like we deserve the reward, the blessing of God.


This is what the Proverbs writer explores when he says, “To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” 


This isn’t a new concept. It’s found all across the Scriptures. In Psalm 51, David wrote, “For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”


In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, quoting Isaiah, says: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me;

in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”


God isn’t primarily concerned with if you can follow the rules. He isn’t up in Heaven waiting to award gold stars for perfect attendance or the highest sales records. God desires a relationship with you. He knows that when you are in right relationship, the Holy Spirit in you moves to live out the goodness and grace of God in motion. You seek righteousness and justice, not because you have to, but because you get to. You want to. That’s the difference.


God doesn’t want rote sacrifices offered to appease or, worse, coerce His presence. He wants hearts that are deeply in love with Him, hands committed to His work, and lives that are open for His leading and His purposes. This is the relationship that refreshes your soul.


If you choose this path, we see later in Proverbs 21 a picture of what awaits you: “Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness will find life, righteousness, and honor.” The reward is in the living.


God, I want to embrace a life of surrender, not just a life of sacrifice. I don’t want my relationship with You to become routine or ordinary. I want Your love and mercy to motivate my heart towards righteousness and justice. Move my heart and hands towards what is most acceptable to You today.

written by

The Fight Club Team

Our Fight Club team is committed to helping the men of our House, city, and world come together and run the race God has called them to. Through focusing on four key areas; our walk with God, our heart and character, our families and future families, and our brothers; we believe that Fight Clubs can change the game as we fight for the things that matter most.