The 13th chapter of Proverbs continues the theme of this book: the value of seeking and receiving the wisdom of God’s Word vs the folly of rejecting it.
Verse 1 reminds us that no one on earth loves us more than our father and mother. Though they cannot and must not try to run our lives after we have left home and are on our own; they never cease loving us and desiring God’s best for us. The same goes for a faithful pastor. He, along with your parents, desires to see you joyful and successful in life. Those who scorn and refuse to listen to and accept the rebuke of parents or a Biblically faithful pastor can count on facing dire consequences in the future.
Verse 2 speaks of the “fruit of our mouth”, that is, our speech. “Our speech betrays us,” we are reminded in Matthew 26:73. One can tell a lot about the spiritual condition of a person by listening to his conversation. It indicates upon what we are feeding. Is it the Word of God, or is it the banal and often wicked fare of radio, television and Hollywood? What we enjoy speaks volumes about us.
Therefore verse 3 warns us to guard our heart and our tongue. Those who do guard their lives. Those who do not guard their hearts and tongues are exposing themselves to destruction. That’s why David in Psalm 141:3 asked God to “set a watch before his mouth and guard the door of his lips” One who has no control over his tongue has no control over his life and is headed for destruction.
In verse 4 we see the sluggard and the diligent contrasted. The sluggard or the lazy just desires, but that’s as far as he gets. He just sits on his sofa or lies on his bed watching television. On the other hand, the diligent work and experience success. Someone has said, “The harder I work the luckier I become.” Proverbs 22:29 describes the contrast. “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall go places and not be lost in obscurity.” That’s my paraphrase of the verse.
Verse 5 states, “A righteous man hates lying: but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame.” It seems that the whole world lies. That includes the political and the business world. How rare, how gratifying and how comforting it is to find men and women who consistently tell the truth. Liars are listed in in Revelation 21:8 among those who will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire. That should be a sober warning to anyone who is given to lying.
Verse 6 speaks of God’s righteousness, as taught in His Word. It keeps us standing when others are falling all around us. Like a compass, it keeps us pointed in the right direction and on course. Like a soldier’s breastplate and armour, it protects us. Even though we sin and are imperfect, His righteousness imputed and imparted to us keeps us standing. Without it we fall and are overthrown by sin.
In verse 7 we learn the principle of generosity and financial success. One can work hard at becoming rich and being selfish and still have nothing. The Laodiceans referred to in Revelation 3:17-18 boasted in their riches, but were living in spiritual poverty.
On the other hand a generous person who share of himself and his own resources has great riches and is prosperous in all his ways.
Jesus made Himself poor for us to give us great riches. II Corinthians 8:9 and 9:6-10.
Verse 8 reminds us that the wealthy risk evil men demanding ransom or extortion money. As Proverbs 10:15 says, “His wealth is his strong city.” On the other hand, the poor are ignored. They don’t have to concern themselves with locking their doors or setting their burglar alarms.
One’s happiness, therefore, consists; not in what we have or don’t have; but in our relationship with Christ.
Verse 9 and Proverbs 4:18 teach that those whose righteousness is found in knowing Christ experience a life of increasing light; whereas the wicked live a life of increasing spiritual darkness which leads to eternal darkness.
Verse 10 links a life of pride to a life of contention. Pride and contention always go together.
Verse 11 teaches an important principle for those who desire to be wealthy. Wealth gained by get rich quick schemes disappears as quickly as it comes. I know from first hand experience. I’ve wasted time and money in some that held grandiose, but empty promises.
I will close out this study with the truth of verse 12. Hope is like getting hungry before a meal. At first it is pleasurable; but when deferred it becomes painful. Like gnawing hunger and starvation. But when hope becomes sight it is invigorating. It’s like eating from the Tree of Life in Heaven. Hope will have turned to sight.