31 Days of Wisdom – Day Twenty One

This is part twenty one in my 31-day study through the book of Proverbs. The purpose of this study is to learn wisdom and discernment from God’s Word. Yesterday I learned that though any fool can begin an argument it takes a wise man to know when and how to apologize and cease fighting. I also learned that discipline, though it may be painful, should serve to force me to examine my life and see where I am not following God’s will.

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Today, since it is Sunday, I will take only an abbreviated look at chapter 21.

The chapter begins with an expression of the Lord’s omnipotence. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Everyone is under God’s control, even kings and rulers who may not acknowledge Him. God’s sovereignty extends to all people of all times and they must do his bidding whether they realize it or not. At the same time we know that God will not force anyone into doing wrong since we are wholly responsible for our own sin. So though God may use our evil for His purposes, it does not excuse our sin. We are still responsible for carefully discerning right from wrong.

The next verse is similar to one found in chapter 16. “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.” I can attempt to justify my behavior before God, but ultimately He is the judge of what is right and wrong. It is easy to make myself believe that my behavior is morally correct, but God, who sees and knows everything, may disagree. I ought to be thankful to God that He has given His Word which instructs me in His ways. Through the Bible I have all the knowledge I need to be able to discern right from wrong and can rest assured that if my behavior is consistent with the Bible, the Lord will weigh my heart and see my obedience.

“The desire of the lazy man kills him, For his hands refuse to labor. He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare.” I found this passage very intriguing. The author attributes wrong desires for killing a lazy man rather than his refusal to labor. Obviously the refusal to work stems from wrong desires, for the lazy man spends all his time dreaming about what he would like to have rather than laboring diligently to acquire it. An obvious application is that I need to set my desires on things that are attainable and please God and then go out and do it. Dreaming about what I would like to accomplish cannot make anything happen! The second part of the verse states that while this lazy mans spends his time in greedily desiring what he cannot have, the righteous man, having labored and acquired, is able to generously share his wealth.

The objective for this study is to learn godly wisdom and discernment. Based on the twenty first chapter of Proverbs, here is what I have learned:

  • Every person, whether great or small, believing or unbelieving, must do God’s will, whether he realizes it or not.
  • I may attempt to excuse my behavior, but God is the ultimate judge of wrong from right.
  • The path to destruction begins with greedily desiring things but not having the motivation to acquire them. I need to set my sites on godly goals and do all I can to reach them.