-Solomon’s words of wisdom continue in a sporadic, but sensible, format as we move to this next section. The wise female will build her house (all things included), but the foolish one can tear it down with the actions of her hands (figurative and literal). People who fear the LORD will walk in uprightness, but he who is devious in his ways despises the LORD. Foolish talk will end up bringing harsh punishment, but the lips of the wise will protect from harm. “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.” Our capital can be messy at times in business, but much profit comes from using the resources that are opportunistic. This is a call for hard work and sensibility in using difficult (time consuming, dirty, painful, etc.) equipment, animals, or human resources. As the king goes further, he says that a trustworthy witness will tell the truth, but a false witness bears lies. A scoffer seeks wisdom, but his insolence ensures that he finds none. However, knowledge is easy to one who has righteous understanding. Solomon now warns that leaving the presence of a fool is vital if we want discernment. If we stay under the influence of a fool, we will not perceive the words of knowledge. “The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way, but the foolishness of fools is deceit. Fools mock at sin, but among the upright there is good will (Proverbs 14:1-8, Luke 2:14).”
-The heart continues to be the issue as Solomon now speaks of it knowing its own bitterness and strangers not being able to share its joy. Next, the king speaks of how the house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will be continuing and flourish. With regards to salvation among other things of the heart, “There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” Even in times of superficial laughter, the heart may actually be in pain. Plus, the end of joy may see grief. This is a fact of life that Solomon has observed. Not everything has a happy-fairy tale ending. “The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his.” Naïve people believe everything, but sensible people consider their steps, or shall we say circumstances. A man of wisdom is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is both arrogant and careless. A person of quick-temper acts extremely foolishly too, and a person of evil devices is often hated. The naïve have an inheritance. This inheritance is foolishness. But, the sensible are crowned with knowledge. The evil and wicked will eventually bow down and pay homage before the good and righteous. The poor man is loathed and hated by his neighbor, but those who love (and often use) the rich are many. The person, whether they are rich or poor, who despises his neighbor sins (Leviticus 19:18, Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, Luke 10:27, Romans 13:9, Galatians 5:14, James 2:8), but happy is he who is gracious, especially to the poor. Devisers of evil will go astray, but kindness and truth will be to those who formulate good (Proverbs 14:9-22).
-Hard work continues as a theme as Solomon says, “In all labor there is profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.” Riches will crown the wise, but foolish folly is the benefit of ignorant folks who waste and are idle. Solomon continues to bounce back and forth on his proverbs in restating ideas on a truthful witness, which saves lives as compared to the treachery of a liar. Absolute truth is maintained in the next comment, “In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and his children will have refuge.” He goes on with these inspired thoughts on the awe of the LORD. Fearing Him is a fountain of life so that one may avoid the snares of a foolish death. A king’s glory is in his multitude of people. In other words, a winsome person gathers people, not scattering them. “But, in the dearth ('ephec- ceasing, finality, end) of people is a prince’s ruin.” The person who is slow to get angry has great understanding (James 1:19), but the one who is quick-tempered exalts folly. A tranquil heart gives life to the body, but extreme jealousy (qin'ah- ardour, passionate-unhealthy zeal, envy) is rottenness to the bones. The person who oppresses the poor actually taunts his Maker, but if he is gracious to the needy, he honors the LORD. “The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing, but the righteous has a refuge when he dies.” Salvation returns to the forefront as a theme here. In fact, wisdom rests in the heart of the person who has this spiritual understanding, but the foolish make their folly known to all. National issues are even dealt with here as the chapter comes to a close. “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people. The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, but his anger is toward him who acts shamefully (Proverbs 14:23-35).”
-*Application* We have to be very concerned for our hearts as we meditate on the application of this passage today. Our respectful fear of the LORD will guide us to a right place in our heart giving us confidence, rest, success, and wisdom (among many other important and good things). We must turn away from evil as individuals and as a nation, if we want the favor and exaltation of our God. We must work hard and use the resources He has benevolently provided. We can’t afford to just talk about it. We must love our neighbor as ourselves and be extraordinarily gracious and giving. These are the marks of true believers in Christ Jesus. His ways are far superior to ours, and we must look to Him.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 14:12, 23, 26, 34