-Solomon derides drinking alcohol by stating how it is a “mocker” and a “brawler.” The person intoxicated with it is NOT wise. Then, he moves to another proverb by stating that the terror of a king can be compared to the growling of a ferocious lion. Anyone provoking him to anger “forfeits his own life.” In fact, keeping away (shebeth- ceasing) from strife is an honor for anyone, but any fool will make a quarrel (gala`- to break out in contention, to burst forth in anger). The sluggard won’t plow at the proper time after the autumn to prepare his field, so he ends up begging during the harvest with nothing to eat. A plan deep in the heart of man is like deep water (unnavigable), but the man of understanding can draw it out with precision. Everyone claims to be loyal, but where can a trustworthy person ever be found? Rhetorical question here worth considering. Solomon claims that a righteous man who walks in his integrity blesses his sons after him. It is an ongoing concern to be righteous. Legacy is real. The eyes of a king disperse all evil as he sits on the throne of justice. There are none who can say accurately that they have cleansed their own heart and become pure from all sin. “Differing weights and differing measures, both of them are abominable to the LORD (Proverbs 20:1-10).”
-It is by works (deeds) that a young person can distinguish themselves if their conduct is pure and right. Jesus called it fruit (Matthew 7:16-23). The LORD has made both the hearing ear and the seeing eye. The king goes on to say that we should not love to sleep excessively, lest we will become poor as a general truth. He goes on to say, in essence, that we need to wake up, and then we’ll be satisfied with the work of our hands and minds. We will have plenty as God provides through our hard work. Business acumen is next of this continued mantra of wisdom. A buyer will slyly say, “Bad, bad,” but when he goes away he will boast of his deal. The lips of knowledge are a more precious thing than gold and jewels in abundance. It is wise, Solomon maintains, to take one’s garment when he becomes surety for a stranger, and to hold foreigners in pledge. This is good sense on how to work a co-signing situation with people we don’t really know. Things, Solomon lists bread here, obtained by falsehood are sweet, but the after effects will be filled with trouble. Here is some more wisdom, “Prepare plans by consultation, and make war by wise guidance (Proverbs 20:11-18).”
-It is prudent not to associate with people who gossip, and slanderers reveal everyone’s secrets. The person who curses their father or mother will have their lamp go out on them in time of darkness. “An inheritance gained hurriedly at the beginning, will not be blessed in the end.” We should never say that we, ourselves, will repay evil. Instead, we should wait for the LORD, and trust Him to save us. Solomon reiterates a former thought (Proverbs 20:10) now in the next verse as he calls out the injustice of differing weights and false scales in business deals as being “not good” and “an abomination to the LORD.” God’s sovereignty comes back as a theme now as Solomon acknowledges that “man’s steps are ordained by the LORD” with little understanding of his/her way as the process unfolds. It is a snare for a person to say rashly, “It is holy!” Instead, they should make inquiry before making such vows. Kings that are wise will disperse and scatter the wicked under their rule, and drive (shuwb- turn back) the threshing wheel over them. A good man in authority will detect and punish evil to maintain law, order, and justice. “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the innermost parts of his being.” There are three things now listed that will preserve and uphold the king: loyalty, truth, and righteousness. The glory of the younger generation is their strength, and the honor of the older generation is their gray hair. The final verse endorses corporal punishment, not to inflict pain, but to scour away evil and turn hearts in the right direction (Proverbs 20:19-30).
-*Application* Once again we could draw much application out of every one of these previous 30 verses of Scripture, but I’ll detail just a tiny bit impressing on my spirit today. We should be filled with the Holy Spirit rather than alcohol. This is the true and lasting joy and influence we should be under (Ephesians 5:18). Don’t get intoxicated and fight. This is when wine can mock us. Bad decisions occur when people drink alcoholic substances and succumb to the influences of drugs. Further, let’s simply be just and fair with people in our business dealings. There are so many scams and scandals in our world today. God hates that. Be upright and do deals with integrity and class. Finally, on my mind today is this notion of letting God’s wrath take care of situations. Wait on the LORD and trust Him to save in every bad experience we are encountering (Psalm 37). Else, we become the angry ones and lash out to tear down our world.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 20:1, 3, 9, 11, 13, 22