-Solomon moves on in his wise sayings to make our lives better under God’s authority by explaining how a good name is to be more desired than great wealth. Favor is better than gold and silver. The LORD is the Maker of both the rich and the poor giving them a common bond. The prudent hide themselves from seeing evil, but the naïve go on full steam ahead incurring the punishing consequences of their actions. There is a reward for humility and fearing the LORD. Those prizes typically are riches, honor, and life (long on the earth and eternally in Heaven). There will be obstacles, like thorns and snares, in the way of the perverse, but the person who guards against these obstinate ways will be far from these difficulties. For parents, we should train our children up in the way in the way they should go, and as a general truth they will not depart from the faith when they become older. Rich people generally rule over the poor, and the lender can make a slave of the borrower. In other words, it is better to be a creditor than a debtor. The one sowing iniquity will reap vanity ('aven- trouble, wickedness, sorrow, idolatry). The rod of those sowing iniquity in fury will perish. They will be has beens. On the other hand, generous people will be blessed, for they give some of their food to the poor. “Drive out the scoffer, and contention will go out, even strife and dishonor will cease (Proverbs 22:1-10).
-The king (or one in authority) is friends with those who love purity of heart and have gracious speech. The eyes of the LORD make sure knowledge is preserved, but He overthrows every word of the treacherous. The sluggard is pessimistic when a lion is on the prowl outside and thinks he will be killed in the streets. The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit, and the cursed of the LORD will fall into it. Foolishness is bound up in the heart of every child because we have a sin nature, but the rod of discipline (corrective action) will remove this foolishness from them. The one who is greedy and oppresses the poor to make more for themselves, or gives strictly to the rich to get a return on investment, will only come to poverty (Proverbs 22:11-16).
-We need to incline our ears and hear the words of the wise, and apply our minds to this wise man’s knowledge. It will be pleasant if they are kept inside our being, and they will make our lips ready to respond appropriately in every situation and circumstance. The point being, we need to trust totally in the LORD, as Solomon has been teaching. He has been inspired by the Holy Spirit to write out excellent things of “counsels and knowledge,” so that we may know the certainty of the words of truth and correctly answer the one sending us (could be a teacher or possibly an employer, Proverbs 22:17-21).
-Solomon goes on to tells us not to rob the poor because of their poverty. We should never take advantage of anyone, nor should we crush the afflicted at the gate. The LORD will plead their case and take the life of anyone robbing them (Proverbs 22:22-23). Vengeance is His (Hebrews 10:30).
-Don’t associate with people given to the angry ways of mankind. Don’t mingle with those who are hot-tempered, or we will learn from their ways, which will become a snare for us (Proverbs 22:24-25).
-We also should NOT be among those who give pledges among those who become guarantors for debts. If we have nothing with which to pay, we shouldn’t allow people to take our bed from under us (Proverbs 22:26-27). Nice illustration in colloquial language here.
-The ancient boundaries should NOT be moved, which our fathers have set. Conservative respect is admired and reverenced here. If we see a man skilled in his work, know that he will stand before kings and not just ordinary-obscure men (Proverbs 22:28-29).
-*Application* I believe Solomon is laying for us some things to consider today about cultivating a good name and His favor for ourselves. Great wealth is only temporary, but our legacy is what truly counts in the Kingdom of God. In other words, we must do things the right way according to the righteous law of the LORD. Treat people as we would want to be treated (Matthew 7:12, Luke 6:31), keep our cool, and make positive-courageous decisions that reveal a genuine faith. This is what it’s all about.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 22:6, 10, 24-25, 28-29