-The proverbial precepts of God written through the hand of Solomon continue in this chapter with still more warnings and admonitions in living a life of wisdom. First, he tells the reader not to be envious of evil men, nor should we desire to be with them. Their minds devise violence and their lips continually speak of trouble. Only by wisdom is a house accurately built, and by understanding it is established. By knowledge, the king purports, rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A man of wisdom is strong, and the knowledgeable increase in power. By wise guidance alone should we wage war, and in an abundance of counselors led by the Holy Spirit there is victory. “Wisdom is too exalted for a fool, he does not open his mouth in the gate (Proverbs 24:1-7).”
-Schemers are those who plan to do evil by name. The devising of folly is sinful, and scoffers are an abomination to men. If we are slack in the day of distress, our strength is limited for sure. The ones being taken away to death need deliverance, and we should hold back those who are staggering to slaughter. This is an evangelistic call, I believe, to rescue the perishing. We can’t afford to stand aside aloof and unconcerned. God will consider our actions, or inactions, on this matter. The LORD is the Keeper of the soul, and He wants all to come in faith to Him for salvation (1 Timothy 2:3-4, 2 Peter 3:9). God will render to a man according to his work (Proverbs 24:8-12).
-Solomon now tells his son to eat honey from the comb, “for it is good” and sweet to the taste. In the same manner, wisdom is sweet to the soul and will not allow for hope to be cut off. The king returns to advise keeping wicked men from lying in wait against the dwelling of the righteous. Destroying the resting place of a good person, or people, will not be successful. Why? “Because a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again:” meanwhile, the wicked stumble in times of calamity. Therefore, we should never rejoice when our enemy falls, nor let ourselves be glad when they stumble. This amounts to rivalry, selfishness, and contention, which the LORD despises (Philippians 2:3). God will see our jealous and envious hearts and be displeased when we rejoice over the failures of our enemies, and will turn His wrath and anger away from them, and perhaps on us (Proverbs 24:13-18).
-Because of these things, Solomon, through inspiration of God, tells us, like his father (Psalm 37:1), to NOT FRET (emphasis mine) because of evildoers. We should never be envious of them, because they have no future and their lamp will be put out. We shouldn’t fear them either, but Solomon tells his son, and us as well, whom to fear. Actually, there are two entities to fear. One is the LORD, and the other is the king. These are conservative and stable authorities who will provide for a solid future. On the other spectrum, those given to change are not to be associated with, “for their calamity will rise suddenly, and who knows the ruin that comes from both of them?” The king goes on to more sayings of the wise by stating that it is not good to show partiality in judgment (see 1 Kings 3:16-28). The man who calls the wicked “righteous,” will find the people cursing him eventually and nations will even abhor him. However, those who rebuke the wicked, out of a loving heart and devotion to God, will be a delight and good blessing will come upon them. A right answer is likely to get a kiss of satisfaction (Proverbs 24:19-26).
-Next, Solomon recommends preparing our work outside and make it ready in the field; afterwards, build our house. This is a principle about moving on most important things first before housing down with investments and such. Truth again appears now as a theme as the king warns against being a witness against a neighbor without cause. Deception of the lips is at issue here. We should never say, “Thus I shall do to him as he has done to me; I will render to the man according to his work.” Finally, Solomon ends the chapter with some more bemoaning of lazy people. He relates a time when he passed by a field of a sluggard and the vineyard of a man lacking sense. He observed that these places were completely overgrown with thistles and the surface covered with nettles. The stone wall was broken down, and it made him think and reflect. Solomon looked and received instruction from this neglectful situation. “A little sleep, a little slumber, and little folding of the hands to rest, then your poverty will come as a robber and your want like an armed man (Proverbs 24:27-34).”
-*Application* Hard work and a continuing concern is a great testimony to our wisdom. It is easy to let things slip and not pay enough attention to matters, but the results are disgusting. Whether it’s our health, our yard, our garden, our ranch, our business, our spiritual condition, our church, or our nation, things always digress when we don’t apply ourselves with full effort (2 Peter 1:5-13). Be strong, get up, and back up, and back up to make preparations and cultivate the field, then build the house. Let’s not be slack in our work and have poverty come upon us in any sense. Improvements don’t come easy, but they are always worth it.
Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 24:10, 21, 27, 33-34