Proverbs Chapter 14

by Rick

(14:1) A Godly Wife

(Prov 14:1 NLT) A wise woman builds her home, but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this verse Solomon contrasts wise and foolish women.  On the one hand you have the wise woman.  She is a blessing to her household.  She works diligently and conscientiously.  She is always on the lookout for ways to be a blessing to her husband and her children.  She manages the home, nurtures and educates the children, and does all that she can to ensure her home is refuge for her family from the daily grind of the world.  Now, some of you may be thinking: but what about today?  You are describing a homemaker.  What about a woman who works outside of the home?  I believe the same applies.  While working outside of the home does make things more challenging for the family, the same principles apply.  God expects the wife (and the husband for that matter) to do all that she can to build up, and never tear down her home.  Physically, she makes sure that the home is taken care of and well maintained.  Spiritually, she prays over her children, her husband, and her property.  Relationally, she provides comfort and correction to her children, while being a source of strength and love to her husband.  Who is she?  She is a Godly wife – later described as a Virtuous Woman (chapter 31) – who builds her home (the physical structure and the family bond) with God’s grace and strength.

On the other hand you have the foolish woman.  This woman is a liability (instead of an asset) to her family.  Instead of working diligently, she is lazy.  Instead of maintaining everything, she allows things to do into disrepair.  Instead of saving, she is wasteful.  Instead of teaching her children the scriptures, she neglects her Godly duties.  Instead of satisfying her husband’s physical needs, she neglects him altogether.  Instead of making her home a refuge for her family, she makes it a place where neither the children, nor her husband want to come home to.  Later in Proverbs Solomon said, “Better to live on the roof than share the house with a nagging wife” (21:9).  Solomon says that she literally tears her house down with her own hands.  She single-handedly destroys all that she and her husband spent time to building.  This is NOT the type of wife that God expects believing women to be.

One of the greatest things I receive from my wife is her belief and confidence in me.  If I ever feel down, I know my wife will build me up.  If I ever have a long and hard day, I know I can come home and find refuge, because my wife has made our house a home of peace.  When I enter the doors I am able to release any stress, struggle, and strain from the day.  My wife is a Virtuous Woman and for that I am eternally thankful.  I am (no question) a better man, husband, father, and minister of the gospel, because of my wife.  She has built a home (the physical structure and the family bond) that is a blessing to her entire household.

So what does this mean to you today? This message is obviously geared towards women and it means that as believers, as daughters of Zion and women of God, you should seek to be a blessing to your family.  Whether you work outside of the home or not, the Father expects you to establish and atmosphere of development and peace, not one of destruction and turmoil.  Be the wise woman who builds her home, not the foolish woman who tears it down.  Because of the nature of this message, I will provide you two confessions:

Confession for Wives:  Father, I thank You for blessing me to be a Godly and Virtuous Woman.  I declare, by faith, that I am a blessing and never a burden to my family.  I overcome laziness and procrastination.  I work diligently and dutifully.  I establish an atmosphere of peace and rest for my husband and my children to come home to.  I make sure they never dread coming home, but rather look forward to entering their refuge.  When they come to me, I provide them with comforting and consoling words; words that build up and never tear down.  I am the wife You desire for me to be!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

Confession for Husbands:  Father, I thank You for my wife.  I declare, by faith, that she is a Virtuous Woman who is always a blessing and never a burden to our family.  She believes in and has confidence in me.  I honor, cherish, love, and protect her.  She makes me want to come home and I come home with the desire to be a blessing to her.  Father, show me today, some creative way to be able to express my appreciation to her, in such a way that she would know that I am eternally thankful to You, for blessing me and our children with such a jewel.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(14:2) The Fear of the Lord

(Prov 14:2 TNV) Whoever fears the LORD walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this verse Solomon goes back to a reoccurring theme in scripture as he discusses the fear of the Lord.  He explains how those that fear God walk uprightly.  They don’t just simply give their God lip service, they seek to please Him in all their ways.  While those who despise or disregard God are simply devious in their ways.  Once again, not just in their words, but in their ways, in their actions.  The Psalmist said, “How joyful are those who fear the LORD—all who follow His ways!” (Psalm 128:1).  I keep driving home the word “ways,” because it is key.  Many claim (with their lips) to serve God.  Many claim to have a personal and intimate relationship with Him.  But it comes down to actions.  There was an instance where Jesus was having a conversation with the religious leadership of His time and He said, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote, ‘These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me’ ” (Matthew 15:7,8).  Anyone can say that they love God, but those that fear Him will show it.

Now, I keep using the word “fear,” and I believe I need to explain it, because I am not making a reference to the emotion that is aroused by impending danger.  That’s not it at all.  The word fear, within the context of Solomon’s teaching, is a reverential awe or respect.  Let me give you an example.  I was raised primarily by my mother.  She worked hard as an immigrant and single parent in New York City.  Since she was one of the first of my family to come to this country, she helped many other family members as they arrived.  Many of my cousins, uncles, and etc. stayed with us when they first arrived, until they were able to get on their feet.  My mother also saved money, from the little she was making, to support her mother (my grandmother) back in the Dominican Republic and she also helped, as much as she could, our other family members.  Because of these, and many other reasons, my mother was (and is) highly respected within our family and within the circles we associate with.  Although you would think NYC is a big place, our community was pretty small and everyone knew I was my mother’s son.  Everything I did, good or bad, was a reflection on my mother.  She taught me, with her words and actions, what it meant to live upright.  She taught me about things that are not talked about much today, like: honor, integrity, respect, courtesy, dignity, and the like.  She always cautioned me to think before I acted, because she knew that my actions would be connected to her.  And guess what?  It worked!  I can remember thinking, on countless occasions, when posed with opportunities to do wrong, “How is this going to reflect upon my mother?”  And since I feared her, I chose to do right (at least most of the time).  Now, this was not a type of fear where I was afraid of punishment.  I simply respected my mother, her name, her character, and her reputation too much to do anything that would taint it.  This is the type of fear Solomon is talking about.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that your actions are sending a message.  They either say, “I fear my Lord.  I respect Him enough to walk upright before Him and man.  I refuse to do anything that will dishonor, disrespect, or defame Him!”  Or they say, “I am my own man.  I do my own thing.  I have no regard for God or anyone else.”  Like with anything else, the choice is yours, but just remember, you will reap the harvest of whatever you decide.

Confession for Today:  Father, I declare, right now, with a clear conscious and clean hands, that I fear You.  I revere and respect You.  I know You are flawless in all Your ways.  I know Your name is righteous and pure.  I know Your ways are upright and true.  You are my God and I worship You.  But I don’t just do it with my lips.  I will honor You with my life.  I will bring You glory with my actions.  I will walk upright before You and man.  I will make decisions that line up with You Word.  I will walk in integrity, honor, virtue, righteousness, truth, and peace.  I remember who I am and whose I am before I make decisions today and every day.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

(14:3) The Lips of the Wise

(Prov 14:3 ASV) In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his pride; But the lips of the wise shall preserve them.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this verse Solomon contrasts the lips of the foolish with the lips of the wise.  He makes it clear that the lips of the foolish are filled with a rod, because of their pride.  The rod is a reference to punishment.  In other words, he is saying that the prideful words of the foolish will get them in trouble, whereas the lips of the wise will keep them out of it.  The Good News Bible translation of this verse reads: “Proud fools talk too much; the words of the wise protect them.”  I am sure we have all met prideful people who talk too much.  The Bible has a lot to say about pride and it something that we must all be careful of.  As a matter of fact, pride is one of satan’s “Big Three” weapons; which are: 1) the lust of the flesh, 2) the lust of the eyes, and 3) the pride of life (1st John 2:16).  The enemy knows that if he can get us to operate in pride, that we will get ourselves out of the will of God.  Make no mistake, satan knows the Word and He know that God “Resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (1st Peter 5:5).  He knows that, “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18), and that “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

Yes, no doubt about it, our enemy knows all the ins and outs of pride.  And he knows first-hand the repercussions of it, pride was what got him kicked out of heaven.  Isaiah talks about it in the 14th chapter of his book: “Satan said, “I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.  I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).  What do you see in those two verses?  You see how satan’s mouth was filled with a rod for his pride.  His prideful words got him in trouble.

Let’s look at another example.  When God desired to lead His people out of Egypt, He chose Moses to operate through (and with).  When Moses arrived in Egypt and got an audience with Pharaoh, he said what God told him to say: “This is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: Let My people go so they may hold a festival in My honor in the wilderness.”  Although Pharaoh was a king, Moses was the mouthpiece for the King of kings and the Lord of lords.  Moses was speaking for the Most High God, but Pharaoh, full of pride, said, “Is that so?  And who is the LORD?  Why should I listen to Him and let Israel go?  I don’t know the LORD, and I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:1,2).  We all know how that story ended.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you want to remain in the Blessing, and if you desire to walk in God’s best, then you must make every effort to fill your lips with humility and Godly wisdom.  Make no doubt about it, the power of death and life are in the tongue (Proverbs 18:21) and your words DO matter.  When your words are seasoned with humility and grace, you literally protect yourself from self-inflicted wounds.  But when you allow pride to fill your lips, you open the door to destruction.  Pride pleases satan, humility (controlled confidence) pleases God.  So as you enter this day, be determined to resist pride and to fill your lips with the humility the Father expects from you.

Confession for Today:  Father, I thank You for blessing me to make a difference today in the lives of others.  I know that I am, who I am, by Your grace and Your goodness.  I know that I am able to do, what I am able to do, because You have blessed me to do it.  I know that I am NOT my own person.  I am Your child, I am called according to Your purpose, and without You, I can do nothing.  I honor You, I respect You, and I submit to You as I enter this day.  I resist every temptation to operate in pride and I fill my lips with Your grace, Your humility, and Your Love!  My lips are the lips of the wise and they preserve me!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(14:4) A Faithful Witness

(Prov 14:4 AMP) A faithful witness will not lie, but a false witness breathes out falsehoods.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this verse Solomon contrasts the faithful witness, who will not lie, with the false witness, who can’t help but breathe falsehoods.  We know that God is a God of integrity and that He expects the same of His children.  We know that He is truth and in Him there is no lying.  As a matter of fact, in this series I have already covered the fact God cannot lie (see Titus 1:2).  And we have also learned that not only is a satan a liar, but he is the father of lies.  In John chapter eight Jesus had conversation with a group of Jews that came up against him.  They were supposedly waiting for the Messiah, but He was standing right in front of them.  They devised a plan to kill Jesus and in their minds they were doing this for God.  They were deceived and not walking with God at all.  Jesus plainly and boldly told them: “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here.  I have not come on my own; but he sent me.  Why is my language not clear to you?  Because you are unable to hear what I say.  You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire.  He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.  When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:42-44).  Now that’s strong language, but it’s the truth.  The devil is a liar and the father of lies.  Lying is his native tongue.

In chapter two we Solomon said, “He grants a treasure of common sense to the honest.  He is a shield to those who walk with integrity” (2:7).  In chapter eight God said the following through Solomon: “For I speak the truth and detest every kind of deception.  My advice is wholesome.  There is nothing devious or crooked in it.  My words are plain to anyone with understanding, clear to those with knowledge” (8:7-9); and “I walk in ways that are honest.  I take paths that are right.  I leave riches to those who love me.  I give them more than they have room for” (8:20,21).

Believe me, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out the fact that God expects us to operate in truth and honestly, instead of lies and deceit.  But what I see different in this morning’s verse is that Solomon chose to use the word, “faithful” instead of simply saying, “honest.”  It’s the faithful witness who will not lie.  Notice that he did not say he could not.  He definitely can, but since he is faithful to God he refuses to violate his integrity.  He is so faithful that he is committed to God in ALL his ways.  He is not just committed when people are looking.  He is not just committed in church on Sundays.  He is not just committed when things are going well.  He is not just committed for a month, or a year, or even a decade.  He is a faithful man and he wills his will to line up with God’s character!  Believe me, men (and women) like this are not common.  In the 20th chapter Solomon said, “Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?” (20:6).  This was from the New International Version, the New Living Translation of reads: “Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?

So what does this mean to you today? It means that the Father expects you to be faithful, and I mean truly faithful!  Are you the faithful man (or woman) God is looking for?  Are you truly reliable?  Are you committed to walking in Godly character every day of your life?  Are you the person that wills their will to please the Lord?  If so, you WILL walk in the Blessing!

Confession for Today:  Father, I thank You for laying out the clear standard in Your Word.  I declare, right now, by faith, that I am that faithful man (or woman).  I am truly reliable, because I walk in Your Word, Your will, and Your way.  I will my will to please You.  I resist every temptation to violate Your integrity and to dishonor the Godly character You have developed in me.  I speak the truth, I walk in love, and I abstain from even the appearance of evil.  Why?  Because I am FAITHFUL and I shall be all the days of my life!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper!

(14:5) Do you want to Develop?

(Prov 14:5 NLT) A mocker seeks wisdom and never finds it, but knowledge comes easily to those with understanding.

This morning we continue our series, “Unlocking the Power of Proverbs – Walking in the Wisdom of God.”  In this verse Solomon teaches us that we must pursue wisdom with a pure heart.  Have you ever met someone who does not take anything seriously?  I have met my fair share.  People like this are constantly joking, jesting, and making a mockery of everything.  Many of them approach the Bible with irreverence.  They joke about creation, they laugh at the stories of the Bible, and they question its validity, but if questioned about the sincerity of their desire to learn, they quickly claim that they are serious about their personal development.  The problem is that personal development is no joking matter.  Growing in Christ is not going to happen by mistake.  We must come to God and His Word with a solemn hunger and thirst for righteous.  If we do, we SHALL be filled!  God will not take seriously those who don’t take Him seriously.

Albert Barnes, in his commentary on this verse, said: “The successful pursuit of wisdom presupposes at least earnestness and reverence.  The mocker shuts himself out from the capacity of recognizing truth.”  Believe me, I know from experience that those who desire grow and develop in Christ, will do so, while those you ridicule the process will be ridiculed by it.  There is nothing hidden about the teachings of God, but we must seek them with complete sincerity.  Once we do, they become plain to us, as if the words we had read many times before begin to leap off of the pages and into the recesses of our heart.

In Matthew chapter 13 Jesus was teaching in the form of parables.  Crowds followed Him to hear His teaching, but He was not deceived by the size of the crowds.  He knew that not all of those with Him were for Him.  He knew that there were many in the crowds, like the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were not there to learn, but rather to find something they could accuse Him of.  They wanted to make a mockery of His ministry; they sought to discredit His name.  Let’s see what Jesus said about them: “To those who listen to My teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.  That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.  This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says, ‘When you hear what I say, you will not understand. When you see what I do, you will not comprehend.  For the hearts of these people are hardened, and their ears cannot hear, and they have closed their eyes—so their eyes cannot see, and their ears cannot hear, and their hearts cannot understand, and they cannot turn to Me and let Me heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear” (verses 12-16).  I pray you fall into the latter category this morning; that you be part of the ones with the blessed eyes and ears that are able to see and hear the things God wants to teach you.  But your capacity to truly receive will be contingent upon the quality and content of your heart.

So what does this mean to you today? It means that if you truly want to grow in Christ the Father will give you every opportunity to do so.  Part of the role of the Holy Spirit is to reveal to you the things of God.  Paul explained this to the church at Corinth when he said, “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us” (1st Cor 2:12).  But, if you come to God with the wrong motives you will never grow; you will never develop into the person the Father desires for you to be.

Confession for Today:  Father, I thank You for wanting to grow and for desiring to develop me in a mature citizen in Your Kingdom.  I thank You for wanting to invest in me.  I declare, right now, by faith, that I want to grow.  I want to develop.  I want to learn.  I want to become all that You would have me to be.  I refuse to come to you with the wrong motives.  I refuse to make a mockery of You or Your Word.  I come to You with an earnest hunger and thirst for righteousness and I know I shall be filled!  In Jesus’ name.  Amen!