The Rewards of Wisdom
Proverbs 3; I die daily devotional.
26 For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it, ”When you have it with you.
At the core of our verse today, I experience the idea—of complete willingness—to give at my fullest capacity without the expectation of return for the good that is due.
If we were to compare to each other what “good” looks like, we’ve missed the reward of our wisdom. We are not to withhold good from those to whom it is due based on the power of others, but what does the verse tell us? When it is in your power to do it. So it’s important that we understand our own resources or gifts that can give good to those to whom it is due. So only focus on what is within your own capacity to give good, not within the capacity of peers doing in like fashion as you by their own ‘good’ given to those whom it is due.
I think the best practical understanding of this is what Jesus taught:
Matthew 25:34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ 41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Proverbs 3 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org
1 My son, do not forget my teaching, But let your heart keep my commandments; 2 For length of days and years of life And peace they will add to you. 3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute In the sight of God and man. 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body And refreshment to your bones. 9 Honor the LORD from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. 11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the LORD Or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights. 13 How blessed is the man who finds wisdom And the man who gains understanding. 14 For her profit is better than the profit of silver And her gain better than fine gold. 15 She is more precious than jewels; And nothing you desire compares with her. 16 Long life is in her right hand; In her left hand are riches and honor. 17 Her ways are pleasant ways And all her paths are peace. 18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, And happy are all who hold her fast. 19 The LORD by wisdom founded the earth, By understanding He established the heavens. 20 By His knowledge the deeps were broken up And the skies drip with dew. 21 My son, let them not vanish from your sight; Keep sound wisdom and discretion, 22 So they will be life to your soul And adornment to your neck. 23 Then you will walk in your way securely And your foot will not stumble. 24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid; When you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. 25 Do not be afraid of sudden fear Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; 26 For the LORD will be your confidence And will keep your foot from being caught. 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it, ”When you have it with you. 29 Do not devise harm against your neighbor, While he lives securely beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man without cause, If he has done you no harm. 31 Do not envy a man of violence And do not choose any of his ways. 32 For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; But He is intimate with the upright. 33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the dwelling of the righteous. 34 Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted. 35 The wise will inherit honor, But fools display dishonor.
Matthew Henry (P3-V27) Commentary
True wisdom consists in the due discharge of our duty towards man, as well as towards God, in honesty as well as piety, and therefore we have here divers excellent precepts of wisdom which relate to our neighbour.
- I. We must render to all their due, both in justice and charity, and not delay to do it (v. 27, 28): “Withhold not good from those to whom it is due (either for want of love to them or through too much love to thy money) when it is in the power of thy hand to do it, for, if it be not, it cannot be expected; but it was thy great fault if thou didst, by thy extravagances, disable thyself to do justly and show mercy, and it ought to be the greatest of thy griefs if God had disabled thee, not so much that thou art straitened in thy own comforts and conveniences as that thou hast not wherewithal to give to those to whom it is due.’ Withhold it not; this implies that it is called for and expected, but that the hand is drawn in and the bowels of compassion are shut up. We must not hinder others from doing it, not be ourselves backward to it. “If thou hast it by thee to-day, hast it in the power of thy hand, say not to thy neighbour, Go thy way for this time, and come at a more convenient season, and I will then see what will be done; to-morrow I will give; whereas thou art not sure that thou shalt live till to-morrow, or that to-morrow thou shalt have it by thee. Be not thus loth to part with thy money upon a good account. Make not excuses to shift off a duty that must be done, nor delight to keep thy neighbour in pain and in suspense, nor to show the authority which the giver has over the beggar; but readily and cheerfully, and from a principle of conscience towards God, give good to those to whom it is due,’ to the lords and owners of it (so the word is), to those who upon any account are entitled to it. This requires us,
- 1. To pay our just debts without fraud, covin, or delay.
- 2. To give wages to those who have earned them.
- 3. To provide for our relations, and those that have dependence on us, for to them it is due.
- 4. To render dues both to church and state, magistrates and ministers.
- 5. To be ready to all acts of friendship and humanity, and in every thing to be neighbourly; for these are things that are due by the law of doing as we would be done by.
- 6. To be charitable to the poor and necessitous. If others want the necessary supports of life, and we have wherewithal to supply them, we must look upon it as due to them and not withhold it. Alms are called righteousness because they are a debt to the poor, and a debt which we must not defer to pay, Bis dat, qui cito dat–He gives twice who gives speedily.