The Rewards of Wisdom
Proverbs 3; I die daily devotional.
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.
When I think of violence, I think of bullies doing physical harm to not only get pleasure out of dominance, but the reward of being feared and getting stuff; violence comes in many forms, not just someone stealing your lunch money, and while it may look appealing to have what the bully has, our proverb blesses us with the wisdom to avoid such desire.
What person or country comes to mind when you think of violence in the context of our proverb?
I’m ashamed to remember being a bully to my siblings growing up, not that I was stealing their lunch money, but I was way to rough on my little brother when he would beat me at video games and then rough on my sister when she tried defending him. I was bullied, so I would bully in return, and it’s a vicious cycle.
Was there ever a time when you bullied someone?
It’s crazy to think about the vapor of past regretful experiences lasting a lifetime in memory, haunting me as reminders of who I once was before getting intimate with Christ our Lord. It reminds me of what Paul said to the Romans and Colossians:
Colossians 3:5 Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry. 6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience, 7 and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. 8 But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him— 11 a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and freeman, but Christ is all, and in all.
Romans 11:30 For just as you once were disobedient to God, but now have been shown mercy because of their disobedience, 31 so these also now have been disobedient, that because of the mercy shown to you they also may now be shown mercy. 32 For God has shut up all in disobedience so that He may show mercy to all.
Believe me, I don’t envy that violent youngster I once was, and sure don’t envy anyone who makes a practice of deceptive violence for the sake of gain, their own pleasure and reputation, or wealth and power.
Wisdom warns us about choosing the way of violence, and so as I search my own heart where I know violence might exist in me when thinking about certain people, things, or instances, I encourage you to search and examine yourself as well before starting your day. I pray this devotional will come to mind when out of nowhere violence emerges to test our faith.
Will you remember how you’ve been changed from the old self to the new self when violence emerges?
Proverbs 3 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org | biblegateway.com
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-V31) Commentary
IV. We must not envy the prosperity of evil-doers, v. 31. This caution is the same with that which is so much insisted on, Ps. 37. “Envy not the oppressor; though he be rich and great, though he live in ease and pleasure, and make all about him to stand in awe of him, yet do not think him a happy man, nor wish thyself in his condition. Choose none of his ways; do not imitate him, nor take the courses he takes to enrich himself. Never think of doing as he does, though thou wert sure to get by it all that he has, for it would be dearly bought.” Now, to show what little reason saints have to envy sinners, Solomon here, in the last four verses of the chapter, compares the condition of sinners and saints together (as his father David had done, Ps. 37), sets the one over against the other, that we may see how happy the saints are, though they be oppressed, and how miserable the wicked are, though they be oppressors. Men are to be judged of as they stand with God, and as he judges of them, not as they stand in the world’s books. Those are in the right who are of God’s mind; and, if we be of his mind, we shall see, whatever pretence one sinner may have to envy another, that saints are so happy themselves that they have no reason at all to envy any sinner, though his condition be ever so prosperous.