My favorite proverbs.

King Solomon, in his time, was widely known as the wisest man in the world. Why? When the Lord asked him to name anything he wanted, he asked not for wealth or defeat of his enemies, but for wisdom to enable him to rule well. Wow, if only our current leaders today wanted that!

Proverbs 3:7 be not wise in your own eyes fear the lord and turn away from evil.

Proverbs 10:20 the tongue of the righteous is choice silver..10:30 the mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom..

Proverbs 16:32 Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

Proverbs 17:10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than 100 blows into a fool.

Proverbs 18:2. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, only in expressing his own opinion.

Proverbs 18:12-13 Before destruction a mans heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor. If one gives an answer before he hears the matter it is his folly and shame.

Proverbs 19:3. When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

Proverbs 19:11. Good sense makes one slow to anger and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

Proverbs 26:12. Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes. there is more hope for a fool than for him.

Proverbs 26:16. The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Proverbs 26:20. Where there is no wood the fire goes out and without a whisperer quarreling ceases.

Proverbs 29:1. He who is often reproved but stiffens his neck will be suddenly broken beyond healing .

Proverbs 29:11. A fool gives full vent to his spirit but a wise man holds it back.

Proverbs 29:23. One’s pride will bring him low but a man who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Proverbs 31:30. Beauty is vain and charm deceitful but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

Ecclesiastes 8:11. Because the sentence against an evil deed is not swiftly carried out, the hearts of the children of man are fully set to do evil.

There were many more proverbs but the ones I chose represent my favorite themes. Self control, the evil of pride, and the virtue of accepting correction are prominent. While the line from Ecclesiastes doesn’t appear in the book of proverbs, it was written by Solomon and I consider it a proverb. Delaying the punishment for a crime speaks directly to the human heart in a negative way, encouraging further evil.

There is something perverse inside of human beings that is magnified laws and rules. I am reminded of a story from a great teacher  mine, Dennis Peacocke. Imagine the most perfect lawn, lush and green and unmarked. You walk by it every day, admiring the perfection. It’s so unsullied. Not one blade of grass is tamped down. Then one day a sign appears, KEEP OFF THE GRASS. Your admiration turns into something else–the perverse desire to walk on the lawn, to sully it.

This perversity was manifested even by Solomon. The Lord said to Solomon that He was pleased with Solomon’s request and so granted it as well as great wealth and victory over his enemies. How did Solomon abuse these blessings? Keep in mind the Lord also warned him of the consequences of failing to obey His commandments, mainly that he follow the Lord exclusively and not run after “foreign gods.”  The Bible shows what happened.

1 Kings 11:1-3. “Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, ‘You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.’ Solomon clung to these in love. He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart.”

“Nehemiah 13:26. “Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin.”

Now some say the marriages of Solomon were political alliances, I say that is irrelevant. If his heart was following the Lord, he would not need political alliances. But this lesson is for all of us: No matter what we are blessed with, our natural inclinations will motivate us to mess it up. The lesson is clear: Don’t do what comes naturally (pride, arrogance, anger, seeking temporary pleasure at the expense of …..well, everything else!