Proverbs 10:23



The Bible says in Proverbs 10:23-32, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.[24] The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.[25] As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.[26] As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.[27] The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.[28] The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.[29] The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.[30] The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.[31] The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.[32] The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.” These verses show once again as we have seen in the book of Proverbs the difference between those that are wise and those that are foolish. When we think about these things, we need to come to the conclusion that we really need the wisdom that comes from God. It is very important to have that wisdom. You get that wisdom by seeking it, being open to receive it, and asking God for it.


The first part of verse 23 says, “It is as sport to a fool to do mischief.” There are various reasons that people do evil deeds. Sometimes it is giving into great lusts, or a lack of discipline, or just following the crowd. This verse says that people will do evil just for fun. It is just a joke or it is just sport. We see this in Hollywood movies where they make light of alcohol or drugs. They make a joke out of things that destroy lives. They put the true consequences out of their minds. They joke, they have fun, and they sin. The Bible says that is what a fool does.


Notice the various consequences given in these verses for those who are foolish and go away from belief in Jesus. What the wicked fear is what will happen to them. More than once their destruction is mentioned. Destruction of life symbolizes eternal destruction in hell.


It is interesting that verse 26 puts a lazy person into the same category as a wicked person and a foolish person. It says, “As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.” This means that if you need someone to do a job for you, you better get the right person. You need a self-starter: someone with a good work ethic. If you get a lazy person, it will cause you pain. Laziness is a type of evil. A lazy person is not doing God’s will, and a lazy person is causing other people pain.


Talking about those who do know and serve Jesus, verse 28 says, “The hope of the righteous shall be gladness.” The happiest people in the world are the best people in the world and the ones who do the most good deeds. Happiness is to know the Lord and serve Him. Sin brings sadness, and goodness brings happiness.


Another benefit of being a Christian is given in verse 29, “The way of the LORD is strength to the upright.” The Lord is our strength and our salvation. We do not rely upon ourselves. We rely upon what the Lord will do for us. We know that we are weak in and of ourselves, but the Lord Jesus is Almighty. That is why Paul wrote in the New Testament, “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.”


The last two verses of the passage that we are looking at once again talk about the words that are spoken by a wise person compared to the words that are spoken by a foolish person. The words foolish person are described in these last 2 verses as being “forward.” A foolish person resists God, speaks against faith, and uses an attitude of disdain toward the Lord and the things of the Lord. But a wise person knows what to say. “The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable.” That is because the Holy Spirit gives us the words to say at the right place and at the right time.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:1, “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.” True Christians make the best citizens and the best neighbors because they are honest. Who wants to do business with someone who is dishonest or unjust? It is God’s will that we treat others honestly.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:2, “When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” This kind of pride, which is evil, must be guarded against because it will ruin you. It refers to a self-centeredness and an inappropriate high opinion of oneself while looking down upon others. We are all sinners. When we compare ourselves to Jesus, we are nothing. If you think of yourself as needing the Savior, then you are wise because that is your true condition.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:3, “The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.” What should you do? What principle should guide you when you have a decision to make? Always do the right thing. It is that simple. Do right until the stars fall. It does not matter if you lose. What matters is that you keep your integrity.  


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:4-6, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.[5] The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way: but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.[6] The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.” Riches can keep you from some sufferings in this life, but there are some very important things that riches cannot keep you from. One of those things is the wrath of God. The only thing that can keep you from God’s wrath is faith in Jesus. In other words faith is more valuable than money. The last part of this verse says, “righteousness delivereth from death.” When you do right, it tends to prolong your life. People die of drug overdoses. They should have never broken the law and started taking drugs. People die in car accidents that they caused. They should have never broken the law and driven over the speed limit. People die in shootouts with the police. They should have never broken the law and committed crimes. Do the right thing, and it will prolong your life. Do the wrong thing, and it will shorten your life. Of course, death is symbolic of eternal death: going to hell. You need perfect righteousness to go to heaven. That is one of the wonders of salvation. When you accept Jesus as Savior, He not only forgives your sins, He also declares you to be righteous. You are credited with the righteousness of Christ. Because of that righteousness, you will be allowed into heaven.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:7-8, “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.[8] The righteous is delivered out of trouble, and the wicked cometh in his stead.” All of Satan’s apples have worms. If you are not on the path of righteousness by believing in Christ and following Him, then you are on a losing path. You will lose everything. You will lose your soul. You will lose what you could have had in heaven. You will lose you hopes and dreams: “the hope of unjust men perisheth”. You will lose everything.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:9, “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.” Words can be powerful, and therefore words can cause great harm if they are the wrong words. The word that is translated “hypocrite” means “godless.” I suppose that in a religious society where everyone claims to be serving God, someone who is godless is a hypocrite. That is what a true hypocrite is: someone who claims to be one thing, but is actually another. The best words to use in any situation are words that are consistent with God’s character, Jesus’ teachings, and the rest of the Word of God. One of the biggest problems that some people have is that they have not learned to talk. That is why it says in the last part of verse 9, “through knowledge shall the just be delivered.” You can escape the negative and destructive words if you have the knowledge of what words should be used.


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:10-11, “When it goeth well with the righteous, the city rejoiceth: and when the wicked perish, there is shouting.[11] By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.” In spite of the fact that some people of the world hate Christians and try to push them out of their organizations, if not worse; the truth is that Christianity brings blessings and benefits to the society wherever the Christians flourish. When you have honest, God-fearing, hard-working people all around, they make things better for everyone. There will be greater happiness in such a community: “the city rejoiceth.” There will be greater success: “the city is exalted.”   


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:12-13, “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour: but a man of understanding holdeth his peace.[13] A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.” These two verses tell us of the importance of treating one’s neighbors properly, and the importance of controlling one’s speech. No one should despise his neighbor for one thing because God loves everyone and so should we because we are followers of God. We are even told in the Bible to love our enemies. Every person was made in the image of God and has certain good points about him or her. Verse 11 implies that if you despise your neighbor, you will say things against him that you should not. That is why it says, “a man of understanding holdeth his peace.” If you are going to say anything, make sure that you say something good about others. Verse 13 also teaches us about the importance of knowing when to hold your tongue. There are some things that you hear about, or that you know, that you should not say to others. You should keep them to yourself. That includes some things about yourself. There are some things that should be known only to you and God. Be faithful to the knowledge that you have.    


The Bible says in Proverbs 11:14, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellers there is safety.” The primary source of wisdom is from God. It says in James 1:5, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him.” But there is also another source: other people who know more than you on a certain subject. That is supposed to be the benefit that children get from their parents: a wise counsellor. One way to grow in wisdom is to learn from others. Do not think that you have all the answers because you do not. Be willing to learn and be willing to listen. Notice that Proverbs 11:14 speaks of “multiple counsellors.” This implies that you will need more than your parents. Over the course of your life, you are going to need a lot of people to help you. The question will always be: are you willing to listen? That is definitely the question concerning you and Jesus. Are you willing to listen to the Spirit of God who calls you to turn to Jesus and receive Jesus as your Savior. Here is some good advice: “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”         






Copyright; 2017 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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