Proverbs about Trusting God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.” (3:5-6)

“Do not be afraid of sudden fear
Nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes;
For the Lord will be your confidence
And will keep your foot from being caught.” (3:25-26)

“He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf.” (11:28)

“He who gives attention to the word will find good, And blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.” (16:20)

“The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the LORD.” (21:31)

“Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise,
And apply your mind to my knowledge;
For it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
That they may be ready on your lips.
So that your trust may be in the Lord,
I have taught you today, even you.” (22:17-19)

An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered. (28:25-26)

“The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted.” (29:25)

“Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” (30:5)

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Proverbs about Pride and Humility

If you think you excel as an expert at humility, you are probably wrong! Here are some proverbs on this subject.

  • “Do this then, my son, and deliver yourself; Since you have come into the hand of your neighbor, Go, humble yourself, and importune your neighbor.” (6:3)
  • “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate.” (8:13)
  • “When pride comes, then comes dishonor, But with the humble is wisdom.” (11:2)
  • “The Lord will tear down the house of the proud, But He will establish the boundary of the widow.” (15:25)
  • “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, And before honor comes humility.” (15:33)
  • “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.” (16:5)
  • “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling. It is better to be humble in spirit with the lowly Than to divide the spoil with the proud.” (16:18-19)
  • “Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, But humility goes before honor.” (18:12)
  • “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.” (21:4)
  • “‘Proud,’ ‘Haughty,’ ‘Scoffer,’ are his names, Who acts with insolent pride.” (21:24)
  • “The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life.” (22:4)
  • “A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor.” (29:3)
  • “If you have been foolish in exalting yourself Or if you have plotted evilput your hand on your mouth.” (30:32)

Proverbs about Wealth

  • Honor the Lord from your wealth And from the first of all your produce; So your barns will be filled with plenty And your vats will overflow with new wine. (3:9-10)
  • Take my instruction and not silver, And knowledge rather than choicest gold. (8:10)
  • Poor is he who works with a negligent hand, But the hand of the diligent makes rich. (10:4)
  • The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little. (10:20)
  • Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, But righteousness delivers from death. (11:4)
  • A gracious woman attains honor, And ruthless men attain riches. (11:16)
  • He who trusts in his riches will fall, But the righteous will flourish like the green leaf. (11:28)
  • There is one who pretends to be rich, but has nothing; Another pretends to be poor, but has great wealth. (13:7)
  • Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles, But the one who gathers by labor increases it. (13:11)
  • Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox. (14:4)
  • The poor is hated even by his neighbor, But those who love the rich are many. He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy is he who is gracious to the poor. (14:20-21)
  • Great wealth is in the house of the righteous, But trouble is in the income of the wicked. (15:6)
  • Better is a little with the fear of the Lord Than great treasure and turmoil with it. (15:16)
  • Better is a little with righteousness Than great income with injustice. (16:18)
  • rich man’s wealth is his strong city, And like a high wall in his own imagination. (18:11)
  • The poor man utters supplications, But the rich man answers roughly. (18:23)
  • Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool. (19:1)
  • Wealth adds many friends, But a poor man is separated from his friend. (19:4)
  • House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, But a prudent wife is from the Lord. (19:14)
  • One who is gracious to a poor man lends to the Lord, And He will repay him for his good deed. (19:17)
  • What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it isbetter to be a poor man than a liar. (19:22)
  • Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with food. (20:13)
  • He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor Will also cry himself and not be answered. (21:13)
  • He who loves pleasure will becomepoor man; He who loves wine and oil will not become rich. (21:17)
  • good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold. (22:1)
  • The rich and the poor have a common bond, The Lord is the maker of them all. (22:2)
  • The reward of humility and the fear of the Lord Are riches, honor and life. (22:4)
  • He who oppresses the poor to make more for himself Or who gives to the richwill only come to poverty. (22:16)
  • Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, Cease from your consideration of it. When you set your eyes on it, it is gone. For wealth certainly makes itself wings Like an eagle that flies toward the heavens. (23:4-5)
  • The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding sees through him. (28:11)
  • A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth And does not know that want will come upon him. (28:22)
  • Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion. (30:8)

Proverbs about Truth versus Lies

Do not let kindness and truth leave you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart.
So you will find favor and good repute
In the sight of God and man. (3:3-4)

He who speaks truth tells what is right, But a false witness, deceit. (12:17)

Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment. (12:19)

A trustworthy witness will not lie, But a false witness utters lies. (14:15)

Will they not go astray who devise evil? But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good. (14:22)

truthful witness saves lives, But he who utters lies is treacherous. (14:25)

By lovingkindness and truth iniquity is atoned for, And by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil. (16:6)

An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. (17:4)

A false witness will not go unpunished, And he who tells lies will not escape. (19:5)

What is desirable in a man is his kindness, And it is better to be a poor man than a liar. (19:22)

Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness. (20:28)

A false witness will perish, But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever. (21:28)

Have I not written to you excellent things
Of counsels and knowledge,
To make you know the certainty of the words of truth
That you may correctly answer him who sent you? (22:21-22)

Buy truth, and do not sell itGet wisdom and instruction and understanding. (23:23)

If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever. (29:14)

Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.
Do not add to His words
Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. (30:5-6)

“Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion.” (30:8)

Proverbs about the King

As residents of the United States, we may not know as much or think as much about royalty as many throughout history and around the world. But there is still much that we can learn from looking at what the Proverbs have to say about the king. Here are some reasons why these Proverbs are important for us:

  • “The king” represents the power of government which God Himself has established on earth (see Romans 13), and much of what we read in these proverbs can help us understand the role of government.
  • Jesus Christ is our perfect king, and the proverbs that speak of the ideal king can help us understand the perfection of the Christ.
  • Some proverbs speak of the imperfect men who will serve as king, and these can help us understand how we can assess and respond to our own leaders.
  • Some aspects of royalty are aspects of leadership in general and can teach us about the roles that leaders should play in our society as well.

Consider the proverbs:

“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, And I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverted mouth, I hate. Counsel is mine and sound wisdom; I am understanding, power is mine. By me kings reign, And rulers decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, All who judge rightly.” (8:12-16)

“In a multitude of people is a king’s glory, But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.” (14:28)

“The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.” (14:35)

“A divine decision is in the lips of the king; His mouth should not err in judgment.” (16:10)

“It is an abomination for kings to commit wicked acts, For a throne is established on righteousness.” (16:12)

“Righteous lips are the delight of kings, And he who speaks right is loved.” (16:13)

“The fury of a king is like messengers of death, But a wise man will appease it.” (16:14)

“In the light of a king’s face is life, And his favor is like a cloud with the spring rain.” (16:15)

“The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass.” (19:12)

“The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.” (20:2)

“A king who sits on the throne of justice Disperses all evil with his eyes.” (20:8)

“A wise king winnows the wicked, And drives the threshing wheel over them.” (20:26)

“Loyalty and truth preserve the king, And he upholds his throne by righteousness.” (20:28)

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (21:1)

“He who loves purity of heart And whose speech is gracious, the king is his friend.” (22:11)

“Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before obscure men.” (22:29)

“My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change.” (24:21)

“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (25:2)

“As the heavens for height and the earth for depth, So the heart of kings is unsearchable.” (25:3)

“Take away the wicked before the king, And his throne will be established in righteousness.” (25:5)

“Do not claim honor in the presence of the king, And do not stand in the place of great men.” (25:6)

“The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it.” (29:4)

“If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever.” (29:14)

“Under three things the earth quakes, And under four, it cannot bear up: Under a slave when he becomes king, And a fool when he is satisfied with food, Under an unloved woman when she gets a husband, And a maidservant when she supplants her mistress.” (30:21-23)

“The locusts have no king, Yet all of them go out in ranks.” (30:27)

“The lizard you may grasp with the hands, Yet it is in kings’ palaces.” (30:28)

“There are three things which are stately in their march, Even four which are stately when they walk: The lion which is mighty among beasts And does not retreat before any, The strutting rooster, the male goat also, And a king when his army is with him.” (30:29-31)

“Do not give your strength to women, Or your ways to that which destroys kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Or for rulers to desire strong drink.” (31:3-4)

Avoiding Bitterness

“So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard.” (Genesis 4:3-5)

Unfortunately for Cain, the LORD did not have regard for his offering.   We can probably all appreciate to some extent how that must have felt. No one enjoys the feeling of not being good enough. No one likes to put sweat and tears into some effort only to come up short. We want to receive praise for our efforts and our accomplishments so that we can feel proud of what we have achieved. We want to feel good about ourselves. When things do not go our way, and our efforts come up short, it can be quite frustrating.

Of course, this is what happened with Cain:

“So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell.” (Genesis 4:5)

When we get really upset, it is written all across our faces. This was apparently the case with Cain, and his disappointment at falling short and being revealed as insufficient turned to anger inside him. Is this not a temptation that we all face? When we do not get what we want, or when we do our best and no one takes notice, or when those around us seem to tell us by our actions that we are not good enough, are we not tempted to become bitter? When someone else’s life seems to be falling into place while ours seems to be floundering, are we not tempted to become jealous?

In this context, God responds to Cain:

“Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.’” (Genesis 4:6-7)

Discouragement, Cynicism, Anger, Bitterness, and Jealousy were no the only options Cain had in response to his personal failures and disappointments. And we all have personal failures and disappointments. When they arise, we can respond in a destructive way that hands the reins over to our negative feelings, or we can take the alternative that God offers. We can rise up in the strength God offers and be master over the sin. We can take the high road. We can resist the bitterness and instead start where we are and resolve to do our best moving forward.

“Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8)

Something to consider about Cain’s actions is that they certainly did not make his life better. Yes, he was angry. Yes, he may have been jealous of Abel. Maybe he thought that if he could not be happy, he was not going to allow Abel to be happy either. And maybe for a brief moment Cain felt some kind of personal power or satisfaction is lashing out and doing things his own way. But ultimately, the outcome was worse, not better, that what Cain could have expected if he had simply picked himself up and dedicated himself to bringing an acceptable offering to God in the future.

Some have said that my generation was never taught how to deal with disappointment. I think to some extent they may be right. And to some extent this is a problem that all generations face. Things will not go our way. We will be shown to be inadequate when we most want to feel sufficient. Our natural human reaction will be cynicism and bitterness and endless blame. But what we can do, if we accept God’s offer, is pick ourselves up and keep following Him in a way that can make things better, not worse.

Do Not Think of Yourself More Highly than You Ought

Scripture is full of praise for the humble and warnings against pride. A few examples include:

  • “For though the LORD is high, he regards the lowly, but the haughty he knows from afar.” (Psalm 138:6)
  • “Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.” (Proverbs 3:34)
  • “One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” (Proverbs 29:23)
  • “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

Many of us, when we consider humility, tend to think of godly sorrow accompanying repentance when we have realized our error in regards to a grave or embarrassing sin. But can we be humble without necessarily having any “big” or “serious” sins to repent of?

Perhaps some of us feel as though we would be more than willing to humble ourselves, but we do not see anything in our lives that would require us to repent in dust and ashes.

Scripture makes no mention of which I am aware of any “serious” sin the life if Isaiah when he came into God’s throne room as described in Isaiah chapter 6. But that certainly did not stop him from being humbled in God’s presence:

“The foundations of the thresholds trembled at the voice of him who called out, while the temple was filling with smoke.
Then I said,
‘Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.’”

Coming into God’s throne room, which is open to us through the avenue of prayer, has a way of opening our eyes to just how puny and imperfect we are in comparison to the God that we serve. After all, the life that we live here on earth is a life that Christ “emptied himself” according to Philippians 2, in order to share in. God is above us, and we only have His grace because of His willingness to condescend to our low level.

With this in mind, consider the instruction of scripture in Romans 12:3, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you.” (Romans 12:3)

Many quote Isaiah 64:6 when they need encouragement in humility: “all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.” The truth is that none of us measure up to Christ. All have sinned. If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar. All have fallen short of the glory of God. All are deserving of death. As such, even the best that we can do is woefully inadequate.

“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God. But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, so that, just as it is written, ‘LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.’” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

God is on our Side

In the fifth chapter of his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul emphasizes God’s desire for reconciliation with those who are separated from Him.

“Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

Reconciliation between offended parties can be very tedious and difficult work. Many will tell you that unless both parties are truly dedicated to being reconciled, a disagreement or a feud can go on for years or even for life. This is true whether in personal relationships, or in those between whole groups of people or nations.

These words to the Corinthians confirm for us that God, on His part, is dedicated to reconciliation with us, the people of the world. This availability for reconciliation demonstrates to us God’s great love, for as the text says, He is willing to overlook our trespasses in order to restore our relationship. This is astounding considering that we are the ones who rejected God in the first place, and who have rejected Him with our sinful actions too many times to count.

It is a good thing that Jesus supports the concept of forgiving someone “490 times” in Matthew 18. It is a good thing that “God is love” according to 1 John 4, and that love “does not take into account a wrong suffered,” according to the famous love passage of 1 Corinthians 13.

Many people get this picture backwards. They think of themselves as the innocent party who was just minding their own business, when all of a sudden God marched up with a list of unreasonable demands that had to be met or the relationship would be severed. But scripture, as we have seen, just does not fit that picture. God is actually the one who is willing to overlook the past and invite us back into His arms. God is “not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance,” according to 2 Peter 3:9.

We are going to have to humble our pride if we are to come to Him. We cannot portray Him as a demanding tyrant who forces us to jump through hoops for His own arbitrary reasons. Rather, God, like a loving parent, knows what is best for us and calls us gently and lovingly to follow the path of life.

The apostles found themselves as ambassadors on Christ’s behalf, literally begging for God’s estranged children to return to Him. God wants us to be with Him! He wants everyone to be with Him! He is on our side! So much so that He would not only overlook our sins against Him, but that He even sent His own Son to die at our hands, who even then prayed “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”

God is pulling for us. His invitation to life still stands. In the words of Jesus, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Being a Tough Christian

I was amazed recently to hear an interview with a man who is considered by many to be “the toughest man in the world.” The man’s name is David Goggins, who is described by Wikipedia as “retired Navy SEAL and former USAF Tactical Air Control Party member who served in Iraq and Afghanistan… ultramarathon runner, ultra-distance cyclist, triathlete and world record holder for the most pull-ups done in 24 hours.”

I was impressed with Goggins’ description of the first time he had run a 100 mile race. He did this with no marathon training whatsoever. He was not even a runner.

He describes sitting down at one point and being unable to stand back up, so that he had to use the restroom on himself right where he sat. He describes the small bones in his feet being broken, kidney failure, severe shin fractures, and tendon inflammation so severe that he had to tape his entire lower legs into what were essentially giant, unflexing pegs for the last 20 or 30 miles of the race. He describes exactly the kind of intense pain that you would expect from someone who is running 100 miles without ever having trained as a runner before.

As I heard this tale, I had to question whether I was truly aware of my own ability for mental toughness. I thought of 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”

Maybe when you read this passage, you think it means that God will give you a fairly easy and obvious way out of any temptation you might face. Maybe we want to believe that the paths through our trials will be simply a matter of trusting God and it will all be over in a jiffy.

But all that the text says is that He “will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able.” And apparently, human beings are able to endure tremendous suffering and difficulty.

We are told that He, “with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” This is a sure promise from the LORD. But bear in mind that humans have endured all kinds of long, painful situations such as being prisoners of war or being trapped for days or weeks under rubble before finally finding a way of escape.

You might or might not be physically able to run 100 miles, even if you truly gave it your all. But the temptations you face, with the LORD’s help, you can overcome if you refuse to give up. But do not expect it to be easy.

We will need to draw on the LORD for tremendous strength if we are to bear the tragedies and the ailments that are sure to come our way.

“But to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.” (1 Peter 4:13)

“The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:16-17)

Work and Rest

Many people may feel that work is a nothing but a curse that was imposed upon man as a punishment after Adam and Eve sinned and ate the forbidden fruit in the garden.

It is true that man’s work became frustrating and difficult as punishment for what Adam had done, but the concept of work, in and of itself, is not the concept of a curse but of something divine. How do we know this? Scripture repeatedly uses the word “work” to refer to God’s act of creation:

“Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” (Genesis 2:1-3)

Work was not the only thing that became more difficult during the fall. Relationships and childbearing were also cursed. Of course, this does not mean that society should refrain from relationships or from childbearing anymore than from work. Rather than seeing these things as curses in and of themselves simply because they are often difficult or frustrating, scripture would have us see them as beautiful opportunities to join with God in creation.

Genesis seems to emphasize the fact that work is divine in the way that it repeats the word “work” multiple times to describe God’s actions, but scripture is equally clear about another important part of life: rest. All throughout scripture, the Sabbath rest is emphasized and reemphasized and is specifically applied to all people.

Many of us who do indeed look at work as a curse have no problem seeing rest as divine. But as with all things, we must of course strive for balance in our lives. The book of Proverbs gives us plenty of warning against resting too much and too often:

“How long will you lie down, O sluggard? When will you arise from your sleep? ‘A little sleep, a little slumber, A little folding of the hands to rest’—Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:9-11)

Some of us want to do nothing but work, and we have to be reminded of our limitations and our need to step back and recuperate and see the bigger picture from time to time. Others of us want to do nothing but rest, and we have to be reminded that while our work here is often cursed with difficulty, it is in reality a sharing in the work of God as He created this world and sent us out with a commission to “fill the earth and subdue it.”

May we all do some work, and get some rest, this week.