A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken (Proverbs 15:13, NKJV). The word “merry” should be understood as “joyful.” Thus, a joyful heart affects one’s disposition (attitude) in such a way that the radiance of the joy within can’t help but to come out. On the other hand, when the heart is sorrowful or experiencing a good deal of pain, then the disposition will also show itself. These are normal emotional responses in the life of each of us. For a Christian the joy of the heart is much greater than that which affects it on the outside. Whatever it is in the experiences of man that brings joy, it is one’s joy in the Lord that supersedes them all. This joy is related to “peace” (Romans 5:1). What is in your heart? RT
A fool despises his father’s instruction, But he who receives correction is prudent (15:5, NKJV). The heart of a child learns a great deal from the parents – so much so that as the parents are, then the child will be (or likely so). If the parents (even one of them) live foolishly, that foolishness is likely to be a learned behavior by the child. How often it is that one will hear of the behavior of a child in school being out of place, but one only has to look at the parents to why this is. Thus, when the parents learn the unfortunate mannerism of their child’s way, it is often too late to instruct the child away from such behavior. On the other hand, if the parents are living the life one should live, then the children will also see this and see the importance of upright behavior.
Before Jesus went to Jerusalem (John 7), He lingered in the area of Galilee and told His brothers that He will not go up yet to the Feast of Tabernacles. When they asked why, He told them that as of yet, it was not the right time. He said, moreover, that what He does actually encourages people to be against Him. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify about it, that its works are evil” (John 7:7). Did Jesus actually speak against the actions of the people? He did, but more than that, He lived a life in such a way that He disassociated Himself from the activities of the people that were contrary to the Lord’s way. This garnered a response of the people, like “Do you think you are better than us!?” Of course, Jesus’ intent was to teach and live righteously, and He knew there would be irrational responses to Him. Nevertheless, He chose His path, and it took Him to the cross. We, too, choose our paths. Have we chosen wisely?
A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, But perverseness in it breaks the spirit (Proverbs 15:4, NKJV). A word properly spoken can be a word most fitting for the occasion. The words you speak, are they cutting or are they edifying? The Holy Spirit in Colossians speaks of the importance of our words, “Let your word always be with grace, having been seasoned with salt, to know how you ought to answer each one” (4:6, EMTV). The idea is clear enough; the words that come out of your mouth are words that are a direct reflection of that which is in the heart. Unfortunately, there are many who call themselves Christian and the words spoken by the same are as unchristian as words spoken by an atheist. What kind of words do you speak (or write)?
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good (Proverbs 15:3, NKJV). The fool has said in his heart there is no God; this is because he is entirely ignorant that the Lord is watching him! The fool is not only the atheist, but also the one who believes in the Lord, but refuses to modify a life (his own) toward that which is righteous. The sentiment is has an obvious application. There is nothing one can do, there is nothing one can say, there is nothing one can think that the Lord does not already know about. Sobering!
A servant who deals wisely has the king’s favor, but his wrath falls on one who acts shamefully (Proverbs 14:35, NKJV). In my view, the king in this verse is not a king that has exclusively his own selfish interests in view, but a king who has his people’s interest in view. If the king has the Lord’s interests as his own, then this is even better! The servant who serves a king like that will get positive attention. The one who serves the king with the Lord’s wisdom within the heart is one to whom the king will continually consult. On the other hand, the shameful acting no longer has the king’s interest in mind but his own. He will not only experience disfavor, but the king’s wrath will also be upon him. If the king is the Lord’s anointed, then how much greater will the almighty King’s wrath be! RT
There are a great many people living in this world who want God. They want God because only God makes sense with regard to meaning and purpose in life. There is nothing that atheism, agnosticism, or even some forms of skepticism can offer—it is always negative. Yet, for the people who want God, they don’t want God on His terms, but on their own. Because they think and live this way, they are not interested, many of them at least, in hearing anything of God’s will as expressed in the Scriptures (Bible). The Scriptures are rather clear about such an approach to life, and one can read it from Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seems to be right with men, but the ends of it reach to the depths of hell (Brenton’s translation of Greek Old Testament (LXX)). Why is it that people struggle so much with this? It is not a struggle so much, but a desire to sooth one’s conscience when there is guilt laying within that is not addressed. RT
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly (Proverbs 14:29, ESV). One who is quick to get angry is generally one who has taken little time to hear all the evidence that is available. There is little that is deliberate, but there is much that is reactionary. A reactionary person is of little benefit in leadership or counsel when judgments made are without the necessary information. On the other hand, the one who is slow to anger is likely to be slow to judge also. The reason for this, it should be, is because information is gathered in order to make an informed decision. This one has great influence with others.
In a multitude of people is the glory of a king, but without people a prince is ruined (Proverbs 14:28, ESV). It has been said that the common denominator of world empires is the single word power. In other words, some are so interested in power that the thought of exerting leadership that is beneficial to the people is…well…not thought of. When the people are behind leadership, willing to follow the example given, then there is much that can and will be accomplished. On the other hand, when that same leadership is in it only for self, then the power exerted is empty on those who are subject. In the political realm we can see how obvious this is, how much more so the church!
In the fear of the LORD one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge (Proverbs 14:26, ESV). If the word “his” is understood to refer to the Lord, then those who love the Lord have a place to hide and be protected from the arrows that Satan surely casts about. Certainly, when following the Lord’s way, the obedient one has minimized, if not altogether eliminated, internal spiritual aggravations in life because the life lived is not one’s own (Galatians 2:20). This kind of response is fear and reverence toward Him who is holy and Judge of all.