Week of October 22nd: Proverbs 26-30
Here’s the weekly outline:
5 minutes a day -If you’re not currently reading the Bible, start with 5 minutes a day. This reading plan will take you through all 260 chapters of the New Testament, one chapter per day. The gospels are read throughout the year to keep the story of Jesus fresh all year.
5 days a week -Determine a time and location to spend 5 minutes a day for 5 days a week. It is best to have a consistent time and a quiet place where you can regularly meet with the Lord.
5 ways to dig deeper -We must pause in our reading to dig into the Bible. Below are 5 different ways to dig deeper each day. These exercises will encourage meditation. We recommend trying a single idea for a week to find what works best for you. Remember to keep a pen and paper ready to capture God’s insights.
Underline or highlight key words or phrases in the Bible passage. Use a pen or highlighter to mark new discoveries from the text. Periodically, review your markings to see what God is teaching you.
Put it into your own words. Read the passage or verse slowly, then rewrite each phrase or sentence using your own words.
Ask and answer some questions. Questions unlock new discoveries and meanings. Ask questions about the passage using these words: Who, What, Why, When, Where, or How. Jot down some thoughts on how you would answer these questions.
Capture the Big Idea. God’s Word communicates big ideas. Periodically ask, “What’s the big idea in this sentence, paragraph, or chapter?”
Personalize the meaning. When God speaks to us through the Scriptures, we must respond. A helpful habit is personalizing the Bible through application. Ask: “How could my life be different today as I respond to what I’m reading?”
26 Honor is no more associated with fools than snow with summer or rain with harvest.
2 Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow, an undeserved curse will not land on its intended victim.
3 Guide a horse with a whip, a donkey with a bridle, and a fool with a rod to his back!
4 Don’t answer the foolish arguments of fools, or you will become as foolish as they are.
5 Be sure to answer the foolish arguments of fools, or they will become wise in their own estimation.
6 Trusting a fool to convey a message is like cutting off one’s feet or drinking poison!
7 A proverb in the mouth of a fool is as useless as a paralyzed leg.
8 Honoring a fool is as foolish as tying a stone to a slingshot.
9 A proverb in the mouth of a fool is like a thorny branch brandished by a drunk.
10 An employer who hires a fool or a bystander is like an archer who shoots at random.
11 As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.
12 There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise.
13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”
14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.
15 Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth.
16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.
17 Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears.
18 Just as damaging as a madman shooting a deadly weapon 19 is someone who lies to a friend and then says, “I was only joking.”
20 Fire goes out without wood, and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
21 A quarrelsome person starts fights as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
22 Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.
23 Smooth[a] words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot.
24 People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. 25 They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.[b] 26 While their hatred may be concealed by trickery, their wrongdoing will be exposed in public.
27 If you set a trap for others, you will get caught in it yourself. If you roll a boulder down on others, it will crush you instead.
28 A lying tongue hates its victims, and flattering words cause ruin.
27 Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring.
2 Let someone else praise you, not your own mouth— a stranger, not your own lips.
3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty, but the resentment caused by a fool is even heavier.
4 Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.
5 An open rebuke is better than hidden love!
6 Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.
7 A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry.
8 A person who strays from home is like a bird that strays from its nest.
9 The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense.
10 Never abandon a friend— either yours or your father’s. When disaster strikes, you won’t have to ask your brother for assistance. It’s better to go to a neighbor than to a brother who lives far away.
11 Be wise, my child,[c] and make my heart glad. Then I will be able to answer my critics.
12 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.
13 Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.[d]
14 A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!
15 A quarrelsome wife is as annoying as constant dripping on a rainy day. 16 Stopping her complaints is like trying to stop the wind or trying to hold something with greased hands.
17 As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.
18 As workers who tend a fig tree are allowed to eat the fruit, so workers who protect their employer’s interests will be rewarded.
19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
20 Just as Death and Destruction[e] are never satisfied, so human desire is never satisfied.
21 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.[f]
22 You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle.
23 Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, 24 for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation. 25 After the hay is harvested and the new crop appears and the mountain grasses are gathered in, 26 your sheep will provide wool for clothing, and your goats will provide the price of a field. 27 And you will have enough goats’ milk for yourself, your family, and your servant girls.
28 The wicked run away when no one is chasing them, but the godly are as bold as lions.
2 When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.
3 A poor person who oppresses the poor is like a pounding rain that destroys the crops.
4 To reject the law is to praise the wicked; to obey the law is to fight them.
5 Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the Lord understand completely.
6 Better to be poor and honest than to be dishonest and rich.
7 Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.[g]
8 Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.
9 God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.
10 Those who lead good people along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the honest will inherit good things.
11 Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.
12 When the godly succeed, everyone is glad. When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding.
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.
14 Blessed are those who fear to do wrong,[h] but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.
15 A wicked ruler is as dangerous to the poor as a roaring lion or an attacking bear.
16 A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life.
17 A murderer’s tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don’t protect him!
18 The blameless will be rescued from harm, but the crooked will be suddenly destroyed.
19 A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.
20 The trustworthy person will get a rich reward, but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble.
21 Showing partiality is never good, yet some will do wrong for a mere piece of bread.
22 Greedy people try to get rich quick but don’t realize they’re headed for poverty.
23 In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.
24 Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.
25 Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.
26 Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.
27 Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.
28 When the wicked take charge, people go into hiding. When the wicked meet disaster, the godly flourish.
29 Whoever stubbornly refuses to accept criticism will suddenly be destroyed beyond recovery.
2 When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.
3 The man who loves wisdom brings joy to his father, but if he hangs around with prostitutes, his wealth is wasted.
4 A just king gives stability to his nation, but one who demands bribes destroys it.
5 To flatter friends is to lay a trap for their feet.
6 Evil people are trapped by sin, but the righteous escape, shouting for joy.
7 The godly care about the rights of the poor; the wicked don’t care at all.
8 Mockers can get a whole town agitated, but the wise will calm anger.
9 If a wise person takes a fool to court, there will be ranting and ridicule but no satisfaction.
10 The bloodthirsty hate blameless people, but the upright seek to help them.[i]
11 Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.
12 If a ruler pays attention to liars, all his advisers will be wicked.
13 The poor and the oppressor have this in common— the Lord gives sight to the eyes of both.
14 If a king judges the poor fairly, his throne will last forever.
15 To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
16 When the wicked are in authority, sin flourishes, but the godly will live to see their downfall.
17 Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.
18 When people do not accept divine guidance, they run wild. But whoever obeys the law is joyful.
19 Words alone will not discipline a servant; the words may be understood, but they are not heeded.
20 There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.
21 A servant pampered from childhood will become a rebel.
22 An angry person starts fights; a hot-tempered person commits all kinds of sin.
23 Pride ends in humiliation, while humility brings honor.
24 If you assist a thief, you only hurt yourself. You are sworn to tell the truth, but you dare not testify.
25 Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the Lord means safety.
26 Many seek the ruler’s favor, but justice comes from the Lord.
27 The righteous despise the unjust; the wicked despise the godly.
The Sayings of Agur
30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.[j]
I am weary, O God; I am weary and worn out, O God.[k] 2 I am too stupid to be human, and I lack common sense. 3 I have not mastered human wisdom, nor do I know the Holy One.
4 Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down? Who holds the wind in his fists? Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? Who has created the whole wide world? What is his name—and his son’s name? Tell me if you know!
5 Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection. 6 Do not add to his words, or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.
7 O God, I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die. 8 First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. 9 For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
10 Never slander a worker to the employer, or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.
11 Some people curse their father and do not thank their mother. 12 They are pure in their own eyes, but they are filthy and unwashed. 13 They look proudly around, casting disdainful glances. 14 They have teeth like swords and fangs like knives. They devour the poor from the earth and the needy from among humanity.
15 The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!”[l]
There are three things that are never satisfied— no, four that never say, “Enough!”: 16 the grave,[m] the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire.
17 The eye that mocks a father and despises a mother’s instructions will be plucked out by ravens of the valley and eaten by vultures.
18 There are three things that amaze me— no, four things that I don’t understand: 19 how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.
20 An adulterous woman consumes a man, then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”
21 There are three things that make the earth tremble— no, four it cannot endure: 22 a slave who becomes a king, an overbearing fool who prospers, 23 a bitter woman who finally gets a husband, a servant girl who supplants her mistress.
24 There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise: 25 Ants—they aren’t strong, but they store up food all summer. 26 Hyraxes[n]—they aren’t powerful, but they make their homes among the rocks. 27 Locusts—they have no king, but they march in formation. 28 Lizards—they are easy to catch, but they are found even in kings’ palaces.
29 There are three things that walk with stately stride— no, four that strut about: 30 the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything, 31 the strutting rooster, the male goat, a king as he leads his army.
32 If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil, cover your mouth in shame.
33 As the beating of cream yields butter and striking the nose causes bleeding, so stirring up anger causes quarrels.