Proverbs 20

Here in this imperfect state, no person can claim to be sinless, but the just man, walking by the rule of God’s Word may have the comfort of a good conscience, and his children will fare the better for his sake.

1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

2 The fear of a king is as the roaring of a lion: whoso provoketh him to anger sinneth against his own soul.

3 It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling.

4 The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.

5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.

6 Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?

7 The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him.

8 A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment scattereth away all evil with his eyes.

9 Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?

10 Divers weights, and divers measures, both of them are alike abomination to the LORD.

11 Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

12 The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the LORD hath made even both of them.

13 Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread.

14 It is naught, it is naught, saith the buyer: but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

15 There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

16 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.

17 Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.

18 Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.

19 He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.

20 Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

21 An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed.

22 Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee.

23 Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good.

24 Man’s goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way?

25 It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.

26 A wise king scattereth the wicked, and bringeth the wheel over them.

27 The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

28 Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

29 The glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is the gray head.

30 The blueness of a wound cleanseth away evil: so do stripes the inward parts of the belly.

Proverbs 20:1-15 – Sobriety; Industry; Honesty

   Strong drink is the greatest of all foes to human happiness. It gains an influence over men by fair promises, but when once it is entrenched, it mocks at the misery of its abject slave. It promises strength for the arm, joy for the heart, brilliance for the mind; but those fair promises are not kept, and the end is impotence, misery, and imbecility. Let each reader of these words henceforth utterly abjure it!
   The sluggard is depicted throughout this book to stir us to diligent industry. After all, it is not by great gifts but by patient persistence that men succeed. Indeed, the highest genius is left behind by the careful plodder, if the one lacks and the other possesses this invaluable quality. “Not slothful in business… serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11).
   All our life lies open to the eye of God. He is closely acquainted with the transactions of the bank, the office, the ledger, and the weights in the store. No lapse from perfect honesty escapes his notice; and for every act of deception there is an inevitable Nemesis. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 20:16-30 – ​“The Glory of Young Men”

   What a wonderful thought is given in Proverbs 20:27! We stand like a row of unlighted candles until God’s Spirit kindles us. Has the Divine Nature ever bent over your nature, communicating to it its glow and fire? If so, be very careful that no puff of wind shall extinguish that sacred spark; and see that it is supplied with the daily nutriment it requires. The whole paragraph seems to indicate the clear shining of this light, which must not be hidden under a bushel, but placed on the stand, that it may give light to all who come in. So let your light shine that men may admire neither the lamp-stand nor the wick, but the glory of the light of God radiating from you.
   Such a soul will be true, Proverbs 20:17; will be wise, Proverbs 20:18; will eschew tale-bearing and flattery,Proverbs 20:19; will honor the parents that gave it birth, Proverbs 20:20; will win a good inheritance by patient industry, Proverbs 20:21; will wait on the salvation of God, Proverbs 20:22; will accept God’s guidance, Proverbs 20:24; will follow mercy and truth, Proverbs 20:28; will be strong, and pure, and faithful. Such should be the glory of all young men and maidens if their old age shall be beautiful, Proverbs 20:29. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Proverbs 20:27—The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD.

   See that row of unlighted candles, standing in silver sockets, chased and wrought with wondrous skill—such are the souls of men by nature, rich in attainments and generous impulses, highly educated, perhaps, apparently fit for high and glorious work, but they have no light. They are a puzzle to themselves and others. another, who has none of their powers or advantages, casts a glow on his age, which lingers long after he has gone. He is like a common candle, but lit. The spark from God has ignited his soul.
   But remember that while the candle shines with the light of God, it wastes. The slowly-dwindling length shows the amount of the inevitable expenditure. Our Lord said of the Baptist (John 5:35), “He was a burning and a shining light.” There must be burning before there can be shining; we must suffer in order to serve. It is good to know this, for it gives purpose to pain. “I cried to thee, O LORD; and unto the LORD I made supplication. What profit is there in my blood?” (Psalms 30:8-9). What profit! If we only knew that, the pain might be borne proudly and lightly. Oh, never dare to think of blessing men, except at a cost of blood and tears, that may seem to thee as a guttering candle, the wax of which is flowing down in trickling streams, or curling up in rugged contortions!
       “Therefore, O Lord, I will not fail nor falter.
          Nay, but I ask it; nay, but I desire–
       Lay on my lips thine embers of the altar,
          Seal with the sting, and furnish with the fire.

       “Quick in a moment, infinite for ever,
          Send an arousal better than I pray;
       Give me a grace upon the faint endeavour,
          Souls for my hire, and Pentecost today.” —Our Daily Homily