Thirty Sayings of the Wise- as it regards living right before God and man
Proverbs 22:17-24:22

This morning we are going to continue our journey through the Book of Proverbs

-Written and compiled by King Solomon
-Proverbs is all about wisdom
-The message of Proverbs is this: You can be wise. Choose the path of wisdom. Embrace wisdom. Love wisdom. Pursue wisdom.
-As Proverbs 1:7 teaches us- wisdom begins with a relationship with God
-Proverbs ultimately leads us to Jesus- who is wisdom. Everything Jesus said and did exemplifies wisdom. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3)

For todays lesson we are going to take a look at Proverbs 22:17-24:22. In these verses Solomon presents to us a 30 point summary sheet as it regards how to live wisely before God and ones king/leaders.

Solomon's summary presentation of points to live by is not unusual for there have been many who have carried in their pockets or posted on their walls "principles to live by". i.e Benjamin Franklin constantly reviewed for himself what he considered to be 13 principles of success. A simple search of "principles to live by" yields page after page of "_# principles to live by"

Also interesting: Immediately after going his summary, Solomon doesn't stop, for in v.23 in following he adds to the list and then carries on for another 6 chapters.

One further general note: The majority of these sayings are worded as prohibitions. 26 times (sometimes one of Solomon's sayings has multiples) in the NIV the phrase "DO NOT" is used. Typically we like everything worded to us positively. While Solomon does this at times. i.e "The wise person does..." most of his sayings on wisdom include warnings for us of what not to do. We need this! We need both.


Note: We going to walk thru the text. We'll read all 30 sayings but I won't comment on them all. There is about 10 that I will comment on though :)

Solomon's preface/His introductory counsel Proverbs 22:17-21

Solomon's intent: That we might live right before God and man

"17 Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach,18 for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.19 So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you.20 Have I not written thirty sayings for you, sayings of counsel and knowledge,21 teaching you to be honest and to speak the truth, so that you bring back truthful reports to those you serve?"

Note Solomon's call for us to listen carefully, to follow through (and not be mere hearers of the Word), to memorize these sayings, and to teach them to others

Saying 1 - of how to live right before God and man -Proverbs 22:22-23

POINT: How you treat the poor- it's a big deal

"22 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, 23 for the Lord will take up their case and will exact life for life."

I find it really interesting that Solomon's first principle regards how we treat the poor. We are to be generous as it regards the poor, widows, the fatherless, the defenseless, those impaired by disability. Many Scriptures exhort us to look out for the poor- with the promise that God will bless us if we do i.e Deuteronomy 15:10-11. How we respond to the most vulnerable says a lot about us.

This text also tells us that God will take up the cause of the poor and punish those who mistreat them.

Saying 2- as it regards living right before God and man -Proverbs 22:24-25

POINT: Be careful who you make friends with. Angry people don't make for good friends

"Bad company corrupts good character" 1 Corinthians 15:33

"24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered, 25 or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared."

Anger does not result in the righteous life that God requires (James 1:20). We need to be careful who we hang out with. Bad habits are easily learned and hard to break.

Saying 3 -as it regards living right before God and man -Proverbs 22:26-27

POINT: Before you sign on the dotted line, ask yourself "Can I afford to lose everything?"

"26 Do not be one who shakes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts; 27 if you lack the means to pay, your very bed will be snatched from under you."

Signing our name to someone else's debt is a very risky risky thing to do. If you want to give money, give it. If you want to make a personal loan to the person, do it. As for signing your name to another persons debt- Don't do it - unless you are prepared to take responsibility for 100% of the obligation and maybe even more depending on the character of the person

Saying 4

"28 Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your ancestors."

The Israelites received their inheritance in the Promised land by lots. The land was to remain with that person and their family. To steal the land that God gave from another person would be a great crime.

Saying 5 - as it regards living right before God and man Proverbs 22:29

POINT: Better yourself. Study. Train. Practice Improve your skills

"29 Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings; they will not serve before officials of low rank. ie: Joseph, Nehemiah, Daniel!"

Application: Improve your skills! Train! Get further education! Practice! Take whatever opportunities you can to better yourself! We are to be life long learners (this doesn't mean you have to get extra degrees either- for their are many books and online courses and webinars and practicums that can be done)

Subjects for advancement include: finances, marriage, relationships, conflict management, how to fix, how to build, how to...... Specialization can bring great reward as well!

Saying 6

When you sit to dine with a ruler, note well what is before you, 2 and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.3 Do not crave his delicacies, for that food is deceptive. OR "When you go out to dinner with an influential person, mind your manners: Don't gobble your food, don't talk with your mouth full. And don't stuff yourself; bridle your appetite."

Saying 7 as it regards living right before God and man

POINT: Don't trust in money. Don't let money consume you

"4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness.5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."

We need to be careful as it regards pursuing money. 1 Timothy 6:9-10 says "Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

Further: Do not trust your own cleverness. This leads to self congratulatory behavior and pride. It is not on our own abilities that we are to rely but rather we must always seek the Wisdom and leading of Christ.

We to be wise with our money. Generous. Good stewards. Help the poor. Save for the future. God's work

In Luke 12:15 Jesus says; "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions."

Saying 8

6 Do not eat the food of a begrudging host, do not crave his delicacies; 7 for he is the kind of person who is always thinking about the cost."Eat and drink," he says to you, but his heart is not with you.8 You will vomit up the little you have eaten and will have wasted your compliments.

Saying 9

9 Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.

Saying 10 -this relates to #1 and #4

10 Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless,11 for their Defender is strong; he will take up their case against you.

Saying 11 -this relates to #5

12 Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.

Saying 12 as it regards living right before God and man

POINT: We are to train up our children in the ways of the LORD and to lovingly discipline them when they purposefully do wrong

"13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die. 14 Punish them with the rod and save them from death."

Here in Canada, spanking your child, let alone whacking them on the backside with a small stick, might end a person in trouble with Children's Aid and the Law. Yet there is a timeless principle here- undisciplined children are no credit to their parents. Parents who fail to train and discipline their children (There is a variety of ways to do so acceptably, not in anger but because they love them) are bound to raise disobedient, lippy, and rebellious adults.

If you are parent, do yourself a favor- do not let your children get away with bossing you around and getting their own way all the time. Children are to obey their parents, work hard, be respectful to mom and dad and all who are in authority.

A further note on discipline: Be careful of your words. Don't call names. Don't tear down. If you do decide to give your child a tap on the behind, make sure you have control of your anger and that what you do is measured and in proportion to the offense.

Also: Hebrews 12:4-13 is a great passage on the purpose of discipline and particularly God's discipline of us- He does so because He loves us and is desirous that we live righteous and holy lives

Saying 13

"15 My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad indeed; 16 my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right."

Saying 14

"17 Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the Lord.18 There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off."

See Psalm 37, Psalm 24

Saying 15

"19 Listen, my son, and be wise, and set your heart on the right path:20 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat,21 for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags."

Saying 16 -this ties in to #12,13, 15

22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.
23 Buy the truth and do not sell it- wisdom, instruction and insight as well. 24 The father of a righteous child has great joy; a man who fathers a wise son rejoices in him. 25 May your father and mother rejoice; may she who gave you birth be joyful!

Saying 17

26 My son, give me your heart and let your eyes delight in my ways,27 for an adulterous woman is a deep pit, and a wayward wife is a narrow well. 28 Like a bandit she lies in wait and multiplies the unfaithful among men.

Saying 18 as it regards living right before God and man Proverbs 23:29-35

POINT: Alcoholism, alcohol as a coping tool, getting wasted- NOT A GOOD THING

In the USA alcohol a factor in 40% of violent crimes. Alcohol and drugs implicated in an estimated 80% of offenses leading to incarceration. 80% of teens in juvenile detention centers under the influence of drugs and alcohol when when committed their crimes.

"Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 Those who linger over wine, who go to sample bowls of mixed wine. 31 Do not gaze at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it goes down smoothly! 32 In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper. 33 Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things. 34 You will be like one sleeping on the high seas, lying on top of the rigging. 35 They hit me," you will say, "but I'm not hurt! They beat me, but I don't feel it! When will I wake up so I can find another drink?"

The Bible has a lot to say about alcohol. While it does not forbid the consumption of alcohol, it does speak quite strongly against drunkenness. The Bible also tells us that we need to mind our finances (alcohol is expensive) and our examples (so if you know someone who struggles with alcohol use or believes drinking it is a sin then don't drink in front of them or talk about drinking)

Here we have a very picturesque depiction of one who we might classify as a drunk and a partier. It's not very flattering, but its a great reminder to us of the folly of alcohol

A further caution as it regards alcohol- it's a bad coping tool. Sometimes when you have a hard day- you might think "I need a drink". I need something to help me calm down. This is a bit of trap.... for one runs the risk of coming home everyday to drink to cover over the misery of their day. This is not a healthy short cut to peace of mind

If you do drink- drink sparingly, drink legally, don't drive, don't use it as a coping tool, be careful who you drink in front of, mind your testimony and example, make sure you can afford it, keep in mind that it has ruined many a person

Saying 19

"24:1 Do not envy the wicked, do not desire their company; 2 for their hearts plot violence, and their lips talk about making trouble."

Saying 20

3 By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; 4 through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

Saying 21

5 The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength.
6 Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers. OR "It's better to be wise than strong; intelligence outranks muscle any day. Strategic planning is the key to warfare; to win, you need a lot of good counsel."

Saying 22 -this connects to #9, 14,19

"24:7 Wisdom is too high for fools; in the assembly at the gate they must not open their mouths."

Saying 23

8 Whoever plots evil will be known as a schemer.9 The schemes of folly are sin, and people detest a mocker.

Saying 24

10 If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! or "You are a poor specimen if you can't stand the pressure of adversity"

See Jeremiah 12:5

Saying 25 as it regards living right before God and man Proverbs 24:11-12

POINT: Be a good samaritan! Rescue the perishing! Point people to the Saviour- to Jesus

11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.12 If you say, "But we knew nothing about this," does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?

Examples: Esther for her people, the Hebrew midwives for the Jewish boys. Reuben delivered Joseph from the pit. Job came to the aid of the poor. Jonathan saved David. Obadiah hid the prophets. Daniel preserved the wise men of Babylon. Paul's nephew spoke to the Roman regarding the plot against Paul's life.

We are our brothers keeper. We should be looking out for the best interests of those around us.

In the big picture v.11 touches on our responsibility to warn people of the judgment to come, of the consequences of their sin, of what it means to die in ones sins apart from the grace and mercy of Christ!****

While we cannot save anyone- this is the LORD's work- we are to call and direct people to Christ, in whom is the forgiveness of sins and eternal life.

James 5:19-20 says; "My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.

Saying 26

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

Saying 27

15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place;
16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

Saying 28

17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,
18 or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them.

Saying 29

19 Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked,20 for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

Saying 30 -as it regards living right before God and man Proverbs 24:21-22

POINT: We are accountable to God and to those who are over us. Obey God. Obey your leaders

21 Fear the Lord and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

I find it quite fascinating that this last saying takes us back to the beginning of Solomon's 30 sayings. In v.17-22 Solomon counsels us- one and all- to trust in the Lord and to grow in wisdom that we might be serve those who are over us well. Note how he ends "Fear the Lord and the king".

We are accountable to God and to those over us. Our first devotion is the Lord and after that we are to be law abiding citizens (as long as those laws do not contradict God's)


So that's it: Solomon's TOP 30 sayings on how to live wisely before God and man. There is a lot in there for us and I love how once again we have verses that take us to Jesus- the ultimate embodiment of wisdom

Keep in the Word this. Let's be found growing in the wisdom of God and in righteousness.