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Friday, July 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Proverbs 20

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-30

Chapter 20

Into chapter 20.

Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise ( Proverbs 20:1 ).

He will have more to say about wine as we move along in our study next week, chapter 23. "Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has contentions? Who has babblings? Who has wounds without cause? Who has red eyes? They that tarry long at wine; and those that go to seek mixed wine," and so foRuth ( Proverbs 23:29-30 ). It talks about them in chapter 23. "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging. Whoever is deceived thereby is not wise."

In the New Testament we are told that in choosing those as overseers in the church, they are not to be given to wine. In the Old Testament, there were two sons of Aaron who, when they had built the altar and were ready to offer sacrifices, the fire of God came down and kindled the altar and Aaron's two sons grabbed their little incense burners and put coals in them and started in to offer incense before the Lord, and the fire of God came from the altar and consumed the two sons of Aaron. And when this happened, the Lord said unto Moses, "Speak unto Aaron and his sons and tell them that they are not to be drinking wine when they come in to offer sacrifices before Me." For God does not want service from any kind of a false stimulation.

So there are people today that feel a freedom and a liberty to drink wine, and again, it's a thing where you say, "Well, Jesus turned the water," and all this kind of stuff, and you can rationalize and all. But yet, "Wine is a mocker." Better that you didn't. The thing is, again, not is it right, is it wrong? Is it pleasing? Is this what God wants? "Strong drink is raging. Whoever is deceived by them is not wise."

Paul said, "All things are lawful for me." So you can prove that it's lawful. But he said, "I will not be brought under the power of any" ( 1 Corinthians 6:12 ). Does it affect my judgment at all? Does it affect my attitudes? Then I'm being brought under its power.

The fear of the king is as a roaring of a lion: whoso provokes him to anger sins against his own soul ( Proverbs 20:2 ).

You provoke a king, provoke a lion, you're in trouble.

It is an honor for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will just keep on meddling ( Proverbs 20:3 ).

You know there are some times you just don't want to get into trouble. You don't want to get in a brawl, but the guy just keeps needling. Just keeps going and going and going. The fool will just keep on meddling.

We used to have a great big old English setter, Duke. And he's the kind of dog every boy should have to grow up with. Of course, we didn't have leash laws in those days, and everywhere I went Duke was with me. Ride my bike; he would be alongside. Go to school; create worst havoc in school. Through the hallways looking for me and all. And he was big. He could jump up and his feet would be on my shoulders, he could lick my face. And he was just a boy's dog. Great dog. Those English setters are very independent dogs, and they're sort of a one-owner type of a dog. In other words, you call them, you try and pet them and they're very independent. Have nothing to do with you. But their master, you know, they're just devoted. And Duke was just devoted to me. I was his master and just, you know, I could whistle anything else, and man, he would come charging. He was just my dog.

We went up to Bass Lake one summer and took Duke with us. And he created quite a bit of havoc there at Bass Lake. One evening we were sitting down to eat dinner, and of course, campfire and so forth. Cooked the food and fixing dinner. And he looked sort of longingly at our food. And then he went over and began to dig in the dirt and pulled up a whole string of sausages that he had ripped off from some camp somewhere. And there was this little Terrier dog that was in a camp next to us, and here Duke, big old thing, and this little Terrier was always yipping. And whenever Duke would go running along the lake, this little dog would be nipping at him and yipping, and he just ignored him. You know, just like a little mouse, and you know, "Go away you little runt, you know, you're... and just leave me alone." But this little dog kept persisting, and one day Duke was running along the lake and this little dog was along, yipping and nipping, and evidently clipped him and made him mad. And he turned around and picked up this little dog in his mouth and just flung him on out into the lake. But it reminded me of this proverb. "It is an honor for a man to cease from strife, but the fool will just keep on meddling." Until he's into trouble, you know.

Now we deal with the sluggard or the slothful, the lazy man again.

The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold ( Proverbs 20:4 );

Oh, it's too cold to go out and plow today.

therefore he'll be begging in the time of harvest, and have nothing. Counsel in the heart of a man is like deep water ( Proverbs 20:4-5 );

This is beautiful.

but a man of understanding will draw it out ( Proverbs 20:5 ).

Now a really good counselor will be able to draw you out. Deep within you know the answer; you know what's right. You know what you should be doing. And a counselor really isn't there to tell you what to do. He's there to help you understand yourself. Now it's like a well of deep waters. Down inside you know basically what you should be doing. And a man of understanding, a good counselor, can draw it out of you. And that's what wise counseling really is. It's drawing out the answers within the person. I'm not a good counselor so don't come to me. But I would just know what they should be doing.

Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness ( Proverbs 20:6 ):

Ain't that the truth?

but a faithful man who can find? The just man walks in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. A king that sits in the throne of judgment scatters away all of the evil with his eyes ( Proverbs 20:6-8 ).

He looks around.

Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? ( Proverbs 20:9 )

Can any of you say that? I've made my... I'm pure. Who can say it?

Now here's the thing again on the balances, the weights.

Divers weights, and divers measures ( Proverbs 20:10 ),

This is, you know, as I said, one to buy them, one to sell.

both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD ( Proverbs 20:10 ).

If you have different sizes of cups, different weights, they're an abomination to God.

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right ( Proverbs 20:11 ).

You begin to see that even in the child.

The hearing ear, the seeing eye, the LORD hath made both of them. Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty; open your eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread ( Proverbs 20:12-13 ).

Get up. Now this one is so typical.

It is nothing, it is nothing, says the buyer: but when he is gone his way, he boasts ( Proverbs 20:14 ).

"Man, what a deal I got," you know. Yet when you're looking at it, "Oh, it's an old dog. It's not worth anything. It's nothing."

There is gold, and a multitude of rubies: but the lips of knowledge are like a precious jewel. Take his garment that is a surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. The bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravel ( Proverbs 20:15-17 ).

Deceitfulness. You may think it's smart, but man, you're going to grind.

Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war. He that goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets: and therefore meddle not with him that is flattering with his lips. Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp will be put out in obscure darkness. An inheritance may be gotten hastily at the beginning; but the end thereof shall not be blessed. Say not thou, I will recompense evil; but wait on the LORD, and he shall save thee ( Proverbs 20:18-22 ).

"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord" ( Romans 12:19 ). And so don't you go around saying, "I'm going to get even. I'll recompense him or get even for his evil." Just give it to the Lord.

Divers weights are an abomination unto the LORD; and a false balance is not good. Man's goings are of the LORD; how can a man then understand his own way? ( Proverbs 20:23-24 )

Isn't that interesting? Man's goings are of the Lord. God guides my path. How then can I understand my own way?

It is a snare to a man who devours that which is holy, and after vows to make an inquiry ( Proverbs 20:25 ).

In other words, if you make a vow to God then don't modify it, just keep it.

A wise king scatters the wicked, and brings the wheel over them. The spirit of a man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of his life ( Proverbs 20:26-27 ).

Spirit of man. God's candle searching within.

Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upheld by mercy. And the glory of young men is their strength: and the beauty of old men is their gray head ( Proverbs 20:28-29 ).

I don't know where that leaves me.

The blueness of a wound cleanses away evil: so do stripes in the inward parts of the life ( Proverbs 20:30 ).

Proverbs, interesting little bits of instruction and wisdom. A wise man will take heed to them and will gain in knowledge.

Father, we thank You for the instructions in the way of righteousness and truth. That which is good. That which is wholesome. That which is honest. Help us, Lord, to take to heart these words of instruction. Help us, Lord, to walk in righteousness before Thee. Help us to seek peace and to pursue it. Oh God, keep us from the wicked way. From the false lips. From the talebearing. May we in love relate to each other. Committing, Lord, ourselves, the issues of our lives unto Thee. Knowing, Lord, that You are the judge who will make the final disposition of all things. And thus, may we rest in Thy justice and in Thy truth. In Jesus' name. Amen. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Proverbs 20". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/proverbs-20.html. 2014.
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