Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands. He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him. In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. Where no oxen are, the crib is clean: but much increase is by the strength of the ox. A faithful witness will not lie: but a false witness will utter lies.
I pass over these several verses, plain and instructive as they all are, to dwell on the sweet feature of Christ, as the faithful and true witness. Revelation 1:5. And, I hope that I need not remind the reader, that it is one of the gracious assurances given to us of our covenant God, that he is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man, that he should repent. Numbers 23:19. And the apostle makes this a most blessed argument of comfort, in the contemplation of the word and oath of Jehovah, that God willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation who have fled for refuge, to lay hold upon the hope set before us. Hebrews 6:17-18. Is it not precious, Reader, to consider how sure the divine promises are, founded in the merits of Christ's blood and righteousness, and the covenant engagements of Jehovah? This is what Paul calls grace reigning through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21.
A scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not: but knowledge is easy unto him that understandeth. Go from the presence of a foolish man, when thou perceivest not in him the lips of knowledge. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit.
This verse of fools making a mock at sin, is very expressive: for surely none but fools can do so; to laugh at that which offends God, ruins men, and which nothing but the blood of Christ can expiate; this must be supreme folly indeed.
Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favour.
This is a sweet verse, and fully explained by every gracious soul in his own feeling's. Who knows the secret transactions between God and the soul on account of sin! Who shall sum up the sorrows of a wounded conscience? And who is competent to describe the sweet intercourse between Christ and the soul, when, through the operations of the Holy Ghost, all that rich and heart-rejoicing communion takes place, which lifts the soul into the very suburbs of heaven?
The heart knoweth his own bitterness; and a stranger doth not intermeddle with his joy. The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness. The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.
God hath said this, and the soul knows the truth of it experimentally. See that scripture, Jeremiah 2:19
The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going. A wise man feareth, and departeth from evil: but the fool rageth, and is confident. He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated. The simple inherit folly: but the prudent are crowned with knowledge. The evil bow before the good; and the wicked at the gates of the righteous. The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
The poor in spirit is the object of the rich man's hatred, if the one be a possessor of grace in his poverty, and the other not. But, what rich are here spoken of? Perhaps the rich of this world. Yes; such have many friends, at least, many who profess to be so; but not many promises. Go to now, ye rich men (saith Jesus) weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. James 5:1. But if Solomon means by the rich having many friends, the rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom, they have indeed multitudes of friends. God is their Father and friend; Jesus is their friend that loveth at all times: the Holy Ghost is their friend. Angels, and all the church of the first-born in heaven are their friends; and all the redeemed below. Precious thought to the exercised followers of the sinner's friend!
He that despiseth his neighbour sinneth: but he that hath mercy on the poor, happy is he. Do they not err that devise evil? but mercy and truth shall be to them that devise good. In all labour there is profit: but the talk of the lips tendeth only to penury. The crown of the wise is their riches: but the foolishness of fools is folly. A true witness delivereth souls: but a deceitful witness speaketh lies. In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death. In the multitude of people is the king's honour: but in the want of people is the destruction of the prince. He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly. A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones. He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. The wicked is driven away in his wickedness: but the righteous hath hope in his death. Wisdom resteth in the heart of him that hath understanding: but that which is in the midst of fools is made known. Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. The king's favour is toward a wise servant: but his wrath is against him that causeth shame.
I detain not the Reader with offering any comment upon those verses. If they be read with an eye to Christ, and the Holy Ghost be the teacher, many are the gracious instructions which will arise out of them.
READER! amidst several very interesting views given in this chapter of God and of Christ, I know not what your feelings are, but I confess that my mind is led to reflect again and again on what Solomon saith of a faithful witness. And, precious as it is to find among the general perfidy of mankind any of this character, yet, how much more blessed is it to contemplate this perfection in the faithful, unchangeable God. It was the very character by which Jehovah demanded that he should be known to Israel of old. Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God! And, herein hath Jehovah pledged himself to Christ, and pledged, if it may be so expressed, even his holiness to him, for the fulfillment of all his covenant promises. Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David. Oh! the rich charter of grace! Oh! the security of God's people! Blessed God! cause me to live upon it, to rest upon it, and never, no not for a moment, to call in question God's faithfulness: but to know that righteousness is the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins. And as a man binds up his girdle around him, and fastens it to himself; so Jehovah takes to himself his faithfulness, for his people to lay hold of, and to hang upon. Precious God! here will I hang, and nothing, no, not even death itself shall unclasp my dying holdfast; for when both heart and strength shall fail, thou shalt be the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Proverbs 14". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Lent