A wise son heeds his father’s instruction, but a mocker does not listen to rebuke.
2 From the fruit of his lips a man enjoys good things, but the unfaithful have a craving for violence.
3 He who guards his lips guards his life, but he who speaks rashly will come to ruin.
I’ve found that one of the key ingredients to success at work and at home is what I say and what I don’t say. Being more intential about saying good and encouraging things makes a big difference, but even more important are the things I don’t say – those pointless, unconstructive things that make you feel better for a moment but are there for a lifetime.
4 The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.
5 The righteous hate what is false, but the wicked bring shame and disgrace.
6 Righteousness guards the man of integrity, but wickedness overthrows the sinner.
7 One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.
8 A man’s riches may ransom his life, but a poor man hears no threat.
9 The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.
10 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.
11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.
Learning to submit to authority is an important success factor in life. Too many people grow up without basic manners and with the ethic that rebellion is good. They are destined for misery.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.
15 Good understanding wins favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
16 Every prudent man acts out of knowledge, but a fool exposes his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
18 He who ignores discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honored.
19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.
20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.
As 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” I’ve seen how choosing friends well has made a huge difference in my daughters’ lives so we encourage that whenever we can.
21 Misfortune pursues the sinner, but prosperity is the reward of the righteous.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.
Giving is important and can bring great joy, but there is nothing wrong with thrift and saving. We need to trust that God will provide, but one of the ways He provides is to give us enough to save for retirement and to give generously.
23 A poor man’s field may produce abundant food, but injustice sweeps it away.
24 He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
That is the classic verse about how to punish children. I go through Proverbs a chapter at a time here, but it is also productive to go through the whole book to look at particular themes such as money, marriage, children, etc.
If we love our kids we will discipline them appropriately while keeping their natures in mind. V. 24 isn’t a blank check for abuse. It doesn’t say to punish in anger. But age-appropriate and infraction-appropriate punishment is important to their well-being.
25 The righteous eat to their hearts’ content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.