17 Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction. 18 For it is good to keep these sayings in your heart and always ready on your lips. 19 I am teaching you today – yes, you – so you will trust in the Lord. 20 I have written thirty sayings for you, filled with advice and knowledge. 21 In this way, you may know the truth and take an accurate report to those who sent you.
It’s not enough to have knowledge. Fallen angels have knowledge. Evil people have knowledge. People going to Hell have knowledge. We need wisdom. Wisdom is the proper application of knowledge. Wisdom is the ability to use knowledge so that we live according to God’s wise principles, and those principles are in accord with who God is.
Don’t listen to the wrong people, whether they speak to you by the media, social media, TV, movies or the arts. Listen to the right people – the wise. They fear the Lord, trust Him, know His Word and are able to apply it to all of the situations they encounter.
And the best source of wisdom is the Word of God, so be intentional with the Word of God: apply your heart to it. Keep it down deep in your core. Keep it in your mind.
If you do, you will become wise and know how to respond to every situation. You will consistently make good decisions. You will be able to respond wisely to those who sent you, who trusted you with an important task. When they hear your wise response, they will be impressed with you, and that will benefit you.
22 Don’t rob the poor just because you can, or exploit the needy in court. 23 For the Lord is their defender. He will ruin anyone who ruins them.
Don’t take advantage of the poor and needy, just because you have the ability to do so. That displeases the Lord, who is righteous and just, and cares for and defends the disadvantaged. The Lord is so much greater than you, so much stronger than you, and He will do to you what you did to them. He will destroy you.
24 Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot‑tempered people, 25 or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.
There are people with serious anger issues. They can’t control their anger. They have repeated angry outbursts. Repeated angry outbursts are toxic. They’re corrosive. Angry people hurt those around them – and they hurt themselves.
Don’t spend time with angry people, because we become like those we spend time with. If we befriend angry people, we will find it easier to give in to anger ourselves. And certainly don’t marry someone with anger issues. You will regret it.
26 Don’t agree to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for someone else. 27 If you can’t pay it, even your bed will be snatched from under you.
Many people are not good with managing money. They live beyond their means. They don’t save. They go into debt. They make bad financial decisions.
So, it’s not wise to guarantee another person’s loan. The person whose debt you are guaranteeing is likely to default and you will be responsible and may lose a lot.
“Rabbi Loren, I’m smarter than that. I would never do anything as foolish as that.” Yes, you would do that. You’re already doing it.
Not only is the federal government – meaning you – in debt – a debt so huge it will never be repaid – the federal government, through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, guarantees all deposits in banks under 250,000. So, if the banks go bankrupt and lose the deposit money, the government – meaning you – will cover the losses. How much in total deposits are in US banks. More than 18 trillion.
But that’s not all. The federal government – meaning you – guarantees private sector workers’ pensions.
The federal government – meaning you – guarantees public sector worker’s pensions.
The federal government – meaning you – guarantees almost all student loans.
The federal government – meaning you – provides guarantees against losses from defaults on mortgages made by private lenders – mainly through the Federal Housing Administration and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac are government‑sponsored enterprises that guarantee mortgages of private borrowers.
Add up all these government guarantees and it comes to trillions and trillions of dollars. When the defaults happen, and I’m sure they’re coming, the government – meaning you – will pay these guarantees by creating trillions of dollars out of nowhere.
Protect yourself from the inevitable destruction of the dollar with real money that can’t be hyperinflated – gold and silver.
28 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers set up by previous generations.
When this was written, stones were used to mark the boundaries of property. This is teaching us to respect the property rights of others. We are not to enrich ourselves by cheating others. We are to be honest in our dealing with others.
And respecting the private property rights applies to governments. Governments that don’t respect property rights create instability and poverty. Think communism. Think socialism.
29 Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.
Hard work and competence lead to recognition and success. Those who work with diligence and skill will gain recognition and have opportunities to work for influential people. Work with diligence and excellence and you will advance.
And, consider this: All of us are called to work for the Lord. Be a person who works for the Lord with diligence and with excellence and He will advance you in His Kingdom. He will honor you – and His honor is the very best kind of honor.
1 While dining with a ruler, pay attention to what is put before you. 2 If you are a big eater, put a knife to your throat; 3 don’t desire all the delicacies, for he might be trying to trick you.
Don’t be fooled by a delicious meal hosted by someone who is rich and powerful. He may have a hidden agenda. That delicious food may come with strings attached – with expectations for you to do something you really don’t want to do. “You enjoyed my great food? You owe me. I want you to do something for me.”
4 Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit. 5 In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
Most people love money and what money can buy, and so they pour too much of their time, thoughts and efforts into getting rich. That’s not wise because wealth, for many reasons, can vanish suddenly.
So, don’t be fixated on getting rich. Learn to be content if your needs are being met. Pursue wisdom, righteousness and serving the Lord. That results in a stable and successful life in this world followed by enjoying the true wealth, eternal riches.
And speaking of wealth disappearing in the blink of an eye: it can happen to a nation as well as to an individual. We have names for it: a financial collapse, a market crash, bank runs, a great depression.
And I hope you believe me when I tell you – once again, that our financial system – with it’s malignant fractional reserve banking system; and currency not backed by gold and silver; and tremendous indebtedness – federal, state and local debt, individual and corporate debt; bloated markets that are propped up by huge amounts of “leverage” – which is another name for debt – all of this is a house of cards built on quicksand with a hurricane approaching. You’ll see.
From The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway: “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”
The US has been going bankrupt gradually – for decades. Soon it will be “suddenly.”
6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies. 7 They are always thinking about how much it costs. “Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it. 8 You will throw up what little you’ve eaten, and your compliments will be wasted.
Don’t eat with stingy or deceptive hosts. Their hospitality may be insincere, and it can lead to an unpleasant experience. Discern the intentions of those who offer you a meal or some other gift and don’t be fooled by their apparent generosity.
9 Don’t waste your breath on fools, for they will despise the wisest advice. Learn to identify a fool. What is a fool? A fool may have a lot of knowledge. He may have a high IQ. He may have a Ph.D. But, he ignores God and God’s wise principles for living. After you have identified a fool, don’t try to teach him, reason with him or correct him. You’re wasting your breath. Looking back, I have wasted way too much of my precious time talking to fools.
10 Don’t cheat your neighbor by moving the ancient boundary markers; don’t take the land of defenseless orphans. 11 For their Redeemer is strong; he himself will bring their charges against you.
Be honest in your dealing with others, especially with those who are weak and vulnerable. Don’t cheat. Don’t steal. Don’t take advantage. Be like the Lord, who is concerned about everyone’s rights, especially the rights of the disadvantaged. And know this: If you do take advantage of people, especially the weak and vulnerable, the Lord, who is so much stronger than you, will work against you, and claw back your ill-gotten gains, and help those you have harmed.
12 Commit yourself to instruction; listen carefully to words of knowledge.
Be intentional about getting good teaching. “Commit yourself.” “Listen carefully.” Be intentional about learning from the Word of God yourself. Be intentional about learning from good Bible teachers. Be intentional about seeking out wise people to talk to. Your life will be better if you do.
13 Don’t fail to discipline your children. The rod of punishment won’t kill them. 14 Physical discipline may well save them from death.
Because we are born with a fallen nature, we come into this world ignorant and rebellious. It’s the duty of parents to teach their children about God and His ways. It’s their responsibility to correct their children when they need correction. Consistent teaching and correction will produce good character in children and save them from a wayward life. Use words to teach and correct. Use a time out or remove some other privilege to correct. Use physical discipline as the last resort – and don’t overdo it.
15 My child, if your heart is wise, my own heart will rejoice!
16 Everything in me will celebrate when you speak what is right.
Wise children are a source of great joy to wise parents. So, if you want to be happy, do everything you can to produce wise children. Parents, teach your children to know the Lord, and be loyal to Him, love Him and serve Him and obey His wise principles for living. Teach these truths to your children until they become part of them.
17 Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. 18 You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.
Sinners can cheat and steal and do all kinds of unethical and illegal things to become rich and famous and enjoy a lavish lifestyle. They can do immoral things to get short term pleasures. Don’t envy them. Do what is right, and be patient, and respect the Lord, and He will reward you with a successful life in this world and eternal life in the world to come.