19 My child, listen and be wise: Keep your heart on the right course. 20 Do not carouse with drunkards or feast with gluttons, 21 for they are on their way to poverty, and too much sleep clothes them in rags.
Listen and be wise: 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. Wisdom is very advantageous, very beneficial. Why? God is wise. He favors those with wisdom. He blesses those with wisdom. The fruit of wisdom is good decision making. That results in success in this life and eternal success in the Life To Come! The fruit of wisdom is a better, more pleasant, and a more peaceful life.
Keep your heart on the right course. There is a way, a path, a road, a course that leads to a successful life. And there are things that will take us “off course” – like allowing ourselves to spend too much time with those who don’t eat and drink to live, but live to eat and drink. Be a person whose heart, the core of who he is, is focused on living wisely, whose heart is focused on the important things – like growing in the knowledge of God and His Word, serving the Lord by building His Community of salvation and proclaiming the Good News to those outside that blessed Community. Don’t focus your thoughts, time and energy on insignificant things like entertainments and pleasures like great eating and drinking experiences.
22 Listen to your father, who gave you life, and don’t despise your mother when she is old. 23 Get the truth and never sell it; also get wisdom, discipline, and good judgment. 24 The father of godly children has cause for joy. What a pleasure to have children who are wise. 25 So give your father and mother joy! May she who gave you birth be happy.
Children, pay attention to the wisdom of your parents – when you are young, and even when you are older. Your parents will have more life experience and more wisdom than you. Be intentional about getting truth, wisdom, discipline, and good judgment from them and from others who are wise. Wise children bring pleasure to wise parents, so parents, do everything you can to produce wise, godly children. Model a godly life for them. Teach them. Correct them. Discipline them. You’ll be happy you did.
26 O my son, give me your heart. May your eyes take delight in following my ways. 27 A prostitute is a dangerous trap; a promiscuous woman is as dangerous as falling into a narrow well. 28 She hides and waits like a robber, eager to make more men unfaithful.
A wise father wants his son to be wise and follow his good ways. He wants his son to cherish his teachings and keep them in his heart. A wise father knows that one of the things that will ruin his son’s life is sexual immorality, and so he warns his son about the dangers of having sex with prostitutes and promiscuous women. No sex outside of marriage! It’s not right. It’s not wise.
29 Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting? Who is always complaining? Who has unnecessary bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? 30 It is the one who spends long hours in the taverns, trying out new drinks. 31 Don’t gaze at the wine, seeing how red it is, how it sparkles in the cup, how smoothly it goes down. 32 For in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper. 33 You will see hallucinations, and you will say crazy things. 34 You will stagger like a sailor tossed at sea, clinging to a swaying mast. 35 And you will say, “They hit me, but I didn’t feel it. I didn’t even know it when they beat me up. When will I wake up so I can look for another drink?”
These are vivid descriptions about the allure and deceit of excessive drinking. An alcoholic drink can look delicious, taste delicious, and make you feel happy. There’s a reason it’s called “happy hour.” But, those who drink too much end up in a pathetic condition: they experience physical and mental suffering. They lose self-control. They say and do stupid things. They get into fights and get beaten up. Eventually they ruin their health; and their finances; and they destroy their self-control; and they underperform at work; and they hurt themselves and their families. So, exercise self‑control with alcohol and don’t overindulge.
And when it comes to marijuana – marijuana is different from alcohol. There are no legitimate uses for smoking marijuana. When it comes to weed, Shema has a zero tolerance policy. Absolutely no marijuana usage at all. Zero.
1 Don’t envy evil people or desire their company. 2 For their hearts plot violence, and their words always stir up trouble.
Evil people are envied because they lie and cheat and steal, use violence, and do illegal things to become rich and successful. They do immoral things to get short term pleasures. Don’t envy them. Don’t desire to be with them and share in their ill-gotten gains and pleasures.
3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. 4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
Wisdom and knowledge are like a well built house full of valuable things. Through wisdom and knowledge a person can establish a stable, meaningful and successful life. Wisdom is powerful. Wisdom is beneficial. So, love wisdom, seek wisdom, pursue wisdom.
5 The wise are mightier than the strong, and those with knowledge grow stronger and stronger. 6 So don’t go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many advisers.
Wisdom is more powerful than physical strength. Wisdom is necessary for strength and success and victory. With wisdom, knowledge and wise guidance, a person gains an advantage. Better decisions are made, enabling him to be better able to overcome life’s challenges. And, when you have an important decision to make, get wise guidance. Seek out wise people and get their advice.
7 Wisdom is too lofty for fools. Among leaders at the city gate, they have nothing to say. Wisdom is necessary for engaging in important discussions. Fools – those who ignore God and His wise principles, lack the ability to understand the depth of wisdom. They are incapable of meaningful participation in insightful conversations. Why can it be hard to talk to your non-believing family and friends about important issues? They are fools. They don’t fear God. They don’t respect the Word of God. They lack wisdom.
8 A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker. 9 The schemes of a fool are sinful; everyone detests a mocker.
A person who plans evil will get a reputation as a troublemaker. Don’t plan to do anything that will harm others. It’s wrong to harm people. We are to bless not curse, help not harm. And, when we harm others, we harm ourselves. We slice off a little bit of our soul. While they might seem be successful at first, those who harm others will get a reputation as a bad person, an evil troublemaker who is to be avoided.
The schemes of a fool are sinful: Fools – those who disregard God and His ways – come up with schemes that are sinful, wrong, destructive. Some examples: Big government. High taxes. Expansion of government regulations. Social programs that create dependency and destroy personal responsibility and destroy the family. Abortion rights. Pure evil. Open borders. Truly insane. Critical race theory in education. Defunding the police. Not prosecuting people who steal less than $1000. Suppressing freedom of speech. Cancelling those who disagree with you. No fault divorce. Euthanasia. Normalizing perversions like homosexuality, lesbianism and transgenderism. Allowing biological men to compete in women’s sports. Two more foolish schemes that are sinful: Socialism. Communism.
Everyone detests a mocker. Those who make fun of and insult God and the truths of the Word of God; those who mock Christianity, Christians and Messianic Jews; those who mock our values will eventually be disliked because their mockery leads to the ruination of the people they’re influencing and the destruction of the society they’re living in.
10 If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small. 11 Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to die; save them as they stagger to their death. 12 Don’t excuse yourself by saying, “Look, we didn’t know.” For God understands all hearts, and he sees you. He who guards your soul knows you knew. He will repay all people as their actions deserve.
There may be times when society is decent. The economy is good. Life is easy. And there may be times of evil, danger, injustice, poverty and hardship. When there is great injustice, God expects the righteous to fight the injustice. He does not want them to fold under pressure and turn a blind eye to the evil that’s going on. He wants us to be strong, courageous and oppose the oppression, persecution and murder of people around us. Think of Jewish people being protected from the Nazis by courageous Christians who risked their lives to save them. Think of those courageously standing for the children in the womb who are being slaughtered.
What motivates us to put ourselves at risk and fight evil? The knowledge that God, the ultimate Judge, knows all and will reward or punish us. We can’t use the excuse, like so many did in Europe: “we didn’t know what was happening to the Jews. We’re not responsible for what happened to them.” Many knew but refused to do anything.
13 My child, eat honey, for it is good, and the honeycomb is sweet to the taste. 14 In the same way, wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short.
Wisdom is so good, so delightful, so beneficial. Just as honey is sweet to the taste, and good for us to eat, wisdom brings satisfaction, success and delight. It enhances our lives by enabling us to make good decisions that are as pleasing and satisfying as eating honey.
15 Don’t wait in ambush at the home of the godly, and don’t raid the house where the godly live. 16 The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.
There are advantages to being righteous and godly. They have resiliency. Because they know that the Lord is their rock and fortress, their strong tower and their Redeemer – when they experience difficulties – they are able to bounce back. When they stumble, they’re able to get up and continue their journey to God and eternal life.
In contrast, the wicked lack resiliency. They have no assurance that they are in a right relationship with a wise, powerful, loving, caring God who is there to help them. They have no sure hope of eternal life. So, if they experience a disaster, they don’t have the mental and spiritual resources to bounce back. If they experience a disaster, they’re more likely to not recover.
Since I’ve lived in my neighborhood, two Jewish women, who lived a few houses away from me, killed themselves. One had money problems and committed suicide. I don’t know the reasons why the other committed suicide. Why so much teenage suicide? So many teenagers are far from God, meaning, purpose, hope. They are immersed in an evil, crazy world. They are godless and hopeless. They lack resiliency.
Those who live godly and righteously will have hope and perseverance, even when facing difficult circumstances. They can overcome and prevail, while those who continue to rebel against the Lord are likely to experience a catastrophic downfall.
17 Don’t rejoice when your enemies fall; don’t be happy when they stumble. 18 For the Lord will be displeased with you and will turn his anger away from them.
Taking pleasure or celebrating when our enemies fall is not right or wise. All people are made in the image of God, and are precious, even our enemies, and there is an element of sadness when the Lord punishes people. We are to have compassion toward those who have wronged us – even when the Lord is punishing them. And to motivate us further to not rejoice when our enemies fall, we are told that Lord will be displeased by that twisted kind of happiness and may not punish our enemies as much as they deserve. That means they may continue to hurt us – and we don’t want that to happen.
Think of the enemies of the Jewish people who celebrate when we are harmed, captured, raped or killed. Don’t be like them. One recent example: On October 7th, as a response to the massacre in Israel, a doctor working at Beaumont Hospital in Dearborn couldn’t contain her pleasure, and posted on social media characters from the musical “Oklahoma!” with a note: “Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day!” Dr. Abuarabia was recently terminated from Beaumont Hospital.
19 Don’t fret because of evildoers; don’t envy the wicked. 20 For evil people have no future; the light of the wicked will be snuffed out.
Two attitudes to avoid when it comes to the wicked: the first is not obsess over them and their evil deeds. “They are so evil. Why are they allowed to get away with it? Why aren’t they punished? It’s so upsetting.” The second attitude to avoid is envying them because of their success, their wealth, their power, their fame.
We need to know that just as the poor will be with us always, evil and evildoers will be with us always. We need to understand that Lord knows what the wicked are doing. He is allowing them to do what they are doing. He is even using them to advance His plan. He does bring good out of evil. Comfort yourself by knowing that the wicked will experience the ultimate consequence for their evil. Their light will go out. The little life they have experienced will end. Trust the Lord to punish those who oppose Him – in His time and in His way. This will create inner peace – not fretting, upset or envy.
21 My child, fear the Lord and the king. Don’t associate with rebels, 22 for disaster will hit them suddenly. Who knows what punishment will come from the Lord and the king?
It’s easy for us to be rebellious against God and God-ordained authorities. We are naturally rebellious. We joined the rebellion of the fallen angels and are in a state of rebellion against the Greatest Authority. In our fallen state, it’s natural for us to rebel against the Lord and lesser authorities like the government.
Don’t rebel against the government and disobey its laws. The government has the authority to punish rebels, and the punishment can be severe. We are to obey the governing authorities – unless they become evil and tyrannical. This pleases the Lord and contributes to a stable and peaceful society and reduces the risk of harm to us that is the result of rebellion.