Blessed and favored by God
is the man who fears [sin and its consequence] at all times,
But he who hardens his heart [and is determined to sin]
will fall into disaster (Proverbs 28:14 AMP).
This proverb expresses the requirement for each person to have reverence toward our holy God. Because of our sinful state we need of a Savior who removes the sting of sin and cleanses us from it. Believer, maintain your love for Jesus who loves you with unbounded love. Revere God and do not harden your heart toward him.
The man who keeps in his mind in awe God is blessed. Keep mindful of our desire to honor God. This strengthens us against temptation to sin. He is not surprised at attacks that come at him. Through prayer, watchfulness, and proven faith we do bless God.
Fearless and careless sinners, without the awe of our amazing God, too often follow their own desires. They continue to sin and do not repent of it. Proverbs 28:14 says, they will fall into disaster.
Even in this troubled state they are not out of the reach of our awesome, ever present God, who awaits their return with open arms. Revere God and do not harden your heart toward him.
Prayer: Father, thank you for your patience. Thank you for sending Jesus to reveal your love. You are the Almighty One. Selah.
He who turns his ear away from listening to the law [of God and man], even his prayer is an abomination, hateful and revolting [to God] (Proverbs 28:9 AMP).
This proverb is true for everyone, not just believers in Jesus Christ, it is a warning message for all people on earth. God’s instructions for spiritual and physical life – pertain to all. We must listen and obey God’s instruction.
God communicates with us through his Word, his voice, and the Holy Spirit. He expects us to hear him and learn from him. There will be dry times when feel we cannot hear his voice. But that’s our problem and we can change that by pressing into Him. His instructions are vital to our daily life.
What privilege we have to come to God in prayer. However, this proverb states that if we do not heed his instruction, our prayers become repulsive to him. Note it doesn’t say they are not heard.
Still, the lost, the brokenhearted, and the downtrodden can come to God in prayer. This is what God wants. He always hears prayers. They can learn of Him and grow to maturity. Prayer is special communication and not taken lightly (first listening—then making requests. We must listen and obey God’s instruction.
Prayer: Father, give me understanding, so I may observe what you say and heed your instruction. I know this is important and want to do it.
Evil people run [flee]·even though
[or when] no one is chasing [pursues] them
but good [righteous] people are as brave
[confident] as a lion (Proverbs 28:1 Expanded Bible).
This one verse says relates to the many promises and warnings of God in Leviticus 26. God’s people must follow His commandments. Jesus affirmed he came to fulfill the Law, the psalms and the prophets! Solomon encourages the righteous and helps them stand strong in difficult times.
The righteous man has no need to fear, because what leads and follows him is the goodness and mercy of God—not his past or wrong doings. Psalm 23 says it wonderfully:
Surely your goodness and love [loyalty; mercy]
will be with [pursue; follow] me all my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord forever
[ for length of days] (Psalm 23:6 Expanded Bible).
The Holy Spirit, also known as the Helper within the believer, encourages us to follow God’s ways and learn of Him. Our job is to step into that encouragement. What a blessing that the Helper enables us to know God in ways non-believers cannot.
However, the wicked, or ungodly, walk in confusion and fear because they do not follow God’s Word and ways. For disobedience to the Holy One there is an awful price to pay.
The kindness and severity of God can be seen throughout history—from Adam through our Savior Jesus Christ. By God’s kindness – through Jesus—we’ve been grafted into the cultivated tree—of Abraham. Solomon’s message is to encourage the righteous and help them stand strong in difficult times.
Prayer: Father, thank you for the Helper who leads us into obedience, truth, and confidence. He helps us know you better day by day.
The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold
[to separate the impurities of the metal],
And each is tested by the praise given to him
[and his response to it, whether humble or proud]
(Proverbs 27:21 AMP).
Solomon compares refining metal by fire to how we believers receive praise. It’s possible that we may be assessed better by what others say of us. However, humility, truthfulness, and the crucible of testing should display godly character in us.
Purity of Character
The melting points of silver and gold (precious metals) are well known by the jewelers and craftsmen. This treatment by fire removes impurities. We need to reject impurities in our character, speak the truth in love, deal honestly with others, and have compassion for all. This will reveal Christ-like character in us.
Things Praise Reveals
The Holy Spirit shaping your thoughts, intentions, and performance should be evident to all. I’ve found three useful and interesting interpretations of this proverb:
- A man’s character is displayed by the way he receives praise. On the other hand, living for the praise of man can lead to missing God’s intentions for us.
- A man is viewed by the things he praises. This can encourage or discourage us.
- A godly man dismisses the praise of unworthy substance—this process is a hard task. We must listen closely to the Holy Spirit on a regular basis and embrace it as a crucible for growing in Christ.
Building character is based on discipleship, Bible application, and steadfast faith in Jesus Christ. Humility, truthfulness, and the crucible of testing should display godly character in us.
Prayer: Father, I accept your crucible. Test me and try me to improve my character—I want to be like Jesus. Selah.
As a face is reflected in water,
so the heart reflects the real person
(Proverbs 27:19 NLT).
Solomon gets introspective with this verse. He uses the example of self-assessment and then being assessed by what others see in our actions, our speech, and our motives. This proverb needs some examination. God knows us inside and out, but others know us only by what they observe and hear.
We must see ourselves in the mirror of God’s assessment, the intent of our heart. God knows how we think, consider others and serve them. Godly character is built on spiritual action based on his Word.
What Others See
Do we love others as much as we love ourselves? Do we show it? What we do is viewed by others as part of our character. The optimum here would be to ask ourselves . . . “What would Jesus do?” Then do it that way.
Our challenge is to view ourselves as God would and act on it. Our heart, one with God’s, should be the compelling reason for what we think, do, and say. God knows us inside and out, but others know us only by what they observe and hear.
Prayer: Father, reveal to me how to respond to others, to meet peoples’ needs, and to encourage them. Thank you for lifting me up daily. Selah.
Just as iron sharpens iron,
a person sharpens the character of his friend
(Proverbs 27:17 Contemporary English Version).
It’s worth meditating on Solomon’s one short verse. He focuses on improving character of another — body, mind, and soul. It’s a precursor to the Great Commission commanding us to make disciples and teach new believers to live God’s ways.
Teach God’s Ways
In a Christian setting this means teaching new believers to blossom in their understanding and knowledge of biblical concepts—to grow in their faith. When Jesus commissioned us to make disciples of all men, he was teaching everyone God’s ways:
“Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19,20 The Message).
Train to Succeed
The world’s concept is that a mentor or leader would train a person to be the best they could be. (All God intended them to be). This could be work related, character building, family life instruction, financial guidance, or many other areas needed to live a godly and productive life.
The intent of this poignant verse, iron sharpens iron is to build good character in others. It’s a precursor to the Great Commission commanding us to make disciples and learn to live God’s ways.
Prayer: Father, help me be a light for others to see you in action. I need your continuing guidance every day. Selah.
Never abandon a friend—
either yours or your father’s.
When disaster strikes, you won’t have to
ask your brother for assistance.
It’s better to go to a neighbor than
to a brother who lives far away (Proverbs 27:10 NLT).
Solomon gives wise advice which seems counter culture to what the Israelites believe and maybe we believe today. Do not abandon a friend or neighbor when disaster strikes — whatever the cause. Keep this in mind, especially if your family isn’t geographically near.
Solomon and Jesus alike taught a good relationship with a friend or neighbor is valuable and worth the effort. Jesus even stated the difficult command “love your neighbor.” Love your neighbor and living in harmony with them infers also helping to meet each other’s needs whenever the occasion arises. *
Be Aware of Needs
Disaster may strike any of us at any time. So be aware of each other’s needs, especially those who are live close to you — frends and neighbors. They, like you, can be affected by disaster without warning. So, when critical needs are present, you can be a first responder and readily help in some manner.
Friends and neighbors you’ve cultivated in kindness and love have lasting value. Remember, you too may be that one in times of disaster or trial. Keep this in mind, especially if your family isn’t geographically near.
Prayer: Father, I value family, help me value my neighbor as well.
* Study Guide for Proverbs 27, David Guzik, blueletterbible.org.