a fool despises his father’s instruction

Proverbs 15:5 (ESV)

5 A fool despises his father’s instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.

We’re so quick to give instruction but often slow to heed the counsel of others.


the tongue of the wise commends knowledge

Proverbs 15:2 (ESV)

2 The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

There’s a common theme throughout the Book of Proverbs between ‘wisdom‘ & ‘foolishness’.

And often it’s associated with what we say.

James 3 has a long discourse on the tongue and the trouble it can get us into.

Yet it can also be used to ‘bless’ (v.9).

And, although the context of that verse is using it to ‘bless our Lord and Father’ (v.9), a great way to bless others is to share our knowledge of Him with them: the gospel.

It’s a simple thing but one we are easily tempted to avoid for fear of embarrassment and rejection.

But that would be unwise.


prayer : help me to be wise not ‘foolish’

action : look for opportunities to commend knowledge by ‘boldly’ proclaiming’ the gospel (Ephesians 6:19)

a soft answer turns away wrath

Proverbs 15:1 (ESV)

1 A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.

There’s a beautiful contrast here between the soft answer on the one hand and the “harsh word” on the other.

At a very human level we’re often quick to jump to conclusions. Assuming another’s guilt and letting fly with “harsh words” and threats of retribution.

What we need to do is stop. Think. And before we speak take the time to consider all the angles. Weigh up all the arguments. Even put ourselves in their shoes.

Especially since people are generally prone to defensiveness when confronted and accused.

And remember that we too are just as imperfect (John 7:53-8:11).

After all. We are all condemned and thus we all deserve God’s “wrath” (Ephesians 2:3).

Yet, thankfully, Jesus “delivers [believers] from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).


prayer : thank God that I’m not “destined for wrath” but have “obtained salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

action : practice answering softly

the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey

Proverbs 5:1-4 (ESV)

1 My son, be attentive to my wisdom;
incline your ear to my understanding,

2 that you may keep discretion,
and your lips may guard knowledge.

3 For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey,
and her speech is smoother than oil,

4 but in the end she is bitter as wormwood,
sharp as a two-edged sword.

The Book of Proverbs is packed-full of wonderful “wisdom” yet it’s often overlooked because of its age.

Yet these words ring true for us despite this as human nature does not change.

In the past few years several people I know have strayed from their wives, choosing instead to partner with a forbidden woman.

No doubt they have the view that the grass is somehow greener on the other side.

But they are turning their backs on a commitment they made. A lifelong commitment.

This passage suggests that it’s the woman tempting and sweet-talking the man, not unlike the serpent in the Garden of Eden.

Yet the man is as much to blame for his lack of “discipline” (v.12).

Hence his need to “incline [his] ear”.


prayer : “lead [me] not into temptation, but deliver [me] from evil” (Matthew 6:13)

action : heed the words above and be “attentive to [God’s] wisdom”

trust in the LORD with all your heart

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ESV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.

A simple instruction. Yet easily forgotten.

I find it’s all too easy to ignore His sound advice and fall back on my own counsel.

Yet He will “make straight [my] paths” if I “acknowledge” Him.

He “leads me in paths of righteousness” (Psalm 23:3).


prayer : thank you LORD for your guidance

action : trust Him

To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice

“To do righteousness and justice is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Proverbs 21:3 (ESV)

Righteousness. To be right with God. To be in a right relationship with Him. Reconciled to Him.

But what does it mean to do righteousness?

Does it mean to do God’s will? To act in such a way as to bring Him glory? To love like He loves?

And justice. To be fair. Equitable. Lawful. Right.

Yet God’s justice is administered with grace and mercy.

Yes, He punishes those who sin. Who transgress. Who rebel and reject Him.

But He also offers all of us a way out. A scape “goat” (Leviticus 4:23) in the person of Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:2), who was and is the perfect “sacrifice”.

God doesn’t want our empty offerings as if we can pay for our sins in this way.

Instead, He wants us to be a “living sacrifice” (Romans 12:1).

“Confessing” our sins and “praying” for one another (James 5:16).


prayer : that the saints in my church would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord” (Colossians 1:10)

action : that I too would would “walk in a manner worthy of the Lord”