I am a believer that everyone would do well to read through Proverbs on a recurring basis. Don’t read it once and walk away for years or even months. It is rich with very actionable advice and warnings to help us in life and often very specifically in finances.
Fools often bring trouble on themselves, while the wise avoid it with a healthy fear and respect for the Lord.
1The wise woman builds her house,
But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
2He who walks in his uprightness fears the LORD,
But he who is devious in his ways despises Him.
3In the mouth of the foolish is a rod for his back,
But the lips of the wise will protect them.
It is understandable to look for ways to save time and energy by reducing the work we need to do… but do not let laziness get in the way of your prospering. Some work is required if you are to do well financially.
4Where no oxen are, the manger is clean,
But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.
Do not lie.
5A trustworthy witness will not lie,
But a false witness utters lies.
Seek understanding. This means you must be humble enough to admit you don’t already have all the answers. You must be willing to admit mistakes and learn. The scoffer mocks others rather than thoughtfully considering a situation and learning from it and thus finds no wisdom. Similarly, don’t hang out with fools or you will share their folly.
6A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none,
But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding.
7Leave the presence of a fool,
Or you will not discern words of knowledge.
8The wisdom of the sensible is to understand his way,
But the foolishness of fools is deceit.
9Fools mock at sin,
But among the upright there is good will.
Seek God’s way rather than your own. He will lead you through righteousness to the path of life and joy.
10The heart knows its own bitterness,
And a stranger does not share its joy.
11The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
But the tent of the upright will flourish.
12There is a way which seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.
It is hard to know what someone is really going through or what journey God is leading them on by a quick glance or brief touchpoint. Plug in with those you love and truly engage in a personal way to encourage and support them. Often the Lord leads us to joy at the end of a painful journey.
13Even in laughter the heart may be in pain,
And the end of joy may be grief.
Those who follow after God find satisfaction, but those who go their own way will find empty and unfulfilling results.
14The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways,
But a good man will be satisfied with his.
God did not give us such a wonderful creation as a mind of a human just to “turn it off” and believe everything someone tells you. In a world full of evil and selfishness we do well to consider our steps carefully in reference to God’s word. If we choose to act as naïve, the sour results are as much our fault as those who take advantage of us.
15The naive believes everything,
But the sensible man considers his steps.
16A wise man is cautious and turns away from evil,
But a fool is arrogant and careless.
17A quick-tempered man acts foolishly,
And a man of evil devices is hated.
18The naive inherit foolishness,
But the sensible are crowned with knowledge.
God reassures us that ultimately the good will be rewarded and the wicked held accountable. We may not see or recognize how and when, but we can trust that it is so.
19The evil will bow down before the good,
And the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
Be aware of sinful human nature. Many will pretend to be friends with the rich for their own benefit. Few, and godly, are those who truly show God’s love to the poor.
20The poor is hated even by his neighbor,
But those who love the rich are many.
21He who despises his neighbor sins,
But happy is he who is gracious to the poor.
Devise good rather than evil. Do so out of motivation to glorify God and not out of your own self interest.
22Will they not go astray who devise evil?
But kindness and truth will be to those who devise good.
The lazy ultimately hold them selves accountable via their own poverty, whether or not they recognize it. It is not exclusively “someone else’s fault”. Work is required to prosper.
23In all labor there is profit,
But mere talk leads only to poverty.
The greatest prize for the wise is godly wisdom itself, rather than financial gain.
24The crown of the wise is their riches,
But the folly of fools is foolishness.
Again… don’t lie. God does not like it.
25A truthful witness saves lives,
But he who utters lies is treacherous.
It is actually healthy to have a reverence or even fear of God. Recognizing that displeasing Him is worse than displeasing men can help us stand in confidence to do what is right and avoid Satan’s traps.
26In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence,
And his children will have refuge.
27The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life,
That one may avoid the snares of death.
Rulers and leaders of nations should treat their people well, for it is from their people that they derive their strength and power and prosper themselves. If the people collapse, the government has nothing.
28In a multitude of people is a king’s glory,
But in the dearth of people is a prince’s ruin.
To be slow to anger is to demonstrate a wise and godly trait and follow our Father’s example. It benefits us richly.
29He who is slow to anger has great understanding,
But he who is quick-tempered exalts folly.
Find peace and contentment in what God provides you. Do not always be chasing something you do not have and do not need.
30A tranquil heart is life to the body,
But passion is rottenness to the bones.
Again… the godly are gracious to the needy.
31He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker,
But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him.
Again… the wicked will be held to account for their actions and the righteous rewarded.
32The wicked is thrust down by his wrongdoing,
But the righteous has a refuge when he dies.
Again… seek godly wisdom. Do not be content to remain a fool, even if deemed wise by the world.
33Wisdom rests in the heart of one who has understanding,
But in the hearts of fools it is made known.
Righteousness exalts a nation and sin disgraces it. Remember, however, that God defines what is righteous and what is sin. The people themselves do not get a vote or voice in it. If they redefine righteousness they do so at their own peril as a nation and will fool only themselves and like minded fools.
34Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.
Be not ashamed of being a servant, whether to God or to an employer or to your family. Focus on acting wisely and pleasing your “master”.
35The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely,
But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.
Remember that all you have belongs to God. Manage your money God’s way and use it for His glory rather than your own. Visit GrowGodsMoney.org .