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June 14, 2023 - Proverbs 24-28

I was struck, this morning, by the very first proverb I read. Solomon counsels, “Be not envious of evil men, nor desire to be with them, for their hearts devise violence, and their lips talk of trouble” (24:1-2). I grew up hearing a similar proverb: “Be careful about the company you keep.” Now, each of us is personally responsible for every decision we make and every action we take. One of the most consequential decisions we make is the decision about the people we hang around with. The apostle Paul put it this way: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Corinthians 15:33). It’s such an obvious matter and easy to carry out! Just hang around good and wise people!

Solomon considers this lesson important enough that he includes a similar proverb: “My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?” (24:21-22) So, so obvious, yet how many refuse wise counsel. Solomon describes such a person: “Like a lame man’s legs, which hang useless, is a proverb in the mouth of fools” (26:7). Thomas Scott urges us to pay attention and learn.

Hasten, O sinner, to be wise,

And stay not for the morrow’s sun;

The longer wisdom you despise,

The harder is she to be won. –Thomas Scott (1819)

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