Key Verse: The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5 NIV)
1 Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome—
a staggering drunk is not much fun.
2 Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs—
cross them and they bite your head off.
3 It’s a mark of good character to avert quarrels,
but fools love to pick fights.
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:3)
A person who is truly confident of his or her strength does not need to parade it.
A truly brave person does not look for chances to prove it.
A resourceful person can find a way out of a fight and avoid retaliating.
Foolish people find it impossible to avoid strife.
Men and women of character can.
What kind of a person are you?
4 A farmer too lazy to plant in the spring
has nothing to harvest in the fall.
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:4)
You’ve heard similar warnings: If you don’t study, you’ll fail the test; if you don’t save, you won’t have money when when you need it.
God wants us to anticipate future needs and prepare for them.
We can’t expect Him to come to our rescue when we cause our own problems through lack of planning and action.
He provides for us, but He also expects us to be responsible.
5 Knowing what is right is like deep water in the heart;
a wise person draws from the well within.
6 Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving,
but where on earth can you find one?
7 God-loyal people, living honest lives,
make it much easier for their children.
8-9 Leaders who know their business and care
keep a sharp eye out for the shoddy and cheap,
For who among us can be trusted
to be always diligent and honest?
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:9)
No one is without sin.
As soon as we confess our sin and repent, sinful thoughts and actions begin to creep back into our minds and hearts.
We all need ongoing cleansing, moment by moment.
Thank God He provides forgiveness by His mercy when we ask for it.
Make confession and repentance a regular part of your talks with God.
Rely on Him moment by moment for the cleansing you need.
10 Switching price tags and padding the expense account
are two things God hates.
11 Young people eventually reveal by their actions
if their motives are on the up and up.
12 Ears that hear and eyes that see—
we get our basic equipment from God!
13 Don’t be too fond of sleep; you’ll end up in the poorhouse.
Wake up and get up; then there’ll be food on the table.
14 The shopper says, “That’s junk—I’ll take it off your hands,”
then goes off boasting of the bargain.
15 Drinking from the beautiful chalice of knowledge
is better than adorning oneself with gold and rare gems.
16 Hold tight to collateral on any loan to a stranger;
beware of accepting what a transient has pawned.
17 Stolen bread tastes sweet,
but soon your mouth is full of gravel.
18 Form your purpose by asking for counsel,
then carry it out using all the help you can get.
19 Gossips can’t keep secrets,
so never confide in blabbermouths.
20 Anyone who curses father and mother
extinguishes light and exists benighted.
21 A bonanza at the beginning
is no guarantee of blessing at the end.
22 Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!”
Wait for God; he’ll settle the score.
23 God hates cheating in the marketplace;
rigged scales are an outrage.
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:23)
“Dishonest scales” refers to the loaded scales a merchant might use in order to cheat customers.
Dishonesty is a difficult sin to avoid.
It is easy to cheat if we think no one is looking.
But dishonesty affects the very core of a person.
It makes him / her untrustworthy and untrusting.
It eventually makes him / her unable to themselves and relate to others.
Don’t take dishonesty lightly.
Even the smallest portion of dishonesty contains enough of the poison of deceit to kill your spiritual life.
If there is any dishonesty in your life, tell God about it now.
24 The very steps we take come from God;
otherwise how would we know where we’re going?
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:24)
We are often confused by the events around us.
Somethings we will never understand until years later when we look back and see how God was working.
This proverb counsels us to not worry if we don’t understand everything as it happens.
Instead, we should trust that God knows what He’s doing, even if His timing or design is not clear to us (See Psalm 37:23 for a reassuring promise of God’s direction in your life).
25 An impulsive vow is a trap;
later you’ll wish you could get out of it.
Reflection: (Proverbs 20:25)
This proverb points out the danger of making a promise rashly and the reconsidering it.
God takes promises seriously and requires that they be carried out (Deuteronomy 23:21-23).
We often have good intentions when making a promise because we want to show God that we are determined to please Him.
Jesus, however, says it is better not to make promises to God because He knows how difficult they are to keep (Matthew 5:33-37).
If you still feel it is important to make a promise, make sure that you weigh the the consequences of breaking it.
In (Judges 11), Jephthah ,made a rash promise to sacrifice the first thing he saw on his return home.
As it happened, he saw his daughter first.
It is better not to make promises than to make them and then later not keep them.
It is best to count the cost beforehand and then to fulfill them.
26 After careful scrutiny, a wise leader
makes a clean sweep of rebels and dolts.
27 God is in charge of human life,
watching and examining us inside and out.
28 Love and truth form a good leader;
sound leadership is founded on loving integrity.
29 Youth may be admired for vigor,
but gray hair gives prestige to old age.
30 A good thrashing purges evil;
punishment goes deep within us.