The book of Proverbs is exactly what the name implies, a collection of short sayings gathered from different places and produced over long periods of time. In general, these sayings represent wisdom derived from practical experience. Although they contain no profound contributions to theological ideas, they constitute wholesome advice about the way a person should live in order to attain a simple and peaceful life, obedient to God. Today’s meditation contains a few sample proverbs from the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
Proverbs 1:1-3 — (These are) the proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair.
Proverbs 1:7 — The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Proverbs 3:5-7 — Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.
Proverbs 4:14, 23 — Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers… Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 5:21-23 — Your ways are in full view of the Lord, and he examines all your paths. The evil deeds of the wicked ensnare them; the cords of their sins hold them fast. For lack of discipline they will die, led astray by their own great folly.
Proverbs 6:6-11a — Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest. How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief.
Proverbs 11:2 — When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
Proverbs 11:7 — Hopes placed in mortals die with them; all the promise of their power comes to nothing.
Proverbs 11:17 — Those who are kind benefit themselves, but the cruel bring ruin on themselves.
Proverbs 11:29 — Whoever brings ruin on their family will inherit only wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise.
Proverbs 12:1 — Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but whoever hates correction is stupid.
Proverbs 12:11 — Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense.
Proverbs 12:16 — Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.
Proverbs 13:3 — Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
Proverbs 14:12 — There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.
Proverbs 14:13 — Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief.
Proverbs 14:29 — Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.
Proverbs 14:30 — A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
Proverbs 15:1 — A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:3 — The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Proverbs 15:16-17 — Better a little with the fear of the Lord than great wealth with turmoil. Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.
Proverbs 16:2 — All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.
Proverbs 16:18 — Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:28 — A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.
Proverbs 17:1 — Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.
Proverbs 17:13-14 — Evil will never leave the house of one who pays back evil for good. Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.
Proverbs 17:17 — A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
Proverbs 17:22 — A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:27 — The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.
Proverbs 17:28 — Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues.
Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.