Proverbs 13:1-6

Proverbs 13:1‑6  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Here we have the temper, the means, and the traits of blessing in contrast with those of evil and shame; and we do well to weigh the words of Jehovah.
“A wise son [hath] his father's instruction; but a scorner heareth not rebuke.
A man shall eat good by the mouth's fruit; but the soul of the treacherous [is for] violence.
He that guardeth his mouth keepeth his soul; he that openeth wide his lips [shall have] destruction. A sluggard's soul desireth, and hath nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made fat.
A righteous one hateth lying; but the wicked maketh himself odious and cometh to shame.
Righteousness guardeth him that is upright in the way; but wickedness overthroweth the sinner” (vers. 1-6)
A wise son bows thankfully to the divine provision of the family circle, and heeds his father's correction; and the more when forced to feel folly is bound up with a child's heart, not excepting his own. But what hope can there be of a scorner? of one who cannot conceive himself to blame, and counts him an enemy who is faithful enough to tell him the truth?
The next case is not the duty of receiving, but the privilege of communicating good. Yet here too a man shall eat good by the fruit of a mouth that utters what is good to the use of edifying. And Jehovah of old impressed this on Israel by Moses, and on their sons. “Thou shalt talk of them [His words] when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou goest on the way, and when thou liest down; and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign on thy hand, and they shall be for frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and upon thy gates” (Deut. 6:7-97And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. (Deuteronomy 6:7‑9)). Were any words to compare with His? If this were irksome, what a tale it tells? The soul of transgressors brooks no superior, no restraint. Violence is its issue; and what can its end be?
But there is a bridle needed also. Hence he that guardeth his mouth keepeth his soul. As a good man said, one should think twice before speaking once. If any offend not in word, he is a perfect man (of thorough integrity), able to bridle the whole body also. How much of sorrow and shame he spares himself, and others who avenge a little folly by despising the wisdom they themselves lack! On the other hand, he that goes about blatant, opening his lips wide to tell all he thinks, feels, or hears of others, shall have the destruction which his malicious folly deserves.
Then we have the person too indolent to take trouble for good or ill, the sluggard. “A sluggard's soul desires, and hath nothing.” All begins and ends in wishes; with which the apostle dealt trenchantly in 2 Thess. 3:1010For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10). How different the lot of the diligent! They shall be made fat, says the wise man. In every sphere it is true in the main; unfailingly so in the things of God who raises above many a mistake, and values purpose of heart and ways.
There are men of the world who would be ashamed to lie in daily life, and are severe against it in others, yet they blink at it in politics and religion! But “the righteous hateth lying” whereever it may be, and most of all in that which concerns Him Who is the Truth. Nor can one wonder; seeing that “he is begotten by the word of truth,” is sanctified by the truth, and grows by it day by day, as he is set here in the responsible testimony of the truth. Yet no one is more tempted by Satan to betray the truth. Never was there a more pernicious cheat than to fancy that a Christian has immunity from falsehood, and is sure to speak the truth always. Still he is called to be truthful in love. This goes much farther. He that does not hate lying is a wicked person, “maketh himself odious” to all right-minded souls, “and cometh to shame.”
“Righteousness guardeth the upright in the way.” Such a one is not only bold as a lion, for what is man to be accounted of? Consistency in his relationship with God and man is the shield which Satan assails in vain; yet as a Christian he loves to be kept by God's power through faith, for grace is dear to his soul, and he knows well that he is indebted to Him for all. On the contrary “wickedness overthroweth the sinner.” Self and sin are all that he takes pleasure in; and the end of those things is death. No one is so terrible to him as God, no name hated so much as Christ, if he only told out the secret of his heart. The more he hears of Him, the more he hates his Judge, and spurns the hand meanwhile stretched out to save even him.