Proverbs 13:7-12

Proverbs 13:7‑12  •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 5
Walking in a vain show is natural to man as he is; but it does not always put on the same mask. The most prevailing snare is to pretend to have more than one possesses; but we must be prepared also for some pretending to have less than they have, in order to escape a duty or from other selfish motives.
“There is that feigneth himself rich, and [hath] nothing; [there is] that feigneth himself poor, and [hath] great wealth.
The ransom of a man's life [is] his riches; but the poor heareth no threatening.
The light of the righteous rejoiceth; but the lamp of the wicked shall be put out.
By pride cometh only contention; but with the well-advised [is] wisdom.
Wealth [gotten] by vanity diminisheth; but he that gathereth with the hand shall have increase.
Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but a desire [that] cometh to pass [is] a tree of life” (vers. 7-12).
The knowledge of Christ who is the Truth is the only sure means of making the believer truthful in deed as in word. But even he has no force beyond the constant dependence of faith. To be content with the fact that one believed is a snare and may be ruinous; faith is unreal, if it be not a living faith, and a believing life.
The richest and wisest of men was a fitting oracle to tell men how greatly they err that count riches to be happiness. They make him envied and plotted against; so that a rich man's life, even if otherwise well spent, is one of exposure to dangers and deceits, and hence of no little uneasiness to the sensitive. What a sad use of riches to be the ransom of one's life! Here at least the poor man lives in peace. To the wicked it is aimless to threaten him who has nothing to lose, nothing to excite the covetous. He that has mercy on the poor, happy is he; whilst he that oppresses them, reproaches his Maker, and shall give account of his ways. When Christ reigns, He will satisfy the poor with bread. Even in the evil day his poverty protects him largely, while the rich man is proportionately exposed.
What a true and striking contrast between “the light” of the righteous, and “the lamp” of the wicked! Their course and end are according to their source. There is no real righteousness in God's estimate apart from Him Who revealed Himself and justifies us by the faith of Christ. The light of the righteous therefore rejoiceth, as in it sins are effaced, and sorrows turned into profit and consolation. The lamp of the wicked may flare wildly for a while during the pleasures of sin for a season; but ere long it dims, flickers, and shall be quenched.
Pride is the root of contention. What is emptier than self-applause and self-seeking? What so rules, not only those who affect great things in high life, but among the most debased of mankind? So it works in every circle of the world, and still more disgustingly in the church, to which Christ has given the exemplar of what perfectly pleases God and edifies man by love in the truth. Pride leads to confusion, contention, and every evil work. The old man is ever proud in one way or another, being as self-sufficient as he is regardless and forgetful of Christ. Faith alone makes a man “well-advised” in a divine sense. With those led of the Spirit is wisdom; for Christ is before their eyes and their heart. He indeed from God is made to us wisdom, and all else we need; yet, whatever we have, what do we not need?
Then again we are reminded how wealth goes as it came. If got by light, unworthy, or dishonest ways, how it flies! For in such a case it has wings, not weight, and vanishes by no less vanity than it appeared for awhile. “But he that gathereth with the hand shall have increase.” God honors industry; and some that are great lords add luster to their rank by being more truly working men than those who live by it and are too apt to boast of it. Such should every believer be, and put to shame those that eat without work! How happy too when “increase” enables one to give to the needy! how sad that any should take advantage of grace, instead of seeking to eat their own bread!
Next we are told of the blight created by disappointment, and the cheer given by receiving what the heart sought. “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick; but [when] desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” Some may have proved both experiences, and know how true it is. But we do well in the things of this life to judge our thoughts and desires before God by His word, and ever to say in truth, “Thy will be done.”