Beauty Is Passing

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised (Proverbs 31:30).

Photo of smiling elderly woman working outside, showing inner beauty

Inner beauty lasts.

When God created the human life cycle, He knew our physical beauty would blossom and fade. But while our physical appearance declines, our Creator intends for our inner beauty of character, based on deep respect for God and a growing relationship with Him, to shine.

Albert Barnes notes that the lesson taught here at the end of the book of Proverbs is the same as the first lesson: “The fear of the Lord is the condition of all womanly, as well as of all manly, excellence.”

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Be a Voice for the Voiceless

Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Photo of poor, needy homeless man sitting on sidewalk

Plead the cause of the poor and needy.

Ancient kings were not noted for noticing the needs of the powerless, but King Lemuel’s mother exhorted him to be different. We worship a God and King who does care for and speak up for the needy. We should be like Him.

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Neither Poverty nor Riches

Remove falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches—feed me with the food allotted to me; lest I be full and deny You, and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or lest I be poor and steal, and profane the name of my God (Proverbs 30:8-9).

Cartoon of poor man and rich man begging

Give me neither poverty nor riches...

In life, there are often two ditches. Most of us can see the dangers and downsides of poverty, but riches? It takes real wisdom and faith to see the spiritual dangers lurking in having more than enough.

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The Pride Paradox

A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor (Proverbs 29:23).

Pride, photo of man with haughty look

Looking down can bring you low.

Here’s another of the paradoxes of the Bible. Wherever we put ourselves, high or low, we will end up the opposite. Jesus Christ put it this way: “And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:12).

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Discipline or Disgrace?

To discipline and reprimand a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child (Proverbs 29:15, New Living Translation).

Photo of undisciplined child aiming a slingshot

A mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

A child left to himself, without rules or supervision, may respond by acting out for attention or may not learn respect for the rules of society and of God that he will run into someday. The result is shame and disgrace, not only for the parents, but for the child.

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Get Rich Quick? Not so Fast

A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished (Proverbs 28:20).

Photo of man holding out a wad of money

Get rich quick?

I like how Matthew Henry describes the blessings here:

“We are directed in the true way to be happy, and that is to be holy and honest. He that is faithful to God and man shall be blessed of the Lord… Men shall praise him, and pray for him, and be ready to do him any kindness. He shall abound in doing good, and shall himself be a blessing to the place where he lives. Usefulness shall be the reward of faithfulness, and it is a good reward.”

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The Debt Trap

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

Debt photo, man looking at a bill

The borrower is servant to the lender.

These words of wisdom inspired the following practical advice in the free booklet Managing Your Finances:

“When we fall into debt, we serve those to whom we owe money. In the case of our credit card masters, we serve them well. After all, what investor wouldn’t like to receive an almost 19 percent return—the average credit card interest rate—on his investment?

“The way to financial freedom is through repaying debt, then avoiding indebtedness whenever possible. Though it may make sense to finance essential items of long-term value such as a home and one’s education, credit card debt is something most people can fairly easily avoid.”

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