The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.
Summer is the right season for gathering in the harvest. To say, then, that it is wise to gather in summer is only saying, in other words, that a wise man will make the most of his opportunities, and will gather whatever he has to gather at the best and fittest season.
I. Is not this a practical lesson for children, as soon as they begin to learn? Their summer is the time they spend at school. That time is just as much the season for them to learn in, as the month of August is the season for their fathers to reap in.
II. Is not this a practical lesson for those who are in the prime and strength of life? These are in the summer of their days, so far as practice is concerned. The seeds of the good principles which were sown in them during their childhood should now be springing up in them, and ripening and bearing fruit. Do not sleep in this your spiritual harvest of duty to God and man. If you are far gone in manhood, and have slept hitherto, call to mind St. Paul's words, that now it is high time for you to awake out of that sleep. If you are just entering into manhood, beware of falling asleep. If it would be madness to put off the harvest of the bread that perishes, how much worse than madness must it he to put off the harvest of holiness and obedience!
A. W. Hare, The Alton Sermons, p. 269.
Reference: Proverbs 10:6-12.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. i., p. 230.
Proverbs 10:7I. Who are meant by the "just" to whom blessedness is here attributed? By the just alluded to here are meant those who, having felt the power of God in that call which God makes to men to be His servants, have obeyed that call, and have given themselves to the service of the Most High. God calls everyone to do some work for Him, and He expects everyone to do that work "justly." (1) The justice of the just will consist, first, of that which lies at the very basis of all true religion, namely, prayer. It is utterly impossible for the inner life of the true Christian to be supported without prayer. You do not expect a man to battle against a mighty current without stretching forth his hands to swim; even so, a man cannot live in the tossing sea of doubt and difficulty without stretching forth his hands, in the spirit of grace and of supplication, to implore assistance through the name and on account of the merits of Jesus Christ alone. (2) Again, the justice of the just consists in a constant endeavour to cultivate such a spirit of faith as shall promote an abiding sense of God's presence and of Christ's love. There can be no godliness where God is not in all the thoughts. There can be no true Christianity save where the heart is so dependent upon Christ that all hope is based on His Atonement, all joy looked for through His Cross. (3) Again, the justice alluded to in the text may be said to imply a constant endeavour to further the true interests of the Church of God. Everyone who has become a member of Christ's body must take heed to, and respect, that body of which he is a member.
II. What does the text say of the just man? It says that his memory is blessed. His memory is sweet and precious. His name is ever spoken of with honour and commendation. "Men to whom he has been useful, either in things spiritual or in things temporal, bless him whilst he is alive, and after death they pronounce him to be blessed." "The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."
E. Cheese, Oxford and Cambridge Undergraduates' Journal, May 12th, 1881.
I. "The memory of the just is blessed"—self-evidently so, for the mind blesses it, reverts to it with complacency, mingled with solemnity, returns to it with delight from the sight of the living evil in the world, sometimes even prefers this silent society to the living good.
II. Their memory is blessed when we consider them as practical illustrations, verifying examples of the excellence of genuine religion, and that it is a noble thing in human nature, and makes, and alone makes, that nature noble.
III. Their memory is blessed while we regard them as diminishing to our view the repulsiveness and horror of death. Our Lord's dying was the fact that threw out the mightiest agency to this effect. But, in their measure, His faithful disciples have done the same.
IV. Their memory is blessed as combined with the whole progress of the cause of God on earth, with its living agency through every stage. Think what they have been employed and empowered to do in the propagation of truth, in the incessant warfare against all manner of evil, in the exemplification of all the virtues by which he could be honoured.
V. Is it not a reasonable object of Christian desire to leave a memory that shall be "blessed"? Not a passion for vainglory, not that so-extolled aspiring to endless fame. But a desire that the remembrance which will remain in the minds of those who are to survive or follow should not be one causing pain, disappointment, or shame. A wish to be, in remembrance, numbered with the faithful and zealous servants of God and Christ.
J. Foster, Lectures, 2nd series, p. 220.
References: Proverbs 10:7.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 236; D. Burns, Christian World Pulpit, vol. vi., p. 328. Proverbs 10:8.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 238. Proverbs 10:9.—Ibid., p. 240; Preacher's Monthly, vol. v., p. 16. Proverbs 10:11.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 242. Proverbs 10:12.—W. R. Nicoll, Calls to Christ, p. 41. Proverbs 10:13-18.—R. Wardlaw, Lectures on Proverbs, vol. i., p. 241. Proverbs 10:14.—Ibid., p. 245. Proverbs 10:15.—Ibid., p. 247. Proverbs 10:18-21.—Ibid., p. 255. Proverbs 10:19-32.—Ibid., p. 254.
Proverbs 10:22Look at two facts in connection with the Divine blessing exhibited here:—
I. It enriches. (1) Sometimes the blessing of the Lord is material and temporal wealth, as in the case of Abram. (2) More frequently it is not wealth, but food convenient for us.
(3) Godly contentment in poverty is another form of the blessing of the Lord. (4) This blessing turns every possession into wealth. (5) There are some things wrapped up in the blessing of the Lord which are of priceless value. He who has the blessing of salvation is rich indeed.
II. It has no drawbacks. (1) There is no remorse as to the means of acquisition, when the good things you possess you have received as a blessing from the Lord. (2) To acquire good things is to prevent all misgiving as to the right of possession. (3) In this state there is no misgiving as to the power of keeping what we have; and further, there is no alloy in the use of enjoyment.
S. Martin, Westminster Chapel Pulpit, 2nd series, No. 1.
The truth here is twofold. It means that God's blessing gives material wealth; and also, that they are rich who have that blessing, although they get nothing more.
I. The silver and the gold are His, and He gives them to whomsoever He will. He who rules in the highest, reaches down to the minutest concerns of this world, and controls them all.
II. His blessing makes rich. "Godliness with contentment is great gain." Here is a mixture prescribed by the All-wise, for satisfying a soul, and attaining success in life. "He addeth no sorrow with it." The word seems to imply that there are two ways of acquiring wealth. Some people grow rich without God's blessing, and some people grow rich by it. It would appear that the god of the world gives riches to his subjects sometimes, when neither giver nor getter owns the supremacy of the Almighty, and that God Himself gives riches to some who are His children. Wherein lies the difference, since both the godless and the godly have gotten wealth? It lies here: He addeth no sorrow with it, but that other lord does.
W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 259.
References: Proverbs 10:22.—Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 62. Proverbs 10:23 (with Proverbs 14:9).—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven, 1st series, p. 264. Proverbs 10:24.—Ibid., p. 268. Proverbs 10:25.—Ibid., p. 273. Proverbs 10:26.—Ibid., p. 274.
Proverbs 10:29The words "shall be" in the last clause are a supplement. They are quite unnecessary, and in fact they rather hinder the sense. They destroy the completeness of the antithesis between the two halves of the verse. If you leave them out, and suppose that the "way of the Lord" is what is spoken of in both clauses, you get a far deeper and fuller meaning. It is the same way which is strength to one man and ruin to another, and the moral nature of the man determines which it shall be to him.
I. The "way of the Lord" means here, not the road in which God prescribes that we should walk, but the road in which He Himself walks; or in other words, the sum of the Divine action, the solemn footsteps of God through creation, providence, and history. The same way, the same set of facts, the same continuous stream of tendency, which is all with and for every form of good, is all against every form of evil. God's way has a bright side and a dark. You may take which you like. The way of the Lord must touch your way. You cannot alter that necessity. Your path must either run parallel in the same direction with His, and then all His power will be an impulse to bear you onward; or it must run in the opposite direction, and then all His power will be for your ruin, and the collision with it will crush you as a ship is crushed like an eggshell when it strikes an iceberg. You can choose which of these shall befall you.
II. Look at the application or illustration of the principles that are here. (1) The order of the universe, is such that righteousness is life and sin is death. (2) In our physical life, as a rule, virtue makes strength, sin brings punishment. (3) In higher regions, on the whole, goodness makes blessedness, and evil brings ruin. All the powers of God's universe and all the tenderness of God's heart, are on the side of the man that does right. (4) This same fact of the twofold aspect and operation of the one way of the Lord will be made yet more evident in the future. I can conceive it possible that the one manifestation of God in a future life may be in substance the same, and yet that it may produce opposite effects upon oppositely disposed souls. (5) The self-revelation of God has this double aspect: every truth concerning Him may be either a joy or a terror to men. As the very crown of the ways of God, the work of Christ and the record of it in the Gospel have most eminently this double aspect. That which is meant to be the savour of life unto life must either be that or the savour of death unto death.
A. Maclaren, A Year's Ministry, 2nd series, p. 279.
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death.
The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.
He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame.
Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
The memory of the just is blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.
The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a prating fool shall fall.
He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.
He that winketh with the eye causeth sorrow: but a prating fool shall fall.
The mouth of a righteous man is a well of life: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
In the lips of him that hath understanding wisdom is found: but a rod is for the back of him that is void of understanding.
Wise men lay up knowledge: but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty.
The labour of the righteous tendeth to life: the fruit of the wicked to sin.
He is in the way of life that keepeth instruction: but he that refuseth reproof erreth.
He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.
In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.
The tongue of the just is as choice silver: the heart of the wicked is little worth.
The lips of the righteous feed many: but fools die for want of wisdom.
The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.
It is as sport to a fool to do mischief: but a man of understanding hath wisdom.
The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.
As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.
The fear of the LORD prolongeth days: but the years of the wicked shall be shortened.
The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish.
The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.
The righteous shall never be removed: but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.
The mouth of the just bringeth forth wisdom: but the froward tongue shall be cut out.
The lips of the righteous know what is acceptable: but the mouth of the wicked speaketh frowardness.