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Proverbs 20

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 28, 2018


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words  Video=75wpm


Searchlight Update

The land deal where Searchlight would sell the property and we would need to move, is OFF. Searchlight’s board has decided they will not pursue any further offers on the property until there is actually a need to move.
We will continue to pray, seek counsel, plan, and save, save, save for the day that we will be able to purchase our own property.


Video: The Bible Project – Proverbs Introduction

Video: Proverbs Introduction

The book of Proverbs is all about wisdom.

Wisdom is not about knowing facts.

Wisdom is about knowing what to do with what you know.
Wisdom is knowing when to do it.
Wisdom is knowing how to do it.

We are now in a new section of the book of Proverbs.

We’ve finished the “mini-lectures” that Solomon gave to his son in the first nine chapters.

The rest of the book are what we typically call the “proverbs”.

Proverbs are sayings, typically short, that give wisdom and insight into everyday things.

They are intended to help you lead a better life.

They are not absolute promises, as in “if you do x,y, then z will always happen and your life will be perfect”.

They are general principles – that if you do them your life will be generally better than if you didn’t do them.

I want to encourage you to have a pencil or pen ready as we work through each chapter.

Though we will read the entire chapter, I won’t be taking time to unpack every single proverb.

God may want to use one of the proverbs that we simply pass over to speak to you, so be ready to mark up your Bible or write down a verse.

It’s going to be a little like drinking from a fire hydrant.

The Proverbs are Hebrew poetry…

Hebrew poetry is about ideas, not sounds.

Most of these proverbs are in two lines.

Sometimes the second line is a parallel of the first. It expresses the same idea with different words.
Sometimes the second line is an opposite idea, still clarifying the first, but by way of contrast.
Be careful that you don’t look at one phrase without looking at the other.

Proverbs 20

:1 Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

mockerluwts – to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly

brawlerhamah – to murmur, growl, roar, cry aloud, mourn, rage, sound, make noise, tumult, be clamorous, be disquieted, be loud, be moved, be troubled, be in an uproar

:1 Wine is a mocker

Though some translations say “wine produces mockers; alcohol leads to brawls”, technically this isn’t saying is “leads” to these things, it says that it IS these things.

:1 Strong drink is a brawler

strong drinkshekar – fermented or intoxicating liquor; made from barley, dates, or pomegranates.  “beer”

:1 wine … whoever is led astray by it

led astrayshagah – to go astray, to swerve, meander, reel, roll

Sounds like a drunk staggering to keep his feet.
This could apply to things like marijuana as well.



The Bible actually says it’s okay to drink alcoholic beverages.
Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding (John 2)
Paul told Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach ailments (1Tim. 5:23)

(1 Timothy 5:23 NKJV) No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities.

Solomon wrote,

(Proverbs 31:6 NKJV) Give strong drink to him who is perishing…

Doctors tell us that a glass of wine at dinner can be good for your health.
And yet…
Priests and Levites were told:

(Leviticus 10:9 NKJV) “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting, lest you die. It shall be a statute forever throughout your generations,

This came because two of Aaron’s sons were killed during worship, probably because they were a bit drunk when they showed up for church.

While it’s okay to drink, the Bible prohibits being drunk.

(Ephesians 5:18 NLT) Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,

We should not be fellowshipping with a “so-called” believer who is a drunkard.

(1 Corinthians 5:11 NKJV) But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.

I think this is talking about the person who doesn’t want to stop drinking, not the person who is fighting to stop.

Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Corinthians 6:10 NKJV) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

If you are a person who cannot stop at one drink, but you drink until you’re drunk, you shouldn’t be drinking.
If you are having trouble stopping, ask for help.  Get into a program.
Alcohol is a product of amazing versatility.

It will remove stains from designer clothes.

It will also remove the clothes off your back.

If by chance it is used in sufficient quantity,

Alcohol will remove furniture from the home,

Rugs from the floor, food from the table,

Lining from the stomach, vision from the eyes,

And judgment from the mind.

Alcohol will also remove good reputations,

Good jobs, good friends, happiness from children's hearts,

Sanity, freedom, spouses, relationships,

Man's ability to adjust and live with his fellow man,

And even life itself.

As a remover of things, alcohol has no equal.

-- Ann Landers column, The Columbus Dispatch, March 25, 1992, p. 2E


   I drank for happiness and became unhappy.

      I drank for joy and became miserable.

   I drank for sociability and became argumentative.

      I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious.

   I drank for sleep and woke up tired.

      I drank for strength and felt weak.

   I drank for relaxation and got the shakes.

      I drank for courage and became afraid.

   I drank for confidence and became doubtful.

       I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech.

   I drank to feel heavenly, and ended up feeling like hell.

-- Longtime Member of A.A., as reprinted in Dear Abby, 4-22-93

:2 The wrath of a king is like the roaring of a lion; Whoever provokes him to anger sins against his own life.

(Proverbs 20:2 The Message) Quick-tempered leaders are like mad dogs— cross them and they bite your head off.

:3 It is honorable for a man to stop striving, Since any fool can start a quarrel.

strivingriyb – strife, controversy, dispute

(Proverbs 20:3 HCSB) It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel.

Sometimes we get the idea that “real men” don’t back down from a fight.

Video:  Karate Kid – Karate for Defense
Solomon says there can be honor for a man who knows when not to fight.

:4 The lazy man will not plow because of winter; He will beg during harvest and have nothing.

(Proverbs 20:4 NLT) Those too lazy to plow in the right season will have no food at the harvest.

In the Middle East, the time for plowing and planting is in the winter, during the rainy season.

The lazy man doesn’t want to go out when it’s cold and wet, but then when harvest time comes, he has no crop to reap.

Sometimes we need to be careful about the excuses we make for not pushing forward and getting the hard things in life accomplished.

:5 Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water, But a man of understanding will draw it out.

(Prov 20:5 ICB)  Understanding a person's thoughts is as hard as getting water from a deep well. But someone with understanding can find the wisdom there.

This is very similar to

(Proverbs 18:4 NKJV) The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters; The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.

:6 Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

goodnesscheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

There are plenty of people who will take the time to tell you how good they are at something.

The rare person is the one who is the one you can actually count on.

:7 The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him.

integritytom – integrity, completeness; fulness; innocence, simplicity

(Proverbs 20:7 The Message) God-loyal people, living honest lives, make it much easier for their children.

When you’re faced with the temptation to take a shortcut and not do the honest thing, think of the legacy you’re leaving your kids.

:8 A king who sits on the throne of judgment Scatters all evil with his eyes.

A godly court system should be dealing with evil-doers.

:9 Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”?

:9 I am pure from my sin


Clean Heart

Solomon is giving us an example of something that just can’t be done.  Nobody can say they are clean from sin all on their own.
The Bible says that each and every one of us are sinners.
(Romans 3:23 NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Solomon knew this well.  He even stated it when he dedicated the Temple –

(2 Chronicles 6:36 NKJV) …for there is no one who does not sin…

Some people will claim they no longer sin, but that’s not true.
(1 John 1:8 NKJV) If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
There are consequences to our sin.  Sin separates us from God.
(Romans 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
While we can’t make ourselves clean from our sin, God can.
(1 John 2:1–2 NLT) —1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

Forgiveness is made possible because Jesus paid the price for our sins.  He died for us.

We find forgiveness for our sins when we turn from our sins and ask God for forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Have you opened your heart to Jesus?  I’m going to give you a chance to do that at the end of the service.

:10 Diverse weights and diverse measures, They are both alike, an abomination to the Lord.

:10 Diverse weights and diverse measures

If you’re a scuba diver, you may want to rethink your use of weights… oops, wrong “diverse”.

We’ve talked about this before – this is about not cheating people (see Prov. 11:1; 16:11)

A crooked merchant would have two bags of weights.

He’d use the larger “pound” to buy from others, and use the smaller “pound” when he sold.
That’s how he’d make a profit.

God doesn’t like it when we have different standards when it comes to how we treat people.

:11 Even a child is known by his deeds, Whether what he does is pure and right.

What people say about you is not as important as what you actually do with your life.

:12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye, The Lord has made them both.

It could be that Solomon is trying to encourage us to be thankful if we have ears and eyes that work.

I wonder if Solomon is saying, “You’ve got two ears, use them!  You’ve got two eyes, use them!”

God has given you your senses, so be sure to use them instead of just stumbling around in life without paying attention to what’s going on around you.

:13 Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.

(Proverbs 20:13 The Message) Don’t be too fond of sleep; you’ll end up in the poorhouse. Wake up and get up; then there’ll be food on the table.

:14 “It is good for nothing,” cries the buyer; But when he has gone his way, then he boasts.

(Proverbs 20:14 The Message) The shopper says, “That’s junk—I’ll take it off your hands,” then goes off boasting of the bargain.

Solomon is simply stating the way business goes sometimes. 

Be careful about the person who spends too much time talking down the quality of what you’re selling.

:15 There is gold and a multitude of rubies, But the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.

(Proverbs 20:15 NLT) Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.

:16 Take the garment of one who is surety for a stranger, And hold it as a pledge when it is for a seductress.

It’s foolish to co-sign on a loan for someone you don’t know.

As you read it in the New King James, you can get thrown off with that word for “seductress”.  Though the Hebrew word could mean that, it’s root idea is of a “foreigner”.

seductressnokriy – foreign, alien; harlot

(Proverbs 20:16 NLT) Get security from someone who guarantees a stranger’s debt. Get a deposit if he does it for foreigners.

The idea is this:

You’re a bank loan officer.  You have a person from Norway named Sven sitting in front of you asking for a home loan.  Sven has brought in someone named he just met on the street named Fred.  Fred has promised to “co-sign” on a loan for Sven, even though he’s just met him.  Fred isn’t doing a very smart thing.  If you do the loan, you ask Fred to put up his house for collateral, since there’s a good chance it’s a bad deal.

The point: It’s not a good idea to co-sign on a loan for a stranger.

:17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, But afterward his mouth will be filled with gravel.

(Proverbs 20:17 The Message) Stolen bread tastes sweet, but soon your mouth is full of gravel.

:18 Plans are established by counsel; By wise counsel wage war.

Plansmachashabah – thought, device; device, plan, purpose

counsel‘etsah – counsel, advice, purpose

wise counseltachbulah – direction, counsel, guidance, good advice, (wise) counsel

:18 By wise counsel wage war

Keep in mind that King Solomon is giving advice to his son, a future king.

One of the things that kings do is wage the wars of the nation.
A wise king will have a “war counsel”, advisors who will help him make the right decisions when waging a war.  A wise king doesn’t make all the decisions on his own, but with advice.

And talking about waging war … before you get married it’s a wise thing to get “premarital counsel”.

Good premarital counselling will help you face the realities of life in the future, of what the differences in your personalities are, and how to “wage war” properly.
Even after you’re married, sometimes we get into trouble and it’s good to get good “counsel” to get through the battles.

:19 He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets; Therefore do not associate with one who flatters with his lips.

talebearerrakiyl – slander, slanderer, tale bearer, informer

do not associate with‘arab – give pledges, be or become surety; to exchange pledges; to have fellowship with, share

flatterspathah – to be simple, entice, deceive, persuade

(Proverbs 20:19 The Message) Gossips can’t keep secrets, so never confide in blabbermouths.

Someone has said, “You can’t believe half of what you hear, but you can repeat it.”

(J. Vernon McGee)

Be careful about sharing too much of your life with someone who is always giving you the latest dirt on other people.  They will probably be sharing your story with others.

:20 Whoever curses his father or his mother, His lamp will be put out in deep darkness.

Don’t curse your parents.

(Ephesians 6:2–3 NLT) —2 “Honor your father and mother.” This is the first commandment with a promise: 3 If you honor your father and mother, “things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.”

Even if you’ve had bad parents, be careful to give them a measure of respect.

:21 An inheritance gained hastily at the beginning Will not be blessed at the end.

(Proverbs 20:21 HCSB) An inheritance gained prematurely will not be blessed ultimately.

In the story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15), the younger son demands his inheritance from his father while the father is still alive. The Prodigal ended up wasting his inheritance on a wild life.

:22 Do not say, “I will recompense evil”; Wait for the Lord, and He will save you.

:22 I will recompense evil

(Proverbs 20:22 The Message) Don’t ever say, “I’ll get you for that!” Wait for God; he’ll settle the score.



A man was just told by his doctor that he had rabies, and he took out a piece of paper and started writing on it.  The doctor said, oh my, he’s making up his will.  And he said, “What are you doing, making up your will?”  The man said, “No, I’m just writing down every person I’m going to bite.”
Some people take years to plot their revenge.
There’s an old saying that seems to have originated around 1850 that goes something like, “Revenge is a dish best served cold”.

The idea behind the quote is that revenge is sweetest when you let the heat of the moment cool down and wait until the other person doesn’t expect it.

I think Don Corleone said it in “The Godfather”.

In the movie “Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan”, the superhuman named Khan had been accidentally marooned on a hostile planet, and blamed Captain Kirk for it.

After many years, he had his opportunity for revenge.

Video:  Star Trek Wrath of Khan – Revenge is a dish best served cold

In the early years before becoming king, David was greatly offended by a man named Nabal.  David gathered his men and had decided he would wipe out Nabal and his family when he was stopped by Nabal’s wife.  Abigail talked David out of taking vengeance on Nabal, and as David cooled off, he realized that Abigail had kept him from doing something stupid – taking revenge.  David said,
(1 Samuel 25:33 NKJV) And blessed is your advice and blessed are you, because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.

David would take his men back to his camp, and meanwhile when Nabal heard about what Abigail had done, he had a heart attack and died.

God took care of Nabal while David didn’t have to.

In the Law of Moses, God promises to take care of Israel’s enemies for them.
(Deuteronomy 32:35 NLT) I will take revenge; I will pay them back. In due time their feet will slip. Their day of disaster will arrive, and their destiny will overtake them.’
Paul wrote,
(Romans 12:19–21 NLT) —19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the Lord. 20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” 21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

You may want to destroy your enemies, but what if God wanted to be gracious to them, maybe even save them?  Would that make you mad?

Sometimes in marriage we can fall into the revenge trap – feeling justified about doing something mean because we feel we’ve been wronged.

Be careful about taking things into your own hands.

:23 Diverse weights are an abomination to the Lord, And dishonest scales are not good.

:23 Diverse weights are an abomination

There’s that scuba diver thing again like vs. 10.

Don’t cheat people.

Solomon said the same basic thing back in verse 10.

Solomon himself has already said,
(Proverbs 11:1 NKJV) Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight.
(Proverbs 16:11 NKJV) Honest weights and scales are the Lord’s; All the weights in the bag are His work.
This is even mentioned in the Law of Moses:
(Deuteronomy 25:13–16 NLT) —13 “You must use accurate scales when you weigh out merchandise, 14 and you must use full and honest measures. 15 Yes, always use honest weights and measures, so that you may enjoy a long life in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 16 All who cheat with dishonest weights and measures are detestable to the Lord your God.
When God repeats something like this, pay attention.

:24 A man’s steps are of the Lord; How then can a man understand his own way?

(Proverbs 20:24 HCSB) A man’s steps are determined by the Lord, so how can anyone understand his own way?


Your Future

Most of us want to know what is in store for us in the future.
People have all kinds of ways to try and figure out their future.
Some people will look to the stars (astrology).
Others will have their palms read.
Others take a more thoughtful approach and do meticulous goal setting.

It’s not bad to make plans for your life, but ultimately there’s no guarantee that your plans will ever come to pass.

God can override anything you might cook up.

If you want the best way to think of your future, it starts here:
(Romans 12:1–2 NLT) —1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

If you want to find God’s will for your life, it starts by giving yourself to Him.

Learn to live for Him.  Learn to live a pure, holy life.

2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Finding God’s will for your life will involve changing the way you think.

Be careful about learning the ways of the world and thinking the way godless people think.

The best way to change your thinking is to study and get God’s Word into your brain.

As you do these things, you will discover God’s will for you step by step.

And you will find that God’s will isn’t a bad thing.  God’s will is good, pleasing, and perfect.

:25 It is a snare for a man to devote rashly something as holy, And afterward to reconsider his vows.

(Proverbs 20:25 The Message) An impulsive vow is a trap; later you’ll wish you could get out of it.

Sometimes we don’t take enough time to think of what we’re saying, asking, or promising.


A couple had been married for 25 years and were celebrating their 60th birthdays, which fell on the same day. During the celebration a fairy appeared and said that because they had been such a loving couple for all 25 years, she would give them one wish each.
The wife wanted to travel around the world. The fairy waved her hand, and Boom! She had the tickets in her hand.
Next, it was the husband’s turn. He paused for a moment, then said shyly, “Well, I’d like to have a wife 30 years younger than me.”
The fairy picked up her wand, and Boom! He was ninety.

The people in the Bible took their promises to God seriously.

Jephtha (Judges 11) was a warrior who made a vow to the Lord.  He vowed that he would give to God the first thing that came out of his house as long as God would give him victory in his next battle.  Perhaps he was thinking that his dog would be the first thing out of his house.  God kept His side of the deal and Jephtha won the battle.  When Jephtha got home, it wasn’t his dog that was first out of the house…
(Judges 11:34–35 NLT) —34 When Jephthah returned home to Mizpah, his daughter came out to meet him, playing on a tambourine and dancing for joy. She was his one and only child; he had no other sons or daughters. 35 When he saw her, he tore his clothes in anguish. “Oh, my daughter!” he cried out. “You have completely destroyed me! You’ve brought disaster on me! For I have made a vow to the Lord, and I cannot take it back.”

Some Bible scholars think he put his daughter to death.  Others think she had to remain a virgin the rest of her life.  Either way, a bad deal.

Saul and Jonathan were fighting the Philistines.  A wild battle broke out and the Israelites were winning, but as the day wore on, Saul didn’t want the fighting to stop…
(1 Samuel 14:24 NLT) Now the men of Israel were pressed to exhaustion that day, because Saul had placed them under an oath, saying, “Let a curse fall on anyone who eats before evening—before I have full revenge on my enemies.” So no one ate anything all day,

What Saul didn’t realize was that his son Jonathan didn’t know about this “oath”.  Jonathan would stop for a minute during the battle and eat some wild honey.  At the end of the battle, when Saul found out Jonathan had eaten some honey, he was going to have his son killed, but the people stopped him.

It’s not bad to make promises to the Lord.

Just be careful that you’ve thought it all out and you are ready to keep your end of the deal.

:26 A wise king sifts out the wicked, And brings the threshing wheel over them.

(Prov 20:26 ICB)  A wise king finds out who the evil people are. Then he punishes them.

:27 The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord, Searching all the inner depths of his heart.

heartbeten – belly, womb, body; as seat of hunger; as seat of mental faculties

(Proverbs 20:27 NLT) The Lord’s light penetrates the human spirit, exposing every hidden motive.

God uses His light to expose us for what we are.  Jesus said,

(John 3:20–21 The Message) —20 Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. 21 But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.”

:28 Mercy and truth preserve the king, And by lovingkindness he upholds his throne.

mercycheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

truth‘emeth – firmness, faithfulness, truth; sureness, reliability; stability, continuance

lovingkindnesscheced – goodness, kindness, faithfulness

Mercy and truth are a key to enduring leadership.

Solomon’s son Rehoboam was not “merciful” to the people when they confronted him about their hard labor.  He ended up losing ten of the twelve tribes as the nation split.

:29 The glory of young men is their strength, And the splendor of old men is their gray head.

(Proverbs 20:29 NLT) The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old.


At 64, Francis Chichester sailed alone around the world in a 53-foot yacht. 

At 65, Winston Churchill became British prime minister for the first time and started the epic struggle against Hitler. 

At 72, Golda Meir became prime minister of Israel. 

At 81, Benjamin Franklin skillfully mediated between disagreeing factions at the U.S. Constitutional Convention.

At 96, George C. Selbach scored a 110-yard hole-in-one at Indian River, Michigan.

And on his 100th birthday, ragtime pianist Eubie Blake exclaimed, “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”

Growing old isn’t all that bad.

:30 Blows that hurt cleanse away evil, As do stripes the inner depths of the heart.

(Proverbs 20:30 NLT) Physical punishment cleanses away evil; such discipline purifies the heart.

There is a place for discipline.