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Proverbs 28

Sunday Morning Bible Study

April 8, 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

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.

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.

We are now in a section of that dates to 250 years after Solomon. King Hezekiah had a group of scholars collect an additional group of 100 of Solomon’s proverbs.

Proverbs 28

:1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.

(Proverbs 28:1 The Message) The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.

Living correctly gives you courage

:2 Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged.

(Proverbs 28:2 NLT) When there is moral rot within a nation, its government topples easily. But wise and knowledgeable leaders bring stability.

It make a difference whether a nation is following God or not

I think the crazy political climate of America right now is a great illustration of this first part of the verse.
We need leaders who are like the second half.

:3 A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.

poor (1st)ruwsh – to be poor, be in want, lack

mangeber – man, strong man, warrior (emphasizing strength or ability to fight)

poor (2nd)dal – low, poor, weak, thin, one who is low

fromdalal – to hang, languish, hang down, be low; of distress (fig.)

:3 A poor man who oppresses the poor

There are two different Hebrew words used that are translated “poor”.

In other words, though both carry the idea of not having enough, they are different “not having enoughs

The word for “man” here carries the idea of “strength”, and may be talking about a leader of some kind.

(Proverbs 28:3 HCSB) A destitute leader who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no food.
Rain might sound like a good thing, but at the wrong time of year, rain will ruin your crops and leave you nothing.


All Beggars

When we look down our noses at others who are “poor” in different areas than we are, we are not doing anyone any good.
We are all just beggars begging bread.
When we start to think we’re better than that, we get into trouble.

:4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them.

:4 Those who forsake the law

(Proverbs 28:4 The Message) If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity; if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.


Moral compass

A “moral compass” is how we navigate what is “right” from what is “wrong”.
Did you know you had a “compass” on your iPhone?

A magnetic compass always points to the north, and allows a sailor or a boy scout to navigate with his map or chart

as long as there aren’t any strong magnets nearby.

A magnet will give you an incorrect “north”.

If you don’t know where “north” is, you are going to be lost.

Your iPhone would make a better compass because it gets it’s “north” from the GPS satellites and isn’t affected by magnets.

In America, our moral compass is all out of whack because of the magnet of public opinion.
If enough people think that eating cupcakes for breakfast is healthy, we start believing it is.
The problem with this moral compass is that society keeps changing and what was “north” ten years ago is no longer “north”.
It is nothing new.  Paul saw in his own day what happened when men rejected the truth about God.
(Romans 1:22–27 NLT) —22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.

It is no surprise that since we decided to kick God out of our American society, that we now no longer no what is right and wrong.

I’ll bet some of you or your kids have been taught in school that we need to learn “tolerance” and allow people to explore their own ideas about sexuality and what is right and wrong, and to speak against sin is “hate speech”.

Do you know how to tell “right” from “wrong”?
The world tells us to “trust our heart” … or …

Sex is okay as long as you love the other person.

We’re going to see in a minute why this is a problem.

God tells us to trust His Word.

It’s the satellite GPS of moral compasses.  It’s the true north of what is right and what is wrong.

:5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all.

(Proverbs 28:5 The Message) Justice makes no sense to the evil minded; those who seek God know it inside and out.

:6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

(Proverbs 28:6 HCSB) Better a poor man who lives with integrity than a rich man who distorts right and wrong.

perverseiqqesh – twisted, distorted, crooked, perverse, perverted

:7 Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father.

(Proverbs 28:7 NLT) Young people who obey the law are wise; those with wild friends bring shame to their parents.

The problem with “wild friends” is that “evil company corrupts good habits” (1Cor. 15:33).

(1 Corinthians 15:33 NKJV) Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

companionra’ah – to pasture, tend, graze, feed; to associate with, be a friend of (meaning probable)

gluttonszalal – to be worthless, be vile, be insignificant, be light

:8 One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion Gathers it for him who will pity the poor.

(Proverbs 28:8 NLT) Income from charging high interest rates will end up in the pocket of someone who is kind to the poor.

:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

(Proverbs 28:9 The Message) God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.

Some people live their lives in rebellion against God, and then complain that God doesn’t answer their prayers.

:10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, He himself will fall into his own pit; But the blameless will inherit good.

(Proverbs 28:10 The Message) Lead good people down a wrong path and you’ll come to a bad end; do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.

:11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding searches him out.

(Proverbs 28:11 NLT) Rich people may think they are wise, but a poor person with discernment can see right through them.

:12 When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves.

(Proverbs 28:12 HCSB) When the righteous triumph, there is great rejoicing, but when the wicked come to power, people hide themselves.

:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

:13 He who covers his sins will not prosper


Deal with sin

We’ve talked a lot this morning about sin and doing what is right.
The problem that is universal among all people is that we all sin.
(Romans 3:23 NLT) For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.
Solomon himself wrote,

(Proverbs 20:9 NKJV) Who can say, “I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin”?

The question is not whether or not you can live your life without sinning, the question is what will you do once you’ve sinned?
It is certainly in our nature to want to cover up our sin and imperfections.
Adam and Eve were only given one rule to follow – Don’t eat from the forbidden tree.

(Genesis 3:6–8 NKJV) —6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. 8 And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

Adam and Eve sinned and then tried to cover it up.

They tried to cover themselves with fig leaves – which is not a great choice of leaves – they are pretty itchy.

Then they tried to hide from God.

God wants us to learn to come to Him with our failures and ask for His help.

David wrote,

(Psalm 32:3–5 NLT) —3 When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. 4 Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. 5 Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.

You will not grow and develop as a person if you continue to hide your sin.
Growth comes from admitting we’ve failed and looking for ways to change.
We might think that if we come forward and admit our sin, we’ll just make things worse and find ourselves in trouble.
There may be consequences to admitting your sin, but I find that those consequences help cement my resolve to run from that sin.
And best yet, I find mercy from God, and that’s way better than any consequences I may face.

(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.

This is why Jesus came, to pay the price for our forgiveness, to die on a cross, to die in our place, so that God would be “just” when He forgives us.
The price has been paid.
Have you confessed and forsaken your sin?

:14 Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

reverentpachad – to fear, tremble, revere, dread, be in awe or dread

(Proverbs 28:14 NLT) Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

:15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people.

(Proverbs 28:15 HCSB) A wicked ruler over a helpless people is like a roaring lion or a charging bear.

Some people have no compassion for the people they work with.


A woman went to the doctor’s office where she was seen by one of the new doctors, but after about 4 minutes in the examination room, she burst out, screaming as she ran down the hall. An older doctor stopped her and asked what the problem was, and she told him her story. After listening, he had her sit down and relax in another room. The older doctor marched down the hallway to where the first Doctor was and demanded, “What’s the matter with you? Mrs. Terry is 63 years old, she has four grown children and seven grandchildren, and you told her she was pregnant?!” The new doctor continued to write on his clipboard and without looking up said, “Does she still have the hiccups?”

:16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days.

understandingtabuwn – understanding, intelligence

oppressorma’ashaqqah – extortionate deed, extortion

fromashaq – to press upon, oppress, violate, defraud

(Proverbs 28:16 NLT) A ruler with no understanding will oppress his people, but one who hates corruption will have a long life.

:16 A ruler who lacks understanding

Do you remember the principles of Hebrew poetry?  Of Hebrew parallelism?

Hebrew poetry doesn’t rhyme sounds, but thoughts.
The second line is either a further explanation of the same thing expressed in the first line, or it is a contrast of the first line, but still giving understanding to the first line.

In this proverb, lacking understanding is synonymous with covetousness.

The person who lacks “understanding” or “lacks intelligence” is a greedy, covetous person.
That greed will lead them to be a mean person, an “oppressor”.
If you get rid of greed, then you have a better life.

:17 A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; Let no one help him.

(Proverbs 28:17 NLT) A murderer’s tormented conscience will drive him into the grave. Don’t protect him!

A guilty person’s conscience will torment them until they are caught.  Don’t think you’re helping them out by keeping them from facing their crime.

:18 Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, But he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall.

(Proverbs 28:18 HCSB) The one who lives with integrity will be helped, but one who distorts right and wrong will suddenly fall.

:19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough!

(Proverbs 28:19 NLT) A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty.

This principle is true whether it’s in school or in the work force.

Students – you may be taking lots of classes about things that don’t really matter in life.  You may tell yourself that it doesn’t matter whether you learn algebra or history.
The subject matter isn’t always the issue.  Sometimes it’s simply learning the discipline of working hard at whatever you do.

:20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished.

(Proverbs 28:20 The Message) Committed and persistent work pays off; get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.

:21 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.

(Proverbs 28:21 The Message) Playing favorites is always a bad thing; you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.

:21 To show partiality is not good

Partiality is all about playing favorites with people.

Some people treat people differently if they are popular, others if they have lots of money.
Some people might even let a person get by with doing a horrible wrong for the smallest price, a piece of bread.

:22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him.

:22 A man with an evil eye

Some people have this notion that an “evil eye” is a way of casting an evil spell on somebody by looking at them with a special look.

In the Bible, the “evil eye” has to do with wanting something that doesn’t belong to you, having an “eye” for something that’s wrong.

We call that greed.


Greed is bad

Jesus said it is more blessed to give than to receive, the world says to “get all you can”.
The 1987 movie “Wallstreet” was about people who love money.

Video:  Wallstreet – Greed is Good

There are people who live their lives according to this philosophy.

Michael Douglas’ character might have made a lot of money, but he also ended up in prison.  Poverty came on him.

Moses mentions an “evil eye”.  In this passage, the warning is about when the time approaches when debts are forgiven.

(Deuteronomy 15:9 NKJV) Beware lest there be a wicked thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand,’ and your eye be evil against your poor brother and you give him nothing, and he cry out to the Lord against you, and it become sin among you.

When your eye is evil, you want what belongs to your neighbor.

Jesus said our lives should be aimed at something other than getting more “stuff”.  He said,
(Matthew 6:33 NLT) Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus mentioned the “evil” or “bad” eye.
(Matthew 6:19–23 NKJV) —19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. 22 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

If your “eye” is set on good things, things God wants for you, then your life is able to be filled with light, like a clean window lets in light.

If your eye is set on things that don’t belong to you, your life is filled with darkness.

Paul wrote to Timothy about the dangers of loving money.
(1 Timothy 6:9–10 NLT) —9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

:23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue.

(Proverbs 28:23 NLT) In the end, people appreciate honest criticism far more than flattery.

It may not always seem good at first, but afterwards if the person is wise, they will thank you for having the courage to confront them rather than flatter them.

:24 Whoever robs his father or his mother, And says, “It is no transgression,” The same is companion to a destroyer.

destroyershachath – to destroy, corrupt, go to ruin, decay

(Proverbs 28:24 NLT) Anyone who steals from his father and mother and says, “What’s wrong with that?” is no better than a murderer.

:25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered.

proudrachab – broad, wide

heartnephesh – soul, self, life, creature, person, appetite, mind, living being, desire, emotion, passion

prospereddashen – to be fat, grow fat, become fat, become prosperous, anoint

Hebrew Parallelism

A proud heart is the opposite of trusting in the Lord.

(Proverbs 28:25 NLT) Greed causes fighting; trusting the Lord leads to prosperity.

:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

We’ll come back to this…

:27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses.

(Proverbs 28:27 The Message) Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry; shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.

:28 When the wicked arise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.

(Proverbs 28:28 The Message) When corruption takes over, good people go underground, but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.


now back to…

:26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered.

:26 He who trusts in his own heart


Trusting the heart

In 1957, Dean Martin made a movie titled “Ten Thousand Bedrooms”.  In that movie he gave us this piece of advice:
Video:  Dean Martin – Only Trust Your Heart
Movies have long admonished us to “trust our heart”.
Is that a wise thing?
When you ask some people for advice, they might respond, “What does your heart tell you?”
Video: LOTR – “What Does Your Heart Tell You?”

Now of course, in the movies, the “heart” is always right.

The problem is that in real life, our “hearts” (or, emotions) can change quite often, for many different reasons.
Jeremiah wrote,

(Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV) “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Solomon advises against trusting in your heart, and instead to learn to use wisdom.
This doesn’t mean that your life has no emotion.
It means that you make your major decisions with more input than just your heart.
The best input we can get to navigate through life is not our heart which can changes, but God’s Word – the True Compass – which doesn’t change.
(Psalm 119:160 NKJV) The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.
We ought to be asking, “What does God’s Word say about this?”