Good Attitudes

Good Attitudes

Text: Proverbs 18:20-19:29

Speak Properly

(Proverbs 18:20-21)

The result of speaking well is a satisfying life. Similar proverbs are Proverbs 12:14; 13:2; 15:23.

Words are more powerful than we may realize (James 3). What we say can kill a person spiritually or bring a person back to life. We need to realize that we receive the consequences of what we say to others – both good and bad (Psalms 52:4). Some similar proverbs are Proverbs 15:4,28; 18:4,7.

Find a Good Wife

(Proverbs 18:22)

When a man finds a wife, he has found a good thing for his life. While we do the looking, we need to realize that having a spouse is a gift from God. Implied is that we should treat that gift as something treasured. A similar proverb is Proverbs 12:4.

Be Humble

(Proverbs 18:23-24)

A person’s wealth affects how he talks to other people. A poor man asks with entreaties, but a rich man responds harshly. The difference is how the person sees his need for other people.

The first line of Proverbs 18:24 has two different translations: “A man who has friends must himself be friendly” (NKJV) and “A man of too many friends comes to ruin” (NASB). The difference is that the Hebrew word jehithroea can mean “shout in triumph” or “be shattered” depending on the context. The majority of translations lean to the latter seeing the use of “friends” being satirical in nature. Having a lot of friends is not good when those friends are there because they focus on what they can gain from you.

The second line emphasizes that all friends are not the same. Some are more valuable because they stick with you through all difficulties, even more than family. A similar proverbs is Proverbs 17:17.

Have Integrity

(Proverbs 19:1-3)

You are better off being poor and with your integrity intact than using twisted words and being a fool. Recall that what you say reveals what you think (Proverbs 4:23). Thus, fools have no integrity and are people you can’t trust in regards to what they say.

It is not good to act without knowledge, so the person who rushes tends to make mistakes (Psalms 49:20). It takes time to gather the information that you need, so you need to be patient.

Foolishness causes a person to act deviously and to get incensed against God. The anger could be because God says “no” to the things he wants to do, or when his choices fail, he blames God for the failure.

For discussion:

  1. With all these proverbs stating that being poor is better, is it wrong to be rich?

Some People Won’t Be Honest with You

(Proverbs 19:4-9)

People have a strong tendency to want to be friends with a rich person. But too often being poor is treated as an illness that people want to stay away from. The root cause is that people see a rich person as someone they can benefit from but a poor person is a potential drain. Too many “friendships” are really about self-interest. A similar proverb is Proverbs 14:20.

Liars will eventually be caught and punished. The problem is that there is only one truth, but many ways to lie. Eventually the liar forgets what he said. A similar proverb is Proverbs 10:9.

People tend to like a person who gives them benefits, whether it is money or political favor. It is not a true friendship because it only continues so long as the benefits continue. Even close family will shun a poor man, mostly to avoid the possible expenses to themselves. A similar proverb is Proverbs 18:24.

A person who gains wisdom (literally “acquires a heart”) benefits himself. When a person hangs on to his reason, he finds good. This summarizes Proverbs 2:1-9.

Proverbs 19:9 is almost identical to Proverbs 19:5. The difference is in the emphasis of the ultimate consequence of lying – death.

For discussion:

  1. What should rulers in government keep in mind in regards to Proverbs 19:4,6-7?
  2. Why do you suppose Solomon alternates between friendships and lying in this section?

Use Discretion

(Proverbs 19:10-12)

Living luxuriantly doesn’t fit with a fool. He cannot retain it and wealth doesn’t make him less of a fool. A slave placed in a position over a prince will not do well because the authority doesn’t fit his training. Solomon's point is that position should be earned, not given or taken.

Being able to see the consequences can help a person keep his anger in check. Often it is better to overlook insults to gain a future advantage and to not sin (Matthew 5:38-42; Psalms 38:12-15).

When dealing with a person in authority, such as a ruler, that person has the power to make your life difficult or pleasant. Thus, you need to give thought to how you speak and behave before such men. Similar proverbs are Proverbs 14:35; 16:13-15. This also can be seen as a warning to rulers to remember that their authority amplifies their moods and impacts other people. A ruler doesn’t want to frighten or benefit the wrong people.

Prudence and Your Family

(Proverbs 19:13-14)

Raising a foolish son will ruin a father. Having a wife who is never content is irritating, like a dripping faucet, but a leaking roof will eventually ruin a home. In other words, because a person lives in close proximity with people who cause difficulties, it has a bigger impact on his life. Both raising a child and selecting a wife involve choices made in advance. The outcome of those decisions need to be weighed carefully because they will affect your life. The people who ought to bring you the greatest comfort can bring you the greatest grief.

You inherit your home and your wealth, but a wise wife is a gift from God. Therefore, gaining a good wife doesn’t just happen, like an inheritance. It involves careful, prudent decisions in advance about something you might not fully see the outcome. A similar proverb is Proverbs 18:22.


(Proverbs 19:15-19)

Lazy people tend to sleep more and ultimately eat less. It too is destructive.

Being careful to follow the law preserves a person, but those who despise the law tend to die. This is an important response to those who claim that legalism is wrong. Similar proverbs is Proverbs 13:13; 16:20.

Generosity to the poor can be seen as a loan that God pays back (Matthew 10:42; 25:40; II Corinthians 9:6-8; Hebrews 6:10). The proverb purposely reverses your expectation. A loan to a poor man is seen as a risk, but with God acting as surety, then it becomes a certainty.

Discipline your children while there is hope of making a change. There is limited opportunity to make an effect and putting it off will not help your child. To not discipline is to demonstrate that you don’t care about the outcome of your child’s life. A similar proverb is Proverbs 13:24.

Hot-tempered people (and children) must face the consequences of their actions. If you try to rescue him from the results of his action, then he will not learn and you will have to do it repeatedly.

Listen to Advice

(Proverbs 19:20-23)

Listen to advice and accept discipline because these will make you wise (Proverbs 12:15; 15:22; 16:16; 19:8).

Though a man makes many plans, it is the advice of God that endures (Proverbs 16:1-3; Isaiah 14:24; 46:11).

The first line of Proverbs 19:22 can be translated a number of ways:

  • A man’s desire is his shame
  • A man’s desire causes him shame
  • A man’s desire is his loyalty (or kindness)
  • The desire for a man is his loyalty (or kindness)

If it is talking about a man’s desire, then it means a man is loyal to what he personally desires, so he need to be careful regarding his desires. He is better off being honest than seeking out wealth by any means.

If this is about what people desire in a man, then what people like is a man who is loyal (kind). But there are people who offer loyalty (kindness), but are lying about it. They have no plans to actually be loyal (kind). Thus, Solomon says it is better to be a poor man who wishes to be loyal (kind), but cannot do so because he has no resources, than to be a man who lies about offering loyalty (kindness).

A healthy fear of God results in life and contentment, so that you can sleep soundly without fear of evil (Proverbs 3:21-26).

Respect Others and Authority

(Proverbs 19:24-29)

Some people are so lazy that they put their hand in a dish to get food, but won’t remove it; thus, preventing other people from eating.

When a scoffer is beaten in punishment, the inexperienced learns from the example and becomes prudent (Deuteronomy 19:18-21). Punishment is not just for the one being punished. It also teaches others who hear of the punishment. When a man of discernment is scolded, he learns knowledge from the situation (Proverbs 9:9). He knows he is not perfect and is willing to change to improve himself. Notice that the scoffer never learns, but the naive and the man of discernment do.

A person who would hit or drive away his own parents is shameful and disgraceful. It is a direct violation of one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12).

If you stop heeding chastisement, you will stray from the truth because those words often tell us we are wrong (Proverbs 5:23; 10:17).

A corrupt witness makes a mockery of justice. For any justice system to work, there has to be a basic good and respect for law in those who participate. The wicked eagerly swallows sin (Job 15:16). Thus, the wicked don’t mind being corrupt witnesses. However, there are judgments awaiting mockers and beatings for fools.