The bible perhaps can be best understood by having a grasp of its major covenants, also known as the Old Testament and the New Testament. To be sure there are seven major covenants in the bible, but these two bring understanding to the others. In the New Covenant we now live in the age of grace whereas in the Old Covenant they lived in the age of the law. The covenants dictate how God related to us and it is vital that in these times we view our relationship with God through the lens of grace even when we are reading from the Old Testament.
30 The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life; a wise person wins friends.
There are three primary ways that you can “sow a seed” – thoughts, words, and deeds. When seeds are planted there will always be a harvest in accordance with what was planted. You will never reap a harvest of something that you did not plant. Whatever you sow you will reap. When you sow seeds of good deeds, those deeds become a tree of life. In Psalm 34:8 David says, “Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him.” When we perform acts of kindness, smile to those who frown at us, feed the homeless, visit the sick, assist the disenfranchised, etc., we become trees of life that others can “taste” and “see” (through demonstration) that the Lord is good.
31 If the righteous are rewarded here on earth, what will happen to wicked sinners?
Although as saints we have been given the gift of righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and are daily recipients of his grace this does not exempt us from the temporary consequences of decisions that do not expressed or specific will of God for our lives. God disciplines us because he loves us, but what about those who do not know God through Jesus Christ. The literal Greek rendering of this verse says, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners.” The grace and faith to be in relationship with God has been extended to all and if those that are righteous (or better yet have been made righteous by Jesus) if they are only righteous not because of what they have done, but because of what Jesus has done, what will happen to those who have yet to trust in Him? I think we all know the answer and that’s why it’s so important that we become trees of life, cities of refuge, and water in the desert to those that are lonely and lost.
Proverbs 10: 28-30
A question that I’m asked frequently is this, “How do I know its God testing me versus the devil tempting me?” My answer usually goes something like this, “Normally, when it’s God he will give you pain first and pleasure later. If it’s the devil, he usually gives you pleasure first and then pain later. God is not interested in making you comfortable, he’s interested in conforming you to the image of his son Jesus Christ. On the other hand Satan will tempt you with your greatest desires and entice you to gain it by any means necessary.
28 The hopes of the godly result in happiness, but the expectations of the wicked come to nothing.
At times it seems that living godly is not worth it. It is difficult to understand why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. Oftentimes it is easy to compare your situation to someone else’s situation in a moment of time. You look at where they are and where you are and we have a propensity to judge our end based on current circumstance. This verse admonishes us not to lose our hope for in the end it will not be dashed, but will be fulfilled in happiness, whereas the plans of the wicked will fail.
29 The way of the Lord is a stronghold to those with integrity, but it destroys the wicked.
Everyone who sees and knows the way of the Lord does not prosper. For an honest person who desires to please God and make God smile, God’s ways are not a chore and they are not grievous. They are life to him and he delights in the way of the Lord. The way of the Lord has an opposite, antithetical effect on the wicked and causes destruction rather than blessing. How? God’s ways are not a desire of his heart and because of that what should be life becomes a tedious internal struggle that can destroy him.
30 The godly will never be disturbed, but the wicked will be removed from the land.
There’s something to be said for longevity. Longevity proves stability and that anchor has been set that cannot be moved. Godly people are those whose roots have been planted by rivers of waters. (Psalm 1) Wicked people and their schemes, plans, and strategies may look prosperous today, but are soon gone tomorrow.
13 The woman named Folly is brash. She is ignorant and doesn’t know it.
Admittedly, in our day and time this sounds like a sexist statement. To appear to characterize a woman as the embodiment of folly and clamor seems to be a bit chauvinistic, but remember that Solomon had 700 wives and 300 “concubines” – 1000 women in total and he is providing his personal observations, not about all women per se, but about the folly of foolishness that he experienced in some of his dealings with them. Although this is the case his wisdom is for women and men alike. Being loud and quick to speak does not reveal what you know, but actually produces the exact opposite – what you don’t know.
14 She sits in her doorway the heights overlooking the city. 15 She calls out to men going by who are minding their own business.
Folly calls out to us all to detour us and distract us from our destiny. Notice that it “calls out” to us. The question is what does it call out to? According to James 1:14 temptation comes from our own desires and folly attempts to target the fulfillment of any desire that is not in alignment with God’s will or timing. The best thing to do in this situation is keep minding your own business.
16 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says 17 “Stolen water is refreshing; food eaten in secret tastes the best!”
Growing up I used to hear this phrase, “Forbidden fruit always tastes better.” Then my grandmother told me it also causes a stomachache. Folly and foolishness look like acceptable paths in life to those who do not possess the ability to make good decisions. Anything you have to obtain in secret (do in the dark) or manipulate to procure will always end turning sour. It’s the simple route for the simple.
18 But little do they know that the dead are there. Her guests are in the depths of the grave.
The bible says that sin has pleasure for a season. No one would ever get caught up in anything if it wasn’t fun or enjoyable. But the fun and the joy don’t last. Not only does it not last it deceives. Jesus said in John 10:10, “The thief (the devil) comes only to kill, steal, and destroy.” The catch is that he never looks like a killer when he comes. He never looks like a thief when he comes and he certainly doesn’t look like a destroyer. He appears in a package that appeals to your desire, but it’s nothing but good ole okie-doke. Just mind your business.