The Peacemaker Has a Wise Tongue – Proverbs 17:14-20
The verses of these Proverbs warn us of the folly of strife, wickedness, evil, injustice, adversity, and the peril of those who follow that way of living. I want us to look at the opposite side of these warnings.
Verse 14 – A dam may start to break with just a pinhole in it, and if it is left untended it becomes a flood of water. Think of the flooding of the biggest part of New Orleans a few years ago. Most of the damage was caused by the breaking of the dikes that held back water from the city. When they broke the breaks got larger until there was no stopping the flow. That is likened to someone loving strife.
The answer to that is when we see the beginning of strife it needs mended. If it is passed that point then we should probably leave it alone and walk away.
Verse 15 – As God’s children we should always honor justice, and condemn injustice whenever we see it. There is a great tendency in this 21st century to vilify the righteous, and justify wickedness. From this verse we see that that is an abomination to God. (Isaiah 5:20).
Verse 16 – Biblically wise people will pay any price for godly wisdom. If it takes money we will pay it. If it takes study of God’s Word, then we will study God’s Word; if it takes listening to others, then we will listen to others. The price we will pay for wisdom is worth it.
For those who have no heart for wisdom he/she will spend their money, time and listening to other things.
Verse 17 – John Gill says of the first part of this, “A friend loveth at all times,…. A true, hearty, faithful friend, loves in times of adversity as well as in times of prosperity: there are many that are friends to persons, while they are in affluent circumstances; but when there is a change in their condition, and they are stripped of all riches and substance; than their friends forsake them, and stand at a distance from them; as was the case of Job, Job_19:14; it is a very rare thing to find a friend that is a constant lover, such an one as here described;” SEE Proverbs 18:24; 27:10; Ruth 1:16; Job 6:14.
I am thankful for the Friend who sticks closer than a brother. His name is Jesus.
Verse 18 – A true friend would not ask a friend to be “surety” on a debt; at least in my mind. Why would a friend want to make a friend do a foolish thing. The proverb author says this is only the act of “A man void of understanding”.
The Believer’s Bible Commentary states, “17:18 This verse modifies the previous one by showing that love should not be without discernment. It would be a case of bad judgment to agree to guarantee a friend’s debts in the event that he should default. Any man who needs a surety is a bad credit risk. Why be surety for a bad credit risk?”
Verses 19-20 – This verse takes us back to verse 14. Transgression is the treasure of one who loves strife. The obedient and humble hate transgression as well as strife.
The froward heart is as the one who loves transgression, and finds no good. The heart of a man or woman who loves God not only will find good, but also be the source of good to others; even those who do not seek it.