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“And more than that, the preacher was wise; he still taught the people knowledge. Yes, he listened, and looked, and set in order many proverbs. The preacher sought to find out pleasing words; and words of truth written by the upright. The words of the wise are like goads; yes, their collected words are like nails driven home; they are given from one Shepherd” (Ecclesiastes 12:9-11 MKJV).
In the middle of the night of April 15-16 of 2007, it was given me to write proverbs. Like a tap of water turned on, they came, one after the other, 78 in all. Then, as fast as they began, they ended, like a tap turned off. There was no premeditation, no expectation and when the end came, there was nothing I could do to continue. They were just there.
Since then the Lord has given me more, when I am quiet, in His way, and when He wills.
The principles of life have many manifestations, each of which can be expressed as a proverb. A proverb can appear simple on the surface, stating the obvious, as even to give the impression that a simpleton speaks. As one contemplates the words and seeks a deeper meaning, however, he or she can be rewarded with counsel and understanding that serve well in many applications of life, should God give to that one.
251. Are you pious and devout? Then why do you tell both men and God?
252. There are both bright and dim stars, visible and invisible, and there are those which, though they appear smaller, are much greater in size and power, but none has God made without purpose.
253. If a star hits the earth, life will cease to exist as it has, and nothing can resist the impact of truth on the earth.
254. Why do men cling to death as very life and resist life as though it were very death? Contradiction reigns supreme in the heart of the dead.
255. The rich are confident, little knowing they jump on thin ice unable to bear them.
256. Two-legged beasts run to and fro everywhere in the earth, destroying.
257. Infidels both slay and are slain, but the righteous give life and are slain.
258. The Lord uses men to bring the sword and men use His Name to do the same.
259. If a man speaks about himself, shall he have anything to say?
260. He that would busy himself in the affairs of this life shuns the affairs of the next.
261. As the root gains moisture for itself and the leaves, and the leaves gather sunshine for themselves and the root, so God has made both Heaven and earth for each other.
262. Self pity demands justice and consideration without mercy.
263. A fool despises authority, not considering it is provided for his safety.
264. Rebellion is bound in the heart of a fool, but the good taken away from him will be his remedy.
265. The destroyer comes disguised as a savior, and the savior comes as a destroyer, but who can tell?
266. Even a small skill brings recognition and honor.
267. In testing the limits, one learns more by what he cannot do than by what he can.
268. Accepting criticism, whether it be for good or evil, one gains power with the critics.
269. Humility is a precious ointment, which fragrance treats all those who stand by.
270. One has gained mastery when truth and righteousness are more important than himself.
271. The highest authority does not come by age, size, strength, force, beauty, skill, sex, race, pedigree, color, wealth, education, training, status, fame, or experience, but by truth and righteousness; a young child may possess it.
272. The one that honors God rules over all.
273. Words hastily spoken are like lettuce on the teeth of one smiling.
274. The fearful one fears all things but the one that fears God shall fear nothing.
275. The tongue is stronger than all the limbs combined, and so much easier to use.
276. One who speaks against his neighbor must be the first partaker of dishonor.
277. Correction is readily available for the one God favors.
278. Those that frame laws to escape Divine Law do not consider that they take the bait of their own traps.
279. Does one demand discipline for others or for himself? Does he bring down the rod that others may benefit, or that he may rule?
280. If virtue can be judged by appearance, then one can see in the dark.
281. The rich man is not rich without the poor, nor is the wise without the foolish, nor the brave without the fearful, nor the strong without the weak, nor the swift without the slower; God has made all these.
282. As a flag in the wind, so the sinner flows with breezes in any direction, but the righteous are unmoved.
283. Man would arrange the clouds in formation and frequency, and the rains in schedule; God’s order is chaos to him.
284. The hyena laughs because it would tear the flesh and devour.
285. The sinner’s great contradiction is that she sees only the sins of others.
286. Where shall the wise be found except that God provides? How does one recognize the wise and for what would one ask?
287. Only by wisdom can wisdom be known; to the simple, wisdom is foolishness, but to the wise, it is simple.
288. What do you want? A man shall be known by his desire.
289. Though he spends his life in labor, man cannot satisfy himself.
290. To what purpose is vanity, if it is the end of men?
291. The rabbit repeats the same path again, and is snared.
292. Take the weeds when they are small and prevent much toil and trouble.
293. The wicked, in his conceit, feigns agreement with truth, and goes his way, destroying.
294. Weeds conceal themselves until they are many and strong to overcome those among which they thrive.
295. Unless one destroys the root, a weed will return.
296. Though they are not desirable, weeds have their purpose and value.
297. A covetous and ungrateful man frets over his losses and forgets that his gains are greater.
298. A small offense looms large over a great favor, and an indiscretion over a great work.
299. Man glorifies himself, but God comes as nothing of value; man exalts himself to Heaven, but God lowers Himself to earth.
300. Man presumes Godhood for his own sake and reaches for God in vain, but God takes on manhood for man’s sake and successfully transforms him into Godhood.
301. Can the lesser consume and become the greater? If so, grass can become a cow, and a cow, man, and a man, God. But if the greater consumes the lesser, then the lesser is transformed. Therefore, let the lesser humble himself, that he may know not to refuse consumption by the greater.
302. Can a fool tell the difference between love and hate, good and evil, truth and falsehood? How many are the wise, and how many the fools?
303. The sluggard dreams to rest six days and do his pleasure, and labor but one.
304. Cursed be the one that takes a man’s daughter without consent, and defiles her; blessed is the one that honors the daughter’s mother and father; he will not be without honor.
305. The religious love the form without the substance, and hate the substance without the form.
306. Is not the counterfeit but the form, and the deception an impression? So dogs come from behind to bite the heel.
307. As the wind rustles every leaf on every tree, so the truth will not be spoken without effect.
308. As a painful leg cramp, so is a disobedient one in an assembly of those that seek to do right.
309. Like putting salt in the sugar bowl and sugar in the saltshaker, so is the unreliable servant that performs his duties without due attention.
310. As refined foods lead their consumers to illness, so sweet and smooth words bring destruction to those taken by them.
311. Wisdom is as water, finding the lowest place and filling all available space, that none but the high and full are excluded.
312. Those who trade long-term value for short-term gain will suffer long term, but those who bear present difficulty with patience will be satisfied in the end.
313. Fear of man is often mistaken for discretion and keeping one’s counsel.
314. Feelings and opinions change, but the Word of the Lord is constant.
315. Imaginations and fears present themselves as reality, but truth and love expose them for the imposters they are.
316. As children using play money, and as thieves using counterfeit currency, so men opine about the things of God.
317. Truth redeems but opinions confound and destroy.
318. As salt and pepper on a table, so God has set forth good and evil before men.
319. As a hammer drives a nail into place, so an infirmity of one serves as a useful tool to deal with the infirmities of others; when the work is done, the tool will be put away.
320. Those who would correct the past and control the future would do both if they but tended faithfully to the present.
321. Fruit cannot be brought forth before its time.
322. At the time of harvest, fruit is available; laborers gather it in season and make it available to those in need.
323. The man of God is a polished surface, by which others may see their true reflections.
324. Sinners blame the mirror for their reflections, and oft seek to break it.
325. The more rare is the more appreciated; it will not be called common.
326. As children playing with fire, so fools are careless and playful concerning matters of life and death.
327. Choose freedom to do evil and freedom to do good is taken away.
328. As an oil light indicates engine trouble, so the Law of God makes known the need of the soul.
329. As a ship without a rudder, never arriving at a sure destination, so are those ever learning without regard to God.
330. As a rudder on a ship, so the Law of God guides the soul.
331. Lies are believed by liars and those who seek their own profit, but those seeking good are not deceived.
332. Indulging the flesh is as painting over rotten wood.
333. As those sweeping food under the rug, so are those who ignore that which is right; in due time, the rot and the smell will come.
334. The faithless beat fools, and are corrected in their futility.
335. Hand cleaner takes away grease, and soap takes away the hand cleaner; so the Law is applied, and grace follows to complete the work.
336. To attain righteousness by the Law is like washing a pig to make it a sheep.
337. There are those that serve as the rectum of the Body, but by it are wastes expelled; who can live without one?
338. The same blood and accompanying Life flows in the rectum, as in the heart and tongue.
339. For opinions, men will respect one another, but if one speaks truth with authority, they call it arrogance.
340. Men will honor one another’s religions, provided truth is not required of them.
341. God is not hasty to bring judgment; therefore sinners grow confident in their ways.
342. Fear has power to conjure evil that is not there.
343. People make a show of worship because they love themselves more than the One they profess to love.
344. How strange it is that the world persecutes a tiny people, yet fears it as its worst nightmare; therefore destiny promises good for them and will keep that promise!
345. The fool has said in his heart, “The creature has created the Creator.”
346. The waters are dark and deep, the earth thick and heavy, each hiding much, but all things surface in their time.
347. Friendliness breeds goodwill and ignorance forestalls it.
348. A favor in goodwill is a seed sown for much return.
349. The tree has the insect, the insect has the bird, the bird has the cat, the cat has the dog, the dog has the man, and the man has himself with which to contend.
350. There is no creature of which the other side of the balance is not required.
351. A leopard is beautiful, and one who trusts appearances will smart for it by and by.
352. Beware of the one trumpeting God and His goodness; he dresses in white to conceal his darkness.
353. Those who ask for your money to serve God ask for your blood to serve them.
354. Calluses protect while soft hands blister and bleed; so hardship endured will deliver.
355. Bodily exercise perchance saves this life, but godly exercise surely saves the next.
356. Women scorn men publicly, but men complain of women among themselves.
357. As branches grow on a tree, and leaves on a branch, so all things are ordered with equal sides.
358. Trial and compensation are equals.
359. A little quality is better than much quantity.
360. As moths are attracted to artificial light and are hurt, so men are attracted to other gods.
361. Shall a watchman go to sleep saying, “The Lord will watch for me”? Shall a farmer forego sowing saying, “The Lord will feed me”?
362. One overcoming a vice in his own strength soon has another to overcome.
363. Everywhere, in all its glory and comeliness, is the worship of other gods.
364. A man who commits adultery stones himself to death and leaves many wounded.
365. Many proclaim themselves to be sons of God, but God knows His sons, and will reveal them in due time.
366. As there is no secret commandment, so there is no secret sin.
367. To enjoy a moment of pleasure, man will throw away his soul for eternity; blessed is the one who loves God more than pleasure.
368. One who chases mammon chases himself, but mammon chases him that worships God.
369. Fools will not speak the truth, but an honest man will not preserve himself.
370. First comes ignorance, then knowledge; weakness, then strength; loss, then gain; defeat, then victory; failure, then success; turmoil, then peace; and death, then life.
371. A righteous man holds his tongue for good, but a fool for evil.
372. Having been delivered of the pit of sorrow and regret, beware that you do not return.
373. If God brings sorrow to you for a time, it is because He wants happy sons and daughters.
374. For the righteous, losses flourish and flaunt themselves on every side, but where these abound, gains abound even more; God is greater than all.
375. As surely as dung must pass, so those who do evil must perish, but the righteous are assimilated unto everlasting life.
376. To those who fear God and keep His commandments, battles are lost, but the war is won.
377. Though a rich man bankrupts himself and his debt is forgiven, yet his wealth is gone, never to return; but the righteous lays up treasure added to treasure.
378. There are those who speak truth for evil’s sake because there is no truth in them.
379. As a plant comes forth from a seed hidden in the ground and bears after its kind, so secret sins will sprout forth and bear fruit.
380. The sword is appointed for the wicked, but the righteous will be spared.
381. As an insurance policy replaces that which is lost, so God restores that which a righteous man has lost.
382. All of creation proclaims God’s glory, but a fool screams in bitterness because he cannot see or hear.
383. As a fine mist, sexual temptation presents itself, mysterious and idyllic, then grows thicker and envelops the wayward one in darkness.
384. Lord, You have opened our eyes that we may see, our ears that we may hear, and granted us new hearts to understand. You have caused us to walk on water and granted us wings to fly. Time, space and matter cannot prevent us because You are our Father, You love us, and have made us for Yourself.
385. Though our tears have been shed, we have joy, and though our blood has been spilt, we have life. You have done these things for Your unworthy servants, whereof we are glad, yea, overjoyed, and we proclaim to the world that You are God, Lord of all, and that there is none like You.
386. Who can hurt us, and we feel it? Who can hurt, and we do not feel? We are Your sons and Your daughters, and in You, we live, breathe, move, and have our being.
387. Though a bacterium cannot be seen by the naked eye, it spoils the jam, so works a little unseen evil.
388. The true seeker after God will not be dissuaded from the path of Truth, but triflers will fall away.
389. For everything there is a place, a place for a garden and a place for a road; a place for a home and a place for sand; a place for a rock and a place for a tree; a place for water and a place for dryness; a place for light and a place for darkness; a place for a worm and a place for a flutterby; a place for a sword and a place for a scabbard; a place for a dish and a place for a broom; a place for an animal and a place for a person; a place for the wicked and a place for the righteous; a place for sellers and a place for buyers; a place for rulers and a place for servants; a place for adults and a place for children; a place for women and a place for men; everything has its place.
390. There is no fool like an expert, and no expert like a fool, and there is the simple that understands.
391. One who appears foolish, asking questions, will afterward be able to give answers.
392. Like an aberrant limb sprouting on a mature tree, so is a useless complaint after the fact.
393. If I have learned anything in this life, it is that I would never live it again for itself.
394. One who says, “If I were to live my life again, I would not change a thing,” has spent a whole life learning nothing.
395. With pride comes strife, but humility brings peace.
396. When the wicked cries “Wolf!” the world believes him again and again, but when the righteous sounds the warning, the world will not believe him once.
397. Even magicians and children pretend to make something of nothing, not knowing they imitate a creator.
398. By sleight of hand, magicians entertain, pretending to bring into existence by secret knowledge; others of higher learning teach, presuming that which is came from nothing.
399. The understanding honor intelligence, but a fool refuses to believe in it, lest he should answer for his thoughts.
400. When the destroyer comes, the world receives him as a savior; when the Savior comes, He is recognized as the enemy.
401. Victory comes by failure, and the way to the heights passes through valleys, wherein patience and humility are precious companions.
402. One grows more by learning what he cannot do than by what he can.
403. Fear is a compulsive liar, a merciless tyrant, and the instigator of many evils.
404. When put to use, a loose axe head and a fearful person cannot be trusted.
405. As fire, so is the flesh never satisfied, but the more it indulges, the greater its capacity and craving.
406. Before redemption comes guilt; before guilt comes offence; before offence comes innocence, with which there is no redemption.
407. Joy only comes with victory, and victory comes only when one dies.
408. We know so much, and we know so little. The more we know, the less we know, until, one day, we know it all, and we know nothing.
409. Except God controls the atoms, the weak and the poor are without hope.
410. Only by knowing failure can one know success.
411. A soft master prepares a road to defeat, but a demanding one leads to success.
412. All creatures of earth but for man do not determine exercise; yet they are strong and able.
413. If one, by revelation, leaves the company of those walking in error, he is free, but if he is cast out against his will, his bondage is doubled.
414. When one lays down to rest, if it is cool, he covers himself with a blanket, if it is available. When one decides to eat, he prepares the food, cooking and flavoring it. Whenever one does anything, he tries to accommodate. Do these things not speak of hope?
415. The second generation will enter in where the first will not, and children will hear where parents will not.
416. He who has time for good at his cost, good will have time, and time will have good, for him.
417. He who regards necessity over righteousness robs himself of necessities.
418. A neighbor says to me, “I have no time to weed my lawn by hand, without poisons, as you.” I say, “I have time to weed my lawn by hand because I do it without poisons.”
419. He who tends to God’s concerns, God shall tend to his.
420. Someone says to me, “I will not talk to you because you are too persuasive.” I say, “If I speak falsehood, you do well, but if the truth, you do well to be persuaded.”
421. One knows more of this world for the worse but the more of Heaven, the better.
422. A false witness destroys herself with her hate, but a true and faithful one brings life to herself and those around her.
423. True love is manifest, and without need to be labeled or proclaimed.
424. Making enemies in the world is as easy as falling off a log, but making friends and keeping them is as walking a tightrope.
425. In God’s wisdom, the cat does not differentiate between a pest and a precious songbird; only God can save any creature from His own creation. Therefore, it is folly to put hope in man.
426. The earth hangs by nothing, and we all live in perfect delicacy, a moment away from potential destruction.
427. Fools proudly abhor the very thought of counsel from others, thinking to have their own wisdom, but wise men humble themselves and covet knowledge of counselors.
428. The Word of God is the food of angels, but swine trample it in the mire, preferring the fare of dead things.
429. When the works of darkness are reproved, a storm ensues, and the evil is taken away.
430. The true and faithful heart will take the bad with the good, willing to suffer as well as to enjoy.
431. As with beasts, man has no wisdom in himself to tell right from wrong, or good from evil unless the Spirit of God shows mercy.
432. The wicked, raging against the justice of God, plot their own destruction.
433. The fool with his lips may say, “I believe in God,” but, in life, denies his profession of faith.
434. Great is the mystery of foolishness, so that even wise men fail to comprehend it.
435. Life without losing is as a harvest without sowing.
436. Evil must come, that the good might be appreciated.
437. Comparison to those of inferior performance is a trap that robs one of excellence.
438. Church is an interference with God.
439. One must sacrifice that which is in his hand if he hopes to prosper.
440. To the wicked, might is right; to the godly, right is might.
441. The liberal soul shall be made fat but the chintzy one shall suffer want.
442. The victim suffers the temporary wound but the perpetrator the lasting pain.
443. The perfectionist must be the sorriest person on earth.
444. Birds come when they are fed and leave when they are not.
445. A little foolishness will prevent much good, but keeping the Law of God will ensure success.
446. A labyrinth of selfishness and deception may have only one right choice to make, but life is full of opportunity at every turn to speak the truth.
447. Perpetrators enable their victims to receive authority to speak truth.
448. Plants arise everywhere in due season; so the resurrection power of the saints is ever at work, performing the impossible.
449. The thought of danger is the substance of fear. In the Lord, there is no danger but to give it undue attention.
450. There are those that appear noble, proclaiming the need to seek after God, yet they propose to do so in their own power.
451. As the time for eating is not determined by a clock but by hunger, so right and wrong are not determined by a code of laws but by the will of God.
452. Evil comes to destroy the wicked and to chasten the righteous. For the righteous, evil comes to present opportunity for good.
453. Why shall a man and woman sleep together to the detriment of their children?
454. More often than physical adultery, the marriage bed is defiled by undue reverence, which is adultery against God.
455. As perishing creatures diligently search out a place to expire, so mankind eagerly receives the essence of lies.
456. As common as grass is found on the ground, so is unforgiveness found with bitterness.
457. Truth is simple to a child, but sinners in the hardness of their hearts cannot perceive it.
458. The sinner looks but he cannot see, listens but he cannot hear, lest he should comprehend with the heart and be compelled to surrender his will.
459. So he spoke to them as he handed them their tools, saying: “These are the latest in technology – cordless – nor are they powered by batteries. There is a mystical power that governs them, as needed, energized by the will power of the user.” And he took them to the garden and handed them their shovels.
460. The wicked proudly think to serve God with their righteousness, gazing expectantly for reward, finding they must pay instead.
461. The idolater is indignant when his god is not acknowledged. In his contradiction, he identifies his god with the Most High in hopes His wrath will consume those who deny him his god.
462. First does the deceiver deceive himself, and then he proceeds to work his evil upon others.
463. Iniquity refuses to believe that the sun shines by day or that rain falls from clouds. It chooses rather to believe that the rain falls from the sun and clouds bring light at night.
464. The sinner does much harm but he is his own first and greatest victim.
465. As a caterpillar spins its cocoon, so, by their evil deeds, men call themselves to task, form their own correction, and enter into their reward.
466. Silent and invisible, the fruits of darkness form until, in due season, the tree is full. The gardener does not expect such abundance.
467. There is no reasoning with a fool; he is his own authority. He eats his fingers because he is hungry, and who shall deny him his food?
468. Many are the fools, and the wise men greatly outnumbered, yet wisdom is not extinguished.
469. Who can deny the reality of resurrection power when seeing a fool turn from his foolishness? A fool.
470. As clouds hide the sun and prevent the light from shining upon the earth, so fools obscure the truth. They justify themselves, saying, “We provide shade for comfort.”
471. When light breaks through the impenetrable hardness of a sinner’s heart, we witness a miracle.
472. We will clap our hands and sing with loud voices and thrilled hearts because the Righteous King reigns and our enemies are put away.
473. The relief of the burden lifted surpasses the heavy burden of the relief refused.
474. As a robin cannot withhold its song in the showers when abundance of food is announced, so the saints will be unable to withhold their praises when their sustenance comes with the latter rain.
475. Truth, in silent confidence and quiet power, expresses itself on stage at all times, in all places, and before all men. It has a captive audience.
476. Truth is like the air we breathe and the sun that shines upon us on a clear day. Those who refuse it do so to their hurt.
477. Only punishment will bring a fool to his knees to worship God; kindness fails to accomplish in a fool what the rod will perform in due course.
478. Bless the Lord that the waters wash away the filth and unquenchable fires come to take away the deadly plague, even death itself.
479. While men sleep, God works; while men work, God sleeps.
480. Slumber on, men of the earth, and dream; but know that you will awake to evil.
481. “I must feed my mouth,” says the fool, not considering the One Who provides the food.
482. To everything there is a value and a cost, and the two are perfectly balanced.
483. Men strive for the heights until they learn that their abundant life is in the valleys, where only they can live.
484. So hard it is to restore a lost soul a second time, as hard as sowing into frozen ground.
485. Ocean depths hide many secrets, as does every soul, but God knows them all.
486. Despair is a word only in the dictionary of the dead; with the living, there is only hope.
487. Work will end, and when it is completed faithfully, the pay will be according to the work.
488. A time to work and a time to rest; God appoints each of them.
489. We think we know what we need, but the Lord knows what He wants.
490. The road of selfish desire leads to destruction, but the road of righteousness and truth to all prosperity.
491. Power comes to those who forsake it, and peace to those who suffer evil without resistance.
492. The wicked seeks power and uses truth to get it; the righteous seeks truth and uses power to get it.
493. The secret to keeping a secret is something not to be told.
494. One either comes out of the fires as pure gold or as ashes.
495. What a blessing to a father to have a son that loves him; what a curse to a father is a wayward son!
496. Conquer yourself and all is conquered; nothing can defeat you.
497. Conformity is the kiss of death, but laying down the life brings resurrection.
498. Why do men wear suits and ties? Because.
499. Gallows of good represent the gate to greatness and glory.
500. Weariness of spirit taxes the body and mind more than all the labor they perform.