Expositor's Dictionary of Texts
Be not thou envious against evil men, neither desire to be with them.Wisdom the Builder
Men everywhere are engaged in house-building. Some in dreamy castle-building; some in material fortune-building; all in inward character-building, building up, each one of them, the history of a life, the destiny of an eternity.
I. To begin at the bottom of the scale, let us glance at that kind of building which with so many people is the first and chief concern of life—the building up of their material fortunes.
While heavenly wisdom will not permit us to make material success, the pursuit of mere fortune, a chief end of life, it is nevertheless true that the possession and practice of this wisdom has much to do, both in the individual life and on a larger scale in society, with the building up of a stable, a durable prosperity. We know very well that for sound, stable, durable prosperity in a country, as in the individual, we must have as a foundation, before all else, character, honesty, probity, reliableness; strict, just, and honourable dealing between man and man.
II. Turn now from this outward building to that which is at first sight its very opposite. But you see how closely they are connected. From the building up of material fortune, I mean, to the inward building up of character.
Every man, by every thought he thinks, by the habits he acquires, the actions he performs, is building up a house for himself, a habitation for his soul, none the less real that he cannot just walk out of it and leave it behind him when he wills. The mind is its own place, and may become to its possessor a palace or a prison. You enter one soul: it is a foul, contracted, base, poison-laden chamber, the inlets through which one might enter into it are choked up. You enter another soul: it is a broad and spacious habitation. There is a lofty and noble outlook, towards heaven and upon earth. And whence this difference? Simply that the one has been building without this heavenly wisdom, and the other has been building with it.
III. Take now another step, and look for a moment at the building up of a house of knowledge and art. It might seem at first as if knowledge, and certainly art, were independent of character, or of the possession of this moral wisdom. But in reality it is not so. The keystone of all true knowledge is found in reverence for God.
IV. In church building also we need the reminder of our text. The more evils abound around us, and the more we think they abound, the more earnestly we should set ourselves to what is specially the duty placed before us by Divine Wisdom Himself, the. work, the task, of building up the kingdom of God in the hearts of men and in the world.
—J. Orr, Christian World Pulpit, vol. LXVIII. 1905, p. 134.
References.—XXIV. 4.—W. Skinner, Christian World Pulpit, vol. lvii. 1900, p. 108. XXIV. 10.—J. A. Picton, Pulpit Discourses, p. 3. XXIV. 11, 12.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 263. J. Guinness Rogers, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlix. 1896, p. 193. Mark Guy Pearse, Christian World Pulpit, vol. 1. 1896, p. 273. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 485.
Ruskin says: 'The plea of ignorance will never take away our responsibilities. It is written, "If thou sayest, Behold we knew it not; doth not He that pondereth the heart consider it? and He that keepeth thy soul, doth not He know it?"'
References.—XXIV. 21.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 491. XXIV. 30, 31.—A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 269. XXIV. 30-32.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxxiv. No. 2027. XXIV. 30-34.—W. Gray Elmslie, Expository Lectures and Sermons, p. 178. W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 498. XXIV. 31.—F. B. Cowl, Straight Tracks, p. 50. XXIV. 32.—J. Parker, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xlvii. 1895, p. 323. XXV. 1-5.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 500. XXV. 2.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xlix. No. 2838. XXV. 3.—J. B. Lightfoot, Ordination Addresses, p. 30. XXV. 11.—S. Cox, Expositions, p. 149. XXV. 13, 19.—W. Arnot, Laws from Heaven for Life on Earth, p. 505. XXV. 21, 22.—Ibid. p. 509. XXV. 23.—Ibid. p. 515. XXV. 26.—Ibid. p. 519. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. 1. No. 2866. XXV. 28.—W. G. Rutherford, The Key of Knowledge, p. 117. A. L. Lilley, A Lent in London, p. 214. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture—Esther, Job, Proverbs, etc., p. 274.
The Legs of the Lame Are Not Equal
For their heart studieth destruction, and their lips talk of mischief.
Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established:
And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is strong; yea, a man of knowledge increaseth strength.
For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellers there is safety.
Wisdom is too high for a fool: he openeth not his mouth in the gate.
He that deviseth to do evil shall be called a mischievous person.
The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men.
If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain;
If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste:
So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off.
Lay not wait, O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous; spoil not his resting place:
For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.
Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth:
Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
Fret not thyself because of evil men, neither be thou envious at the wicked;
For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out.
My son, fear thou the LORD and the king: and meddle not with them that are given to change:
For their calamity shall rise suddenly; and who knoweth the ruin of them both?
These things also belong to the wise. It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.
He that saith unto the wicked, Thou art righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him:
But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them.
Every man shall kiss his lips that giveth a right answer.
Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.
Be not a witness against thy neighbour without cause; and deceive not with thy lips.
Say not, I will do so to him as he hath done to me: I will render to the man according to his work.
I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding;
And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down.
Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction.
Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep:
So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man.