Proverbs 24

1Be not envious of evil men,
    nor desire to be with them,
for their hearts devise violence,
    and their lips talk of trouble.
By wisdom a house is built,
    and by understanding it is established;
by knowledge the rooms are filled
    with all precious and pleasant riches.
A wise man is full of strength,
    and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
    and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
Wisdom is too high for a fool;
    in the gate he does not open his mouth.
Whoever plans to do evil
    will be called a schemer.
The devising of folly is sin,
    and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
    your strength is small.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
    hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
    does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
    and will he not repay man according to his work?
13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
    and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
    if you find it, there will be a future,
    and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
    do no violence to his home;
16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
    but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
    and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
    and turn away his anger from him.
19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
    and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future;
    the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king,
    and do not join with those who do otherwise,
22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
    and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
More Sayings of the Wise
23 These also are sayings of the wise.
Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
    will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
    and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 Whoever gives an honest answer
    kisses the lips.
27 Prepare your work outside;
    get everything ready for yourself in the field,
    and after that build your house.
28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
    and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
    I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
    by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
    the ground was covered with nettles,
    and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
    I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
    a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
    and want like an armed man.

As we continue our march through Proverbs, I’m asking God to put a roadblock in your place here in Proverbs 24 to cause you to slow and to wrestle with a verse or grouping of verses. I’m praying that you’ll be changed by something you read today from God’s Word — and not by my words. When I opened to this proverb, I expected the Lord as usual to quickly give me a prompt for you to study, but I kept getting stuck on two words in one of the verses. My own words wouldn’t flow onto the page, and I came to understand that those two words were a blessed roadblock. 

After allowing the phrase to simmer in my mind for several hours, I went back to the chapter and then opened to a New Testament passage with a connected theme. After God opened the eyes of my heart to understand the verse and those connected to it, I finally had words to share with you. No, I’m not going to share the two words and the lesson the Lord gently showed me because that’s not the main lesson for you today. Instead, my challenge to you is to see God’s Word as sweet honeycomb to your soul (vs. 13-14) and seek your own two words — or more — that God wants you to wrestle with today. You don’t need me or any other Bible study writer in order to learn from God. You simply need a soft heart open before God’s Word.

Pause: My (sister), eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste. Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off (vs. 13-14).

Ponder (Don’t be afraid to ask your own questions!): What words stand out to me in the reading today? Where am I wrestling with a concept, a word, a verse, or something else? Do I have any questions about what I’m reading? What am I learning about God? About myself?

Pray: I want Your Word, Lord, even a single word, to be a dripping of the honeycomb to my soul. May I slow down and accept the roadblocks in my study as blessings. I want Your Word to become rooted in my life. Open the eyes of my heart to Your ways and remind me continually that you are my future and hope.

— Jaime Sherman