Category Archives: Proverbs

Dogs, Fleas and Friends

The saying, “If you lay down with dogs you’ll get up with fleas” is not in the Bible. But the idea is definitely Biblical. Those we associate with can help us or harm us. Consider Paul’s words:

“Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.”

(1 Corinthians 15:33)

The wisest ever, Solomon wrote:

If they say, “Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;

let us ambush the innocent without reason;

like Sheol let us swallow them alive,

and whole, like those who go down to the pit;

we shall find all precious goods,

we shall fill our houses with plunder;

throw in your lot among us;

we will all have one purse”—

my son, do not walk in the way with them;

hold back your foot from their paths,

for their feet run to evil,

and they make haste to shed blood.

For in vain is a net spread

in the sight of any bird,

  but these men lie in wait for their own blood;

they set an ambush for their own lives.

Such are the ways of everyone who is greedy for unjust gain;

it takes away the life of its possessors.

(Proverbs 1:11-19)


“Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”

(Proverbs 13:20)

We are warned that our associates, our friends, make real and lasting impacts in our lives. Sadly, the more wayward the friend the worse the impact. One would hope that the one with higher values would uplift the unrighteous but it is not so. Preachers decry the dangerous union of believer and non-believer in marriages because the faithlessness of the unbeliever is so powerful. While there are certainly exceptions, the overwhelming majority of such unions end in spiritual catastrophe.

When Lot was separated from faithful Abram he moved among the wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah. His decision to move “his tent as far as Sodom” proved horrendous and cost him his family (Genesis 13:12-13 ff).

But such damage is not limited to marriage or even to intimate relationships. Our youth should learn the danger of close associations with the unrighteous. Parents must provide direction for their children and must be prepared to prohibit some friendships. Every parent must monitor their children’s Facebook pages and any other social media which they use. Parents must, on occasion, be intrusive into the lives of their children.

A Christian can and should have relationships with unbelievers. Life will undoubtedly require some interaction with the wicked. But it is wise to say that a Christian’s closest, dearest friends ought to be other Christians.

Bryant Evans may be reached at bryant at You can follow Bryant on Twitter @jbevans






Lord Keep Me From the Extremes

Would you rather be rich or poor? Does it matter? The wisest man ever, who happened to have great wealth, said it like this:

“Remove far from me falsehood and lying;

give me neither poverty or riches;

feed me with the food that is needful for me,

lest I be full and deny you

and say,” Who is the Lord?”

or lest I be poor and steal

and profane the name of my God.” (Proverbs 30:8-9)

Solomon desired neither wealth nor poverty for both bring their own sets of problems and challenges which the King wanted to avoid.

Some have advocated poverty for those who seek the Lord. They have renounced earthly wealth and have chosen to live impoverished lives thinking that the life of the pauper is spiritually superior. And we are well acquainted with preachers of the “prosperity gospel” who call the faithful to great wealth every Sunday through television and radio. Continue reading Lord Keep Me From the Extremes

Oil and Water

Anyone who has made a salad knows that oil and water do not mix well. Many salad dressings are made of a mixture of oil, water vinegar and spices. While quite good, they must be vigorously shaken at serving because the two products will not bind together for long.

Solomon notes that the righteous and the unrighteous are much like oil and water.

An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
(Proverbs 27:25)

How true! But isn’t it also true that we try so hard to be liked by others that sometimes we cut too much slack to the evil man? Why do we try so hard to be a part of the world that Satan controls? We must, of course, reach out to the evil and seek to teach them of God’s great love, but we mustn’t seek to be accepted by him. The wicked laugh at us and make sport of the Christian. Let us see him for what he is: Abominable!

Greed Hurts

Greed will likely be the byword of 2009. Just think about it. Thousands of people bought homes they should have known they could not afford. Businessmen handed out loans to customers who could not repay and a slick salesman named Bernard Madoff took the wealthiest among us for billions in a scheme to get rich quick.

We see such schemes all the time. They come into our email inboxes and arrive via US mail constantly. Signs along the highway and ads in the paper all proclaim the end to our financial worries if we will just buy someones secret money making program.


Here’s some more wise advice from Solomon:

A faithful man will abound with blessings,
But he who makes haste to be rich will not go unpunished.
(Proverbs 28:20)

As his custom in this section of the Proverbs, Solomon offers a positive followed by a negative. Let’s reverse it. The warning of haste in making riches is another way of warning against greed. Earlier Solomon has warned that the treacherous man will caught by his own greed (Proverbs 11:6).

When we seek to gain wealth quickly we often take shortcuts and liberties that we ought not. Often our vision becomes more and more focused upon our selves and less upon others. While we truly hurt for those who lost everything in the Madoff scandal and the other economic downturns we must be honest and observe that many are suffering because of their own greed.

The real source of wealth is often found in a different direction. Wealth is found in obedience to Jesus Christ and full submission to his will. Remember the Solomon searched for happiness but finally came to the conclusion that true happiness and contentment is found in serving God.

There is an abundance of blessings awaiting the faithful if we will just cling to the Lord.

Your thoughts?

The Pain of Secret Sin

Secret sins are exceptionally common. We all have them or at least have had them in the past. They often lie enmeshed in our greatest spiritual weaknesses and there thrive on our embarrassment and feelings of worthlessness and helplessness. Secret sins are the ones that have the greatest power over our lives and the greatest ability to destroy. They are the ones that if they become widely known will crush us in humiliation.

The wisdom of Solomon had something to say about these hidden spiritual monsters.

“He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper,
But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.
(Proverbs 28:13)

Let’s remember first of all that there is really no such thing as a secret sin or concealed transgression – at least not from God’s perspective. Again, Solomon reminds us that “The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good” (Proverbs 15:3). As Jonah discovered, there is no hiding from Jehovah (Jonah 1:3,4). But it is true that sin can often be hidden from men and that seems to be what Solomon has in mind here.

Sin, whether public or secret, really is like a cancerous tumor upon the soul, spirit and emotions of man. Hidden sin brings with it fears and feelings of powerlessness. Continued hiding only makes the problem worse. There is always a fear of discovery and embarrassment that follows us like a dark shadow day by day. There is no escaping from its dread. As such, it holds us back and stifles our every attempt at freedom. One cannot prosper when the weight of sin is so great.

But the wise king does not leave his readers in despair. He declares there is freedom from secret sin! You see, the power of secret sin is in its, well, secrecy. Once secrecy is shattered the sin is no more powerful than any other. They key word is “confess.” By confessing your sin to God and your Christ-loving brethren you do two important things.

  • You shatter the power of secrecy. Obviously, once it is public there is no longer the fear of “getting caught.” The sin is known and it has lost all power it may have had before.
  • You open highways of support and strength. By removing obstacles to discussion you are now in a position to build bridges of trust with your brethren. You’ll be surprised how many have faced similar problems. Together you will draw upon each others strength and determination to live free of that sin.

But we must not overlook the final phrase of the passage. For Solomon there is no consideration of remaining in the sin and just feeling sorry. Solomon says that we must forsake the hidden transgression. We often call this “repentance.” A man must leave his sin and seek the compassion found only in Christ. There is no possibility of making a secret sin into a pet sin. It must be gone. To be sure, the temptation will remain for a while, but our goal is the complete elimination of that sin from our lives. No excuses, just full and complete forsaking of the sin.

In Hebrews 12:1 the writer speaks of the “sin which so easily entangles us.” He calls on us to eliminate that sin and run with endurance the spiritual race. What sin entangles you? What secret sin has your number? Is today the day you will destroy its power and forsake it? Remember that God’s compassion awaits you.