Proverbs in 365 Devotions
Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. 22 What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar. 23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
He Will Not Be Visited By Harm
Ok, there are a number of truths here… Let’s look at each one… at least what I see here briefly, and see how it fits together. Take note please that I am trying to get the context of this passage right… there are some different ways that the text might be interpreted but to the best of my knowledge these truths are compliment with one another in the passage and 100% in agreement with the rest of scripture.
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,...
We make many plans in life… even daily and though it didn’t say; our plans are often motivated by our own selfish purposes. One of many scripture verification's of this is Proverbs 16:25 which says: There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
21 ...but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What does it mean to stand? The Lords purpose remains in place… it will not fall, it will not be moved… We might even say his purpose is sure to come to pass.
Isaiah 46:8 …for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 …‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’
Isaiah 14:27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed, and who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who will turn it back?
22 What is desired in a man is steadfast love,...
A man wants others to show him kindness right?. This is the purpose and plans man has for himself… He wants unwavering love… These seem like good plans on the surface but in his brokenness he is motivated by seeking a selfish love and glory that belong to God. You see, man wants others to not only love him that he might be popular but to provide him opportunity to gain wealth and influence for his own glory… Our text said: 21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,… Unfortunately in his sin mans plans are at odds with the purpose of God.
22...and a poor man is better than a liar.
Rather than obtaining riches and popularity by lies and selfish purposes for our own glory… it is better to fear the Lord and be poor.
Old mission: self exaltation, popularity, riches… even if it means lying… make everyone love you.
New mission: Love the Lord. Exalt the Lord, Seek to see and share his glory.
Lets take verse 23 all together…
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.
To have the kind of fear that leaves us satisfied seems to me would mean to be trusting God and his word so much that we know if we stray from his loving commandments… if we trust the worlds promises… if we trust our own fleshly desires over him… it will bring us ruin… even harm. We should fear then greatly that we don’t drift or wander from his path. So this is a good fear that keeps us satisfied.
It says this satisfied person will “not be visited by harm”… Hmmm… even David who wrote this experienced harm at times in his life… and in old age he became feeble and sickly and died. No doubt trials and troubles come to every broken person who comes into this broken world. This is not heaven… So in what context might those who fear the Lord and rest satisfied in him not be visited by harm?
I think one clue to its meaning lies in the first part of 23…
“The fear of the Lord leads to life”
I am thinking about Genesis 50:20, remember when Joseph said this to his brothers: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.
Joseph was one who I think feared the Lord in the right way and yet he experienced much harm… being sold into slavery… likely considered dead… later falsely accused of attempted rape and thrown into prison… But in one sense Joseph was not visited by harm… at least in this context: Remember when his brothers who had sold him came before him and feared for their life he said: “but God meant it for good”.
For Joseph all those troubles were not harm… but the opposite… they led to life… for himself and all of Israel.
One more thing about all this talk of not being visited by harm… let this settle it for you… here is the context Jesus spoke about such things.
He said in: Luke 21:16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives.
In the end the right kind of fear of the Lord leads to life.
For us, in this broken world, the fear of the Lord prompts us to turn to him as our greatest delight… and when he gives us eyes to see Jesus as our greatest treasure, we begin to trust him more and more seeing more and more of his glory. Remember we read earlier in verse 22 saying: What is desired in a man is steadfast love. That's what Jesus gives to us. As John 3:16 says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.