1 A wise son hears his father’s instruction,
but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
2 From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good,
but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
3 Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life;
he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
4 The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing,
while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.
5 The righteous hates falsehood,
but the wicked brings shame[a] and disgrace.
6 Righteousness guards him whose way is blameless,
but sin overthrows the wicked.
7 One pretends to be rich,[b] yet has nothing;
another pretends to be poor,[c] yet has great wealth.
8 The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth,
but a poor man hears no threat.
9 The light of the righteous rejoices,
but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
10 By insolence comes nothing but strife,
but with those who take advice is wisdom.
11 Wealth gained hastily[d] will dwindle,
but whoever gathers little by little will increase it.
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
13 Whoever despises the word[e] brings destruction on himself,
but he who reveres the commandment[f] will be rewarded.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
that one may turn away from the snares of death.
15 Good sense wins favor,
but the way of the treacherous is their ruin.[g]
16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
but a fool flaunts his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a faithful envoy brings healing.
18 Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction,
but whoever heeds reproof is honored.
19 A desire fulfilled is sweet to the soul,
but to turn away from evil is an abomination to fools.
20 Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise,
but the companion of fools will suffer harm.
21 Disaster[h] pursues sinners,
but the righteous are rewarded with good.
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous.
23 The fallow ground of the poor would yield much food,
but it is swept away through injustice.
24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.[i]
25 The righteous has enough to satisfy his appetite,
but the belly of the wicked suffers want.
Every year before the football season starts, there is an orientation for all the players and parents. The head coach always speaks and not only shares information about the team and season, but shares some ‘life lessons’ as part of his speech. Our first year I was thrilled, encouraged and so proud to hear this leader sharing valuable lessons with the players. The second year I realized the content of the speech is the same every year. This year, our third, I could probably repeat it myself. Next year, the year after, the year after…..I’m guessing it will be the same.
And that’s not a bad thing.
Because in the same way that Coach repeats this message year after year, Proverbs repeats many of the same messages over and over, showing that we need to hear these bits of wisdom over and over. And over. And if you’re forgetful or stubborn like me, over some more.
I don’t know if the football coach has ever read Proverbs 13:20 before, but his message to the boys is exactly this verse. He tells them that who they choose to spend their time with, hang out with will reflect on who they are. Sometimes even if it’s not true.
If you hang out with guys who drink, you drink.
If you hang out with guys who do drugs, you do drugs.
His point is that we are judged by the people we walk with. Who we do life with. And sometimes the assumptions people make by who we walk with might not be exactly true, but we need to realize that this happens more often than not. And we need to choose our friends, those we walk with, wisely. Not only because of other people’s perceptions, but more importantly because of the influence that the people in our lives have over us.
I have seen in my life that there have been seasons that I have not walked with the wise….and I suffered harm. For sure. And as I look at the seasons when I walked with the wise, I have become more wise, more kind, more loving.
I’m sure that you can think of the people you’ve walked with and how that has affected your life as well. Let me encourage you…if you are walking with fools, please walk away. There are many wise people out there that would love to walk with you and share their wisdom with you. I may not live close enough to physically walk with you, but I would love to walk alongside you in here online.
If you are a person who knows God and is growing in wisdom, find someone less wise than you and bring them alongside of you. Invite the to walk with you. Share this wisdom with someone else.
God didn’t give you wisdom to keep it all to yourself. He gave it to you so you could grow in your relationship with Him and others.