Good understanding giveth favour: but the way of transgressors is hard.
A blessed life or a hard life – the choice is yours. A good understanding, or living by the rules of wisdom, will bring natural and supernatural blessings. Guaranteed! But if you choose to do things your way and reject the rules of wisdom, your life will be hard. Guaranteed! You cannot cheat either God or wisdom. You will surely reap what you sow.
In just eleven words, you have a precious offer and promise. Reader, what will you do with these words? They are more valuable than any advice you have ever been given, or ever will be given. You will leave this proverb and make a choice – either to live by wisdom or to transgress its rules. And you will face the consequences. Guaranteed!
Even the world knows that sinful living, or hard living as they call it, ages a person. Rockers and rappers have terrible life expectancies. Check out the 27 Club of rockers – the 27 rockers that died at age 27. And the average age of death for rappers is similar. The general population lives to be 79! Rockers and rappers are known for their ungodly lifestyles, and their death rates confirm Solomon’s proverb written 3000 years ago.
Even the world knows, and they do not know much, that moderate living adds to life expectancy. Experience and science have taught them this, but Solomon wrote it 3000 years ago, for godly wisdom includes moderate living by definition (Pr 20:1; 23:20-21; Phil 4:5; Rom 13:13-14; Eph 4:26; I Pet 4:1-5). The Christian lifestyle condemns sex outside marriage, drunkenness, gluttony, bitterness, anger, discontentment, violence, etc.
But there is more! Sinful living abuses the body and relationships, reducing pleasure in life. Moderate living protects the body and relationships. There are also laws against excessive lifestyles costing violators further. But most of all, God favors godly men, so there is a powerful spiritual benefit as well. And He judges and punishes sinners, which compounds the great difference in consequences even more between good and bad men.
A good understanding begins with the fear of the Lord (Pr 9:10). It then trembles before the written word of God, for in it are divine light and the godly rules of true wisdom (Ps 119:128; Is 8:20). Practical instruction for living is found right here in Solomon’s proverbs. The man humbly obeying these proverbs will obtain favor from God and man.
But transgressors refuse instruction. They may listen at times, but they will not obey. They intend to do things their way. They will not submit to the authority of God or man. They believe they are above the laws of God and man. They resent being told what to do, and they haughtily despise those who try to help them. They are foolish sinners.
Compare Abraham and Lot. The one feared God and had good understanding. Though having the poorer land after separating from his nephew, he became rich, spiritually and financially (Gen 15:1; 24:35). But Lot, choosing the favored land, pitched his tent toward Sodom; he ruined his life in most every way possible (Gen 19:15-18; II Pet 2:7-8).
Joseph resisted a woman and ended up on Egypt’s throne. He had good understanding, and the LORD and men favored him. Samson and David did not resist strange women, and they suffered hard consequences from the LORD and men. The proverb is true! Obey the rules of wisdom, and you will be blessed; disregard them, and you will be punished.
Manasseh, a very wicked king, humbled himself, so God restored him from a foreign prison to his own throne (II Chr 33:11-13). He learned good understanding late in life. Nebuchadnezzar, though worldly wise and rich, transgressed Daniel’s sober warning and spent seven years like an ox in the grass (Dan 4:27-37). He learned good understanding the hard way. Reader, how will you learn good understanding, and when will you learn it? There is no better time than today to stop violating God’s laws and follow wisdom.