People are funny: when it comes to selecting friends they rarely do so. Rather, they allow themselves to drift into relationships at work, or elsewhere that, in the long run, may prove foolish. If the book of Proverbs warns about one thing it is the associations we make. In 22:24 it warns,

Don’t make friends with an angry man, and don’t be the companion of a hot-tempered man, or you will learn his ways, and entangle yourself in a snare [trap]

Two chapters later, Proverbs 24:1 goes on to say,

Don’t envy evil men or desire to be with them; for their hearts plan violence, and their words stir up trouble.

Here’s another (23:20):

Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine, or with those who gorge themselves on meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will cloth them in rags.

There are warnings about associating with fools, troublemakers, violent persons, and on and on.

“Is Proverbs all negative?”

Not on your life! I’ve just chosen a few that are—by far, the positive content outweighs the negative. But we all need to be warned from time to time. You will find the way of life that pleases God and brings joy and happiness spelled out in the book—without reading too many chapters either!

“Sounds intriguing!”

Hardly a book that’s more so. But all of the teachings in Proverbs are for those who can keep them; that means, for believers in Jesus Christ who have the Spirit of God at work producing fruit in their lives (Gal. 5:22ff. ). Do you know what to do if someone speaks harshly to you? Well, Proverbs 15:1 will tell you. Look it up! Do you know how to keep yourself out of trouble? Read 22:3. Do your kids need discipline? Check out 22:15, and a number of other passages about the matter. Do you lack wisdom? There is a chapter and a half about how to become wise—search it out. As a matter of fact, why not read all of Proverbs? You could do so in a fairly short time. Mark those you want to return to in order to reflect upon more fully—then do so. Take a copy along on your next cruise to read when you’ve eaten to excess and you’ve become bored. It will be just the thing to straighten you up!

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