An Honest Ruler Makes a Nation Strong

The brilliant physician and writer Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., and his brother John represent two radically different views on the subject of flattery. Dr. Holmes loved to collect compliments, and when he was older he indulged his pastime by saying to someone who had just p … More

Flattery

Men who stubbornly and persistently refuse to heed reproof, that is for his own best interest, is not only destroying himself but placing himself in a position where a remedy will no longer be available  (v. 1). I can think of several men who have destroyed their ministry because of refusing to admit their error. When righteous leaders are in control even the unbelievers will be glad. On the other hand, when wicked leaders are in control the people will groan under cruel oppression (v. 2).

If you love wisdom your parents will be glad, but chasing after bad women will cost you everything (v. 3). An honest ruler makes the nation strong; a ruler who takes bribes will bring it to ruin (v. 4). Flattery is the saying of what the heart does not mean with the intention of misleading or obtaining favor (v. 5). True praise and  honest recognition of worthy accomplishments is right and proper in its place.  However, insincere remarks to gain favor are dangerous and the person doing it will often get caught in the very net he has set for others. Your sins will catch you, but everyone who lives right will sing and celebrate(v. 6).

The wicked don’t care about the rights of the poor, but good people do (v. 7). Sneering at others is a spark that sets a city on fire; using good sense can put out the flames of anger (v. 8). There is no use to try to convince a fool of his errors (v. 9). A murderer hates everyone who is honest and lives right (10). The fool may pour out all his wrath, but the wise man holds it back (v. 11).

Application

Probably all of us have exercised our stubborn will at one time or another. I need to remember that God calls me a fool if I refuse to accept Godly counsel.

Proverbs 29:1-11 (English Standard Version)

He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing. When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down. A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices. A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath. If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright. A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

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