13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it, but whoever respects a command is rewarded. 14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a person from the snares of death. 15 Good judgment wins favour, but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction. 16 All who are prudent act with knowledge, but fools expose their folly. 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing. 18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame, but whoever heeds correction is honoured. (Prov. 13:13-18 NIV)
13 Whoever scorns instruction will pay for it,
but whoever respects a command is rewarded.
This proverb looks at the response to God’s word. Depending upon our response to God’s word, we will have to either pay the price for it or be rewarded for it. Many today despise the word of God. Some have actually, on television, torn out pages of God’s word that condemns their lifestyle. They show great contempt for God’s word, but in the end they will pay the price for this. We cannot escape God. We have been created by God and we are accountable to God. Saying you do not believe in God is an empty noise and does not exclude you from the inevitable encounter with God. Whoever respects and obeys what God commands is rewarded in this life and in the life to come. The reward in this life is partly found in the fact that God’s way is the best way for any human to live. We are living as we were designed to live and that kind of life is its own reward.
14 The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
turning a person from the snares of death.
The teaching of the wise is the teaching of the word of God. The word of God refreshes our lives. It is an ever-giving fountain of life. The word of God guards our lives. We are kept from the snares of sin and death.
15 Good judgment wins favour,
but the way of the unfaithful leads to their destruction.
Good judgement is the capacity for good sense, sound understanding and wise decisions. Good judgement comes from listening to the teaching of the word of God. The wise person finds favour in his own life, with others and most importantly has the favour of God resting upon his life. The way of the unfaithful lacks favour in his own life, with others and with God. They bring destruction into their lives and will ultimately face destruction in eternity.
16 All who are prudent act with knowledge,
but fools expose their folly.
The prudent person is compared with the fool. The prudent person has given attention to wisdom and has acquired knowledge and this knowledge influences the way that he lives. The fool cannot hide his folly.
17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.
This is a proverb very much needed for today. A politician, or any public figure, needs advisors to keep them abreast of all that is going on. Where advisors are trustworthy and show loyalty they are worth having. Today advisors seem to have no sense of shame as they leak secrets to the newspapers under the mantra that it is in the public interest, whereas many times it is out of spite. A trustworthy envoy delivers the message that was entrusted to them, faithfully representing the one who sent them. The wicked messenger brings trouble for himself, for the one who sent the message, and for the party that receives the message.
18 Whoever disregards discipline comes to poverty and shame,
but whoever heeds correction is honoured.
Failing to listen and learn from wisdom results in the fool getting into trouble. When in trouble, the fool continues to refuse to listen. The fool disregards discipline and so brings poverty and shame upon himself. In contrast the person who listens and pays attention to correction is honoured by his peers.
Lord help us to be trustworthy with the people we serve. Help us to behave with honour and integrity in every area of our lives and live to the glory of our Saviour, in whose name we pray. Amen.