Proverbs 12:26 (NKJV) — 26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.
The influence of friends. This proverb shows the importance of choosing the right friends. A righteous person sets an example for others that encourages them to raise their standards. But wicked people seduce others by their negative influence. They tempt and deceive others into lowering their standards as they observe their godless lifestyle.
Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV) Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.
The role of words in emotional health. This verse is a companion to Proverbs 15:13 and 17:22. Depression or despondency has a negative effect on mental and even physical health. But a good word, a good report, has a positive effect upon the emotions and thereby even on physical health.
One of the greatest factors that contribute to overall health is attitude. For this reason, it is wise not to become preoccupied with evil reports but to focus on what is cheerful, positive, pleasant, helpful, and encouraging. We are to think about things that are of “good report” (Philippians 4:8). This teaching does not mean we should ignore the reality of problems, suffering, and human needs. But rather than allowing these things to conquer our minds, we should become actively and positively involved in overcoming problems and in helping the hurting through their sorrows.
Proverbs 12:24 (NKJV) — 24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
The diligent rule; the lazy serve. In general, people rise to positions of authority through diligence; they sink into servanthood through laziness. Those who are lazy tend to explain away the manner in which people in authority rose to their positions. They attribute it to luck or favoritism. The lazy also tend to resent those who are over them and to detest having to answer to others.
To ancient Israel, Moses declared, “And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them” (Deuteronomy 28:13). Asaph asserted, “For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another” (Psalm 75:6-7).
Proverbs 12:23 (NKJV) — 23 A prudent man conceals knowledge, But the heart of fools proclaims foolishness.
The prudent person and the fool. Prudent persons know more than they tell. Fools tell more than they know. In describing prudent persons as those who conceal knowledge, this verse does not speak of dishonesty or deceit, but of discretion and humility. Wise persons do not disclose information inappropriately or harmfully, nor do they try to flaunt or boast of their knowledge.
Proverbs 12:22 (NKJV) — 22 Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, But those who deal truthfully are His delight.
The importance of honesty. God hates dishonesty and delights in honesty. In describing the person who deals truthfully, this verse speaks of a way of life, not just of words. If we want God to delight in us, we must be honest.
Proverbs 12:21 (NKJV) — 21 No grave trouble will overtake the righteous, But the wicked shall be filled with evil.
No grave trouble for the righteous. Righteous persons can be assured that nothing will happen to them that God does not permit, and if God permits something, the end results will not be evil. Some situations may be painful or even tragic, but those who are righteous know that ultimately God will work all things together for their good (Romans 8:28). Those who are wicked, however, will experience one troublesome event after another with no assurance that good will ultimately prevail. Their lives are full of evil and calamity.
Those who are people of faith but who have suffered painful experiences may be interested in my book If God Loves Me, Why Am I Hurting? The book is available at pentecostalpublishing.com, amazon.com, and as an Apple Book.
Today I found a handwritten note I jotted down some time ago from the book Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text. The book was written by Martin M. Culy and Mikeal C. Parsons, and it was published by Baylor University Press, Waco, Texas, in 2003. On page 429, in a comment on Acts 22:16, Culy and Parsons observe that the form of the Greek word translated “calling” suggests that
“the whole process of baptism, washing of sins, and calling on the Lord’s name is portrayed as a single complex event.”
The word in view is epikalesamenos, the aorist middle participle masculine nominative singular form of epikaleo.
Ananias, who was sent by God to minister to Saul, had a clear understanding of the meaning of Peter’s command that is recorded in Acts 2:38. (See Acts 9:10-18.) Ananias said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you came, has sent me that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Something like scales immediately fell from Saul’s eyes, he received his sight at once “and he arose and was baptized.”
As Paul recalled this event, he remembered Ananias saying, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16, NKJV).
Ananias identified Jesus as Lord (Acts 9:17), so there is no question of the name to which Acts 22:16 refers.
Paul’s baptism, the invoking of the name Jesus and the washing away of his sins occurred “as a single complex event.”
Proverbs 12:20 (NKJV) — 20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, But counselors of peace have joy.
The condition of the heart. Deceit is a destructive force that resides in the heart of the person who imagines or devises evil. In time, it will destroy that person. But joy resides in the heart of the wise – those who counsel peace rather than devising evil – and joy is a life-giving force.
Proverbs 12:19 (NKJV) — 19 The truthful lip shall be established forever, But a lying tongue is but for a moment.
The relationship between words and stability. Like Proverbs 12:2-3 and 7, this proverb reveals that those who speak the truth will be permanently established. Those who speak lies may appear to prosper, but it will be only for a moment.