Proverbs 13:21 (NKJV) — 21 Evil pursues sinners, but to the righteous, good shall be repaid.
Sowing and reaping. This verse states the law of sowing and reaping as described in Galatians 6:7-9. Sinners will find they are pursued by the fruit of their sin. Those who do right will find good things come to them.
Proverbs 13:20 (NKJV) — 20 He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
The importance of right friends. As the apostle Paul taught, wrong friends have a corrupting influence (I Corinthians 15:33). We tend to become like the people we admire and associate with and to participate in their activities. One of the wisest things we can do is to associate with people who personify what we wish to become. Association with wise people imparts wisdom. Association with fools will bring destruction.
Proverbs 13:19 (NKJV) — 19 A desire accomplished is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to depart from evil.
The price for success is too great for the fool. To accomplish what one sets out to do is uplifting and encouraging. But fools do not achieve worthwhile spiritual goals because to do so they would have to depart from sin, and this they are unwilling to do. They actually would hate to turn from their evil lifestyle.
Proverbs 13:18 (NKJV) — 18 Poverty and shame will come to him who disdains correction, but he who regards a rebuke will be honored.
A key to success. Those who refuse to receive correction from others — those who think they know it all — will come to poverty and shame. Those who appreciate and respond positively to correction will be honored. There is a close relationship between one’s attitude toward reproof and success in life.
Proverbs 13:17 (NKJV) — 17 A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health.
The importance of being a faithful representative. If people are unfaithful in representing others, they will cause and experience trouble. Those who are faithful and dependable as they represent others will contribute to the well-being of their employers or superiors. (See Proverbs 25:13.) This truth has important implications for our Christian witness, for we are ambassadors for Christ (II Corinthians 5:20; II Timothy 2:2).
One of the quickest and most effective ways for employers to discover whether their employees are faithful is to give them the responsibility of representing them in some manner. As they observe the manner in which they are represented, they can tell how employees would handle even greater responsibilities. Ideal ambassadors will conduct themselves exactly as their masters would have done
Proverbs 13:16 (NKJV) — 16 Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.
Prudent dealings. The mark of prudent persons is that they act with knowledge. They are not satisfied to deal with people or situations with only surface information. They act only when they have sufficient information. By contrast, fools are content to deal without sufficient knowledge, and as a result, their folly is made public.
Proverbs 13:15 (NKJV) — 15 Good understanding gains favor, but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
How to gain favor with people. A person who seeks understanding – the grasp of broad principles and concepts from the Word of God and the ability to apply them to many different kinds of life situations – will have favor with people. That person will be in demand, for there is always a market for understanding. But the transgressor (i.e., unfaithful) will not have this advantage and as a result will struggle needlessly and fruitlessly in life. Jesus is the perfect example of someone who grew in wisdom and therefore in favor with both God and man (Luke 2:52).
Proverbs 13:14 (NKJV) — 14 The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn one away from the snares of death.
The fountain of life. Wisdom imparts life. It reveals the hidden snares that lead to death. A snare is a trap that is disguised or hidden, and wisdom is the only thing that pulls off the disguise.
Proverbs 13:13 (NKJV) — 13 He who despises the word will be destroyed, but he who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
Destruction or reward. A person who despises God’s word faces certain destruction. To despise the Word of God means more than a negative mental attitude toward it; it means failing to heed and obey the Word. If it were merely the word of men, one could ignore it and still not despise it. But since it is the very Word of God, the person who fails to live by it is actually despising it. This person’s life is a public declaration of disdain for the Word. People declare their attitude toward the Word by the time they spend hearing, reading, and learning it and ultimately by their response to it.
The opposite of despising God’s Word is to “fear” it, meaning to respect, revere, and heed it. The person who respects the commandment will demonstrate this attitude by obedience. And that person’s reward is just as sure as the sinner’s destruction.
Proverbs 13:12 (NKJV) — 12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life.
Deferred hope, fulfilled desires. Disappointment comes when expectations and desires are delayed, but joy comes when they are fulfilled. Applying the thought of verse 11 here, those who wish to gain their goals quickly are discouraged by waiting. But when people learn to wait patiently while working honestly, their desires will be fulfilled at the right time and in the right way. (See Hebrews 10:35-36.) And properly fulfilled desires are positive and satisfying, like the tree of life.