Proverbs 14:28 (NKJV) — 28 In a multitude of people is a king’s honor, But in the lack of people is the downfall of a prince.
The blessing of population. The thing that brings honor to a ruler is how many people willingly serve him. A large or increasing population usually indicates the government is fulfilling some basic responsibilities: the country is not being ravaged by war, massacres, famine, deadly disease, or mass exodus. A decreasing population, however, indicates severe disruptions in society and will likely lead to massive social upheaval. A lack of people can lead to a lack of political, economic, or military strength.
Proverbs 14:26–27 (NKJV) — 26 In the fear of the LORD there is strong confidence, and His children will have a place of refuge. 27 The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, To turn one away from the snares of death.
The benefits of revering the LORD. These two verses list four benefits of fearing, or revering, the LORD. They are: (1) strong confidence; (2) a place of refuge; (3) a fountain of life; and (4) deliverance from the snares of death. None are more confident than those who fear God. Their fear of God removes their fear of all else. Those who fear God need not fear trials and temptations, for they have a place of refuge in Him. Those who fear God need not fear death, for in Him there is only life and even physical death is but a transition to eternal life.
Proverbs 14:25 (NKJV) — 25 A true witness delivers souls, but a deceitful witness speaks lies.
True and deceitful witnesses. There is deliverance only in truth. Deceit never brings genuine freedom. Human wisdom may suggest a lie would spare someone from the consequences of one’s deeds, but even if physical freedom were gained in this way, a person would still be captive to fear and guilt and would face sin in judgment.
True witnesses are much more concerned about delivering the innocent from trouble than in condemning others. Even when true witnesses must testify to a person’s evil deeds, it is with the motive of bringing genuine freedom to the victim. There is true freedom only in truth. A deceitful witness, on the other hand, condemns the innocent.
Proverbs 14:24 (NKJV) — 24 The crown of the wise is their riches, but the foolishness of fools is folly.
Knowledge is like riches. Proverbs 14:18 states, “The prudent are crowned with knowledge” (NKJV). To the wise person, this crown of knowledge is true wealth. This person understands what is truly valuable. And as verse 18 also points out, the only alternative to knowledge is folly.
Proverbs 14:23 (NKJV) — 23 In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.
Labor profits; talk does not. It is common for people to spend great amounts of time talking about how they are going to achieve. But many of those who talk the most never get around to doing anything about it. If people would simply exert the same energy in working rather than talking, they would profit. Mere talking, however, leads to poverty. Rewards come from labor and effort, not empty words. Moreover, God rewards obedience, not mere profession.
Proverbs 14:22 (NKJV) — 22 Do they not go astray who devise evil? But mercy and truth belong to those who devise good.
Devising evil or good. Just as some people devise evil, so believers should purposefully devise good. All human powers and abilities that wicked people turn to evil purposes, the righteous can use for good. Planning, goal setting, organizing, thinking — all can be used for evil or good. The person who uses these God-given abilities to conceive and create what is morally good will receive mercy and truth. While God resists those who devise evil by confounding their efforts (Genesis 11:6-7), He supports those who devise good.
I recently bought a copy of Acts: A Handbook on the Greek New Testament (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2003) by Martin M. Cully and Mikeal C. Parsons, available from Logos Bible Software.
In the comments on Acts 22:16, the following comment is offered on epikalesamenos (translated “calling”): “The whole process of baptism, washing of sins, and calling on the Lord’s name is portrayed as a single complex event.”
Proverbs 14:20–21 (NKJV) — 20 The poor man is hated even by his own neighbor, but the rich has many friends. 21 He who despises his neighbor sins; but he who has mercy on the poor, happy is he.
The sin of favoritism. Many people treat others on the basis of their economic position. The underlying motive is personal advantage. In other words, many people ignore the poor because they perceive little economic advantage in helping them. By befriending the rich, they hope to gain economically.
But it is sinful to despise other persons because of their poverty. Everyone is equal in value in the eyes of God (Acts 10:34; James 2:1-9). Those who despise the poor are not thinking or acting like God. When the Spirit of the Lord anoints people, they will be motivated to minister to everyone, especially to the poor, as Jesus did (Luke 4:17-19). Those who think little of others because of their low social or economic standing will not find true happiness, but those who have mercy on the poor will be happy. There is even an economic blessing to having mercy on the poor: those who give to the poor are actually lending to the Lord, and their gift will be returned to them (Proverbs 19:17).
Proverbs 14:19 (NKJV) — 19 The evil will bow before the good, and the wicked at the gates of the righteous.
The ultimate exaltation of the righteous. In the present world, it may seem for a time that those who reject God are in a position of supremacy, but the day will come when they will submit to those who are submitted to God. For example, in Revelation 20:4-6 believers are given thrones and share in Christ’s reign.
My book Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy includes a discussion of this idea. Here is an excerpt:
Bride of Christ Will Participate with Christ at the White Throne Judgment
In a rebuke to the church at Corinth due to their tendency to seek secular solutions to problems that should be resolved within the church, Paul wrote,
“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (I Corinthians 6:2, NKJV).
This reference to judging “the world” may be a reference to the church sharing in some way with Christ in the final work of judgment that begins with the Millennium. John wrote,
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them” (Revelation 20:4, NKJV). A profound indication that this is so is found in Jesus’ words to the church in Thyatira:
“And he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations— ‘He shall rule them with a rod of iron; They shall be dashed to pieces like the potter’s vessels’— as I also have received from My Father” (Revelation 2:26-27, NKJV).
The saints’ share in this messianic promise first found in Psalm 2:9 shows the significance of their post-resurrection destiny. They have not become angels; instead, they will be involved in judging angels: “Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” (I Corinthians 6:3).
Daniel L. Segraves, Looking Forward: A Clear View of Biblical Prophecy (Weldon Spring, MO: Word Aflame Press, 2017) is available at pentecostalpublishing.com and amazon.com.
Proverbs 14:18 (NKJV) — 18 The simple inherit folly, but the prudent are crowned with knowledge.
Rewards. In keeping with the theme of generally predictable results that runs throughout the Book of Proverbs, this proverb reveals that those who are simple (spiritually uninformed) will tend to inherit folly as a child tends to inherit property or wealth from a parent. It is the natural result of one’s identity. Just as children inherit from their parents because of who they are, so simpletons inherit folly because of who they are. Folly indicates emptiness, meaninglessness, uselessness. No purpose or reason can be seen in folly. For simpletons, life seems to be a series of disconnected, negative events. In short, things will not go well for them.
Just as princes receive crowns from their fathers because of who they are, so those who are prudent will be crowned with knowledge. Those who chose prudence as a way of life identify themselves with royalty. They display kingly traits. Their crowns will not be merely temporal; they will be crowned with something far more valuable and lasting than gold or silver or precious stones. They will be crowned with knowledge.
It has been said, “Knowledge is power.” Those who have true knowledge have tapped into a divine resource, for only God truly knows all things. Humans will never all have knowledge, but to have some knowledge is a marvelous gift.