20An evil mind is deceitful,
but gentle thoughts
21Good people never have trouble,
have more than enough.
22The Lord hates every liar,
but he is the friend of all
who can be trusted.
23Be sensible and don't tell
everything you know—
only fools spread
24Work hard, and you
will be a leader;
be lazy, and you
will end up a slave.
25Worry is a heavy burden,
but a kind word
always brings cheer.
26You are better off to do right,
than to lose your way
by doing wrong.
27Anyone too lazy to cook
but a hard worker
is a valuable treasure.
28Living right is a pathway
that leads to life
and away from death.
Scripture says the Lord considers us to be His friends, but friendship goes both ways. How do we hold up our end of the friendship? I mean, He’s given us so much. Eternally. Daily. Think of all the prayers He has answered for you. Have you ever wanted to give back and be a friend to him (v 22)?
Of course, our efforts would be small, just like those of a human child to please their parents; however, those heart-felt gifts are very valuable. My kids have brought me such joy with their little gifts.
But what delights God? What could we do that would be a blessing to Him?
There are many answers throughout Scripture. Consider today’s passage which indicates the value he places on “trustworthiness”: “He is the friend of all who can be trusted” (v 22). That’s in contrast with how God views liars.
The Lord counts trustworthy people as friends because liars plot evil whereas those who are not liars . . . are promoting happiness (v 20). How then are we to be trustworthy?
The writer cautions those who want to be trustworthy and truthful to learn when to shut up: “Be sensible and don’t tell everything you know – only fools spread foolishness everywhere” (v 23).
Deliberately living for the Lord and watching our words constantly can be hard work.
But it’s worth it, says the writer, who also urges us to find kind friends to build us up along the way (v 25). Unlike a child’s considerate one-time gift, ours is a lifestyle which requires ongoing effort and encouragement.
It’s worth it, he says, because there is such joy (v 20), such security (v 21), such life (v 28) in living to be a friend of the Lord.
Heavenly Father, you have blessed us with salvation which is the greatest gift ever given. How many more blessings have you showered onto us? Create in your people a desire to delight you, so that we may be a blessing to you. In Christ’s name, Amen.