Proverbs 12:8-24

Proverbs 12:8-14
There is no danger that besets men, and even the righteous more than too keen a regard to their reputation. Here we begin with the secret of that which gives a quiet spirit, and of what calls forth contempt.
“A man shall be commended according to his judgment (or, wisdom); but he that is perverse of heart shall be despised.
Better [is] he that is lightly esteemed, and hath a servant, than he that aimeth after honor and lacketh bread.
A righteous [man] regardeth the life of his beast; but the tender mercies of the wicked [are] cruelty.
He that tilleth his ground shall be satisfied with bread; but he that followeth worthless [persons] is void of sense.
The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]; but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit].
In the transgression of the lips is an evil snare; but a righteous [man] shall come out of trouble.
A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of the mouth; and the doings of a man's hands shall be rendered to him” (vers. 8-14).
If the eye be single, the whole body shall be full of light, said the Lord. This gives a man to have a godly aim, and to seek it by faithful means. The same spirit imparts a sound judgment, which commends itself and him who makes it. A perverse heart leaves God, likes to oppose, and seeks self only. Such a one only makes difficulties and stumbling-blocks, and gets despised in spite of his vain efforts to rise.
As the rule, man walks in a vain show, and this deceives many. Hence he who despises appearances often gets despised, though of weight in a lowly way and able to relieve his labor by the help of a servant; whilst he who strains in paying honor to himself outwardly may come to want necessaries.
Next we find men tested by their treatment of the creation which God put into subjection to the race. Indifference to one's beast is unworthy, cruelty is worse. Hence the righteous is concerned for his beast's life, whilst even the wicked's tender mercies are cruelty. Jehovah's tender mercies are over all His works; and the day comes when everything that has breath shall praise Him.
We turn then to the contrast of diligence in one's duty with the companionship of idlers. He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread; whereas the follower of the worthless betrays his want of sense. In a fallen condition it is a mercy to eat bread in the sweat of the face. Idleness is not only profitless but a misery.
Ver. 12 confronts the desire of the wicked with the righteous in this, that the former yearns after the net, or prey, of men still more wicked, for his own advantage; but the latter has a root of stability which does not fail to produce good fruit in its season.
Words too as well as doings have their just place in moral government here below. The transgression of the lips is not only a great offense in God's sight; it is an evil snare to the guilty (ver. 13). Boast as they may that their tongues are their own, they learn to their cost that neither God nor man will suffer it. The righteous know what trouble is; but, instead of being snared by it, they come out of it. So of the Christian it is written that through many tribulations we must enter into the kingdom of God.
On the other hand, the fruit of the mouth is of real account, not only for the good of others but for him who is enabled thus to speak. Giving of thanks becomes him who knows the Lord Jesus. It is no wonder if those who never speak for the use of edifying decry the communication of grace and truth. If it be so with our words, how much shall the excellent doings of a man be recompensed to him? God assuredly concerns Himself with our ways and our words. Let each one of us please his neighbor for that which is for good unto edifying. For Christ pleased not Himself; but as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached Thee fell upon Me. Hence the need of patience, and the value of the comfort of the scriptures, while we wait for the fruition of our hope. The other side is no less sure: evil ways and words God will bring into judgment.