When I was young, I found proverbs hard, harsh, unloving. I thought that one’s motivation for good would cover much and you would be able to walk without care or craft.
This is a fundamental error. Yes, we cannot save ourselves: that is the completed work of Christ. But no, we are in this world, and this world has a spirit from the pit of Sheol underneath the culture and ethos of this time. It is far better to walk with care.
For the thoughts of the wicked are displayed now in mass media, the gracious thoughts are shouted down, and no one can speak truth since reproof hurts.
I now think that the Proverbs were written for this time and this age.
24 The path of life leads upwards for the prudent,
that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
25 The Lord tears down the house of the proud
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
26 The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
but gracious words are pure.
27 Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
but he who hates bribes will live.
28 The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
29 The Lord is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
30 The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
31 The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
32 Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
33 The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honour.