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Proverbs 28

Posted on by Bill Mann

A message by Pastor Bill Mann on Wednesday, March 14, 2018 at King’s Grace Fellowship.
Proverbs 28


As I began processing this Proverb, I quickly realized that there were so many good and important concepts and principles here. I had 8 passages pop up on my radar and I knew that number would be way too difficult to teach in a short setting. So I had to let the most import (for this time) rise to the surface.

Let’s first read this passage, then take a look at some of the highlights.

Proverbs 28 (NKJV)
1 The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion. 2 Because of the transgression of a land, many are its princes; But by a man of understanding and knowledge Right will be prolonged. 3 A poor man who oppresses the poor Is like a driving rain which leaves no food. 4 Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, But such as keep the law contend with them. 5 Evil men do not understand justice, But those who seek the Lord understand all. 6 Better is the poor who walks in his integrity Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich. 7 Whoever keeps the law is a discerning son, But a companion of gluttons shames his father. 8 One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion Gathers it for him who will pity the poor. 9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination. 10 Whoever causes the upright to go astray in an evil way, He himself will fall into his own pit; But the blameless will inherit good. 11 The rich man is wise in his own eyes, But the poor who has understanding searches him out. 12 When the righteous rejoice, there is great glory; But when the wicked arise, men hide themselves. 13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. 14 Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity. 15 Like a roaring lion and a charging bear Is a wicked ruler over poor people. 16 A ruler who lacks understanding is a great oppressor, But he who hates covetousness will prolong his days. 17 A man burdened with bloodshed will flee into a pit; Let no one help him. 18 Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved, But he who is perverse in his ways will suddenly fall. 19 He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, But he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough! 20 A faithful man will abound with blessings, But he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. 21 To show partiality is not good, Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress. 22 A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him. 23 He who rebukes a man will find more favor afterward Than he who flatters with the tongue. 24 Whoever robs his father or his mother, And says, “It is no transgression,” The same is companion to a destroyer. 25 He who is of a proud heart stirs up strife, But he who trusts in the Lord will be prospered. 26 He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But whoever walks wisely will be delivered. 27 He who gives to the poor will not lack, But he who hides his eyes will have many curses. 28 When the wicked arise, men hide themselves; But when they perish, the righteous increase.

Highlight #1 – Integrity Brings Peace And Confidence (v. 1)

I was ready to pass over this verse until I read it in The Message. 

Proverbs 28:1 (The Message)
1 The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them; Honest people are relaxed and confident, bold as lions.

I don’t need to spend a lot of time here, but I would like to comment briefly. When one knows what they are doing is wrong but it might bring some type of benefit, they are willing to take the chance, hurt whomever they need to and run off before they are found out.

Honest people do what’s right because their integrity guides them. There is no fear of being “found out” because no wrong has occurred. Their integrity will bring them peace of mind and confidence because they do the right thing.

If one is honest in all their dealings, they honor God and pave the path for personal peace.

Highlight #2 – Praying For Leaders (v. 2)

Proverbs 28:2 (The Message)
2 When the country is in chaos, everybody has a plan to fix it— But it takes a leader of real understanding to straighten things out.

Again, this passage I was going to skip over, but I kept coming back to it. If you haven’t noticed, our country is in a mess! Good is considered evil and evil is considered good. The internet is filled with people “saying” they have a fix, but really they don’t. They have their “pet” interest and agenda. I believe that in general, they are only seeking their own good.

Having recently watched the movie “Darkest Hour”, a film depicting the early days of World War II, where the fate of Western Europe hung on the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who must decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on against incredible odds, I began thinking about a modern day equivalent to Churchill. To be honest, I’m at a loss to categorize any modern world leader like that. I feel there are no real “world class” statesmen in this modern world.

This line of thinking although bleak, lead me to the notion of how important prayer really is for the well-being of a nation. We must pray for our leaders. Forces are at work which remain unseen by human eyes. Paul the apostle says this:

Ephesians 6:13a (The Message)
13 Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.

Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

Ephesians 6:18a (NLT)
18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion.

Ephesians 6:18b (The Message)
18. . . Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

2 Corinthians 10:3–4a (ESV)
3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but . . .

2 Corinthians 10:4 (NLT)
4 We use God’s mighty weapons, . . . to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.

Because there’s so much at stake, (the hearts and souls of men and women), we must be people who seriously understand prayer and engage in it regularly with confidence and boldness! And in the context of this proverb we must understand how important it is to pray for our leaders! Our country is in kaos and we need a wise leader who can fix it.

Highlight #3 – Prayers That Go Nowhere (v. 9)

As I came upon this passage, I reflected a moment on how we tend to “pray” as if we are asking a genie to grant us a wish. God is not a cosmic genie. If one would do a simple bible study on prayer they would easily discover that there are conditions to answered prayer.

Here in this proverb is one of those conditions.

Proverbs 28:9 (NKJV & ESV)
9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

After reading that verse, I thought that many “modern” believers freeze up with they read “the Law” in the Bible. “I’m a New Testament Believer.”, they say, “I’m free from the Law.” True in the sense of the Mosaic Law, but one is never free from doing what’s right. So when God has something to say, we had better listen instead of continuing our speaking. (praying) Because if we are not listening to and doing what God says our prayers go nowhere.

The NLT and The Message translations just build upon this verse.

Proverbs 28:9 (NLT)
9 God detests the prayers of a person who ignores the law.

Proverbs 28:9 (The Message)
9 God has no use for the prayers of the people who won’t listen to him.

It’s so important to pray and to follow through with what God is asking. We call this obedience. Instead of praying more. Prayer is great, yet meaningless if there is no obedience.

Highlight #4 – Confessing Sin (v. 13)

Proverbs 28:13 (NKJV)
13 He who covers his sins will not prosper, But whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

I paused here because I believe that many believers are willing to confess their sin, but, there is often a huge disconnect because of not leaving their sin. (stopping the sin) It’s in the forsaking of the sin that brings wholeness, forgiveness and mercy.

I like the rendering of the NLT here because the conditional clause seems dominant:

Proverbs 28:13 (NLT)
13 People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

This of course reminded me of other conditional statements concerning sin.

1 John 1:9 (NKJV)
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

I think confession needs to be a very familiar part of our lives. We mess up. Intentionally and unintentionally. However, an unintentional transgression is still a transgression (sin) and even more so if one continues in it after the are aware of their transgression. We receive mercy from God if we confess AND forsake our sin as soon as we are aware of it.

It’s a pretty simple plan.

Highlight #5 – The Fear Of The Lord

The last highlight I will share this from first 14.

Proverbs 28:14 (NKJV)
14 Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Proverbs 28:14 (NLT)
14 Blessed are those who fear to do wrong, but the stubborn are headed for serious trouble.

At first glance these verses seem a bit different but digging into it a bit reveals it’s similarities. A passage from one of my commentaries does a very good job in helping us to understand more clearly the thought here.

Blessed is the man who fears the Lord always: Blessed means here to be fortunate or happy. . . . Man translates Hebrew ’adam, which is better translated as “person.” Fears the Lord always is literally “dreading always.” The Lord is not mentioned in the Hebrew text, but this may be intended. Note that both rsv and tev supply the Lord, whereas nrsv has “the one who is never without fear.” Some interpreters understand “dreading” or “fearing always” to mean “fearing to do evil.” Accordingly, cev says “The Lord blesses everyone who is afraid to do evil.” frcl has “Happy is the man who lives in the fear of acting wrongly.” The Septuagint assumes that it is “the fear of the Lord” by saying “fear with reverence.” Both fears the Lord and “is afraid to do evil” are possible translations in this line.[1]

Hardens his heart is an expression used, for example, in Exo 7:3, meaning “to be stubborn” or “to refuse to listen to God’s words.”[2]

Proverbs also tells us that the foundation of wisdom is to fear the Lord.

Proverbs 9:10 (NLT)
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.

In my head, it stands to reason that if t it’s the foundation, then one must always build upon that foundation, no other. A teaching on the fear of the Lord could be in depth, but it’s not the plan for this teaching. Suffice it to say . . . here’s a paraphrase of this verse that I think works well:

Proverbs 28:14 (NKJV)
14“You will always be blessed [happy, fortunate, and to be envied] if you honor the Lord and fear doing evil. But if you have a stubborn heart in this regard, (like Pharaoh) you will end up in trouble. (like Pharaoh)”[3]


  1. Integrity Brings Peace and Confidence
  2. Pray For Our Leaders
  3. Prayers That Go Nowhere
  4. Confessing Sin
  5. The Fear Of The Lord

[1] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 594–595.
[2] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 595.
[3] William David Reyburn and Euan McG. Fry, A Handbook on Proverbs, UBS Handbook Series (New York: United Bible Societies, 2000), 595.


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