Proverbs 17:16-20
Prov 17:16 (KJB)
Wherefore is there a price in the hand of a fool to get wisdom, seeing he hath no heart to it?
A fool who thinks he desires wisdom may try to buy it through books or some other means so he may read and think that these things may increase him in wisdom. The problem is that this fool does not have a heart for wisdom, that is, his heart is not inclined to have wisdom instead his heart lives on foolishness. One must understand that wisdom does not come from learning, it is knowledge that comes from learning. Wisdom is the proper application of what is learned. Wisdom is something which is implanted into a person by God upon salvation or else their soul remains dead and so does their ability to have living wisdom. A fool can be the wealthiest person on earth and it will never help them gain wisdom. Wisdom is not something which can be purchased.
Prov 17:17 (KJB)
A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
Adversity - Distress, tribulation, or affliction
If there is one characteristic about modern society, it is the enigma of the fair weather friend. That is the person who stays with you when everything is going well and when you can do things for them. Then let something happen where you run into hard times, the fair weather friend will leave you until you are back being able to do things for them. I do not know why they are called fair weather friends. They should be called fair weather hypocrites. If a person claims to be a friend and leaves when you need them most, then you are better off without them. A true friend is one who will not abandon you when you hit a low spot, in fact, that is when their true friendship really shines through, ready to help. Then the second half of this verse speaks of a brother being born for adversity. A family member should be the one right there to help without any questions asked. We do not like to admit it, but both family and friends can and will let us down but there is one who will never let us down and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. He identifies with us as both brother and friend as we see in the two verse below.
(Mat 12:50 KJV) For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
(John 15:15 KJV) Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
Prov 17:18 (KJB)
A man void of understanding striketh hands, and becometh surety in the presence of his friend.
Striketh - Clap
Here is one of the most dangerous things a person can do. A person who becomes surety for another person, most of the times it is in the realm of finances. His friend may take out a loan and the creditor may only grant the loan if someone becomes his co-signer. If the person taking out the loan defaults, then the one who co-signed is totally responsible for the repayment of the loan. If the loan is substantial, then that repayment may be enough to devastate the co-signer. While the man may want to do right by his friend, it shows that he is void of understanding, not realizing that a default can ruin his entire credit rating and if he cannot repay, then the creditor has the right to sell his house and take his possessions. A spiritual application for this verse is also very grave because a person who pronounces another person to be saved and assures him that he is, is being surety for that person but the problem is that neither are saved and neither have the ability to know what salvation is unless it happens to them. We must never assure another’s salvation because we do not know their heart. We may know if someone is truly saved by their desires and motives plus their spirit will identifies with ours. If they seek less of the world and more of God, that is another good indicator that they are saved.
Prov 17:19 (KJB)
He loveth transgression that loveth strife: and he that exalteth his gate seeketh destruction.
Here we read that a person who loves to be involved in strife is one who enjoys sin. This is definitely speaking of an unsaved person because a truly saved person would not enjoy being in conflict with others because it goes against the new nature. The one who exalts his gate also shows that they are unregenerate. The gate is the entrance to the house but one cannot see behind the entrance to the house. The gate may be big and beautiful but that is only a façade. What is really behind that gate is strife and the unholy since it leads to destruction. There are many that like to build themselves up with the mouth but in reality they lack any real substance in their life. Instead of them seeking the Lord, they continue in their life style of pride and self-deception until they meet the consequences of their action on Judgment Day.
Prov 17:20 (KJB)
He that hath a froward heart findeth no good: and he that hath a perverse tongue falleth into mischief.
Froward - Perverse
Perverse - To turn, to change, or overthrow
Mischief - Evil
Those whose hearts which have never been regenerated are considered to be perverse and because their heart is evil, it is set on doing evil things. These kind of proverbs give us insight into why some people just cannot stay away from evil or wrongdoing. The second half of this verse speaks of the perverse tongue which carries with it the meaning of “turning or one who is turned.” The perverse tongue is the verbal outlet of the unregenerate heart and because it boasts many high words, it will fall into evil which will be in concert with the evil heart. Many a person has gotten into serious trouble because of their mouth.