Proverbs 18:16-20
Prov 18:16 (KJB)
A man's gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.
Room - To be wide
Great - Noble
Here is a gift, in not necessarily a negative light. A man may give a nice gift and that may expand his opportunities and eventually may allow him to come before noble or great men, those with much influence. This verse also has a great spiritual lesson. When a person becomes saved, they are given a spiritual gift and when that gift is exercised properly, it will widen the opportunities for ministry and as a result may get them noticed by those in higher positions who may promote them as they continue to minister in the gifts which God has given them. This is why we want to minister with our spiritual gifts properly, so we may have doors opened for us to widen our ministry and spiritual influence.
Prov 18:17 (KJB)
He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.
Have you ever had a situation where someone came to you and told you about a situation they are going through and how they tended to blame someone else. Remember also how you tended to agree with them UNTIL you received another side of the story stating how the other person caused their own problems. This Proverbs verse is basically stating that even though someone comes to us, and maybe it might be someone we care about, and tells us about a situation they are in and then they start blaming the other person, we must be on our guard. This verse is telling us that we must be careful about taking sides to soon before we hear both sides of the story. Normally, the first person to tell their side will embellish the story toward their side but when the other party challenges it, it may bring other facts to light that the first party neglected to state. Whenever we get caught up in these types of situations, our reputation will also be on trial in the eyes of others.
Prov 18:18 (KJB)
The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty.
In the days when this Proverb was written, the lot was cast and the parties abided by the decisions because they realized that the decisions came from God Himself. (Prov 16:33 KJV) The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD. If you recall, Matthias was chosen a disciple after the suicide of Judas and they used the lot. (Acts 1:26 KJV) And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. In Proverbs 18:18, we read that their could be contentions over a certain subject and if these contentions are between two powerful men, then a private war could erupt and people will get hurt. However, if they cast the lot and accept that the answer has come from the Lord, then two things will take place. First, the contentions over the matter will be resolved, secondly, the two mighty men involved will then separate, thus avoiding any further possible chance of an erupting war. It will quell the fighting and bring things back to normal.
Prov 18:19 (KJB)
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
Offended - Having been transgressed against
Castle - Citadel or stronghold
Contentions - Discord or dispute
If we offend someone and then realize that we were wrong, if we try to win them back, we may find that we will run into a situation that makes it hard to win that person back. One of the reasons that we have trouble winning them back is because a person has feelings where a city does not. This verse teaches us that contentions are akin to bars of a castle. That is, the bars do not let anyone in or out. The contentions are just like those bars. They are strong steel and no human can break them. It is like a contention, if no one gives in, then they are like a steel bar, separating the two people. This is why we must be careful of our actions as well as our words, so we will never get into that type of situation. We may offend someone whom the Lord may use at a later time in our life and if we have offended them, they might not be so eager to help us. We must never sacrifice the future for the present so we must learn to hold our tongues.
Prov 18:20 (KJB)
A man's belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled.
This verse is not speaking about food but it is speaking about the words which come out of our mouth. It is building upon the previous verse that we must not offend others, however, this does not mean that we are not to give the Gospel which is an offense. The type of offense given here is for personal gain or notoriety. It is the type of offense which exalts us and belittles the other person. We are to make sure that the words coming out of our mouth are edifying or encouraging but never compromising. When we bring an encouraging or edifying word, it is like eating a good meal, it is satisfying to both the speaker and the hearers. As the word continue to edify or even mollify a situation, it is like the continued eating of that good meal making us feel filled. That feeling is a feeling of gladness and contentment in helping to avoid a possible volatile situation.