Proverbs 20:16-20
Prov 20:16 (KJB)
Take his garment that is surety for a stranger: and take a pledge of him for a strange woman.
Strange woman - Foreigner
Here this verse speaks of a person, that if he is not careful, can come to ruin. If a stranger come to this man and asks him to be surety for him, and if the man foolishly agrees, he is to take his garment as a pledge or surety that the stranger will not default on his financial dealing. However, in the second half of this verse, the same man is to take a pledge from the stranger if he chooses to become surety for another stranger. In other words, this is a chain of events. The first man takes a pledge of the stranger who in turn takes a pledge of the one who is dealing with foreigners. If the second man loses money in his dealing, then the original man who became surety will also lose because under the law he is not to keep the garment after sundown. (Exo 22:26 KJV) If thou at all take thy neighbour's raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: If the man does not pay what has been given to him, then he will get his raiment back and the original man will be out his money. This verse basically speaks about the warning of becoming surety. It is unwise to become surety for someone we know, never mind for someone we do not. Wisdom must be applied to all earthly transactions and if we lack wisdom in that area, then we should not delve into it.
Prov 20:17 (KJB)
Bread of deceit is sweet to a man; but afterwards his mouth shall be filled with gravel.
Here is a verse which really speaks to us today. How many people love to hear the Gospel of self-worship. It is a gospel which demands nothing of a person and glorifies man. Holiness is not required and neither is any form of sacrifice. It is the Iím okay-Youíre okay Gospel. This type of innocuous gospel is being preached in many churches and the people love it because it sounds sweet to them. Imagine a person not having to change, instead God changes to accommodate us but then comes the gravel. (Mal 3:6 KJV) For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. The reality is that the Lord changes us to meet His qualifications for Heaven. We are to be holy because He is holy and many people are going to be standing before the Lord on Judgment day perplexed since they sat under the innocuous gospel and thought they were right with God. The mouthful of gravel would definitely describe something which is uncomfortable, bitter, or evil. Our teeth were not made to chew gravel but regular food and the innocuous gospel is just like gravel which is not digested by a human. Just as the innocuous gospel cannot save a soul because it lacks the biblical requirements to do so. Therefore, it may sound sweet at the outset but the end is definitely tragic. It is not the bread of life they receive but the bread of death.
Prov 20:18 (KJB)
Every purpose is established by counsel: and with good advice make war.
Purpose - Plans
With good advice - With guidance
(Luke 14:31 KJV) Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? The Lord Jesus Christ also uses war as an example of someone who wants to become His disciple. Solomon uses war, which represents a life and death struggle, as an example of seeking proper counsel. This verse not only teaches us that it is necessary to plan wisely and successfully in all our earthly ventures, it also teaches Christians that they must approach the Great Commission with much counsel and wisdom. The Christian is at war with every unbeliever in the world and we must fight them spiritually. If a Christian wants to go into a ministry, then they need to establish the ministry by counsel and guidance and then when they are fully established by that counsel, they can then enter the war. The reality is that as soon as we become saved, the kingdom of Satan and his unbelievers become our enemies and start making war on us. We must never fight from a view point of seeking a victory. We must always fight from the vantage point that we are already victorious in Christ and the kingdom of Satan may hinder us, but they can never stop people from becoming saved.
Prov 20:19 (KJB)
He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth with his lips.
Meddle - Wager or bargain
We could link this verse with the advice given in the previous verse. Whenever we seek counsel, it is always wise to never include a person who is a gossip simply because they will reveal the plans which are being made. The gossip may decide to flatter you with all kinds of compliments but his real agenda is to find out what you are planning. It is sort of like spiritual espionage. In any realm, whether it is business or pleasure, it is never wise to reveal plans to a gossiper, not only will they reveal the secrets, but will likely embellish the story which could cause many more problems. That is why we are warned to never make any bargain with a talebearer because it will return to us with many problems.
Prov 20:20 (KJB)
Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.
Obscure - The black of
(Exo 20:12 KJV) Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee. The fifth commandment requires that children must respect their parents. If children do not respect their parents it goes to throwing the whole social order our of kilter. Parents are to teach and raise their children, not the children raising their parents. Parents pass wisdom and insight to their children preparing them for becoming adults and having their own families. God makes a promise that if children give their parents honor, then they will be blessed with long life upon the land. Those who normally show their parents respect are children who are saved and the land that the Lord gives us is Heaven. This does not mean that He will not bless with a longer life here on earth but it does seem to point to eternal life. Those who disrespect their parents and treat them badly are showing that they are unsaved and the promise from this verse is that they will be sentenced to hell on Judgment day. This verse speaks about the black of darkness and that is a description of Hell. (Jude 1:13 KJV) Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. It is almost a verbatim description from Jude.