Proverbs 22:1-5
Prov 22:1 (KJB)
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.
Loving - Useful, proper, or pleasant
Favour - In the sense that a person finds favor in the sight of another
This verse may have a suggestion of having a good name, which is a good reputation among people. Having a good reputation is better than having much wealth, simply because unscrupulous rich people do not have real friends but only acquaintances. They cannot call on others to help them without being charged. The person who has a good name will have many friends because he is one to be counted on. The second part of this verse is akin to the first, that silver and gold are ancillary to finding favor in the sight of many. Gold and silver cannot keep a person company or commiserate in a time of sorrow. Those who have found favor and shown themselves to be friends will be those who win the loving favor of others. This verse also has a great spiritual application. (Isa 62:2 KJV) And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. The good name which is in view in Isaiah 62:2 is the name “Christian.” That name means a person has become saved through the Lord Jesus Christ. Great earthly riches will be destroyed on the last day but the person who has become saved will never see any type of destruction. The second part of that verse is the same message. The word “Favour” carries with it the meaning of “Grace.” So loving grace from the Father is much better than silver and gold which can be so easily corrupted and destroyed.
Prov 22:2 (KJB)
The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.
This verse speaks about a great equalizer. Though some people in this world have great riches and others have great poverty, it is the Lord who made them both. The wealthy sometimes think they are more than human because of their wealth or positions. The fact revealed in this verse is that no matter what social class a person belongs to, they are nothing but human and mere dust. What rich man can live one more minute beyond what God has decreed for his life? What poor person can live one more minute beyond what God has decreed for his life? The reality is that both rich and poor are in the hands of the Lord and according to His will, He can make a rich man poor and a poor man rich. Therefore, no one can brag about their accomplishments because the Lord is the one who guides each life. This verse also describes the body of Christ while here on earth. The saved contain both the wealthy and the poor and they meet together at the foot of the cross. All Christians, whether rich or poor, hold equal status before the Lord, since they all became saved through the blood of Christ.
Prov 22:3 (KJB)
A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.
Prudent - Clever or crafty (in a positive sense)
This verse teaches that wise or clever man will not make a decision in favor of something if he has pondered the situation and determined that there will be negative consequences. In fact, he shuns these kind of situations. However, those who are simple or naďve, do not study nor do they take precautions which will result in them facing serious consequences. This verse also contains a spiritual lesson. Those who are saved can foresee the evil, especially the day of evil, which is judgment day. Since they know that Judgment Day is coming, those who are saved are hidden in Christ. (Col 3:3 KJV) For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Therefore, the wise, that is, the saved, have the foresight of the impending day of Judgment. However, the unsaved person does not care for spiritual things and only concern themselves with the things of this world. They do not see themselves as sinners and as a result, they go through life unconcerned about eternity and this attitude will cause them to face the Judgment on the last day.
Prov 22:4 (KJB)
By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.
This verse is not teaching that those who are humble and fear the Lord will become wealthy, have much honor in this life and life without problems or sickness. That may be the Gospel of some but this verse is teaching about those who are saved through the true Gospel. The riches, honor, and life that the believer has is not of this world. As for riches, we find allusion to that in 2 Cor. 4:7. (2 Cor 4:7 KJV) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. The treasure that we possess is the treasure of the Gospel. Humility and fear of the Lord are two tenets of the Christian life. The unbeliever does not fear the Lord because he is spiritually dead. Only the true believer has a healthy fear of the Lord. As for honor and life, we find that mentioned in Psalm 91:15-16. (Psa 91:15-16 KJV) He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. {16} With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation. Notice that Psalm 91:16 speaks of long life. That is not speaking of here on earth because many true believers die at a young age but it is speaking of the long life of eternity. This is the reward of the true believer.
Prov 22:5 (KJB)
Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.
Snares - Net or trap
Froward - Perverse or wicked
Keep - Guard
The wicked, the unsaved, because of their wicked lifestyle, are always going to face thorns and snares. Thorns and snares represent the pitfalls and problems life brings when you try to live it in a perverse way. There are always consequences to evil ways and this verse is not saying that “maybe” they will be in the way of the froward, this verse guarantees that these snares will accompany any evil lifestyle. On the other hand, those who are saved, have the foresight and insight to avoid any and all situations which will cause them serious negative consequences. In fact, the wisdom that the Scriptures give will cause a saved person to stay far away from any situation which could ensnare them or cause a problem with their testimony. This verse builds on the principles found in Proverbs 22:3.