Proverbs 22:24 Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.
Anger management is an important theme in Proverbs because it is so important to life. Everyone becomes angry at times, and anger itself is not a sin (Ephesians 4:26). But uncontrolled anger can ruin everything. It can even be demonic.
After King Saul drifted away from God, the Spirit of God departed from him and an evil spirit . . . tormented him (1 Samuel 16:14). To get relief, Saul had the young man David play his musical instrument. But the evil spirit troubled Saul again, and filled with rage, he hurled his spear across the room at David (1 Samuel 18:10-11, 19:9-10). The devil is filled with fury (Revelation 12:12), and whenever a sinner becomes furious, the situation may be demonic.
Venting our rage may feel good, but it’s a sign of foolishness. Fools give full vent to their rage (Proverbs 29:11), says Proverbs. A young man was not happy with his golf shot, so he swung his club at a nearby bench. The club snapped, ricocheted back, pierced his heart and he died.
Another man was having trouble at his bank, trying to cash a check at the drive-through window. He was told he would have to come inside, but since the lobby was closed, he would have to come back the following day. He wanted to settle it then, however, so he drove his truck into the lobby and asked to close his account.
Anger is a brief insanity that is obvious to everyone except the person who is angry. It makes people feel powerful, but has the opposite effect. It destroys reputations as well as relationships. Anger is so destructive, in fact, that we should not even associate with those who have anger issues. Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person, do not associate with one easily angered.
Proverbs 22:29 Do you see someone skilled in their work? They will serve before kings.
Solomon had many employees, and whenever he needed to fill a position he would search for the best cook, gardener, builder or whatever he needed. The most skillful workers were promoted to serve the king, and were likely paid what they deserved.
A good strategy for work is to find something you are good at and never stop improving. One lady was passed over for a promotion, and complained that she had twenty-six years of experience. Her supervisor explained that she had one year of experience, twenty-six times. It is not enough to do the same thing over and over. We should have a strategy for improvement.
My wife is a dental hygienist who truly loves her job. She has been cleaning teeth for over thirty years, and still comes home excited about how much plaque she removed. In her spare time she reads dental hygiene magazines, takes dental hygiene courses, watches dental hygiene videos, and keeps up on the latest products. She is adored by her employer and is paid very well.
Proverbs 23:19 Set your heart on the right path.
It is not enough to set our feet on the right path; we must set our hearts there too. Wherever the heart goes, the feet will surely follow. It may take a week, a month, a year or even longer. But eventually, feet will follow the heart.
Solomon’s rule as king started out extremely well. God appeared to him twice (1 Kings 11:9) and gave him wonderful promises. But Solomon’s preoccupation with worldly success led to the neglect of his soul, and to a pattern of compromise. By the end of his life, he was building temples to foreign gods. There is something in the best of us that wants to leave the God we love. Unless we keep our heart on the right path, it will lead us to the land of regret.
Proverbs 26:4-5 Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you yourself will be just like him. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes.
These two sayings are helpful for understanding how proverbs work. They are not promises that always come true, or commands to be obeyed in every situation. Proverbs are short sayings that often apply, but not always. There is a time to answer a fool, so he does not think he is wise. But there is also a time not to answer a fool, so you do not become like him. Proverbs are a fast path to wisdom, but it takes wisdom to know which proverb to apply in any situation.
Reflection and Review
How do you control your anger?
What are some ways to succeed at work?
How is a proverb different than a promise?