The Most Extravagant, Blessed Wage Gap: Some Thoughts on Proverbs 10:12, 15-16.


There are sure ways to follow so as not to gain wisdom and life:

  • Fall into sin.
  • Have a vaneer of wisdom and consider yourself complete.
  • Hide the fact that you’re in need of wisdom and help.
  • Don’t listen to your loving parents.
  • Don’t remain faithful to your wife.
  • Don’t seek God and wisdom out of a firm commitment and deep desire.
  • Don’t be willing to undergo change and trouble in order to grow.

“The greatest saints are not those who need less grace, but those who consume the most grace, who indeed are most in need of grace—those who are saturated by grace in every dimension of their being. Grace to them is like breath” (Willard, Renovation of the Heart: Putting On the Character of Christ, p. 93).

Introduction to the 10:1-22:16 and How I Will (Likely) Proceed.

Here begins the “Proverbs of Solomon” which stretch from 10:1 and go  until 22:16. This is largely sentence proverbs and couplets (Lucas, 3)

My intuition with this section, which goes  along with Lucas’s assertion, is that these are collections that are brought together in order to interact with one another. They are in smaller groupings.

The way I want to proceed through 10:1-22:16 is this:

  • Continue to focus on the chapter in Proverbs that corresponds to the day of the month (i.e., July 12 = Proverbs 12, and so on).
  • Focus not on the whole chapter, but a smaller unit or even a verse or two within the chapter. That way the writing doesn’t get to be too much for me, nor too long for you, the reader.
  • The hope that is, over a couple of months, that we will be able to cover a lot of Proverbs and get a really good grasp of what is going on here.
  • The goal is always that our hearts, minds, and actions are channeled by God’s Holy Scripture. So, the goal is that all of this will be worked out in our lives as we meditate on His Word. Wisdom is meant to be lived out. It is not about head-knowledge.


The Most Extravagant, Blessed Wage Gap: Some Thoughts on Proverbs 10:12, 15-16.

V. 12  – Agitation vs. Smoothing Over

Hatred stirs up strife
Love covers over all transgressions

In Proverbs, see also 17:9; 21:10.

“Grounded as they were in the covenantal traditions which featured a personal relationship between a loving God and a needy people, the teachers did not neglect the subject of love” (Hubbard, 264).

How do we handle it when others fail us?

“Like a stubborn dog, hatred digs up every possible bone of contention, worries it with relish, parades it around in its snarling snout, and drops it messily on the carpet where it causes nothing but consternation. Love, on the other hand, like a prudent squirrel, hides the morsels of scandal in a secret place where the light of exposure never reaches” (Hubbard, 265).

See 1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, keep fervent in love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.”

“Not that our love atones for sin, only Christ’s can do that, but that our love helps us overlook the sins of others and not let strife be the outcome” (Hubbard, 265).

In Ephesians, Paul writes: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. … Therefore, be  imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Ephesians 4:32-5:2).


Vv. 15-16  – Wealth, Wages, Poverty

V. 15 Wealth Of the rich man Is his fortress
Poverty Of the poor man Is his ruin
V. 16 Wages/Labour Of the righteous Is life
Income/Wages/Gain Of the wicked Is punishment

Verse 15 – Wealth is used for personal security. Present acquisitions provide for stability.

“The enduring quality of the impregnable walls is contrasted in 10:15 with the inevitable financial ‘destruction’ that comes to those whose lot is ‘poverty.’ They are left defenseless when calamity strikes” (Hubbard, 300).

Verse 16 – Wealth can be made through human labour, without dishonesty.

The return on (or fruit of) their labour is either life or death. There is an exchange based on deeds.

“At a flatly literal plane the meaning would be that the diligent toil of the upright brings sufficient income to sustain ’life’ at a level of abundant satisfaction, while wickedness is so unproductive that it leads to the emptiness and even death that are sin’s payoff” (Hubbard, 298).


Compare Proverbs 10:16 with Romans 6:23:

Proverbs 10:16 Wages/Labour Of the righteous Is life
Income/Wages Of the wicked Is punishment
Romans 6:23 Wages Of sin Is death
The free gift Of God Is eternal life In Christ Jesus

What is so wonderful here is that the game has totally changed with Paul’s allusion to Proverbs 10:16. And these are elements that hearken back to Proverbs 10:12. Here, there is a “covering over,” a gift. This gift comes from our loving God through Christ, who is the game changer in the equation. Christ has become the wage-earner and the punishment-bearer, so that we might have eternal life and not death.



God’s love for us covers up all our sins. And so our hearts have been changed so that we imitate Him, forgiving even the gravest of sins against us. It is Jesus’s sacrifice for us that changed the game entirely – so that we no longer live before God as those who are trying to work our way into life. Instead, we find freely offered to us an entirely different sort of life. It is a life not based on the flesh, but on the Spirit. It is a life of adoption through Christ into the family of God. It is a life that is lived from the Spirit and unto God.

God has been so abundantly generous towards us. How can you live from the riches of God’s kindness and grace, which is our fortress, and abandon your own spiritual poverty? After all, Christ became poor, so that, in Him, you might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Knowing Christ not only makes us rich in our inheritance, rich unto salvation, and rich in ability to forgive. He also makes us rich in generosity, especially among the saints. Perhaps you know someone in your church who is struggling with poverty? How can you come alongside them and become their “fortress,” their strong tower?

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