Proverbs 22:11

He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend.
– Proverbs 22:11

The word for pureness means clean and can refer to ceremonial, physical, or moral cleanness. The word for grace means kindness, or favor. Wise speech is marked by honesty (Proverbs 16:13), appropriateness (Proverbs 15:23), and beauty (Proverbs 10:20; 25:11). The first phrase indicates purity of motives and the second indicates purity of speech. The proverb teaches honest and gracious speech wins favor.

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Proverbs 3:34

Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.
– Proverbs 3:34

The lowly is one who bends himself and so it means the humble. It is the humble who receive favor from God. Proverbs has much to say in condemnation of the proud and so the scorners receive scorning. God resists the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5) and does not show them favor. Wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord and bends oneself to receive her counsels.

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Proverbs 3:22

So shall they be life unto thy soul, and grace to thy neck.
– Proverbs 3:22

Wisdom and discretion shall be life and grace. Life to the soul is primarily spiritual life that brings everlasting physical life. It is an undeniable theme throughout Proverbs (Proverbs 3:2, 16; 4:10, 22; 7:2; 8:35; 9:11; 13:14; 14:27; 15:4, 24; 16:22; 19:23; 21:21; 22:4). Grace to the neck is both an ornament that beautifies and an ornament that continually abides with you as clasped about your neck. Those that have wisdom have this life and grace that will not depart from them.

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Proverbs 1:9

For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.
– Proverbs 1:9

If we hear and understand as instructed in verse 8, we acquire and grow in wisdom. The getting of wisdom is its own reward. Ornaments and chains are adornments that complement and beautify. Wisdom, like an adornment, makes beautiful.

The emphasis here is not on the outward. Solomon doesn’t intend that wisdom brings us health and wealth. In Ecclesiastes 9:11 he observed that bread and riches do not always come to the wise and understanding. Wisdom isn’t a means of achieving worldly success. This is where many Christian books and messages fail when they come to the book of Proverbs. Proverbs is not written to make us more successful in the world, but to grow us in wisdom, God’s wisdom. Wisdom may in fact cause us to be despised by the world (Ecclesiastes 9:15).

Wisdom is still the way of life though. Wisdom is better.

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Psalm 119:17

Deal bountifully with thy servant,
that I may live, and keep thy word.
~ Psalm 119:17

Verse 17 begins the third stanza of this Psalm. The first stanza described the blessed condition of the man of God. The second stanza treats of the cleansing of a man’s way before God, the attaining of that blessed condition. The third stanza now elaborates the strengthening we have in the way of God.

Deal bountifully with thy servant
The written Word of God is the grand theme of Psalm 119, but prayer is also prominent. Much of this Psalm is a prayer. The meditations are requests to God for light and life. The three statements in verse 17 are prayers.

The first petition asks for God to deal bountifully with His servant. In respect to people, to deal bountifully (gamal) means to benefit, requite, or reward. It can mean to treat a person well or ill. It is variously translated: bestow on, deal bountifully, do good, recompense, requite, reward, etc.

The prayer here concerns what God bestows on the petitioner. The obvious meaning is that he asks for mercy and grace from God. The very gifts David sang praises to God for (Psalm 13:5-6). He does not request reward for his merit. He seeks God’s gracious and merciful bestowal.

That I may live, and keep thy word
The second petition seeks grace to live. James taught us to say, “If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that” (James 4:15). Jeremiah knew that “It is of the LORD’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Every day of life is an incalculable gift of God’s grace.

The life he seeks is a part of the bountiful dealing he seeks. He is not after bare existence. He does not seek the minimum. He appeals for a bountiful life. His request, though, does not terminate on himself. He is not seeking to fill up his own personal reservoir of benefit. He wants bountiful life that he may keep God’s Word. This is the third petition or culmination of the first two. He sees God as the author of life and faith. Life and faith that are worked out in obedience. Apart from God’s mercy and grace, he will neither live nor keep His Word.

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