Proverbs 14:1-2

1 The wise woman builds her house,

   but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.

2 Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,

   but those who despise him are devious in their ways.

 A household is a difficult thing to build, but the wise woman is up to the task. She sees that dignity comes with responsibility, and that freedom comes with discipline. She has goals for her family’s future, and she sacrifices in order to achieve them. Bit by bit, the things she does accumulate, bringing order out of the chaos of family life.

 “But with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” The foolish woman’s house isn’t destroyed from the outside, but from within. She sees responsibility as bondage, discipline as toil. She sacrifices her future to avoid them, not considering where that path will take her. When things fall apart she blames others, but she only fools herself.

 “Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise him are devious in their ways.” What do we know about those who fear the Lord? They acknowledge accountability, which empowers them to do the right thing. They don’t spend much time in the judgment seat, leaving that to the one who belongs there. They aren’t driven by fear of others, which keeps them from moral compromise. They humbly admit their faults, so they have nothing to hide.

 Those who despise the Lord, however, have nothing to protect them from themselves. They reject accountability, seeing submission as weakness. Not only do they put themselves in the judgment seat, they put everyone else on trial. They despise the Lord for things they don’t understand. Seeing themselves as victims, they justify their irresponsibility. Fear of others may keep them in check for a while, but sooner or later it will backfire. What is more devious than a person with something to hide?

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