Proverbs 21:16-31

Talks for Growing Christians

Wisdom in Treasures

Proverbs 21:16-31

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Lesson Number 34

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. The Proverbs are wise advice for everyday living.

Practical Application

  1. Don’t worship the Lord with mixed motives!


  1. Regarding the material treasures and entertaining pleasures of life, summarize the teachings of the proverbs in verses 17, 20, 25 and 26.
  2. What is the difference between ransom and redemption? Briefly explain the teaching of the wise saying of Solomon in verse 18.
  3. How would the teaching of the proverb in verse 31 apply to the use of military force today?


  1. Several important lessons can be learned from the verses here in the last part of chapter 21 concerning treasures and pleasures. Verse 17 teaches us that overindulgence in seeking and experiencing the pleasures and treasures of life is wrong, and can lead to material and spiritual impoverishment. Verse 20 teaches us that there is good use of treasure when wisely set aside for times of need. The proverb in verses 25 and 26 teaches us that a lazy person whose motives are covetousness and greed will not have his material desires fulfilled, but the righteous and diligent person who is willing to work, will gain treasure to meet not only his own material needs but those of others also.
  2. In reference to the proverb in verse 18, ransom is the price paid to gain the release of a captured person or a slave. Redemption would be the reestablishment of the person’s or slave’s freedom as a result of ransom being paid. This proverb does not teach that the wicked ransom the righteous, but rather that the wicked themselves may be the ransom by which God redeems or frees His people. Read Isaiah 43:3 as an example.
  3. Just as the teaching from the proverb in verse 31 applied to military forces in the days of Solomon, so it likewise applies to honorable military forces today. Proper preparation for the use of military forces and equipment is a human responsibility. However, to depend on their might only is to be proud and ignorant. It is the Lord who controls the battles and victory is in His hands.


  1. Consider the many ways believers can be lured or drawn into fleshly pleasures and the coveting of material treasures. Discuss individual victories and failures regarding the setting of godly priorities in your life and the personal and family lives of your friends.


  1. After making an honest analysis of yourself (searching your heart) during times of private and corporate worship throughout this next month, answer the following questions. Have you approached worship with a repentant attitude? Have your actions and words demonstrated humility rather than a show of false spirituality? Have you been prepared to respond to words of conviction and correction? God seeks those who worship with an open and contrite heart, not those who worship with an attitude of hypocrisy.

Key Verses

  • “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, how much more when he brings it with wicked intent!” Proverbs 21:27
  • “A wicked man hardens his face, but as for the upright, he establishes his way” Proverbs 21:29

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