Proverbs 21-22 teach the advantages of preparing your heart to know God.
The Lord turns the king's heart wherever He wishes. He values a heart filled with righteousness and justice. Sacrifice, haughty eyes and proud heart are sin to Him. The plans of the diligent and pure lead to advantage, but hastiness, lying tongue and violence results in poverty and death (Prov. 21:1-8). Advantage comes for those with a righteous heart who plan diligently.
It's impossible to live with a contentious woman who desires evil. The naive become wise when a scoffer is punished. The wise receive knowledge when instructed about the ruin of the wicked and not listening to the cry of the poor. Executing justice is joy for the righteous. A man who wanders from the way of understanding by loving pleasure, wine and oil becomes dead and poor (Prov. 21:9-18). Wisdom comes as you consider the consequences of justice versus loving pleasure.
It's better to live in a desert land than with a contentious and vexing woman. A foolish person spends all his savings. Find life, righteousness and honor by pursuing righteousness and loyalty. The wise attacks a city of the mighty and pulls down the strongholds that they trust. Guard your tongue from arrogance to prevent trouble (Prov. 21:19-23). Life and honor come as you pursue righteousness, save money, pull down strongholds and guard your tongue.
Laziness and greed kill, but the righteous considers his ways by giving and not holding back. There is no wisdom, insight or plan that can succeed against the Lord. Prepare for battle but realize that victory belongs to the Lord (Prov. 21:24-31). God's victory comes as you consider your ways, give generously and prepare for battle.
A good name and esteem is better than riches. A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge. Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth, honor and life. Guard your soul to prevent thorns and snares. Train a child in the way he should go to stay on the path (Prov. 22:1-6). Wealth, honor and life come if you have a good name, show humility, experience the fear of the Lord and guard your soul.
The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender. Reap trouble by sowing wickedness, but be blessed by sharing food with the poor. Eliminate strife, quarrels and insults by driving out the mocker. The king will be your friend if you have a pure heart and gracious speech. The Lord watches over knowledge, but frustrates the words of the unfaithful (Prov. 22:7-12). Blessings and influential friendships come from a pure heart, gracious speech and sharing with the poor.
The lazy expect the worst to occur. An adulteress ensnares those under the Lord's wrath. The rod of discipline drives out folly in the heart of a child. Poverty comes by oppressing the poor to increase wealth and giving gifts to the rich. Apply your heart to the sayings of the wise so they can be ready on your lips as you trust in the Lord and give sound answers to him who sent you (Prov. 22:13-21). Giving sound answers come as you experience the rod of discipline and apply your heart to the sayings of the wise.
The Lord takes the case of the poor and plunders those who exploit or crush them in court. Do not make friends or associate with one easily angered so you don't learn his ways. Do not co-sign on a loan so you don't lose everything. Do not move an ancient boundary stone set up by your forefathers. A man skilled in his work will serve before kings and not obscure men (Prov. 22:22-29). Serving before kings comes for those skilled in their work who set proper boundaries.
The advantages of preparing your heart to know God include:
2. Life and honor
3. God's victory
4. Wealth, honor and life
5. Blessings and influential friendships
6. Giving sound answers
7. Serving before kings