“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told ‘Come up here,’ than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.” The wisdom of this proverb takes great faith. What if the king or those in power never [...]
Proverb 28:4 If we think with some sophistication, then we will quickly realize that great injustices can be committed without actually committing an offense. It is not good enough simply to say, “I’ve done nothing wrong,” as if the sum total of our duty is to refrain from wrongdoing. To omit the doing of righteousness [...]
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it.” Sometimes wise actions are starring at us right in the face, but we are not able to see them. The exhortation here is very simple and eminently reasonable. Do good to whom it is due, [...]
Proverb 31:30 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.” This verse challenges much about our culture, because we live in a world that prizes charm and beauty (not only in women, but also men). Our society, I think it is fair to say, is [...]
The imagery of Proverb 18:8 is vivid: “The words of gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.” The perspective is pointed, because it seems to me that the one in view is not the one who gossips, but the one who likes to listen to it.
Proverbs 17:3 states, “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.” These words are profound to say the least, especially when we consider how God tests the heart. From my reading of the Bible and personal experience, God tests our hearts through the circumstances of our lives – [...]
Proverbs 16 People have imperfect vision. Even hindsight is not perfect. Does not our view of the past constantly change? Or better yet, listen to a few pundits. In a word, people are imperfect interpreters of life and even their own lives. Proverbs 16:2 and 16:25 suggest this point. Proverbs 16:2 states, “All a man’s way seem [...]
It might be surprising that so many of the verses of Proverbs address the importance of speech. Proverb 15 is no exception. 15:1 speaks of how the power of gentle words turn away wrath, 15:2, 7 how wise speech gushes forth knowledge, 15:4 how wise tongues bringing healing, and 15:23 how an apt reply brings [...]
Proverbs 14:29 states, “a patient man has great understanding, but a quick tempered man displays folly.” These words are dear to anyone who sees the importance of wisdom and desires to grow in it, because this verse teaches us one of the paths towards wisdom, growth in patience.
Proverbs 13:24 has added meaning to parents; they know that it is true. If you truly love your children, you will discipline them. However, it must be admitted that discipline is hard to do well. On the part of the parent it is hard to act consistently and always out of love (and never out [...]
This chapter is hard hitting. It starts with a thesis, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid,” and immediately applies it to the lives of readers. Verse after verse there is correction. A few of these points are worth mentioning in view of our cultural context. Consider the following:
Each society prizes certain qualities, generally speaking. For example, wealth is something that most people in New York prize. I am sure that there are exceptions, but I am also sure that we would be hard pressed to find many people who would refuse a check for a million dollars with no strings attached.
The two themes that struck me in the reading of this proverb are: work hard and speak less. I think if we all followed these two pieces of advice a little more, then we would all be better off. The answer for this is not hard to ascertain. First, God calls us to work. The [...]
We see the personification of Wisdom and Folly. Both of them call out, have prepared a meal, and sit at the highest point in the city (9:1-5; 13-18). On the surface, there appears to be little different between the two. However, when we probe a little deeper there is a world of difference. Wisdom leads [...]
God’s grace fills this chapter. Consider the following two sentences. Wisdom is more precious than gold, silver and precious stones (8:10, 11, 19), necessary for ruling and justice (8:15), brings honor and riches (8:18), and creative (8:22-31). Wisdom calls out to all men from the heights and the entrance of the city gates (8:1-4). God [...]