Sunday, October 11, 2015

Proverbs 17-30 Thoughts and Observations

Proverbs 17.
Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

The idea of a calm "cool" spirit is paired with restrained speech like Jesus in 1 Peter 2.23.
Father, give me the knowledge and understanding to entrust myself to You like Jesus did.

Over and over the book of Proverbs emphasizes wisdom to walk in the way and fear of/trust in the Lord as guiding principles as opposed to overconfident trust in oneself and disregard for others. These three verses work together to make that point again.
Proverbs 18.10-12
The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
The rich man's wealth is his strong city, ...

And like a high wall in his own esteem.
Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.

In the middle of these warnings to disreputable fools and corners is a reminder of how consistent regular time in the Word helps to keep us in the way of knowledge.
Proverbs 19.25-29
25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will become wary;
Rebuke one who has understanding, and he will discern knowledge.
26 He who mistreats his father and chases away his mother Is a son who causes shame and brings reproach....

27 Cease listening to instruction, my son,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A disreputable witness scorns justice,
And the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29 Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And beatings for the backs of fools.

Lord, don't let me get to busy to listen to you.

This trio of verses seems to encourage dilligent market research and shrewd dealing to help insure the best deal.
Proverbs 20.12-14
The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
The LORD has made them both.
Do not love sleep, lest you come to poverty; ...

Open your eyes, and you will be satisfied with bread.
"It is good for nothing," cries the buyer;
But when he has gone his way, then he boasts.

Proverbs 22 works together with the first two verses pairing with the last two verses and verse three functioning as a thesis statement for the chapter.
"To do righteousness and justice
Is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice."

That theme is reinforced on a more personal level by two similar verses that divide the chapter into three sections (9 &19).

#2 of the 30 wise sayings is the first of a trio that warn against perils. Raw abuse of power against the poor and defenseless should be stopped by the legal system. Even when the legal system is used against them watch out for the lowly ones, You would be ignorant and foolish to think God will never respond.
Proverbs 22.22-23
"Do not rob the poor because he is poor,
Nor oppress the afflicted at the gate (court);...

For the LORD will plead their cause,
And plunder the soul of those who plunder them."

Lord, help me remember that you are watching and just because I can doesn't mean I should.

This is the last of the first Decalogue of the Thirty Wise Sayings." It is interesting that the first and last saying in this section are about how the poor have a defender. Here God is called the poor's redeemer. Those who would abuse the poor should beware.
Proverbs 23.10-11
Do not remove the ancient landmark,
Nor enter the fields of the fatherless;
For their Redeemer is mighty; ...

He will plead their cause against you.

Proverbs 24.15-16
"Do not lie in wait,
O wicked man, against the dwelling of the righteous;
Do not plunder his resting place;
For a righteous man may fall seven times ...

And rise again,
But the wicked shall fall by calamity
What a comfort to know that defeat (and failure) are not permanent for the righteous! Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to your own.

Proverbs 26 talks about seven perverted types of humanity (25.28-26.28). Verses 20-22 focus on the slanderer that stirs up strife.
20 Where there is no wood, the fire goes out;
And where there is no talebearer, strife ceases.

21 As charcoal is to burning coals, and wood to fire,
So is a contentious man to kindle strife.
22 The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,
And they go down into the inmost body
Lord, help me to recognize tasty truffles for what they are and honor you with the words of my mouth.

Diligence. U$e it or lo$e it. Complacent attitudes toward wealth or people can lead to loss.
Proverbs 27.23-24
Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
For riches are not forever, ...

Nor does a crown endure to all generations.

Though a wise, righteous life usually has positive results. Even in the times it doesn't, it is better to maintain your integrity.
Proverbs 28.6
Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than one perverse in his ways, though he be rich.

Pride and anger are a dangerous combination that inflame each other. Lord, please keep me out of that cycle.
Proverbs 19.22-23
An angry man stirs up strife,
And a furious man abounds in transgression.
A man's pride will bring him low, ...

But the humble in spirit will retain honor.

Proverbs 30.32-33
"If you have done foolishly by exalting yourself or if you have planned evil,
put your hand over your mouth!
For as the churning of milk produces butter and as punching the nose produces blood,
so stirring up anger produces strife."

This reminds me of the verse in Job when he realized he was unqualified to question God and said he was going to put his hand over his mouth. Sometimes we just need realize something is not profitable or pleasing to the Lord and just stop saying anything. Oh, Lord, give us that special timely grace!