Thursday, March 17, 2016
A Chapter A Day - Proverbs 17
Observations and Highlights
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the LORD tests the heart (v3). Just as fire, which is harsh, tests the purity of silver and gold, so too the Lord test us to refine and purify us. The Lord can appear to be harsh, but He's also loving. The tests may be in the form of difficult people, circumstances, or both. We are being refined - like the precious materials that we are. If we weren't silver or gold but rather wood or hay, the fire would consume us. As you go through trials and challenges, think of yourself as a precious metal that is being refined thus increasing your value.
Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished (v5). Don't mock those less fortunate than you as it displays a prideful heart. Instead, do what you can to help.
Friendships go through ups and downs. Sometimes our friends inadvertently hurt us. Whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends; a friend loves at all times... (v9, 17). Love covers a multitude of sins. Speak your piece and move on. Don't continue to rehash it. When you've offended someone and it's brought to your attention, how do you feel? At that point, most of us would apologize. How would you feel if the offended person kept bringing up the issue? Either they didn't accept your apology or they're a troublemaker. They should heed the advice of v14 - Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out. Breaching a dam is the equivalent of opening the floodgates. True friends are rare; to have a friend you must be a friend.
A discerning person keeps wisdom in view, but a fool’s eyes wander to the ends of the earth (v24). Wisdom brings discernment and perspective: the ability to understand the unwritten and the unsaid. Be wise!
The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent, and discerning if they hold their tongues (v27,28). Watch what you say, to whom you say it, and how you say it. I'm sure you've heard this quote before - "Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” So many things that make sense emanate from the Bible.