Thursday, March 24, 2016
A Chapter A Day - Proverbs 24
Forgive my excitement, but for the past couple of chapters the tone of Proverbs has changed - it's no longer warnings but actually advice from wise people. They are 30 sayings of the wise that started in chapter 22 and end in this chapter. These sayings cover the typical and the atypical. For example, I didn't realize the effects of drunkenness were so thoroughly explained in the Bible, until yesterday. Let's be wise and learn from the wise.
At one point in my life, I had two very difficult/mean/unfair/wicked (this may be a stretch but that's how I felt) bosses and they both were named Susan. I got into the habit of taking my Bible to work daily and reading a chapter so that I would wisely know how to deal with the second Susan. With the first Susan, I didn’t handle it so well.
The wise prevail through great power, and those who have knowledge muster their strength. Surely you need guidance to wage war, and victory is won through many advisers (v 5-6). I wanted to be wise in my interactions; so I prayed for wisdom and the right people to talk to. If you falter in a time of trouble, how small is your strength! (v10) This was an encouragement to not give up. When we go through difficult times, it seems easier to give up, but we learn so much more by staying the course and handling it in a way that's pleasing to God. In your adversity, you have a chance to help others also (v11). A co-worker actually told me, he was encouraged by how I was handling the situation. All I could think and say was, “that’s God.”
More encouragement - for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes (v16). Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out (v19-20).
Finally, when both Susans were deposed, I was reminded of these verses - Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them (v 17-18).
To show partiality in judgement is not good....(v23) - Judge everyone fairly; use the same standard for all. God is a just God, therefore, as humans we should try to imitate his standards. In society today, it glaringly clear what happens when there is partiality in judgement whether this partiality is based on race, class or gender.
Preparation and planning are essential for the proper execution of plans, therefore, "Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house." (v27)
One last gem I'd like to leave you with - An honest answer is like a kiss on the lips (v 26). The next time you're tempted to be dishonest in your speech, remember how good it feels to receive a kiss on the lips - and be honest. Your honest words will be well received by the hearer. If you've never received a kiss on the lips - take my word for it - it feels good.