Friday, March 25, 2016
A Chapter A Day - Proverbs 25
With less than a week remaining, let's use discipline to carry us through. The finish line is in sight, and the folks on the sideline are cheering you on.
It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the honor of kings is to search out a matter (v 2). To conceal - means to hide to cover. It is God's glory to cover our sins - He did this by dying for us. As humans, when an injustice is hidden, it is an honor for someone in authority to discover it and then treat it appropriately. It is an honor to right a wrong, but as a leader when a wrong is righted it will have a greater impact.
This verse also seems to have spiritual application - in that God has revelations available for us, but we as his children have to be ready to receive it. The Glory of kings (Christians) is in searching out the Glory of God.
We are again counseled to watch our speech. In our relationships with our neighbors, we should not be a talebearer (v9, 10), because as mentioned before, a talebearer cannot be trusted.
A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver (v11). The first time I saw this image, it was in a painting in the Prayer Room of my old church. I was not aware of this verse at the time, but every time I looked at that picture these words came to mind: perfect, peaceful, calming, and beautiful. And then I finally discovered this verse and it all made sense. Are your words fitly spoken? Fitly - the right time and the right place to express a thought in the right way, so that it ministers and heals.
Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith and vomit it (v16). Too much of anything is bad for you. Though honey is good, too much of it will make you sick. In the case of neighbors, don't overstay your welcome and live peacefully with your neighbors (v17, 27). Another comparison to an excess of honey is to not seek out praise. Don't be so full of self that you always expect praise, for then you are conceited.
Have you ever heard the expression "Heap coals of fire upon their heads?” The verse reads - If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you (v 21, 22). These verses do not actually refer to causing the person's head to burn literally, but it refers to them being so taken aback by your kindness toward them because they know they have not treated you properly. This phrase is a metaphor taken from smelting metallic ores. It's what we refer to as "taking the high road,” or "not stooping to another person's level", even though sometimes it would be much easier to be on equal footing with them. I think the visual image of this makes sense in difficult times also because hopefully you're not causing them to burn, but you're hoping your actions melt them into kindness. As to when their behavior will change toward you; we're not responsible for that. However, we need to ensure that we're acting in a way God would have us act.
Which brings us to self-control - He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls (v 28). Without walls, you have no protection - everything (thoughts, ambitions, desires) gets in and bothers you. Also, everything gets out - you unleash your emotions on unsuspecting people. Fortify yourself; guard your heart. The walls that you erect are not to isolate, but are a means of self-control and protection.