Sunday, March 27, 2016
A Chapter A Day - Proverbs 27
We're almost done. To use the running analogy - let's finish strong!
Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring (v 1). We have enough for today; while looking ahead is good, we’re not promised tomorrow. Let’s make an impact today.
Open rebuke is better than secret love; faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful (v 5-6). Sometimes, as a loving friend, we may need to correct, reprove, or provide constructive criticism. Or we may be the recipient of this correction. Friendships are sometimes tricky and it is situations such as these that may test a friendship. If you know the motive of your friend's heart, if you know your friend's character and integrity, if you know your friend loves you, then it's much better to receive the correction. A friend who has your best interest at heart will not only tell you what you want to hear but what you need to hear. I like friends like that. Someone who only says what you want to hear may not be your friend at all. Perfume and incense bring joy to the heart, and the pleasantness of a friend springs from their heartfelt advice (v9).
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (v 17). Surround yourself with wise people so that there is mutual learning. This sharpening may be a hard, tough process. Think of two knife blades rubbing against each other - initially the sound is grating. Over time ,it becomes smoother. So you may have intense debates with others - but again think of the heart, the motive - so that you both can learn from each other. This is another favorite verse of mine.
As water reflects the face, so one’s life reflects the heart (v 19). What does our heart say about our lives? What are our priorities? What drives and motivates you? What are your values? When you look into a pool of water you can see your reflection, so the heart is our reflection of our lives. There is great value in being willing to be self-aware. The more we are willing to examine our lives, the more we will be willing to allow God to work in us.
Death and destruction are never satisfied, and neither are human eyes (v 20). The fires of hell are thought to be unquenchable, so also our desires. The more we have, the more we need. The more we get, the more we want. In addition, more (things, people, dreams, friends) brings more responsibility. It is part of the human condition that affects us all. We won't master this until we get to heaven, but we can learn to be content with what we have. Being content strikes a balance - between not caring and always being driven. God can help us to achieve this balance.