Friday, March 18, 2016

A Chapter a Day - Proverbs 18

What a crazy world we live in - there's polarization of political parties and the character of the candidates is questioned based on what they say. Perhaps, all would do well by spending some time in Proverbs.

Proverbs 18 - There are lots of nuggets of wisdom in this chapter that deal with our speech, friendship, and wives. We're more than halfway done and we're benefiting immensely.

Observations and Highlights

Fools find no pleasure in understanding, but delight in airing their own opinions (v2). One of the hallmarks of a fool is that they're not good listeners. They love to hear themselves speak and bloviate but pay little attention to what others have to say.

Verses 4-8 contrast the words of the wise with the words of a fool.
The words of the wise are deep, plenteous, and helpful. The words of the fool are contentious, destructive, hurtful and shallow. The tongue holds the power of life or death (v21).

He who answers a matter before hearing it, it is folly and shame unto him (v13). Listen before answering. Don't interrupt when others are speaking. For bigger issues, weigh all options before answering. This sounds like Communication 101 - a class I may have taken in college or on the job. Good communication is essential in all relationships including marriage.

It seems that the writer shifts to marriage at this point, but the principles about communication and being foolish and wise are applicable. So first, he lets us know it is an honor to have a wife. He who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord (v22). For wives, know that you are a good thing. Then, for husbands, he reminds them that they found their good thing, so treat her accordingly (1 Peter 3:7). It is not a  stretch to say that husbands and wives would be better served if they communicated as if they were wise persons to each other.

A man that has friends must show himself friendly, and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother (v 24). If you're married, one of the friendships you have automatically is the friend found in your spouse, and in my experience, most spouses stick closer than a brother. Your spouse is with you through thick and thin. If you're not married, you still have to put in the effort to being a friend; you have to nurture the relationships in your life. It's when times are tough that we begin to see who our true friends are. They visit you in the hospital if you're ill, they lend a hand if you're down, they comfort you when things aren't going right. They have a heart that seems to beat to your heartbeat - that's a true friend. This verse also speaks of reciprocity - true friendship is not one-sided. Lastly, when we have friends that are there for us, it is similar to the relationship we have with our Greatest Friend, Jesus. Only He truly embodies unconditional love and sacrifice.

Read on.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on these verses or others that stood out to you.

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