Wednesday, January 8, 2014

CCXXIII –Proverbs 15-18

Chapter 15 – Continuing the aphorisms given forth by God through Solomon.

Very first verse.  My wife is particularly good at this.  A gentle answer or response calms down an angry person.  This almost always works.  {If you can’t kill them with kindness, then don’t engage at all.}  Verse 3 is encouraging as it reminds us that God is aware of everything we do, both the righteous and the wicked.
Verse 12 again remind us that fools hate and reject correction that could possibly make their lives easier.  
Verse 22 tells us the wisdom of seeking wise council.  {Throughout my life there was always a lot of things I didn’t know, but I was never too proud to ask people who had the knowledge necessary to accomplish whatever the task.  Many foolish people are too proud to admit they don’t know something.}
Verse 29b expresses a truth we will see again in our study of the Bible.  The saying is that “God hears the prayers of a righteous man”.  This alone should be reason enough to try to live a Godly life.  Think about that.   The last phrase of the last verse in this chapter is a good one to adopt as a motto in life:  “Humility comes before honor”.  My favorite patriarch Joseph could preach volumes on this truth.

Chapter 16

Verse 3 is a good reminder to involve God in ALL of your plans.  Keeping Him in mind and seeking from Him wisdom and guidance will make everything you do go better.  Remember, He wants you to be successful, and He wants to be a part of your life.
Verse 5 reminds us again of the first of the six things God hates.  In the middle verses of this chapter a “king” is mentioned, which Solomon is speaking about how a king of any nation should be.
Verse 28 tells us that to involve ourselves with a foolish and wicked person will lead to the loss of valuable friendships.
Verse 31, like many to come, tells us of the dignity in becoming old after having followed the way of the wise.  Woe to the society which disregards the wisdom and guidance of its older members.

Chapter 17

The first verse lauds peace in the home.  Our homes should be peaceful and pleasant.
Verse 5 is a warning.  We are to have compassion on the poor and less fortunate.  The second part promises punishment to those who would gloat over the poor who are victims of disaster.
Verse 6 tells us of the greatness of grandchildren.  {Grandchildren are among the few things in life that are everything they are built up to be.  Everyone should be blessed with such joy.}
Look at verse 9.  It speaks of the destructive power of gossip.  Verse 13 promises us that there will be long-lasting punishment for those who return evil for good.  {Have you ever been a victim of this?  I have.  I do a good deed, only to have evil done against me as a direct reaction.  Hurtful and discouraging.  But God promises that He will handle it.  I take great comfort in that.}
Verse 15 supports my thoughts about justice and our justice system.  {I am not without mercy.  I enjoy seeing mercy exercised and I love the thought of God being merciful to me and my family.  I’ve always asked God for mercy rather than justice.  However, I’ve always thought that our social system of justice is weakened a little bit each time a guilty person is allowed to go unpunished.  I see it all the time, not only in our courts, but also in our schools and in families where children are being raised.  We discourage good behavior every time we allow bad behavior to go unpunished.}
Verse 22 tells us that laughter is good medicine.  Everybody needs to realize this.
This chapter ends with verse 28 repeating the earlier thought that even a fool can make people think he is wise if he keeps his words to a bare minimum.  A fool never is exposed for what he is until he opens his mouth.

Chapter 18

The first verse of this chapter encourages us to be friendly.  We often forget that a smile still works wonders.
The second verse reminds us to think on our words before we speak.  It says that fools constantly voice their opinions, about every subject.
Again in verse 7 it tells us that a fool is exposed when he opens his mouth.
Verse 8 tells us again how hurtful and destructive gossip is.  Gossip perverts, therefore it is hurtful.  As gossip is repeated, truth is often a casualty.  {Try this:  When you are in a group of a dozen or more people (first, announce what you are about to do, but keep the anticipated result secret).  Imagine all of you are in a circle, seated around a table.  You are to whisper in the ear of the person next to you a description of something about a person or group of people, or simply an event that has occurred, preferably fictitious.  That person you whisper to is to repeat it to the person next to him/her and so on and so on till it completes the circle and finally gets back to you.  When it gets back around to you, after having gone through a dozen or more people, you will be amazed at how much the story has changed.  That is just one reason gossip is potentially so destructive and hurtful.}
Verse 12 reemphasizes “Pride cometh before the fall”.
Verse 13 says to listen for the finish before commenting.
Verse 16, as others, suggests that these proverbs are jotted down at random.  Suddenly, Solomon says that if one wants to be received and heard, he might consider bringing a gift.  A gift always gets attention.
Verse 18 has more wisdom that meets the eye.  There is nothing wrong with “casting lots” to decide between two people.  Example:  Joe and Sam go to lunch.  Joe wants to go to Chic-filet.  Sam wants to go to Taco-bell.  Maybe Joe should say, “let’s flip a coin.  Heads we go to Chic-filet, tails we go to Taco-bell.”  Dispute settled.  I realize that not many disputes can be solved this simply, but many of the minor ones can be.  Agree?
As we will see when we study the book of James in the New Testament, the tongue is the most powerful weapon we have, used more frequently to promote war than peace.
Verse 22 speaks of finding a good wife, thus finding favor with God.

Next post – Continuing with more aphorisms, chapter 19

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