Friday, January 10, 2014

CCXXIV – Proverbs 19-22:16

Chapter 19

As we continue our study of the aphorisms, there are two subjects that seem to stand out in the next two chapters:  treatment of the poor and laziness.  Concern for the poor and unfortunate was always considered “basic” to the ancient Israelites.  Laziness was viewed as a social evil and a religious offense.  {Since the wandering in the wilderness, it was considered necessary that everyone pull his own weight.  To neglect to do so placed extra burden on others.  This basic principle has been lost in our society.  Unbalanced workloads cause problems.  Always has; always will.}
Verses 5 and 9 remind us again that God will not allow a false witness to go unpunished.
Verse 10 says it is not fitting that a fool live in luxury.
Verse 11 lauds patience and the overlooking of small offences, (something to commit to memory).
Verse 13 is rather comical at first reading, saying that a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping of a leaky roof.  This is not the last proverb that addresses this.  In the very next verse it says that a good wife is from the Lord.
Verse 17 deals directly with the treatment of the poor.  It suggests that as we deal with the poor, we are dealing directly to the Lord.  And it goes on to say that the Lord will reward us for our compassion and unselfishness toward them.
The next three verses are interrelated.  When it says to discipline your children, one must remember that the word discipline means to “teach”.  When a child is corrected, that is a part of learning proper behavior.
Verse 19 emphasizes the necessity of penalizing a hot-head, as to ignore his actions means he will repeat them.  The same goes for child-rearing.

Chapter 20 opens with a warning against the abuse of strong drink.  We must all keep mindful of the potential hazards of drinking.  {I have observed people drinking many times.  Some show no signs at all; some get sleepy; some constantly laugh and giggle; some get destructively clumsy; some say strange things that are out of subject; some get talkative; some get quiet; some get loud in their tone of speech; some lose control of their senses; some get overly friendly; some get cruel in speaking to others; and some get quarrelsome to the point of wanting to fight.  Amazing how different we are.  How are you changed when you consume strong drink?  If you don’t know, ask someone who will be honest with you.  You need to know this.} 
Skipping down to verse 4, from which comes the old saying “to sow not is to reap not”.  Again, this common sense logic is being forsaken purposely.  The result cannot possible be anything but tragic.  Think about it.  There cannot be more people riding in the wagon than there are people who are pulling it.
Then also reflect on verse 5.  When Solomon asked God for wisdom, he stated it in words to the effect, “understanding the hearts of men”.  This verse tells us that we should seek understanding of the heart of a man.  Only then will we be successful in dealing with him.  Sometimes it takes time and a series of questions to gain understanding of a man’s heart, but with prayer, it can be done.  Try it some time.
Verse 7 tells us that one of the best things you can do for your children is to live righteously in their presence.
Verse 10 repeats that God detests dishonesty.  Look closely at verse 14.  Picture the man who perhaps is buying a car from someone.  He is extremely critical of it for the purpose of bringing down the price, then later brags about what a great car it is and what a great bargain he made.  We are to deal honestly with everyone.
Verse 18a is one to be placed in memory.  Always seek wise council for even small decisions.  Often times people are too proud to ask for advice.  Don’t be one of these people.  Protect yourself against foolish decisions.
Verses 19 and 20 are good indicators of people to avoid: one who gossips, one who talks too much, and especially one who is critical of their parents.
A very prudent warning is in verse 22.  When someone does you wrong, do not threaten to “get him back”.  Let God take care of him.
Verse 29 reminds us that the older people among us are to be respected and revered for their experience and wisdom.
Chapter 21 verse 3 is important.  The way we live our lives is more important than performing the sacrificial rites as written in the Law.
The verses following speak of the virtues diligence and hard work.  Verse 9 and 19 speak again of the quarrelsome wife and verse 13 gives a warning against shutting our ears to the cries of the poor.
Verse 15 suggests that evildoers fear and tremble when justice is served.  This only makes sense that they would fear that justice would come their way also.  The perversion of justice always gives hope to all evildoers.
Verse 23 again advises us to watch what we say and the chapter ends with saying that no matter how prepared for battle one may be, he will not win if the Lord is on the other side.

I want to cover up to 22:16, as the “sayings of the wise” begin at the 17th verse which I will begin in the next post.  The first verse in chapter 22 tells us to work on having a good name, which should require no explanation.  We need to be “righteous in the sight of God, and upright in the sight of man”.  It does matter what other people think of us.
Verse 3 tells us to use a little common sense.  Example, when a hurricane is coming the prudent person takes steps to protect his family against the elements.  To simply pray for protection and pretend the hurricane will not be of any effect is simply not using the brain God gave us.
Verse 6 makes an important promise:  Raise up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.  When children seem to go astray in their adolescent or early adult years, this promise becomes precious to your heart.
Verse 9 makes a promise to the generous.  {Generosity should never be mocked and will be rewarded.}
Verse 15 tells us that without correction a child will by nature do foolish things.  This has been a proven truth.  We all need to be taught righteousness.  Left to themselves a child will think and act in total selfishness.  Unselfishness makes no sense to a child.
And the last verse in this post is verse 16 which warns against trying to become wealthy at the expense of the poor and less fortunate.  It also mentions giving gifts to the rich to gain their favor.  Both are ungodly ways to be financially successful.

Next post  -  The “30 sayings of the wise”.

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