Monday, June 29, 2009

Proverbs 10: 12-21

Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.
On the lips of the discerning, wisdom is found,
But a rod is for the back of him who lacks understanding.
Wise men store up knowledge,
But with the mouth of the foolish, ruin is at hand.
The rich man's wealth is his fortress,
The ruin of the poor is their poverty.
The wages of the righteous is life,
The income of the wicked, punishment.
He is on the path of life who heeds instruction,
But he who ignores reproof goes astray.
He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.
The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver,
The heart of the wicked is worth little.
The lips of the righteous feed many,
But fools die for lack of understanding.

Today's Thought Questions:
  1. Read verse 18. Rewrite in your own words.
  2. Verse 21 examines the speech of a righteous person. Do you consider your words 'nourishing'?
  3. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

A rewrite of verse 18: Your mouth will give up your heart and brand you stupid.

The wellspring of our lives--our hearts (4:23, NIV)--can hold hatred as well as virtue. What we don't necessarily think about is that what lives in our hearts comes out through our lips. If we harbor hatred for someone, our words are going to reflect that. And if we try to hide our feelings, then our words lie. The mouth that spreads "whisperings, defamations and evil reports" [
Strong's] reflects upon one's very heart and person, branding them a fool. What we say will always do us in. [I think I like that rephrasing better--LOL!]

Nourishing lips don't sink ships! Verse 21 says that our mouths are not always evil, but can actually be used to feed others--to bring them to pasture, as to graze, tend sheep. "The lips of the righteous"--so critical to see the difference between that and what fools are. We need to be tight with wisdom before we choose to open our mouths. Our hearts need to be close to the Lord, so that the water from our spring would be fresh, clean and worthy of sharing with others.

Out of the boat, Peter was not in a position to teach others about God's Word. But, by the end of Jesus' earthly ministry, our Lord saw Peter fit to take His Word forth, even writing his words down into part of the Bible.

"The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!"

--John 21: 17-19

The call to righteousness...following wisdom!

The proverb that most spoke to me today was verse 15: "The rich man's wealth is his fortress, the ruin of the poor is their poverty."

Here's how the King James has it: "The rich man's wealth is his strong city: the destruction of the poor is their poverty."

Before I had read the background chapters in our study, I had glossed over 'rich' and 'poor' thinking that these verses referred to money. Now, I understand that these adjectives refer to wisdom, and it's good to be rich! Our wealth, our sufficiency, that of which we want to be filled is our "strong city." The Hebrew translation suggests 'city' refers to flooring or building--the base, that upon which we walk, yes?

The verses in chapter 9 are still fresh with me--Wisdom crying out from the high places in the city. She, who built her own house, carving its 7 perfect pillars--she wants to be my strong city in which I build my house. As a king, Solomon did a lot of building in Jerusalem. (He was responsible for building the Temple.) So, his use of building references goes along with part of his work at the time. Thankfully, writing while wisdom was still active in him, his creation of this proverbial strong city, drawn up in parallel to Jerusalem or another city of the day, is powerful and illustrative.

We build our faith on the foundation that is Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 3:11), and we step forward and speak our faith through the revelation of wisdom that comes from God's Word. Brings to mind lyrics from a great old hymn:

"How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said—
To you who for refuge to Jesus have fled?"


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 10: 22-32
  1. Look at verse 28. The Hebrew word for prospect is tohelet, meaning"expectation." As a believer pursuing righteousness, or "rightness with God," is joy our expectation? Read Nehemiah 8:10. When we pursue God, is it joyful? Reflect on the fullness of Christ and the emptiness of not knowing Him. How do these things impact our perspective or approach to a non-believing person?
  2. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

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Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation, specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB). I will quote other sources if used in a post.
I also use Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible (with notes from the King James Version).


Edie said...

"When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise."

This one always gets me. I am working with God to restrain more than talk. :)

Sue J. said...

You have so many good words, though... :-)

I have trouble when the words spoken in my own head start racing ahead of whatever is being spoken in front of me. That's usually when I lose wisdom and say something I regret.

Perhaps the Hebrew for 'restraint' is bite--LOL! Thanks for stopping in!