Thursday, July 2, 2009

Proverbs 11: 12-22

He who despises his neighbor lacks sense,
But a man of understanding keeps silent.
He who goes about as a talebearer reveals secrets,
But he who is trustworthy conceals a matter.
Where there is no guidance the people fall,
But in abundance of counselors there is victory.
He who is guarantor for a stranger will surely suffer for it,
But he who hates being a guarantor is secure.
A gracious woman attains honor,
And ruthless men attain riches.
The merciful man does himself good,
But the cruel man does himself harm.
The wicked earns deceptive wages,
But he who sows righteousness gets a true reward.
He who is steadfast in righteousness will attain to life,
And he who pursues evil will bring about his own death.
The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD,
But the blameless in their walk are His delight.
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.
As a ring of gold in a swine's snout
So is a beautiful woman who lacks discretion.

Today's Thought Questions:

  1. Reread verse 18. What are you "sowing" in your life? Read Galatians 6: 7-10. What things do you think please the Spirit?
  2. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

"The wicked earns deceptive wages, but he who sows righteousness gets a true reward." We have talked here about living in righteousness and acquiring the wisdom for righteousness living. Verse 18 takes things one more step by including the action verb to sow. As seems to be the trend with topics related to wisdom, mere acquisition is only part of our responsibility. The "true reward" comes when we plant the seeds of righteousness--not just hold them.

This doesn't mean that the wicked do not sow. But, they sow thinking that they will reap great benefits by their own means. This is when the Galatians passage makes good sense to read:

"Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith."

--Galatians 6: 7-10

The wicked sow for their own selfish gains by their own selfish means. And what they sow, they shall also reap. The righteous who sow by the Spirit will reap eternal life. I like what the next part says, too--"Let us not lose heart in doing good." When the heart is the wellspring of life, and everything emanates from it, losing heart puts us on a path of not doing good. As Proverbs has continually told us, we need to keep our hearts full of God's commandments and teachings, so the overflow of our hearts will be sown righteousness.

My verse of interest today: "Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory." (vs 14) I can definitely understand the first part. If there is no direction, no planning, then reaching your goal, however small, is going to be difficult. God's wisdom is what keeps us from falling, from making a misstep.

The second part of the phrase is what I'm wrestling with, and I think it's going directly to my character. In abundance of counselors, there is victory ("rescue, deliverance, salvation," Strong's). Why an abundance? Why do we need more than one counselor or advisor? I was hoping to see something about God or wisdom bringing victory. When I substitute rescue or salvation, I’m wanting to put Jesus in the place of counselors. Who are the counselors?

My S.B. has a note on this verse: “As in [Proverbs] 15:22; 20:18; 24:6, a good decision is made with multiple wise advisers. The more crucial the decision, the more appropriate is corporate wisdom. Note the example of David (II Samuel 15:30-17:23)."


So, clearly, this is a problem with me recognizing that having more than one person involved in an effort is a blessing—one that I'm missing.

Lord, even as I see Your wisdom today, I recognize that it’s only half clear. Where you have placed me in opportunities to see this wisdom in action, my heart has been closed to receiving it. Speak to my heart, Lord, and continue to reveal through Your Word and through Your positioning and timing, how this principle is truth. May this growth opportunity for me be new seeds of righteousness sown. In Jesus’ name, AMEN


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Questions:

Proverbs 11: 23-31

  1. How do you think God uses people's generosity? Have you personally benefited from a generous and giving 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).

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