Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Proverbs 13: 10-19

10Through insolence comes nothing but strife,
But wisdom is with those who receive counsel.
11Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles,
But the one who gathers by labor increases it.
12Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
13The one who despises the word will be in debt to it,
But the one who fears the commandment will be rewarded.
14The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life,
To turn aside from the snares of death.
15Good understanding produces favor,
But the way of the treacherous is hard.
16Every prudent man acts with knowledge,
But a fool displays folly.
17A wicked messenger falls into adversity,
But a faithful envoy brings healing.
18Poverty and shame will come to him who neglects discipline,
But he who regards reproof will be honored.
19Desire realized is sweet to the soul,
But it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil.

Today's Thought Question:

  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

I couldn't settle for just one today, because these two seemed too related not to talk about together. Verses 12 and 19:

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Desire realized is sweet to the soul, but it is an abomination to fools to turn away from evil."

With all the words about evil desire in the Bible, you mistakenly start believing that you can't desire anything. As it is with a few other concepts in the Bible, some things that can be good are either done for bad purposes or are done to excess (like gluttony--what's wrong with eating?), which can be bad.

God didn't say "You may not desire!" He did say that we could not desire anything to the point of it becoming a god before Him. But, can we desire things that are spiritually, physically, emotionally healthy for us? I think we would miss out on quite a few blessings in earthly living if we didn't have some healthy desires going.

Solomon says that desire fulfilled is a "tree of life" and "sweet to the soul." Can you argue? When you have wanted something for a long time, waiting patiently, saving diligently, asking, seeking, knocking in prayer, when fulfillment comes, how glorious is that?! There are definitely some things that I have been asking God about over the course of this study--wisdom-related answers, or a realization of what is important for me to know now. I know that when He answers me--whether we're still meeting on this blog page or not--that it will truly be sweet!

"Hope deferred makes the heart sick...." If you have experienced sweetness, you have probably also experienced what happens when something you hope for is dashed or lost. As surely as you exude sweetness in every phrase of your speech and the gait in your step, you surely know, too, the pain of heart sickness. Heart sickness doesn't stay localized either, spreading gloom throughout your system and--as we have discussed here plenty--spewing like a fountain of disappointment.

Think about this phrase in eternal terms. When you have no eternal hope in Christ, you have terminal heart sickness. It's evident as you talk with the non-believer who knows no true joy or to those "good persons" who can't seem to get their heads around the idea that their final resting place may not be as restful as they think.

There are a couple of alternative translations/paraphrases that I found interesting in putting the rest of verse 19 into perspective. Here's the New Living Translation: "It is pleasant to see dreams come true, but fools refuse to turn from evil to attain them." Fools are so far from wisdom that they can't even have their dreams realized. I'm sure we've run into folks like this--grouchy, grumpy, barking at others, still working the same job and just not going anywhere. Hmmm.... sounds like the start of a bad day for anyone? What was that we said yesterday about pretending to be poor with our complaints, doubts and grieving? Should we see our dreams fulfilled on such a day?!

Here's my other favorite look, through the Message paraphrase: "Souls who follow their hearts thrive; fools bent on evil despise matters of soul." This pretty much says it all, and follows Solomon's thoughts solidly. If our hearts are where they should be, revering God and seeking His wisdom, when we follow that, our souls thrive! We experience true gladness and rejoicing! It's that well of spiritual joy that bubbles up and over, and, oh, how our Lord must love to see that in us!! But the fool despises matters of the soul anyway. There is nothing beyond the earthly gain. There is no blessing. There is no eternal reward. Oh wait....

"The one who despises the word will be in debt to it...." (vs. 13)


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 13: 20-25
  1. 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).


Chatty Kelly said...

Hope deferred jumped out at me too. As someone who has experienced infertility, hope deferred is what I experienced for a LONG time. And then when your desire comes - true joy.

The second thing that I noticed is verse 11 - "Wealth obtained by fraud dwindles." In the literal meaning, this is not always true. That is what is so bothersome in life. It seems that cheaters do indeed win sometimes. But in Biblical terms, if wealth = knowledge, then faking knowledge really does lead to nothing, where as gathering knowledge through labor (pouring over the Bible) really does increase.

Sue J. said...

Cheaters will never win in the long run, even if it looks like they are in the short term.

Ditto on the "Hope deferred...."