Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Proverbs 15: 12-24

12A scoffer does not love one who reproves him,
He will not go to the wise.
13A joyful heart makes a cheerful face,
But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.
14The mind of the intelligent seeks knowledge,
But the mouth of fools feeds on folly.
15All the days of the afflicted are bad,
But a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
16Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
17Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.
18A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
But the slow to anger calms a dispute.
19The way of the lazy is as a hedge of thorns,
But the path of the upright is a highway.
20A wise son makes a father glad,
But a foolish man despises his mother.
21Folly is joy to him who lacks sense,
But a man of understanding walks straight.
22Without consultation, plans are frustrated,
But with many counselors they succeed.
23A man has joy in an apt answer,
And how delightful is a timely word!
24The path of life leads upward for the wise
That he may keep away from Sheol below.

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

Verse 17: "Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened ox served with hatred."

I saw "dish of vegetables" and just had to pause for a few moments. Call it a dish of veggies or a bowl of herbs, as is used in other translations--the green side dish--served with love, it's better than eating the choicest of dinners surrounded by hate. Having just spent more than a week with my folks, my three sisters and their families, I can tell you that we had a lot of love around our table! Did we always have the best food? Well, we tried. Definitely nothing like a fattened ox!

Have you ever been to a dinner at one of "those" places with folks who would have given you an eye's worth of attention and probably more for the faux pas of letting a piece of wilted lettuce fall off the fork and just off the plate, too. Follow that up with some mocking, satirical conversation mixed with a general lack of interest in who you are. Woo-hoo.... I'll take the check for the lettuce and a dose of the latest antacid, please!

Some of the nicest times I've spent with people have been over the simplest things--chicken wings with my hubby; an ice cream cone or homemade cookies with my daughters; a cup of coffee with a friend. What Solomon is getting at, of course, is that it's not about the food at all--it's about the relationship.

Perhaps this is why Jesus chose such simple elements--bread and wine--to explain to His disciples how much He loved them. The Passover meal was a tradition. Jesus had more in mind when He broke the bread for the dinner that particular evening. It was about the relationship...and our relationship! It was about unconditional love.

The story of the prodigal son features the best of both--delicious meal with the best food and an unfathomable love of a father for his son. It was all about the relationship (but I'm sure the food was amazing, too!).

Very quickly, verse 23, "A man has joy in an apt answer, and how delightful is a timely word!" I know the truth of this. I have seen how the right words fill a moment as nothing else can--whether it's answering a question, or responding with wise advice, even if the words aren't spoken but merely implied.

Sometimes, I wish I always had the "apt" answer. Actually, I do wish I had the right answer all the time. But, I have learned that sometimes the right answer is not for me to give, even if it is right. Sometimes, it's for someone else to give. That isn't something that I have learned easily. I can pull up a bunch of references to pride and point right back at myself. But, God has shown me, and continues to show me, that it's more than just having an answer, or a right answer. Timeliness and appropriateness, God-given direction, all fall into "apt."

Photo: http://www.gourmetfoodappetizers.com/images/Omaha/Vegetables/Mixed_Vegetables_side_dish.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 15: 25-33
  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).


Carmen said...

This was good. I especially love what you said about an "apt" answer. So true!

What stood out to me was, "when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken." I didn't realize that's what a broken spirit was...and I have read Proverbs a lot. Go figure.

Also, "the way of the lazy is a hedge of thorns." When I'm feeling lazy, I can never really get anything completed or done well. Everything takes me longer. I would rather do nothing. Good thing lazy isn't a lifestyle for me.

Sue J. said...

I read your post about "right" answers after I wrote the "apt" post, Carmen. It's great when you find multiple folks thinking along similar lines yet with different reflections. One of the true treats of blogging for me!

Interesting about having a broken spirit, though....that's how God often reaches us with His thoughts. Our hearts should be sad without His wisdom working within. Ah, but the joy to come and that joy is seen outwardly--which is logically after an internal tune-up.

Thanks for sharing today! I almost wish, now, that we could take a couplet a day.

Chatty Kelly said...

Coffee with a friend is SO good for the soul, and it doesn't even have to be Starbucks. It can be instant with the right company. :-)

I really liked v13. I feel like when I have the joy of the Lord it just leaks out of me and everyone can tell. Likewise, when my heart is sad, wow...a broken spirit for sure.