Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Proverbs 17: 22-28

22A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
23A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom
To pervert the ways of justice.
24Wisdom is in the presence of the one who has understanding,
But the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25A foolish son is a grief to his father
And bitterness to her who bore him.
26It is also not good to fine the righteous,
Nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
27He who restrains his words has knowledge,
And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise;
When he closes his lips, he is considered prudent.

Today's Thought Question:
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?
Verse 26: "It is also not good to fine the righteous, nor to strike the noble for their uprightness."

This is one of those verses I might need to pull up as I talk with my daughter about why when one in the class gets into trouble, the whole class ends up being punished. Solomon is saying that it truly isn't good! But, that's what often happens.

Whether taking the easy route of discipline--as to somehow draw more attention to the offender--or to teach everyone a lesson--whether he or she needs one on the subject, to punish the ones who are right does not make any sense. When our children come home, confused, questioning, because they were punished for something they didn't do, how do we explain to them that they did nothing wrong? And, most of the time, we are not present when such things happen, so we can only guess based on our past experience and logic.

If we are trying to teach our children to do right, but they get in trouble for something that wasn't their fault, we leave them questioning. So, if someone else does something wrong, will I get in trouble? So I if I do something wrong, will someone else get in trouble? When we devise alternative avenues for wisdom, what happens?

I understand teachers' (and parents') difficulties. Really, I do. Kids can be outright out-of-control; it's the folly in them! But, we have to remember that we are constantly teaching, and our decisions do have an impact on our children, whatever they are. If we want to teach them righteousness, then we have to follow that road all the way, allowing wisdom to keep us on the right path, so we don't veer onto the path of least resistance.

"It is wrong to punish the godly for being good or to flog leaders for being honest." (NLT)

This is the same verse in the New Living Translation. The wording choice of "flog leaders" is an interesting and valid picture, as it is all too easy to criticize and downright condemn those who are leading us--even when they are telling us the truth. It is so difficult to be the bearer of bad news, much less being powerless to magically change a given situation. Our leaders are not perfect people--they are people! They are sinners and make mistakes, misjudgments, poor decisions, just like any of us. Yet, we feel we are just to "flog" them with our words (or with our votes!)

"Also to punish the just is not good, nor to strike princes for equity." (KJV)

One more time, the same verse in the King James Version. This verse brings to mind the prince who was struck ("to give stripes, beat, give wounds" [Strong's]) for our iniquities.

"Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed."

--Isaiah 53: 4 & 5

The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, received the punishment for sin that was due to us. Was this right?

I suppose this launches an entire theological discussion in itself. Do the righteous deserve to be punished? The verse in today's passage says not. What we need to understand, however, is that other Scripture needs to be considered:

"As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one."

--Romans 3:10

Photo: http://www.cbcstudentministry.org/kevin/jesus%20on%20the%20cross.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 18: 1-8
  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).


Edie said...

Verse 27 "He who restrains his words has knowledge,
And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding."

I have gotten better (not necessarily good) at restraining my words, but keeping a cool spirit is another lesson. More work to be done for sure.

Chatty Kelly said...

I'm relating to verse 22, a joyful heart is good medicine! Oh, but a broken spirit... It's hard to bounce back from a broken spirit.

Verse 25 repeats what I said the other day about having foolish kids.