Saturday, July 25, 2009

Proverbs 19: 1-9

On Life and Conduct
1Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity
Than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool.
2Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge,
And he who hurries his footsteps errs.
3The foolishness of man ruins his way,
And his heart rages against the LORD.
4Wealth adds many friends,
But a poor man is separated from his friend.
5A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will not escape.
6Many will seek the favor of a generous man,
And every man is a friend to him who gives gifts.
7All the brothers of a poor man hate him;
How much more do his friends abandon him!
He pursues them with words, but they are gone.
8He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who keeps understanding will find good.
9A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who tells lies will perish.



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

It's almost as if there's a hiccup in verse 7--an extra line. It's an interesting verse to pursue today, regardless of that.

"All the brothers of a poor man hate him; how much more do his friends abandon him! He pursues them with words, but they are gone."

This is a sad but true realization. Wealth adds. The demands of those in poverty become wearisome to hear, even by one's brothers. Proverbs 14:20 echoes the thought--"The poor is hated even by his neighbor, but those who love the rich are many."

In the Old Testament, God was the protector of the poor. He rescued the Israelites from their bondage by the Egyptians and said He would continue to provide for them, so long as they were obedient. [And they pushed God to the limit many times!] Jesus acknowledged that there will always be those in poverty. "The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me," He says in Mark 14:7.



Poverty is a difficult thing to understand. I have a friend who started a mission for the poor in the Richmond area last year. She has seen many blessed through the ministry's efforts. But, when she speaks of the ministry, she will tell you as many stories about folks who "aren't satisfied" with what the ministry offers. Folks who are looking for specific items or services that are not available. She scratches her head, looking at the generous donations of food and clothing yet hearing the complaints of the "have-nots."

I can see why the grumblings of the have-nots might get to the heart of those who are trying to serve. That's frustrating. I can also see how when some take steps out of their poverty that they might become enemies of those still there. Verse 1 of this chapter is worth noting here: "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than he who is perverse in speech and is a fool."

Solomon may have painted a picture of reality, but what do we learn from this, and what do we do with this? Worth considering is the broader picture of richness and poverty, as illustrated through Jesus.

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich."
--II Corinthians 8:9


Jesus gave up everything when He came to Earth. He had all wisdom, all power, all ability, the fullness of God, yet, when He came, He "did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped." (Phil. 2: 6) He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant. For our sake, He became poor! Because He took those steps, we have the opportunity--through faith and obedience, grace and mercy--to step out of our poverty and become rich.

When we look at those on that road, do we ever grumble as a "have-not"? Do we make other Christians our enemies--out of jealousy--because they are more well-off? Are there others around us to help us out of our poverty, in their serving the Lord?

And what happens when we are abandoned...left in our poverty? Our Lord knows about that, too. Leaving you, again, with thoughts from Matthew Henry:

"Christ was left by all his disciples; but the Father was with him. It encourages our faith that he had so large an experience of the sorrows of poverty."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible


Praises that our God remains the protector of the poor!



Photo: http://www.agoravox.com/IMG/jpg/povertyUS.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 19: 10-19
  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).

1 comment:

Chatty Kelly said...

What stood out at me? Verses 5 & 9. They are the same..."a false witness will not go unpunished." Makes one think before they go spreading some gossip that they aren't sure is true.

I also think it's sad that a poor man is separated from his friend while wealth adds many friends.

Happy weekend.