Monday, July 27, 2009

Proverbs 19: 20-29

20Listen to counsel and accept discipline,
That you may be wise the rest of your days.
21Many plans are in a man's heart,
But the counsel of the LORD will stand.
22What is desirable in a man is his kindness,
And it is better to be a poor man than a liar.
23The fear of the LORD leads to life,
So that one may sleep satisfied, untouched by evil.
24The sluggard buries his hand in the dish,
But will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd,
But reprove one who has understanding and he will gain knowledge.
26He who assaults his father and drives his mother away
Is a shameful and disgraceful son.
27Cease listening, my son, to discipline,
And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28A rascally witness makes a mockery of justice,
And the mouth of the wicked spreads iniquity.
29Judgments are prepared for scoffers,
And blows for the back of fools.

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

Verse 22: "What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it is better to be a poor man than a liar."

I like how the Amplified Bible relays this verse: "That which is desired in a man is loyalty and kindness [and his glory and delight are his giving], but a poor man is better than a liar."

It's one of those fruits of the spirit that Galatians 5 addresses--kindness. Interesting that the Hebrew translation of the word can also mean "goodness"--which is a different fruit of the spirit--lovingkindness or kindness specifically toward God (piety)." [Strong's] The extra emphasis given by the Amplified Bible's translation truly gets to the focus--it's giving. Kindness is about glorying and delighting in giving.

No surprise, then, that the root of 'kindness' is shared by the root of 'generosity.' 'Genus' means to beget, produce or father; to generate or bring forth. Additionally, 'child' and 'son' are some of the root words from which 'kindness' comes. (Kindergarten is another word that comes from these roots.)

To me, it all points back to our loving Father God, who is the only one who could have brought forth generosity, if I can use all those roots of kindness! So, it's a delightful find to see that 'son' also ties in with kindness, as our lives have been regenerated through God's Son:

"For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us...."
--Titus 3: 3-5a

It is sad to see that kindness has become "Oprahized." It was probably after the book Random Acts of Kindness came out in the early '90s that kindness became "big" again, although it boiled down to things like paying tolls for people you don't know. Sorry if I sound a bit dour on the approach, but I truly don't think this is what God was referring to when He sent His Son to be our saving kindness. Paying tolls for strangers is nice, but--as I've said in other posts--where's the relationship? Where is the love (as in "love your neighbor as yourself")?

Going back to the verse, the Amplified Bible and the NASB footnotes include the word loyalty along with kindness. I think this is an important connection, because you can't have loyalty without a relationship. It's this winning combination that shines in the person who gives. Because you give from the heart, you give with intention, and you give because of relationship!

And though you may not have possessions to give, Solomon's words tell us that it's not what you give but how you give it--with honesty! Do you remember back to chapter 3?

"Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart."
--Proverbs 3:3

Kindness is not an act. The Bible tells us it is a fruit of the spirit--it's an attitude. The giving, the fruit, comes from the spirit. And the spirit is what fills our heart, to enable us to keep giving.


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 20: 1-10
  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).


T. Anne said...

Thank you for your wonderful post. It's amazing how living through Jesus' example of kindness gives an inner peace only He can supply. I struggle daily but it is well worth the effort!

Chatty Kelly said...

v 21. Many are the plans in a man's heart.

I have so much I want to do, but with out the counsel of the won't stand.

I have a bad habit of running off half-cocked, so to speak. I'm not good at waiting. I pray the the plans of my heart are placed there by God and that I make wise decisions.