Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Proverbs 20: 1-10

On Life and Conduct
1Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
And whoever is intoxicated by it is not wise.
2The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
He who provokes him to anger forfeits his own life.
3Keeping away from strife is an honor for a man,
But any fool will quarrel.
4The sluggard does not plow after the autumn,
So he begs during the harvest and has nothing.
5A plan in the heart of a man is like deep water,
But a man of understanding draws it out.
6Many a man proclaims his own loyalty,
But who can find a trustworthy man?
7A righteous man who walks in his integrity--
How blessed are his sons after him.
8A king who sits on the throne of justice
Disperses all evil with his eyes.
9Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart,
I am pure from my sin"?
10Differing weights and differing measures,
Both of them are abominable to the LORD.

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

I'll pick up where I left off yesterday. Verse 6: "Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?" "An excellent wife, who can find?" It's the same idea here. God brings forth the trustworthy man; they are not self-made.

Trustworthy means reliable. I found this definition on Dictionary.com that suits our purposes well. "Being or deriving from a source worthy of belief...." We trust people because we identify with them on an innermost level. Trust is built upon a relationship, and qualities and characteristics of a person in which we can place our confidence. When one is a Christian, it means one who is derived from God and holds a relationship with Jesus Christ. Does that not say "source worthy of belief"?

This trustworthiness relates directly to faithfulness, because how can we continue to be trustworthy if we do not have an active relationship with the Lord and God's holy word? The King James translation uses 'faithful' for 'trustworthy':

"Most men will proclaim [to] every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?" (KJV)

The Hebrew verb for 'proclaim' can also be translated "call out, address by name or accost a person met." [Strong's] Have you ever been accosted by one who wants to tell you every wonderful thing he or she ever did? It's hard to show grace in those situations sometimes. Plenty of articles have been written about how to get out of conversations, and, sometimes, you want to try out a line on these folks.

Jesus made mention of some folks like this:

"So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.
--Matthew 6:2

Our Lord says that they have their reward in full. From what we know of Solomon's words, these are not the folks considered "rich" in wisdom's view. As excellence or prudence is a gift in a wife not easily found, so is faithfulness or trustworthiness a gift not easily found. Indeed, the Bible, in both Old and New Testaments, refers to the few who may be called such. Again, Jesus illustrates the rarity of this fruit of the spirit, and He did it through the parable of the widow who sought legal protection from an unjust judge.

"For a while he [the unjust judge] was unwilling; but afterward he said to himself, 'Even though I do not fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will give her legal protection, otherwise by continually coming she will wear me out.'

And the Lord said, 'Hear what the unrighteous judge said; now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?'"

--Luke 8: 4-8 (emphasis mine)

Of today's proverb, my S.B. says, "There are a lot more people who are eager to brag about themselves than there are those who are truly faithful to testify of God's goodness."

Perhaps we need to take a page from Jesus' parable notebook. He taught His disciples about how to pray without losing heart by using the example of the widow's persistence. We might all think about focusing part of our prayer life on keeping us faithful, which might as well be a Solomonic euphemism for "not losing heart."

Photo: http://annsnewfriend.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/the-cocktail-party-434.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 20: 11-19
  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).


T. Anne said...

Verse 5! Do we draw out the plans to replenish ourselves with the Lords will? I wonder this.

Sue J. said...

Interesting interpretation!

"Still waters run deep." We not only need to make the effort to seek out the water in the depths, but we need to draw it up as well. When we rush as fools, we don't want to "go deep." The surface stuff is somehow good enough. But, that's why the "man of understanding" is different...wise!

God is for us! He's for our ideas. Sometimes, we forget, however, that He does direct our steps. Great as things may be, He still knows what we need and what is best for the long-term plan He has for us. We need to take the time to recognize His will and counsel in our thinking.