Monday, August 3, 2009

Proverbs 22: 1-9

On Life and Conduct
1A good name is to be more desired than great wealth,
Favor is better than silver and gold.
2The rich and the poor have a common bond,
The LORD is the maker of them all.
3The prudent sees the evil and hides himself,
But the naive go on, and are punished for it.
4The reward of humility and the fear of the LORD
Are riches, honor and life.
5Thorns and snares are in the way of the perverse;
He who guards himself will be far from them.
6Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender's slave.
8He who sows iniquity will reap vanity,
And the rod of his fury will perish.
9He who is generous will be blessed,
For he gives some of his food to the poor.

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

Even if you didn't have it as your pick-to-click today, you can't write a post containing these verses and skip verse 6. It's a classic: "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." Simply, beautiful truth...which is why it's in all the Christian parenting books! Truth is, training up is not all that simple! But, if you believe in the wisdom of the passage, and continue to turn to God to receive that wisdom, you can cling to the truth that is here. I really believe that (even as I'm having one of the most difficult parenting days that I've had in a while).

My pick for focusing is actually verse 8, because of the interesting wording, again:

"He who sows iniquity will reap vanity, and the rod of his fury will perish."
I think the Amplified Bible clarifies these ideas better for me: "He who sows iniquity will reap calamity and futility, and the rod of his wrath [with which he smites others] will fail." (AMP)

Why does sowing iniquity reap vanity? The cross references in the NASB weren't helping. "According to what I have seen, those who plow iniquity and those who sow trouble harvest it." (Job 4:8) If we are growing a sinful life, then we should surely expect to harvest the same. Do we always become vain in our sin? I think I need to re-think 'vanity.'

Interestingly enough, the King James uses the same wording, for the most part, as the NASB. So, turning to the Hebrew, to what does vanity refer? It comes "from an unused root perhaps meaning properly to pant (hence to exert oneself, usually in vain; to come to naught). Strictly nothingness; also trouble, vanity, wickedness; specifically an idol." [Strong's]

The first picture that comes to mind when I hear 'vanity' is the evil queen in Snow White, who stares at herself in the mirror asking "Who is the fairest of them all?" And, I guess when I think about it in light of these definitions, her efforts are indeed wasted breath, as Snow White will always be the fairest. The queen follows in her iniquity and evil plotting, but comes to ruin in the end. I hope using a storybook character doesn't make you all think I've gone off the deep end. She is just the epitome of vanity to me.

Putting this into realistic perspective, doesn't any quest into sin come up to nothing, at least as far as truly accomplishing the quest is concerned? (Lord willing, by His Spirit, we may actually learn something from our mistakes if we acknowledge and repent of our iniquities.)

The verse finishes referring to a rod of wrath or fury--anger! When our quest ends up empty, we aren't happy campers, especially if we aren't happy campers to begin with. Where the rod of God's discipline shepherds and guides, the rod of wrath borne by the sinner in the midst of his sin is not something you want to be near. Innocent parties have a way of getting caught in the middle of problems that aren't theirs.

But, we are told here that such a rod will not damage us. It will fail. Now, this presumes, of course, that we innocent parties do not fall into sin ourselves and seek retaliation. Ever do that? This is a wise saying to keep handy (or, grasp onto for dear life!) when a rod of wrath appears in our view.


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 22: 10-16
  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).


Chatty Kelly Combs said...

Two verses for me today.
v. 1 A good name is to be more desired than great wealth.

This is so true. I see it on Twitter (ridiculous I know) but so many people look at for instance Michael Hyatt because he is the good name in publishing. People accept his ideas at their worth and respect him. A good name is worth more than wealth for sure.

The 2nd verse for me is 2B. "The LORD is the maker of them all." This is referring to rich & poor, but I need to take it to another level...the desirable and less than desirable. So people I may not like, or they just turn me off for whatever reason. Yet, the Lord made everyone. Therefore I need to show respect to ALL people regardless of income, temperment, belief, everything. Hard to do....

Sue J. said...

People have expectations with your name. It can start early--"Oh, your so-and-so's younger sister...." says the teacher, who is then either glad to have you in class or is wishing for an early June.

We have that expression, working to "make a name for yourself." Businesses that used to be passed from father to son and generations after. All of this implies not being "a sluggard" as Solomon warns us against. Yet it also means not working for the sake of wealth alone but for fulfilling that to which God calls us.

As for your 2nd verse today, we do need to remember that we are all God's creation, used for His glory and purpose. We may not "get" all the people all the time, but He calls us to love them, however that love might manifest itself (and it's not the same expression for everyone--same intent, though).

Will miss your comments later this week, but looking forward to hearing some great encouragement from your conference!

Carmen said...

Verse 8 stood out to me too. Thanks for explaining it so well!

Verse 2 also stood out. It puts everything into perspective in just a few words.

And (sorry), verse 4 as well... humility accompanied by the fear of the Lord. The power pack of our everyday walk. Man, I wish I could write like this!