Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Proverbs 25: 1-10

Similitudes, Instructions
1These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah, king of Judah, transcribed.
2It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,
But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.
3As the heavens for height and the earth for depth,
So the heart of kings is unsearchable.
4Take away the dross from the silver,
And there comes out a vessel for the smith;
5Take away the wicked before the king,
And his throne will be established in righteousness.
6Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
7For it is better that it be said to you, "Come up here,"
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen.
8Do not go out hastily to argue your case;
Otherwise, what will you do in the end,
When your neighbor humiliates you?
9Argue your case with your neighbor,
And do not reveal the secret of another,
10Or he who hears it will reproach you,
And the evil report about you will not pass away.


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

I commented on this the last time we read "changed up" Proverbs. But, I think it's an important observation--and part of the uniqueness of this book--that there is more than one author represented here. The language has a different flow, and the emphasis, at least here, is more kingly. But, the wisdom continues to be not of men or of kings, but of our Lord.

"Do not claim honor in the presence of the king,
And do not stand in the place of great men;
For it is better that it be said to you, 'Come up here,'
Than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince,
Whom your eyes have seen." (6 & 7)



At first, it sounds like something that could be found in the Dummies Guide to Royalty. How to behave in front of a king! There's a marvelous scene from the mini-series John Adams in which Adams is to meet with the king of England. Men of the king explain how Adams should stop at the door upon entering the room, how he should step forward into the room and the number of bows he is required to make before reaching the king. They require Adams to practice the routine before his meeting. Adams begrudgingly follows the protocol, as his time with the king is too precious to lose for the sake of young America.

"Be not forward (self-assertive and boastfully ambitious) in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men; for better it is that it should be said to you, Come up here, than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whose eyes have seen you." (AMP)

Truly, this is a passage about humility. There are passages on humility found in various places throughout the Bible. I should do a study on that sometime! (You probably have suggestions for me, too!) Here, we read from one writing in the place of king, but the core message is still the same.

Humility means putting others as better than yourself, and that not only in the attitude of your heart but (out of your wellspring) in your speech--what you say and how you say it. Even your stance should show respect. Your physical place. An excellent illustration comes to life in the cross-reference for this verse, Jesus' parable of the wedding feast:

"And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place.

"But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
--Luke 14: 7-11

This is such an easy picture to see. Why do we often find it so difficult to visualize and apply? If we search our hearts as the Lord does, I've no doubt we will find the answer.

Don't miss the last part of Verse 7, and the Amplified Bible, again, has a twist that pulls in an important view. Better to follow the protocol "than that you should be put lower in the presence of the prince, whose eyes have seen you." That we have seen the prince and still show disobedience in our behavior is sad. But, that we show disobedience and the prince has seen us, not to mention the king!?

At some point, eyes must meet for there to be full understanding. We have to see our disobedience through the eyes of the king before we can recognize our faults, repent and obey. However, our lack of humility prevents us from looking up. Through the eyes of the King....

"He who has seen the glory of the Lord in Christ Jesus, will feel his own unworthiness."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible



Photo: http://www.blogcdn.com/www.gadling.com/media/2009/03/charmond-ii3.jpg


* * *

Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 25: 11-20 (of the transcribed proverbs of Solomon)
  1. What proverb in today's passage spoke to you and why?

* * *

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).

2 comments:

Kelly Combs said...

25:2 really peaked my interest. What does that mean? The CEV Bible puts it this way:
2God is praised for being mysterious; rulers are praised for explaining mysteries.

My study Bible explains that God gets glory because man cannot understand the way he rules the universe. I found this verse to be so intriquing. Yet Kings get glory for solving problems and administering justice. Jus tanother way where God is so different than man. Yet we are made in his image.

Verses 8-10 just seem to be plain good advice. If you gossip, you will loose your good reputation, and a bad reputation will follow you.

Carmen said...

Oh the irony! If you gossip about others, you're own reputation will be hurt. Reaping what you've sown. Very just!