Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Proverbs 27: 1-9

Warnings and Instructions
1Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
2Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
3A stone is heavy and the sand weighty,
But the provocation of a fool is heavier than both of them.
4Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood,
But who can stand before jealousy?
5Better is open rebuke
Than love that is concealed.
6Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.
7A sated man loathes honey,
But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet.
8Like a bird that wanders from her nest,
So is a man who wanders from his home.
9Oil and perfume make the heart glad,
So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.

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

"Wrath is fierce and anger is a flood, but who can stand before jealousy?" (vs. 4)

Solomon has a knack for making the truth come alive. If sin came in a storm, this one would come with quite the weather advisory. Wrath like a fierce wind. Anger overwhelming us like a deluge. But jealousy?

"Jealousy is as severe as Sheol...."
--Song of Solomon 8:6

What are we talking about when we say jealousy? Sometimes, it's a feeling we get or an attitude we take. Dictionary.com explains it as being "mental uneasiness." Something is out of balance. Often we are jealous over things--better described as envy. But, we can also be jealous in our relationships. We like to look over the fence to see what's up at the neighbor's, only to turn away from the fence realizing that things always seem so much better over there!

"For jealousy enrages a man, and he will not spare in the day of vengeance."
--Proverbs 6:34

Doesn't it seem like it's much easier to deal with wrath and anger--and they definitely aren't pleasant. But there's something about jealousy that literally eats away at your stomach. Perhaps we recognize more readily that wrath and anger are the way fools attack us (and we, sometimes, attack others). Sometimes we recognize the empty words in the hot air. But jealousy? Jealousy is much more difficult to shake off because there are thoughts behind the feelings, behind the words, behind the actions. There's something deep in the heart that needs to be addressed.

One of the cross-references for this passage is a reflection on Cain from I John:

"For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother's were righteous."
--I John 3: 11-12

There is so much force behind jealousy, and it builds! We take a kernel of an idea that something is out of kilter and spin it far beyond us. Yet, all the while, we feel we are justified and in control of the situation. No wonder Solomon says "who can stand?"

Turning the tables, because we need to, who can stand before a jealous God?

"...For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God...."

--Exodus 20:5

When we are jealous, we show an intolerance--an unwise display of intolerance--for a given situation that we feel is unfair or out of balance. When God is jealous, He is intolerant, too--of our unfaithfulness, our lack of devotion, our placement of other gods before Him. As we fervently pursue our own form of justice, making the sides somehow even, if not in our favor, God fervently pursues His passion--us!

Again, this verse brings us back to the heart, where jealousy is born. Wisdom would caution us, before we stir up a whirlwind, to seek our first passion, and fervently! Our jealous God, "an all-consuming fire," will stop at nothing to keep us and refine us.

What about us?

Photo: http://www.lifehack.org/wp-content/files/2007/09/20070907_jealousy.jpg

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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 27: 10-18 (of the transcribed proverbs of Solomon)
  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:

Kelly Combs said...

Okay, your post scared me today.

v9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, So a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.

This is my favorite verse. It's so true, nothing is better than the loving counsel of a friend. Thanks for being an ear to me so many times!

But if I'm being honest, the verse the SPOKE tome the most was v2. I can tend to toot my own horn. Not bragging (per se) but excited, and yes wanting others to see my value. Great verse.