Thursday, August 20, 2009

Proverbs 27: 19-27

19As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man.
20Sheol and Abaddon are never satisfied,
Nor are the eyes of man ever satisfied.
21The crucible is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And each is tested by the praise accorded him.
22Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
23Know well the condition of your flocks,
And pay attention to your herds;
24For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26The lambs will be for your clothing,
And the goats will bring the price of a field,
27And there will be goats' milk enough for your food,
For the food of your household,
And sustenance for your maidens.

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

Verse 22: "Though you pound a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain, yet his foolishness will not depart from him."

There are just some fools who seem beyond help, I guess. This is the fool mentioned in 26:11--the one who repeats his folly "like a dog that returns to its vomit." These are the many for whom the prophets were called:

"O LORD, do not Your eyes look for truth? You have smitten them, but they did not weaken; You have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent."
--Jeremiah 5:3 (on Jerusalem's Godlessness)

I don't have a mortar and pestle, but there are times when I wish I did. The professional cooking folks always recommend having on hand spices in their natural packaging, if you will. Unfortunately, even if you have them, you still have to release the spice from its covering. Crushing the seeds or fruit with a pestle against the hard walls of the mortar is the pressure combination that yields the good stuff.

Still, some "nuts" are hard to crack.

The King James Version uses an interesting verb for pound--'bray.' I know braying as being the sound of a donkey. [Eek! That kind of fits with the fool.] But, thankfully, there is much more to it than that. Generally, as a verb, to bray means "to beat small in a mortar" or "to chastise."

"Proverbs 27:22 refers to a more elaborate process than threshing for separating grain (corn) from its husk and impurities; used figuratively of a thorough but useless course of discipline; or still more probably with reference to the Syrian custom of braying meat and bruised corn together in a mortar with a pestle, 'till the meat and grain become a uniform indistinguishable pulp.'”
--International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

We have heard Solomon say before how useless it is to speak wisdom to a fool. Chastisement, using the "rod of discipline," trying to make them see that they are "wise in their own eyes" are worthy endeavors, but in the face of a fool are--as Solomon might say from another book he wrote--"meaningless." Wisdom and folly are "indistinguishable pulp" to him.

We do not have access to hearts, though we can see that of which they are made. If we care for these lost souls, then we know the pain that it causes our hearts, as there is seemingly nothing we can do. But we can leave our mortar and pestle in the kitchen, and know that there is a Redeemer.

"When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, 'Then who can be saved?' And looking at them Jesus said to them, "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
--Matthew 19: 25 & 26


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 28: 1-10 (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).


T. Anne said...

Verse 20. The never ending hole of satisfaction. It's my greatest area of sin. I'm so thankful I get to stand in Jesus' righteousness.

Sue J. said...

"I have learned to live in plenty and in want...." And as many times as I think I have Paul's words of contentment in my system, something will come along to rattle the settled dust!

Making satisfaction NOT the end goal is a mission in itself, I think--it's part of our lifelong process of growing in Christ.

Thanks for your honesty!

Kelly Combs said...

19As in water face reflects face,
So the heart of man reflects man.

I LOVE the Message Bible version of this:

Just as water mirrors your face, so your face mirrors your heart.

In other words, you can act nice, but if your heart isn't nice the truth will come out. :-) That's the Kelly Combs translation.