Friday, August 21, 2009

Proverbs 28: 1-10

Proverbs 28

Warnings and Instructions
1The wicked flee when no one is pursuing,
But the righteous are bold as a lion.
2By the transgression of a land many are its princes,
But by a man of understanding and knowledge, so it endures.
3A poor man who oppresses the lowly
Is like a driving rain which leaves no food.
4Those who forsake the law praise the wicked,
But those who keep the law strive with them.
5Evil men do not understand justice,
But those who seek the LORD understand all things.
6Better is the poor who walks in his integrity
Than he who is crooked though he be rich.
7He who keeps the law is a discerning son,
But he who is a companion of gluttons humiliates his father.
8He who increases his wealth by interest and usury
Gathers it for him who is gracious to the poor.
9He who turns away his ear from listening to the law,
Even his prayer is an abomination.
10He who leads the upright astray in an evil way
Will himself fall into his own pit,
But the blameless will inherit good.

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

"Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive with them." (vs. 4)

As much as I love my S.B. for its exposition on wisdom, I find myself at a loss, sometimes, for its choice of words and phrasing. Too many "those's." "Them" does not relate to "those who forsake the law." Otherwise, this reads that those who keep the law push toward that goal with those who forsake the law. [I don't know how folks sit down to edit a translation of the Bible, but with these newer translations, I think some items could be cleaned up a little nicer.]

"And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper, being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them."
--Romans 1: 28-32 (emphasis mine)

Let there be no mistake about the seriousness of what those who forsake the law are doing. That Romans passage is chock full of trouble for sure! The most condemning part of that cross-reference is what I emphasize in the italics--they know the ordinance of God! They know!! Yet, they choose to forsake ("loosen, relinquish"--Strong's) the law. When one chooses to forsake God's Holy Word, he, by his own doing, chooses to praise the wicked.

"Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]--blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he."

--Proverbs 29: 18 (AMP)

Going back to word choice for a moment--and a point, the King James' uses 'contend' instead of 'strive,' which is a clearer choice, in my opinion. The Hebrew verb for contend means "to grate." It also means "strive in rivalry" or "strive in debate." ( I think it's important to note that there is no condemnation in the debating! These folks may grate on us, but we must not make a misstep in our attitude. Even as the Christian strives to maintain the law, we are not called to forsake those who forsake the law, condemn those who condemn.

"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible."
--Ephesians 5: 8-14a

Catch again that Paul says to expose "fruitless deeds" not abandon the disobedient. We do need to keep the law and keep the law in front of the "lawless," so that we show our faithfulness to God, avoid the darkness they pursue and, Lord willing, be a witness to the very Light we serve. As we are children of God and children of light, let us remember the commandment Jesus gave us--to love one another. For where there is love of God, there is the all-powerful, all-gracious One!


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 28: 11-20 (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...

#5 I think as a follower of Christ I would like to understand everything. I think He's the lens' through which that is possible.

Carmen said...

I'm reminded of a verse in Ecclesiastes 8:11:"Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, it is fully set in the hearts of men to do evil."

I'd never noticed in this passage that those who practised lawlessness knew the ordinances of God, yet chose to disobey.

Good post! Thanks for sharing this!