Sunday, August 23, 2009

Proverbs 28: 21-28

21To show partiality is not good,
Because for a piece of bread a man will transgress.
22A man with an evil eye hastens after wealth
And does not know that want will come upon him.
23He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favor
Than he who flatters with the tongue.
24He who robs his father or his mother
And says, "It is not a transgression,"
Is the companion of a man who destroys.
25An arrogant man stirs up strife,
But he who trusts in the LORD will prosper.
26He who trusts in his own heart is a fool,
But he who walks wisely will be delivered.
27He who gives to the poor will never want,
But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
28When the wicked rise, men hide themselves;
But when they perish, the righteous increase.

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

"To show partiality is not good, because for a piece of bread a man will transgress." (vs.21)

This isn't a new thought that we read from Solomon today, but I'm always blown away by the accuracy of his blunt analogies. For as many different men as exist, there are as many different sins. Man’s sin doesn't always measure in great mountains or come with a royal crowning. Sometimes, a man just needs to eat. But, in his hunger, he can be led astray, and his want for bread can lead to his forsaking righteousness.

"For handfuls of barley and fragments of bread, you have profaned Me to My people to put to death some who should not die and to keep others alive who should not live, by your lying to My people who listen to lies."

--Ezekiel 13:19 (God speaking of the false prophets of Israel)

The point of the latter part of this Proverb is that no matter what the transgression looks like--be it money, love or bread--sin is sin! We visited this concept yesterday: Transgression implies rebellion—breaking away from just authority, to trespass, apostatize or quarrel. [Strong’s]

“Forgive us our debts (our trespasses) as we forgive our debtors (those who trespass against us).”

–Matthew 6:12

Jesus wasn’t talking exclusively about the money we owe or those who owe us. He addressed our sins--our rebellion from the Father. The prayer taught by our Lord to teach us to pray comes with a necessary component recognizing our sinful nature, our brothers’ sinful nature, and our need to seek forgiveness from our trespasses on the Holy Word of God with our dirty hands and feet!

Now, the first part of the Proverb has some interesting phrasing. Carmen, I’m not sure if you said “respecter of persons” yesterday because you started in on today’s study early or if that is a common phrasing that you use. But…here it is again:

“To have respect of persons is not good: for for a piece of bread that man will transgress.” (KJV)

“Respect of persons” through Hebrew translation means, “literally ‘lift up the face,’ and, among other translations, is rendered indifferently ‘accept’ or ‘respect the person.’” Similarly, we should not lift up the face of him who faces judgment. Reads Proverbs 24: 23, “It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.”

Over time, as language changed, this phrase evolved as well to mean “accept the person instead of the cause” or “show partiality,” which is what the NASB uses. So, Solomon says that to show partiality or to accept a person instead of a cause is not good. [All above references through the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.]

Showing partiality works in at least two ways. We can have disdain for an individual and reject a cause outright, or we can have great love for an individual to the point that his or her cause is assumed good. You can play out these scenes as well as I can, putting a just cause in the hands of one who rubs us wrong or supporting one we love in a cause that God finds disdainful. We may fall into sin as easily as the one who accepts bread!

The ISBE concludes its description of “respect of persons” by saying, “God’s judgment rests solely on the character of the man and will be influenced by no worldly or national considerations.”

What was it that Jesus said in the desert? “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4) Let us not be influenced by earthly bread.

Yea, Lord: “Give us this day our daily bread [of Heaven].” (Matthew 6:11)


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 29: 1-9 (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:

T. Anne said...

25 & 26. I try to follow the Lord and trust him every step of the way. I believe in His promises.