Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Proverbs 29: 19-27

19A slave will not be instructed by words alone;
For though he understands, there will be no response.
20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words?
There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21He who pampers his slave from childhood
Will in the end find him to be a son.
22An angry man stirs up strife,
And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression.
23A man's pride will bring him low,
But a humble spirit will obtain honor.
24He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life;
He hears the oath but tells nothing.
25The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.
26Many seek the ruler's favor,
But justice for man comes from the LORD.
27An unjust man is abominable to the righteous,
And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.

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

"Many seek the ruler's favor, but justice for man comes from the LORD." (vs. 26)

This verse jumped right out and said, "Gotcha!"

I have a certain brand of "trouble with authority." I'm not after people's positions. Really, I'm a huge people-pleaser. I like going above and beyond to make other people happy. I like being included as part of a team, being led by a manager, taught by a manager. But I struggle when I see things I feel those in authority should be doing but aren't doing. I can feel like Isaiah, to a point.

"But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, and My reward with My God."
--Isaiah 49:4

I may toil over projects and not receive the "team nod" that I'm seeking. I may feel like all my work was for nothing because I haven't been affirmed by the one for whom I'm doing the projects. I can't imagine being Isaiah--facing great humility over his own sinfulness, being in the very presence of God and cleansed by one of His angels, then sent by God to prophesy to a floundering Israel. God's chosen people had no regard for Isaiah's prophecies--laden as they were with God's strong words of discipline, but great hope as well.

I said "to a point," and that's because Isaiah embraced a promise of God that I am still trying to wholly accept: "the justice due to me is with the Lord, and my reward with my God." Isaiah could always see the even-greater picture and the greatest reward, even as his earthly commission was ministering to a thankless-yet-blessed people. Yesterday, Carmen talked about vision and goals. How easy for me to respond that, yes, if with God, let us pursue. To realize God's vision in every thing--regardless of what things look like or feel like--the results, the justice, the reward is with God.

"For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord."
--I Corinthians 4:4

This is a powerful cross-reference, because it reminds me that God is the one who examines me, my words, my actions, my heart. Regardless of what men may do, the only One who will matter is God. So, though Paul may not be conscious of ills against himself, he also knows that he is not free on his own merit, but because of God's working in him.

Matthew Henry's commentary is a long selection, today, but, in my archiving, perhaps I will reflect upon these words, and continue to pray for God to work in my heart and deal with my issues with authority.

"Paul had a just concern for his own reputation, but he knew that he who chiefly aimed to please men, would not prove himself a faithful servant of Christ. It is a comfort that men are not to be our final judges. And it is not judging well of ourselves, or justifying ourselves, that will prove us safe and happy.

Our own judgment is not to be depended upon as to our faithfulness, any more than our own works for our justification. There is a day coming, that will bring men's secret sins into open day, and discover the secrets of their hearts. Then every slandered believer will be justified, and every faithful servant approved and rewarded. The word of God is the best rule by which to judge as to men.

Pride commonly is at the bottom of quarrels. Self-conceit contributes to produce undue esteem of our teachers, as well as of ourselves. We shall not be puffed up for one against another, if we remember that all are instruments, employed by God, and endowed by him with various talents."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary of the Bible


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Tomorrow's Scripture Focus and Thought Question:

Proverbs 30: 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).


Kelly Combs said...

20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

Well, thank goodness this says a MAN hasty in his words...or else I might be worried. LOL! ;-)

Okay, Kelly, think before you speak!

Sue J. said...

There really is something to be said about haste. Surely "Haste makes waste" must have been derived from one of these Proverbs.

Carmen said...

I picked out the same verse as you. There is a difference in having a problem with authority, and being at odds with authority that does not walk or lead as they should. In fact,the latter is downright dangerous to the Body.

We've been taught to respect authority and often have believed that to mean that we are not to question, but if that authority is not walking as they should? Well, enough said.

Good post Sue!