Welcome to Day 29 of our Journey through “31 Days of Wisdom”!
Today’s categories are:
- advice, pride, corruption
- government, ruling, authority
- arguing, contention
- treating the poor according to their rights
Right away we learn that someone who has been given advice or correction repeatedly, but who has not listened to it or adjusted their ways, will come to ruin and not be restored. And those who are prideful will be brought low, in contrast to those that are humble will be honored. How relevant is it today to read about corrupt government and officials. This chapter squares up the differences of good governing vs corruption, and reminds us that even if we get favor from someone in authority, that true justice comes from God.
Proverbs must know human nature well enough to keep addressing anger, arguments, and strife. Wisdom says that it’s not worth it to argue with a fool who will only laugh at you and have no understanding anyway. But Wisdom teaches us that wise men can quietly hold back their anger and turn away a city from wrath, rather than give full vent to their anger and set the city ablaze with fury.
Isn’t it interesting that these ancient words address modern topics relevantly, like taking up social injustices and rights and equality of the poor and of women and just government for all? We’ll see more in our last chapter on elevating women in society. This chapter deals several times with the rights of the poor, and to honor that is to act in knowledge and understanding. We are reminded that God “gives light to the eyes of both” the oppressor and the poor, and so we must treat all man with dignity. This may even be threads of the beginning of modern history’s political statement that all mankind truly are created equal.
What timeless wisdom are you gaining insights from as we go through the Book of Proverbs? Are you benefitting from the contrasts and pivots these verses take to better frame more complex issues? Are there simple truths that apply to your life today?
2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan. 3 He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth. 4 By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet. 6 An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices. 7 A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge. 8 Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath. 9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. 10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright. 11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. 12 If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.
13 The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the Lord gives light to the eyes of both. 14 If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall. 17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
18 Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. 19 By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond. 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 21 Whoever pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him his heir. 22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression. 23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24 The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing. 25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. 26 Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the Lord that a man gets justice. 27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
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For some helpful commentaries and other resources to dig in deeper you may enjoy the following links, or your own search at a local book store or online search/purchase.
“Make it a purpose-filled and on-target day!”