Proverbs 16:29-33

In Proverbs 16:29-33 Solomon warns us to watch out who we associate with. The wrong people can get us into trouble or lead us astray. Sometimes we don’t use good judgment in selecting who we’ll hang with.  That could take us to a wrong place. “A man of violence entices his neighbor and leads him in a way that is not good. Whoever winks his eyes plans dishonest things; he who purses his lips brings evil to pass.” Ross wrote “Often people who are planning wicked things betray themselves with malicious expressions. Two expressions are depicted here: winking the eye and pursing the lips. Facial expressions often reveal whether someone is plotting something evil.”

Age does have some benefits, although they don’t always feel that good. But Solomon equates some wisdom with hair. In the cultural setting of its time, there was nothing unusual about this statement. Ancient cultures were sensible enough to honor and value the wisdom and experience of old age. That’s not always the case in our modern ways today. They saw the white hair of the elderly as a crown of glory. “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life.“ It isn’t age itself that brings a crown of glory to a person, but age in the way of righteousness. The sad truth is that age itself does not make all people better and certainly not godlier.

Controlling our anger is an important skill to have and demonstrates extreme strength and self control. There is someone better than the mighty man who can defeat many others on the field of combat. It is the man who has control over his own anger, who can (when it is wise and necessary) be slow to anger. “Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.“ Under God’s wisdom and strength, to rule one’s own spirit is a greater accomplishment than to conquer a city. Some who can conquer cities should first be concerned with conquering self. Matthew Poole thought of three reasons why he who rules his spirit was better than he who takes a city:

  • He conquers though he fights a stronger enemy.
  • He conquers by his own hands, and not through other people.
  • He conquers without the injury and ruin of others.

Solomon ends this chapter reminding us that God is ultimately in control.  There are many ways we may try to determine what decision to make.  In his day, they would cast lots. This was something similar to rolling dice. To cast the lot was to use some tool of chance to make a choice. They would follow the outcome and take action based on it. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. But the reality is that God alone is in charge of all things and He alone controls the outcome. The idea is not that every single event in life is a message from God, nor is it that we should use games of chance to determine God’s will. To cast the lot was a way to commit the decision to God, and when we commit our decisions to Him, God guides us.  We merely need to seek His direction and follow His guidance to receive His blessing!

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