Proverbs 17:1-4

In Proverbs 17:1-4 Solomon addresses the impact of a house filled with strife.  It definitely wears people down when there is not unity and harmony within the family.  “Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.” In fact, his point is that it is better to eat food that may not be the best with some quiet, than to feast and have plenty but live in the chaos and stress related to unhealthy relationships. We need to focus on creating and maintaining healthy interactions with those around us so we don’t live in strife, but in quiet, happy peacefulness.  That is a far better way to live.

There is no question that the relationship between a master and his servant is different than that of a son and his father.  But how the servant or son act certainly impacts the relationship.  The way we live, and lead, matters.  In the event that a son acts shamefully, a father may very well decide to put his servant in charge of watching over and ruling his son. “A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.” And when a servant protects that of his master, he is likely to become a part of the family and be treated like a son.  The impact of how we act responsibly will usually translate into some goodness for us.

God is interested in our heart.  Heat is how precious things are purified.  Depending on the metal, the amount of heat required may differ but in the end the impurity has to be removed by fires. “The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” God is interested in making sure we have clean hands and a pure heart.  Sin also has to be rooted out as the impurity in our life. And it takes heat to do that.  God’s going to test our hearts.  He wants us to be wholeheartedly His and be free from the worries of this world and the sin that so deeply can impact us.  His desire is to remove sin from our lives completely.

Solomon calls out the behavior of those who gossip and those who lie here.  One of the root causes is what and who they listen to.  Who we surround ourselves with certainly matters.  “An evildoer listens to wicked lips, and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.”  Those who spew untruth are listening to stories and statements from wicked lips which are often intentionally attempting to destroy. If we want to avoid gossip and stay in the truth, we need to listen to the right people.  Those who lie also listen to people who guide them astray. Both of these sins can be avoided by making sure what goes into our ears is not evil or mischievous but builds up and is honoring of God!

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