Proverbs 24:26-34

In Proverbs 24:26-34 Solomon reminds us that honesty is a key part of how we should communicate. The proper response to a question or a difficult problem is always welcome to the wise. We think of the many occasions when Jesus Christ was presented with difficult questions yet always gave a right answer. “Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” We sometimes forget how important our communication is. What comes out of our mouth matters, and creates impact on those who hear our words. In Solomon’s teaching here, the metaphor of ‘kissing the lips’ signifies that friendship is characterized by truth.

Solomon then reminds us of the importance or planning and preparing.  That needs to happen before we begin to put energy and effort into our actions. The idea is that before a house is built, proper preparations must be made. The field and the ground must be readied. Wisdom tells us that work should be done with proper planning and in the proper order. Before using our time, talent or treasure, we need to spend the time preparing. “Prepare your work outside; get everything ready for yourself in the field, and after that build your house.” Some want to skip right away to the building without preparing the field. This foolishness will not be blessed. Do the preparation work first, and then afterward build your house.

Integrity is again called out as a very important characteristic we should have. It is tied to our words and what we say here by Solomon. We should only speak against someone if there is good and righteous cause to do so. We often speak ill of others to entertain others, and ourselves – this is sin. “Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause, and do not deceive with your lips. Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me; I will pay the man back for what he has done.” When we speak against others without cause, we usually exaggerate or color the truth, making it a deception. Wisdom and grace tells us not to retaliate or tell lies no matter what someone else has said or done.

Solomon wraps up this chapter again referring to the cost of laziness and failing to work hard. The wise man saw the outcome of laziness in the field and the vineyard of the lazy man. The lazy man did not plant the thorns or nettles, and he did not deliberately break down the stone wall. Yet his laziness made these things happen just as much as if he had deliberately done them. “I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.

There is a lesson that comes from this observation. The wise man learned from the tragedy of the lazy man. He didn’t have to suffer the same things the lazy man did to learn the lesson. This is one of the marks of wisdom. Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction. A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest, and poverty will come upon you like a robber, and want like an armed man.”  This is the destiny of the lazy man. Because of their sinful neglect, poverty will come upon them as suddenly, as strongly, and as unwelcomed as a robber. In this case the lazy man thinks he is innocent because he did not deliberately, actively sow the thorns or break the wall, but his neglect of duty did them – and he is without excuse.

One response to this post.

  1. Reblogged this on Matthews' Blog.

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