Archive for April 16th, 2019

Proverbs 25:15-19

In Proverbs 25:15-19 Solomon begins by talking about how to persuade those in power. Bottom line, it is through patience and consistency. History is rich with examples. Our self-control and patience can persuade great men to our cause, even a ruler. William Wilberforce persuaded the leaders of the British Empire to outlaw slavery through long forbearance and dedication to his righteous cause. “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.” The patient, gentle words of a wise man or can have a great impact over a long period of time. Such words can have bone-breaking power. We need to be persistent in how we share and make our requests, not with force or threats, but with patience and gentleness.

Good things come to us regularly. In this case, Solomon talks about finding honey, something sweet and desirable to consume. But if someone has found honey—something good and wonderful to find—the honey should be enjoyed, but you should eat only as much as you need. Gluttony is not the proper response to finding blessing from God. “If you have found honey, eat only enough for you, lest you have your fill of it and vomit it.” If something good (honey) is eaten beyond what one needs, if we fill ourselves with it beyond reason, then it may cause an unpleasant reaction (vomit) and we will lose the good thing we thought we gained. Overindulgence in good things is harmful and counter productive. Moderation is the key to receiving every good and perfect gift.

Solomon reminds us not to wear out our welcome with friends that open their doors to us. It is normal for neighbors to visit one another, but such hospitality should not be abused. Hospitality is a gift God wants us to extend, but it needs to come with some semblance of control. “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” If we abuse hospitality, it may quickly vanish. The wise man will be sensitive to the likelihood that a neighbor may become weary of their presence. Since good neighborly relationships make life much better, this is an important principle of wisdom. Don’t go overboard without communicating and understanding the welcome you have been given.

Solomon next reminds us that integrity and truthfulness are important character qualities.  Many proverbs speak against the man who bears false witness. This liar, whether in the court of law or common conversation, does great damage. He is like a club, a sword, and a sharp arrow. It is not a small sin to bear false witness against a neighbor. “A man who bears false witness against his neighbor is like a war club, or a sword, or a sharp arrow. Trusting in a treacherous man in time of trouble is like a bad tooth or a foot that slips.” The man who bears false witness is often also the unfaithful man in time of trouble. In one aspect he brings pain, in the other aspect he is a pain. The unfaithful man is useless and like a persistent, debilitating pain.

 

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