Archive for May 13th, 2019

Proverbs 29:1-4

In Proverbs 29:1-4 Solomon tackles the topic of how we respond to discipline. We all make mistakes and will be subject to correction. The question is not if it will happen, but how we will respond. In many places in the Bible, the hard neck is used as a figure of speech to speak of the stubborn attitude that resists and disobeys God. This proverb speaks about the man who is often rebuked but doesn’t listen to the rebuke; instead he hardens his neck.” He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.” This stubborn, rebellious man continues in his disobedience for a long time, until he is suddenly… destroyed – and there will be no hope for him (broken beyond healing). This describes the kind of person who thinks little of God’s merciful patience and assumes judgment will never come for his continual rejection of wisdom and stubborn heart against God.

Solomon then reminds us that people fair much better when the righteous are in charge. It is to everyone’s benefit in the community or nation when the righteous are in authority. This shows that when the righteous governs, it should be for the benefit of the entire community, not only their own interests. “When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.” It’s in complete contrast to what happens when the wicked are in charge. The community or the nation suffers when the wicked rule. Lawlessness increases, and freedoms diminish. The rule of the wicked is bad for both the righteous and the wicked. No one wins if righteous people are not leading.

Wisdom brings about a good outcome and makes mom and dad happy. Children of any age bring happiness to their parents when they love and live wisdom. It gives the parents a justified pride in their children and gives peace about their children’s future. It doesn’t happen accidentally, but requires strong parenting which is well worth the effort. “He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.” In contrast, living as a fool leads to destruction. This is one example of a foolish life, someone who chooses prostitutes and others of low character as their companions. This fool wastes his wealth on these and other similar interests, showing they are the opposite of the one who loves wisdom.

Solomon finishes by reminding us that justice is the way to achieve success. A nation can only expect strength and progress when it is ruled with justice. When a community or nation sees evildoers punished and restrained, fairness in the legal system, and agreements honored, there will be justice and a foundation for growth and blessing. “By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.” There are many ways that justice can be abused, but receiving bribes is one of the worst ways. Bribes destroy the foundations of fairness and equality before the law. It means that the rich and devious prosper. A nation built on that will not stand.

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