Archive for May 14th, 2019

Proverbs 29:5-8

In Proverbs 29:5-8 Solomon begins by calling out the words we speak about those around us with a motive to gain something for ourselves. To flatter is to excessively praise or give attention to someone with the hope of gaining influence or status. It is attempting to manipulate their response. “A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.” What we fail to realize is that it doesn’t have a good outcome. Flattery is a trap. It is a trap that the wise man knows how to avoid, and that catches the fool.  It is merely deception with a focus on creating a way to profit personally and is a cruel way to interact with those around you.

Solomon then goes on to remind us that sin destroys us. A man may be evil in his character, yet it is his actual acts of transgression that ruin him. Most evil men think they are celebrating life and freedom through their transgression, but it will be a trap and a snare to them. All of us will someday stand before a righteous and holy God and give account for what we have done. “An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.”  If transgression belongs to the evil man, then singing and rejoicing belong to the righteous. The singing and rejoicing is an expression of what is inside them, just as much as the transgression is an expression of what is inside the evil man. How much better it is to be filled with joy because of walking in obedience to God.

How we deal with those less fortunate is one characteristic of walking rightly with God. One mark of the righteous man or woman is that they care for the poor. It is more than the response of feelings of pity; he considers the cause of the poor. It is thoughtful compassion in action. It is actually doing something to help improve their condition and enhance their life. “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” To help those less fortunate we have to be willing to open our hands and share what we have. Those who are wicked and rebellious against God and His wisdom can’t even understand such compassion. Since it doesn’t directly serve their self-interest, they can’t understand it and refuse to help those in need.

Solomon returns to remind us of the impact of a scoffer. In the family of fools, the scoffers are some of the worst offenders. They are so settled in their combative, cynical rejection of God and His wisdom that they may bring the judgment of God and fury of man against their own city. They don’t even realize how negatively their attitudes and words can be. “Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.” We need to focus our time on those who are wise. The opposite of the scoffer is the wise man. Collectively, wise men have the understanding, character, and righteousness that may turn away God’s wrath. They will positively impact the world they live in while the scoffer destroys it.

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