Archive for May 17th, 2019

Proverbs 29:17-20

In Proverbs 29:17-20 Solomon again tackles the area of child rearing. We have to step up as parents and help our kids learn to obey God’s laws and those of the world we live in. Many proverbs speak of the importance of correcting and training our children. If we leave them to themselves, to their peers, or to the culture around them and fail to correct them, they will be an ongoing source of trouble and strife, giving us no rest. “Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.” Discipline alone won’t guarantee delight, but every parent wants this delight of soul. There is a sense in which God appeals to our own self-interest. If you won’t correct your son because it is good for him, then do it because it is good for you!

Solomon then reminds us of the power of vision or seeing things through God’s lens. Waltke wrote “Other translations (such as the King James Version) express this in these words: where there is no vision, the people perish. This has often been taken to say, “Where there is no visionary leadership, people and enterprises fail.” That is often a true principle, but not what Solomon wrote here. There is little doubt that the Hebrew word hazon means “God’s revelation,” and not “visionary leadership.” “In sum, hazon refers here to the sage’s inspired revelation of wisdom.” “Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” There is happiness and contentment for the one who keeps the law. In this sense, the Bible is something like a guide given to us by our owner and creator, telling us how to live a wise and blessed life. It is within restraint, but not in an oppressive sense. Only a fool thinks that all restraint is oppressive.

Next he reminds us that learning is difficult and sometimes requires hard lessons. The idea is not of someone who has an honorable, servant like heart. The idea is of someone of menial service who has slave-like mentality that can’t be lifted above his or her present misery. That person is unlikely to be corrected by mere words. Tough life experience and discipline will be more likely to teach them. “By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.” This shows that the problem with such a one is not mental or intellectual. He understands well enough; the problem is that he will not respond. It will take more than words to get him or her to respond and learn wisdom.

Solomon reminds us that words matter and how we use them matter even more. Proverbs often teaches us that a mark of a fool is that they don’t have control over what they say. They are hasty in their words. “Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” To Solomon, the man hasty in his words was a special kind of a fool, a super-fool. Lacking wisdom, his impulsive speech sets him beyond the hope of even the normal fool. We have to learn how to manage and control our tongue. It can be used for so much good, or cause so much destruction. The difference is merely how it is used. We need to use it God’s way!

%d bloggers like this: