Friday, April 28, 2006

Proverbs to Ponder

Solomon left behind a legacy of wisdom, imparted to us through the grace of God. In going with the general 'theme' of the past few devotional posts, I thought I'd add some of my favorite verses (often mumbled under my breath when I'm tempted to 'throw down' with the whole lot.)

Proverbs 1:10-16 My son, if sinners entice you, do not give in to them. If they say, "Come along with us; let's lie in wait for someone's blood, let's waylay some harmless soul; let's swallow them alive, like the grave, and whole, like those who go down to the pit; we will get all sorts of valuable things and fill our houses with plunder; throw in your lot with us, and we will share a common purse"- my son, do not go along with them, do not set foot on their paths; for their feet rush into sin, they are swift to shed blood. - This harkens back to what I've said before... that Jesus told us not to repay an eye for an eye, that David spoke of in psalm when someone we think is wicked does a misdeed to us. Often, it is so easy to go along with our friends, to stoop to a pack mentality, in order to avenge ourselves. What purpose would this serve? What do we have to gain by it except being labeled as one of the wicked?

Proverbs 15:1-4 A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly. The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good. The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. - we must always remember that we are to reflect Christ. It is gentler to say 'You have sinned, but God's love and mercy are obtainable' than it is to poison another's desire to know God by saying 'you have sinned, and all you deserve is hell.' God does keep an eye on us. Sure, the wicked are expected to act like wicked people; but the Righteous in the Lord should remember that God watches their actions as well. A wicked man kills the sheep that wanders in the fields, but it is more horrible when a self-proclaimed righteousness and wise man kills a fellow sheep within the fold for having a spot on its fleece, or kills a sheep who has just began to turn his nose towards the gate, seeking shelter in God for the first time. Harsh words serve no purpose, and mocking tears down all the gifts of the Lord that you have been given.

Proverbs 3:1-12 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. - appearing wise is a foolish thing to do. True wisdom comes from the Lord, and that wisdom is given to us by the Holy Spirit (it's the discernment thing, remember?) We can judge others based on our opinion, but until we turn over our desire to judge, and allow God to work through us, we appear as being self-absorbed. We fall into the trap the Pharisees did long ago. We are no more beneficial to others. Instead, we forget God's commands, trading them in for a selfish desire to serve our own egos. If we concentrate on our own walk, we can help others by example. We can share the wisdom God grants us because we live in that wisdom each day.

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