Day 161 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Proverbs.
Proverbs 25 – Proverbs 25–29 is Hezekiah’s collection of Solomonic Proverbs. The present form of the book of Proverbs came into existence, at earliest, in the reign of Hezekiah (reigned 715–686 b.c.).
God is greater than human beings. He deserves fame, or glory, because He knows things mere humans cannot know (Deuteronomy 29:29). Kings deserve glory for searching for as many answers as possible, but just as no king may know God’s mind completely, no other human can know a king’s mind completely. God and human rulers are both mysterious in their own way.
The close advisers of a ruler must be chosen with careful attention to their moral character.
Verses 7c–10 encourages working out conflict with a neighbor rather than presenting a case in court or reporting a grievance to others (Matthew 5:25–26; 18:15–20).
The time of harvest for the various crops in ancient Israel ran from June through September, and the heat could be withering. At such a time, the cold of snow—however it was brought—would refresh the workers. A literal snowfall is probably not in view, as that could have been a catastrophe.
In context, v. 16 is a metaphor leading into v. 17. One’s presence, even though it may be pleasant, may last too long.
Verse 20 gives three examples of using the wrong solution to a problem.
The image of burning coals on the enemy’s head does not imply doing something that harms the enemy, because the phrase further explains the bread and drink, which do him good. Also, the Lord will reward you implies a good result from these “burning coals,” which is most consistent with leading the person to repentance for his or her earlier hostility.
The north wind is not the usual source of rain in Palestine. When it is, it brings unexpected and damaging rain. This is like a backbiting tongue, which brings sudden anger and damage.
Self-control relates to the passions (such as anger or love), the desires (for food, sex, etc.), and the will (as illustrated by impulsive decisions). Lack of self-control is a mark of a fool. He is like a city . . . left without walls, that is, with no means of defense against enemies.
Which of these Proverbs can you apply today?
Proverbs 26 – At first these verses 4-5 seem to contradict each other. But the fact that they are grouped together shows they do not. Rather, they cover two situations. The reader must determine when it is best to answer not a fool (ignore him) and when to answer him. He must be answered if silence would cause harm to the fool or to others.
Even more hopeless than the situation of the fool (vv. 1–11) is the situation of the stubbornly unteachable person, who is wise in his own eyes (see v. 5).
These proverbs focus on the sluggard. He looks ridiculous in his laziness (vv. 13–15) even while considering himself wise (v. 16). In fearing the lion (v. 13), he uses a remote possibility of danger as an excuse for not working.
Verses 17–22 describe a person who uses his words carelessly. Someone who stands behind a passing dog and grabs it by the ears is temporarily safe from harm. But he is actually trapped, because the angry dog will attack him when he lets go.
These verses concern the liar. He artfully disguises his lies, and one should take care not to be fooled by him (vv. 23–25). Eventually his lies will be exposed and he will be trapped in his own deceit (vv. 26–28).
How are these Proverbs helpful for you?
Proverbs 27 – Emotions. There is a good kind of jealousy, the opposite of indifference (Exodus 34:14). But this proverb is pondering a selfish and vindictive kind of jealousy. The proverb points out that the impact of wrath and anger can be hard to bear, but jealousy goes beyond both. Wrath and anger react to something that is wrong, but jealousy reacts to something that is right and good. Cain did not murder Abel because Abel had wronged him (1 John 3:12). It was jealousy that aroused the enemies of Jesus against Him (Matthew 27:18). It was jealousy that moved the enemies of Jesus against Lazarus (John 12:9–11). The early church was persecuted out of jealousy (Acts 5:17–18; 13:44–45). Wrath and anger are irrational, but jealousy is calculating and therefore more sinister.
The gospel comforts us when we are mistreated in this way. It reminds us of the greater judgment of God (Proverbs 24:19–20). Moreover, the gospel teaches us to look for, and humbly rejoice in, the overruling glory of God that culminates in Jesus’ victory, even when others are acting out of jealous motives (Philippians 1:12–18). Wisdom says, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30).
How do you allow the truth of who you are in Jesus keep from getting caught up in jealousy?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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