The proverbs of the Bible were intended not only as principles to guide everyday living, but were used also like proverbs are used today in English, to explain various situations in life. As you read through these proverbs today, think not only of how guide, but also how they explain a lot of life. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ll be listing a number of what I think are great proverbs, but I’ll only be commenting on a few.
“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, But desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12 — Guilt is the number one reason for depression, but hope deferred is easily number two. To be disillusioned you must first have had an illusion. Change to a hope that can be realized and watch how your spirits soar!
“He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.” Proverbs 13:24 — Diligence here strongly implies consistency, the principle that many a poor parent neglects.
“The wise woman builds her house, But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.” Proverbs 14:1 — What builds? Love, encouragement, respect, following a husband’s lead, busy hands, kindness, forgiveness, romance, contentment, a gentle and quiet spirit, service to her family, and more. What tears down? A sharp tongue, continual complaint, disrespect, grabbing the reins, grudges, idleness, selfishness, harsh judgment, coolness, discontent, and more. Are you building or tearing down your own house?
“Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, But much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.” Proverbs 14:4 — In a nutshell, this is a proverb about the “cost of doing business”, but it applies to way more than just business. Every homemaker would like their neat and clean home to stay that way, but with children and — well anybody living in the house — it’s a little unrealistic. The cost of a happy family is a little dirt and chaos (not in the extreme, of course). If you want the strength of the ox, you have to live with a dirty manger. I know of a congregation who wants to pay their minister a salary much below a living wage, but doesn’t want him to get another job or look for outside support (it wouldn’t look good for us) — If you want the strength of the ox, you have to live with a dirty manger. The cost of having a much needed and effective minister is to allow him and his family to eat: pay him, let him “make tents”, or allow him to raise support!
“Leave the presence of a fool, Or you will not discern words of knowledge.” Proverbs 14:7 — The company you keep can keep you from learning and growing wiser.
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 — There’s actually a psychological research that backs this principle up — God knew it a long time before scientists discovered it. You can actually dial-down the emotions of an emotional situation by simply lowering the volume of your voice. But turn up the volume and up goes the emotion and irrationality! A good thing to remember next time you have a discussion with your spouse.
“A scoffer does not love one who reproves him, He will not go to the wise.” Proverbs 15:12 — The scoffer seeks counsel only of the those who agree with him.
“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, But the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” Proverbs 15:28 — Quick words equal trouble.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.