Tag Archives: Proverbs

A Proverbial Word/ Wisdom Leads to Life, Foolishness to Death


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As you read the following verses from 1st Proverbs, think about the last time you wanted to find something out.  Did you go to Google or another search engine?  We seek information, but that is not the same as wisdom.  According to this poem in Proverbs, wisdom is actually out there actively looking out for us, to lead us in the direction of life.  Sadly, we often hide away from wisdom and our foolishness leads us into trouble, sometimes even to death.

The Call of Wisdom

20 Wisdom cries out in the street;
in the squares she raises her voice.
21 At the busiest corner she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks:
22 ‘How long, O simple ones, will you love being simple?
How long will scoffers delight in their scoffing
and fools hate knowledge?
23 Give heed to my reproof;
I will pour out my thoughts to you;
I will make my words known to you.
24 Because I have called and you refused,
have stretched out my hand and no one heeded,
25 and because you have ignored all my counsel
and would have none of my reproof,
26 I also will laugh at your calamity;
I will mock when panic strikes you,
27 when panic strikes you like a storm,
and your calamity comes like a whirlwind,
when distress and anguish come upon you.
28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer;
they will seek me diligently, but will not find me.
29 Because they hated knowledge
and did not choose the fear of the Lord,
30 would have none of my counsel,
and despised all my reproof,
31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way
and be sated with their own devices.
32 For waywardness kills the simple,
and the complacency of fools destroys them;
33 but those who listen to me will be secure
and will live at ease, without dread of disaster.’

A Proverbial Word / Greed Will Ambush You


Proverbs 1: 10 My child, if sinners entice you,
do not consent.
11 If they say, ‘Come with us, let us lie in wait for blood;
let us wantonly ambush the innocent;
12 like Sheol let us swallow them alive
and whole, like those who go down to the Pit.
13 We shall find all kinds of costly things;
we shall fill our houses with booty.
14 Throw in your lot among us;
we will all have one purse’—
15 my child, do not walk in their way,
keep your foot from their paths;
16 for their feet run to evil,
and they hurry to shed blood.
17 For in vain is the net baited
while the bird is looking on;
18 yet they lie in wait—to kill themselves!
and set an ambush—for their own lives!
19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.

There are two points I am going to look at in this proverb. First, as I began to read it took me back to all the lessons on avoiding peer pressure. Second, that the more we get, monetarily or materially, the less we become ourselves.

“My child, if sinners entice you, do not consent.” This is classic good advice. If you wouldn’t do it with me standing there watching, then you know you shouldn’t do it. “If everybody else was jumping off a bridge, would you?” There is a phenomenal pull in the human psyche to go along with people, to fit in. This is all well and good if you only come into contact with people who are doing good things and believe in doing what is right. The problem is, there always seem to be more people who aren’t doing that…and they seem to be having a whole lot of fun! Not only that, but this group seems to want nothing more than to get a pile of other people to do the same. Maybe it is to justify their own actions, or to drown out the sound of their own conscience.

“19 Such is the end of all who are greedy for gain;
it takes away the life of its possessors.” At first glance one might think that this is saying all greedy people will die. That doesn’t make sense though, as all people die. It could refer to not gaining eternal life, but this is the Old Testament so that doesn’t really apply. I also don’t think it means that possessions are inherently bad things. It isn’t the possession but the greed for ever more possessions which is the problem. The more we focus on getting more, and newer, and better things, the less like ourselves we become. I certainly know that the more time I spend surfing the net looking for the next cool thing to buy, the less time I choose to use for actual relaxation, for conversations with family and friends, for time in prayer and Bible reflection.

There is a tug-of-war going on inside us all. This proverb puts some extra weight on the side of righteousness.

A Proverbial Word / Parental Wisdom


 

thanks to Seer Snively Jackal of All Trades on flickr

thanks to Seer Snively, Jackal of All Trades on flickr

Proverbial parenting?

Straight out of the Ten Commandments, after putting the Lord your God first, having no idols, and remembering the Sabbath, we read, “Honour thy father and thy mother.”(Ex 20:12)

Proverbs 8 Hear, my child, your father’s instruction,
   and do not reject your mother’s teaching; 
9 for they are a fair garland for your head,
   and pendants for your neck.

At first glance, of course, one may take the father’s teaching to be from God, but as it is paired with mother’s teaching it becomes clear that this refers to human parents. Imagine that! Listen to the teaching of your parents without rejecting it, wear it on your head and carry it on yourself like a pendant.

Please note, it doesn’t say anything about carrying a chain around your neck or shackles on your feet!  Wisdom, and learning are not meant to weigh us down but to lift us up. To ornament or brighten us.

A Proverbial Word/ Prologue


One of the things frequently heard in my house growing up was, “the proverbial”, as in “the proverbial silver lining!”  The other day I got thinking about how many of the sayings we use in society are, in fact, from the Book of Proverbs and not just local lore. 

It is the readings which are included in Sunday worship throughout the year that we hear interpreted and spend time considering.  In a quick scan of the lectionary readings for years A,B and C I found only five Sundays on which one of the optional reading was from Proverbs. There are none in year A, three in year B, and two in year C.

 So I have decided to go through Proverbs and reflect on some of the items in light of our world situation in 2013.

To begin we have the opening comments;

1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
Prologue
For learning about wisdom and instruction,
   for understanding words of insight, 
for gaining instruction in wise dealing,
   righteousness, justice, and equity; 
to teach shrewdness to the simple,
   knowledge and prudence to the young— 
let the wise also hear and gain in learning,
   and the discerning acquire skill, 
to understand a proverb and a figure,
   the words of the wise and their riddles. 

A little unpacking. From reading the  introductory remarks from the book one would be hard pressed to make any case for this not being important content.  There is nothing to look down on in; wisdom, understanding, insight, justice, equity, shrewdness, knowledge and prudence.  And yet we rarely hear of people spending  lot of time reading and reflecting upon Proverbs.

While the intent is positive, I think most of us view it, at best, as a well meaning lecture from our elders, and at worst, the cynical views of a few people who had everything.  At the risk of  being proverbial, there is a sense that the people who were the source of these sayings should get off their high horses!

Let’s open our minds for the next while and see what Proverbs has to share with us…

As usual I have taken Bible quotes from http://bible.oremus.org/  New Revised Standard Version (Anglicized Edition)