Proverbs 23:1-18 – Don’t Envy

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There are some interesting truths shared in today’s reading. I’m sure I’m missing some of the intended meanings due to cultural differences and such. What spoke to me most is the counsel on envy in verse 17, with the promise in verse 18. “Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the Lord. You will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.”

How many times have you wished for something your neighbor had? One of my childhood memories is longing for a horse of my own when the neighbor girl across the street got hers. She would ride this majestic creature from the pasture where she kept him into our suburban neighborhood. She would brush him and give him a bath… right there in her driveway! Of course, I would be glued to the window watching her every move, wondering when my day would come to have a horse of my own. That is still a bucket list item for me – to have a horse of my own.

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Proverbs 22:17-29 – Anger Management

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You’re seeing it right. Smack dab in the middle of this Chapter, we see a new list of “30 Wise Sayings.” These are all designed to teach us so we will trust in the Lord. Solomon’s words are meant to help us navigate this life and avoid the common problems that often plague us and keep us separated from God. Today’s selection is particularly helpful.

We all know angry people. What counsel do we have? “Don’t befriend angry people or associate with hot-tempered people, or you will learn to be like them and endanger your soul.” That’s pretty harsh. Don’t befriend or even associate with angry people. I suppose it’s true that we often take on the characteristics of those we hang around with. We start talking with an accent or using phrases we hear our friends use. It’s a natural occurrence. If we want to avoid negative behaviors, it makes sense that we should stay away from people who have them.

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Proverbs 22:1-16 – Is Being Lazy Okay?

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Today I would love a rainy day with no plans so I could just curl up with a good book and spend the day watching Netflix. Does that mean I want a “lazy” day? Absolutely. But I certainly wouldn’t want to do it every day. I have a lot of drive and ambition cursing through my veins which makes it hard to just sit still for very long. I’m sure if I had the “perfect” lazy day, I would soon be up doing something useful.

Today’s verse is “The lazy person claims, ‘There’s a lion out there! If I go outside, I might be killed!’” I had to write about this one because it just made me giggle. I’m not sure only a lazy person would fear a lion in the yard, but what might someone with motivation for success (opposite of a lazy bum) have said? Something like – “There’s a lion out there, where’s my gun” or “How do I divert the lion’s attention so I can go where I want to go?” The lazy person is trapped. The motivated person has options.

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Proverbs 21:22-31 – We are Not God

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“God is God and I am not,” is a saying we would repeat in our recovery ministry. Why? Because it is important to understand and accept the infinite distinction between God and his creation. We have been given the ability to reason and make choices, but God has the ultimate say and control. He is the one to be revered for his deeds, not us. We can not take credit for what God is doing. We need to know our place is to follow God and not the other way around.

The proverb in verse 30 is pretty clear on this. “No human wisdom or understanding or plan can stand against the Lord.” God is sovereign. He is the supreme ruler. There is nothing that can stand against him. We may think we’re smart, but we need to remember where our wisdom comes from. Even the most learned scholars only have merely a fraction of the wisdom of God.

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Proverbs 21:11-21 – The Great Pursuit

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Did you picture a movie scene with one car in hot pursuit of another? Screeching tires and dust billowing all over?! There is no question, you see a definite intention to catch up with the other vehicle. It’s not just for fun, it’s serious. Or perhaps you thought of some of your own pursuits, a college degree, a career, wealth, fame.

Solomon has some great wisdom for us in verse 21. He says, “Whoever pursues righteousness and unfailing love will find life, righteousness, and honor.” Have you ever thought about pursuing righteousness or unfailing love? In some translations, unfailing love is referred to as loyalty. As I understand it, the word used for “pursue” here is stronger and more intentional than just a whim or something we’d “like” to have. We are to chase or follow, full of energy and definite intention. We are not to just search for but to conquer and overtake. This is serious business. Why righteousness and unfailing love?

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