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.
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.
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.
“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
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
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?