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In Blogging Proverbs I do what it says on the tin, and blog about the book of Proverbs in the Bible.

 

It’s a series of devotionals that I intend to cover every verse of the book.

Proverbs is a book of wisdom, so I hope you don’t end up none the wiser for reading this blog!

Enjoy!

God bless,

Robert

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Walk

Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

Proverbs 28:6 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.6.ESV

The world makes a virtue of money. The pursuit of happiness is perceived to be synonymous with the pursuit of money. The love of money is widespread.

But despite his own fabulous wealth personally, Solomon asserts that it’s better to be poor with integrity than a crooked rich man. Sadly, Solomon himself was corrupted by his pagan wives to worship false gods and their evil ideologies. He could only afford so many wives because he was so rich himself!

This proverb is almost an admission by Solomon personally that he would have been better off poor with integrity. His mother’s first wife Uriah may not have been particularly poor as one of his dad’s elite soldiers, but he certainly had integrity, unlike his adulterous and murderous dad.

Yes, there might be mercy and grace even for adultery and murder. But that doesn’t justify living crookedly. It’s better to be poor with integrity than to be rich and corrupt.

“Gracious Lord, may we not presume upon Your mercy and grace, but be concerned about integrity more than money. For Your honour and praise, amen”

Understanding

Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely.

Proverbs 28:5 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.5.ESV

Justice is a big issue. People talk about social justice a lot. But what actually is justice? Is it whatever a majority think it is? Is it whatever the politically correct agenda of the establishment might be at any time?

Evil men do not understand justice. In order to understand justice we need to seek the Lord, because He is the God of justice. He is the source of right and wrong. If someone deserves reward, it’s because of the grace of God in their lives. If someone deserves their just desserts, it’s because they’ve wickedly forsaken God.

Justice is rooted in God’s law. In summary, this is to love Him wholeheartedly and to love others as we love ourselves. We might be moral people, but if we don’t have good thoughts for God, we’re ultimately in rebellion against Him.

If we want to know if we’re being just, we can’t go far wrong as to consider whether what we’re thinking of doing is loving. Would it be loving to upload that picture or like that comment? If not, don’t do it!

“God of justice, may we live justly and walk humbly with You our Lord, all the days of our lives. For the honour of Your name, amen”

Strive

Those who forsake the law praise the wicked, but those who keep the law strive against them.

Proverbs 28:4 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.4.ESV

What is legal according to the secular laws of the land isn’t necessarily what is moral. In Solomon’s day the law was that which God had revealed to Moses, so there was no contradiction between legality and morality. In summary it was to love God wholeheartedly and to love others as we love ourselves.

To forsake God’s law means we end up praising the wicked, those who don’t love God wholeheartedly, or love others as themselves. God’s law prohibits homosexuality. “Love is love!” people protest. But lust is lust- whether it’s homosexual or heterosexual.

To keep God’s law sometimes requires self denial of our natural inclinations. We aren’t just to strive against people who forsake God’s law. We are also to strive against our own inclination to break God’s law.

Our battle isn’t against flesh and blood, but against the spiritual forces of evil. We’re in a battle for people’s hearts and minds to be transformed by the grace of God. We take every thought captive to obey Christ.

“God of love, teach us what it means to take every thought captive to obey Christ. May we strive to win souls for Him, in whose name we pray, amen”

Monsoon

A poor man who oppresses the poor is a beating rain that leaves no food.

Proverbs 28:3 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.3.ESV

Coming from the UK, this proverb can really be empathised with, and not just because of widespread poverty and oppression in one of the richest countries in the world. We may be a green and pleasant land, but it rains- a lot! That’s why there’s so much greenery!

I think Solomon has in mind a harder rain than the regular drizzle of precipitation that the British have to endure. He’s on about a beating monsoon downpour that is so strong and powerful that it destroys crops. That is what the poor oppressing the poor is like.

It’s bad enough that the rich oppress the poor. Just because we might expect that doesn’t mean to say that it’s justified- cats fattening themselves on the blood, sweat, toil and tears of their workforces. But when you have some kind of upstart supervisor who bears down heavily on people who are only beneath him by a peg or two on the societal ladder, that’s really sad.

When someone’s poor, you expect them to have a bit of sympathy with their fellow poor. Sadly, people are often out for number one. For them it’s survival of the fittest, and if they have to trample upon others in the rat race, then so be it.

“God of the poor, forbid that we should oppress the poor, whether we are rich or poor ourselves. Defender of the weak, we cry out for justice for the oppressed. In Jesus’ name, amen”

Stability

When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.

Proverbs 28:2 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.2.ESV

This proverb flies against the grain of political correctness nowadays, so that our Western democratic assumptions are challenged. We tend to think that lots of different rulers means there’s lots of checks and balances, and power isn’t too concentrated in one person’s hands. But to Solomon, a long reign meant stability for his people of Israel.

Take Iraq for example, where Saddam Hussein was defeated by the West and democracy was imposed by the barrel of a gun. But without wishing to be an apologist for tyranny, surely an undemocratic stability, such as there was in Iraq until the West meddled, was better than the democratic anarchy there has been in that land for over fifteen years?

It’s true that many dictators heavily persecute God’s people, and no one mourns when they’re deposed, like Sudan’s dictator recently (at the time of writing). But it’s also true that they often bring a measure of stability to their countries, as long as their people don’t seek to overthrow them.

Take Putin for another example. By no means do I wish to be an apologist for him, but he is genuinely popular in Russia. And whatever else may be said about him, he’s brought a measure of stability to that great nation, and a sense of pride to its people after the loss of the Cold War and the collapse of the USSR.

“King of kings, how we praise You that Your reign is from everlasting to everlasting. Thank You for the stability that brings to us Your people, even as the tyrants of this world seek to persecute us. Help us trust in You, our shield and our defender, forevermore, amen”

Lion

The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.

Proverbs 28:1 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.28.1.ESV

If you’ve got a guilty conscience, you’re going to be paranoid that your sin will find you out, as it inevitably will. But until the day of judgement, the wicked often get away with stuff. Still, they’re always afraid they’re going to be caught out by their wrongdoing.

Have you ever been scared someone’s following you? You start running in the hope to shake them off, and until you reach safety, there’s moments of panic. That’s what the wicked are like often, always looking over their shoulders, scared they’ll be stabbed in the back as they stab people in the back.

The righteous on the other hand are as bold as a lion. If you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear from the law. No one’s ever going to pass a law against the fruit of the Spirit!

We’ll never be penalised for love, joy and peace etc. So if we’re righteous, we don’t need to be afraid, we can be as bold as a lion. Satan might prowl around *like* a roaring lion, but he isn’t actually a lion- he’s a coward. One look at the Lion of the tribe of Judah and he flees. *Nothing* can separate us from God’s love for us in Christ Jesus our Lord- so we can and should be bold!

“Yahweh our God, thank You for making wicked people like us righteous in Christ Jesus our Lord. Please transform us from cowardice to courage. For the glory of Your Son, amen”

Steward

Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations? When the grass is gone and the new growth appears and the vegetation of the mountains is gathered, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field. There will be enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household and maintenance for your girls.

Proverbs 27:23‭-‬27 ESV

https://bible.com/bible/59/pro.27.23-27.ESV

This is an uncharacteristically long proverb, although that’s not saying much. It’s still only about a paragraph long. It’s all about being a good steward of all that God’s given you. You might not have much, but if you steward it well, you can multiply what you have.

On the other side of the coin, we might be rich, but poor stewards of our wealth. If that’s the case we’re likely to squander it. Solomon isn’t teaching how to get rich for its own sake, but in order to have enough for ourselves and our dependants.

Another thing Solomon is teaching is that there’s times and seasons to wealth. In very agricultural terms, he teaches that there’s times to invest our wealth, and times to spend it. We all have different seasons in our lives- harvests when we accumulate wealth and winters when we spend what we have earned.

Riches don’t last forever. So invest in the kingdom of God. Support gospel work financially, and you will have treasures in heaven. Only Christ’s crown of glory as the King of kings will endure forever. Every earthly kingdom will fall, so enter God’s kingdom in faith and trust in Christ.

“King of kings, help us to be good stewards of what You give us. May we invest our talents in Your kingdom, for the glory of Your name, amen”