Us & Others
Reading Proverbs 24 1-22
The book of proverbs opens with the words ‘The proverbs of Solomon son of David king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, for doing what is right and just and fair.
A few questions
- Where do people get wisdom from?
- Who do they get discipline from?
- Who do you learn from?
- What do you learn from?
The beginning of Proverbs continues, ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and knowledge.’
As Christians we believe that all knowledge is of God and that his wisdom is in the bible, so I thought that looking at part of this wisdom might be good for us all.
1-2 Don’t envy bad people; don’t even want to be around them. All they think about is causing a disturbance; all they talk about is making trouble.
Envy is a sin, its one of the Ten Commandments, yet we see people envying those with things they don’t have. This passage says we shouldn’t envy those who are bad, not to be even around them.
Yet in our culture many young and older people are taken in with the ways of celebrates and other such people. Now I do not think they are all bad but I do believe that we are being warned against letting ourselves get drawn in by a desire to be like them into acting like them and a lot of what they do is not very Godly is it.
19-20 Don’t bother your head with braggarts
or wish you could succeed like the wicked.
Those people have no future at all;
they’re headed down a dead-end street.
Just because people boast and strut around in the lime light doesn’t make them good role models.
Just think a bit about some footballers, politicians, even some ministers.
3-4 It takes wisdom to build a house,
and understanding to set it on a firm foundation;
It takes knowledge to furnish its rooms
with fine furniture and beautiful draperies.
To live as God intends us to be is to build a house; Jesus said a foolish man builds on sand while the wise man builds on a rock.
But its not just about building a house, we need to have things in that house.
What’s in yours?
A snap shot of your life, would people entering your home know you followed God?
Now lets think about your spiritual house, you.
What is that built upon?
What is in it?
Have you furnished your own life with good things, things God would be proud of or lots of junk and tat that God frowns at?
13-14 Eat honey, dear child—it’s good for you—
and delicacies that melt in your mouth.
and wisdom for your soul—
Get that and your future’s secured,
your hope is on solid rock.
Yes honey is great to eat, well I like it along with many other foods.
But this is really not about food other than the fact that good food is good for you and you do well to eat it, as it makes us healthy and strong. No this part is about what we feed our soul on.
What do you read?
What do you watch?
What spiritual food do you get each day? If we need food and water every day we also need Gods word, and his presence each day so that we can grow healthy and strong in our faith.
If we get the right spiritual food then its like building our own spiritual house on firm foundations, so what do you feed yourself every day?
Do you spend some time every day in His presence?
Do you read or study his word every day?
Do you pray about the situations in your life every day?
Do you share your needs with other Christians so that they can pray for you?
10 If you fall to pieces in a crisis,
there wasn’t much to you in the first place.
The strength of our trust in God is tested in the crises of our lives and others see that and wonder.
15-16 Don’t interfere with good people’s lives;
don’t try to get the best of them.
No matter how many times you trip them up,
God-loyal people don’t stay down long;
Soon they’re up on their feet,
while the wicked end up flat on their faces.
At first look this section looks odd, why shouldn’t we interfere in people’s lives, and if they are good they will understand we mean it for there good won’t they.
And what has that got to do with them getting back up while the wicked stay down.
Well I think it comes down to Envy again, part of that verse says ‘don’t try to get the best of them’.
The interference is about trying to out do them, put them in there place, and show that you are better than them.
And why do we want to do that, because we have envy. We want others to see us to be better than them.
But no matter how many times you get the better of them, God will help them back up.
Isn’t that great, God will help you back up when you fall, due to others envy.
I also don’t think this is an open order to have a go at beating bad people either, we would have to envy them first and that goes against the first bit we looked at, now elsewhere in the bible we are told that God will deal with people himself.
So this part continues with
17-18 Don’t laugh when your enemy falls;
don’t crow over his collapse.
God might see, and become very provoked,
and then take pity on his plight.
We should not take joy over seeing these people fall, God loves them even if they don’t know it and if we laugh we just show that we are no better than them and God might well change his mind.
God does change his mind; see Jonah as well as other places.
In fact I think that we should help
11-12 Rescue the perishing;
don’t hesitate to step in and help.
If you say, “Hey, that’s none of my business,”
will that get you off the hook?
Someone is watching you closely, you know—
Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
The story of the Good Samaritan is always a good one to think of when we see others struggling.
God will bless us for helping one of his children and that might be the act that opens there heart to hear from God and you will have helped to save them.
21-22 Fear God, dear child—respect your leaders;
don’t be defiant or mutinous.
Without warning your life can turn upside down,
and who knows how or when it might happen?
This passage comes to an end with the order, the command to Fear God, dear child.
Do you fear God?
What happens if you don’t?
What happens if you do?
And then we are reminded, that we do not know when our life could end, or when things could be turned around and everything in our life change with out us wanting it to.
What would you do if your life started to fall apart around you?
Would you, could you trust in God, even through that?
I will leave you with that thought.