Read: Proverbs 24:23-26:28 and Psalm 90
There is great wisdom in today’s reading, so much that it’s impractical for me to cover in detail. I pray you will take time to read this section and find that which speaks to your heart this morning.
Coming home from a consultation weekend, I’m incredibly humbled to think that we might have any insight worthy of consideration, but here’s why I think it works and how it applies to reading through proverbs: when we gather together with sincere hearts that are committed to building Christ’s church without selfish ambition or hidden agendas; when we share thoughts surrounded by love and covered in prayer; when we listen earnestly to those who desire to serve Christ above all others; then our words, in communion with the Holy Spirit, convey wisdom and wise decisions prevail. There is no single person or thought that drives the direction; it is a collective effort of like-minded Christ-followers seeking His will above all else–at least that is my prayer!
And so, as my friend Tony Jeck would often say, let’s consider some highlights of proverbs in Proverbs 24:23-34, the last part of chapter 24 followed by a compilation of Solomon’s proverbs by Hezekiah’s men (the rest of today’s reading), some 200+ years after King Solomon.
Here are some that stuck out to me.
An honest answer
is like a kiss on the lips.
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
One of my father’s favorite proverbs:
If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
Kindness and honesty are a crucial couple. My dad would often tell me, “kill them with kindness” and “keep your enemies close.” I’m sure he was referring to this proverb as he lived out his faith genuinely and demonstrated to us this was more important than winning an argument. As much as we want to love our neighbors, we know that sense is not always reciprocated. But our challenge remains nonetheless: keep love as a priority and let God deal with those with hardened hearts.
Proverbs 26:1-12 — Fools
If I’m ever wondering if my actions are like that of a fool, these 12 verses provide something to consider. It seems to me there is much tension between dealing with a fool and loving others. At what point does our neighbor become a fool? Perhaps this is why there are so many proverbs on judgment, using honest scales, wisely seeking counsel, being truthful, etc. Somehow we must be good judges that don’t elevate ourselves above others yet know how to identify fools and respond appropriately. Here is yet another call for working together with others who are trying to work out their faith in Jesus. Lord, help me to surround myself with wise, discerning believers that will help me learn the difference between a fool and foolish behavior. Help me to see both and respond as you would, to call out the behavior and lead people back to you gently.
So much wisdom to consider. I leave you with this thought, this great prayer and constant desire for us all:
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Lord, may the work of our hands be useful in building your kingdom here on earth today.