Read: Proverbs 19-20 and Psalm 89
One of my primary motivations for digging deep in the Old Testament is to gain a solid understanding of the scriptures that those in Jesus’ time knew so well. In these two chapters in particular we learn many wise sayings that Jesus uses to turn heads with parables. Imagine knowing these proverbs by heart, studying them every day as you strive to work out your faith as best you know how. Suddenly, Jesus of Nazareth appears and causes you to do more than memorize proverbs and genealogies, he requires you to think–what a concept!
For example you would no doubt agree with: An inheritance claimed too soon will not be blessed at the end Proverbs 20:21, then Jesus tells the story of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15). It makes me laugh the think how many scholars couldn’t get past Luke 15:12 — hold on, say that again? The father gave him his inheritance? What?? Jesus continues on with the story while they are stuck say, will not be blessed. I’m guessing many missed the point and couldn’t watch the replay on Vimeo.
Jesus had much to say about the poor, the widow, the lost and the least–all of which tell me to take care as I read these proverbs. Nothing Jesus said ran counter to the wisdom here. My point is these were well known by everyone in his area. Solomon was highly admired by all surrounding nations, his wisdom was not questioned; rather, it was learned.
Lord, help me to keep this in mind as I read your inspired words of wisdom here.
Proverbs 19 provides some interesting thoughts about those who are poor.
- 19:1 – Better the poor whose walk is blameless than a fool whose lips are perverse.
- 19:4 – Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.
- 19:7 – The poor are shunned by all their relatives—how much more do their friends avoid them! Though the poor pursue them with pleading, they are nowhere to be found.
- 19:22 – What a person desires is unfailing love; better to be poor than a liar.
It’s one thing to be without wealth, it’s another thing to be poor. I may not have wealth, but I will continue to strive to walk in the ways of the Lord and let my reward come in eternal life.
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
This is a proverb to hold onto carefully, especially in light of Matthew 25:31-46. Again, the words of Jesus help us understand how to apply the proverbs of old.
Proverbs 20 includes several verses that refer to our hearts, lips, eyes, ears and mouth — our five senses.
- 20:5 – The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.
- 20:9 – Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”?
- 20:12 – Ears that hear and eyes that see—the Lord has made them both.
- 20:15 – Gold there is, and rubies in abundance, but lips that speak knowledge are a rare jewel.
Honestly, I’m overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of proverbs in these two chapters. So much to take in. I’ve only scratched the surface, and perhaps unjustly treated the scripture by quickly reading through the text, but I’m in awe of the words as they wash over me. Perhaps I should go back and rewrite each proverb as a prayer:
Lord, help me understand how to let you direct my steps for I cannot understand my own way (Proverbs 20:24).
Help me to have eyes and ears that see and hear as you, Lord, especially this particular weekend as we (Healthy Growing Churches) gather to answer the call from brothers and sisters in Christ for assistance. Help us to have insight that draws out the purpose you have for your church. To you be the glory forever. Amen.