Since it’s the 27th, Katie and I read Proverbs 27 together this morning; whether you believe God gives us a chapter of Proverbs for each day of the month, it still works out nicely for us to introduce wisdom into our lives regularly. During our reading this morning, I was encouraged by a number of verses and wanted to pass along some thoughts; the point isn’t to comment on every verse, but share what stood out…
1 Do not boast about tomorrow,
For you do not know what a day may bring forth.
This isn’t condemning planning or preparing for the future as that would conflict with other Proverbs telling us to do just that: Proverbs 6:6-11, 21:20, 27:12. It’s is a criticism of declaring what will happen in the future; it’s condemning the pride of being a false prophet and foretelling the future. The same warning is given in the New Testament in James 4:13-16.
2 Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips.
My wife made a good point that the word “Let” shows it’s not bad for others to speak well of us; it’s only bad if we’re the ones doing it.
3 A stone is heavy and sand is weighty,
But a fool’s wrath (or provocation in the NIV, ESV, NASB, WB) is heavier than both of them.
When a fool provokes you, it’s very hard not to respond. I wrote about this in a recent post: “How to Deal with a Fool.”
5 Open rebuke is better
Than love carefully concealed.
6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend,
But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
I wrote about these fantastic verses in a recent post: “Correcting People is Loving.”
7 A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb,
But to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.
When you’re full, even something as delicious as honey is unattractive, but when you’re hungry enough even the worst tasting food is appealing: “There are no picky eaters in third world countries.”
Katie and I believe this is a great verse for parents at mealtime: if your kids don’t want to eat what’s put in front of them, they’re not hungry enough.
14 He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
It will be counted a curse to him.
A friend might have the most wonderful thing to say, but if he/she shows up at your door at 3am to tell you it’ll sound more like a curse. Katie had written in her Bible, “Timing is everything.”
17 As iron sharpens iron,
So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
This relates to my recent posts about giving and receiving correction.
18 Whoever keeps the fig tree will eat its fruit;
So he who waits on his master will be honored.
19 As in water face reflects face,
So a man’s heart reveals the man.
The heart – and not the way someone looks outwardly – is the real revelation of a person.
20 Hell and Destruction are never full;
So the eyes of man are never satisfied.
One of the strongest verses in the Bible discussing the emptiness people experience looking at porn.
21 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
And a man is valued by what others say of him.
Fire tests gold and silver and reveals the value of it, and the same is true of people when they’re praised:
- Praise tests whether people become prideful.
- Praise reveals whether people have the character to stay humble.
22 Though you grind a fool in a mortar with a pestle along with crushed grain,
Yet his foolishness will not depart from him.
Fools don’t listen, they don’t learn; they can experience terrible consequences as a result of their foolishness, but they stay the same. I discussed this verse in the post I mentioned earlier: “How to Deal with a Fool.”
23 Be diligent to know the state of your flocks,
And attend to your herds;
24 For riches are not forever,
Nor does a crown endure to all generations.
25 When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself,
And the herbs of the mountains are gathered in,
26 The lambs will provide your clothing,
And the goats the price of a field;
27 You shall have enough goats’ milk for your food,
For the food of your household,
And the nourishment of your maidservants.
Although these verses aren’t primarily for pastors, I found tremendous encouragement and exhortation as a pastor:
- Know your flock and take care of the people that are part of it (v. 23).
- Riches and wealth don’t last and can’t take care of you, but if you take care of your flock, your flock will take care of you (vv. 24-27).