June 10, 2020
The book of Proverbs is a collection of short sayings in the Old Testament meant to instill wisdom in God’s people. As we read, it is important to remember that a proverb is a statement which is generally true in principle, not a universally true promise. Let’s dig into the Word together and allow the Lord to shape our hearts, our minds, and our lives in his wisdom over the next month!
This chapter of the book of Proverbs concludes the “sayings of the wise”. It covers a range of topics including prudent and wise home building, good work ethic, and refusing to join with the schemes of the wicked or to envy them. It also addresses issues of justice and how God’s people are called to live in times of adversity: verses 10-11 say “If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. Rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to slaughter.”
God’s people are meant to show the strength and integrity of their character during the “day of adversity” by looking to the good of others, stepping out to rescue those who cannot defend themselves. Throughout the Scriptures God makes His concern for the oppressed, the lowly, and the “least of these” clear, and He calls His people to love, care for, and show mercy on such. Those who suffer injustice and oppression move God’s heart to compassion in a special way!
This truth, coupled with the prohibition of partiality in verse 23 and the commendation to rebuke the wicked in verse 25, is a timely reminder for the people of God in our culture and context right now. We are commanded to rise up on behalf of the oppressed, to shine the light of God’s truth, compassion, love, mercy, and justice into the darkness of the world around us. We must respond to the injustice and oppression we see around us, showing the same depth of care, concern, and boldness that Jesus demonstrated on behalf of those who were marginalized during His earthly ministry.
24 Be not envious of evil men,
nor desire to be with them,
2 for their hearts devise violence,
and their lips talk of trouble.
3 By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth.
8 Whoever plans to do evil
will be called a schemer.
9 The devising of folly is sin,
and the scoffer is an abomination to mankind.
10 If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
11 Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
12 If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?
13 My son, eat honey, for it is good,
and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
14 Know that wisdom is such to your soul;
if you find it, there will be a future,
and your hope will not be cut off.
15 Lie not in wait as a wicked man against the dwelling of the righteous;
do no violence to his home;
16 for the righteous falls seven times and rises again,
but the wicked stumble in times of calamity.
17 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
18 lest the Lord see it and be displeased,
and turn away his anger from him.
19 Fret not yourself because of evildoers,
and be not envious of the wicked,
20 for the evil man has no future;
the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
21 My son, fear the Lord and the king,
and do not join with those who do otherwise,
22 for disaster will arise suddenly from them,
and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?
More Sayings of the Wise
23 These also are sayings of the wise.
Partiality in judging is not good.
24 Whoever says to the wicked, “You are in the right,”
will be cursed by peoples, abhorred by nations,
25 but those who rebuke the wicked will have delight,
and a good blessing will come upon them.
26 Whoever gives an honest answer
kisses the lips.
27 Prepare your work outside;
get everything ready for yourself in the field,
and after that build your house.
28 Be not a witness against your neighbor without cause,
and do not deceive with your lips.
29 Do not say, “I will do to him as he has done to me;
I will pay the man back for what he has done.”
30 I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
31 and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
32 Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
34 and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
Family Discussion Question:
- What does it look like, practically, for God’s people to seek justice on behalf of those who have experienced injustice or oppression? How can we live this out as the church today, as families today?