Mighty God, Your strength and Your awesome presence, Your love and grace, are with me all of my days. Thanks and praise to You.
Read Proverbs 25:1-28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Without overtly stressing the great prophetic themes (e.g., the covenant), the proverbs show how Israel’s distinctive faith affected daily life. The book of Proverbs is a guidebook for successful living, not only for the Israelites, but for us as well.
I revel in the (over 20) cascading metaphors of this chapter: the sprained ankle, vinegar on soda, coals on an enemy’s head, the muddied spring, the broken wall, the bone-breaking tongue (a surprise!), apples, skies, clouds, honey! Slow me down, Lord! Help me not just to see—but to observe, to gaze, to stare, and to notice. Help me not just to surf, to scroll, to tweet through life. Make me a person with my senses awake, fully alive to everyday things. I do not need to go to exotic places with staggering panoramas; I can just observe a single geranium flower, its five finely marked sky-blue petals, its filigree pistil and stamens and a busy bee at work… I thank you, Lord, for the vivacity of these proverbs. Make me a person who sees with my ears and hears with my eyes, who finds windows into your work and wisdom everywhere.
Not every saying in this chapter yields its meaning easily. Does the north wind bring rain (23a)? An alternative to the NIV translation of verse 27b is “to research heavy things is good.” So I sit with those sayings I do understand: Don’t push your luck with your neighbor! Don’t push in front of others in a line! Listen to a wise rebuke: one of those rare situations where it is more blessed to receive than to give! Many of the sayings are about relationships—to important people, your neighbor, your adversary, the message-bringer, the heavy-hearted, family members. I ask for grace and wisdom. It seems Jesus pondered verses 6, 7 and 9 (Luke 14:7–10; Matt. 18:15). Paul clearly knew verses 21 and 22 (Rom. 12:20,21).
What do the repeated themes in Proverbs do for you?
Lord, out of my careful, ardent listening and observing, give me golden, soul-refreshing words, crafted to the particular hearer before me, mending or breaking bones as the need arises.
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