Archive for the ‘Proverbs 25’ Category


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 25:13 Like the coolness of snow at harvest time is a trustworthy messenger to those who send him, he refreshes the spirit of his masters. 

Are you a breath of fresh air to all who trust you? Do you refresh the spirits of those who depend on you, like a cool drink on a hot fall day? Are you especially a source of joy to your employer? Faithfulness is a great thing, but it is a rare thing today. There are people trusting you and depending on you, and you are a relief and pleasure to them based on the degree of your faithfulness. The lesson of the proverb is the joy created by a faithful man.

Harvest occurred in the fall in Israel. After a hot summer and all the hard work of bringing a harvest into the barns and garners, the reapers, threshers, and other workers were parched and weary. The arrival of cool weather was a wonderful relief and pleasure, and so was a drink cooled by snow preserved from nearby mountains (Pr 25:25). Snow itself in harvest was not good; it was the cool weather or cooling effect of snow that was good. Solomon used this refreshing effect of cool weather or a cool drink for his simile.

Solomon used a messenger, or ambassador, for the lesson, though it applies to all jobs and duties. Rather than working under constant supervision, a messenger would be sent with news, covenants, or ultimatums to other places. It would be easy to delay departure, linger on the way, get sidetracked, forget details of the message, present it in the wrong way, say more than needed, misperceive the response, or fail in other ways (Pr 13:17).

Faithfulness is a great measure of a man’s character (Pr 11:13; 14:5; 27:6; 28:20). Most men claim to be faithful. Just read their resumes or listen to them talk! But there are only a few truly faithful men in any generation (Pr 20:6). A faithful man meticulously fulfills every duty to equal or exceed the expectations of those trusting or depending on him.

How faithful are you? Are you early to work and appointments? Are you known for punctuality? Do you pace yourself on projects? Do you procrastinate? Do you always hit deadlines? Are you easily sidetracked? Are you distracted quickly? Do you always finish projects? Do you get the details others need? Are you a great communicator so that all parties know all that is needed? Are your quality and quantity greater than expected?

Faithful men are rare. You can separate yourself from the crowd by faithfulness in your assignments (Pr 22:29; Luke 2:52). Do your duties in such a way that those trusting you and depending on you are filled with excitement at your outstanding performance. And this applies from President of the United States to being a great student in kindergarten!

God’s messengers should be the most faithful men. Only very faithful men tested by real duties should ever be ordained (I Tim 3:1-7). He should be the most diligent and faithful man in the church and focused on his God-given duties without distraction (Phil 2:19-22; I Tim 4:12-16; II Tim 2:3-4; Titus 1:5-11). It is a disgusting shame when the ministry is referred to as a “nonprofit profession” due to the dereliction of duty of most ministers.

The rest of your life begins now. Who is trusting you and depending on you that needs a refreshing drink of cool water or the relief of a cool breeze? Get to your duties and fulfill each one better than expected. Child, make your bed and clean your room perfectly. Wife, have a real meal for your family tonight. Husband, do not relax or sleep tonight without training your family. Mr. President, provide fully for our national success.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 25:7 It is better for him to say to you, “Come up here” than for him to humiliate you before a nobleman

Humility will win the favor of God and men. Humility is crucial to be a great Christian, a successful leader, a gracious person, or a man with friends. True humility never presumes on the activities, approval, or presence of others. It is far better to be invited than to invite yourself, because you may and should be rejected on the basis of such presumption. Let others make you important rather than trying to do so yourself (Pr 25:27; 27:2).

Only half of the proverb is here. These words are the explanation and reward for taking a humble approach in public gatherings. The first half declares, “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men.” Solomon taught humility by teaching good manners for social events. It is better to take a back seat and be invited forward than to take a front seat and be asked to move back in front of those present.

The Lord Jesus Christ used the same illustration for humility, when He saw proud guests at a meal choosing the better seats (Luke 14:7-10). With greater detail than Solomon, as a parable is more detailed than a proverb, Jesus described the public shame of being asked to move lower versus the public honor of being asked to move higher! He concluded by declaring that He would reward humility and punish pride (Luke 14:11). Beware!

While the shame of public dishonor and rejection makes the proverb potent and valuable, the pride of your soul is what must be identified and eliminated. Proud actions that offend others are merely the symptoms of an arrogant spirit and haughty heart. True humility begins in the soul, where you admit your worthlessness before God and commit yourself to serving others rather than expecting or demanding them to honor and serve you.

How are you in group discussions? Can you calmly and patiently listen to others speak, or are you agitated with the need to talk? What about one-on-one conversations? Must you respond to every statement with one of your own? Why is it crucial for you to speak? Why do you feel the need? You are violating the principle of humility taught by this proverb. You should remain silent in most cases until your opinion is specifically sought.

Consider a more distant application of this principle of humility and reservation taught by the proverb. If you are allowed the privilege to use a company expense account while traveling or for other assignments or perks in a job, you should always choose a less expensive place to eat and menu item than a more expensive place and costlier menu item. This choice is crucial for the character of a Joseph or Daniel necessary for success, and it will endear you to those over you approving the bills. They will trust you with more and tell you later to spend more. Many men cannot grasp such simple wisdom.

Your success requires humility and meekness. God Himself will surely bring you down, if you do not hate pride, arrogancy, and presumption (Pr 8:13; 15:25; 16:5; Job 40:9-14). Men will reject you for friendship or business, for most men resent a haughty spirit (Pr 13:10; 26:12,16; 28:11). And you will make costly mistakes, for pride is blinding and deceitful by its presumptions (Pr 11:2; 16:18; 29:23). Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and He will exalt you soon enough (Pr 18:12; Jas 4:10; I Pet 5:6).


Under Gods Command 

Proverbs 25:09-10 If you argue your case with a neighbor, do not betray another mans confidence, or he who hears it may shame you and you will never lose your bad reputation. 

Gossip can ruin your reputation. Yet gossip is incredibly easy. Wise men will know you are wicked and will rebuke you, and you will be disgraced and shamed. The lesson is simple: do not talk critically or negatively about others; do not spread news or rumors; do not slander anyone. Gossip is a heinous sin, and it can permanently stain your reputation.

This is half of a proverb. The first half says, “Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another” (Pr 25:9). Good men only discuss differences or offences with the person involved, not with others. If you tell others about a conflict with someone, those others will know you are hateful, malicious, and wicked.

Jesus Christ taught the same rule of godliness and wisdom. He said, “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone” (Matt 18:15). If you cannot ignore the offence of another, go tell him his fault. Instead of telling others about the problem, tell him alone. The rule is clear and definite.

When you have a problem with someone, it is cruel and malicious to tell others about it. You do so in order to defame and injure the other party and obtain sympathy for your cause. You seek to hurt another person’s reputation and exalt your own. The holy God of heaven considers such intentions and actions to be murder (Matt 5:21-26). Beware!

You should keep controversies and offences between you and your adversary. If you tell others about them, it is called gossip. In the Bible, it was called backbiting, talebearing, tattling, and whispering, if you told the truth. These are terrible sins that God hates. If you lied about the matter, then it was also called slander. It does not matter that these sins are popular today and no longer preached against: they are heinous in God’s sight.

Godly men despise this evil treatment of others, and they will despise the person doing it. They will angrily rebuke those who gossip about others. It is a duty to do so. Solomon wrote, “The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue” (Pr 25:23). It is terrible that more wise men do not put backbiters, talebearers, whisperers, slanderers, and gossips to shame by angry rebukes (Lev 19:17; I Thess 5:14).

If you have a problem with someone, and you cannot gloriously overlook it, go to him alone and settle it through Christian charity. Put a guard on your heart, and do not even think about telling others. Only say complimentary and kind things about other people. Let your reputation be glorious and gracious, always edifying others (Eph 4:29; Col 4:6).


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 25:11 A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in setting of silver

How beautiful is your speech? Would hearers compare it to a beautiful painting or sculpture? King Solomon praised good speech in this proverb by comparing it to an exquisite scene. In your city are many paintings or sculptures of fruit in bowls and other settings, and apples are commonly used. Fine homes are decorated with such lovely art.

Here is a simple simile, a figure of speech of comparison. It is identified by the word “like.” Apples, gold, pictures, and silver are not the real subject matter of the proverb. They only have comparative value taken together as a beautiful setting. Proper speech is praised and recommended by comparing and likening it to their combined beauty.

What are pictures, especially before photography? Since the other uses do not define the word (Num 33:52; Is 2:16), you should find a dictionary summary of this English word.

  • Picture.  A painting, drawing, sculpture, statute or other   symbolic representation of some thing as a work of art.

Can you visualize apples of gold in a painting or sculpture of silver? As in a silver basket or bowl? What a beautiful combination of color and images! So are words well spoken!

As the next verse shows, Solomon again used a simile to praise and encourage good speech (Pr 25:12), though there he used “as” to show the simile. Still using gold, he compared it to fine jewelry. You should easily get the lesson of learning good speech.

Right words used the right way at the right time are wonderful. The person speaking them deserves a kiss on the lips (Pr 24:26). Such proper words are wonderful (Pr 15:23,26; 16:13,24; 22:11; Eccl 12:10; Col 4:6). Will you start today to beautify your speech?

Some have foolishly dreamed this proverb proves an important rule of hermeneutics, or Bible interpretation – single words are more important than their context. They imagine a single word is like gold and its context like silver, and since gold is worth more than silver, then a single word is more important than its context. Incredible! Such wisdom is too high for us (Ps 131:1), since the Holy Spirit has no hermeneutics here, and especially a rule that is entirely contradictory to understanding a passage of scripture. Lord, help us.

Furthermore, a single word is not the point or lesson of the proverb. Paul said much more than one word when giving a word of exhortation (Acts 13:15). And he called Hebrews a word when closing out that lengthy epistle (Heb 13:22)? Solomon and you use the word “word” this way, as something said, quite often (Pr 12:25; 13:13; 14:15; 15:23; Eccl 8:4).

How did Jesus Christ speak? Most beautifully! The synagogue at Nazareth could not believe it (Luke 4:22); Mary could not get enough of it (Luke 10:39); His enemies praised it (Jn 7:46); His beautiful tongue and choice of words had been foretold long before (Is 50:4). Delight in His words as recorded in the Bible, and copy them as well.


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 25:1These are more proverbs of Solomon, copied by the men of Hezekiah King of Judah.

Here is a reminder you are studying Solomon’s proverbs. You have the personal counsel of a very successful king, whom God inspired with divine wisdom and great ability of observation and analysis. The proverbs you have in the following chapters were selected from many by the careful work of men appointed by Hezekiah, another great king.

There is value in this verse of Scripture, or the LORD Jehovah would not have given it to you. There are two intermissions in the book of Proverbs, one at Proverbs 10:1, and one here. God gave you a break to consider again what special words you are reading. Consider the matter carefully, and you will see that here also is wisdom for your learning.

God gave Solomon, son of David and king of Israel, much wisdom and a large heart (I Kgs 3:10-15). He immediately showed Israel his great sense of judgment by dealing with two prostitutes in a wonderful way (I Kgs 3:16-28). He was wiser than all men, and wise men and kings came from all nations to hear him speak on any subject (I Kgs 4:29-34).

God also gave Solomon the other things needed for a full experiment in discovering purpose and pleasure for life. He was a very attractive man (I Sam 16:12; II Sam 11:2); he had unlimited capital (Eccl 2:10); he had no wars or disturbances (I Kgs 4:24-25); and he was an absolute ruler at the height of the power of the Israelite nation (I Kgs 4:20-21).

Consider! He was incredibly skilled and desirable socially; he could afford anything he wanted; he had no opposition or wars to distract him; and everyone would do exactly what he wanted. His great laboratory for experimenting with life was exceptional. No man or group of men, before or since, can even approach his research opportunities or ability in analyzing and summarizing the results. Surveying the homeless does not cut it!

Solomon committed his life to discovering man’s purpose and pleasure in life (Eccl 1:3,12-13). He tried it all, and then some. Wealth? Silver was as common as gravel (I Kgs 10:14-29). Women? He had seven hundred princess wives and three hundred concubines, many of whom he loved with his extra large heart (I Kgs 11:1-3). Entertainment? He tried everything there was to try, in staggering excess (Eccl 2:1-10). Prestige? The wise men and kings of the earth came with presents annually to hear him talk (I Kgs 10:1-25).

At the end of his grand and exhaustive experiment of life, he carefully sought out good words to teach his people the truth about what he had learned. He summarized his vast learning in 3000 meticulously devised and acceptable proverbs – short, substantial, and powerful sayings of truth and wisdom for the people to learn his knowledge (Eccl 12:9-10). And the proverbs were further refined by divine inspiration from God (Eccl 12:11). Can you hear from heaven, “These are the true sayings of God” (Rev 19:9)?

Where does Hezekiah fit in? He was a glorious king in his own right, a descendant of David and Solomon (II Chron 32:27-30). He was exceptionally wise and zealous in the reformation and revival of true religion in Israel, like in the days of David and Solomon (II Chron 29:2; 30:21-27; 31:1-21). He appointed men, under the direct guidance of God, to select the proverbs used from this point to the end of the book of Proverbs, for you.

What an incredible gift! Can you believe it? You have a book of about 500 of the choicest proverbs of Solomon’s learning, edited to perfection by the Creator God, and carefully selected by the appointment of another great king. Here is the wisdom of the greatest king and of God Himself for you to live prosperously. Give God great praise!

Now, dear reader, what will you do with these short, pithy statements of wisdom called proverbs? Will you read them as quaint sayings of ancient religious literature? Will you marvel at their brevity and variety? Or will you humble yourself before them with a trembling heart and beg the Lord to teach you in your soul all the wisdom each contains?

All the wisdom of all authors, even with the information and learning explosion today, cannot compare to one of his proverbs (II Tim 3:7). Why read the tome on anthropology of a God-hating, marijuana-smoking, same-sex-loving professor who teaches classes about abnormal and deviant sexual behavior of one-legged penguins in Madagascar?

The verse does have value! It serves as the second intermission, after 10:1, for you to realize once again that you are reading the most glorious words in the universe (along with the rest of Scripture). See the comments on Proverbs 1:1. Dear reader, you are very blessed. What will you do with this book? How can you put it down for anything else?

Can you see Jesus Christ in this verse? You should, for the Bible testifies of Him (Jn 5:39), especially parts written by another son of David. The Holy Spirit inspired the verse to further whet your appetite for Solomon’s proverbs, but with the words of the Lord Jesus Christ you should say, “A greater than Solomon is here” (Mat 12:42; Lu 11:31)!


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 25:27 – It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one’s own honor.

Dwelling on the honors you deserve can only be harmful. It can make you bitter, discouraged, or angry, and it will not bring the rewards that you think should be yours. Obsessed for what you should have received may make you miss the satisfaction of knowing you did your best.

A little honey goes a long way! Its sweetness exceeds most foods, so that a small amount can satisfy your taste and appetite. Indulging in more than a little will bring nausea and sickness (Pr 25:16). In the very same way, desiring or seeking praise from men, in order to bring yourself more glory, is not glory. It is disgusting, nauseating, and shameful!

Here is a great proverb with a valuable lesson. As in many proverbs, human conduct is compared to a natural fact. Solomon used the universal knowledge of honey’s sweetness to condemn the ambition and desire of men to seek their own praise. Stated in a pithy way, these few words are helpful, intriguing, and powerful for learning divine wisdom.

In our artificial society, many are ignorant about honey. They are addicted to dextrose, fructose, glucose, lactose, maltose, sucrose, corn syrup, and other popular sweeteners, which stimulate rather than satisfy appetite. When did you last eat some honey? But to the informed, honey is a luxurious food God created for our benefit (Pr 24:13).

The LORD described Canaan, Israel’s land of promise, as a land flowing with milk and honey (Ex 3:8; Deut 8:7-9). Even the manna He gave Israel for forty years tasted like wafers made with honey (Ex 16:31). No one will deny that honey is sweet. It is twice as sweet as sugar! In recipes calling for sugar, only one-half the amount of honey will work.

Seeking compliments, praise, or glory is as foolish as gorging on honey – it quickly becomes revolting! Wise men avoid praise, even though most today are obsessed with it (II Tim 3:1-5). Trying to increase your glory and popularity will be disgusting to others watching you. What you thought was sweet will become nauseating. Any honor you must seek is not truly honor, for it is not real or sincere, and those giving it are offended by it.

Moses was one of Israel’s greatest leaders, but he was the meekest man on earth – he did not want glory (Num 12:3). God defended this humble man by severely punishing any who accused him of pride (Num 12:1-15; 16:1-40). Wise men and holy women will both seek to be meek (Matt 5:5; Jas 3:13; I Pet 3:4), as did Paul in following Jesus Christ (II Cor 10:1). He only gloried when forced to do so for the profit of others (II Cor 12:11).

Have you ever heard a backdoor compliment – when a person thanks God for making him so gifted? Have you ever given yourself one? Shame! Can you restrain yourself in a group and not speak unless others ask you? The apostolic rule is to reject the vanity of glory for yourself and make others and their things more important than you (Phil 2:3-4).

If you crave praise and glory, then wait for others to give you some, so you can know it is sincere and deserved (Pr 25:6-7; 27:2). If you have to wait a long time, be assured you did not deserve any! Why do you even want praise, you conceited and selfish wretch? Praise someone else! It is more blessed to give than to receive, especially in this matter.

When a person tells you about an event in their life, is it your typical response to raise a similar event or connection from your life, and overlook the precious point being made by the person? Shame! You are gorging on honey, and you do not even know it. Shame! Shut up about yourself. They do not want to know about you, or they would have asked.

The only real approval that matters is God’s approval. Reject the praise of men for the praise of God, and it will keep you from a horrible snare (John 5:44; 12:43). Diotrephes could not reject man’s honor, so beloved John severely censured him (III John 1:9-11). Remember that anything highly esteemed by men is an abomination to God (Luke 16:15).

If you examine yourself in the mirror of Scripture, you will see enough blemishes and deformities to keep you humble and avoid glory from men (Jas 1:21-25). Humble yourself under God’s mighty hand, and He will exalt you at the right time (I Pet 5:6-7). Fall at the feet of Jesus Christ, and He will lift you up to greater glory (Rev 1:17-20).

 


Under Gods Command

Proverbs 25:8 What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?

Slow down! Haste makes waste! And haste can put you to shame! If you are in a conflict, do not react hastily. Do not rush to action. Calm down; sit down; slow down. Consider every angle carefully, or you will miss the obvious and be put to shame by your enemy.

Conflict and strife are parts of life in a sinful world. They evoke strong passions, which cause men to rush to action. People in a fight want to rectify a situation immediately, but such haste in a conflict easily leave men exposed to the wiser reaction of an opponent. The human heart and its demand for haste must be ruled and stopped (Pr 16:32).

A passionate response is usually a poor response. It is better to let passions cool before planning any action. The mind is usually not fully engaged, when the heart is pounding and the emotions are raging. Cool off first, before you do anything or even plan anything. “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (Jas 1:19-20).

A multitude of counselors makes for safety in war (Pr 20:18; 24:6). What blessed wisdom! And they cannot be any counselors; they must be wise, experienced, and sober. They should be uninvolved third parties, who can think objectively and wisely. They should have experience in battle, and they do not need to be close friends. Friendship blinds eyes and stops ears, so seek counselors who will not be inflamed with you.

Unless you are very careful, small conflicts will escalate quickly into much larger wars (Pr 17:14). Responding foolishly without due deliberation is the mark of a fool, and such a reaction usually deserves punishment (Pr 18:6). Forcing wrath will bring forth more strife, just as surely as the churning of milk brings forth butter (Pr 30:33). Slow down!

Kings go to battle slowly. Jesus said, “Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace” (Luke 14:31-32).

If you have ever slept on a conflict, with a mind toward fearing God and loving wisdom, you woke in the morning with a very different perspective than what you went to bed with. This is wisdom. By allowing some time to pass, your passions cooled, your mind had time to clear foolish emotions, and the Holy Spirit could direct you. Amen.