Proverbs 22:7-11

We continue to finger the precious ‘pearls’ of wisdom hanging on this Biblical ‘string’.  Verse 7: In our indebted society, surely this is motivation to go without rather than live on ‘tick’. The ability to have now and pay later has done a lot of harm, where used irresponsibly. It is a fact of life that power and wealth go together, and all too often the powerful do not use their resources for the benefit of the needy. In Bible times the poor often sold themselves to their lenders in order to pay off their debts. ”The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don’t borrow and put yourself under their power.” The Message. (See also verses 9 and 16).

Verse 8: As we are regularly disturbed and unsettled by the news headlines we need to remember this proverb. The Bible is a realistic Book. It faces the fact that we live in a world in which there are those who sow ”wickedness”, but it is also insistent that we will reap what we sow. It is a much repeated principle in Scripture. Evil is boomerang – like and will rebound on people with great velocity. ”Whoever sows sin reaps weeds, and bullying anger sputters into nothing.” The Message.

Verse 9: ”A generous man…” has much to teach the ”rich” (7) who dominate the poor. You don’t have to have a lot to be generous. Here is another repeated Biblical principle which I would express like this: you can’t out give God! ”Generous hands are blessed hands because they give bread to the poor.” The Message. I believe that serving the poor in some form is a non-negotiable part of Christian discipleship. And for those who are blessed with much there is an even heavier responsibility. Consider also Prov. 11:24, 25: ”The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller. The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed; those who help others are helped.” The Message.

Verse 10: ”Kick out the troublemakers and things will quiet down; you need a break from bickering and griping.” The Message. This is more easily said than done, but there comes a point in church life where, after all due process, with time and patience for people to change their ways, this has to be done. It is a sad day when such surgical removal has to take place (and, hopefully, a rarity), but sometimes it just becomes inevitable for the health of the body. The ‘cancer’ will spread if not removed.

Verse 11: Kind words that flow from a pure heart will open all kinds of doors. We are not thinking here of manipulative and deliberately flattering words. This is about genuine people operating out of a true heart. Whoever you are, it’s nice to know that there are those around you who are for you; who love you and have your back. They are not being sycophantic and pursuing their own agendas. They are just good people and their words bless you. Who does not need such friends?

Prayer: Lord, I am again aware of just how much I need your wisdom and not my own. I thank you for the beauty of the wisdom that shines in just a few verses of this wonderful book. It causes me to crave more and more of your perspective.