Proverbs 22:17-29: Thirty Sayings of the Wise (#1-6)
September 9, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
We come now to “thirty sayings of the wise” (#1-6).
“Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise,
and apply your heart to my knowledge,
for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you,
if all of them are ready on your lips.
That your trust may be in the Lord,
I have made them known to you today, even to you.
Have I not written for you thirty sayings
of counsel and knowledge,
to make you know what is right and true,
that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?” (22:17-21)
Why is wisdom so important? One reason is given here in “Saying 1.” And that is, godly wisdom is “pleasing” and therefore helps you to “trust” in the Lord. Living a wise, God-fearing life allows you to experience in practice the goodness of God. And this encourages you to trust God.
“Do not rob the poor, because he is poor, or crush the afflicted at the gate, for the Lord will plead their cause and rob of life those who rob them.” (22:22-23)
Saying 2 ensures that we realize that we should not use whatever power we may have to abuse others who have less power or fewer resources. You might think that you can “get away with it,” but God will take up the cause of the needy and the oppressed, and in the long term will bring about justice.
“Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man,
lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.” (22:24-25)
Saying 3 encourages us not to befriend someone who becomes easily angered or someone who is “hot-tempered.” There is something about anger which has an infectious quality to those who are close to the one with the hot temper. Therefore, you do not want to associate too closely with a hot-tempered person in case you learn from their ways. It can seem satisfying to give way to anger, but it only causes trouble—both for yourself and other people.
“Be not one of those who give pledges, who put up security for debts. If you have nothing with which to pay, why should your bed be taken from under you?” (22:26-27)
Saying 4 urges you not to go into debt if you can possibly avoid it. Perhaps a bit of debt seems like an easy solution to a temporary problem, but in the end, if you cannot repay, then “your very bed” will be taken away from you to service the loan. Avoid debt!
“Do not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set.” (22:28)
Saying 5 requires a bit of explanation. In ancient Israel the land was apportioned to the tribes and the various parts of the tribe, and those portions were demarcated by “ancient boundary stones.” Therefore, this proverb urges you not to move an ancient boundary stone, meaning don’t try to get a bit of extra land for yourself by sneakily moving a boundary marker to make your property bigger. Tradition was put there for a reason. There are times when tradition must be changed, according to God’s Word, but not thoughtlessly or without care—especially when they are rightly vested interests with justice on their side.
“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” (22:29)
How do you rise high in your career? Is it all a matter of chance and whom you know? Not according to this proverb. If you are skilled in your work, people, even kings, will seek out your work. The lesson, of course, is to become skilled in what you do!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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