Proverbs 25:1-14: A King’s Proverbs
September 14, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
“These also are proverbs of Solomon which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied. It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable” (25:1-3).
While God’s glory is revealed in creation and ultimately in Christ, there is an immeasurable infinity to the nature of God that is beyond our comprehension. As Paul puts it, “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33). Human kings and great leaders, on the other hand, find their glory in looking for, in seeking and searching and finding wisdom: like Solomon in his famous judgment to discern whose mother was the baby (1 Kings 3:16-28). Kings and great leaders, by virtue of their position, normally have more information and awareness that is not always obvious to the rest of us, concealing secret information that gives them judgments and reasons for their action.
“Take away the dross from the silver, and the smith has material for a vessel; take away the wicked from the presence of the king, and his throne will be established in righteousness” (25:4-5).
More recently, a well-known leadership consultant advises that the first thing is to “get the right people on the bus.” While a great leader or king does have influence, that influence rarely extends much further than one circle out in terms of direct contact. It is very important therefore that those around a godly king are themselves godly.
“Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence or stand in the place of the great, for it is better to be told, “Come up here,” than to be put lower in the presence of a noble” (25:6-7a).
Wise advice: better to be promoted through virtue of what you have done than to seek to be honored and turned down!
“What your eyes have seen do not hastily bring into court, for what will you do in the end, when your neighbor puts you to shame? Argue your case with your neighbor himself, and do not reveal another’s secret, lest he who hears you bring shame upon you, and your ill repute have no end” (25:7b-10).
Jesus uses this human lesson that it was better, if you have a dispute, to bring about an agreement before going to court, to teach that we should ensure that we are in a right relationship with God before we die. In life, it is not good to bring complaints against your friend or neighbor to an authority figure; in normal circumstances it is much better to resolve these problems between the two of you. Bringing it to an authority figure will only make you look bad too, as most people assume that usually any dispute means some fault at least on both sides.
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (25:11).
Be careful then with your words; take time to formulate them. Use words well!
“Like a gold ring or an ornament of gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear” (25:12).
When someone comes to offer a word of correction, if that correction is accurate and if it is well-received, it will not harm the one who listens; instead, when you listen to such a reproof, it gives credit to you as someone who is ready to listen.
“Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him; he refreshes the soul of his masters” (25:13).
Having someone you can trust to do what they say they are going to do, and to take what you wanted said and accurately deliver the message when you are not there, that is a good thing and a great thing. How much more should we be faithful with the message of the gospel!
“Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give” (25:14).
There is no point in raising expectations beyond what you are able to deliver. Keep the expectations realistic so that you do not come across like a cloud that promises rain but never actually delivers replenishment.
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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