Proverbs 28 – July 28

CC Image courtesy of epSos .de on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of epSos .de on Flickr.

Proverbs 28
Author: Keino McWhinney

“When the righteous triumph, there is great glory, but when the wicked rise, people hide themselves.” (Proverbs 28:12 ESV)

“When the wicked rise, people hide themselves, but when they perish, the righteous increase.” (Proverbs 28: 28 ESV)

Mankind’s delight in power and the powerful is well documented. Power, it seems, is desired both for its “inherent” positive designation and also for the associated benefits that come from its possession. To be sure, the presence or absence of power has very real consequences in life. By power we assert, appropriate, confiscate, delegate, subjugate, acquire, dissolve, declare…and the list goes on. The converse is also true that those without power are considered to be in a state of deficiency. Not surprising, the bible offers guidance for how to use power and in Proverbs 28 we see the contrasting reaction to the possession of power by those who are righteous versus the wicked. The message is clear, power can and often is abused in the hands of the wrong person.

It is instructive to observe the many ways in which our society has sought to mitigate the abuse of power. For example, there are corporate policies on ethics, political checks and balances, audits, constitutions, and so on. However, power is not reserved solely for those who rule. Each of us should examine our lives to see the consequences of the powers we possess, be they limited or vast. If we want for an example of how to use our power, we need look no further than Jesus Christ who though possessing ultimate power nonetheless subjected himself to his father’s will.

So, who are we in the narrative of our daily lives? Are we good stewards of our power? I pray that through our imitation of Jesus’ example, our use of power will be counted as that of the righteous and not the wicked.

Proverbs 13 – June 13

CC Image courtesy of MattLake on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of MattLake on Flickr.

Proverbs 13
Author: Keino McWhinney

We are thirteen chapters into the reading of Proverbs and at this point it’s a challenge to not get lost in the seemingly endless flow of parallel sentences, the use of imagery, and the many instances of compare and contrast. The opening three verses of Proverbs 13 are a good example of the brisk pace of the book:

A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
From the fruit of his mouth a man eats what is good, but the desire of the treacherous is for violence.
Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin. (Proverbs 13:1-3 ESV)

Feeling overwhelmed with all this “wisdom” it’s easy to give a cursory glance and make a general mental summary of the text to be filed away for the “future.” Often times the difficulty rests with our failure to read the text slowly. We must read slowly in an attempt to gain the right insight and to consider the questions raised by the text. Will the father’s instruction be regarded? Will I guard my lips in order to preserve life? Do I hate what is false? What is the proper time and context in which to apply these truths?

With slow reading and deep reflection we are more likely to find clarity in the words of Proverbs. For example, in the many parallels presented it is apparent that the wise and fool are allotted similar opportunities in life. The allotment itself is neutral but the classification as wise or foolish is dictated by the choices made and the resulting consequences. I pray that we might read slowly and choose wisely our path in life.