Proverbs 18 – August 18

CC Image courtesy of Photo Gallery Israeli Ministry of Tourism on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Photo Gallery Israeli Ministry of Tourism on Flickr.

Proverbs 18
Author: JoAnn Long

Where do you run?

In antiquity, cities were walled to keep would-be intruders out and residents safe inside. Towers were strategically positioned along fortifications with watchmen ready to sound the alarm should danger arise. Stalwart enough to have remains of mortar and stone still standing, evidence of once mighty civilizations now lie in ruins across the Mediterranean basin.

Isn’t our human tendency still to put our trust in that which is tangible?

Not unlike our counterparts from the past, we sometimes now look to what can be measured scientifically as our means of hope. While all discovery of that which is good in our material world is ultimately from the hand of God, the writer of Proverbs reminds us that real security is not found in that which can be quantified: “The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10, ESV, emphasis mine).

What about you? Where do find your security? As God’s people made righteous through Christ, let us humbly run into name of our Lord, our strong tower. For it is Him, and Him alone, in which we are to place our complete trust.

Proverbs 18 – July 18

CC Image courtesy of Andy on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Andy on Flickr.

Proverbs 18
Author: Ralph Beistle

I love to watch children play together. The most immature ones can predictably have a hard time developing the concept that they must be willing to share. You will likely here them shout, “That’s mine!” The other child either yields reluctantly, or whines loudly enough to get Grandma to make his playmate share.

As they get a bit older and into competitive play, listen and soon you will hear, “That isn’t fair!” Same motivation – seeking self-satisfaction – and if he doesn’t get it, it may sound a little different, but it amounts to a youthful way of whining because he didn’t get his way.

Surely we’re not too surprised when they reach adulthood and still insist on getting their own way. What our culture calls “protests” are often just grown-up whining. The most immature among us still shout out, “It isn’t fair!”

Isn’t it radically different when we consider Job? People nowadays who just think they are cheated, abused, unfairly treated, failing to get the respect of others, have no idea how insignificant their problems are compared to what Job suffered. But Job was no whiner! Puzzled, questioning, seeking an understanding of why such things happened, but not shouting out, “It isn’t fair!” His response, ““Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.”

The wise man in Proverbs 18 said, “An unfriendly person pursues selfish ends and against all sound judgment starts quarrels. Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions. When wickedness comes, so does contempt, and with shame comes reproach. The words of the mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a rushing stream.  It is not good to be partial to the wicked and so deprive the innocent of justice. The lips of fools bring them strife, and their mouths invite a beating.”

Life isn’t always “fair.” Events beyond our comprehension will occur in everyone’s experience. Sometimes we don’t get what we hoped for. But there is one constant truth on which we may rely – God is near. God cares. And God is in control and He doesn’t need our input to determine what is fair.

Proverbs 18 – June 18

CC Image courtesy of Anne Worner on Flickr.

CC Image courtesy of Anne Worner on Flickr.

Proverbs 18
Author: Rob Anderson

The ad on the television promises that a new drug will lower your blood pressure or drop your cholesterol levels. You are amazed at the health benefits this one drug can provide … until you begin to hear the legal disclaimer of potential side effects and problems one may have while taking this medication. Suddenly the drug may not be the cure-all you once thought it was.

Your friend describes a conflict he recently had with a fellow employee. As you listen to him paint the picture of this other employee, you are saddened at how arrogant that employee must be … until you begin to hear, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story. Your friend, you discover, sees the conflict only through the lens of his own self-interest.

The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him. (Proverbs 18.17, ESV)

We want to believe the best in people, we really do. Yet at the same time, others want us to believe the best in them and so attempt to put their best foot forward. You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so desire that impression to be a glowing one.

Tweet: Speak slowly, but listen quickly.×13+

The speaker in Proverbs continually seems to state: Speak slowly, but listen quickly. Your first response to those who seek to woo you to their side in a conflict (the NIV uses the word “lawsuit” for the word translated “case” here in the ESV) should be to listen and carefully consider all the evidence presented to you. Do not rush to judgment nor select too quickly any one side. Allow all parties involved to state their observations. Assume the best in both sides, until further examination shows you otherwise.

Love people.

Strive for complete fairness.

Show mercy.