Author: Jim Brewer
If I’m not on jury duty or in local government, what does justice have to do with me? I want justice, but do I want to do justice. Proverbs 29 lays out clearly that there is divine justice (1, 6, 13, 23-26), political justice (2, 4, 7, 14) domestic justice (3, 15, 17, 19, 21) and even personal justice (5, 9-11, 20, 22, 24). And although I am involved in all of them in some way, the ones about personal justice focus on how we treat each other, especially on some of the unjust ways we tend to treat each other.
- Flattery 5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
- Controversy 9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
- Hatred 10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.
- Anger 11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. 22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
- Thoughtless Talk 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
- Lying 24 The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
Although we may tend to “justify” these things in our lives, unjust ways are a misrepresentation of a just God! And after all, we are justified by faith in the One who suffered through such injustices, in order to free us from them.
CC Image courtesy of Dustin McClure on Flickr.
Author: Randy Sheets
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”- Lord Acton
Over two dozen of the proverbs address the conduct of the king (or rulers in general). This makes sense-Solomon was the author of most of the proverbs, Hezekiah copied many of them and some king named Lemuel came along and contributed some of the latter proverbs and we don’t even know who he is! Add to that the number of proverbs addressed to the conduct of sons and we see a picture of kings trying to impart wisdom to their offspring.
This is especially true in the 29th chapter of Proverbs. Five of the verses refer to a king or ruler and others suggest the same. With our recent study of the Old Testament we can see numerous examples of kings and rulers-from Pharaoh to Cyrus-who believed themselves to be essentially a god and therefore their decisions were not questioned. In the New Testament we have Herod and even Felix who wanted a bribe from Paul (Acts 24:26). Example after example of rulers who felt themselves to be accountable to no one-ruling unchecked in their power-until their thrones were taken away.
Israel also had more bad kings than good kings and even the good kings were prone to do sinful things. Even though they should have known they were ultimately accountable to God and in most instances God advised them through prophets, they still stiffened their necks and rebelled. Because they did not listen to the wise counsel of the prophets and the proverbs their thrones were also taken away from them by God.
Being the subjects of these kings proved to be difficult at best. But we now serve a Holy King whose throne is established by justice, equity, and righteousness (Psalms 99:4,5). That’s why His throne will endure forever. How truly blessed we are to be citizens of His kingdom-now and forever. He’s a king who doesn’t just think He is a god-He is God!
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. (ESV)
CC Image courtesy of Travel Aficionado on Flickr.
Author: Ralph Beistle
The writer of Proverbs 29, in rapid succession, instructs his son/student to choose wisely how he proceeds through life in a variety of relationships. The value of making good choices will improve his interactions with other individuals in interpersonal relationships, in family, and even as a citizen of the community. If he were to resist changing his ways (being stiff-necked), he is doomed to failure and suffering. If he hasn’t already decided to seek the ways of wisdom, he needs to “see the big picture” and redirect his course. Wisdom wins – those who lack wisdom lose.
Why would anyone ever decide to change directions from one trend of thoughts, actions, or intentions to another? Possibilities:
- Change might be imposed on you by a stronger opponent.
- We might be persuaded by a clever deceiver.
- We may allow words of flattery to cloud our judgment.
- We may be unable to resist peer pressure to conform.
- We may choose to imitate someone whom we admire.
- Or, with our human intellect and life experience, we may conclude that it is more logical to follow “Plan B” than “Plan A.”
Considering all these methods by which our decision may be influenced, the consistent conclusion must be that these influences tend to reveal our weaknesses – not our wisdom.
The message of Proverbs is that a wise person will choose his decisions based upon the absolute conviction that an all-knowing, loving God will never lead us, teach us, or require us to believe or do anything that would compromise our integrity, deny our joy now, or jeopardize our eternal destiny.
Believing and doing God’s will promises the best life here and the eternal bliss of living with Him eternally when this present life is ended. That is the recurring theme throughout Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)