The eighteenth chapter of proverbs speaks to us instructing us in ways that will cause us to walk humbly and successfully in life. In this chapter we are advised to: be connected with other believers; avoid partially; guard our speech and run to God in humility. The passage also speaks to pain, gifts and our relationships with others.
"Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment." (v1)
This verse speaks loudly to me of my need for others in the body of Christ. Sometimes it is so hard to find time to be just be with brother and sisters in Jesus.. especially in ways that are transparent and vulnerable.
"It is not good to be partial to the wicked or to deprive the righteous of justice." (v5)
Partiality seems to be the partner of injustice. So often my predisposition for one side of an issue will cloud my sense of right and wrong. It is so hard sometimes to differentiate opinion from fact.
"A fool's lips walk into a fight, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul. The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels; they go down into the inner parts of the body." (v6-8)
Verses like these makes me want to take a vow of silence. I have never been more a fool than when I say foolish things cloaked in sanctimony.. I think that religious pride often manifests in this way. Interesting how these verses seem to speak to the diverse affects of foolish speech.. sometimes we do not really know how foolish we are.
"The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. A rich man's wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination. Before destruction a man's heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor." (v10-12)
Quite a contrast in these verses between a person who trusts the Lord and one who trusts in themselves. In these times of financial turmoil it is good to remember that the name of Jesus is more than a way to end a prayer.
"A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?" (v14)
Again we see contrast.. this time it is between external and internal pain.. both are so real.. both can cause much suffering.. and sometimes healing does not seem to come.. externally and internally. I have to admit that.. as this verse seems to indicate.. for me the external pain is much easier to endure.
"A man's gift makes room for him and brings him before the great." (v16)
Many times our natural and spiritual gifts open doors that would otherwise remain shut.. of course it is on us to walk through them
"The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." (v17)
I have learned so much over these past years from disparate points of view. I do not always change (I guess I rarely change) my views but I always seem to come away from a debate with a better understanding of why I believe the way that I do.
"A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city, and quarreling is like the bars of a castle." (v19)
I have been on both sides of this.. have offended and have been offended. My inclination in both cases is to pursue reconciliation.. but I have sadly found that reconciliation cannot come simply because I want it.
"He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord." (v22)
I have been blessed in this life with two wonderful women who both inspire me to seek the Lord. In both I have experienced the Lord's favor in my life!
"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother." (v24)
A great way to end this group of proverbs. I have experienced the closeness of friends but nothing can match the closeness of Jesus.
Please click here to catch some of my other ponderings on the book of Proverbs.