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What is This Proverb Saying?

Proverbs are short memorable sayings designed to help us think about what it means to live wisely. In that light, we’ve probably heard it said that a proverb is not a promise but rather a general rule about how life usually works. When we say that “a stitch in time saves nine” we are not usually trying to express an inviolable law of the universe.

The caution to not treat a proverb like a promise also seems to take into consideration that, in a broken world, the natural law of the harvest has been disrupted. If the book of Job is the oldest book in the Bible, that in itself may signal how important it is for us to not jump to conclusions about how life always works. At the very least, Job’s experience is a reminder that, in a world like ours, the law of the harvest doesn’t always hold true (not at least in our observable world, or in the seasons we expect) (Job 4:7-8).

With that said, though, it also seems that in dealing with the Proverbs of the Bible there are any number that do seem to be more than general rules about how life works. When we rest in the proverb that says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and don’t lean on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths (Prov 3:5-7) I think we’d agree that we have reason to take that as more than a general rule.

Yet if we are not careful, there is something about the way a proverb works that does give us reason for caution. They don’t all seem to hold water all of the time. Take for instance the one that says, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked” (Prov 10:3)

Even if we clarify that “righteous” does not mean morally perfect (but rather one of whom God approves, and who is generally good and generous in relationships), how can we reconcile this with what we know about the suffering of people like Job, Joseph, Jesus, or Lazarus begging at the rich man’s gate?

Or what about Asaph’s 73rd Psalm that says, “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills” (Psalm 73:3-5).

What can be more disillusioning than hopes and expectations that don’t come to pass? How then can we keep a proverb like this from feeding our doubts?

Is there a way that we can instead see how this proverb might,

(1) Develop wisdom

(2) Strengthen our faith rather than weaken it.

(3) Give us hope in suffering

(4) Help us to see how the idea behind this proverb finds fulfillment in Christ who, when his disciples encouraged him to eat something, said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know about” (John 4:31-32).

Would it help us to live wisely, and avoid wrong expectations if we added the eternal dimension to the “promise” of a proverb, as Asaph eventually does (Psalm 73:17-18)? Or could that also end up in more presumption than certainty?



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54 Responses to “What is This Proverb Saying?”

  1. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning, actually I never thought of proverbs and Psalms as being the same type of *word* from God. I am glad Mart you concluded Psalm 73 so that it is said that even though the wicked *seem* to win, in actuality they do not.

    The Proverbs, or good advice, given in Scripture is like all of Scripture; meant to inform, enlighten, instruct, and in many cases a doorway to higher and deeper understanding of life and of our life with God.

    Sometime the words or observations of the writers of Proverbs and of Ecclesiastes sting when read as a confession or as an indictment.

    As I think of it sometimes wisdom is spoken as an indictment by many others, including Jesus, all throughout Scripture.

    So what this *proverb* is saying may actually sometimes be a warning to us as much as an observation of the foolishness of others. Especially seeing that most of us pay little or no attention to *good advice*.

    Steve

  2. bratimus says:

    Trying to understand a proverb, I’ll start with this.

    “One mans proverb, is another mans riddle.”

  3. BruceC says:

    This should prove to be interesting. We need to be careful when some may twist Scripture or misinterpret it and present a rosy picture. Life is not rosy most of the time. For the believer, that comes later. This life can be hard. I have seen Christians suffer as we all have and they continue to. And we have seen evil flourish. But all these things are for a “season”.
    When reading the Word I look for the meaning in both this life as it can be applied and in the things of eternity; and I pray the Holy Spirit guide me and make me aware of the difference.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  4. swwagner says:

    I am confused about which proverb we are talking about.

  5. Mart De Haan says:

    swagner, sorry, I can see why you’re confused. I unintentionally buried, “The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked” (Prov 10:3)…in the middle of my post.

  6. SFDBWV says:

    That is very interesting, I thought Mart was generalizing all Proverbs and gave a Psalm and a Proverb in comparison in doing so….Duh!

    Odd that I can not go back to the last topic without getting kicked off my internet connection to MSN.

    Steve

  7. bubbles says:

    Mart, THANK YOU for this topic!
    This is very important clairifying that Proverbs are not promises. I have heard beleivers in the past “claim” a Proverb as a “promise” from God.

  8. SFDBWV says:

    Well now that I have had a good laugh at myself for totally missing Mart’s subject this morning, I am already out of computer time. It being Saturday my son Matthew will be showering early and coming to the computer for some relaxation with solitaire and his Sirius radio.

    I was finally able to go back and read the remainder of yesterdays comments and see why Mart changed to this one this morning.

    I believe that the writer of the Proverbs commented often that it is a mystery to he why so many *good* people suffer while evil doers seem to prosper on into old age never tasting the bitterness life can produce.

    It is a question we all struggle over all the time. All we, as believers, can do is look beyond these troubles to the *hope* that Jesus offers us in an eternity we can only dimly imagine. While leaving the balancing out of rights and wrongs to the only one fit to judge Our Heavenly Father.

    Steve

  9. swwagner says:

    Thank you Mart…It is clear to me now. I will have to think about this for awhile before posting a comment.

  10. poohpity says:

    There is more to our lives than what we see in the hear and now. Hopefully there is a eternal perspective we bring into all things and a trustful dependence on the One who holds all thing in His hands. Thank God we do not get what we really deserve and our rewards are not based on whether we are good or bad but on what Jesus did, not trusting in our circumstances as proof of His Love but what we have awaiting us in eternity.

  11. blowentw says:

    Thanks for bringing the Proverbs up, Mart. They have often seemed anomalous to the rest of Scripture in interpreting them. I appreciated the comments you and the others made a few months back on Discover the Word relating to the Proverbs, pointing out their uniqueness in biblical literature. On the one hand I suppose it doesn’t really help that the translations do so much interpreting for us, they make them seem much more certain than they are in the original language. On the other hand if they didn’t, we might just puzzle about them until our puzzlers are broken, as Doctor Suess might say. Sometimes context helps, sometimes it doesn’t really. I guess the puzzling, and figuring out when and how to apply them, is why they are called “Wisdom Literature.” A good place to go when we think we have everything figured out.

  12. oneg2dblu says:

    Proverbs are sometimes like understanding this…
    “No good deed goes unpunished.”

    I guess it all means that the wicked are never satisfied, and never will be either, an eternity of being in want awaits them, even if they appear so off the hook now.
    But, the ones God chooses to feed now, are those who are hungry for him, and although they may seem as not being as well fed as the wicked, they do find their fill in Him, and their eternity will provide the same.

    I’m reading in Proverbs right now and find it is always convincingly astounding and simply understandable at the same time.

    It is as if a wise man knows when to speak, and a fool never shuts up. Oops! :)

  13. royalpalm says:

    Hello, Mart and BTA friends,
    I hope everyone had a good Christmas and I wish everyone a bright New Year… I have been “away” for a while and have not read any posts except this topic…I will try to read the previous posts to keep myself informed…

    Regarding the proverb , “ The Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked” (Prov 10:3)” I am glad you quoted Jesus’ words, ““I have food to eat that you don’t know about” (John 4:31-32). This was followed by, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34

    As Jesus declared above, in God’s kingdom, food, body, and hunger have extra spiritual meanings. Besides Jesus’ different definition of “food”, the Scriptures also tell us that aside from our physical body, we also have a spiritual body that needed to be feed and nurtured with the word of God. Matthew 4:4. It also talks of hunger and thirst not for food/ drink but for righteousness. Matt. 5:6

    Nevertheless, IMHO, whether Prov. 10:3 talks of physical or spiritual hunger, I personally believe that God will not forsake or abandon His own children but will meet their needs as He promised. His integrity, character and Name is at stake. Ps. 103:13-19, 22.

    When doubts assail us, may our thoughts turn to God’s faithfulness so we can also declare, like Asaph in Ps. 73:23-26 “Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

    We can also ponder on the love, power, sovereignty, and ability of God as we read Isaiah 40 where God has to contend with the fear, and doubt of His chosen people. Isa. 40:10-31.

  14. Kathy @ In Quiet Places says:

    I definitely agree that Proverbs 3:5-7 is more than a general rule, those verses have long been a foundational anchor in how I live my life as I follow God.

  15. Rocky says:

    Thank you Mart, & Happy New Year to you and everyone here.

    When reading Proverbs I’ve never took them as promises or general rules. The first Seven verses of chapter one of Proverbs pretty much explains what Proverbs are.

    So as a result I use them as values and principles that I can apply to specific or general situations.

    Growing up without a father, I was always looking for answers to life, and when I would ask family or friends difficult and pointed questions often times I would get personal opinions or rhetoric that didn’t amount to much.

    But when I began reading proverbs, it was like I hit a gold mine. I was able to apply and incorporate these important principles and values to my everyday life “right now” not in time as family and friends would often assure me.

    When raising my kids I learned that I shouldn’t provoke my children to anger, yet growing up, it seemed that our parents would force us into submission causing us to get angry, and if we got angry we would only get into more trouble.

    I’ve learned important values about finances, relationships, work ethics, by reading Proverbs.

    When we read that God will not let the righteous go hungry, I take that pretty specific, yet I also understand that it rains on the just and on the unjust.

    As I work with a homeless community, I see so many wise and intelligent people “righteous people” that have fallen on hard times. Even though it appears that they have lost every material possession very few of them if any die of starvation.

    Thank you

    Rocky G.
    Sacramento, CA

  16. gerald6 says:

    Understanding the Christian Bible
    © 01-05-2013 GHLufkin
    When I have conversations with people about the Bible, I usually get a tirade of mixed emotions. These conversations usually produce very little in the way of understanding. Why is this? It is because of the complexity of religious belief. Religious belief is a very private thing. It appears that each person justifies his beliefs in his own mind and in his own way.
    Religion has been in place for thousands of years, about as long as human beings themselves. Early religions were mostly ancestor worship, probably because those elderly men had the experience to expect a successful outcome and their advice was toward that goal. However, those were simpler times when Hunter-Gatherers roamed the earth.
    It is an understatement to say that today’s world is extremely complex in comparison. Thousands of generations have passed before the Christian religion exploded upon the scene. Each generation of tribes tried to improve upon the previous religious beliefs. Some were successful in the more simple beliefs but human characteristics such as greed and lust for power seemed to usurp each generation of the religious leadership for their own selfish desires. In many cases religion was seen as a way to consolidate the tribes of people into powerful kingdoms with cooperation between the political leaders (Kings and Emperors) and the religious leaders (Priests and Ministers).
    It is imperative at this time to point out the vast differences between religious power and political power. Political power comes from the principle of “Survival of the fittest”. One great example was Alexander the Great who was a genius of military conquest and quickly conquered a swathe of nations along the Mediterranean Sea. His power over the inhabitants was physical and merciless. The inhabitants either submitted or were slaughtered and those who were left became his faithful supporters.
    Religious power on the other hand comes from faith, belief and supposition, not the stark provable truth in physical outcomes. A religious Priest for instance uses un-provable probabilities and promises in his assurances of a better life for his followers. They believe him because they want to believe in these higher values and they want a more successful, comfortable life than they would have under the current political leaders. Many times these are not attainable under the prevailing conditions but not to worry, I don’t mean to be disrespectful but any of us can pray to the prevailing deity and expect favor in the eventual outcome.
    Here we have the root of the problem. There have been so many generations of different religions based on belief, not truth, that the resulting religious apostasies are hopelessly twisted into what is commonly referred to as moral and immoral beliefs. What is truly moral is undefined in the vast array of traditions, tribal mores, and peoples living under dire circumstances throughout the world. In some instances, brainwashing from birth has instilled dysfunctional behaviors into some religious populations and groups now living in other countries around the world. The flood of unfortunate instances of religiously justified terrorism and suicide bombings stemming from Muslim apostasies has become an immediate moral conundrum for all the religions of the world.
    Continued on next page

    The Abrahamic religions (Jewish Torah, Christian Bible, and the Muslim Koran) are even now at odds with each other and they all worship the same all powerful God of Creation. If our origins stem from the same God and we were all created equally in purpose, form, and reasons for existence; should we not all be doing what God wants, not what some mere inferior human Priest wants?
    After going back to these original documents before they became contaminated with human interpretation, I think we can all derive an honest profile of this common God. Once we understand what God wants of us, we can adjust our lives to be more compassionate brothers and sisters and to have the best interests of others as well as our own in our daily interactions.
    I firmly believe that true moral behavior can indeed be defined in a social and cultural environment. It is a case of what is natural behavior and it is a case of individual human rights. It is a case of the needs of each individual to live unthreatened by his own human species. To behave decently, honestly, responsibly, and honorably.
    Does your definition of ethical moral standards of behavior in your daily interaction with others always meet these criteria?

  17. poohpity says:

    So, gerald6, what does Proverb 10:3 say to you?

  18. poohpity says:

    gerald6, where did we learn, when the human species began, what is considered decent, honest, responsible and honorable? Did we learn by trial and error or were we given my someone what a moral code even looks like? Even with the consciousness of God humans are prone to live as if it all goes to the survival of the fittest with no thought given to how that effects others.

  19. SFDBWV says:

    I am in now wise a practitioner of the “Seven Day Advent” following of practicing the Sabbath on Saturday, however it is the one day out of seven that I honestly try and rest.

    After getting Matt settled in from eating his small Saturday meal I decided to look in on the conversation…..

    I wish you could see my smile and expression. I wonder sometimes if Mart may need a drink or two. I personally don’t use any alcohol, but don’t condemn anyone else their use of it (in moderation). If not a drink maybe a nice seat in front of the fireplace and get lost in watching the flames dance and swirl about the logs. Then again maybe a punching bag in the basement.

    Oh well.

    I spend a good bit of my time in my kitchen,; over the window at the west wall hangs a framed copy of Proverbs 3: 5, 6 aside the door at the east side of my kitchen is a framed copy of Hebrews 11: 1 and above the archway at the northern side of my kitchen as you exit into the rest of the house hangs a nice copy of Joshua 24: 15. These are visual reminders I sometimes need daily as I go about the duties of living.

    They are all good advice, encouraging, comforting and meant to keep me focused and on track, each in their own specific way of attending to my needs as they stare down at me.

    I could look up the medical term for people who obsess over the wrongs they see people everywhere getting away with and that in itself causing them to become angry agitated and even sick as a result.

    I could also find the medical term for people who are so in need of attention that they purposely anger and upset those around them just so as to be the center of attention, to them even bad attention is still what they crave…attention.

    However what is more important for me is keeping focused on that one thing that Jesus called “your” cross. He said for me to pick up my cross and follow Him.

    My cross will take me on a journey through life with all of its pitfalls, troubles and victories as I take on this onus He has given me and apply Him to every footstep I take on this journey of life from birth to death; following Him and His lead and advice and example each step of the way.

    My concern needs to be where He places it.

    In what may be the greatest irony of being a believer, here towards the end of the journey when we have made so many mistakes and learned too many truths the hard way, we may finally begin to understand the things He has already explained to us, the pitfalls He wanted for us to avoid, unable to enjoy longer in this life its sweet power over the imaginary power of this earth and of this time.

    But then if we have learned it well enough, we know that it, like us, will continue on forever and in that eternal forever what we have learned will be used for His purposes…. forever.

    Steve

  20. billystan121 says:

    Matt, I believe that God is telling us that if we continue to honor Him at all times even moments of great sorrow we will better understand God’s workings. Four years ago my wife went to be with the Lord. If it hadn’t been for the people in my church; I would have fallen into the deapths of dispair. Throughout all of those times I never put my Bible down, and it did not take long to understand what God was accomplishing in me.
    If He had not taken her she would have suffered terribly. Out of greed I wanted her to live. I say that because, I was not looking with eyes of love, just self-centeredness. Because of that loss, God has made me a better man, and I will be forever greatful for that.

  21. kingdomkid7 says:

    Steve, you are both a funny guy and a poet. Your last post was right on. And billystan, I agree that sometimes in life we get exactly what we are not wanting to get: our loved ones die, our children are in peril, things are just not going well. Trusting God and not leaning to our own understanding of the situation gets us through and makes us God’s people. We are just not our own. Finally realizing this has gotten me through tragedy. Hallelujah!

  22. phpatato says:

    Steve, I agree with KingdomKid. If you could see my smile and expression!

    Hugs

    Pat

  23. bubbles says:

    Rocky,

    You are right about Proverbs. Reading Proverbs is like a treasure hunt. There are many little precious gems found in this wonderful book.

  24. dja says:

    Steve,

    I am smiling right along with Pat and KingdomKid. You do have a wonderful way of writing, and after reading your posts, I want to say, “Amen!”.

    When I was teaching (Christian School), I would write Proverbs 3:5&6 on every card and note given to my students. I also write it on every card for my children, their spouses and my grandchildren. It’s amazing how it says ,”in ALL your ways” which means there is never anything, any adventure, any problem, any talking, any listening, etc., etc. that we should do on our on. Whatever we are doing we should NOT lean on our own understanding.

    I don’t know about you all, but I tend to forget that word ALL, and time and time again, I trust in what I think. Praise the Lord that He doesn’t leave me there, but brings me back over and over to see my constant need of Him and works in me to trust Him. What a wonderful Savior we have!!

    Well, I will say goodnight. Just finished doing the church bulletins and supper dishes, and now I need to get our clothes ready for the Lord’s Day. Yes, I know that everyday is the Lord’s Day, as someone on this site once corrected me, but we always call the Sabbath the Lord’s Day. May the Lord be praised whatever we call the day!

    ~Della

  25. poohpity says:

    Steve, I do not think the word for both scenarios is a medical term at all, I think it may be judgement. I bet the Lord would have us pray for those type of people and pray for the ability to look at them through the eyes of a patient, grace filled and merciful Lord and love them in spite of their behavior just like He does for each of us. Which if I know anything about Mart’s character I would bet he offers up much prayer on behalf of the many friends on here.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    For those of you who have been following our lives here in West Virginia, I am happy to announce that in this past year (Dec 2011-Dec 2012) Matthew lost a total of 100.6 pounds and is now down to 304.4 pounds. (He is 6 foot 5 inches)

    He has also lost 14 inches around his stomach, from 62 inches to 48 inches.

    Matthew works hard at doing this and it is in no way easy for him.

    He doesn’t eat any junk food and watches his diet and portions very closely. He exercises daily and continually pushes himself to the limits of his abilities.

    For Matthew this past year has seen positive results from what some might see as the “law of the harvest” (what you sow is what you reap).

    I for one believe if we put such effort into our faith and into our walk with God, He will reward us with success, if we don’t see the success then maybe we need to use a different measuring device, because God is faithful in all He says.

    Still have nearly a constant foot of snow on the ground here, of course it is much deeper where piled up, plowed or drifted but plenty of it to go around. I am just glad not to live in some of those other places where the snow is measured in tens of feet.

    It is time for the January thaw, so we may see some melting of the snow and moderation of temperatures as a teaser and reminder spring is coming and will show up right on time.

    Steve

  27. narrowpathseeker says:

    WOW! Congratulations MATTHEW! Great job. It is certainly no easy task to lose even a few pounds, but over a 100 seems almost impossible to those of us that struggle to lose 5 or 10 pounds. As I think about it I believe a big THANK YOU is in order as well, because of your super accomplishment, I am inspired to try again.

  28. SFDBWV says:

    Narrowpathseeker, I read your comment to Matthew and it is to my pleasure to tell you that your words have richly been received and he is encouraged and happy to say thank you, and he wants to tell you that if you believe in yourself and stick to your goal you can accomplish anything.

    I believe this is what God wants us to understand, that the only real obstacle in our way is our faith, never let anyone take that from you.

    Steve

  29. narrowpathseeker says:

    Thank you Steve, you and Matthew have made my day! I think you are right Matthew….that when we “stick to your goal you can accomplish anything” and that is where I fail too often… and MORE often lately. I FORGET what I am doing and start a new goal b4 I accomplish the first. I want you to know that I am going to type out your amazing accomplishment along with your heartfelt advice and keep it on the fridge. I will keep you updated on my progress…which I BELIEVE will be positive…Thank you again Mathew.

  30. fadingman says:

    Looking up Proverb 10:3 in other translations, I found most (especially the more literal versions) use the word ‘soul’, i.e. “Yahweh will not allow the soul of the righteous to go hungry, but he thrusts away the desire of the wicked” (WEB). To me, this word soul implies that the verse is speaking of something more than God satisfying physical hunger (although it can include that).

    God meets all of our needs. It is not that we don’t go without our needs being met for some time (as Israel was tested in the wilderness – Deuteronomy 8:3), but that God will meet them – He will not abandon the righteous.

    Jesus quoted from this verse (Deu. 8:3) while suffering from hunger during His temptation. He said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.” Jesus recognized His need was not for bread but for His Father.

  31. billystan121 says:

    Steve thank you for your very applicable words. I like to start out my day with the Bible, meditation, and Been Thinking About, I alwys seem to walk away with a better attitude than I started with. That for me is the magic of God’s word.
    I fought terribly when our pastor approached me and asked me to become a Sunday school leader. But every step after that has been a much closer, more intimate journey with our savior, Jesus Christ.
    It just so happened that at that time my wife was getting sicker. We were also studying from 1 Thessalonians. The Sunday before her passing we were in chapter 4. When I stunbled over 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. For the next two months I read those verses every day. So as we all know, Sometimes God has a better path ahead for us, even through moments of grief.
    I have always believed that if life were all roey and sweet; sooner or later we would begin to take life for granted. Most of the growth I have experienced in life has been accomplished through a painful, unexpected experience.
    Billystan

  32. narrowpathseeker says:

    I am getting ready to attend an afternoon wake of one of my children’s childhood neighbor/friends. The family requests that family and friends wear white. I have never come across anything like this and I am not sure if I can just wear a white hat or scarf or if it is expected to be full white garb. This is a Hispanic man and I don’t know if it has something to do with their culture or just a personal request. If anyone is here that can enlighten me before 1:30pm eastern time I would really appreciate it. Thanks.

  33. kingdomkid7 says:

    Matthew’s weight loss accomplishment is fantastic and is an encouragement for those of us who also want to shed some pounds this year. Please tell him congratulations and “thank you” for being such an example to us. And thanks so much for sharing his achievement and words of encouragement to us, Steve.
    On the Proverbs again, That’s a good reminder, fadingman. We may not have bread for eating whenever we want it, but we always have the bread of life. He never forsakes us.

  34. poohpity says:

    I was also wondering if that Proverbs 10:3 could be linked to Psalm 34:9 NLT; Psalm 37:25 NLT or Matthew 6:31-34 NLT. I have a budget of $25-35 a week for food and when I ran short I went on my back patio and prayed for the Lord to supply me with some food and no sooner did I come inside and there was a knock on the door from a neighbor I hardly knew who had gotten some of the throw a ways from a grocery store and asked If I could use some help. My prayers were answered so quickly that it took by breath away. So that Porverb can mean so many areas and how much the Lord cares. Since that time I went on food stamps and I feel like I have dishonored God’s care for me and relied on the government. I also now buy somethings I would have never thought to buy without them which has lead to weight gain.

    Steve, tell Matt good job and I found 20 of those pounds he has lost.

  35. bubbles says:

    Wow! Deb, thank you for sharing about your answered prayer. That’s good to see the Lord provide for you.

  36. poohpity says:

    Thank you bubbles, He answers all our prayers it just may not be the way we might think they should be answered but they are however answered. Sometimes it may also take a little hind sight to see how. He will answer yours too!!

  37. bubbles says:

    Mine has been answered NO. I have prayed and prayed about something for 25 years.

  38. His Sparrow says:

    Proverbs 10:3 in King James translation:

    “The Lord will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.”

    Love
    His Sparrow

  39. SFDBWV says:

    As you have shown His Sparrow, new translation= different understanding.

    Steve

  40. Mart De Haan says:

    A proverb like 10:3 can seem like just another stone in a pile of stones. But the longer you look at that stone, and those around it, you begin to see similarities and differences that come alive.

    Repeated characteristics in those stones, like the colors of “righteousness” and “wickedness,” may catch our attention. For example, in the mix of “stones” around 10:13 “righteousness” becomes a word that carries within it a dimension of relationship and concern for others, even at one’s own expense. “Wickedness”– old, and severe as it sounds, carries the implication of those who care only for themselves at the expense of others, and without regard for God.

    In that sense the “righteous” are those who give of themselves in behalf of others (as God has given of his presence and goodness to them) while the “wicked” ignore all hearts and desires but their own.

    Before God is done them, both have troubles, but some are allowed to lose what they have grasped at. Others, who have given even in their own need, find themselves eating at the table of the Lord– in ways they alone understand.

    Before we are done with this pile of stones, we may also find that those hard characteristics like “righteousness” and “wickedness” are showing up in the mirror– in a way that makes us smile– while reaching for some soap and water.

  41. SFDBWV says:

    Forgive me but this post will be long; this may have been shared before, if so please bear with me.

    “The Blind Men and the Elephant” by John G. Saxe

    It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the elephant
    (Though all of them were blind)
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind.

    The first approached the elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl,
    “God bless me! But the elephant is like a wall!”

    The second feeling of the tusk
    Cried: “Ho! What have we here
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ‘tis mighty clear
    This wonder of an elephant is very like a spear!”

    The third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
    “I see, quoth he, “the elephant,
    Is very like a snake!”

    The fourth reached out his eager hand,
    And felt above the knee;
    “What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is might plain,” quoth he;
    “’tis clear enough the elephant
    Is very like a tree.”

    The fifth who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: ”E’en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most.
    Deny the fact who can,
    This marvel of an elephant
    Is very like a fan!”

    The sixth no longer had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Than seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    “I see,” quoth he “the elephant
    Is very like a rope!”

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!

    So, oft in the theologic wars
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

    Steve

  42. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    Very happy to here about Matthew’s weight loss! All praise be to the Lord!!!

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  43. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – you mention Prov 10:3, then farther down 10:13. Wasn’t sure if that was a typo or accurate so I just started reading Prov 10:3-14. I read them in the KJV, the NKJV, NIV and the Message.

    Seems to me that when things aren’t working out for me, I need to take a look at my heart. Am I seeking God’s will or my own?

    God, in His mercy, corrects me. Prov 3:11-12. He does not let us abide in His peace when we are on the wrong path.

  44. infiniti07 says:

    As usual, I have more questions and comments rather than answers. How can we reconcile with Prov 10:3 in regards to the starving children in various parts of Africa?

    In Job’s case the outcome became evident as God demonstrated to Satan that when stripped of the good things in life and even his own family, Job’s relationship with God gave him hope even when his closest friends turned away from him and became judgemental.

    With insight into the past and if we share with our brothers and sisters in Christ meaningfully, we can be strengthened in our weakest moments rather than struggle on our own.

    There are many denominations called churches today which could do well to downplay programs and seriously delve into building relationships among attendees.

  45. SFDBWV says:

    Proverbs 9: 7 tells us not to reprove a scorner and not to rebuke a wicked man.

    Jesus tells us in Matthew 7: 6 not to cast our pearls before swine, lest they turn against you.

    Interesting that the Jew would even have actual pearls in their possession given that oysters are a forbidden food. No matter, what has been accepted for as long as I can remember is the concept that the pearl is considered a precious thing along with the preciousness given gems and *precious* metals such as gold and silver.

    What is Proverbs 9: 7 telling us? Is it not to try and correct the arrogant or the scornful because they will not receive the instruction and so attempt to drag you into their dark hole with them and make you ashamed of dirtying yourself in the attempt..

    Then there is Jesus telling us not to cast precious *things* before swine because the swine will not appreciate them nor receive them and turn against you for attempting to give them something *precious*.

    Most any of us will agree that Jesus is not talking about an actual Pig, but rather a person who like a pig has not the capacity to appreciate the gift.

    However the *Pearls* He speaks of is considered to be *pearls of wisdom*, Godly good advice and Godly directives for our betterment.

    So what is it that God is telling the reader of Proverbs 10: 3; first of all it will depend upon the reader what it is that they might receive from these *pearls*.

    For the righteous or those seeking to live right with God, it is a promise given: for the scoffer it is a statement meant to be disproven.

    The righteous is fed from the Word of God; But the wicked go away unfed and unsatisfied.

    For some not even the obvious can get through their blinded view and help them to see truth, it becomes a waste of time and use of the precious Word of God to even try.

    So we shake off the dust from our feet and move on.

    Steve

  46. poohpity says:

    If we use God’s word to get others to see the truth then we each miss the truth God is trying to get us to see in our own lives. Mart, I can not tell you many times I seem to have lost the bar of soap because to many other faces are in the mirror. What I have noticed in each of those faces the most is the dirt on my own.

  47. poohpity says:

    infiniti07, when I was there I saw the prayers of the oppressed and starving being answered. Their cries have risen to the Lord and He is answering. They used to have the land to live off of but because of the wickedness of those who have found platinum, diamonds, gold and other precious gems they have subjugated the people by the people. The faith of the people there would put us to shame. They are so dependent on the Lord for the basics of life much of what we take for granted here.

  48. narrowpathseeker says:

    Steve, I have never heard the Elephant and the Blind Men poem before, but I am going to copy, paste, print and hang somewhere! THANK YOU. Your thoughts in your 10:07 post were also very nourishing for me.. IN FACT, I have found EVERYONE’s post this morning has touched me in a special way that I have not experienced to any great extent for quite awhile. That is NOT because there were not wonderful messages to be had here, but because the ugliness in me was so full there was no room and I couldn’t take them in.

    Mart, your post on the mirror, soap and water and Pooh’s humble, as well as enlightening, response is pretty much confirmation to what the Lord has been showing me in recent months, but I kept looking away. I think a recent reconciliation with a sister has restored my relationship with the Lord as well.

    Thanks be to our AMAZING, LOVING, MERCIFUL, FORGIVING, BEAUTIFUL, ALL POWERFUL, CREATOR GOD!

  49. billystan121 says:

    The feedback for Mart’s original post has been tremendous. Mart, aren’t us Christians very often like those stones in two different ways? Occaisionally some of us, like myself, become what God’s word calls hard hearted. In other ways we can be as beautiful and precious as any gem, or rare metal in His eyes.
    The thing, at least for myself, hardest to remember is that God always looks at us as precious. Even in the midst of the ugliest of sin He patiently awaits our return. He, through His Son, waits for our repentance, salvation, and second birth; a time when we will make Him the most important aspect of our lives.
    I led a very ugly life for many years. When I first gave up alcohol twenty-five years ago I blamed God for the mess my life had become. Through daily inventory I began to understand that God could not do that, simply because God hates sin.It was not, however until 2005 that Jesus became the biggest part of my life.
    I hear people all the time saying, “God is good.” and I ask them, “Is that the best description of your relationship with Him you can come up with?” Psalm 56: tells us, “God is for me.” Nothing can conquer, violate, or consume that love, the love that alone comes from God. I relish May 25, more than I do the birth of my children, because that is the day I came to become His and His alone. When I begin to climb back into a depression, I pull out my Bible and repeatedly read Psalm 150.

  50. foreverblessed says:

    Steve, tell Matt I am very proud about him, very impressed by his determination, of the will to make it to the end! God bless him greatly!
    Billystan, thanks for the sharing of your life, this is such an encouragement for many alcoholics. I have a few in my neighbourhood, your story helps me to go on praying for them. God is the One who is over all.
    And thank you all for your insights on the proverb, thanks. It is so good to ponder over these verses, and talking makes a different sight shine then before.
    (Narrow, I am so happy for you, stay in the light, watch for the good in those around you, this is something I have to do too, seeing past the bad things, looking as God looks, He waits for the sinner to repent, He keeps looking as He did for the lost son.)

  51. phpatato says:

    I am home for a short while but will head back over to my daughter and son-in-law’s home. My son-in-law left Sat for the Pompano Beach area in Florida on business. He expects to be back this coming Sun or Mon sometime. I am having sleepovers so that my daughter is not alone with 18m old twin boys overnight. She has a babysitter that comes into the house during the week while she works so that frees me to come back home to catchup on things here (it also gives me time to catch my breath!!! lol). I will be sure to keeping reading this blog but posting may not come.

    billystan – I suffered in a depression blackhole for more than a decade. If not for God’s protecting hand, I wonder if I would be here today. It was through His power and strength that I was able, about 7 years ago without medical approval, to wean myself off Effexor XR (the last drug of several prescriptions that I took during that time). It is believed that mine started as post-partum depression to grow slowly, blindly until I was almost at the point of no return.

    I too, praise God for His love, goodness and grace! Psalm 100

    Narrow I so agree: Thanks be to our AMAZING, LOVING, MERCIFUL, FORGIVING, BEAUTIFUL, ALL POWERFUL, CREATOR GOD!

    Steve – I am so happy to hear of Matt’s progress! Give him a big hug for me and tell him to Press On and Stay the Course. You, like me, have a tall son. My son is 6ft 4. He has a hard time finding shirts that are long enough in the sleeve and shirt tail length and jeans 48×34 inches long.

    Hugs

    Pat

  52. oneg2dblu says:

    billystan121… I am touched by your honesty, your testimony, by your faith and your actual repentance.
    You said a most valuable thing when you stated: “Even in the midst of the ugliest of sin, He patiently awaits our return.”
    A Great Truth is revealed in your living example, and your statement.
    We return to Him only when we truly repent, for when we are in our ugliest of sin, in our most profound disobedience, we are certainly separated from Our God by that sin. Sin always separates us, and needs our faithful return, shown by our repentance.
    Our true act of repentance is an Act of Love to an ever awaiting Heavenly Father.
    IMHO Gary

  53. billystan121 says:

    Hey everyone thank you, but I did nothing and God did everything. Without his love I would be a speck of dust.

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