Sunday, August 19, 2012

Proverbs 19

Read Proverbs 19:1 – 9. This section is introduced with three verses describing the contrast between a wise person and a fool. A fool has perverse lips (v. 1). A fool rushes into things (v. 2). A fool rages at God over his own ruin (v. 3). The remaining verses talk about the connection between wealth, power and relationships. Those who have money have many friends. Those who do not, have few or none. Consider the people you would most like to know as friends. How does their economic status compare to yours? Do you desire friendships with those less-well-off than you? Why or why not?

Read Proverbs 19:10 – 14. Verse Ten says, “it is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury – how much worse for a slave to rule over princes.” In Solomon’s culture, individualistic self-reliance was not heralded as a virtue. Educational and vocational opportunities were not offered to all equally. It would have been thought absurd to elevate an uneducated, untrained slave to a position in which he couldn’t hope to succeed. The Bible teaches us that each Christian is equipped in a specific way to serve in the context in which he or she is placed. While we are not locked into any specific role, culturally or theologically, it is unwise to ignore our own position and gifts and instead desire the position and gifts of someone else. Do you ever find yourself wishing you had been gifted in a way you aren’t? What are your gifts? Do you use them?

Read Proverbs 19:15 – 24 . This section is bounded by verses dealing with laziness and sluggards. Most of us think of ourselves as diligent in our work. Some would say, “I am overworked.” When you are “on the clock,” are you always using your time to produce good work for those who employ you? Are your expectations truly in keeping with what you produce or are you expecting others to “spoon-feed” you (v. 24). How can you increase your value to and your witness with those who employ you?

Read Proverbs 19:25 – 29. These verses speak several times about the foolishness of mockery. Our culture prizes clever speech, especially speech that mocks others. In mocking those who prize wisdom, we put ourselves at odds with God. What kind of crowd do you find it most easy to mock? Is there anything in their lifestyle or choices that might constitute godly wisdom?

Choose one proverb from this chapter, which fits your life today. Memorize it. Read it aloud several times, emphasizing a different word each time. Close your eyes and recite it. Repeat this process several times until you are confident you know it. Pray and ask God to bring it to mind several times today. Recite it mentally each time it occurs to you. At the end of the day, take a moment to consider how it has applied to your life.

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