Saturday, January 28
“Oh be careful little tongue what you say. Oh be careful little tongue what you say. For the Father up above is looking down in love. So be careful little tongue what you say.” “A word aptly (appropriately) spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver (both beautiful and valuable!).” (25:11) How did your tongue do yesterday? How can wisdom, patience, self-control and listening keep your mouth from playing the part of a fool today? What appropriate word can you find to share today that will be beautiful and valuable to your audience?
There are a lot of verses in Proverbs about the lazy sluggard who is headed towards poverty. In today’s passage we read, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” (24:33,34). Other verses also talk about too much sleep (6:9,10; 19:15; 20:13). I am sure these verses still do apply to many. But, it seems that most adults and youth I know don’t allow themselves to get enough sleep! I wonder if the dawn of electricity and modern entertainment has changed a lot of sleep patterns. In Solomon’s day perhaps the love of sleep was the biggest contributor to laziness, poor time management and poverty. What about today? Perhaps…“A little video game, a little TV, a little Facebook and Pinterest into the wee hours of the morning – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” Is it possible that sleep is no longer the number one contributor to laziness, poor time management and poverty? Has it been replaced with our modern love of vegging out (def’n: to relax and spend time doing very little – often with a remote or device in hand – and sometimes stealing our much needed sleep). Something to consider. I know I can do a lot better with the use of the time that God has given me.
Another passage that struck me was from Proverbs 24:11-12
“Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,” does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?”
Time for some more heavenly heart weighing. Do we remember daily that God is weighing our heart? Would our actions and words look any different if we did? This passage immediately made me think of those who turned a blind eye in Hitler’s Germany or in Martin Luther King, Jr’s America. But what about today? Who is God asking you to stand with? Who is God asking you to help rescue? The unborn? The friend heading down the wrong road? The refugee? The family member denying Christ? The sex-trafficking victim?
Our world is full of so much pain and sin it is indeed tempting to block it all out and close our eyes pretending we don’t know enough to be held accountable to help. Re-read the passage above, and see who comes to mind. Pray, become more informed, pray some more, make a plan of action, pray again and perform a rescue operation! Perhaps you can’t save the whole world, but you CAN do something. And remember, your heart will be weighed.
A Few More Little Lessons from Proverbs . . .
On Alcohol – – I touched on this yesterday, but hadn’t read ahead to see that another many verses today would be devoted to the problem of drinking. It even says, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat.” (23:20). And further down . . . “Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaints? Who has needless bruises? Who has bloodshot eyes? Those who linger over wine ….”(23:29-35). Who couldn’t use some more woe, sorrow, strife and complaints! Be wise and steer clear of the dangers involved with drinking. But, if you ever are looking for more woe, sorrow, strife and complaints, you’ll know you can find it all down the liquor aisle. “In the end it bites like a snake and poisons like a viper.” (23:32)
On Envy – three times today’s reading warned against being envious of the wicked (23:17, 24:1,19) – with the last verse even adding do not fret because of evil men. This reminds me of a Psalm I noticed a few weeks ago – it would have fit well into Proverbs. “Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases, for he will take nothing with him when he dies….a man who has riches without understanding is like the beasts that perish.” (Psalm 49:16,17,20). The wicked (rich or poor) are NOT deserving of our envy. Rather than wishing we could be like them (even a little), perhaps we could even help turn them from death (Proverbs 24:11-12). Be zealous for the Lord, content with what you have, focused on the goal, and keep seeking wisdom.
God bless your study of His words!
(useful apples of gold photo found at http://cubits.org/Strength/thread/view/20332/)