Proverbs is full of simple, sensible rules for living. It’s not rocket science, y’all.
Don’t meddle. Don’t get involved in the disputes of others. Be a peace seeker and not a pot stirrer. Mind your own business. Stay in your own lane. You get the point.
Don’t gossip with your tongue or your ears. Listening to gossip makes you a part of it.
Don’t lie and don’t flatter. Be sincere in your speech.
These are simple and sensible rules but, to be honest, they don’t come naturally. We have to be intentional in our conversation and interaction with others.
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Psalm 19:14
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Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Solomon said, “Like a muddied spring or polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” (Proverbs 25:26)
A fountain or a spring was something that people would depend on much like a righteous man. Today’s proverb tells us that a righteous man who yields to or doesn’t stand up to injustice is like a fountain that has become polluted.
The righteous are called to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. We can’t turn a blind eye to injustice.
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” James 4:17
Do good. Live out the gospel.
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We are surrounded by people who are suffering, struggling, and seeking. Our communities are filled to overflowing with the helpless, hopeless, and heartbroken. How dare we ignore it? Solomon says, “Don’t think that you can claim ignorance when you stand before the Lord.” (Proverbs 24:12) We are to take action.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death; Hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter. Proverbs 24:11
We need to rescue those who, through injustice or neglect, are suffering.
We need to hold back those who, through ignorance or poor choices, are stumbling down the road to destruction.
Regardless of how they got in the position they are in – we must care enough to take action.
“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” (Charles Spurgeon)
We can never say that we didn’t know.
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It matters who we allow to speak into our lives. Who we keep company with matters. I’m sure we’ve all heard the analogy. If two men are on a ladder, it’s much easier for one to pull the other down than for the one to pull the other up.
As we have now reached Proverbs 23 on this 23rd day of October, we see some people that we are to avoid.
“Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy.” vs 6
“Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat.” vs 20
Now, this doesn’t mean that we don’t acknowledge them if they are in our presence. It certainly doesn’t mean that we shun or avoid them if they come to church. It means that we are careful in our interactions. I would say, especially, if we are prone to sin in the same area.
This isn’t the first time Solomon has spoken to relationship boundaries. In yesterday’s proverb, he instructed that we are to make no friendships with people prone to anger (Proverbs 22:24.)
We’ve also been told to not associate with a gossip or one who is careless with his words (Proverbs 20:19.)
We are to leave the presence of a fool (Proverbs 14:7 and 13:20.)
There’s always that in-the-world-but-not-of-it tension. We are to love others but use wisdom in our relationships with others. Lord, give us discernment.
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“He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives his bread to the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
You will never give too much to those in need. You will never show too much compassion to the hurting. You will never listen too long to the lonely.
You will never look back one day and think, “I loved too much.”
So, be generous. Serve. Love. Give. Forgive. Extend grace. Overlook offenses. Give the shirt off your back, your last $5, or the bread straight off your table.
You will be blessed in ways you never dreamed because your heavenly Father longs to pour out his gifts upon you.
Let’s love big, sweet friends.
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