Saturday, 6 June 2015

Proverbs 10 - the prudent woman and the glib talker

The Bible is filled with the deepest insights into life and human character. The Book of Proverbs portrays the two contrasting ways of life that result from faith in God, and rebellion against God. As an experiment, to aid identification, I have gender-assigned Proverbs 10 : the ‘righteous’ as a woman and the ‘unrighteous’ as a man. Next time, I will reverse it to avoid any sex discrimination. In the Old Testament, 'blessing' includes material prosperity and long life. In the New Testament,  faith does not make you rich (and may bring adversity). It means 'treasures in Heaven' and good outcomes in this life. The lesson is similar about outcomes.

Do we know these people today?
The woman is wise, hard working, a teacher of faithfulness in God, trustworthy, prudent in every area of life, taking no pleasure in the fleshpots of 'Babylon', in endless holidays and shopping - but in the wisdom coming from God.

The man is a deceptive 'talker' who prospers in good times, even though he lacks diligence. He lives well and in his heart, superciliously, he thinks little of others. He even harbours hidden hatred. His outward appearance and life is a lie. He treats doing what is right as 'a joke', assuming that his luck will never run out. His life is destroyed by adversity and what he dreads most happens to him (loss of status, poverty and ruin). Even his foothold in the land is broken, possibly his inheritance. People do not speak with affection about him, and forget him, after he dies in his middle years.

It is worth noting that in the Bible, righteousness is not something one is born with. Righteousness is not the result of intelligence or a good upbringing, which may be useful in themselves but are worthless to God without faith in Christ.  Since we live under The New Covenant, the only way now to a become right with God ('righteous') is through daily discipleship, following Jesus Christ wholeheartedly. This new state is the gift of His Holy Spirit via conversion, repentance and coming into a living relationship with Christ.

Proverbs 10 : the righteous
The mouth of the righteous woman brings forth wisdom and her lips know what is acceptable: what she speaks is a Fountain of Life. The righteous daughter makes her (righteous) father glad. The righteous woman never goes hungry. She works hard: she gathers during the harvest, in the heat of summer. She walks in integrity, and without blame. Many blessings are give to her. Wise, she accumulates knowledge, heeding advice and thereby gains life. Her tongue is 'choice silver'. She feeds many with divine wisdom. She lives longer than the unrighteous and experiences joy through hoping in God. Faith is her stronghold. She takes care with her speech due to prudence. The blessings of God make her materially rich, without guilt and sorrow attached. She takes pleasure in divine wisdom. She is established forever. She has a foothold in the land which will never be removed. Righteousness delivers her even from death. After she has departed this life, her memory is regarded as a blessing.
General character: diligent, prudent, a lover of wisdom and learning, faithful, pure in speech, a blessing to others.

Proverbs 10 : the unrighteous
He loves talking perversely, no doubt thinking it is clever. Yet he speaks without wisdom, prudence or appropriateness. He rejects the wise and their advice. He conceals hatred in his heart for them, slandering them and others behind their backs. He speaks lies and conceals violence. He sees doing wrong as a ‘joke’ - but what he most dreads happens to him. Laziness, lack of wisdom, wrongdoing and lack of diligence bring about his sudden and total ruin. His financial security is washed away, possibly during tough times. Who he is and what he has put his trust in, is clearly seen by all. He dies prematurely and all his bright expectations fail. He even loses his foothold in the land. All his cravings are thwarted by God. He leaves behind no name, legacy or good reputation.
General character: lazy, glib, unwise, antisocial, arrogant, violent, foolish.

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