GRACE RULES

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MERCY

KINDNESS AND GRACE PREVAIL

There is a lot of evil in the world, and God will deliver us at some point.  How great it is when things do go well for the righteous.  It will be hard to watch as the bible warns us of a decline of our civilization.  We have responsibility as individuals for our choices, so these wisdoms are a guide.  We can remember that Israel lived through bad times and bad leaders.  God is with us to deliver us and to help us to deliver others.  And he can send people who live the good example of kindness for us.

Proverbs 25: 15-28

15 By long forbearing is a prince persuaded, and a soft tongue breaketh the bone.

Impatience is not a tool for making your case with the boss.  A long pattern of patient demonstration of value is the path to prosperity.  Wisdom can work without raising its voice, and knowledge makes its point calmly.

16 Hast thou found honey? eat so much as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, and vomit it.  17 Withdraw thy foot from thy neighbour’s house; lest he be weary of thee, and so hate thee.

A good thing is not always good for all time.  Overeating or any overindulgence may lead to regrets.  Similarly a welcome by your neighbor may grow old if you become a constant presence.  There are times when friends need their space.

18 A man that beareth false witness against his neighbour is a maul, and a sword, and a sharp arrow.

Accusing your neighbor of a crime he is not guilty of is more than a blow.  It hammers, cuts, and pierces.  Now the courts may buy your lies, but the judge is the God who knows your heart.  This is a path of death for you far worse than what you can do to your enemy.

19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

I am remembering a scene in the movie “Platoon” where one soldier drifted off to sleep during his guard duty.  One of his buddies opens an eye to see shadowy figures creeping up on them, then all hell breaks loose.  We count on other people in many ways and a double minded or unreliable partner is a disaster.

20 As he that taketh away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singeth songs to an heavy heart.

After a great loss mourning is a natural process.  Really silly efforts to induce cheer are like fingernails on the blackboard or diving into a freezing pond.  Better not to be the one who delivers this performance; it may not get good reviews.

21 If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink:  22 For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee.

Caring for your enemy is a good thing for you but not so good for him.  God rewards your kindness while the unrepentant enemy of God really makes his experience worse.

23 The north wind driveth away rain: so doth an angry countenance a backbiting tongue.

Gossip, slander, lies about another person are incredibly destructive and hurtful.  It deserves a fierce look and it will not stand that look for long.

24 It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house.

In a secret corner of the attic you may find dust, but that is still a better place to live than a mansion ruled by a loud violent woman.

25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Good news from a far country is a connection to people who you know but seldom hear from.  That news is as refreshing as a big cold drink in the desert.

26 A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring.

I grew up beside a polluted river, where storms could flush raw sewage to the top.  That is a pathetic testimony to our stewardship of the earth.  But worse is when good men are oppressed or imprisoned by the evil and the greedy.  That is the horrible testimony of the government of our nation today.

27 It is not good to eat much honey: so for men to search their own glory is not glory.

Lots of honey is fun but it wants revenge if you don’t know when to stop.  Oh we also like to get respect from others, but it should be embarrassing to be fawning after attention to the point that others are repelled.

28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

Being wild, unpredictable, quick to anger and lacking wisdom is destructive and shameful.  Consider the inner city that has seen poverty, neglect, and decay for decades.  The man who is so out of control is worse off than those ghettos, or even a war zone.  Do we have such leaders today?  God knows the way to guide you through this too.

CAUTION FOR LIFE

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PRIDE-NOT

WISDOM WAITS

Are we ready to go to war?  God knows things that we don’t know and it is dangerous to run into harm’s way.  Our leaders may know things we don’t and our enemies may be more righteous than we realize.  Humility may save you from disgrace if you allow others to have grace.

Proverbs 25: 1-14

25 These are also proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.  2 It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.  3 The heaven for height, and the earth for depth, and the heart of kings is unsearchable.

Solomon is accredited by the scribes for this wisdom.  God has the sovereign right to his own secrets that we will never know.  However he is the one who anoints kings, so he has the right to honor them with a revelation.  The king can investigate anything, but no one else has access to that knowledge.  In America our presidents have hidden lies that took us to war, and decades later we find out.  But we may never know all the weight of things that motivated their decisions.  God alone will be their judge, and only they know the secrets he has slipped out to them.

4 Take away the dross from the silver, and there shall come forth a vessel for the finer.   5 Take away the wicked from before the king, and his throne shall be established in righteousness.

Refining the ore of valuable metal, shining the silver makes it workable for the artist.  In the same way if one removes the corrupt people from the counsel of the king, he will not be under the influence of evil.  His reign can turn in the right direction if he has only wise advisers.

6 Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:  7 For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

No, don’t step up to the boss’s table and seat yourself.  If you deserve a seat with the leaders, the boss knows it without your help.  Wait for his invitation to come when you have earned it.  Otherwise he will put you down where you belong.

8 Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.  9 Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another:  10 Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.

Do not be quick to start a fight where the outcome is uncertain.  Even when you are sure you have the advantage there is a chance the opponent will win the fight.  Or you may win only to face a judge who does not share your opinion.  Take the opportunity to have a private conversation with your neighbor and honestly seek to understand his point of view.  DO NOT tell any story about him to a third party.  That is even worse that fighting with him, and you will still get beat up for sure when he finds out.  Take this lesson now, or get spanked again in the New Testament:

15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  Matthew 18:15

11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.  12 As an earring of gold, and an ornament of fine gold, so is a wise reprover upon an obedient ear.

Saying the right thing is more than gold and silver, it is like artwork made from the precious metals.  And one who hears and accepts correction with grace will honor the source of that wisdom as valued as gold.

13 As the cold of snow in the time of harvest, so is a faithful messenger to them that send him: for he refresheth the soul of his masters.

When harvest didn’t involve heavy machinery it could be a hard working day.  It could be refreshing to have a fresh snow blow in to cool the working men.  When important messages must be delivered it is refreshing to know that someone is a reliable messenger.  even today companies and governments need accurate communications.  We have enough fake news…

14 Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain.

Are you a hero, a legend in your own mind?  A resume that is embellished with absent skills and fake experience will leave you stranded in a dry place.  The job you get by false claims will discover your shame.