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-assignedProverbs 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 glib and perverse chatterbox, who prospers in good times, even though he lacks diligence. He lives on the fat of the land but in his heart arrogantly thinks little of others. He even harbours hidden hatred of them. His outward appearance and life is a lie. He treats moral behaviour and doing what is right as a 'joke', assuming that his luck will never run out. His life is washed away by adversity and what he dreads most happens to him (probably loss of status, poverty and ruin). Even his foothold in the land is broken. People do not speak with affection about him, or remember him after he dies in his middle years. 

It is worth noting that 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 a living faith).  The way to a righteous character is only through daily discipleship to Jesus Christ, created through the gift of His Holy Spirit, via conversion, repentance and by having a living relationship with Him.

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 on her head. Wise, she accumulates knowledge, heeding advice and thereby gains life. Her tongue is 'choice silver'. She feeds many with 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 her 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 with perversity. He speaks without wisdom, prudence or appropriateness. He rejects the wise and their advice. He conceals hatred in his heart and lies, slandering others behind their backs. What he speaks conceals violence. He sees doing wrong as a ‘joke’ but what he dreads will happen to him. Laziness, lack of wisdom and lack of diligence end in his total ruin and his financial security is washed away, possibly during tough times. Who he is, is found out. He dies early 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 reputation. 
General character: lazy, glib, unwise, antisocial, arrogant, violent, foolish

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