Proverbs 25: A Few Thoughts2
Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence, and do not claim a place among his great men; it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,” than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.” - Proverbs 25:6-7 NIV
This proverb is not saying it’s wrong to be recognized or seen as important. But it is saying that it's wrong to be motivated by the need to be recognized and seen as important.
In other words, it's not so much about the position of importance as much as as it is the place that positions of importance have in our hearts.
In fact, sometimes those who are the quickest to condemn the rich and powerful are doing so out of envy, revealing their own idolatry of riches and power.
I truly believe that those who make the most significant impact for God's kingdom are those who are content to be seen as insignificant in the world's eyes.
Lord, help us die to the need to be seen as important!
If you take your neighbor to court, do not betray another’s confidence, or the one who hears it may shame you and the charge against you will stand. Proverbs 25:9-10
This is an interesting one. I believe it is speaking about gossip. Sometimes to win a debate or an argument with someone, we are tempted to name-drop a third-party.
For example, maybe your mother-in-law has become too much, and you finally confront her about it. This proverb is warning you against saying something like “and my brother-in-law has been hurt by you in the same way, but he doesn’t want to tell you.”
Lord, protect our mouths and our hearts from betraying others’ confidences in order to win an argument!
Through patience a ruler can be persuaded, and a gentle tongue can break a bone. - Proverbs 25:15
One thing about being a Christian in America is that we really don’t believe this. We want to stick it to those in power rather than be patient with them. We want to rant and rave because that makes us feel tough. We want our politicians to be brash and give the finger to our opponents.
And yet, Jesus was the epitome of this proverb. He was patient without being a pushover. His firm but loving words literally brought people to their knees.
And even when his words got him crucified, that “defeat” led to the greatest victory humanity could ever wish for.
Satan whispers to me all the time that I will get further if I get louder and more demonstrative.
God’s word says I’ll get more accomplished – and the right things accomplished – through patience and gentle words (even if I suffer in the short-term for it).
Like a broken tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble. - Proverbs 25:19
This verse simply makes me pause and wonder if I’m this kind of person. Am I trustworthy or am I seen as unreliable?
When I say I’m going to do something, do I do it?
When I tell someone I’ll get something done by a certain deadline, do I come through for them?
Do I too easily say “yes” when I really mean “maybe?”
How about you? Are you a trustworthy person?
I believe followers of Jesus should be reliable in every aspect of life. If a contractor does work for us, we should not be late in paying them. If we are that contractor, there shouldn’t be a customer who is rolling their eyes because we didn’t come on a day that we said we would.
Our friends should not have to wonder if we will be on time to give them a ride to the airport.
We must be people of integrity in every aspect of life.
Lots of Bible knowledge will not impact an unbelieving world if we are not people who are reliable and dependable.
Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on a wound, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart. - Proverbs 25:20
I love this proverb because it’s such a reminder about the need for emotional intelligence. We need to be able to read a room. We need to be able to empathize without trying to fix someone’s feelings. We need to be able to mourn with those who mourn instead of giving them shallow spiritual platitudes, churchy clichés, or annoying happy songs.
In John 11 Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus even though he knew he was going to raise him from the dead in a few moments. That is such a great example of being present in a moment and feeling what others are feeling.
May we be able to enter others’ pain in the same way – whether that be strangers or spouses or kids.
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