31 Proverbs Highlights: #25-Gold and Cool Drinks

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray. A wise correction to a receptive ear is like a gold ring or an ornament of gold. To those who send him, a trustworthy messenger is like the coolness of snow on a harvest day; he refreshes the life of his masters. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭11-13‬ HCSB)

Do you have a friend that knows what to say, it seems, all the time? Either they are just faster on their feet or they are just more in tuned? Verse 11-12 says they are gold. The Message paraphrase describes them as “custom made.” I can’t say I have many friends that are “gold,” but the one that comes to mind is definitely priceless. I would say his listening skills are what makes him gold.

How about friends that are reliable, that do what they say? Got many of those? Verse 13 calls them refreshing. The Message paraphrase describes them as “cool drinks in sweltering heat.” What I know is how unrefreshing unreliable “friends” are. To have “cool drink” friends, which I’m thankful to say I do, is one of the greatest blessings in life.

We should strive to be gold and cool drinks, not just receivers but givers. Who would call you gold or a cool drink?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #24-Enough with the Agitation

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

Don’t be agitated by evildoers, and don’t envy the wicked. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭24‬:‭19‬ HCSB)

Social Media is full of agitation. I get agitated by all the agitation, you know what I mean?

So why do we allow ourselves to get so agitated? Yes, people do crazy things. Yes, we don’t understand how people get by with their actions. Yes, we will never agree totally with others. But must we live in such an agitated state?

Is it possible we’ve gotten so agitated by what we see in others because we’ve forgotten the evil that resides in our own hearts? We’ve gotten so used to excusing the person in the mirror that actually given enough power and freedom is capable of just as much wickedness.

This proverb reminds me to look at my own heart. See myself as God sees me. Worry about my own evil and wickedness rather than focus on someone else’s. Resist the agitation of pointing out the sins of others and let God deal with them. Enough with the agitation.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #23-Heart Envy

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

Don’t let your heart envy sinners; instead, always fear the Lord. Proverbs 23:17 HCSB

What might heart envy look like?

So my boss has gotten to his position by running all over others. Looks like success. Maybe…

So my neighbors live so carefree and just seem to have everything they want. Of course, they have crazy amount of debt and fight constantly about money. But…

These guys at the gym are always talking about how much fun they have after they leave the gym. They invite me to come along all the time. I doubt my wife would like these guys, but…

Awe of God will give you the right perspective of success, finances, and fun. Guard your heart. Resist its envy.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #22-Endless Honor and Respect

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

The rich and the poor have this in common: the Lord made them both… Drive out a mocker, and conflict goes too; then quarreling and dishonor will cease. Proverbs 22:2,10 HCSB

Besides the rich and the poor both being made by God, here are some other “couples”:

  • Educated and Uneducated 
  • Healthy and Unhealthy
  • Old and Young
  • Country and City 
  • Married and Single
  • Churchgoer and Never been before 
  • North American and Arab American
  • Artists and Athletes 
  • Conservatives and Liberals
  • Those who live in Florida and Those who visit Florida

This list is endless. What shouldn’t be endless is any mocking between these God-created couples. 

Endless Honor and Respect is what God-created couples should embrace.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #21-Your Best Counsel

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The one who pursues righteousness and faithful love will find life, righteousness, and honor…No wisdom, no understanding, and no counsel will prevail against the Lord. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭21‬:‭21‬,30 HCSB)

Some spiritual choices in life make no sense to nonspiritual minds. And why should they? For that matter, some spiritual-minded people often question the choices of other people of same mind. According to these verses, why should they?

For example, not all spiritual-minded people are in ideal marital relationships. They receive counsel from various sources of what they should do. It seems that no matter the choices of these people, they will no doubt receive pushback from others. What should they do?

If you find yourself in such a situation, whether it’s related to your career, a relationship, your finances, your health, or even where you should align yourself in a local church body, take heart in these truths from these verses:

  • Your utmost pursuit in life is righteousness and faithful love.
  • Human insight is finite; it cannot supersede the peace that comes from the wisdom and counsel of God.

Seek counsel from others, yes. But you are not a slave to them. Their counsel doesn’t outrank God’s. Your best counsel comes from him. And why shouldn’t it?

31 Proverbs Highlights: #20-Honorable Men

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

It is honorable for a man to resolve a dispute, but any fool can get himself into a quarrel…Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man? (‭Proverbs‬ ‭20‬:‭3‬,6 HCSB)

“A good man is hard to find.” How many times have you heard that statement? (Let’s not get into where and by whom)

“An honorable man is hard to find.” I can’t say I’ve ever heard that one. Can you?

Maybe we should have. Or maybe we should be asking it.

These two verses start the list of what makes a man honorable:

  • He works to resolve a dispute rather than pick a fight.
  • He doesn’t always have to get his way.
  • He doesn’t look for an argument just to get into one.
  • He doesn’t have to proclaim his loyalty.
  • He proves his trustworthiness over and over again not out of necessity but by nature of his character.

What else makes a man honorable? Leave a comment if you have an answer.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #19-Money Sense

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs)

The one who acquires good sense loves himself; one who safeguards understanding finds success…Kindness to the poor is a loan to the Lord, and He will give a reward to the lender. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭19‬:‭8‬,17 HCSB)

Success is grounded in common sense and pursuing understanding.

According to verse 17, success in handling money is grounded in the common sense that the poor will always be with us, and in the understanding that our money isn’t really ours but God’s and that sharing our resources with the poor isn’t unnoticed by him. 

We give to the poor not in order to receive a reward but in order to practice good money sense and to follow the desires of the true owner of everything.

31 Proverbs Highlights: #18-Where to Run

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment…The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are protected. Proverbs 18:1,10 HCSB

These two verses are a study in opposites. 

The Isolater 

  • Runs toward his desires, potentially away from better choices 
  • Runs away from wisdom rather than toward surrender

The Righteous 

  • Runs toward God first and always
  • Runs toward strength and protection rather than selfishness and rebellion 

The Value of Bible Translations

Taking a short break from the 31 Proverbs series to share a personal observation. 

The words of Proverbs 17:5 are stuck on replay in my mind. Actually, one word is. Well, one word from the HCSB translation is. If you read yesterday’s post, you can probably guess which word. 

As I’ve meditated on that word and the message of that verse, these questions came to me: How have I missed this verse for so long? Why did it stick out to me unlike any other time I’ve read it before?

One answer to that question is this: I’m reading the book of Proverbs in a translation that I don’t recall reading it before.

Some people devalue this practice-reading the Bible from various translations. I value it. To give you an idea what I’m talking about, compare this verse from these four translations: 

He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NASB

He who mocks the poor reproaches his Maker; He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NKJV

Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 NIV 

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 HCSB

With just one word highlighted, a Bible student could learn deeper truth and understanding, enough to stick with them for days, maybe even a lifetime. So here are some questions to consider regarding the value of Bible translations: 

  • What if we trusted man’s God-given gift of language and words to deepen our understanding of God?
  • What if we allowed various colors and imageries of words to deepen the convicting power of God’s truths?
  • What if we let go of trying to control God’s word and surrender to God’s message?

For some reason, the word insult went beyond my eyes and mind and reached my heart. I felt that word. 

That’s powerful. That’s lifealtering. That’s invaluable. 

31 Proverbs Highlights: #17-Insulting God

(A simple series highlighting verses from each chapter of the book of Proverbs) 

The one who mocks the poor insults his Maker, and one who rejoices over calamity will not go unpunished…The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding. Even a fool is considered wise when he keeps silent, discerning when he seals his lips. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭17‬:‭5‬, 27-28 HCSB)

Who would dare insult God? Who would think that would bring peace to one’s heart?

Yet, our desire to be perceived somehow as better than can lead us to do exactly that, insult God.

We insult God by criticizing his creation. That includes people. 

We insult God by assuming we know the reasons behind his actions. We mere humans.

We insult God by thinking our words need to be heard. Even above his.