Proverbs – Life Skills
Sometimes we wonder what people think of us, not about what we wear or what we have, but who they think we are. What is our reputation? Are we reputable? What does that even mean?
Our reputation means that we consistently, undoubtedly and assuredly will respond a certain way no matter the circumstance or crisis. Do we fall apart in a crisis? Do we follow the majority no matter where they lead? Do we come against adversity with flight or fight tendencies? Do we blame others first when something goes wrong? Do we think we know it all therefore cannot be taught, reprimanded or corrected in any way, shape or form? Are we so principled and feel so perfect that we feel no one can rise to our standard?
Our reputation with God is the most important. What does God think? Are we tenacious in our faith no matter what happens in the world around us? Are we serving from a heart of gratitude and love, without thinking about how it may benefit us? Do we hunger and thirst for God’s Word and enjoy learning from Him about life and how to live it well? Are our lives all about God and what He wants? Is what we worship first and always, God? Who do we think about most? Who do we think about least? Does each day begin and end with God? Do we “pray without ceasing” by having day-long, intermittent conversations with God?
This proverb points out the folly of following anyone but God and highly encourages us to “Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom.” Practice, as we know, is hard work that is done often until we get it right. Knowing God’s law and not living (practicing) God’s law is futile.
What is my reputation? To God? To Others? Which one is the most important?
Proverb 28, The Message
If You Desert God’s Law
The wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off
even when no one’s after them;
Honest people are relaxed and confident,
bold as lions.
2 When the country is in chaos,
everybody has a plan to fix it—
But it takes a leader of real understanding
to straighten things out.
3 The wicked who oppress the poor
are like a hailstorm that beats down the harvest.
4 If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.
5 Justice makes no sense to the evilminded;
those who seek God know it inside and out.
6 It’s better to be poor and direct
than rich and crooked.
7 Practice God’s law—get a reputation for wisdom;
hang out with a loose crowd—embarrass your family.
8 Get as rich as you want
through cheating and extortion,
But eventually some friend of the poor
is going to give it all back to them.
9 God has no use for the prayers
of the people who won’t listen to him.
10 Lead good people down a wrong path
and you’ll come to a bad end;
do good and you’ll be rewarded for it.
11 The rich think they know it all,
but the poor can see right through them.
12 When good people are promoted, everything is great,
but when the bad are in charge, watch out!
13 You can’t whitewash your sins and get by with it;
you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
14 A tenderhearted person lives a blessed life;
a hardhearted person lives a hard life.
15 Lions roar and bears charge—
and the wicked lord it over the poor.
16 Among leaders who lack insight, abuse abounds,
but for one who hates corruption, the future is bright.
17 A murderer haunted by guilt
is doomed—there’s no helping him.
18 Walk straight—live well and be saved;
a devious life is a doomed life.
Doing Great Harm in Seemingly Harmless Ways
19 Work your garden—you’ll end up with plenty of food;
play and party—you’ll end up with an empty plate.
20 Committed and persistent work pays off;
get-rich-quick schemes are ripoffs.
21 Playing favorites is always a bad thing;
you can do great harm in seemingly harmless ways.
22 A miser in a hurry to get rich
doesn’t know that he’ll end up broke.
23 In the end, serious reprimand is appreciated
far more than bootlicking flattery.
24 Anyone who robs father and mother
and says, “So, what’s wrong with that?”
is worse than a pirate.
25 A grasping person stirs up trouble,
but trust in God brings a sense of well-being.
26 If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure;
real survivors learn wisdom from others.
27 Be generous to the poor—you’ll never go hungry;
shut your eyes to their needs, and run a gauntlet of curses.
28 When corruption takes over, good people go underground,
but when the crooks are thrown out, it’s safe to come out.
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
A person whose heart is after the heart of God, knows God and practices God’s Law can see extreme differences in;
love and hate
justice and injustice
honesty and corruption
wisdom and folly
generosity and miserly
repentance and pride
commitment and undependable
God and evil
“If you desert God’s law, you’re free to embrace depravity;
if you love God’s law, you fight for it tooth and nail.”
God, help us. Heal us. Heal our land.
In Jesus Name, Amen
And Lord, help us to develop a reputation that reflects your character;
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.”
Galatians 5: 22-23, The Message
“Since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit, let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. That means we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original.”
We are work under construction and God is not finished with us yet!