Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 35, Wisdom Is Helpful For Family Life

Today Solomon has some proverbs regarding family life and the provision of the Lord for the one who loves Him.

"An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away." (Proverbs 13:23) I found several different interpretations of this verse, but most of them render it a bit differently than the NIV. It seems to mean that the poor could produce enough food from their land to sustain them, but injustice has taken the land from them. Evidently this has to do with the strong oppressing the weak and the rich taking advantage of the poor.

"Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them." (Proverbs 13:24) This doesn't mean you have to spank your child if you don't believe in spanking. The spirit of this verse is simply that the one who loves his child will teach his child what is right, and he will provide correction when the child disobeys. My mother was a fan of "time out" a couple of decades before it became popular. That's because she quickly realized it had more effect on me than a spanking. It even had more effect on me than the removal of privileges. In the Bible, the "rod" is a symbol of discipline, and it does not have to take the form of a spanking. The Lord sometimes refers to the enemies of Israel and Judah as the "rod" He is using to discipline them. It's a metaphor for any device used to correct wrong behavior.

"The righteous eat to their heart's content, but the stomach of the wicked goes hungry." (Proverbs 13:25) King David made this statement about the Lord's care for the righteous, "The poor will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise Him---may your hearts live forever!" (Psalm 22:26) David and Solomon both tell us, "You may have very little in this world, but God has His eye on the one who seeks Him, and He will keep you from going hungry." I grew up poor, and there were times I would have preferred having something to eat other than what we had, but I never went hungry. As an adult I've gone through a few times when I didn't know how the bills would get paid, but the Lord never let me go through those times on an empty stomach. He has been so faithful and I praise Him for it. He provides those who love Him with their daily bread, but Solomon points out that He makes no such promise to the wicked.

"The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down." (Proverbs 14:1) I made a lot of notes in the first Bible I bought after I came to Christ, and under this verse I wrote "little by little". It would take time to tear a house down by hand, so I imagine Solomon is saying that the foolish woman does it brick by brick, little by little. Not all marriages break down because of big things like affairs. Many of them break up because of smaller things that accumulate over time. For example, a husband may finally leave because his wife has shown him years of disrespect. Or a wife may give up and leave because her husband has shown her years of inattention.

"Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly, but those who despise Him are devious in their ways." (Proverbs 14:2) The Lord Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commands." (John 14:15) We will naturally want to walk uprightly if we love the Lord. We will make mistakes from time to time, just as the characters of the Bible did, but these mistakes will bother us. We will have trouble living in sin because it will put distance between us and the Lord. King David committed some huge sins at one point in his life, and for a while he refused to admit to them, but eventually he had to repent. Solomon says, "The one who loves the Lord may fall into sin from time to time, but he won't be able to stay there. He won't be able to stand it. Eventually he will return like the prodigal son. But the one who despises the Lord will keep on wallowing in the muck of wickedness."

The Bible is full of good practical advice for our daily living. Following Scriptural principles will help us have a happier home. We are to work on our relationships with our spouses and children. Children need guidance from their parents, a godly example to follow. Husbands and wives need to respect and value each other, building their relationship instead of tearing it down. The best way to do these things is to follow God's instructions for family life.

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