Friday, July 21, 2017

Counseled By The King: The Proverbs Of Solomon. Day 58, Being Kind To Others Is Being Kind To The Lord

King Solomon speaks briefly on some family matters and practical matters, then he points out that the person who cares about himself will want to keep God's commandments, and the person who cares about himself and about God will also care about others.

"A foolish child is a father's ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like the constant dripping of a leaky roof." (Proverbs 19:13) We don't know whether Solomon is speaking from personal experience or simply from observations. We only know for certain that he had one son, Rehoboam, who swiftly lost ten tribes of the kingdom. It's hard to say whether Solomon suspected his son wouldn't be a good king. With as many wives as Solomon had, some of them may have been quarrelsome, and he says, "Listening to a quarrelsome woman is as aggravating as hearing rain from the roof dripping into a metal pan. It's a constant annoyance. It's enough to make a person go crazy."

"Houses and wealth are inherited from parents, but a prudent wife is from the Lord." (Proverbs 19:14) Solomon points out that a good wife is a personal blessing from the Lord. We may or may not have had wealthy parents who are able to leave us something, for we have no control over what families we were born into. But we do have control over who we choose for a life partner, and God will honor the prayer of the godly person who seeks a godly spouse. He is able to bring the right person into our lives at the right time.

"Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry." (Proverbs 19:15) There's something about laziness that breeds more laziness. I find I feel more physically tired if I spend the day lying around than if I spend the day being active. He says it brings on deep sleep, but in the end laziness leads to hunger because the lazy person didn't earn any money for food.

"Whoever keeps commandments keeps their life, but whoever shows contempt for their ways will die." (Proverbs 19:16) Solomon has said before that the person who loves himself will heed instruction and will love knowledge. Now he adds keeping commandments to the behavior of the one who cares for his own life. The Lord's brother James agrees with him, saying, "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says." (James 1:22) Solomon is saying something like, "The wise person will want to know more about the Lord. He will want to hear God's word. And he will want to obey God's word." The best thing we can do for ourselves is be faithful to the Lord. He is the source of all that is good, of all that fulfills us and gives purpose to our lives. Obeying His word will keep us out of a lot of foolish situations, plus He blesses the one who is obedient to Him.

"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and He will reward them for what they have done." (Proverbs 19:17) Jesus said the same thing in Matthew 25 when He told the parable of the sheep and the goats. The sheep represent the godly and the goats represent the ungodly. The King in the parable is the Lord Jesus. The King says to the godly, "I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited Me in, I needed clothes and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you came to visit Me." (Matthew 25:35-36) Puzzled, the sheep ask the King when they had ever seen Him in such need and had done anything for Him, and He replies, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me." (Matthew 25:40) Being kind to others is the same as being kind to the Lord. Our kindness will not go unnoticed by Him, for He promises to reward us. The King will say to us, "Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." (Matthew 25:34)

The Apostle Paul adds his assurance to the words of Solomon and Jesus, promising us that the Lord will reward the one who does what is right. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." (Galatians 6:9-10) Paul urges us not to become weary because he knows this world has a way of making us weary. He knows there will be times when we feel like giving up, when we feel like all our righteous living is going unnoticed. This is why he tells us to be patient, comparing our reward to a harvest from the fields. A harvest only comes at the proper time. We can't sow the seed this month and harvest next month. In the same way we might not see a reward today for what we did yesterday, but we can be certain the Lord is keeping track of all the times we obeyed His word when it would have been easier not to. We can rest assured He sees every act of kindness and mercy. At the proper time, we will reap an abundant harvest more wonderful than we ever imagined. Nobody can give rewards like God can!

No comments:

Post a Comment