Category: Christian Living

The Importance of Words (Proverbs 18) (Part 1)

The Statement

Wise and foolish words are one of the main themes in the Book of Proverbs. It receives further treatment in Proverbs chapter 18. It surveys the differing uses of tongue and their consequences:

A Foolish Person

Proverbs 18:2 (NIV) “A fool finds no pleasure in understanding but delights in airing his own opinions.” A person who “delights in airing his own opinions” can appear knowledgeable, wise, and even gain a great following, but he lacks understanding.”

  • This is because he cannot be bothered to go thoroughly into the matters on which he expresses his opinion – Proverbs 18:15 (NIV) “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge the ears of the wise seek it out.”
  • This is too much trouble and he “finds no pleasure in it” (Proverbs 18:2a, NIV). After all, if he does, he may discover he was wrong and have to eat his words, which the self-opinionated will never do.
  • He must be different in order to draw attention to himself. It is important for us to check our opinions against those of others and gleamed wisdom from interaction.
  • Foolish Person cannot be taught; he is critical and is in a danger of forming his clique.

Self-Opinionated Person

A Self-OpinionatedProverbs 18:6-7 (NIV) “A fool’s lips bring him strife, and his mouth invites a beating. A fool’s mouth is his undoing, and his lips are a snare to his soul.”  Self-opinionated Fool is trapped by his own words because he provokes disagreement, which leads to strife, but being a controversialist he enjoys this – Proverbs 18:20 (NIV) “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled; with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” However, provocative words can lead to blows: “His mouth invites a beating” (Proverbs 14:3). He may get the best of argument, but he comes off worse off because “his mouth is his undoing,” literally “ruin, destruction.” This may mean he is such a well-known nuisance that no person will take his part and he may be brought before for punishment – Proverbs 19:19 (NIV) “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Whichever it is he has only himself to blame. No person sets out to get him, he himself laid the snare which brings “ruin” (“undoing”) to himself:

  • Proverbs 10:8b (NIV) “A chattering fool comes to ruin.”
  • Proverbs 12:13a (NIV) “An evil man is trapped by his sinful talk.”
  • Proverbs 13:3b (NIV) “He who speaks rashly will come to ruin.”

James put it in a nutshell: “What a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:5). Ecclesiastes 10:12b (NIV) “A fool is consumed by his own lips.”

To be continued…… Stay Tuned.

Quarrelling (Proverbs 20:3)

Quarrelling

Proverbs 20:3 (NIV) “It is to a man’s honour to avoid strife, but every fool is quick to quarrel.” Proverbs 20:3 (KJV) “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife, but every fool will be meddling.”

Quarrelling is one of the commonest human weaknesses and has the most serious effects; it marks one of the clearest differences between Wise and Foolish Person. Every Foolish Person is quick to quarrel because the Person is “quick-tempered” and lacks understanding:

  • Proverbs 14:29 (NIV) “A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly (foolishness).”
  • Proverbs 16:32 (NIV) “Better is a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”
  • Proverbs 17:14 (NIV) “Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so, drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.”
  • Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

It is honourable for the Person to avoid (“cease from” – KJV) strife. The phrase ceased from (KJV) means “a complete separation from strife.” The word avoid (NIV – “cease from” – KJV) has the idea of sitting still, remaining calm under a hail of insults. The world sees this as weakness and dishonour (James 3:14-16). But, as Bridges puts it, “An evil world is a fine theatre for the display of the Grace of God in the fruits of ‘the wisdom that is from above,’ that is, Peaceableness” (James 3:17). It takes far more strength to control your temper than to stand up for your right.

Strife begins when honour is impugned (call in question, challenged) and must be defended, however, honour does not come from defending it, but controlling oneself and forgiving the injury – Proverbs 19:11 (NIV) “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.”

The Wise Person does not get entangled with the petty grievances that often characterize life. This does not mean that the Wise Person will completely avoid addressing an issue when Principle is involved. However, the Wise Person will not get involve with the many neutral matters that give ground for quarrelling and irritation. In contrast, the Foolish Person “will be meddling” (“starts a quarrel” – Proverbs 20:3), because his lack of self-control leads him to focus on matters that would be best forgotten.

Personal Relationships (Proverbs Chapter 18: 1,22,24) (Part 1)

The Statement

Proverbs Chapter 18 has no single theme, but underlying it is the whole subject of the Character and Conduct of the Wise. No Person can get far in life before coming up against the issues touched on in Proverbs Chapter 18: Relationship, Depravity, Words, Fairness, Security. There are some profound observations on these points:

Observation on Personal Relationships:

1. Unfriendliness

Proverbs 18:1 (NIV) “An unfriendly man pursues selfish ends; he defies all sound judgement.” The unfriendly person is “a Loner.” The term “unfriendly” literally means “he who separates himself.” He is Antisocial, he has little time for anyone else because he is “selfish” and pursues “selfish ends,” that is, he has his own ends in view and the company of others interferes with them.

This brings him into conflict with conventional Wisdom – “Sound Judgement” – for in order to justify being different from others he has to criticize and condemn normal thinking and behaviour. The word for “defies” is strong, literally “breaks out,” suggesting that from his ivory tower he issues scornful denunciations of the lives and views of his fellow-citizens. This kind of person is introduced in Proverbs 18:1, as one not to be emulated, for the truth is, not that he is superior to others, but that he cannot form relationships.

2. Over-Friendliness

Proverbs 18:24a (NIV) “A man of many companions may come to ruin.” Proverbs Chapter 18 ended on the subject of Personal Relationships on which it began, but with the complete opposite of the Loner (unfriendly Person – Proverbs 18:1). The meaning of Proverbs 18:24a is a bit obscure but it describes a person who has many Friends, that is, he is a Good Mixer who treats all alike and is “every man’s friend.” There is no depth in relationship.

At first glance, this great Socialiser seems the ideal, yet we are told he “may come to ruin,” because in adversity he had no one to whom he is close enough to command his loyalty, no one such as the part two of Proverbs 18:24b (NIV) “But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” It is possible to have so many friends that we have no real friends!

To be continued…… Stay Tuned.

Lesson from Lizard (Proverbs 30:28)

The Lizard

Proverbs 30:28 “The lizard taketh hold with her hands, and as in kings’ palaces.” The KJV & NKJV describes the insect as “Spider,” whereas the NIV describes the creature as Lizard. The insect’s or the animal’s identity is not clear, and thus, for this write-out, we will apply the description to that of the Lizard, instead of Spider.

Lizard’s Limitation

Lizard is defenceless except for its speed. The defenceless characteristic is also descriptive of: “Ants, Coney (Badger) and Locust.” Lizard, is not appealing in appearance and not desirable of many people to take-hold-off, and seem to be a pest to most people – these characteristics would have cause many people to be discouraged, but not the Lizard – where does the Lizard turn up….King’s Palace! (Proverbs 30:28). Lizard is found in the King’s Palace, not by invitation, but persistent and ever persevering!

Wisdom in Action

Lizard speaks of the “Victory of Perseverance,” that compensate for the defencelessness that the Lizard possesses. Despised the Lizard may be, but it is full of wonders. Consider the ingenuity, delicacy, and adaptation of its work; it is truly marvellous. Despite its ease of capture, this animal uses its climbing ability to go everywhere, even on the walls of the King’s Palace. Lizard surefooted tenacity and sneaky persistence testify to the veracity (truth) of this Proverb. Lizard gets into the best place and holds on. 

So humble, yet so busy, that it finds room even in King’s Palace. Lizard is found in King’s Palace because it can stick to the walls, and so run into unlooked-for-places out of the way of men. It is a great thing to be able to hold on. Quiet perseverance wins many a victory. Patient endurance is crowned in the end with glorious success. In the highest things: “He that endures unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Mark 13:13). Lizard demonstrates the success of persistency.

Lessons to be Learned  

For the unwelcome Lizard to establish itself in King’s Palace, there is demanded of this twofold virtue. And for our success, we need this also – ambition to attempt and assiduity (assess critically) to find a way, in spite of all the obstacles that we may encounter. The discouraged and faint-hearted will not success – for the Bible exhorts us: “Faint No!” – Hebrews 12:1-3 “Therefore, we also, since we ae surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith,……lest we become weary and discouraged in our souls.”

History has shown that even people with limited talents have been known to accomplish great success/discovery far more than those with great talents and abilities, for he that has no heart for enterprise will certainly achieve nothing; and he who lacks patience to wait his time, perseverance to renew his efforts as often as he is foiled, or as often as one success opens the way to another, will reach no King’s Palace, no place of honour or of influence. The Lizard teaches us this precious lesson of wisdom of: “Victory of Perseverance.”

Word of Exhortation

We have spent time together, studying and learning from these four insects/animals: Ants, Coneys (Badgers), Locusts and Lizards, and I hope that these insects/animals (Ants, Coneys {Badgers}, Locusts, and Lizards) have provided us with valuable lessons of life:

  • The Ants taught us of: “Wisdom of Preparation.”
  • The Coneys (Badgers) taught us of: “Necessity of Precaution – Three Basics of Survival.”
  • The Locusts taught us of: “Unity and Power.”
  • The Lizards taught us of: “Victory of Perseverance.”  

All the four mentions insects/animals in Proverbs 30:25-28, are small in sizes and weak in bodies, nevertheless, all are wise enough to find a compensating quality (wisdom) to make them reach their goals.

Lesson from the Locusts (Proverb 30:27)

The Locusts

Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king yet go they forth all of them by bands.” The Locusts speak of “the Mystery of Unity and Power.” The Locusts lack leadership collectively, yet they march in rank. What an amazing exception they are! It is not their work of ruin, but the wisdom of system by which they do it, that is commended in Proverbs 30:27. They have no leader and lack strength, individually, yet work in amazing unity. Locusts demonstrate the Mystery of Unity and Power.

Work of Locusts

The Locusts are known for the immense numbers that suddenly swarm upon a district, and for the vast devastation they accomplish in vegetation in a little while. “Vast bodies of migrating Locusts, called by the oriental the Armies of God,” lay waste the country. The Locusts observed as regular order, when they march, as an army. At evening they descend from their flight, and form, as it were, their camps. In the morning, when the sun has risen considerably, they ascend again, if they do not find food, and fly in the direction of the wind – Proverbs 30:27 “The locusts have no king yet go they forth all of them by bands.

  • The Locusts go in immense numbers – Jeremiah 46:23 “They shall cut down her forest, says the LORD, ‘Though it cannot be searched, because they are innumerable and more numerous than grasshoppers.”
  • Occupy a space of ten or twelve miles in length, and four and five in breadth, and are so deep that the sun cannot penetrate through them; so that they convert the day into night and bring a temporary darkness on the land – Exodus 10:15 “For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they ate every herb of the land and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left. So there remained nothing green on the trees or on the plants of the field throughout all the land of Egypt.”
  • The sound of the wings is terrible, when the Locusts descend upon the earth, they cover a vast track a foot and half high; if the air is cold and moist or if they be wet with the dew, they remain….till they are dried and warmed by the sun – Nahum 3:17 “Your commanders are like swarming locusts, and your generals are like great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges on a cold day; when the sun rises they flee away, and the place where they are I not known.”  
  • Nothing stops them. They fill the ditches which are dug to stop them with their bodies, and extinguish by their numbers the fires, which are kindled. They pass over walls and enter the doors and windows of houses (Joel 2:7-9).
  • The Locusts devour everything which is green, strip off the bark of trees, and even break them to pieces by their weight (Exodus 10:12-19).

Wisdom in Action

Though the Locusts have no king, yet they are able to make successful marches over miles of country, and to completely devastate the lands they visited. It is an accepted principle, in life/management, that a Leaderless Group is a weak Group. Yet in the Locusts, is an example, or an exception to the rule of life/management; here the Locusts, doing well and survive but has no leadership in command. What is the secret of the Locusts’ success and survival?? How can we see “Wisdom,” in action? – Locusts’ limitations have been overcome by their wisdom:

  • The Locusts compensate for the lack of the leadership, by means of band together for a common purpose/strength – stripping the land of its vegetation!
  • Locusts do not waste their time by flying hither and thither, and by opposing one another. Locusts all move on in solid phalanx (group). Each Locust subordinates his individuality to the Group; this is illustrated, when the Locusts come to a small stream, they will move into the stream in such numbers that the Locusts created a causeway of bodies, that can be used by other Locusts. This instinctive order secures success. Thus, the Locusts success is insured by the strength of the total organization, build-up by the strength of the individual insect!

Locust a creature, as an individual, easily crushed, yet gaining immense force by union with others. Joel gives a splendid description of the raid of locusts under the figure of the invading army, with which the accounts of travellers in tropical lands may be closely compared (Joel 1:4). It is an essential part of personal equipment that a man be able to cooperate with others. And in the great majority of cases this means readiness to fall in with the suggestions of other people, to forego our own preference and adopt another person’s advice. It means listening and learning, conciliation and concession, punctuality, and politeness.

Lessons to be Learned

It teaches us that the welfare of the Individual must be subordinates to that of the Community. This speaks of the banding of the Members of the Body of Christ, for common good – this is the strength that comes from unity/diversity, in the Body of Christ:

Psalm 133:1-3 “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like a precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of the garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing – life forevermore.”

Ephesians 4:16 “From whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

For the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, the Individual Member of the Body of Christ is in subordination of the Individual’s will to the whole Plan and Purpose of Christ and His Kingdom. It is the finding and functioning, with the calling and gifting, in our place in the Body of Christ (Romans 12:1-8; Romans 11:29; 1Corinthians 12:8-10; 1Corinthians chapters 13 & 14). It is the recognition and functioning in unity and diversity of the Members of the Body of Christ that makes it possible for spiritual growth and development. The order and subjection to each other that the Body of Christ grows and prospers.

Lesson from Coneys (Badgers) (Proverbs 30:26)

The Coney (Syrian Hyrax)

Proverbs 30:26 “The Coneys (Badgers) are but a feeble folk, yet make they houses in the rocks.” Coney refers to the Syrian Hyrax, a small mammal with short legs, ears, and tail and reddish-brown fur. The animal has large front and heavy teeth, broad nails on their feet, which are also padded, great for movements on the rocky surfaces. One of the Hebrew words “shaphan” is best identified as the “Rock-Badger,” is abound in the Kedron area, as well as near the Dead Sea Hills.

Safety First

Coney (Badger) speaks of the “necessity of precaution.” Coney (Badger) lived in companies in the cleft of the rocks. Coney (Badger) has three basics abilities for survival:

  • Coney (Badger) first ability is to understand its limitation in its size and strength and the protective cleft of the impregnable rock. Thus, Coney (Badger) first step is not to get too far removed from “the protective-home,” of the rock, that it knows so well.
  • The other characteristic of Coney (Badger) is that the animal has “posted-look-out,” and thus, is hard to be captured. This speaks of the ability to read the “situation,” with precaution, taken!
  • The third important safeguard of Coney (Badger) is to move, the moment its sense danger, and not to wait to test the situation with foolishness.

Wisdom at Work

Coney (Badger) is “but a feeble folk” (Proverbs 30:6a), such a profound description of its problem; but Coney (Badger) shows its wisdom by seeking security among the impregnable rocks. Coney (Badger) though not strong, makes wise choice, by living in rocky crags where it can hole up to escape animals of prey or human hunters – Psalm 104:18 “The high hills are for the wild goats; the cliffs are a refuge for the rock badgers (coneys).” – Because Coney (Badger) is hunted, it needs a refuge.

Also, Coney (Badger) has the “in-built instinct” of able to move cautiously, with calculated ability, to move from place to place, but never getting itself too far from “protective-home,” to become victim of a larger and stronger predator/hunter. Coney’s (Badger’s) Wisdom is understanding of its limitations, taking practical action to address the issue, or else its time of learning becomes the end of the learning process.

The tenant (Coney or Badger) may be weak, but the house is strong. This is a demonstration of “the necessity of precaution.” What Coney (Badger) lack of size and strength it makes up for, with wisdom!!

Though feeble, finds compensation in the strength of the dwelling it selects. To be able to run to the rocks or fastnesses is necessary for the feeble. And in the ordering of our lives, it is necessary to count on our being sometimes defeated. He is but a poor captain who conducts his campaign without “securing the base;” and he does not know the practical wisdom of life who does not provide for himself a retreat, a reserve, when fortune goes against him, as it sometimes will in, “the battle of life.”

Lessons to be Learned

The lessons that we can learn from Coney (Badger), is that we have to be wise if we are not strong, in the threefold approach/strategy:

  • First, our ability to understand our size and limitation, as the Coney (Badger), and setting in place, contingency plans, to address our size and weaknesses, as not to be caught flat-footed, in situations, as shown in the wisdom of the Coney (Badger). – Proverbs 3:5-7 “Trust the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil.”
  • Second, the other use of wisdom is to keep sentries on guard, at all times, so the enemy is not able to catch us by surprise – 1Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your Adversary the Devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” This speaks of our ability to read the “situation,” with precaution, taken!
  • Third, knowing what we can do best, in difficult/trying situation – we have contingency plan, in reserve – this is wisdom!! Although the Coney has not the compensating intelligence of the ant. But their instinct leads them to live among the rocks and hide themselves in the dark caves and inaccessible crevices. Thus, the strength of the hills is their protection. When there is no hope of holding our ground in the open field, we may find shelter in the Rock of Ages, our Lord Jesus Christ! – Psalm 62:6-8 “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah.” 

The lessons of the Coney (Badger) are small but smart; defenseless due to the size and strength, but great and strong in wisdom! How about us!

Lessons from the Insects/Animals Kingdom (Proverbs 30:24 – 28)

The Lessons – Proverbs 30:24-28 “There are four things which are little on the earth, but they are exceedingly wise. The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their food in the summer; the rock badgers are a feeble folk, yet they make their homes in the crags; the locusts have no king, yet they all advance in ranks; the lizard skilfully grasps with its hands, and it is in kings’ palaces.

Proverbs 30:24-28 teach about four weak things (Ants, Coneys {Badgers}, Locusts, and Lizards), and the greatness of each. At the first glance, no one would anticipate great accomplishments from these four little Creatures (Ants, Badgers {Coneys}, Locusts & Lizards), but each illustration from nature contains an importance lesson, to amplify the theme that size does not count nearly as much as wisdom. Each of the creature portrays a different aspect of wisdom in action.

The lesson to be learned from “the wisdom,” of these four creatures (Ants, Badgers {Coneys}, Locusts and Lizards) is that wisdom is defined by the ability to recognise one’s problems and limitations and then set about to compensate for the problems and limitations. The Ants, the Coneys {Badgers}, the Locusts, and the Lizards all have certain limitations, but in each case, each of this creature sets about overcoming its problem/limitation with its solution

The four creatures that are mentioned all illustrate the wonderful way in which the disadvantages of weakness may be overcome by some countervailing quality. These four creatures who, in spite of their size, are possessed of attributes that serve as a source of instruction for us.

The Word of God teaches that “the weak things of the world confounding the things which are mighty” (1Corinthians 1:27). Now we have illustrations from nature for the same principle. Each one of the four creatures teaches us its own special lesson, as each conquers its weakness by same separate and distinctive quality:

  • The Ants – Wisdom of Preparation by Foresight. The ant models the advisability of carefully planning ahead to meet future contingencies. Ant teaches us about preparation.
  • The Coneys (Badgers) – the Necessity of Protection – Three Basics of Survival. Hebrew (shapan) means “hider” The animal is named for its habit of living in the cleft of rocks. The resourcefulness that gains for him a high degree of security. The Coney (Badger) teaches us about wise building.
  • The Locusts – Unity & Power by organisation. It models organisation and discipline. The locust realises it cannot stand alone but needs to gather together with others for self-preservation. The locust teaches us about cooperation and order.
  • The Lizards – Victory of Perseverance by Quiet Persistency, by trying again and again to reach it goal. It models the use of resource beyond one’s own to enhance one’s security and enjoyment of life. The Lizard is about fearlessness.

In an age where brilliant thinking and high technology are admired, it is good to hear again the importance of basic virtues like careful planning (Ant), wise choosing (Coney {Badger}), community loyalty (Locust), and dogged persistence (Lizard). The Bible says that wisdom is the chief thing: (a) Wisdom will generate finance; (b) Wisdom will gather friends; (c) Wisdom will build our home – Proverbs 16:16 says that wisdom is better than gold. Ecclesiastes 9:16 says that wisdom is better than strength.

Diligence and Skill (Proverb 22:29)

Scripture Text:

Proverbs 22:29 (NIV) “Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand (serve) before kings; he will not stand (serve) before obscure men.

Structure:

Proverbs 22:29 is an unusual saying. Its central emphasis is “A man skilled in his work.”. The structure of this verse can presented in three lines:

  • Do you see a man skilled in his work?
  • He will stand (serve) before Kings.
  • He will not stand (serve) before obscure men.

Definition:

The Hebrew word for “skilled” combines the ideas of: Skill, speed and use of time wisely. The word “skilled” (máhír) includes:

  • Excel, diligent. It has the root idea of “quick, prompt.”
  • It also combines the ideas of talent, understanding, and careful pain-taking work:

In other words, the person is quick to improve his circumstances and pursue opportunities. He is the person who is improving his skill all the time and is making the most of every opportunity. For Example:

  • Ezra the Scribe –
    “This Ezra went up from Babylon; and he was a ready (skilled) scribe in the law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given; and the king granted him all his request, according to the hand of the Lord, his God, upon him.” Ezra 7:6
  • The Singer –
    “My heart is overflowing with a good matter; I speak of the things which I have made touching the king. My tongue is the pen of a ready (skilled) writer.” Psalm 45:1
  • Future Davidic King –
    …be prompt (skilled) in justice.” (Isaiah 16:5)

First Promise:

Proverbs 22:29b “He will stand (serve) before kings.”
This proverb states that the person who works hard and with skill will succeed in his career. He will work for the most powerful and influential people in society:

  • He will be marked out for special notice, for “advancement and honour” (higher service), whether in the secular or ministry.
  • He will stand out above the average persons in his work-place.

Promotion should come as a reward of diligent acquisition of skill, not so much from “ladder climbing” and unholy ambition. Proverbs 12:24 extolled the rewards of diligence. Now, it specially addresses the outcome of focusing on work ethic before advancement. The Scriptures are filled with examples of just such reward:

  • Joseph rose to serve, first, Potiphar (Genesis 39:4) and then, Pharaoh himself (Genesis 41:46).
  • David served King Saul (1Samuel 16:21-23).
  • Nehemiah served King Artaxerxes (Nehemiah 1 & 2).
  • Daniel served King Nebuchadnezzar, etc (Daniel 1-12).

We need to improve our skill and work diligently whether in the secular or in the ministry
because it brings glory and honour to our Lord Jesus.

2nd Promise

Proverbs 22:29c “He will not stand before obscure men.” The promise is further enhanced: “He will not stand (serve) before obscure men.”The words “stand” and “obscure” are importance:

  • “To Stand” – In the Hebrew mind, to “stand before” meant to “view or to stand ready to serve.” Thus, the promise here is not advancement to a place where the person no longer must work, but to further, albeit recognised service.
  • The word “obscure” (h’shukkím = “unknown”), used here suggests the people who work in the “dark” and thus, hidden or obscured. The person who is skilful and diligent will soon find himself promoted from working for “obscure men” to serving successful and influential persons (“Kings”).
  • Thus, a skilful and diligent person would not be satisfied with serving masters that are slothful and men of no importance because he knows that he is capable of better things.

Summary

  • This proverb states that the person who works hard (diligent and excel), with “right skill” and divine favour will succeed in his career. He will work amongst “influential people” in the society.
  • While a person who is unskilful and slothful will spend his career working for people on the lower end of the social stratum – Proverbs 12:24 “Diligent hands will rule, but laziness ends in slave labour.”

Prayer

“Lord Jesus, help me to honour You in my work. Thank You, Lord, that You have given me meaningful and fulfilling work to do and that You have given me the skills with which to do it.”

Book of Proverbs

It is difficult to be diligent without a dream, a vision or a goal. See it, set it, secure it, and succeed with it.

  • The diligent will always have sufficient, but the lazy will become poor – Proverbs 10:4 (NKJV) “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.
  • The diligent rules (is a leader) but the lazy becomes slave – Proverbs 12:24 (NKJV) “The hand of the diligent will rule, but the lazy man will be put to forced labor.
  • The Diligent will always follow through, but the lazy will do a halfway job – Proverbs12:27 (NKJV) “The lazy man does not roast what he took in hunting, but diligence is man’s precious possession.
  • The Diligent plans for his future with financial prudence in mind – Proverbs 21:5 (NKJV) “The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.
  • The Diligent and skillful will stand before great men and kings – Proverbs 22:29 (NKJV) “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.
  • Pastor is to know the state (condition) of his flock and to attend to the flock’s needs – Proverbs 27:23 (NKJV) “Be diligent to know the state of the flocks and attend to your herds.” – Acts 20:28 (NKJV) “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God which He purchased with His own blood.