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We will now look at Proverbs chapter seventeen:
Contrast the Upright and the Wicked
1 Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it Than a house full of feasting with strife. Proverbs 17:1 (NASB)
We should strive to have peace – within ourselves and our families. Of course this is not always possible – but it better than living in strife.
2 A servant who acts wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully, And will share in the inheritance among brothers. Proverbs 17:2 (NASB)
A wise servant will be more honored than a son who acts shamefully. The wise will have their inheritance increased.
3 The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the Lord tests hearts. Proverbs 17:3 (NASB)
It takes intense heat to purify gold and silver. Similarly – it often takes the heat of trials for the Christian to be purified. Through trials, God shows us what is in us and clears out anything that gets in the way of complete trust in him. Peter says,
“Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.” 1 Peter 1:7 (MSG)
When tough times come your way, realize that God wants to use them to refine your faith and purify your heart.
4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips; A liar pays attention to a destructive tongue. Proverbs 17:4 (NASB)
We all gravitate to the things we want to hear. Birds of a feather flock together – is an old saying – but it has much truth in it. Birds flock with those who sing the same song.
5 He who mocks the poor taunts his Maker; He who rejoices at calamity will not go unpunished. Proverbs 17:5 (NASB)
Few acts are as cruel as making fun of the less fortunate, but many people do this because it makes them feel good to be better off or more successful than someone else. Mocking the poor is mocking the God who made them. We also ridicule God when we mock the weak, those who are different, or anyone else. When you catch yourself putting others down just for fun, stop and think about who created them and in whose image they were created.
6 Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers. Proverbs 17:6 (NASB)
To see generations in the family line is a blessing. Many live to see grandchildren – I have seen a few that have seen great grandchildren and great great grandchildren.
7 Excellent speech is not fitting for a fool, Much less are lying lips to a prince. Proverbs 17:7 (NASB)
Here is a contradiction – a fool who has excellent speech and a leader who lies all the time. The Message translation says:
“We don't expect eloquence from fools, nor do we expect lies from our leaders.” Proverbs 17:7 (MSG)
8 A bribe is a charm in the sight of its owner; Wherever he turns, he prospers. Proverbs 17:8 (NASB)
Solomon is not saying that bribery is good – but he is making an observation about the way the world operates. Sometimes wicked people prosper by their wicked ways. Bribes may get people what they want – but the Bible clearly condemns bribery:
"You shall not take a bribe, for a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the
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