Summary: Working our way through Proverbs.
(20) "nitre" is like a soda which fizzes when combined with vinegar.
Being a happy-go-lucky, bubbly personality around a person whose heart is heavy is as bad as stealing his jacket in cold weather or rubbing salt in his wounds. Only a fool sings songs to a broken heart. To do so is to imply that the sad person is inappropriately grieving. There is a proper time for grief.
Often at funeral services you will hear laughter in the background. I have even used light hearted stories in the funeral message in order to bring about laughter. That is not disrespectful. Most often it is because laughter is sometimes a way of coping with grief. But it surely would be callous to make light of the pain and emptiness that the bereaved loved ones are undergoing.
(21,22) B. R. Lakin’s advice on how to deal with your enemies; "Love them, pray for them, and outlive them."
Vengeance should be far from the thoughts of a believer. He is to show grace and compassion even to his enemies. In a way, this proverb is a preview of the Sermon on the Mount given by the Lord Jesus.
Here are 2 sides of the reward coin. Good deeds will reap rewards in heaven. Evil deeds, especially in response to kindness, will be rewarded with greater punishment in hell.
(II Kings 6:1-23) The king of Israel had been able to avoid ambushes set by the king of Syria because Elisha had prophetically forewarned him. When the Syrian king discovered it was Elisha who was frustrating his military campaign, he sent an army to capture Elisha. When they arrived, Elisha prayed to God that they be stricken with blindness and they were. The prophet then led them blinded into downtown Samaria. When he prayed to God to open their eyes, they discovered they were in the heart of the enemies capitol. The king of Israel rubbed his hands in anticipation of the slaughter. But Elisha commanded that they be given bread and water and released. The king did even more, he treated them to a banquet as honored guests, then sent them home. The Syrians never came again to Israel.
(23) An abrupt word can still the tongue of gossip. It is as much a sin to listen to gossip as it is to commit commit it.
(24) Solomon who had so many wives, must have had a lot of trouble with some of them. He keeps coming back to this theme.
(25) Jacob must have experienced this. His sons had gone to Egypt to buy grain to make it through the famine. He thought his beloved Joseph dead. His son Simeon was in jail somewhere in Egypt. Even Benjamin is gone. For day, even weeks, he must have looked toward the South and strained his eyes hopelessly waiting. Then one day he saw them. His sons told him the news; Joseph is alive and governor over all Egypt. He fainted. But when he revived, he saw a huge caravan of provisions sent by his son, Joseph.
That was great news from a far country.
The greatest news ever from a far country. (John 16:28) "I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father." In that brief period of time on earth, Jesus Christ provided for our salvation.
One will never come to Jesus until he has a thirst for soemthing better than what this world has to offer.
(26) Compromising with the wicked is like muddying a spring in a water parched land.
In the 1600’s, the accepted view was that the earth was the center of the universe. As such, the sun orbited around the earth. In 1632, Galileo published a work proving that the earth actually revolved around the sun. The Roman Catholic Pope Urban VIII pronounced ’ex cathedra’ (in the place of God) that the sun went around the earth. Galileo was summoned to Rome and tried for heresy. In June 1633, he was forced to recant what was true in order to save his own life.
I don’t know about Galileo righteousness, but he was correct in his theory as was proven later. But until then the waters were muddied by a Pope who viewed himself as the center of all God’s creation.
(27) For a person to be ambitious for self-glory makes others sick.
We sometimes forget that the Apostle John and his brother James were called the Sons of Thunder, apparently because of their quick tempers. I always remember John as the ’one whom Jesus loved.’ A gentle person. But the third letter from John to the churches (III John 9,10) gives a brief look at a person who set himself up as John’s enemy. His name was Diotrephes. Setting himself up as the leader of the church, even excommunicating those who opposed him and refusing to receive anyone into the fellowship unless they bowed to his authority. Diotrephes intercepted a letter from John and refused to allow it to be read to the church. John, having been one of the original 12 apostles, was viewed by Diotrephes as a threat to his leadership. John wrote that if he came, he would remember what Diotrephes had done. Implying, that he would put him in his proper place.