BIBLE READING: Proverbs 27-29
No one can doubt that Proverbs is a hard book to study. Most of the chapters are collections of wise sayings and good advice. This means chapters are hard to characterize with one line of thought. With this in mind, looking at an outline of the chapters might help us glean the wisdom intended.
Chapter 27- Taste Follows Appetite
- More advice piles up: don't boast about what will happen tomorrow, because it could all be overthrown; don't praise yourself, let others do it; jealousy is worse than wrath or anger; and fool's provocations are harder to resist than a heavy stone or sand pressing down on you.
- It's better to rebuke someone out of care for their wellbeing than to hide your love for them. True friends will try to steer you into doing the right thing with rebukes and reminders, whereas enemies will just flatter and kiss up to you.
- If your appetite is already sated, you won't gorge yourself on honey, but if you're really hungry, even bitter things taste good.
- Don't run away from home like a bird flying away from its nest.
- Also, perfume and incense are good things: they cheer you up.
- Don't forget your friends or your parents' friends—but at the same time, don't spread your personal calamities to your family and kindred.
- It's better to turn to neighbors nearby than to go too far away kinfolk to seek for solutions.
Chapter 28 - False Self-Esteem
- Wicked people are actually cowards. The righteous are, conversely, quite courageous.
- Rebellion causes a land to have many rulers—but one king can do a better job and ensure peace.
- Justice and law are utterly at odds with the wicked, and you do battle with the wicked by following and supporting law and justice.
- It's better to be poor and honest, than rich and corrupt.
- Avoid the following, says Proverbs: hanging out with gluttons, charging people exorbitant interest on loans, and refusing to listen to the law.
- It also says that the wicked will be destroyed by their wicked acts, while the innocent will be rewarded (which we're pretty sure Proverbs said about twenty times before, but whatever).
- Smart poor people see through the false self-esteem of the wealthy, and confessing your sins to God allows you to obtain mercy.
Chapter 29 - Learn and Adjust
- If you fail to adjust after being rebuked, you'll end by falling into utter ruin and won't be able to repair it.
- Old themes are repeated: wicked rulers are bad, wise children are good for their parents, visiting with prostitutes is bad, and flattering neighbors is pretty bad too.
- Kings who exact too much from the people can ruin their countries, and fools and scoffers are still verboten.
- If the wise try to bring fools to the court of law, it leads to endless ridicule and ranting—so avoid doing this if you can.
- The wise know how to hold back their anger.