Monday, November 28, 2011

Proverbs 20 - More Wise Sayings

LINK: Proverbs 20  

BACKGROUND 

Remember that 16:1 - 22:16 are comparisons (synonymous parallelism) or completions (synthetic parallelism) with only a few contrasts (antithetic parallelism characterized by the word but) on a variety of subjects. 

REFLECTION

Random thoughts on a few verses:

 Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome -- 
a staggering drunk is not much fun.
(Proverbs 20:1, The Message)

And tequila must make you downright scary! I was in Mexico last week, on our way back from dinner one night, we passed a woman who was so drunk she threatened others with murder! They were so scared that they made sure they locked the door when they got back to their room!  This woman was funny when she was sober. She was mean when she was drunk. So sad. :(  Thankfully the women she threatened were wise enough to not get in a quarrel with her (20:3).  For more about drunkenness, see 23:20-21, 29-35; 31:4-5. 


Who can say, "I have cleansed my heart, 
I am pure from my sin"?
 (Proverbs 20:9, NASB95) 

There is nothing that separates me from the woman I am describing above and myself. That is why I can have compassion and love for her and can keep myself from feeling superior to her or prideful. We are all in the same boat when it comes to sin. Hers may be drunkenness, and mine are a host of other things!  This is never far from my mind when encountering other people (Romans 3:9-12, 23; 1 Kings 8:46; Ecclesiastes 7:20).


A wise king winnows out the wicked [from among the good]
 and brings the threshing wheel over them [to separate the chaff from the grain].
(Proverbs 20:26, The Amplified Bible)

After careful scrutiny, a wise leader 
   makes a clean sweep of rebels and dolts.
(Proverbs 20:26, The Message)

The Message says "leader" in place of king. That makes it more relatable since we do not have kings or queens in America.  We are all called to be leaders at some point in our lives. I have been in leadership for quite a while, but it was only in the last ten years that I have learned that I can be selective in who I lead! I can set standards (but not legalistic ones) to challenge the group; and if they do not want to have that kind of challenge (and some people are not in a place for it, and that is not a bad thing), they can find another group that is more fitting to what they are looking for. I am done trying to conform to others when God has given me a clear calling (again not being rigid or legalistic with it though). I used to be too flexible of a leader. I would bend myself like a pretzel to make everyone happy resulting in no one being happy and me being stressed out. 

A few years ago, I had a woman who did not like that I had a study where people prepared beforehand. The other women in the study had been with me for three years at that point, and that is why they were there. So, I was not going to change it so this other woman could feel better. I told her that she could find another study then, and she was shocked. She ended up staying and ended up loving the rich discussion that resulted from  everyone coming prepared. 

Recently, we knew that a person we were leading was not ready to be led in the direction we were going. Instead of getting frustrated, we were proactive and loving and let the person go. They were not necessarily a "wicked" person like the ones described in Proverb 20:26, just not ready to go where we were going. That person needed some personal care and healing, and that is what is happening for them now.  No sense in asking a person with a major injury to run a marathon, right?  It was a win-win to deal with this situation before we were too far in, and the group we are leading noticed an immediate difference without their presence. 

APPLICATION 

Journal about the proverbs that are hitting your heart today! I had fun doing that in this post. 

PRAYER

Thank You for teaching us through Proverbs. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen. 
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