Monday, April 20, 2009

Proverbs 3: 29 & 32

In these verses we have three “DO NOT’s.” They cover actions toward your neighbor, toward strangers, and toward your enemies. Remember that these verses follow directly after the verses that spoke of the “Golden Rule” principle. They enlarge on what those verses were discussing. First let’s look at today’s scriptures.

Proverbs 3: 29 & 32
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.

In verse 29, we are admonished to “NOT devise evil against your neighbor…” (devise - 1. To form, plan, or arrange in the mind; design or contrive: 2. Archaic To suppose; imagine.)

This scripture tells us that “he dwells by you for safety’s sake.” During Bible times, your neighbors were often family members, or you had chosen the place that you wanted to live. In today’s world you are often sort of “plopped down” where it happens to be convenient for your work, or some other reason (like it’s the only thing you can afford, etc.)

Still, if you are trying to put God first in all that you do, and He is leading you, then you are exactly where God wants you to be, and your job is to shine the light of Christ’s love out onto your neighbors, and not “imagine” or “plan” to do anything evil against them… no matter what they are like or have done! Christ teaches, in Matthew 5:21-26, that we are to love and not hate… that hate, or planning evil… makes us as bad as a murderer in His sight.

The next verse exhorts us not to “strive with a man without cause, if he has done you no harm.” The definition of Strive is: 1. To exert much effort or energy; endeavor. 2. To struggle or fight forcefully; contend.
In other scriptures, God tells us that we should be “peacemakers” and not argue over small things. We shouldn’t be struggling or fighting forcefully with people that haven’t even harmed us. This is not the way that we should be using the “effort or energy” that we are given. There WERE times when Christ got angry… when people twisted the things of God, and made them evil or a mockery of what they were supposed to be, and this is not what this verse is talking about.

The last two verses speak of oppressors and “perverse persons.” We are not to “envy” them OR chose any of their ways. Oppress means: 1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority 2. To weigh heavily on: or 3. Obsolete To overwhelm or crush.
and perverse means: 1. Directed away from what is right or good; perverted. 2. Obstinately persisting in an error or fault; wrongly self-willed or stubborn. 3. a. Marked by a disposition to oppose and contradict. b. Arising from such a disposition. 4. Cranky; peevish.

“Oppressors,” from this definition, indicate a person that has authority over someone else. IF we are living in God’s kingdom, and we are given authority over others (our children, employees, coworkers, etc.), than we must use that authority to help them to grow in their own lives and in their lives with God and Christ. Sometimes, we do this with discipline, while other times we should use love, forgiveness and modeling a Christ-like life. We should NEVER be “oppressors,” and try to manipulate others by force or threats.

“Perverse persons,” by these definitions, are people who are the opposite of Godly people. They pervert goodness and righteousness; their lives are ruled by selfishness. They persist in their sins and are stubborn about turning from them. We have all known people with “a disposition to oppose and contradict,” in every way possible. These are not happy people, and even if they have a position of authority, and usually wealth, we should never “envy” them as God looks on them as “abominations.”

Verse 32 ends by telling us that GOD’S secret counsel is NOT with these type of people, but with those that are following Him and living an “upright” life. HIS counsel is what will truly bring perfect peace, joy and love into our lives in His timing.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you that was good. I still have some catching up to do but want to read the current as well. Have a blessed Day, Lynn