Today: [Proverbs 27] Avoiding Boastfulness, Betrayal and Judgmentalism. In this chapter Solomon warns about forward thinking planning in our lives that does not take into consideration the uncertainty of life. Even in a good thing there will always be unexpected eventualities that defy all our attempts to control what happens next in our life. Solomon warns against this and points us in a more wholesome direction for the expenditure of our energies. Also in this chapter we find admonitions against being a fair whether friend or of placing false expectations on family members or close friends who will often disappoint us in life. There is also in our chapter a lesson in judging others when in fact the matter in which we correct our brother often exists in our own lives.
[Pro 27:1-27 KJV] 1 Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. 2 Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips. 3 A stone [is] heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath [is] heavier than them both. 4 Wrath [is] cruel, and anger [is] outrageous; but who [is] able to stand before envy? 5 Open rebuke [is] better than secret love. 6 Faithful [are] the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy [are] deceitful. 7 The full soul loatheth an honeycomb; but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. 8 As a bird that wandereth from her nest, so [is] a man that wandereth from his place. 9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so [doth] the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
Verse 1 of our chapter warns against boastful planning. Is it ever helpful to make goals in life? Surely the practicalities in life often call for us to aim at certain objectives in order to accomplish necessary tasks. The warning in this verse is about ignoring the eventualities of life that we cannot plan for. No matter how well you plan or who solidly you work to bring about a future outcome life often intervenes. The warning in this verse is intended to keep us from unnecessary disappointment. While it doesn’t hurt to have a plan and move toward an objective, learn to hold such things loosely. This doesn’t only apply to negative things that might happen but good things as well. If you have it in your mind how God is going to go about answering your prayer you may be controlling things so tightly that you exclude yourself from the unexpected thing God may do to bless you and bring you into what He has promised. Hold everything loosely. Be cautious about making commitments circumstances may not allow you to keep. Refrain from placing expectations on people you depend on that actually arise from your unwillingness to take life’s uncertainties into consideration.
Verse 5 speaks about the contrast of open rebuke and secret love. There are times that those around you may come under fire for some circumstance in their life. Often our response is to hold back and not get involved. Life is difficult enough without coming into conflict or under pressure because of something that happens in someone else’s life. Remember Solomon’s admonition – open rebuke is better than secret love. It is hurtful when someone is struggling and being come against and those who claim they love that person stand back and let it happen. Better to be an open enemy than to be a secret friend who cannot be relied on. This is not wisdom but dissimulation. Paul spoke of this in his letter to the Romans:
[Rom 12:9 KJV] 9 [Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
It is an evil thing to only show love when it doesn’t cost us or inconvenience us. Abhor that which is evil. Cleave to that which is good.
10 Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not; neither go into thy brother’s house in the day of thy calamity: [for] better [is] a neighbour [that is] near than a brother far off. 11 My son, be wise, and make my heart glad, that I may answer him that reproacheth me. 12 A prudent [man] foreseeth the evil, [and] hideth himself; [but] the simple pass on, [and] are punished. 13 Take his garment that is surety for a stranger, and take a pledge of him for a strange woman. 14 He that blesseth his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, it shall be counted a curse to him. 15 A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. 16 Whosoever hideth her hideth the wind, and the ointment of his right hand, [which] bewrayeth [itself]. 17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 18 Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eat the fruit thereof: so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.
Verse 10 continues the theme of fidelity in friendships. “Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend forsake not…” There is also a warning not to go into your brother’s in a time of calamity but to instead seek out a neighbor. What is this telling us? When we are under pressure we tend often to seek out family to support us only to be rejected. Being rebuffed by family members when you are suffering only serves to compound the pain that you are going through. Solomon is saying realize this ahead of time and realize that family members very often will withhold their support from us in times of our greatest need. I remember years ago when I was going through a very painful situation and called a family member I was certain I could rely on. To my disappointment they flatly rebuffed me saying “We don’t want anything to do with you till you are past this struggle in your life…” It was a lesson well learned but it would have been better for me to have learned it from God’s word and not bitter rejection.
Verses 15-18 talk about the vanity of trying to hide a contentious marriage. Often when couples are miserable and their life is filled with strife they try to portray and project an image of everything being fine with no problems. Solomon teaches here that this is a waste of time. When you are dealing with a contentious person in your life there is little point in trying to hide that fact from others. Save yourself the trouble and realize that it is a waste of time pretending that nothing is wrong when it is painfully evident to anyone around you that things are not going well. It is not your place nor is it wise to cover up or hide the bad behavior of others. That doesn’t mean you purposefully expose them but neither do you whitewash things because you want to save face. Learn to be honest and to put your energies more into prayer and looking to the Father for relief than trying to make things look other than what they actually are when in reality no one around you is being fooled.
19 As in water face [answereth] to face, so the heart of man to man. 20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied. 21 [As] the fining pot for silver, and the furnace for gold; so [is] a man to his praise. 22 Though thou shouldest bray a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle, [yet] will not his foolishness depart from him. 23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, [and] look well to thy herds. 24 For riches [are] not for ever: and doth the crown [endure] to every generation? 25 The hay appeareth, and the tender grass sheweth itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered. 26 The lambs [are] for thy clothing, and the goats [are] the price of the field. 27 And [thou shalt have] goats’ milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household, and [for] the maintenance for thy maidens.
Verse 19 is another great tool of discernment. As in water face answers to face so the heart of man answers to the heart of man. What that means is that often what you think you see in someone else’s life is in reality what is lurking in your own heart. The apostle Paul spoke of this in Romans:
[Rom 2:1, 21-24 KJV] 1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. … 21 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22 Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
It is a great error to presume to discern others and identify where others are wrong whilst ignoring what is going on in our own life. When you look at a person through a lens other than the one God looks through – you are in reality exposing yourself to the judgment of God because that is the very thing lurking in your own heart. Learn to give yourself pause when you are tempted to make a judgment toward someone because of some suspected error. Is the failing existent in your own heart? We would like to believe that this could not be so but the clear testimony of Paul and of Solomon is that it is the rule and not the exception that we likewise are not guiltless in that which we self-righteously condemn another. Learn to break the habit of judging and “discerning” others before realizing and having a moment of clarity regarding your own life.
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