3/9 Reading (Proverbs 16-19; Matthew 6)

Some additional notes on this next section of proverbs (16:1-22:16): “The second section of the second collection of sayings from Solomon shifts from wisdom sayings that contrast the wise and the foolish and the wicked and the righteous to those contrasting God’s wisdom and the limited wisdom of human rulers” (p. 1028 OT-1029 OT)

Proverbs 16: Here’s the ones I find most interesting in this chapter:

6 Love and faithfulness reconcile guilt;
   the fear of the Lord turns away evil.
8 Better a little with righteousness
   than great profits without justice.
13 Kings favor those with righteous lips;
   they love words of integrity.
16 Acquiring wisdom is much better than gold,
   and acquiring understanding is better than silver.
18 Pride comes before disaster,
   and arrogance before a fall.
19 Better to be humble with the needy
   than to divide plunder with the proud.
21 The skilled mind is called discerning,
   and pleasant speech enhances teaching.
22 One who has insight is a fountain of life,
   but the instruction of the foolish is folly.
23 The mind of the wise makes their speech insightful
   and enhances the teaching of their lips.
24 Pleasant words are flowing honey,
   sweet to the taste and healing to the bones.
27 Worthless people dig up trouble;
   their lips are like a scorching fire.
28 Destructive people produce conflict;
   gossips alienate close friends.
32 Better to be patient than a warrior,
   and better to have self-control than to capture a city.

Communication, love, wisdom/understanding, humble, patience

Proverbs 17: Here’s the ones I find most interesting in this chapter:

4 An evildoer pays attention to guilty lips;
   a liar listens to a destructive tongue.
5 Those who mock the poor insult their maker;
   those who rejoice in disaster won’t go unpunished.
7 Too much talking isn’t right for a fool;
   even less so false speech for an honorable person.
10 A rebuke goes deeper to an understanding person
   than a hundred lashes to a fool.
16 Why should a fool have money
   to pay for wisdom? He has no mind.
17 Friends love all the time,
   and kinsfolk are born for times of trouble.
20 Those with crooked hearts won’t prosper,
   and those with twisted tongues will fall into trouble.
24 Wisdom is right in front of those with understanding,
   but the eyes of fools are off to the edges of the earth.
27 Wise are those who restrain their talking;
   people with understanding are coolheaded.
28 Fools who keep quiet are deemed wise;
   those who shut their lips are smart.

Communication, honesty, listening, wisdom/understanding, thinking

Proverbs 18: Here’s the ones I find most interesting in this chapter:

1 Unfriendly people look out for themselves;
   they bicker with sensible people.
2 Fools find no pleasure in understanding,
   but only in expressing their opinion.
4 The words of a person’s mouth are deep waters,
   a bubbling stream, a fountain of wisdom.
6 The lips of fools make accusations;
   their mouths elicit beatings.
7 The mouth of fools is their ruin;
   their lips are a trap for their lives.
8 The words of gossips are like choice snacks;
   they go down to the inmost parts.
12 Pride comes before a disaster,
   but humility comes before respect.
13 Those who answer before they listen
   are foolish and disgraceful.
15 An understanding mind gains knowledge;
   the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
20 The stomach is satisfied
by the fruit of the mouth;
   one’s lips can earn a satisfying income.
23 The poor plead for help,
   but the wealthy answer harshly.

Looking out for others, communication, understanding, humility, listening

Proverbs 19: Here’s the ones I find most interesting in this chapter:

1 Better to be poor and walk in innocence
   than to have dishonest lips and be a fool.
2 Ignorant desire isn’t good;
   rushing feet make mistakes.
5 A false witness won’t go unpunished,
   and a liar won’t escape.
8 Those who acquire good sense love themselves;
   those who keep understanding find success.
9 False witnesses won’t go unpunished,
   and liars will perish.
11 Insightful people restrain their anger;
   their glory is to ignore an offense.
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
   so you might grow wise in the future.
22 People long for trustworthiness;
   it is better to be poor than a liar.
25 Strike someone who scoffs, and a naive person will become clever;
   correct someone with understanding, and they will gain knowledge.
28 A worthless witness mocks justice;
   the wicked mouth gulps down trouble.

Honesty, understanding, communication, restraint, knowledge

Matthew 6: The first part of this chapter focuses on showy religion, showy prayer, and proper prayer. The whole point here is that we shouldn’t show off to others to gain attention for our good deeds because God sees what we do and that should be enough for us. Jesus tells us that we need to pray in private and not like those who do it in front of many for attention. That’s not the point of prayer.

One part that didn’t sit well with me was when Jesus talks about prayer: “When you pray, don’t pour out a flood of empty words, as the Gentiles do. They think that by saying many words they’ll be heard. 8 Don’t be like them, because your Father knows what you need before you ask.” (6:7-8). I was bothered by the negative statement about the Gentiles. I had a chance to ask Deacon Gene about this and he said one very important thing to me: Jesus didn’t write this. We don’t really have a way of knowing that Jesus said this exact quote. BINGO! Made me feel a lot better.

The reason why I didn’t like this is because I was reminded of the way Paul was with the Gentiles versus how Peter treated them initially. Paul was adamant that the Gentiles didn’t have to get circumcised and follow Jewish customs before accepting Christ and Peter was the opposite.

One other thing, the phrase I just quoted that I didn’t like is followed by the Lord’s prayer.

Jesus then tells the people that they shouldn’t participate in “showy fasting.” Instead they can fast, but they don’t need to draw attention to it. Finally, he points out that worrying about wealth and treasures gets in the way of what really matters in life, which is focusing on those things in heaven.

As I read this chapter I can’t help but think about all the people I’ve started to interact with on social media who push Christianity as a constricted and unwelcoming religion. I feel like at least part of the message in the sermon on the mount directly counteracts that.

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