More Proverbs of Solomon
These are more proverbs of Solomon, compiled by the men of Hezekiah king of Judah:
2 It is the glory of God to conceal a matter;
to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
“He would not be God,” said Thomas Cartwright, “if His counsels and works did not transcend human intelligence.”
3 As the heavens are high and the earth is deep,
so the hearts of kings are unsearchable.
4 Remove the dross from the silver,
and a silversmith can produce a vessel;
5 remove wicked officials from the king’s presence,
and his throne will be established through righteousness.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
and do not claim a place among his great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
Luke 14:8-10 (NLT)
When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
What you have seen with your eyes
8 do not bring hastily to court,
for what will you do in the end
if your neighbor puts you to shame?
9 If you take your neighbor to court,
do not betray another’s confidence,
10 or the one who hears it may shame you
and the charge against you will stand.
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver
is a ruling rightly given.
Barb and I sat at the corner table of a French restaurant in Laguna Beach, California on an August evening. It was our 25th wedding anniversary. Sublime dessert had followed exquisite meal, and our occasional glances out the large window facing the sea turned into lengthy stares as we watched the sun slide gently into the Pacific.
Twilight descended on the bay, and Barb said she had a gift for us. She handed me a packet of envelopes wrapped in a silver ribbon. On the top envelope she had written Thanks, and inside was a white card on which she had written something about our relationship over the years for which she wanted to thank me (“for the maps you make to help me find my way”). I read it, and we talked about it for a minute or two. “Your turn,” she said. I thought of something to thank her for (“for following me to new cities and new jobs that were my idea”), wrote it on the back of the card, gave it to her, and we talked about that for another few minutes.
The second envelope said I Appreciate. Same procedure—open, read (“that your feet are on the ground; your sense of perspective”), talk . . . my turn (“your vision that goes beyond common sense”). Then followed Early Memories, Joys, Shocks, Fun Times, another Thanks, another I Appreciate . . . 25 envelopes in all, 25 cards, 50 words aptly spoken . . . some of them with such a lump in my throat that they could scarcely, I’m sure, be heard across our small table. Every word was positive, affirming, genuine, loving . . . apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Years have passed. More anniversary dinners and gifts have been shared. The one we remember, however, is the one in Laguna where we recalled good times and spoke words of appreciation and thanks to one another. No gift has ever meant more to me.
The world is full of shouting. There is a surplus of criticism and sarcasm. Even good relationships strong enough to bear harsh words will benefit from times in which we speak tenderly to one another. Find opportunities to express gratitude. Take a moment to recall together a fun experience you shared. Intentionally . . . thoughtfully . . . offer occasional words of affirmation or appreciation. You are giving apples of gold.
–Dr. Michael A. Halleen
Psalm 19:14 (KJV)
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.
Philippians 4:8 (KJV)
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
HERE is Fernando Ortega and “Let the words of my mouth.”
12 Like an earring of gold or an ornament of fine gold
is the rebuke of a wise judge to a listening ear.
13 Like a snow-cooled drink at harvest time
is a trustworthy messenger to the one who sends him;
he refreshes the spirit of his master.
14 Like clouds and wind without rain
is one who boasts of gifts never given.
15 Through patience a ruler can be persuaded,
and a gentle tongue can break a bone.
16 If you find honey, eat just enough—
too much of it, and you will vomit.
17 Seldom set foot in your neighbor’s house—
too much of you, and they will hate you.
“Blessed be God, there is no need of this caution and reserve in our approach to him. Once acquainted with the way of access, there is no wall of separation. Our earthly friend may be pressed too far; kindness may be worn out by frequent use. But never can we come to our heavenly Friend unseasonably.”
18 Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow
is one who gives false testimony against a neighbor.
19 Like a broken tooth or a lame foot
is reliance on the unfaithful in a time of trouble.
20 Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day,
or like vinegar poured on a wound,
is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.
Some people and their actions are especially troublesome. They bring discomfort (like leaving one without a garment in cold weather) and constant agitation (like vinegar on soda).
21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
22 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
and the Lord will reward you.
“Burning coals on his head” — Commentators debate if this is a good things or a harsh thing, if this is something good in the eyes of your enemy or not. Most likely refers to a burning conviction that our kindness places on our enemy. Or, some think it refers to the practice of lending coals from a fire to help a neighbor start his or her own—an appreciated act of kindness. Either way, we can destroy our enemy by making him our friend, and the Lord will reward you.
23 Like a north wind that brings unexpected rain
is a sly tongue—which provokes a horrified look.
24 Better to live on a corner of the roof
than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.
Clearly, a difficult husband is similarly trying.
25 Like cold water to a weary soul
is good news from a distant land.
The gospel is God’s good news from a far country—heaven. Like cold water to a thirsty soul, the gospel is refreshing and thirst quenching.
26 Like a muddied spring or a polluted well
are the righteous who give way to the wicked.
27 It is not good to eat too much honey,
nor is it honorable to search out matters that are too deep.
28 Like a city whose walls are broken through
is a person who lacks self-control.
“Certainly the noblest conquests are gained or lost over ourselves. The first outbreak of anger resulted in murder. A king’s lack of watchfulness about lust resulted in adultery.”