The two proverbs in today’s devotional are different in their applications, but share a profundity in a day lacking in discernment and common sense. Proverbs 17:5 is a portrait of God’s compassion on the less fortunate; Proverbs 17:6 a testimony of God’s blessing on a family’s legacy.
Proverbs 17:5 – “Whoso mocketh [scorns; derides] the poor [destitute; needy] reproacheth [sharp in speech] his Maker [Creator]: and he that is glad [rejoice; merry] at calamities [misfortune; ruin; disaster] shall not be unpunished [pure; innocent].”
Proverbs 17:5 states a fundamental doctrine—God is Creator and mankind His creation; every soul, rich or poor, is treasured by the Lord.
We live in a sin-cursed world that is far from the perfect world God created for man. Man’s sin and its consequences are seen everywhere in creation. The wickedness of man, the blight of disease, sickness, death and natural disasters—are all a testimony of the curse of sin and its effect on creation (Romans 8:22). This was never God’s plan for man; however, because He is omniscient (Psalm 139:1-6), He foresaw with sorrow Adam’s freewill choice to sin and the toll it would have upon creation. The consequences of sin are many and the tragedy of poverty is one of the reminders of man’s fall.
The Lord taught His disciples “ye have the poor always with you” (Matthew 26:11). The presence of the poor is a reminder of our own responsibility and opportunity to exercise compassion on those less fortunate (Matthew 19:21; Luke 14:13; Galatians 2:10).
The latter truth in Proverbs 17:5 states what I believe has become a reality of God’s judgment upon America. In my opinion, politicians are the greatest abusers of the calamity of the poor in our society. The “War on Poverty” that began during President Lyndon B. Johnson’s administration has perpetuated poverty rather than induce a motivation to escape its blight. Generations of poor live in America’s inner cities, living on the government dole and evidencing little motivation to work and improve their socio-economic circumstances. The calamity of those who are poor has become an opportunity of encouraging dependence upon politicians…and we are suffering the economic and social consequences as a nation.
Proverbs 17:6 – “Children’s children [grandchildren] are the crown [splendor] of old men; and the glory [beauty; pride] of children are their fathers.”
My daughter’s recent wedding and the attendance of her grandparents for the occasion is a testimony of the truth stated in Proverbs 17:6. As I take joy in watching my granddaughter mature, I can only imagine how my parents and Sheilah’s mother must have felt watching their granddaughter take this next important step in her life. Grandchildren are the crown and joy of their grandparents.
Finally, Solomon’s encourages children to take notice and pride in the character and reputation of their parents (Proverbs 17:6). Children are to value their godly heritage and the legacy passed down to them by their parents.