Today’s devotional consists of two parables that are not related in their subject matter, with the exception they express truths that equip us to be discerning and sensible in a world that has abandon good sense.
Proverbs 29:4 – “The king by judgment [justice; passing judgment; ruling] establisheth [sets forth; stand up; make fast] the land: but he that receiveth gifts [bribes; burden with excessive taxes] overthroweth it [destroys; pull down].”
A good ruler, by executing fair and equitable judgment, strengthens the confidence of the people and invokes their trust. However, a leader given to bribes, coercion and excessive taxation destroys the nation. Sadly, we are watching our nation go down this path of self-destruction. In America, excessive corporate taxes have strangled companies to the point of bankruptcy, while elections are won by politicians promising to enrich donors and the electorate who put them in office.
Proverbs 29:5 – “A man that flattereth [smooth talk; plunder] his neighbour spreadeth [stretch out; stretch forth] a net [trap used to catch animals] for his feet.”
Hunters in ancient times would entrap a bird of prey or a beast with a net spread out on the ground, masked from view and seeded with bait that would tempt the prey to ignore its natural instinct of fear and caution. In that same manner, a wicked man entraps another with flattering words meant to induce desire and throw caution to the wind.
Be careful when one is given to excessive flattery…they may inflame your ego, but in the end ensnare your soul.