I stated in an earlier devotion that my theme for Proverbs 3:27-30 is one of the great commands of the Bible, “Love thy neighbor” (Matthew 19:19, 22:39). Proverbs 3:27-28 challenged us to rise above the mediocrity of self-love and self-centeredness and extend grace and love to our neighbor in their hour of need.
Proverbs 3:27-28 – “Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it. 28 Say not unto thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give; when thou hast it by thee.”
A second practical challenge for choosing to “love thy neighbor” is to live at peace with our family, friends and acquaintances and endeavor to avoid contention (Proverbs 3:29-30).
Proverbs 3:29-30 – “Devise not evil against thy neighbour, seeing he dwelleth securely by thee. 30 Strive not with a man without cause, if he have done thee no harm.”
We take two admonitions from Proverbs 3:29-30 that are instructive in interrelationships. The first is Solomon’s challenge for his son to be a man of integrity.
Proverbs 3:29 – “Devise [lit. to cut up a field with a plow; engrave on metal; be silent; hold your tongue] not evil [wickedness; mischief; sin] against thy neighbor [family member; companion; friend], seeing he dwelleth [inhabits; abides] securely [in safety; trust; confidence] by thee.”
To state this proverb in a practical sense—Don’t frustrate or take advantage of another man’s trust and confidence. Don’t reward an employer’s faith with an act of malice. Don’t plow through another man’s field [i.e. his reputation, testimony, life’s work] by betraying his trust with an act of treachery.
The second admonition serves as a challenge for Solomon’s son to be a peacemaker.
Proverbs 3:30 – “Strive [contend; chide; debate; make a charge] not with a man without cause [for nothing; for no reason], if he have done [requite; recompense] thee no harm [wickedness; mischief; sin].”
We live in a contentious day and too many live with a short fuse…ready to quarrel, argue and pick a fight with little provocation. Fragmented families, frayed friendships and destroyed ministries lie in the wake of men and women too proud to rein in their ego. Unlike the self-sacrificing love evidenced by Christ for sinners on the Cross (Romans 5:8), too often the church, Christian families and friendships are plagued with a spirit that is proud, unloving and insincere.
I close with Paul’s challenge to Christians to be patient, kind, humble, slow to anger, believing the best and forgiving (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 – “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth…”
Copyright 2014 – Travis D. Smith