Scripture reading – Proverbs 11; Proverbs 12

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We continue our chronological study of the Scriptures in search of “Uncommon Common Sense” in the Book of Proverbs. While time and space limit the scope of today’s study, I encourage you to read Proverbs 11 and 12 and seek the richness of the truths and insights found therein. [Words and phrases in brackets are the authors.]

 

Proverbs 11

 

“You Poor, Stingy Old Soul” (Proverbs 11:24-26)

Proverbs 11:24-26 challenges us with a familiar spiritual principle, “Sowing and Reaping” (Galatians 6:7).  That principle is often stated in a common analogy that reads, “We not only reap what we sow, we also reap in proportion to how much we sow!”

Proverbs 11:24  There is that scattereth [disperses], and yet increaseth [adds to; surpasses]; and there is that withholdeth [keeps back; reserves for oneself] more than is meet [right; upright; due], but it tendeth to poverty [want; need].”

For explanation, consider the following illustration of Proverbs 11:24. In springtime, a farmer must weigh and make crucial decisions. He must decide the crops he will plant in light of the harvest he hopes to reap. He also must consider how much he wishes to gather and store up for winter. In other words, he must determine the amount of seed to plant to reach his harvest goal.

By contrast, a foolish farmer might hoard seeds and fail to value the potential of life and multiplication represented in one seed (in addition, insects and mold are always a threat to seeds and grain stored in bins). For a farmer to withhold and reserve seed with the potential of life does indeed tend to poverty!

 

What is the application for believers? 

When we hoard our talents and fail to be stewards of God’s grace and blessings, we are like a farmer who collects seeds but fails to plant them. Two arenas come to mind for application. The first is financial stewardship, and the other is practical stewardship of ministry, talents (abilities), and opportunities.

Some hoard wealth and are either blind or calloused to their responsibility to invest in God’s work. Others purpose to leave a large inheritance to their children and fail to invest in eternal values. What a tragedy: To have the means to be a blessing but elect to withhold from the Lord, His church, and work “more than is meet!” (11:24)

Continuing his instruction on stewardship, Solomon stated a proverb that was full of promise (11:25).

Proverbs 11:25 The liberal soul [the heart that blesses another] shall be made fat [satisfied; prosperous]: and he that watereth [quenches the thirst of another] shall be watered [moistened] also himself.”

Joy and satisfaction come to those generous with what the LORD gives them.  All Bible believers should understand they are mere conduits of God’s blessings. When we give and bless others with the overflow of the LORD’s blessings (time, talents, gifts, finances), He promises we will never want. Be forewarned, however, that the opposite is true of those who hoard and refuse to bless others.

 

Proverbs 11:26  “He that withholdeth corn [grain; i.e., wheat], the people [nation; community] shall curse [blaspheme; pierce] him: but blessing [prosperity] shall be upon the head of him that selleth [buy and sell grain] it.

I have often wondered why men and women of wealth wait until their deaths to bless others. Why withhold a blessing when it is in your ability to give? Why hoard more than you need when you have it in your power to be a blessing? Why watch your church and other ministries struggle when you have been blessed with the means to be a source of joy and satisfaction?

Be forewarned: A stingy soul will be cursed!

Proverbs 12 – Womanhood extols the best and the worst of humankind.

Proverbs 12:4  “A virtuous woman [morally pure; good] is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones [like a cancer to the bones].”

The Scriptures address various kinds of women.  Consider Eve, the mother of humanity who entertained the beauty of forbidden fruit (Genesis 3), in contrast to the Virgin Mary, though of humble means, was chosen as the mother of Jesus, God’s Only-begotten Son (Luke 1:26-38).

 

Closing thoughts –

Unfortunately, our culture tends to idolize women who personify infamous qualities. Let us not forget it is our responsibility to praise women who epitomize the best character qualities. A virtuous woman is morally upright, faithful to her husband, and worthy of the praise of her family and friends (Proverbs 31). She brings out the best in her husband (Proverbs 31:11, 23) and is a joy and delight to her children (Proverbs 31:28). 

Every mother should impart and encourage her daughters to pursue the virtues that will one day earn her the praise of a husband and the admiration of her children.

Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith

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