Read the Bible in 2011 ◊ Week 28: Thursday
Thursday’s Bible reading is Proverbs 10. The third section of Proverbs begins in this chapter. As you read this chapter notice the descriptions of the wicked and the righteous. The wicked person is a fool and a worker of iniquity and one who perverts his ways. The righteous person is wise, diligent and walks in integrity. Look for other characterizations and the different consequences that are reaped by each.
A. F. Walls titles chapters 10–22, “The first book of Solomon.” He writes:
“The long connected lessons [in chapters 1–9] are the prelude to large collections of detached sayings. ‘By now the reader is in position to orientate himself in the thicket of individual sayings…and to see in each cool, objective aphorism a miniature and particular outworking of the wisdom and folly whose whole course he has seen spread out before him in Section I’ (Kidner, p. 23 [Derek Kidner, Proverbs: An Introduction & Commentary, 1964]).”1
In Proverbs 2–3: Wisdom & Life, I quoted Gleason Archer’s explanation of the Hebrew word for proverb and his definitions of the three words used for wisdom throughout the book of Proverbs. If you missed that post, you might want to go back and read through it. I want to repeat one part that explains the teaching device used in these proverbs:
“It should be noted that the characteristic type of māshāl or proverb in this book is the balanced antithesis which incisively contrasts the wise man and the fool, the good man and the wicked, true value and false, in such a way as to set forth the two sides of the truth in clearest opposition to each other and thus perform an incisive didactic function. The constant preoccupation of the book is with the elemental antagonisms of obedience versus rebellion, industry versus laziness, prudence versus presumption, and so on. These are so presented as to put before the reader a clear-cut choice, leaving him no ground for wretched compromise or vacillating indecision.”2
As I reread this I was reminded of a verse in Jeremiah:
“The heart is more deceitful than all else
And is desperately sick;
Who can understand it?”
Deceit and deception are a cloud of smoke by which we hide from ourselves the reality of wicked, foolish rebellion against God. Proverbs provides the truth of God’s Word to give us clarity and set forth choices and consequences.
“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
UPDATE: I’ve had to change the section order from the second to the third, delete an unnecessary part of a quote, and correct a footnote. My apologies for the inaccuracies.
Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications
Scroll of the Book of Proverbs, Pete Unseth: Public Domain.
1A. F. Walls, “Proverbs,” The New Bible Commentary: Revised, D. Guthrie, J. A. Motyer, eds., A. M. Stibbs, D. J. Wiseman, contributing eds., pp. 550, 559.
2Gleason L. Archer, Jr., A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, pp. 468. Dr. Archer divides Proverbs 1–9 into fifteen lessons: 1:7–19, 1:20–23, 2:1–22, 3:1–18, 3:19–26, 3:27–35, 4:1–5:6, 5:7–23, 6:1–5, 6:1–11, 6:12–19, 6:20–35, 7:1–27, 8:1–36 and 9:1–18 (p. 466).
Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter