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A few pointed remarks (from God)

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Jan 22, 2016

A few weeks ago I read the Book of Proverbs again, and this time I decided to make a note of all the verses which struck me as particularly apt, insightful or, in some cases, entertaining. The next time I read this book, I have no doubt that other verses will stand out. That’s the way it is with Scripture. The Holy Spirit responds directly to our needs as we prayerfully read the text.

Most of us, I suspect, have had personal experience which bears this out. For example, I can remember being intensely moved by a verse or two in a chapter or psalm during periods of particular distress. Yet even when eagerly looking back at the same chapter a week or two later, sometimes I have been unable to find what it was that struck me so forcefully.

Is it likely, then, that the verses which spoke deeply to me this time around will strike you in the same way? To find out, I am going to share a few of the verses which I particularly enjoyed. I hope you will treasure some of them as well.

Human Nature

Let’s start with six passages I found to be quite insightful into human nature, especially in a colorful or even humorous way:

  • Like vinegar to the teeth, and smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to those who send him. (Prv. 10:26)
  • A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (18:2)
  • He who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him. (18:17)
  • “It is bad, it is bad,” says the buyer; but when he goes away, then he boasts. (20:14)
  • He who is sated loathes honey, but to one who is hungry everything bitter is sweet. (27:7)
  • And my favorite: He who blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing. (27:14)

Providence

In this recent reading, I also benefitted from four proverbs which focus on Divine Providence:

  • The lot is cast into the lap, but the decision is wholly from the Lord. (16:33)
  • The crucible is for silver and the furnace is for gold, and God tries hearts. (17:3)
  • Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will be established. (19:21)
  • The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord. (21:31)

Our Relationship with God

The following verses teach something valuable about human pride, and how it limits our relationship with God. We definitely do not want our secular contemporaries to see us making such rookie mistakes:

  • Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. (Prv 2:5)
  • Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you, and you be found a liar. (30:5-6)

Our Relationship with Others

Finally, let me close with two verses which can help us navigate our relationships with others. The first offers a striking lesson in the discernment of the character of those we encounter, both in real life and through the media. The second teaches the importance of forbearance, even when we do not like what we discern:

  • The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is judged by his praise. (27:21)
  • Good sense makes a man slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense. (19:11)

I welcome you to share your favorite proverbs, either with everyone in Sound Off! (below), or privately using the email link in my byline just under the title (above).

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 22, 2016 9:14 PM ET USA

    Not sure of the meanings for certain, but both seem true to life. "Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent— the LORD detests them both." 17:15 "Even in laughter the heart may ache, and rejoicing may end in grief." 14:13 Not certain what this means either, but ominous sounding: "Evildoers foster rebellion against God; the messenger of death will be sent against them."