As I’m nearing the end of my study of Proverbs, I’d like to share some notes on some verses that stood out to me today.

Detestable Prayers

If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.

Proverbs 28:9 (NIV)

When I was a kid and I did something wrong: I knew enough to not ask my parents for anything (privileges, gifts, and the like) until the situation had been made right. It would have been foolish. Similarly, people with bad credit don’t usually expect credit to be extended to them with the same interest rates given to those with better credit. Bad credit doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has done something wrong, like when I was a child, but it doesn’t look good to lenders. While these two concepts are easily understood, the concept of praying to God when people don’t believe in him is staggeringly ironic. 

Whenever something bad happens, and people want to express their condolences, they might say something like “My thoughts and prayers are with you.” I understand the desire to show empathy. However, if you’re really praying for someone and you don’t know God, it’s a waste of your time unless you’re turning to follow Jesus. Just like my parents who weren’t going to give me special privileges when I disobeyed them or how we don’t give great interest rates to people with bad credit, God doesn’t listen to people who pridefully believe that their ways are better than his. It’s that simple.

Mercy for Murderers?

Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.

Proverbs 28:17 (NIV)

I had a really hard time today when I read this verse. It seems to advocate allowing someone who has murdered someone to kill themselves. I think the Amplified Bible brings some clarity to this verse.

A man who is burdened with the guilt of human blood (murder) Will be a fugitive until death; let no one support him or give him refuge.

Proverbs 28:17 (AMP)

The verse is presented on the heels of verses about leaders and government, so I believe it has to do with how the government should handle murderers. Not the individual. We want our government to be just, don’t we? Otherwise, if we apply this to the individual, it doesn’t fit with Jesus’ teaching.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.”

Matthew 5:38-39 (NIV)

In these perilous times where there seem to be mass shootings every week, and so many innocent people are being slaughtered, I find it difficult to love murderers. Yet, I find myself praying that these people will be saved. However, this doesn’t mean that their behavior is justified. They are not to be coddled. Justice will be and should be done. This is where I see Proverbs 28:17 fitting in. 

Sinful Crumbs

To show partiality is not good— yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.

Proverbs 28:21 (NIV)

When I first read this verse, I thought it was talking about how easy it is for someone to sin. Even the most righteous and upright person may steal a crust of bread for their family if they’re destitute and starving. Right? Not that it makes it right. It merely reveals how easy it is to sin. While there’s something “right” about that interpretation, the verse goes a little further. It’s another verse about taking bribes.

Solomon had a lot to say about taking bribes. The gist of them was that taking them was wrong. This verse indicates that a judge who shows partiality will transgress with the tiniest incentive. Such a person is easily swayed.

Lying Lips

Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.

Proverbs 29:5 (NIV)

We shouldn’t tell people that everything they do and say is great if it’s not. Sometimes we are in situations where we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings by telling them the truth. “No, those pants don’t make you look fat. You look fat without them.” But flattering someone is far worse than speaking to them with love and tact. People are prideful enough without us feeding that pride. Those same people who tell you that you look gorgeous in that outfit when you don’t will be the same people who will talk about how awful you look in it behind your back. 

That’s all I have for today. I pray this day finds you well, and thank you for stopping by!