25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly and only later to consider one’s vows. 26 A wise king winnows out the wicked; he drives the threshing wheel over them. 27 The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD that sheds light on one’s inmost being. 28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe; through love his throne is made secure. 29 The glory of young men is their strength, grey hair the splendour of the old. 30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being. (Prov. 20:25-30 NIV)
25 It is a trap to dedicate something rashly
and only later to consider one’s vows.
Haste in Proverbs is always seen as a bad thing. In haste a commitment is made, whether because of peer pressure or sentiment, and then afterwards the reality of the commitment is realised. It is better not to make a commitment to God than to make one and then renege on that commitment. We should not make rash commitments to God or to people without first weighing the consequences and cost of that commitment. God loves the commitments that we make in worship however those commitments should be thoughtful and have meaning.
26 A wise king winnows out the wicked;
he drives the threshing wheel over them.
God has appointed the government over a nation and its people. We are to honour and obey government. We cannot dismiss the laws of government as merely manmade rules. As a Christian we should be good citizens and law abiding. God has granted authority to government and as far as the law of the country does not conflict with God’s law, we should obey the government. The government has a responsibility to find those who break the law and to punish them accordingly.
27 The human spirit is the lamp of the LORD
that sheds light on one’s inmost being.
The human spirit illuminated by the word of God is the working of God in our lives. Through the word of God the Holy Spirit makes us aware of our sins and failures. It is difficult if not impossible to know our inmost being. We deceive ourselves, at times convincing ourselves of the righteousness of our thoughts, words and actions. We may deceive ourselves and others but we cannot deceive God. The Psalmist is well aware of the deceptiveness of his own heart when he prays –
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24 See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24 NIV)
28 Love and faithfulness keep a king safe;
through love his throne is made secure.
The stability of any government rests on their commitment to love the people that they serve, their faithfulness to the Lord’s commandments, and to the commitments that they have made in their promises to the people.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
grey hair the splendour of the old.
The vigour, energy and strength of the young is a glory that should be recognised by the church. Young people should be encouraged to serve in the church. It is tempting for experienced people to prevent young people from engaging in church service because they feel that they are not experienced enough. We have all made mistakes as we have grown and developed and we should allow younger people the freedom to learn through serving and experiencing for themselves what works and what doesn’t work. There are many different ways to do things and young people should not be coerced into doing things our way. The splendour of old age comes from a long life lived in righteousness. Proverbs tells us how sad it is to see a young fool, but sadder still is an old fool. Grey hair does not necessarily mean wisdom. The wisdom of old age should help us recognise that we no longer have the energy to do what we once did. We should put our energy into giving wise counsel and encouragement to the young so that they can channel their energy into serving the Lord.
30 Blows and wounds scrub away evil,
and beatings purge the inmost being.
The language of this proverb is more graphic than our sensibilities will allow. However, the message is about the need for discipline in our lives. We are discipline adverse today. We don’t like anyone to challenge us. We even resent God’s discipline. God, because He is God, has a sovereign right to discipline us and bring us into trial. The purpose of God’s trial is to develop us spiritually, not to cause us to fail.
Lord help me to not resent the trials that You bring me into. Help me to discover the indwelling sin that lies within my heart. Teach me through Your word and grant me the wisdom to know how to serve You and how to encourage others to grow and develop in their faith, because I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.