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blog meditation Proverbs

Meditation Proverbs 24c

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. 14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you: If you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. 15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous, do not plunder their dwelling place; 16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again, but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes. 17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice, 18 or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from them. 19 Do not fret because of evildoers or be envious of the wicked, 20 for the evildoer has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. 21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with rebellious officials, 22 for those two will send sudden destruction on them, and who knows what calamities they can bring? (Prov. 24 13-22 NIV)

13 Eat honey, my son, for it is good;

honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.

14 Know also that wisdom is like honey for you:

If you find it, there is a future hope for you,

and your hope will not be cut off.

It seems strange to find a recommendation to eat honey in the Proverbs and it would be strange if we isolated the verse.  The Teacher is relying upon the natural understanding and experience that a person would have of seeking to consume something that was both beneficial and satisfying.  The main point is that wisdom is like honey in this way.  As we would naturally be inclined to desire honey, we should also develop an appetite to seek wisdom from God’s word.  Usually when I get up in the morning one of the first things I do is wander towards the fruit bowl and chop up some fruit, top it up with yoghurt and maybe sprinkle some cinnamon on top.  As I come down the stairs that is on my mind.  I don’t have to plan it, or contrive to think about it, it is just a habit that is there out of routine.  What if I could develop my instinctive reaction to desire to open God’s word and start my day off like that?  Unlike the consumption of honey, the consumption of God’s word brings a message of hope with it and we will never lose that hope.

15 Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,

do not plunder their dwelling place;

16 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,

but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes.

The eye of the Lord is upon His people, therefore the wicked are warned about planning to steal their property.  We saw previously the importance of building the family home.  It is a serious business to harm any of God’s people.  Better for them that they had a milestone tied round their neck and they were cast into the sea. (Matt. 18:6).  The Teacher recognises that because of the hardship in life, the righteous may fall seven times.  The number is not limited to seven times, many times should be understood.  Though they fall they will rise again because the saints will persevere.  Not so the wicked, when calamity strikes they will stumble.  Ultimately when God deals with sin and injustice the wicked will be caused to stumble that they will never rise again.

17 Do not gloat when your enemy falls;

when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice,

18 or the LORD will see and disapprove

and turn his wrath away from them.

We should never take delight in the downfall or death of anyone.  Our hearts are naturally inclined to rejoice when our enemy is harmed.  We perhaps feel that there is a natural justice at work.  We need to remember that we have received mercy from the Lord.  We deserved to fall.  The reason why we are standing is because we have received grace and mercy from the Lord.  The Lord did not choose to show His grace and mercy to us because we had any merit.  Left to ourselves we deserve to stumble and fall.   When we show a lack of mercy, having received mercy, the Lord looks on our behaviour and disapproves. 

19 Do not fret because of evildoers

or be envious of the wicked,

20 for the evildoer has no future hope,

and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.

The contrast here is between the temporal and the eternal.  Why would the righteous desire anything as fleeting as the possessions or experiences of the wicked?  They have no hope for the future. What they are and what they have will come to nothing.

21 Fear the LORD and the king, my son,

and do not join with rebellious officials,

22 for those two will send sudden destruction on them,

and who knows what calamities they can bring?

The Teacher exhorts us to fear the Lord and the authorities that the Lord has appointed.  As good citizens we have a responsibility to make it easy for us to be governed.  We live in a time when we are encouraged to be rebellious.  Workers make it hard for managers to manage, pupils make it hard for teachers to teach, congregations make it hard for elders to lead, and children make it hard for parents to parent.  When there is a wholesale breakdown then a kind of anarchy and calamity ensue.

Prayer

Lord forgive us when we exhibit the rebellious spirit of the age.  It is fashionable to be opposed to every attempt to rule or exert authority.  Lord help us to see that the norm is to obey those who have been placed in authority over us.  Help us to live in such a way that it is easy and pleasant to lead us, because we ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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