Proverbs 26

Proverbs 26 continues the theme of our words, and I immediately spot in verse 17 the chaos of my life with little ones — and our world. The Message says it this way: “You grab a mad dog by the ears when you butt into a quarrel that’s none of your business.” Oh, how true, and how painful. Engaging in political, social, and religious arguments often accomplishes little more than stirring up a mad dog. In my own home, I’m often heard telling a child who is meddling with a sibling, “Stay out of it! Worry about yourself!” Or, “Mind your own business! Stay in your own lane!”

Proverbs 25

Proverbs 25 begins a string of proverbs that were first part of Israel’s oral tradition and then copied down under the direction of Judah’s King Hezekiah. He was eager — almost anxious — to have them written down, so future generations wouldn’t miss the wise words first spoken by King Solomon. I Kings 4:32 tells how Solomon spoke 3,000 proverbs and 1,005 psalms. The wisest man was also a prolific author who speaks to us all these years later in 2020 with proverbs about how to run a home and kingdom. Many of the words of wisdom are political in nature, and so many of them tell us how to speak to others. Oh, how we need these words today!

Proverbs 24

As we continue our march through Proverbs, I’m asking God to put a roadblock in your place here in Proverbs 24 to cause you to slow and to wrestle with a verse or grouping of verses. I’m praying that you’ll be changed by something you read today from God’s Word — and not by my words. When I opened to this proverb, I expected the Lord as usual to quickly give me a prompt for you to study, but I kept getting stuck on two words in one of the verses. My own words wouldn’t flow onto the page, and I came to understand that those two words were a blessed roadblock.

Proverbs 23

Just hours before wildfire smoke choked our valley, about 100 fluttering, diving, and looping barn swifts near my home caught my eye. Clustered together, the birds seemed frantic, and I now wonder at their innate sense that something stagnant was storming toward them. At the time, I simply marveled at the fleeting dance show, knowing that if I hadn’t slowed, I would have missed the swirl of birds. Proverbs 23:4-5 uses a bird flying toward heaven to describe a person’s overtime efforts to acquire wealth. The stuff of this world can never transfer to life in the next. It will flutter away.

Proverbs 22

One of my favorite books is The Hedge of Thorns, a short parable published 200 years ago about a boy and his little sister who lived in the English countryside. Each day they walked back and forth to school along a hedge of thorns. Overly curious and suffering from the modern-day FOMO (fear of missing out), the boy convinces his sister that they should find out what is on the other side of the hedge. Acting the gentleman, he invites her to go first, but as he pushes her part way through the hedge, she begins to cry out in pain. Their adventure is cut short as blood drips from her beautiful face.