I hope you are all well as you sit down to read today. I know you are all in a thousand different places in your days, in your lives, and in your life situations. Do you know that I (we) pray for you? Sometimes by name. Sometimes by face. We pray that the Lord is teaching you and changing you and giving you the wisdom and understanding that He promises in His word. And often, we pray that you will be able to hear what God is saying – sometimes through our words, and often in spite of them.
I’ve already prayed for you this morning.
Let’s sit down together today with chapter 14.
This is where I am – perched on my bed with books and notes surrounding me. Oliver is at school and Hazel is taking her nap. There are a hundred things that could be done right now – all vying for my attention. But I’ve done my best to shut out distractions, turn off all those dinging, chirping, buzzing notifiers on my phone and computer, and I’ve found a place of quiet. The only sounds I hear are the hum of the dishwasher (we have an old, loud dishwasher), and the water draining in the spin cycle of my washing machine.
I am asking the Lord to help us all with distractions – things that would take our attention away from Him. He has something for each of us today, that I know. Let’s ask Him to reveal His Truth to us.
Day 14 | Chapter 14
As you know, we are tackling this grouping of chapters a little bit differently than we did with the first few chapters of Proverbs. We are reading the entire passage through, at least once, in at least one version (are y’all finding it helpful to read the chapters and verses in a variety of translations?). This gives us a ‘big picture’ of the chapter. Then we pick out a verse or two to study more deeply. You are welcome to chose your own verse or portion for deeper study, or join me today in my close-up look at verse 31 of Proverbs 14.
Here I’ve copied it down in four different translations:
31 Whoever oppresses a poor man insults his Maker,
but he who is generous to the needy honors him. (ESV)
31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor. (KJV)
31 You insult your Maker when you exploit the powerless; when you’re kind to the poor, you honor God. (The Message)
31 Those who exploit the powerless
anger their maker,
while those who are kind to the poor honor God. (CEB)
And below is my best effort to restate verse 31 in my own words. (You do it too – before you look at mine):
Taking advantage of the poor and looking down on them is an insult to the God who made you both. Being good to the poor is a good way to show reverence to your Maker.
Let’s turn some pages in our Bibles today – where else does God talk about the poor? Specifically, how we treat them/consider them/love them?
Job 31:13-15 ”If I have rejected the cause of my manservant or my maidservant, when they brought a complaint against me,
what then shall I do when God rises up?
When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him?
Did not He who made me in the womb make him?
And did not One fashion us in the womb?
How do these passages relate to Proverbs 14:31?
What do they tell us about God’s character?
What if we think of the “poor” in broader terms – beyond those with little money. Are there other ways to be poor? Perhaps those who lack an abundance of family or friends or those who are poor in spirit – might these verses also teach us about God’s heart for these folks?
I would love to hear your insights today about this topic or other verses in chapter 14 (any of these verses would have been great for deeper study!).
What are you learning?
How is God changing you?
I’ll close with something my pastor asked us this past Sunday in his sermon on Luke 6:27-36: “What if our attitude with each paycheck, instead of ‘how much should I give’, was ‘how much must I keep?”
Have a lovely Tuesday, friends! The weather is getting just a little crisper here and it makes me want to go sit outside!!