The 'BARKING OWL' always has something to say, and like the feathered version, can be either WISE...............or ANNOYING!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Proverbs 31 Project: Commenting January 15th on Proverbs 15:1-5

January 15;  Proverbs 15, Verses 1-5

[Please note: The first two paragraphs below are repeated each day for new readers.  My amateur comments start below the verses from Proverbs.]

Christians looking for a simple way to review the Bible regularly, have long been convenienced by the fact that the book of Proverbs has 31 chapters, the same number as most of our months.  Each chapter includes multiple bite-sized verses (uhm, proverbs) and can be read through simply in one sitting, one appropriately numbered chapter per day through the month.  A person might read through the Proverbs a chapter a day during any month, but why mess with your head (reading an extra chapter on one, two, or three days!) like that when there are 7 months every year perfectly suited for the endeavor?

My idea here is to reprint about 1/7 of the verses from each day's chapter throughout this year, every time a 31 day month pops up, and then offer a few comments from The Barking Owl.  So in January, we will get through the first few verses of every chapter and then in March, the next group, and so on, until December comes around and we can finally get to the last set of verses in each chapter and complete the book's reading.  If you are smarter than I am (is there any doubt?), you will read the whole chapter every day, every 31 day month, and then you will have read the whole book 7 times this year!  By then you are guaranteed to at least be wiser than The Barking Owl , though no one will ever match the wisdom of Solomon!

[All Bible passages are from the NIV, and are copied from]

Proverbs 15

1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
   but a harsh word stirs up anger.
 2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
   but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.
 3 The eyes of the LORD are everywhere,
   keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
 4 The soothing tongue is a tree of life,
   but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
 5 A fool spurns a parent’s discipline,
   but whoever heeds correction shows prudence.

1) Somewhere in my writings I referred to this verse as one of the most applicable verses around.  So often we find ourselves the object of SOMEBODY'S ire.  Perhaps the clerk you bugged, or the guy you bumped, or another driver you bothered was having a horrible day and decided to let loose on you!  But if you manage to give him Solomon's old "gentle answer" routine instead of firing both barrels right back at him, you get to watch the anger just melt away!  It's like a little miracle, but you will see that Solomon knows what he's talking about.

2) The second half of this verse makes obvious sense.  We have all known people, fools, whose mouths "gush folly".  They say one stupid thing after another; or a series of profane laced sentences fills every paragraph and we get so exhausted from searching through all the ore of useless words that we can never find the nugget of truth that may have been buried within.  

But the first half of verse 2 is more interesting.  The wise tongue adorns knowledge.  Sounds like that means a person may have some knowledge to share, but it can waste away if he does not also have a "wise tongue" to bring it out in an attractive manner.  The word elucidate comes to mind.  Here are its synonyms:  explainclarifyexplicateexpoundilluminatespell outinterpret  I have often been frustrated in an attempt to clearly 'illuminate' an idea, or an understanding I have on some subject or another verbally.  Personally, I do much better in writing my thoughts (I hope).  Too bad for me Solomon didn't say anything about 'keyboards adorning knowledge'. 

3) I am so glad that "The eyes of the LORD are everywhere".  It makes me feel good to think that nothing gets past Him because when I do what is right, and nobody notices, I know that He might be pleased with me and it pleases me to please Him.  It makes me feel good to think that nothing gets past Him because when I do something wrong, and I know it, and even if nobody else knows about it, I can share the truth of my sin with God.  And He shares the truth of His forgiveness with me. 

1 John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

This gladness about His eyes being everywhere was only true for me AFTER I became a Christian.  Before, I preferred to hide with my sin.  Now I have found that being "in Christ" is better than being "in sin".

4) The contrast here is between a soothing tongue and a perverse tongue.  Do these seem like the opposites of each other to you?  I would think soothing/severe, or soothing/inciteful; and maybe correct/perverse, or rational/perverse.  But we should go with the wisest man in the world and try to see what he is getting at.  

I think he started with the two modes of living and worked backwards to the source of those life conditions.  In what kind of soil does the 'tree of life' prosper?  A soil rich with soothing words.  From parents who speak with love, and in peace.  Where strains of joy and a fruitful vocabulary abound.  And what is it that 'crushes a spirit'?   A perverse tongue.  Parents who are insulting and degrading.  Being surrounded by the words of abuse, hateful tones, angry blasts and unfair rants.  Profane and graphic imagery is only crushing for a child or a teen, and does, in fact, no good for anyone of any age.

5) Once again Sol hits on this theme of obedience.  He is not babbling from senility, but emphasizing the main points of his life understanding. His repetition should not bore us, but sober us.  It is vital that a youngster finds the will to submit to his parents' good discipline.

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