John T. Willis

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Proverbs 11:14-17

Five additional contrasts [antithetic parallelism] appear as one continues in Proverbs 11:14-17:

"Where there is no guidance, a nation fails,
but in an abudance of counselors there is safety."

"To guarantee loans for a stranger brings trouble,
but there is safety in refusing to do so."

"A gracious woman gets honor,
but she who hates virtue is covered with shame.
The timid become destitute,
but the aggressive gain riches."

"Those who are kind reward themselves,
but the cruel do themselves harm."

What are some practical lessons for godly living may people benefit in these sayings?

1. It is much wiser to discuss difficult matters with several other well-respected people than to make a decision based on one's own knowledge and experience. The old saying, "Two minds are better than one," is certainly true.

2. While it is important to assume that others are upright and honest, one must always be cautious about dealing with another person until one knows that person well through various experiences and interactions.

3. Kindness and graciousness toward others not only encourages and uplifts others, but also establishes a person's good reputation among his/her peers and friends and associates.

4. Along with honesty and fair dealing and genuine consideration for the well-being of others, a person needs to be aggressive in business dealings and social relations and religious discussions and the like in order to survive and grow as God would have one grow and mature.

John Willis