- Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a fattened ox and hatred with it. There are so many people dying daily around the word from starvation that even a meal of herbs would sound tempting. Anything to drive away the pangs of hunger. But that, although worth thinking about, isn’t the point of this proverb. The writer is picturing a lavish feast garnished with hatred and claims that it would be better to leave the table bare except for the salt and pepper but remove the hatred, than to leave the feast in situ but you have to endure the atmosphere of hatred surrounding the meal. A strong example but the meaning is so clear. Love wins over hatred every time!
- The path of life leads upward for the prudent, that he may turn away from Sheol beneath. Sadly I remember a relative who used to say ‘I know I’m going to hell and I don’t care. All my friends will be there and we’ll live it up.’ I wonder at the wisdom of that choice. I’m rooting for the attitude of the proverb.
- The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honour. My wife and I have been watching a Korean law drama where one of the main characters wants position and swaggers around in pride, hoping that all will see him as the holder of a very honoured title. It is a sad and sickening picture. Fear is sometimes a very healthy thing. And the holding of God in honour, humble respect and love is wisdom exemplified. Maybe not popular thinking these days, but then there is a famine of knowledge as to who God is these days. The mythical all-excusing old grandfather is no more accurate than imaging the devil with horns, red tights and a pitchfork. We’re called to choose wisely.
Prayer: I need courage, guidance and perseverance in making right choices. Please help me.
All the days of the afflicted are evil,
but the cheerful of heart has a continual feast.
Better is a little with the fear of the LORD
than great treasure and trouble with it.
Better is a dinner of herbs where love is
than a fattened ox and hatred with it.
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife,
but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.
The way of a sluggard is like a hedge of thorns,
but the path of the upright is a level highway.
A wise son makes a glad father,
but a foolish man despises his mother.
Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense,
but a man of understanding walks straight ahead.
Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
and a word in season, how good it is!
The path of life leads upward for the prudent,
that he may turn away from Sheol beneath.
The LORD tears down the house of the proud
but maintains the widow’s boundaries.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the LORD,
but gracious words are pure.
Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
but he who hates bribes will live.
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The LORD is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.
The light of the eyes rejoices the heart,
and good news refreshes the bones.
The ear that listens to life-giving reproof
will dwell among the wise.
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself,
but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence.
The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom,
and humility comes before honour.