1. A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches,
and favour is better than silver or gold.
2. The rich and the poor meet together;
the LORD is the Maker of them all.
3. The prudent sees danger and hides himself,
but the simple go on and suffer for it.
4. The reward for humility and fear of the LORD
is riches and honour and life.
5.Thorns and snares are in the way of the crooked;
whoever guards his soul will keep far from them.
6. Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.
7. The rich rules over the poor,
and the borrower is the slave of the lender.
8. Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity,
and the rod of his fury will fail.
9. Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed,
for he shares his bread with the poor.
10. Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out,
and quarrelling and abuse will cease.
11.He who loves purity of heart,
and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
12. The eyes of the LORD keep watch over knowledge,
but he overthrows the words of the traitor.
13. The sluggard says, “There is a lion outside!
I shall be killed in the streets!”
14. The mouth of forbidden women is a deep pit;
he with whom the LORD is angry will fall into it.
15. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child,
but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.
16. Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth,
or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty.
Comment: Tomorrow for Australians and New Zealanders is a very special day – ANZAC Day to commemorate their countries’ soldiers in Gallipoli in WWI – Australia’s first involvement as a nation in a war. It was a catastrophe with many on both sides killed and with the Turks winning the battle. But it is a day to remember with thankfulness the sacrifice made by many to keep us ‘free’. With many of you I hate war; with all or the vast majority I am thankful for the freedom which they won for us all. There are at least a couple of proverbs here which are relevant to this sort of celebration. In 2 we are reminder that all both rich or poor; Australian, New Zealander or Turk, have to face our Maker. And all mixed they are buried on that horrible but very meaningful patch of soil. Several years ago I attended an ANZAC service in Addis Ababa. The Turkish Ambassador, among others, spoke and I remember him saying that now we, past enemies, can see ourselves as brothers. And we all face the same Maker in death. In 8 we are reminded of the horrific destructive forces which follow the path of injustice. They talk about ‘Just Wars’, but ever there is such a thing it is a struggle against injustice and the result will be calamity. And in the end, even if delayed until Judgement Day ultimately the foolish fury of the unjust will fail.
Maybe the best known of all couplets from Proverbs is in this selection. Nos 6 & 15 go against a lot of the teaching and practice of training children in today’s world, but in having put their teaching aside in the West we are suffering the result of untrained, undisciplined children. Our area has the horrific title of ‘youth crime city’ of the nation! But we only earn the title by a very small margin from almost every area!
Prayer: Thank you for the measure of freedom we have. Help us to live in peace.