26 September 2007

Proverbs 17:1-5

"Those who mock the poor insult their Maker; those who are glad at calamity will not go unpunished." (v.5)


The book of Proverbs is said to be written by Solomon; proverbs are 'wise words'. Often they are very practical and homely sayings about daily activities, but often they are shot through with a sense of how our ordinary behaviour and speech are seen in the light of God.

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, spoke of three things which indicate that we are made in the image of God:

God lives in relationship with creation, and so do we; in this way we are like God. God is active in creation, as are we, and we are to be as responsible as God is in this activity. Thirdly, God is whole (perfect) and we can be made whole through our good relationship with God, others and wider creation.

If we are all made to be like God, and made by God, then it makes sense that if we insult others we insult God. If someone insults something I have made, then I feel the insult to be very personal.

Throughout the Bible we see and hear that God is passionate about injustice: for example, in Exodus 22:21-23 we read "I, the LORD, will answer [the oppressed] when they cry out to me for help." We also read in Mark 10:14 that Jesus says of children "The kingdom of God belongs to such as these".

To Ponder

Have you ever made something which has been displayed for others to see or use? How would you have felt if someone insulted what you had made?

When have you seen something 'of God' in another person?

Why might it be that the Bible says it is easier to 'see' God in the oppressed?

Bible notes author

Alison Parker

Alison Parker worked as the Equalities and Diversity Project Officer for the Methodist Church. She worked to bring together a theology of equalities and diversity, an equal opportunities policy for the Methodist Church, and a resource for local churches to use to support us as we celebrate diversity and seek equality.