Tuesday 27 September 2022

Bible Book:

A person’s pride will bring humiliation, but one who is lowly in spirit will obtain honour. (v. 23)

Proverbs 29:23-27 Tuesday 27 September 2022

Psalm 68:1-6, 32-35


These verses complete a collection of proverbs that began at the beginning of chapter 25 where it is stated that they are a collection of proverbs of Solomon. Connections between the sayings, each of which takes a verse, are often loose. Taken together these verses refer to several characters on which we should not wish to model ourselves, while they also urge us to trust in the Lord if we wish to live in security and obtain justice.

Verse 23 draws attention to those who are arrogant, contrasting their pride with the experience of the “lowly in spirit”. This is a common way of referring to those who depend on God rather than on themselves (eg Job 5:11, Proverbs 16:19). They are the subject of the first of Jesus’ Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3), and the teaching of this proverb is reframed in Matthew 19:30 and 23:12.

 "A partner of a thief' (v. 24) is one who agrees to assist them for a share of the loot; this theme is explored in greater depth in Proverbs 1:10-19. Here the bald statement is that one who chooses this role devalues their own life. The second half of the verse is a reference to Leviticus 5:1 which led to the practice of a public curse being placed on someone who could testify against a criminal but refused to do so.

 One reason for such refusal could be that a person feared people more than God, so verse 25 naturally follows on. The “snare” is the liability to divine judgement. Examples of people falling into the trap can be found in 1 Samuel 13:8-14 and 15:10-29. The security of the one who trusts in the Lord is pictured in terms of a strong tower in Proverbs 18:10.

Verse 26 suggests that seeking favour (by way of courtesies and probably bribes) from humans in powerful positions is the norm rather than relying on God for justice. It is not wrong to seek justice from those in a position to administer it, but only in the context of ultimately relying on God.

The final verse highlights the antipathy that the 'wicked' and the 'righteous' feel for one another. We must not be discouraged if some hate us for living rightly (see Matthew 5:10-12).


To Ponder:

  • In what sense would you say the lowly in spirit receive honour?  Does it always work out like that?
  • In what circumstances have you been (or might you be) tempted to care more about what others think than what you know God desires of you?
  • Do you have experience of human justice failing? What difference, if any, did trusting God make?
  • It has been suggested that tolerance is not an adequate response to evil, but we need to hate it as verse 27 suggests. What do you think?
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