Skip to main content

January 3 2014: Proverbs 3

Third day. Third chapter. Are you reading along? To fill you in on the overall concept that I’m using in Proverbs this year, we as a family are making our own individual copies of Proverbs. None of us are quite up to the task of translating ourselves, so we are just rewriting English—I think all of us are doing New American Standard Bible, but one or two of the kids may be doing something else.

 

We’re copying them into one of these: Journible for Proverbs. This handy hardcover has lines marked off for making a personal copy of the Scripture, and the facing page has space for thoughts. Here’s a sample link which shows how it works in Philippians, and here’s Ann Hibbard’s review of Journible for Acts.

 

Organizationally, we’re copying the verses in this order: day of the week sets the chapter, month sets the verse. So, today, 1-3, we copied all the verses in chapter 3 that end in 1. That makes it manageable for the slower writers, and gives time to write neatly. Yes, you have to use American dates for this.

 

Now, today’s focus verse from Proverbs is Proverbs 3:31. Take a read at that: Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways. (NASU).

 

What is a man of violence?

 

First, a man of violence is enviable. That means he’s gotten stuff, power, or position that you want. Or that I want. And we want to take that stuff, power, or position away from him. How do we know that? Because there’s no reason to say don’t envy someone who has nothing—no one envies the poor.

 

Second, a man of violence is, well, violent. That is, he has concerned himself with the acquisition without considering the methods to get there. Stomping on people, whether by brute force or other means, to attain is being violent.

 

Third, a man of violence is imitable. You can be like him. It is tempting, and often suggested, that you should be like him.

 

You must choose not to. Whatever has been attained by violence is poison and not worth retaining.

 

Now, a brief word here about responsible violence: there is violence born out of malevolence and violence born out of defense. One should not count the beaches of Normandy as ill-gotten since it took violence to wrest them from Hitler. However, one should count Hitler’s possession of them as violence—Hitler is a man of violence, but in the World War II context, Churchill was not.

 

This verse speaks to the idea of pursuing personal gain through violence, because that’s how someone else did it. Doing so departs from wisdom and enters into a feedback loop that will destroy all it touches. Why? Because violence becomes your method, and then it is violence that returns to you.

 

Do not copy the violence, but instead choose to follow the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6-7). It’s the way. Not the better way—the only way that lasts.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…