Proverbs 14:31 [W]hoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Whenever you see a needy person, God stands by their side to see what you will do. Few things reveal our character more than how we treat those who are in need.
My mother was a God fearing woman, which is why I was surprised the first time I heard her cuss. With six kids, and a part-time job, she had little time to spare. Saturdays were precious because that is when she cleaned the house.
One Saturday morning she was catching up on laundry when a needy person pulled into the driveway. This dear lady was going through a difficult time, and even though they were not close, she found my mom to be supportive. When my mother saw her car, she quietly muttered, oh spit (slightly revised).
But what she did next made an even bigger impression. She put down the laundry, got out refreshments, and gave this dear lady a couple hours of her time. It was beautiful, and I think God was impressed, because … whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
This is a comfort to us whenever we are being good, but not when we are misbehaving. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:13), says Hebrews.
When I was growing up, we had a picture above the fireplace of a lady whose eyes followed you everywhere. If you were standing by the door, she was watching you. If you were sitting on the couch, she was watching you. If you were going up the stairs, she was watching you.
I did not like that picture very much, and there are times we would rather avoid the relentless gaze of God. He sees you when you’re sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows if you’ve been bad or good . . . .
When my daughter was in middle school she played the clarinet. But there was an enormous drum in the band room that she always wanted to try. So one day after school, thinking her teacher had left, she pounded the drum with all her might. Imagine her surprise when the teacher stepped out of her office and said, Sarah, what are you doing?
And wouldn’t we be surprised, the next time we misbehaved, if a voice from heaven said, What are you doing? Of this we can be sure: The eyes of the Lord are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good.
Proverbs 17:3 The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.
When silver and gold are melted, impurities rise to the surface, and are removed to make the metal purer. Silver melts at 1763 degrees Fahrenheit, and gold melts around 1948 degrees Fahrenheit.
Likewise, God may turn up the heat in our lives to purify our hearts. When impurities rise to the surface, we should give them to God, so we can be more like Christ. God wants our hearts to be so pure that he can see his own reflection. That is the purpose of our trials.
Proverbs 17:25 A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.
Nothing is more important to Christian parents than seeing their children live for God; and nothing weighs them down like seeing their children go astray. But children make their own choices, and often disappoint.
How does a parent, who has prayed daily, deal with the rebellion of a child? How does a loving parent accept the rejection of their offspring? Why do children see their loving parents as enemies? Why do they choose the wrong path? Why are they so selfish?
These are excellent questions with no easy answers. But if earthly parents feel this way, how much more does our heavenly Father? How he must rejoice whenever we do well, and grieve whenever we go astray. We should pray for our children often, but not forget that we are children too. Every day we have the opportunity to make our Father proud, or to break his heart.
Proverbs 18:9 One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys.
Vandalism costs the United States hundreds of millions of dollars per year. Windows are broken, buildings are burned, and property is defaced. What is often missed, however, is that lazy people cost the public even more. By withholding their contribution to society, they rob the government of taxes, and steal from their neighbors. Everyone on earth owes it to God, country and neighbor, to be as productive as they can be. To the degree we are not doing our best, we are in league with one who destroys.
Proverbs 18:21 The tongue has the power of life and death.
A few good words can give us hope, and few bad words can fatally wound. With our tongues we make alive, and with our tongues we send to the grave.
A young lady took her life, and left behind a note with just two words: He said. We do not know what he said, but it was painful enough to break her. We often suffer more from what people say to us, than what they do to us.
But words can also give life. I was going through a difficult time, many years ago, when I made a new friend named Dave. He was smart and outgoing, and did me a greater favor than he will ever know. Whenever he saw me, he shook my hand and said, You’re great. I have no idea why he said it, or why he said it so often, but those words were life to me. And when I see him in heaven I will shake his hand and say, You’re great!
Reflection and Review
How do you feel about the needy?
How do you respond to trials?
Why do people say hurtful things?