Lesson 127: Proverbs 27:17…
Proverbs 27:17 As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
When I was a child, I watched my dad sharpen steak knives at the kitchen table. He would run the blade across the sharpening rod, back and forth, until the dull knife became sharp again. As steel sharpens steel, good friends can sharpen each other.
One of God’s best gifts to me was a roommate who was totally committed to Jesus Christ. We were both in our early twenties, and his example of commitment and sacrifice raised my standards considerably. His greatest strength was prayer, and mine was Bible study. We truly sharpened each other in our devotion to Christ.
Likewise, one of the best gifts you can give yourself is a friend who helps you grow in your faith. You can both commit to reading a chapter of the Bible almost every day, and underlining whatever you find interesting. Then you can get together once a week and discuss what you have learned. You will be surprised how much you sharpen each other’s devotion to Jesus Christ.
Proverbs 28:13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
No one wants to appear as bad as they are, so nothing comes more naturally than concealing our sins. We do not have to reveal everything to everyone, but we should be honest with God at all times. This will mean agreeing with God against ourselves so we can receive his mercy.
One lady had a seven-year affair with a married man, that ended when he left her for a younger woman. She was so depressed that she went to a psychiatrist for counseling and medication, but she only spiraled downward. She rejected any sense of guilt, and blamed everyone else for her misery. As a result, her life became a bottomless pit. But if we confess our sins, and renounce them, God will smile on us and help us live a new life.
Proverbs 28:26 Those who trust in themselves are fools.
Self-assurance can be a strength, but also a terrible weakness. Some time ago I was getting a haircut and the subject of religion came up. I asked the lady if she trusted Christ. She said, No, I only trust myself. She sounded self assured, but I wondered if she was telling the truth. Did she trust herself enough to cut her own hair? Probably not.
If I have a medical problem, I need a trustworthy doctor. If I have a legal problem, I need a trustworthy attorney. If I have a sin problem, I need a trustworthy Savior. Jesus Christ is the most trustworthy person who ever lived, and he died to save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Whoever trusts in him will be saved, but Those who trust in themselves are fools.
Proverbs 29:23 Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
Proud people think the way to attain honor is by promoting themselves. They boast of their achievements and seek affirmation. This can work for a while, but usually not for long. God opposes the proud (James 4:6), wrote James.
King Herod put on his royal robes and gave a public address. The speech was so well received that the people shouted, This is the voice of a god, not of a man (Acts 12:22). Herod enjoyed the praise so much that, instead of giving glory to God, he kept it for himself. As a result, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died (Acts 12:23).
Herod was eaten by worms before he died, and most are eaten by worms after they die. We can step on the worms, but the worms win. That is why pride is such a foolish thing. It is the only disease that makes everyone sick except the one who has it. But if we humble ourselves under the hand of God, he will lift us up (1 Peter 5:6). The proud prefer their honor now; the humble wait to be honored by God.
Proverbs 29:27 The righteous detest the dishonest; the wicked detest the upright.
The deepest divide in the world is not between the sexes, or the races, but between the righteous and the wicked. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you (John 15:18-19), said Jesus.
The divide between the righteous and the wicked often appears in culture wars. Believers want the world to honor God; the wicked want the world to be free from God. Conflicts arise in politics, media, schools, work—even in homes. But there is a danger here. The gospel itself may be lost if we are not careful.
The goal of Christianity is not to make the world obedient to God. In this age, that will never happen. The goal of Christianity is to preach the gospel everywhere, for the salvation of those who believe. Many will be purified, made spotless and refined, but the wicked will continue to be wicked (Daniel 12:10), wrote Daniel.
Proverbs 30:8 [G]ive me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.
Until recently, the human diet has been fairly simple. Many have lived on bread and fish, fruits and vegetables, and whatever else could be gathered. Food for the day was seldom taken for granted. No one in the Bible could have imagined today’s grocery stores, and the abundance we enjoy.
Thank you God for apples, oranges, strawberries and bananas. Thank you also for milk: one percent, two percent, fat-free or whole. Thank you also for orange juice, grape juice and even cranberry juice. Thank you also for cookies and chips and ice-cream. And finally, Lord, thanks for daily bread, even raisin bread.
Reflection and Review
How can we help friends grow in their faith?
Why is it foolish to be proud?
Why should we be thankful for our food?