Over the next month, Time With God will be studying the book of Proverbs. Although we will read an entire chapter each day, the study questions in Digging Deeper will focus on select verses addressing a specific topic.
With Christmas only a couple of weeks out, our schedules seem to be filled up with all types of parties and events. The main thing these things have in common: people, lots of people. When surrounded by so many people, we are always reminded of the brokenness of our world. But as our Proverb for today warns and reminds us, we have the opportunity to stand out for the gospel—to be peacemakers in the midst of chaos, pointing others to Christ’s example.
- Do you actively seek peace with others?
Read the Word
Proverbs 17 (ESV)
17:1 Better is a dry morsel with quiet
than a house full of feasting with strife.
2 A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully
and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
3 The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
and the Lord tests hearts.
4 An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.
5 Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
6 Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
and the glory of children is their fathers.
7 Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
still less is false speech to a prince.
8 A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;
wherever he turns he prospers.
9 Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
10 A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
than a hundred blows into a fool.
11 An evil man seeks only rebellion,
and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
12 Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
rather than a fool in his folly.
13 If anyone returns evil for good,
evil will not depart from his house.
14 The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
16 Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom
when he has no sense?
17 A friend loves at all times,
and a brother is born for adversity.
18 One who lacks sense gives a pledge
and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
19 Whoever loves transgression loves strife;
he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
20 A man of crooked heart does not discover good,
and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.
21 He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
and the father of a fool has no joy.
22 A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
23 The wicked accepts a bribe in secret
to pervert the ways of justice.
24 The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,
but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
25 A foolish son is a grief to his father
and bitterness to her who bore him.
26 To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good,
nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
27 Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 1, 9, 14, 19, and 27.)
- Verse 1 presents a lesson about peace being more desirable than conflict. Why would it be better to have less with peace and quiet than more with strife?
- According to verse 9, what separates close friends? Who do you need to forgive or ask forgiveness from in order to restore friendship?
- Read verse 14 again and then consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” How do these verses relate?
- In verse 19, having a high door meant wealth. Your wealth would be flaunted by making your door larger than those of your neighbors. Why is the love of “strife” (conflict) and the flaunting of wealth a bad combination? How do you love strife or flaunt your wealth today?
- Having knowledge is often equated with speaking out, but it should just as much produce silence (vs. 27). Jesus demonstrated this for us perfectly during his arrest and trial as he restrained his words when facing persecution and death (John 18). In what situation do you need to pray for his strength to display this same knowledge and wisdom to others?
Respond to God
In our sinfulness, we desire to be the center of all things. This makes us easily offended, quick to speak, slow to serve, and always on the defensive. But the gospel shatters those behaviors because it breaks down our self-centered walls and gives us a new heart. If we truly understand the gospel, if we truly understand what Christ has done for us and our heart is full of him, then what comes out of our mouths and the way we live our lives should back that up. Does your life and the words you speak reflect a heart that has been changed by the gospel?
- Ask God to give you “a cool [calm] spirit” that shows restraint and seeks to bring peace.
- Pray Psalm 141:3: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!”