The Good, Bad, and Inbetween

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Political rhetoric... I hate it. But 'tis the season and the media bombards us with it.

Ever notice how extreme it can get? It isn't about issues but the over-emphasis of opinions. It's not really exposing truth, but distorting it. Well, that's my opinion.

Campaign promises roll off politicians' lips easily, but rarely if ever come to fruition. And "spin"? Why not call it what it is—strategized deception.

It's easy to become cynical unless you read between the lines or see the middle between the extremes. Often times, things are expressed in an extreme way to emphasize a point.

Scripture

These are the wise words of Solomon:

Wise children make their father happy, but foolish children make their mother sad. Riches gotten by doing wrong have no value, but right living will save you from death. [vss 1-2]

The Lord does not let good people go hungry, but he keeps evil people from getting what they want. A lazy person will end up poor, but a hard worker will become rich. Those who gather crops on time are wise, but those who sleep through the harvest are a disgrace. [vss 3-5]

Good people will have rich blessings, but the wicked will be overwhelmed by violence. Good people will be remembered as a blessing, but evil people will soon be forgotten. [vss 6-7]

(Proverbs 10:1-7 NCV) [Context– Proverbs 10]

Key phrase

These are the wise words of Solomon

Digging Deeper...

  1. What contrasts are given between the wise and the foolish?
  2. How are good and evil people contrasted?
  3. What other behaviors or attitudes are contrasted in these verses?
  4. Have you seen these contrasts played out in real life, either yours or in others?

Make it personal...

Do you think these sayings are absolutes or guarantees?

Are there times when you wish wisdom and goodness produced guaranteed results?

Are you ever discouraged by things not going well, even though you try to be good and wise?

How have you learned to trust God when things don't go the way you expect?

Reflection...

No one wants to see people go hungry, well, no one with any measure of compassion. Likewise, we don't want those who are evil to get away with wrongdoing. And generally, most people think hard work is valuable and honorable.

But these wise words of Solomon, in the Book of Proverbs, are not guarantees, nor are they absolute statements. We'd like them to be, and too many people read them that way, but they are intended as guidelines for life.

There is a shift away from allegorical stories and extended exhortations found in the first nine chapters of Proverbs, beginning with Chapter 10. From Chapter 10 on, most of the wise guidelines are given in couplets of thought, often in contrasts.

Because of this shift, it might be good to review the guidelines for studying Proverbs given in a much earlier post. Included in that post is a downloadable study guide, which can be gotten here— Proverbs Study Guide (click on the link to download)

God's wisdom can guide a person through the extremes of life, and trust in God leads to greater understanding of His wisdom.