Proverbsby David Cook
Proverbs 29 is the last group of proverbs compiled by King Hezekiah's scribes (see day 37). Today, I want to highlight two pairs of proverbs and two individual proverbs.
Proverbs 29:2 and 16 contrast the effects of the righteous and wicked thriving. There is heartfelt joy in one and deep groaning in the other (v. 2). One upholds justice while the other does not care for it (v. 7). As a result, one will prevail and the other will be punished (v. 16).
Proverbs 29:15 and 17 stress the importance of disciplining children. All of us are sinful by nature and therefore, it takes correction and discipline to nurture a child who is not a disgrace to his parents (v. 15), and will instead bring joy and peace (v. 17; see also 22:15; 23:13-14). While physical cruelty and abuse is to be avoided, a total lack of the rod will lead to waywardness.
Proverbs 29:18 reminds us of the importance and value of God's Word in guiding us, without which we will go our sinful ways unrestrained. Heeding His instruction will bring blessing.
How grateful we can be that God has revealed to us His values and His ways in His Word! Imagine what a place the world would be without His guidance! English preacher Charles Spurgeon, stressing the importance of prayerful study of God's revelation, noted that this was an act of devotion ″wherein the transforming power of grace is often exercised, changing us into the image of Him of whom the Word is a mirror″.9
Proverbs 29:25 notes that safety is found in trusting in the Lord (see also 18:10). If we trust in people instead of the Lord, we can fall into the trap of allowing them to gain power and influence over our lives-the fear of men will become a snare.
We need to remember that the Lord is ultimately in control of all things; He directs the heart of the king (Proverbs 21:1). This truth is perhaps the most comforting truth in the Bible-Romans 8:28 reminds us that God is not only in control of all things, but also that He exercises His control for our good. In the context of Romans 8, the ″good″, which is His goal, is that we should be conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ (v. 29). Everything that comes into our lives-whether good or bad-is designed or allowed by God to lead to our growth in godliness.
Trust the One in control and do not fall into the trap of fearing people. As church father Augustine put it: ″Nothing, therefore, happens unless the omnipotent wills it to happen: He either permits it to happen, or He brings it about Himself″.10
9Steve Miller, C.H. Spurgeon on Spiritual Leadership (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2008), 109.
10St. Augustine, Faith, Hope and Charity, trans. Louis A. Arand (New York: Paulist Press, 1947), 89.
Which of these four sets of proverbs do you find most encouraging and needful in your life right now? How can you apply it to your words, actions, and thoughts?
How has the knowledge of God's Word, instruction, and guidance (Proverbs 29:18) changed the way you live? What other changes do you think are needed?