Proverbs 19:1-9 Fools, Friends, and False Witnesses

Better the poor whose walk is blameless
    than a fool whose lips are perverse.

Desire without knowledge is not good—
    how much more will hasty feet miss the way!

A person’s own folly leads to their ruin,
    yet their heart rages against the Lord.

Wealth attracts many friends,
    but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them.

A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and whoever pours out lies will not go free.

Many curry favor with a ruler,
    and everyone is the friend of one who gives gifts.

The poor are shunned by all their relatives—
    how much more do their friends avoid them!
Though the poor pursue them with pleading,
    they are nowhere to be found.[a]

The one who gets wisdom loves life;
    the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.

A false witness will not go unpunished,
    and whoever pours out lies will perish.

Fools, Friends, and False Witnesses

People live their lives with no thought of God and then shout, “How could God do this to me?” when things turn bad.  I think of my Dad’s cancer as something many people would rail against.  “How dare God allow a 55-year-old to contract terminal cancer?”  However, that implies that my father made no choices for which he was responsible.  My father fought a lot, chose to play rugby, ate chips by the pile, smoked and drank for a while.  He made poor choices, but when he died early he did not blame God, he found God in the pain and suffering.  I wonder at the entitlement who think of God as a sugar-daddy who can be ignored  throughout their lives, but who want him to sort out their problems and save them from the consequences of their own life choices. 

The End of the Affair, the book not the movie, is worth reading.  It is a deeply theological work.  The heroine ends an affair because she makes a deal with a God she doesn’t think exists.  When God comes through, she hates the God she doesn’t believe in.  In the end she realises that the object of her scorn and hatred is real and she submits to God.  It is worth seeing the strength of emotion some people have against God.  Often they work in such a focused way against God that it brings about a faith in the God they hate so much.  If only our lives were submitted to the mysterious and holy God whose ways are inscrutable.

Questions

  1. How are folly and perversity related?
  2. How is a ruined life (NIV Translation) an overturned way (Literal Translation)?
  3. Why would people in the ancient world desert poor people?
  4. How do some people that you know blame God for their misfortune?
  5. How can we accurately see what is our doing and what is God’s?

Going Deeper

Read Graham Green’s The End of The Affair.

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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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