Proverbs 15 - 17
A pattern emerges - a Life Plan
Gentle answers, commending knowledge, healing words, accepting correction, seeking righteousness, wise words, prayer, discernment, a cheerful heart, fear of the Lord, a meal made with love, patience, understanding, listening to wise advisors, pure thoughts, hating bribery, cheerful looks, humility -- This is what Solomon says is good in Proverbs 15.
Proverbs 16 tells us that while man looks at what we do, God looks at our motives and what is in our heart. Solomon tells us to commit our plans to the Lord and he will bring success to us.
and your plans will succeed.
4 The LORD works out everything for his own ends—
even the wicked for a day of disaster.
5 The LORD detests all the proud of heart.
Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.
6 Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for;
through the fear of the LORD a man avoids evil.
7 When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD,
he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.
Solomon then continues with the list of things that should be included in our life plan -- righteousness, honesty, wisdom, humility, listening to counsel and trusting the Lord, discernment, pleasant words and patience. These are things we should pursue.
The beginning of Proverbs 17 uses contrast to demonstrate what we should be doing -- comparing a sparse meal that is served with love, with a feast in a house full of strife. Solomon also reminds us that even a servant who is obedient will be better off than the son that doesn't heed what his father says and that in fact the inheritance is at risk if you disgrace your father. Verse 12 says that it is better to meet a grizzly robbed of her cubs than a fool that is hellbent on folly.
Much of chapter 17 is about how we behave in community:
5 Whoever mocks poor people insults their Creator;
gloating over misfortune is a punishable crime.
... and in business:
15 Whitewashing bad people and throwing mud on good people
are equally abhorrent to God.
Verse 17 talks about how we should behave with our friends and family.
17 Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble.
but the "life list" is the same.....
Peace, wisdom, honoring parents and grandparents, eloquence, truth, overlooking offenses, cherishing friendship, faithfulness, being cheerful, perception, justice and mercy. These are the things that we should pursue.
Lord -- give us your Spirit so that we can easily conform to your life plan. We need you.