Proverbs 17

Proverbs 17

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17   Better is a dry morsel with quiet
    than a house full of feasting with strife.
  A servant who deals wisely will rule over a son who acts shamefully
    and will share the inheritance as one of the brothers.
  The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold,
    and the LORD tests hearts.
  An evildoer listens to wicked lips,
    and a liar gives ear to a mischievous tongue.
  Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker;
    he who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.
  Grandchildren are the crown of the aged,
    and the glory of children is their fathers.
  Fine speech is not becoming to a fool;
    still less is false speech to a prince.
  A bribe is like a magic stone in the eyes of the one who gives it;
    wherever he turns he prospers.
  Whoever covers an offense seeks love,
    but he who repeats a matter separates close friends.
  A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding
    than a hundred blows into a fool.
  An evil man seeks only rebellion,
    and a cruel messenger will be sent against him.
  Let a man meet a she-bear robbed of her cubs
    rather than a fool in his folly.
  If anyone returns evil for good,
    evil will not depart from his house.
  The beginning of strife is like letting out water,
    so quit before the quarrel breaks out.
  He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous
    are both alike an abomination to the LORD.
  Why should a fool have money in his hand to buy wisdom
    when he has no sense?
  A friend loves at all times,
    and a brother is born for adversity.
  One who lacks sense gives a pledge
    and puts up security in the presence of his neighbor.
  Whoever loves transgression loves strife;
    he who makes his door high seeks destruction.
  A man of crooked heart does not discover good,
    and one with a dishonest tongue falls into calamity.
  He who sires a fool gets himself sorrow,
    and the father of a fool has no joy.
  A joyful heart is good medicine,
    but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
  The wicked accepts a bribe in secret
    to pervert the ways of justice.
  The discerning sets his face toward wisdom,
    but the eyes of a fool are on the ends of the earth.
  A foolish son is a grief to his father
    and bitterness to her who bore him.
  To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good,
    nor to strike the noble for their uprightness.
  Whoever restrains his words has knowledge,
    and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
  Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise;
    when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.


Proverbs 17 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests hearts.”

Proverbs 17:3

To purify gold and silver it takes an intense heat.  It brings the impurities to the surface so they can be skimmed from the top making the final product pure.  The fires of life, the fires of our God do much the same.  Trials and situations of our lives get hot many times.  The Lord uses these to continue to refine us having our own impurities surface and then skimmed off so we are useful to Him.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”

1 Peter 1:3-9

God uses so many things in our lives to do this.  Within this chapter alone several things are mentioned by Solomon that would fit into the category of God testing our hearts, purifying our minds and lives.  He speaks of strife within the home, arrogance of others affecting our outlook and demeanor, chasing after folly or pipe-dreams, difficult friendships, and pursuing things we want rather than what God ordains.  There are so many situations we find ourselves in that can become fires which boil down to where we really are, where our stand is firm and where our trust is placed.  God uses them all.

So many times when these hardships hit our first response is frustration and anger.  It’s natural I believe.  But what we do with these emotions, how we process through them and move forward is key.  Are the fires stoked up at the moment? What is God trying to speak into your life through them?  Are situations bringing inescapable hardships, where is He working steadily on you throughout this?  He has a goal in his allowing these things to take place.

I use the phrase a lot of our need to ‘wrestle things to the ground.’ And if this is the place you find yourself currently, wrestle these things to the ground with God.  Specifically, wrestle through all the emotions and hardships and feelings you may have, bringing them before Him in the end.  For whatever is happening, He’s using this in the strengthening of your faith, the reality of where your trust rests and in the process bringing the impurities of our lives to the surface so He can skim them off.

Proverbs 17 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

As I read this chapter, I see a theme of relational conflict.

“Better a dry crust with peace than a house full of feasting with strife.”

Proverbs 17:1 HCSB 

“Whoever conceals an offense promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends.”

Proverbs 17:9 HCSB 

“To start a conflict is to release a flood; stop the dispute before it breaks out.”

Proverbs 17:14 HCSB 

“The intelligent person restrains his words, and one who keeps a cool head is a man of understanding.”

Proverbs 17:27 HCSB 

Relationships probably don’t mean much if they aren’t messy. Just take marriage, for instance. Some of my most passionate quarrels have taken place with my spouse. Part of this is inevitable. As we do life together, and get to know each other on a deeper level, we experience the extreme nature of our personalities. The Spirit’s working becomes more evident as do the fleshly impulses. There is an aspect to this, however, that troubles me.

For those of us with the Holy Spirit, we have little to no excuses when it comes to settling disagreements. Especially with other believers!

I can remember having a disagreement with another believer over a misunderstanding that occurred minutes before our service began. This person had jumped to a conclusion that wasn’t true, and I was trying to calmly explain the reality of the situation. This individual repeatedly demanded an apology over the misunderstanding, threatening to leave the church.

I once again circled back to the facts and invited this person to come back in and talk about this after taking some time to cool off. I stressed the reality that both of us are believers, so there is no reason we can’t sit down, hear each other out, and come to some kind of agreement – even if that means respectfully agreeing to disagree. Unfortunately, my words were not heard. This individual stormed out and never came back. The worst part about this story is that this person wasn’t even in the room when the so-called “incident” took place.

The hasty choice to leave our church was an emotional decision based on details that were misconstrued. My attempt to set the record straight and have a civil, respectable conversation fell on deaf ears.

Jesus didn’t run from conflict. In fact, He thrust Himself into the middle of humanity’s struggles continually. His tone and message were dependent on the heart of the person he was addressing. Proverbs gives us the end result if we rush into disagreements using our flesh. It’s like a water faucet that’s not easily shut off. It’s a foolish onslaught of destruction that is lacking knowledge.

Can I separate my feelings and listen to the message? Am I able to accept rebuke from another believer? Am I willing to put effort into the relationship or do I cut and run the moment something doesn’t go my way? These are all tough questions but just consider the posture of the heart. The fool goes into a conflict with zero intention of learning or listening. A perceptive person accepts correction.

“A rebuke cuts into a perceptive person more than a hundred lashes into a fool.”

Proverbs 17:10 HCSB 

God graciously grant us the patience to hear your Spirit within our messy relationships!

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