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Pondering Proverbs: Les Miserables – The Miserable Ones, The Poor Ones, The Victims (Pt.4)

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” 
Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV

When a new musical movie version of Les Misérables was released in December of 2012, I made a point of seeing it on the big screen. Set in France in the 1800’s, the story is a gripping tale of an ex-convict, Jean Valjean, who finds redemption following his parole from 19 grueling and bitter years in prison. Becoming a prosperous factory owner, he spends his life as a force for good to the poor and wretched of society. The movie does an incredible job of depicting the horrible treatment the afflicted and needy endured at the hands of the wealthy upper class.  Valjean’s goodwill, however, is a poignant tribute to a life transformed by the power of God.

Valjean is a perfect example of our theme verse today. Written in the imperative, these two verses demand our attention. Inactivity is not an option. We are to speak up, stand up, and defend the rights of the deprived and poverty-stricken.

Proverbs goes on to applaud and bless those who care for the well-being of the less fortunate. Those who are gracious to the poor will be happy and blessed, as well as honored and repaid by God Himself. (Prov. 14:21, 31, 19:17, 22:9) Even a king (or anyone in leadership) who judges the poor with truth will find his throne established forever. (Prov.29:14) That’s powerful!

On the flip side, woe to those who would oppress and mock the poor or ignore their cry. To do so is to taunt God and find oneself in poverty with no one listening or caring. (Prov. 14:31, 17:5, 21:13, 22:16) To shut your eyes to the reality of the down and out will result in a life filled with curses (Prov. 28:27b) That’s scary!

As God’s beloved, I pray you will let God move your heart to always be sensitive to the needs of others, especially the underprivileged, the sick, the impoverished, the lowly. Let us strive to imitate the actions of the godly woman of Proverbs 31:20 (NIV).

            She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

[Digging Deeper – Proverbs 22:22-23, 28:27a, 29:7, and 30:14]

Willing to help,

Beverly <><

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Pixabay.com/hands-poor-human-refugees-help-1005412

Pondering Proverbs: The Plea for Purity (Part 3)

“Can you build a fire in your lap and not burn your pants? Can you walk barefoot on hot coals and not get blisters? It’s the same when you have sex with your neighbor’s wife: Touch her and you’ll pay for it. No excuses.”
Proverbs 6:27-29 MSG

To countless millions in our twenty-first century America, sexual purity is an archaic virtue. It’s hard to escape the lies and deceptions straight from the pit of hell that are so glamorously portrayed in our movies, TV shows, billboards, advertisements, and music. All have desecrated and devalued the sacred gift of sex God intended for a husband and wife. Yet, many families have experienced the true heartbreak, shame, and ugliness of the deceit.

In my study of Proverbs, I noticed within the first few chapters some rather lengthy descriptive passages of the dangers and consequences of sexual immorality. There is a heightened sense of warning for men to beware of the charm and deceit of a harlot. Though these Scriptures speak specifically to the male gender, the lessons taught within its pages certainly apply to women as well.

In today’s vernacular and a little help from the Message Bible J, I have listed below some words of warning and wisdom from Proverbs. Use them to ward off sexual temptation when it comes knocking at your door.

Words of warning:

5:3-6 The adulteress’s lips and words are sweet and smooth but turn to gravel in your mouth. Her dances of Death lead straight to hell, taking you with her.

6:24-25 Don’t listen to the seductive talk of a temptress or be taken in by her bedroom eyes. She’ll reduce you to bread and eat you alive!

6:32-35 Adultery is a brainless act. It will destroy you, not to mention the rage you will ignite from the cheated spouse. Nothing you do can make it all right.

7:21-23 Don’t let the evil woman bewitch you with her smooth talk or you’ll soon be like a calf on the way to the slaughter house.

Words of wisdom:

5:7-20 Listen to the voice of the wise and STAY away from sexual temptation!

6:20-24 Heed the godly advice of your parents; wrap it around you from head to toe!

7:1-5, 25 Wisdom’s teaching is as precious as your eyesight – guard it! Write it on your hands; etch it on your heart; let it be your companion to ward off that smooth-talking, honey-tongued Seductress. Don’t fool around with her; don’t even stroll through her neighborhood!                                             [Digging Deeper – make time to read chapters 2, 5, 6, and 7 of Proverbs.]

Remaining pure,

Beverly <><

 

 

 

Photo Credit: image from freelyphotos.com

Pondering Proverbs: Eating Right (Part 2)

“My son, eat honey, for it is good, yes, the honey from the comb is sweet to your taste; “
Proverbs 24:13 NASB

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘honey’? Beekeepers love explaining the steps of how bees produce the sweet sticky substance from the nectar of flowers. Many spouses affectionately refer to their loved one as ‘Honey.’ The Old Testament speaks of Israel as the land flowing with milk and honey. For many of us, we just like to eat it!

According to today’s verse, honey is, in fact, good and sweet to the taste. It also instructs one to eat it because of its goodness. However, we find further specific instructions about it in Proverbs 25:16 NASB (emphasis mine):

Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it.

Back in my early twenties and for many years after that, I was somewhat allergic to honey. If I ate more than a tablespoon or so, I would end up with a bad stomachache for several hours – not fun! Therefore, for me personally, just a little taste was all I needed to suffice.

Let’s move on to the next mention of honey and notice the warning it gives.

It is not good to eat much honey, Prov. 25:27a (emphasis mine)

Being the curious one that I am, I looked up honey in my Zondervan’s Compact Bible Dictionary. Among its definitions were the following two sentences (emphasis mine). I think they ring true with the verses we’ve already read:

Honey as food is recognized and recommended, but in moderation.

Honey is a standard of comparison for pleasant things, good or bad.

Obesity, dieting, healthy eating, diet fads, and losing weight are common topics talked about and plastered everywhere in our society. In pondering the verses above, it occurred to me how advantageous and powerful these three simple truths are if applied to our eating habits.

1) Food is good, and you need to eat it to remain healthy.

2) Eat only what you need – moderation is the key word here!

3) It is not good to eat too much.

It makes sense that if honey is a standard for pleasant things, then it would be wise to follow the advice in the Scriptures. Enjoy the good food God has given, but eat to live, not live to eat.          [Digging Deeper – Prov. 27:7]

Happy eating,

Beverly <><

 

 

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