Discover His heart: He is our example of patience and steadfastness
Cool your jets. Take a chill pill. Back off. Slow it down. Take a little time to smell the roses. Don’t rush to judgment. Fools rush in where angels fear to tread. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of care. Take it down a notch. These are all phrases we use when life comes racing at us, when we need to pull in the reins and look before we leap and…sorry, the colloquialisms just keep coming. Proverbs 25 has its own brand of cautions for us today.
“Don’t demand an audience with the king or push for a place among the great. It’s better to wait for an invitation to the head table than to be sent away in public disgrace.” (6-7) Promotion is always better when it comes from the Lord rather than our own efforts alone. Jesus actually provided us with a parable on this very subject in Luke 14:7-11 regarding a dinner guest. He advised to take a less prominent seat at the table to avoid being asked to move should a more distinguished guest come to the table, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:11) Sometimes being first in line isn’t helpful.
“Just because you’ve seen something, don’t be in a hurry to go to court. For what will you do in the end if your neighbor deals you a shameful defeat?” (7-8) It’s often said that 20 observers of any criminal act will have 20 different testimonies of what actually happened. Jesus offered the solution for when we observe or experience something we believe is a wrongdoing in Matthew 18:15, “If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back.” Don’t rush to judgment.
“A person who promises a gift but doesn’t give it is like clouds and wind that bring no rain.” (14) Wisdom would say it’s better to count the cost before we promise something we can’t deliver. Most everyone remembers something promised to them as a child that never came to pass – those moments are hard to forget.
“Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.” (15) As they say, timing is everything. Quiet, prayerful patience will do more to get the end result we desire from those in leadership than nagging or yelling. Yes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but we always remember it demanded our attention rather than deserved it. My mom never had to raise her voice to me in quick anger, but she had one killer of a look she would give, without breaking any bones, by the way.
For the laid-back person or someone who looks at every angle of a situation and seems to get little done in life, Solomon’s cautions may not be needed. Perhaps taking to heart Proverbs 24:33-34 would be more beneficial, “A little extra sleep, a little more slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest—then poverty will pounce on you like a bandit; scarcity will attack you like an armed robber.” In other words, get with it!
However, we all know someone who desperately needs his advice today. Those Type A’s out there, always moving and clicking away, need to take a few moments each day to read these words of wisdom from Solomon so they will look before they leap, take a step back and punt, remember haste makes waste…enough!
Moving Forward: My prayer today is, “Lord, help me to say and do all that you have for me to say and do, without moving ahead of your plan and without driving anyone crazy in the process.”
Tomorrow @ Amos 5-9