My thoughts (Cheryl Stonestreet):
Since the book of Proverbs is the wise sayings of King Solomon, one would think that they are organized into some sort of order. And since the proverbs were compiled and passed on as lessons on how to live a righteous life, I assumed that the passage I was assigned to write about would have some sort of intended theme(s). But it took some effort to glean a particular message. I read and re-read the verses. I thought about them for quite some time. I read them again. Each verse did seem like a wise saying — in and of itself. Some verses were more convoluted than others; that’s not a surprise. Thousands of years have passed and who knows how many translations and cultural shifts they’ve gone through. “What is the point?” I kept asking.
I decided to take each verse and rewrite it in my own words. Maybe then some sort of general theme would bubble up. If I were to guess the central theme, I would say it is be careful with whom you surround yourself. But that’s not the lesson I really learned. What I really learned is how the Bible is a living text.
When I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and meditations, and I ask God to tell me what I am supposed to write, I am often led into an unexpected direction. Instead of some ancient staunch black or white commandment, I am given a living, breathing, insightful, and current understanding of how God wants to work through me.
When I put the words into my own vernacular, the lesson became more personal and meaningful to me. God wants me to pick up this book and read it. God wants me to struggle with some of the verses. God wants me to think about it and re-read it and think about it some more. This is how I learn. This is what keeps the Bible fresh and living. It’s a good practice, especially if I follow the advice of verse 22.
Thought for the day: Abba, guide my thoughts and actions today so that they reflect your loving ways. Thank you for your word.
My translation — in the event you were wondering.
18: Hotheads make it hard on everyone around them. Slow tempered folk dissipate drama.
19. Lazy people make life hard on themselves. Stay on top of things and life is easier.
20. It’s stupid to love one parent and resent the other.
21. Childishness may be fun, but it will get you nowhere.
22. Ask smart people to help you. Wise people help make your success more likely.
23. It’s fun to know the right answers. Study, learn. It’ll make you feel better in the end.
24. Take the high road. The low road is hell.
25. Love watches over the meek. The proud? Not so much.
26. Love abhors evil intentions. Seek love.
27. Greed and unjust gain hurt everyone around you. Do the right thing.
We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the suggestions on the How to Pray page.