Some Cool Proverbs

In recent weeks for Morning Prayer (which I ususally pray either at home before going to the church, or in the sanctuary shortly after I arrive) some of my readings have been from the Book of Proverbs. 

Proverbs is one of those Biblical books that is much-overlooked in the Lectionary, so it has been a while since I've spent much time in it.  For me it is an easy book to "coast" through quickly without gaining much wisdom, and so it is one that I must read quite slowly.  Here are a few verses that have "stuck out" to me lately that I wanted to share (all are RSV).

He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.
(Prov. 16:32)
I've been saying for a while that self-control is perhaps one of the most counter-cultural Biblical virtues, because it flies in the face of an economic system based upon impulsive buying.

He who forgives an offense seeks love, but he who repeats a matter, alienates a friend.
(Prov. 17:9)
I wish I had read this before preaching on forgiveness just a week or two before.  To forgive the friend, or spouse, is to consciously let go of the need to keep bringing it up, to let go of the need to "rub their nose in it" or "keep score."  These are all subtle ways that we - presuming to act as judge - attempt to punish the wrongdoer.  In fact, it is only by letting go of that desire that we can "seek love" and remain in relationship, otherwise we will only have "alienation" (see Luke 15:25-32).

Why should a fool have a price in his hand to buy wisdom, when he has no mind?
(Prov. 17:16)
Might that be a commentary on our college and university system that has long since become a "credential factory" for anyone and everyone who has the money to pay (afforded by the college-loan industry)?

For they eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
(Prov. 4:17)
"They" in this verse refers back to "the wicked" in verse 14.  They are wicked because they 'eat the bread' and 'drink the wine' of wickedness; that is what they participate in, that is what they share in, that is what they commune with.  This verse uses the sacramental image of bread and wine much like in 1 Corinthians 10:15-16, but in reverse (and in 1 Corinthians Paul is talking about a spiritual reality that is connected with literal bread and wine that are consumed in the worship gathering). 
In both cases, to the eat bread and drink the wine means to share in what it represents and to become shaped by it (see also Prov. 9:5).

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