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September 11

Pastor’s Note

Proverbs again proves to be a book that must be read slowly and carefully, as we encounter one poignant and life-changing truth stacked on top of another. Consider the applicable implications of verses like these: “It is a glory to overlook an offense” (19:11b) and “It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife, but every fool will be quarreling” (20:3). In 2 Corinthians we see some of what we will find throughout the rest of this letter—Paul’s needed and appropriate defense of his ministry and reputation. Let us discern the difference between the foolish quarreling described in Proverbs and the reasoned defense found in 2 Corinthians.

— Pastor Mike

Proverbs 19-20

19:1 Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
 than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Desire [1] without knowledge is not good,
 and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
 his heart rages against the Lord.
Wealth brings many new friends,
 but a poor man is deserted by his friend.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
 and he who breathes out lies will not escape.
Many seek the favor of a generous man, [2]
 and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts.
All a poor man’s brothers hate him;
 how much more do his friends go far from him!
He pursues them with words, but does not have them. [3]
Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
 he who keeps understanding will discover good.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
 and he who breathes out lies will perish.
10 It is not fitting for a fool to live in luxury,
 much less for a slave to rule over princes.
11 Good sense makes one slow to anger,
 and it is his glory to overlook an offense.
12 A king’s wrath is like the growling of a lion,
 but his favor is like dew on the grass.
13 A foolish son is ruin to his father,
 and a wife’s quarreling is a continual dripping of rain.
14 House and wealth are inherited from fathers,
 but a prudent wife is from the Lord.
15 Slothfulness casts into a deep sleep,
 and an idle person will suffer hunger.
16 Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
 he who despises his ways will die.
17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord,
 and he will repay him for his deed.
18 Discipline your son, for there is hope;
 do not set your heart on putting him to death.
19 A man of great wrath will pay the penalty,
 for if you deliver him, you will only have to do it again.
20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
 that you may gain wisdom in the future.
21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
 but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
22 What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
 and a poor man is better than a liar.
23 The fear of the Lord leads to life,
 and whoever has it rests satisfied;
 he will not be visited by harm.
24 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish
 and will not even bring it back to his mouth.
25 Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence;
 reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
26 He who does violence to his father and chases away his mother
 is a son who brings shame and reproach.
27 Cease to hear instruction, my son,
 and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
28 A worthless witness mocks at justice,
 and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
29 Condemnation is ready for scoffers,
 and beating for the backs of fools.
20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler,
 and whoever is led astray by it is not wise. [4]
The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion;
 whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
It is an honor for a man to keep aloof from strife,
 but every fool will be quarreling.
The sluggard does not plow in the autumn;
 he will seek at harvest and have nothing.
The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water,
 but a man of understanding will draw it out.
Many a man proclaims his own steadfast love,
 but a faithful man who can find?
The righteous who walks in his integrity—
 blessed are his children after him!
A king who sits on the throne of judgment
 winnows all evil with his eyes.
Who can say, “I have made my heart pure;
 I am clean from my sin”?
10 Unequal [5] weights and unequal measures
 are both alike an abomination to the Lord.
11 Even a child makes himself known by his acts,
 by whether his conduct is pure and upright. [6]
12 The hearing ear and the seeing eye,
 the Lord has made them both.
13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
 open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
14 “Bad, bad,” says the buyer,
 but when he goes away, then he boasts.
15 There is gold and abundance of costly stones,
 but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.
16 Take a man’s garment when he has put up security for a stranger,
 and hold it in pledge when he puts up security for foreigners. [7]
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
 but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
18 Plans are established by counsel;
 by wise guidance wage war.
19 Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets;
 therefore do not associate with a simple babbler. [8]
20 If one curses his father or his mother,
 his lamp will be put out in utter darkness.
21 An inheritance gained hastily in the beginning
 will not be blessed in the end.
22 Do not say, “I will repay evil”;
 wait for the Lord, and he will deliver you.
23 Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord,
 and false scales are not good.
24 A man’s steps are from the Lord;
 how then can man understand his way?
25 It is a snare to say rashly, “It is holy,”
 and to reflect only after making vows.
26 A wise king winnows the wicked
 and drives the wheel over them.
27 The spirit [9] of man is the lamp of the Lord,
 searching all his innermost parts.
28 Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king,
 and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
 but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
30 Blows that wound cleanse away evil;
 strokes make clean the innermost parts.

2 Corinthians 3

Ministers of the New Covenant

3:1 Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on our [10] hearts, to be known and read by all. And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. [11]

Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent [12] to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10 Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11 For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

12 Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13 not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14 But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16 But when one [13] turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord [14] is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, [15] are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

Footnotes

[1] 19:2 Or A soul
[2] 19:6 Or of a noble
[3] 19:7 The meaning of the Hebrew sentence is uncertain
[4] 20:1 Or will not become wise
[5] 20:10 Or Two kinds of; also verse 23
[6] 20:11 Or Even a child can dissemble in his actions, though his conduct seems pure and upright
[7] 20:16 Or for an adulteress (compare 27:13)
[8] 20:19 Hebrew with one who is simple in his lips
[9] 20:27 Hebrew breath
[10] 3:2 Some manuscripts your
[11] 3:3 Greek fleshly hearts
[12] 3:6 Or sufficient
[13] 3:16 Greek he
[14] 3:17 Or this Lord
[15] 3:18 Or reflecting the glory of the Lord

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