by: FCC Staff
The poor is disliked even by his neighbor,
but the rich has many friends.
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner,
but blessed is he who is generous to the poor.
Often it helps to look at the immediate context of a proverb or (any particular verse of scripture for that matter) to help us understand and apply the truth of what scripture is saying to our lives.
Proverbs 14:20 states a fact of life: Rich people are generally more popular than poor people. That’s not a scriptural stamp of approval, just a statement of fact. We can’t for example choose to only associate with people who have money, and claim Proverbs 14:20 as our justification. Because 14:21 shows us how to beave in light of this reality in our world.
This is a very common way of teaching wisdom in biblical cultures. In fact, Jesus often taught in this way himself. A statement like, “you have heard it said…” followed up with “but I tell you…” or holding up something that is true in the world, but not in the kingdom of heaven. A good example of this is Jesus teaching in Matthew 20:25-28
“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
There are many things that are true in the world, more often than not, and that is what our first proverb for today shows us. But often what is true in the world is in contrast to what is true when we choose to follow God’s wisdom. That is what our second proverb shows us. Understanding this method of teaching is key to understanding a lot of biblical wisdom: The rules of the world don’t apply to the kingdom of heaven.
Prayer for Today:
Father, thank you so much for calling me out of the world. Help me to keep my eyes and my heart focused on Zion, even as I sojourn here in Babylon. Jesus, help me to seek your Father’s will here on earth as it is in heaven. Help me to not conform to the world, but to your perfect image. Send your Holy Spirit to open my eyes to how I can choose your kingdom and it’s righteousness today. Amen.