Today’s proverb contains an interesting turn of phrase. If you look up this verse in the bible you will see a footnote after the word “lamp.” It says this word in the original language is literally “the plowing” or “newly plowed land” some translations even use the word “vow” or “promise” to try and convey what is being said in this proverb.
On a basic level, we can understand that haughtiness and pride are bad. But the language of the original text is pointing us to something more, something one of Jesus’s teachings, can help us understand:
“As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus[g] said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:57-62
So we see 3 teachings of Jesus in this passage, all with a common theme.
I’ll follow you, Jesus.
These are my priorities. They need to be yours as well.
In the last instance, Jesus used a metaphor very similar to our proverb for today, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus wasn’t talking about a literal field or plowing. He was talking about priorities, in all three instances.
So this imagery speaks of priorities or a guiding principle. For the wicked, their “guiding light” isn’t light at all. It is sin. This is very instructional for us. We all sin, to be sure, but is SIN your priority or is following Christ? Is what you want for your life your guiding principle, or what GOD wants for your life? That is what our proverb is encouraging us to think of today.
Even the word “haughty” takes a bit of reflection to ponder what it truly means. The Oxford dictionary defines it as, “arrogantly superior and disdainful.” Not only thinking you are better than others, but holding in contempt everyone else but yourself. It is a level of narcissistic behavior that is blinding. Sinful selfishness can completely overrun and short-circuit anyone’s walk with God.
As our proverb for today and Jesus’s teachings from Luke show us, our priority needs to be focused on what Christ commands. You may go without. You may get left out. And once you are committed, you don’t look back. We can imagine how badly a field would be plowed by someone looking backward and not forward. The same is true of our spiritual lives. When our focus is on ourselves or our own sinful desires, we are blinded to the realities and truth of the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a simple choice, but a profound one. Where is your focus today? On what you want, or what Jesus requires of you?
Prayer for Today
Father, help me to retain my focus on you and your word. Help me to be humble and accept your will for my life. Even if it requires sacrifice and hardship. Jesus by your example show me how to live out the will of the father. By your Holy Spirit give me the wisdom to focus on what is truly important in eternity, not on my own selfish desires. Amen.