Proverbs Chapter 27

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PROVERBS Chapter 27

Boasting About Tomorrow 27:1 James 4:13-15 enlarges on this verse, “and Matthew 6:34 on the companion sin of worry. Both are rectified by an embracing of the present will of God” (Kidner p. 164). The verse is not an indictment against long-range planning (24:6), however it is a warning against an arrogant and overconfident attitude toward the controlling of all the events in our lives. The verse should remind us that we can’t control the future, and neither is it in our complete power to keep ourselves safe and alive for tomorrow. One ”must live from day to day, grateful for the life which he has from God, with the awareness that it may be withdrawn at any time and that he must not speak or plan as if he himself had full disposal of his destiny and power over the future” (Gaebelein p. 1094). Yet, how many people have put many of their eggs in the basket labeled, “earthly tomorrow?” The word translated “boast” can also be rendered “praise”. “A person should not praise himself about what he will do the next day” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 963).

Boasting Of Oneself 27:2 It is best to let others praise you. Self-praise doesn’t establish a reputation, rather a reputation comes from what others think of you. In addition, another person (a stranger) may speak more objectively about your accomplishments and abilities. “One should neither be too certain of the future or of one’s own gifts” (Garrett p. 216). “Praise by definition must come from others, yet think of how many times in seemingly innocent ways we praise ourselves. Little allusions to who we know, where we’ve been, or what we have are all manifestations of pride” (Alden p. 190). Hence, don’t boast about tomorrow or the past.

A Fool’s Provocation 27:3 The heaviness and burden of stones and sand are apt comparisons to the load of trouble which is caused by a fool. “Stone and sand are heavy, and


whoever carries them knows the work is exhausting and painful. But more tiring is the fool’s provocation, for the mental effort it takes to deal with it is more wearying than physical work” (Gaebelein p. 1095). Yes, fools can be offensive, irritating, and almost unbearable. “The provocation of the fool is not precisely defined; it could be, for example, obnoxious behavior or incompetence on the job” (Garrett p. 216).

Jealousy In Its True Light 27:4 Often we hear more preaching about anger than we do jealousy, yet this verse seems to suggest that sinful jealousy can cause far more damage than even sinful anger. Dealing with ordinary anger is hard enough, “but a fury that stems from jealousy is not open to reason or moderation” (Garrett p. 216). Jealousy is often unreasonable and can include merciless revenge (6:32-35). Therefore, let us wake up and realize that jealousy isn’t a “little” sin.

Frankness Between Friends 27:5 “Love that is concealed”, i.e., which doesn’t do anything to solve the problem, is morally useless. Note, love can be quenched and hindered. This verse answers that age-old dilemma, “What do I say to a friend who has done wrong?” This verse says that if our love for that person is genuine, we should correct him or her. Remember, love values the soul of our loved one and values the truth far more than what is comfortable or convenient (1 Corinthians 13:4-8). An “open rebuke” is a frank, direct word of honest criticism. “A true friend gives time and attention but it is not always flattering” (Garrett p. 216). The verse seems to infer that most friendships will need this type of love, that is, true friendship involves a price and a risk. It seems to me that many people claim they want friends and relationships, but they want friends who will turn a blind eye to their sins at the same time. Ignoring a sin in a friend is actually a manifestation of an insincere love on our part. Compare with Luke 17:3-4 and Galatians 6:1-2. 27:6 But how many people immediately get rid of those friends which have righteously wounded them? There are times when maybe we don’t realize who is the true friend or the true foe. We readily accept the kisses and hugs but reject the wounds despite their source. “We are so afraid of pain!” (Alden p. 190). Judas is the classic example of kisses from the enemy (Mark 14:43-45). The verse infers that there are a good number of phony friends in our world.

Too Much Of A Good Thing 2

27:7 What an insightful look into human psychology! One can actually lose and miss out by getting “more”. The verse explains why wealth without trust in God can be a curse, and why some of the wealthiest people in the world are extremely miserable at the same time. Look at the poor prize that awaits the man who gains the whole world. Not only has he lost his soul, but in the process he has lost the ability to appreciate even what he has. But how many people naively argue that they would never tire of having………?

The Wanderer 27:8 This is a verse that condemns the person who insists that they are a “rolling stone” and can’t be tied down to one woman or a family. Perspective is so important. What the wanderer views as a prison, God views as a nest, a place of comfort and security. The verse may also be talking about the man who insists on leaving home too early and in doing so brings hardship upon himself. Sadly, in our society we have a good number of men and women who don’t want any responsibilities. While they might view themselves as free, God views them as being vulnerable to adverse circumstances.

Sweet Counsel 27:9 “Two sayings in chapter 27 give the two sides to this: the cheering effect of fellowship (27:9, as when Jonathan strengthened David’s hand in the Lord, 1 Samuel 23:16), and the healthy clash of personalities or views (27:17). A true friendship should have both elements, the reassuring and the bracing” (Kidner p. 45). Compare with Psalm 104:15.

The Old Family Friend 27:10 “In case the reader should think only of the friendship he hopes to receive, he is urged to give this kind of loyalty (27:10), especially to the old friend of the family who may easily be dropped in the search for new company, but whose staunchness would stand any test” (Kidner p. 45). A friend who is available is better than a relative who is not. The verse advises: 1. Recognize and keep family friends, for they may become your best advisors. Every generation of young people is tempted to downplay the wisdom and importance of those who assisted their parents. We naively think that our best friends will be those who are our own age. 2. “One should seek solid, meaningful relationships among one’s neighbors and family, but not focus on people who are fun but lack substance” (Garrett p. 218). 3. There is a warning against 3

going to your brother’s house in the day of trouble. Which may mean, don’t go to your brother’s house (only?) when disaster strikes. Or, asking help from an emotionally distant brother is a waste of time. 4. The verse reminds us that our best friends might not be among our relatives. There was little love between David’s sons; and Jonathan was far dearer to David himself than any of his numerous brothers.

The Teacher’s Joy 27:11 A wise son or disciple will enable a father or teacher to defend himself against his critics. Children sometimes fail to realize that others will or have accused their father and mother of being poor parents. Parents and teachers are usually held responsible for the faults and weaknesses of their children or pupils; but any parent or teacher criticized that way takes pleasure in pointing to godly children or pupils. Such is proof that he or she has not labored in vain! Along this concern, this 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20 and 3:8. “In other words, his son will either publicly disgrace the father or enable him to stand proudly before even his enemies” (Garrett p. 219). When we are young we can forget that our behavior and attitude can either discourage our parents and move them to retreat, or give them great incentive to stand up and be counted even during intense criticism.

Walking Warily 27:12 Compare with 22:3. The danger here can take many forms, including economic (27:13). “The wise avoid impulsive and unsound business ventures” (Garrett p. 219). People do eventually suffer for being careless. Avoiding the pitfalls in life will require wisdom. “The verse is a motivation for the naïve to be trained; for life would be far less painful for them if they knew how to avoid life’s dangers” (Gaebelein p. 1098). Courage isn’t demonstrated by taking foolish risks and the mature person will develop wariness.

Hostage To Fortune 27:13 Compare with 6:1-5 and 20:16. “People must be held to their obligations, no matter how foolishly they were made” (Gaebelein p. 1098). “Be sure you get collateral (such as a coat) from a man who co-signs a loan with a risky partner such as a wayward woman” (Alden p. 192). “A young man should not risk his wealth for the sake of his irresponsible companions” (Garrett p. 219).

Inappropriate Greetings


27:14 “Loud and untimely greetings are not appreciated…On the surface it appears to be describing one who comes in early and loud with his blessing or greeting; he is considered a nuisance…But ‘blesses’ and ‘curse’ could mean more; it could refer to the loud adulation of a hypocrite, the person who goes to great length to create the impression of piety and friendship but is considered a curse by the one who hears him” (Gaebelein p. 1098). Even knowing when to offer praise, requires wisdom. “It matters not only what we say, but how, when, and why we say it” (Kidner p. 166). “Timing and sensitivity to others who are sleeping are important. The wrong time for the right action causes it to be received as a curse” (Bible Knowledge Comm. p. 964).

That Woman Again 27:15-16 “In other words, you are dealing with someone ‘as unsteady as the wind, and as slippery as oil’; you will never tie such a person down” (Kidner p. 167). “No one is able to stop her from complaining. Restraining her is as futile as ‘stopping the wind’ or ‘trying to hold oil in your hand’” (Alden p. 192). Compare with 19:13.

Stimulating Contact 27:17 “The image here is striking; as knives are sharpened by other tools of steel, so scholars, artists or athletes can ‘sharpen’ each other by competition, the exchange of ideas, and constructive criticism” (Alden p. 192). “People must not shy away from interaction with their peers since it is an education in itself” (Garrett p. 220). No man is an island, and we do need good friends, the kind who will challenge us to do better, and motivate us towards good and noble qualities and goals. There are friends which sharpen our character, morals, and thinking and then there are people whom we seem to dull us into inaction, apathy or skepticism. Which friend are we? When we interact with people, do we muddy the water, or do we offer clarity? Do we bring in our wake moral confusion, or a definite direction and a moral compass?

Rewards Of Service 27:18 Honest and hard work will be rewarded even in this life. Faithful and patient effort will play off. Kidner reminds us that what some people call the “bosses favorite” is none other than the whole-hearted as seen by the halfhearted. “The fig tree needed closer attention than other plants; so the point would include the diligent tending of it” (Gaebelein p. 1099). Christians who are diligent workers, need not worry about their efforts going unrecognized and unrewarded” (Gaebelein p. 1100).


Self-Knowledge 27:19 As clear water gives a reflection of the face, so the heart reflects the true nature of the man (NIV). 1. “This may mean; ‘if you would see yourself, look within—not in the mirror” (Kidner p. 167). 2. As water reflects the face, so thoughts (expressed in words) reflect one’s personality. 3. “In other words, people have a basic consistency to them. Those who have integrity will maintain it in their inner and outer lives, and those who are perverse will be thoroughly perverted. The point is that one should learn how to read people and thus learn whom to trust” (Garrett p. 221). “Neither does a man’s heart or mind reveal something different from what he is” (Alden p. 193).

Never Satisfied 27:20 The grave/death is personified as having an appetite. Seemingly it always wants another live person dead. In like manner, the eyes of man are never satisfied. People constantly want to see new things (Ecclesiastes 1:8). “The comparison of restless eyes to the grave is probably intentionally sinister here; cemeteries are full of people who died still thinking wealth could bring them happiness” (Alden p. 193). Only in Jesus Christ, can the restlessness of man find any real satisfaction (Matthew 11:28-30; John 4:13-14; Philippians 4:11-13). The person who has given free reign to their lusts must come to terms with the reality of this verse. If you determine to search for happiness apart from God, you will never find it!

The Crucible 27:21 Heat both tests and refines silver and gold, showing what the metals are really like. In a similar way, we are tested by the praise that others bestow upon us. How we react to human praise is a test of our character. If we gloat in it, we are revealing arrogance. Alden reminds us that what or who we praise reveals our true character. “We might well ask ourselves what excites and thrills us enough to elicit praise. What do we pay money for and spend time to see? ‘Your heart will be where your treasure is’, Jesus said (Luke 12:34)” (p. 193). Public praise did form a test for Saul and David (1 Samuel 18:7).

Ingrained Folly 27:22 “The folly that is rejection of ‘the beginning of wisdom’ (1:7), is no isolated trait: it must color the whole character” (Kidner p. 168). We aren’t born in sin, but giving into sin and habitually yielding to temptation can become almost second nature (Ephesians 2:1-3). Choice is a powerful thing, and choosing the 6

wrong attitudes can bring us to the point of being almost a hopeless case. We can become a fool who is so stubborn that even if we are ground in a mortar, we still won’t give up our foolishness. Just look at the things which many are suffering, and yet they still refuse to give up what is causing them so much pain! In addition, folly can’t be removed by force.

Pastoral Symphony 27:23-27 “This country scene is not designed to make farmers of everybody, but to show the proper interplay of man’s labor and God’s nurture, which a sophisticated society neglects at its peril. It recalls the reader from the scramble for money and position (24) to the satisfaction of doing a worth-while job well (23) and to the recognition of the rhythm (25) and sufficiency (26-27) of God’s care” (Kidner p. 168). Here are basic economic lessons: Take care of your business and it will take care of you. Do your part and God will provide (Matthew 6:33). Wealth shouldn’t be taken for granted. Today’s ten wealthiest men in the world may not be wealthy in a few years. Those who rule today may be overthrown tomorrow.


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