Don’t Abandon A Friend

Never abandon a friend—
either yours or your father’s.
When disaster strikes, you won’t have to
ask your brother for assistance.
It’s better to go to a neighbor than
to a brother who lives far away (Proverbs 27:10 NLT).

Solomon gives wise advice which seems counter culture to what the Israelites believe and maybe we believe today. Do not abandon a friend or neighbor when disaster strikes — whatever the cause. Keep this in mind, especially if your family isn’t geographically near.

Value Relationships

Solomon and Jesus alike taught a good relationship with a friend or neighbor is valuable and worth the effort. Jesus even stated the difficult command “love your neighbor.” Love your neighbor and living in harmony with them infers also helping to meet each other’s needs whenever the occasion arises. *

Be Aware of Needs

Disaster may strike any of us at any time. So be aware of each other’s needs, especially those who are live close to you — frends and neighbors. They, like you, can be affected by disaster without warning. So, when critical needs are present, you can be a first responder and readily help in some manner.

Friends and neighbors you’ve cultivated in kindness and love have lasting value. Remember, you too may be that one in times of disaster or trial. Keep this in mind, especially if your family isn’t geographically near.

Prayer: Father, I value family, help me value my neighbor as well.

* Study Guide for Proverbs 27, David Guzik, blueletterbible.org.

Don’t Gossip

Fire goes out without wood,
and quarrels disappear when gossip stops.
A quarrelsome person starts fights
as easily as hot embers light charcoal or fire lights wood.
Rumors are dainty morsels
that sink deep into one’s heart
(Proverbs 26:20-22 NLT).

Solomon continues with poignant advice we need today. When our ears hear gossip, our mind must immediately decide what to receive—if any—and what to dismiss, likely all. Let the Holy Spirit guide us when we hear gossip and don’t engage in it. Beginning today, work on hearing effectively and speaking the truth in love.

The Fuel

Gossip, rumors, contention, and quarreling are like wildfires from our mouths. Often out of control, they needlessly destroy good intentions. One commentator * describes it as the fuel that burns up the spirit, a terror called divisiveness. Make a concerted effort not to chew on these inflammatory morsels.

The apostle Paul has much to say about gossip in his letters to the churches at Rome and Corinth and to Titus and Timothy. He strongly warned believers to be wary of straying away the truth they’d learned. Paul specifically told them to refrain from gossip. It’s not language that honors God.

Wounds

The result of listening to or spreading rumors and gossip can quickly lead to wounded friendships. Likewise, fellowship may be burnt to a crisp, due to the strife that gossip causes. The Holy Spirit is our guide when we hear gossip. Make sure not to engage in it at all. Beginning today, work on hearing effectively and speaking the truth in love.

Prayer: Father, help me not to gossip nor burn relationships with my thoughtless communication.

*Commentary on The Whole Bible, Vol 1, Matthew Henry, Regency Reference Library, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Proverbs 26, p779.

More On Communication

A north wind brings stormy weather,
 and a gossipy tongue stormy looks.
24 Better to live alone in a tumbledown shack
 than share a mansion with a nagging spouse (Proverbs 25:23-24 MSG).

The Message version continues with some humor on how to get away from a contentious spouse [most versions use wife here]. Remember it’s Solomon’s depiction not mine. The solution seems extreme. However, the situation is also. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.

Don’t Be Quarrelsome

This vivid comparison of a gossipy tongue and a contentious spouse is real. It’s an historical problem and a real one today too. Slander, backbiting, gossip and quarrelsome speech are divisive and disrupt positive relationships.

Ask God What to Say

Here is God telling Jeremiah what to do during the siege of Jerusalem.

Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own (Jeremiah 33:3 MSG).

Yes, God is in the business of speaking to people, the Prophet Jeremiah, simple people like Gideon and even simpler people like us! God knows our situation and he wants to hear our requests. Let God help you control your tongue and you will be blessed with his message.

Prayer: Father, I know you love me and want to help me. What a blessing to know you answered Jeremiah and you will answer us today. I’m listening and want to hear your voice.

New Way Of Life

If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat;
And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
For in doing so, you will heap coals of fire upon his head,
And the Lord will reward you (Proverbs 25:21,22 AMP).

Solomon bursts out a few words on how to treat our enemies. His wisdom here is beyond normal understanding. He gives a godly approach in dealing with folks who seem to be our enemies. Today believers have wonderful guidance. Because our help is through the Holy Spirit withour eyes kept on Jesus.

God’s Generosity

Because God sent His Son Jesus, we see additional meaning. We must do things differently, acting in love, due to the Father’s generosity to us.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; 24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (Hebrews 10:23,24a NASB).

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

God told Joshua, Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you whoever you go (Joshua 1:9 NIV. Today believers have wonderful guidance too. Our help is through the Holy Spirit with our eyes kept on Jesus.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving me your Counselor. I do struggle with certain people at times. Help me act and react in love. Selah.

Timely Words

The right word at the right time
 is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,
And a wise friend’s timely reprimand
 is like a gold ring slipped on your finger.
Proverbs 25:11-12 MSG)

Here Solomon uses a series of metaphors we need digest and take seriously. Good communication is more than babbling whatever comes into our mind as we speak. Controlling the tongue yields soothing benefits and can bring godly comfort. The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.

Wise Communication

Eugene Peterson’s wording in The Message helps readers today. He emphasizes our need to use of the best words to effectively communicate. Some translations of this passage, read apples of gold which also means soothing/beautiful words. Each makes the point of wisely choosing the right words for the purpose.

Careful Communication

A reprimand, after an offense can be harsh or abrupt. However, when done wisely and timely it yields better results. The agility or effectiveness of good communication is an art form which is better than a staccato of words used without discretion.

Tame the Tongue

James, the brother of Jesus, has much to say on communication, especially on the use of the tongue.

With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
My friends, this can’t go on (James 3:10-12a The Message).

James declares we have to control what we say, because we can easily slip into divisive words. Too often, we speak without thinking or without honoring our Lord. Think on this: The right words spoken in a timely manner edify the hearer.

Prayer: Father, help me choose the words you would have me speak. I ask your Spirit to guide me daily in my communication. The words I use should be at your prompting to edify. Selah.