July 10th 2018 – Proverbs 15:25-29

The Lord tears down the house of the proud
    but maintains the widow's boundaries.
The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord,
    but gracious words are pure.
Whoever is greedy for unjust gain troubles his own household,
    but he who hates bribes will live.
The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
    but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.
The Lord is far from the wicked,
    but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Proverbs 15:25-29

The message of 25 is that the Lord is on the side of all who are materially oppressed. He promises not merely to be a husband to the widow, but also to be her judge, and in this context this is even more important, because sometimes a husband cannot protect a wife's interests as he would want to, but a judge is in an official position. He is an administrator of the law, and it is this that God undertakes to do; He will see to it that justice is done. The contrast between thoughts and words in 26 is interesting. Before the thoughts and intents of wicked men's hearts ever come to fruition in words or deeds, God sees them and hates them. On the other hand, the words of the pure are pleasing to Him because He sees behind them to the intents of the hearts from which they spring, and is well pleased with the purity that is their source. In 27 the RSV significantly inserts the word 'unjust' before 'gain', and this serves to underline the thrust of the phrase, although the implication of 'greedy' is sufficient in itself to make clear what is meant. To be greedy is already to have gone too far. The keynote in the verse is that integrity in material things is absolutely essential. The thought in 28 is similar to that in 2. Righteousness and wisdom belong together, foolishness and evil also: to speak without thinking, as the foolish so often do, is next door to speaking evil things. 'Heareth' in 29 should be understood to include 'answereth', because He who hears prayer is the One who answers it. His ear is ever open to the cry of His people.