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God’s Word for You

Proverbs 27:14 Wrong words, wrong when

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, May 30, 2020

14 He who blesses his friend early in the morning with a loud voice
  will be considered a curse.

“Blesses” is the translation of a verb form meaning “praises,” or even “praises, praises, and keeps praising.” In conjunction with the words “with a loud voice,” it’s easy to understand why this would be something to curse by the neighbors, or even by the one praised.

First, not everyone wants their achievements to be broadcast in public. Anyone who is quiet or private by nature would not appreciate being praised or blessed loudly.

Another possibility is that the one who praises or blesses is just an obnoxious loudmouth who draws attention to himself by shouting or speaking loudly. His real goal is to discredit, belittle, or even ruin the one he praises. He is cursing, and so whatever he says is to be considered a curse.

Some commentaries struggle with the additional words, “early in the morning.” A common complaint is that this phrase is “unnecessary, mars the rhythmic symmetry, and is probably to be omitted as a gloss” (Toy, C.H., Proverbs, International Critical Commentary, 1899, p 488). How can I express my disgust with such an evaluation? I know, I’ll say that Professor Toy’s comment “should be considered a gloss.” It is arrogant almost beyond belief to judge that the words of an inspired author of Scripture should be discarded. The judgment itself is almost tantamount to “blessing a friend early in the morning with a loud mouth.” My judgment of such a critic is unimportant; God’s judgment of such a man who wants to subtract from the word of God (Deuteronomy 12:32) is the only judgment that matters.

This proverb reminds us, in bold, crass terms, that the way we say a thing (and when) can be just as important as what the words are, and that telling the truth without conviction is almost the same as denying that truth. Language and communication rely on so much more than what the dictionary says, and therefore as we apply this troublesome proverb we should pray that our words will find receptive ears and hearts as we proclaim the word of truth about Jesus to the world. May our news always be good news, the very gospel of good news, and not the irritating greeting of a neighbor too early in the morning. May the Holy Spirit place us in just the right moment as well as just the right place to proclaim our Savior, otherwise we will be like a garden hose in the winter time or a snow shovel in the summer, a useless item hauled out for the wrong reason. Let us pray that we would always be useful and ready to be used by the Spirit for whatever work he has in store for us.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith

About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.

 

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