God’s Word for You
Proverbs 28:6-8 Your life, your friends
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Saturday, July 4, 2020
6 Better to be poor and walk blamelessly
than to be a rich man whose ways are crooked.
There are many rich vs. poor proverbs, but this one stands out because it gets right to a person’s heart. God may bless us in different ways: those who would struggle with wasting money might not be given much, while someone who could be good at investing or distributing money might be given a lot. But however much or little we’ve been entrusted with, it is our faith and the way we show it that matters.
7 He who keeps the law is the son of his teacher,
but a companion of gluttons shames his father.
In the Hebrew of this verse, the father/son relationship is emphasized even between a teacher and student. The teacher is like a parent to his or her students. When they show their integrity and apply their faith in their lives, their teachers have the same pride as parents. When a child grows up to run with the wrong crowd, it brings grief and shame to parents. The English proverb, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family” is often used as an excuse to explain away embarrassing family members (like my niece’s wild uncle getting down to Earth, Wind & Fire at her wedding dance yesterday), but we should also use it to remember that we really are responsible for the choices we make as to the company we keep. Your friends say a lot about you; make their choice of having you for a friend say good things about them.
8 He who builds up his wealth with unnecessarily high interest
gathers it for another who will be kind to the poor.
The Hebrew phrase baneshech wetarbiyt can mean “with interest of interest,” which is not really our phrase “compound interest” but comes close. The first word, neshech, means something “bitten off,” so the phrase rolls into “He who bites something off and then charges even more interest….” The warning of the proverb is simple: The dishonest dealer, the white-collar thief, the cruel miser who bites away every penny he can from the poor “because they’re not smart enough to hang on to their money,” is simply becoming God’s bank. God will send their money back to the poor when their miserly fortunes have been ruined or squandered by their foolish heirs or by the courts after they are finally arrested for their sinfulness. No man can think he will remain above the law forever; the hare will stop along the way for a nap, and the tortoise will catch up to him and pass him by.
The three warnings of these three proverbs (Proverbs 28:6-8) are thoroughly offset by the two simple positive statements. Law is set, as always, over against the Gospel. The wicked man follows crooked ways, crooked friends, and does crooked business. He will not get ahead. Even if he might succeed for a while in life, finding that in the short term “crime does (indeed) pay,” his conscience will tell him that there is a vast eternal void waiting for him, like a huge mouth opening wide to swallow him for all eternity in an unending punishment of torture and agony. His conscience is right. That’s exactly what is coming. But for the person who puts their trust in Jesus, who might get taken advantage of sometimes, that’s a person who shows their faith with the path they take and even by the friends they keep. Run, run, run to Jesus. Let his forgiveness wash away the sins that trouble your soul, and live in his flock, guided by him, loved by him, today and always.
Pastor Timothy Smith