Our life journey is a path that includes twists and turns, rocky and smooth terrain, with high and low places along the way. The book of Proverbs contains wisdom for life’s circumstances and daily details to guide its reader along this path. At different times in my life, I’ve selected a month to read through the book of Proverbs – one chapter each day. It never ceases to amaze me as I journal and make note of the common, everyday examples woven into these wise sayings. The definition for proverb states, “A short saying that expresses effectively some commonplace truth or useful thought.”
The Lord drew my eye to 3 verses in Proverbs 17 and I invite you to join in my reflection. These verses express truth for us in the common circumstances of feasting, testing, and blessing.
Proverbs 17:1 – “Better is a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.”
This verse grabbed my attention because I love fresh baked bread (and especially the end crust, slathered in butter). The very thought that a dry crust would be better than a feast seems unfathomable to my taste buds. However, the reader needs to pause after reading this short verse and ask this question, “Have you ever attended a dinner and there was an unresolved tension between the host and hostess?” It didn’t really matter how lavish the food and the table presentation were because the sense of strife rendered the meal tasteless and undesirable. Let’s take this proverb one step further and consider your house, your home. Is it a place where others find peace and quiet? It may be a humble abode but a peaceful, quiet home is a great treasure and makes even a dry crust enjoyable for all who gather there.
Proverbs 17:3 – “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the heart.”
Like a worker in precious metals, the Lord uses the twists and turns on life’s path to refine us and purify our hearts. God is all about growing and developing His children.
Kidner has a great perspective when he says the Lord uses trials, “not for finding a person out but for sorting him out.” –Kidner, Proverbs, p. 123
Perhaps you find yourself in one of life’s furnaces today, or you can think back and remember a specific time of testing in your life. Why does the Lord test the heart? It is never His purpose to destroy us but rather the test is to determine the quality or genuineness of our heart. When you are in the furnace, what are the impurities that rise out of your heart? What are the habitual, negative responses to testing that you need to release and allow God to refine. As we yield to the Master’s hand, He is able to work in our hearts for His glory and for our sanctification.
Proverbs 17:6 – “Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.”
When family members are walking in wisdom and seeking the Lord’s direction, blessings flow between the generations. It takes time, work, and effort to build meaningful relationships. It is a good blessing for children to learn from spiritually mature parents. And, it is an honor to parents when children choose to live a godly life.
When my husband and I work in the 5-year old class at church, our hearts are blessed by their enthusiasm for the Bible story and worship songs. Also, we have personally benefitted for over 40 years from the spiritual wisdom and Bible knowledge of those who have faithfully walked with the Lord for many years.
For each detail and circumstance of our life journey, we find His consistent and faithful care written on the pages of God’s Word. I am thankful for the wise words we find in the book of Proverbs that provide wisdom, direction, and truth for our daily living.