27:1–2. These two proverbs are about bragging. Don’t brag about tomorrow, you don’t know what will happen. Don’t brag on yourself, leave that to someone else. This is about being humble before God and others.
27:3–4. Both of these proverbs deal with behaviors that are hard to endure: resentment jealousy, anger and rage. If you have a fool that resents you, you are in a bad situation, because a fool will say and do anything. The same is true of someone who is really angry or jealous, their behavior is dangerous.
27:5–6 Honesty between friends: verse 5 shows that few things are worse than being ignored, even by those who say they love but their actions are hidden. Which is better, a friend’s wounds or an enemy’s kisses? A friend who has your best interests at heart may have to give you unpleasant advice at times, but you know it is for your own good. An enemy, by contrast, may whisper sweet words and happily send you on your way to ruin. We tend to hear what we want to hear, even if an enemy is the only one who will say it. A friend’s advice, no matter how painful, is much better.
Benefits of Friendship
27:7–10. These four verses are connected and continue the theme of friendship; the benefits of significant friendships. Verses 7 and 9 both deal with pleasant substances (honey, incense, oil) and the paradox that what may seem bitter (bitter food or direct advice) can actually be sweet. Verse 9 reminds us that everyone needs the heartfelt counsel of a sincere friend. Verse 8 and verse 10: Normally the close family identity of the Israelites would mean that they go to a relative for help, and this verse is surprising for appearing to go against that custom. This is good advice for us today: a brother may be too distant (either geographically or emotionally) to be of help. The four verses together teach that you should seek solid, meaningful relationships among your neighbors and family. Don’t just have relationships with people who you think are fun, but lack substance and do not turn exclusively to relatives, however distant they may be, depend on your friends as well.
27:11 Be wise and it makes your father’s heart glad. I read this as both our earthly father and our Heavenly Father. There are critics everywhere, but it’s better to be criticized for doing what is right than be legitimately criticized for being foolish.
Business and Money
27:12–13 Verse 12 : the wise avoid impulsive and unsafe business ventures. To “foresee danger and take precautions” would also advise that we have insurance and save money for a rainy day. Verse 13: do not risk wealth with irresponsible people and their shady deals, and mismanagement. If it seems uncertain and unwise, it probably is.
Don’t be Obnoxious
27:14 You can mean well, but be considered obnoxious if you are not socially sensitivity to others.
The Pain of a Quarrelsome Wife
27:15–16 Verse 15, compares a contentious woman to a form of torture. We saw in 19:13 that this type of wife not just a nagging woman but a woman who quarrels with people generally. She destroys the social, emotional, relational, spiritual and financial well-being of the home. The same interpretation applies here as well. *Quarrelsome nagging, a steady stream of unwanted advice, is an unbearable pain for anyone anywhere. People nag because they think they’re not getting through, but nagging hinders communication more than it helps. When tempted to engage in this destructive habit, stop and examine your motives. Are you more concerned about yourself — getting your way, being right — than about the person you are pretending to help? If you are truly concerned about other people, think of a more effective way to get through to them. Surprise them with words of patience and love, and see what happens. Verse v. 16 seems to state that her husband cannot “restrain” her from her nagging. Only she or God could ever change this destructive behavior. It can also mean that the husband tries to treasure or “hold” someone who can do him no good. Simply put, she the antithesis of the productive wife of Prov 31.
Sharpening from Others
27:17 Verse 17 explains the benefit we get from interacting with others. We should not shy away from social interaction because of all its educational opportunities. The “sharpening” can occur in any area in which people are around one another: business, school, recreation, church, community. We can learn from others and they can learn from us.
27:18 With all the problems and concerns a leader has, it can be easy to overlook the very people who most deserve attention — faithful employees or volunteers (those who tend the fig trees). The people who stand behind you, who work hard and help you get the job done, deserve to share in your success. Be sure that in all your worrying, planning, and organizing, you don’t forget the people who are helping you the most.
Who We Really Are
27:19 Our hearts (mind, inner self, character) reflect who we are. In other words, people have a basic consistency to them. Those who have integrity will maintain it in their inner and outer lives, and those who are perverse will be thoroughly perverted. We should learn how people read, or see their true reflection. If you don’t like what you see inside yourself, ask Jesus to change your heart. This is not a onetime prayer.
Greed is Never Satisfied
27:20 Eyes that are not satisfied are eyes that are covetous, and the implied warning is to beware of such greed in self and others.
Praise is the Real Test
27:21 Praise tests a person, just as high temperatures test metal. How does praise affect you? Do you work to get it? Do you work harder after you’ve gotten it? Your attitude toward praise tells a lot about your character. People of high integrity are not swayed by praise. They are driven by their inner convictions, and they do what they should whether or not they are praised for it.
Foolish is as Foolish Does
27:22 So this is where Forest Gump got this!
Taking Care of Business
27:23–27 Verses 23–27 give the most basic of economic lessons: take care of your business, and it will take care of you. Because life is short and our fortunes uncertain, we should be all the more diligent in what we do with our lives. We should act with foresight, giving responsible attention to our homes, our families, and our careers. We should be responsible stewards, like a farmer with his lands and herds. Thinking ahead is a duty, not an option, for God’s people.
Today we read a lot about friends, and their importance. The best way to meet new friends and develop good friendships in our church is by being a part of a Connect Group or Ministry Team. If you are not a part of one, it’s easy: just go to www.Upward.Church and hit “Get Connected.”
Until tomorrow, Darrell