July 30, 2022 READING A PROVERB A DAY (PROVERBS 30) Bill Elliff discusses how to UNDERSTAND Bitter people

Proverbs 30 New Living Translation

Proverbs 30New Living Translation

The Sayings of Agur

30 The sayings of Agur son of Jakeh contain this message.[a]

I am weary, O God;
    I am weary and worn out, O God.[b]
I am too stupid to be human,
    and I lack common sense.
I have not mastered human wisdom,
    nor do I know the Holy One.

Who but God goes up to heaven and comes back down?
    Who holds the wind in his fists?
Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak?
    Who has created the whole wide world?
What is his name—and his son’s name?
    Tell me if you know!

Every word of God proves true.
    He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.
Do not add to his words,
    or he may rebuke you and expose you as a liar.

O God, I beg two favors from you;
    let me have them before I die.
First, help me never to tell a lie.
    Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
    Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.
For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
    And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

10 Never slander a worker to the employer,
    or the person will curse you, and you will pay for it.

11 Some people curse their father
    and do not thank their mother.
12 They are pure in their own eyes,
    but they are filthy and unwashed.
13 They look proudly around,
    casting disdainful glances.
14 They have teeth like swords
    and fangs like knives.
They devour the poor from the earth
    and the needy from among humanity.

15 The leech has two suckers
    that cry out, “More, more!”[c]

There are three things that are never satisfied—
    no, four that never say, “Enough!”:
16 the grave,[d]
    the barren womb,
    the thirsty desert,
    the blazing fire.

17 The eye that mocks a father
    and despises a mother’s instructions
will be plucked out by ravens of the valley
    and eaten by vultures.

18 There are three things that amaze me—
    no, four things that I don’t understand:
19 how an eagle glides through the sky,
    how a snake slithers on a rock,
    how a ship navigates the ocean,
    how a man loves a woman.

20 An adulterous woman consumes a man,
    then wipes her mouth and says, “What’s wrong with that?”

21 There are three things that make the earth tremble—
    no, four it cannot endure:
22 a slave who becomes a king,
    an overbearing fool who prospers,
23     a bitter woman who finally gets a husband,
    a servant girl who supplants her mistress.

24 There are four things on earth that are small but unusually wise:
25 Ants—they aren’t strong,
    but they store up food all summer.
26 Hyraxes[e]—they aren’t powerful,
    but they make their homes among the rocks.
27 Locusts—they have no king,
    but they march in formation.
28 Lizards—they are easy to catch,
    but they are found even in kings’ palaces.

29 There are three things that walk with stately stride—
    no, four that strut about:
30 the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything,
31     the strutting rooster,
    the male goat,
    a king as he leads his army.

32 If you have been a fool by being proud or plotting evil,
    cover your mouth in shame.

33 As the beating of cream yields butter
    and striking the nose causes bleeding,
    so stirring up anger causes quarrels.

—-

Bill Elliff

Proverbs 30

UNDERSTANDING BITTERPEOPLE

December 19, 2018

Intimacy with the Lord and His Word is the key to understanding everything. Through the Lord’s instruction and by His grace, we grow to understand Him, understand ourselves and the “”thoughts and intents of our heart”” (Hebrews 4:10). But there is more.

The Bible describes for us all types of people and how we should understand and relate to them. Proverbs is particularly helpful in this regard. Here’s one of the most tragic kinds of men, described in Proverbs.

11 There is a kind of man who curses his father and does not bless his mother. (BITTER) 12 There is a kind who is pure in his own eyes, yet is not washed from his filthiness. (HYPOCRITICAL) 13 There is a kind—oh how lofty are his eyes! And his eyelids are raised in arrogance. (PROUD) 14 There is a kind of man whose teeth are like swords and his jaw teeth like knives, to devour the afflicted from the earth and the needy from among men. (ANGRY, VIOLENT, REACTIVE). (Proverbs 30:11-14, emphasized words are mine)

This passage describes a particularly calloused, rebellious, bitter kind of man. I have met a few men like this in my life. Hardened by many past hurts, they carry an unusual, deep-seated bitterness. And bitterness always springs up, causes trouble and defiles many (Hebrews 12:15).

If you don’t understand them at the core, you are completely baffled by their behavior. There reactions are so different from yours that you are stunned. You will react in certain ways until you realize, “”Oh, I see, this is the kind of man described in Proverbs 30 … the bitter, hypocritical, proud, violent man,”” and deal with them accordingly.

If you see this man properly, you can evaluate him as God does and respond to Him with the truth, yet grace with which God always responds. You will realize it is not against you that he rails, and your heart will have pity on Him and seek to share the gospel with Him, knowing that it is the only thing that can help him.

Forgiveness for such a man, even if his attacks are directly against you, will come easier. You will have no need to take revenge when he lashes out at you for you realize it is coming from a deep root in his soul. This understanding (and your response) does not excuse his behavior, but helps you understand it and respond spiritually, not humanistically.

I have been thinking this week about a man that is exactly like this that I know. Until I understood him at the core, I was frustrated and angry. Now, for the last many years I have prayed for him. I had a dream one night that he had been saved and was eating at my table.

He comes often to my mind for some reason, and I am praying for him when I think of him. By God’s grace, I will continue to pray for this picture to be realized in this man’s heart and life.

I am not holding myself up as above him. I’m just illustrating that the Word of God has helped me understand him, and this adjustment, thankfully, changed my attitude and then behavior towards him. Before this adjustment, I was falling into anger and bitterness towards him myself!

Now I understand that, but by the grace of God, I could become just like Him.


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