Jun 17 (Daily reading: Proverbs 25-26) Two proverbs in today’s reading are used in the New Testament to present Christian principles. First, a lesson on humility is given in 25:6-7. The case is presented of being in the presence of royalty. One should not seek to “stand in the same place as great people, for it is better that it be said to you, ‘Come up here,’ than for you to be placed lower in the presence of the prince.” It is better to be invited to sit in a place of honor than to be asked to leave and sit in a lower place.
Jesus used this same reasoning in telling a parable about a wedding feast. He advised to not choose the best places to sit, but rather to sit in the lowest place. Perhaps the host will invite you to move up to a better place. Jesus concluded: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk. 14:11). Human nature pushes us to seek what is best for ourselves. The new nature in Christ places others first. “With humility consider one another as more important than yourselves” (Ph. 2:3).
The other proverb was applied by Paul in his letter to the Romans. He quoted 25:21-22, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.” He then added: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21). There is a modern day proverb that has a similar message: “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” A kind deed, an encouraging word, a helping hand…these will take us much further than critical and judgmental words and actions!
– Al Gary