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Do what is right

Do what is right

Proverbs 3:27 – 32

27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”— when you already have it with you.

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you.

30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason— when they have done you no harm.

31 Do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.

32 For the LORD detests the perverse but takes the upright into his confidence

Where does most of our stress come from?

According to Elizabeth Scott PhD who writes a medically reviewed article in Very Well Mind, that our stress stems from five basic areas.

  1. Financial problems
  2. Work
  3. Personal Relationships
  4. Parenting
  5. Daily Life and Busyness

 

Why do I start with the topic of stress? Because it is rampant! How does stress relate to Proverbs 27-32? Because we are either feeling more stressed or stressing others more. Solomon tells us not to withhold good from those to whom it is due. The word ‘good’ in the bible is the verb tob (tov), and according to the Abarim Publications’ Biblical Dictionary it means to be good or pleasant, and ultimately to be sustained or sustainable, first relative to those around you but ultimately to society at large.

If someone would do something for you to relieve some of your stress, wouldn’t you want it? Doesn’t it make sense to you that to receive, we need to give? If we owe money, isn’t it a relief to pay it off as soon as possible? If we are not giving our all at work, don’t we know it, and doesn’t it bother us in some way? If we can give positive vibes and make our special someone’s day better, or easier, wouldn’t we? Don’t we owe it to our children to be present – giving them the best of what we have, not what is left over? Don’t you want to live your life, control your time, and enjoy it to the best of your ability? Start living with intention and do what is right, do your best, ACT.

Have you ever had someone not return your book, tools, a loan you gave them? Ten to one, you know how it feels. There are people who just aren’t considerate of others’ feelings, thoughts, and time! This causes stress if even a little and sometimes a lot.  It must feel the same to others if we do that to them.

Likewise, we may owe the bank, mortgage company, credit card company money and every time we see the interest payment we must pay go up and our debt not going down – that is stressful. Do you have a plan in place to get out of debt as soon as possible? It can be done.

But, when it comes to our work, personal relationships, parenting, our time – we cannot repay it. Once it is gone it is gone! That causes stress. If it is in your power to ACT then we should, we must. Life is so much more rewarding and fulfilling when we live with intention and with the love of Christ in us.

The word for “I will give” is natan, which means that “God has given”. If God has given it to you (which He has, God, made everything), then we must give it to those we owe it to. That is why Solomon tells us to repay what we owe as soon as we are able to!

Proverbs 3:29 is interesting. Why would we open ourselves to retaliation by plotting harm against our neighbour? What defines a neighbour, the person down the block, in another city, another country? We choose where we live, our neighbours, our city. Don’t you want to live with a sense of peace and safety? Of course, you do.  Harm or evil in the Hebrew language is ra’. Chaim Bentorah an esoteric Rabbi writes, “I believe God intended for all the evils that are listed to be included in this word which is why we do not have the third letter.” In other words, it encompasses the evil of hunger, starvation, losing control, drunkenness, anger, confusion, and/or worshipping another god.” As Rabbi Bentorah continues, “anything that is not in harmony with God is evil.” To summarize, treat everyone with honesty, openness, and respect – till they prove otherwise and then pray for them.

Often it is heard that the definition of a loser is one who blames someone else for their mistakes. Being a false witness is one of the lowest forms of being a loser. Joseph Dobrian a columnist for Iowa City Press-Citizen maintains that bearing false witness is “worse than murder, in a way, because it speaks to the perpetrator’s moral fiber.” The actual word in the Bible for ‘false witness’ is ‘riyb’ which means to strive, contend, make complaints, argue, quarrel either physically or with words. The interesting thing about this word is that if it is used as a masculine noun, is means fighting between two or more parties, if used as a feminine noun it refers to a place or location of strife. Not only is being a false witness a sin but it is listed as one of the ten commandments; “Thou shalt not bear false witness against the neighbour.”

Proverbs 3:31 is a curious statement made by Solomon; “do not envy the violent or choose any of their ways.” Why would we, why would anyone envy them? The Hebrew words ‘is’ and ‘hamas’, basically mean the man and violence respectively. Interestingly the word Hamas’ is also the name of the largest fundamentalist movement in the Muslim world, which didn’t come into being till much later than Solomon’s time. A further look into the word shows that it not only embraces violence but cruelty, damage, and injustice. In a broader sense, we see people who are evil or lawless who appear to get away with everything and who prosper. This proverb is telling us that even though it looks easier, and the rewards are greater it is not the path to take. It goes against all of Jesus’ teachings and God’s retribution in the end!

Bottom line is that God hates the wicked, the perverse. He loves those who do right in His sight, so much so that He takes them into his confidence, His intimate friendship. He wants an intimate relationship with all of us. Intimate relationships only occur where there is trust, respect, love, openness, and honesty. The Hebrew word for this intimate relationship is ‘sod’. It is a deep, intimate secret, that God shares with an individual or a group. He takes you into His confidence and trusts you implicitly and you can trust Him implicitly. What greater love can you get than this. What greater gift can we receive, all we must do is not harm anyone, plot evil, enter a quarrel or provide false witness, or envy the evil.  Be upright in all that you do and Believe in the Lord Jesus with all your heart.

 

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father, and being loved in return.

 

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Bibliography

Artwork. (2021, November 7). Retrieved from Heart Light: https://www.heartlight.org/gallery/5937.html

Bentorah, R. C. (2021, October 17). HEBREW WORD STUDY – EVIL – RA רע Resh Ayin. Retrieved from Chaim Bentorah: https://www.chaimbentorah.com/2020/09/hebrew-word-study-evil-ra/

Carroll, C. (2021, November 7). Why Believing in Jesus and Following Him Are Two Different Things. Retrieved from Church Plants: https://churchplants.com/articles/3808-why-believing-in-jesus-and-following-him-are-two-different-things.html

Chatterjee, D. R. (2021, Novvember 7). Stress Can Make You Sick. Take Steps to Reduce It. Retrieved from The New York Times: 2021

Conley, R. (2013, September 8). Seek Work-Life Harmony, Not Balance – 5 Key Strategies. Retrieved from Leading with Trust: https://leadingwithtrust.com/2013/09/08/seek-work-life-harmony-not-balance-5-key-strategies/

Dobrian, J. (2017, May 9). The most grievous sin: Bearing false witness. Retrieved from Iowa City Press-Citizen: https://www.press-citizen.com/story/opinion/contributors/writers-group/2017/05/09/most-grievous-sin-bearing-false-witness/313636001/

H7378. (2021, 10 24). Retrieved from Lexicon Concordance: http://lexiconcordance.com/hebrew/735.html#78

Hamas’ is a curious word with significant meanings. (2008, March 31 ). Retrieved from Jewish Chronicle: https://www.jewishchronicle.org/2008/03/31/hamas-is-a-curious-word-with-significant-meanings/

Hamas’ is a curious word with significant meanings. (2008, March 31). Retrieved from Jewish Chroncile: https://www.jewishchronicle.org/2008/03/31/hamas-is-a-curious-word-with-significant-meanings/

Hurt, B. (2021, May 28). Hebrew Definitions 2. Retrieved from Precept Austin: https://www.preceptaustin.org/hebrew_definitions_2

Lawrence, J. (2011, August 9 ). How God Views Violence - Proverbs 3:31-32. Retrieved from Calvary Chapel Joneboro: https://www.calvarychapeljonesboro.org/proverb-a-day/how-god-views-violence-proverbs-331-32

NATAN. (2021, 10 17). Retrieved from The Bump: https://www.blueletterbible.org/niv/pro/3/1/t_conc_631029

PhD, E. S. (2020, June 29). The Main Causes of Stress. Retrieved from Very Well Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/what-are-the-main-causes-of-stress-3145063#:~:text=Buzzsprout-,Financial%20Problems,time%20during%20the%20previous%20month.

Tob meaning. (2021, October 17). Retrieved from Abarim Publications: https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Tob.html

What does Proverbs 3:29 mean? (2021, October 17). Retrieved from Bible Ref: https://www.bibleref.com/Proverbs/3/Proverbs-3-29.html

What does Proverbs 3:31 mean? (2021, October 24). Retrieved from Bible Ref: https://www.bibleref.com/Proverbs/3/Proverbs-3-31.html