Today’s selected proverbs:
“Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes
will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy.”
(Proverbs 29:1 NIV)
Solomon uses the term “stiff-necked’ here to reflect a stubborn, obstinate, or rebellious person, intent on having their own way. This person has been given many warnings (“rebukes”), but still continues down their own path.
These warnings are not petty nagging about little things, but about major life issues where the person has clearly crossed the line, and there are significant consequences for ignoring or disobeying the standard in place. Solomon says that after so many warnings, judgment will be given, and there will be no turning back, no asking forgiveness, no repenting.
“Fools give full vent to their rage,
but the wise bring calm in the end.”
(Proverbs 29:11 NIV)
The word “rage” here is better translated “full emotional outburst”. Anger or rage (as used in this verse) is one expression of this type of outburst; others include bitterness, sadness, frustration, etc. The idea here is that there is no self-control or restraint.
Solomon says that wise persons learn how to express themselves without having that full emotional outburst – to be sad without having a meltdown, to be angry without going on a rant, to be frustrated without giving up and sinking into a pit of depression. Yes, our circumstances may really stink, but they will most likely pass and there will either be peace or some other issue that pops up that takes our mind away from the current issue.
Jesus instructs us to let Him carry our emotional burdens, and avoid all the drama to ourselves and others around us:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace;
they will bring you the delights you desire.”
(Proverbs 29:17 NIV)
Solomon has previously cited the benefits of teaching children right from wrong, so that they may grow up and be wise. In this proverb, Solomon identifies the benefits to the parents in addition to the children.
Solomon says the benefits of raising wise children are peace and joy. “Peace”, as used here, implies emotional rest, free from worry or anxiety. When we teach our children right from wrong, using discipline to correct behavior, we trust that they will likely make wise choices when they are not with us and on their own. And Solomon says that this brings joy to a parent’s heart.
“Pride brings a person low,
but the lowly in spirit gain honor.”
(Proverbs 29:23 NIV)
Solomon uses a play on words to make his point here. We all fight with pride to some extent – it’s part of our fallen condition. Solomon says that unless we keep a proper view of ourselves before God, we will be have pride and lack of humility. Eventually our deluded view of ourselves (that bubble we create and jump inside) bursts and we are humbled and must face the reality of our attitudes and actions.
On the other hand, Solomon says that if we stay humble and walk with the Lord, that we will be honored at some point. Jesus reiterated this truth in Matthew 5, where He said that the poor (lowly) in spirit inherit the kingdom of heaven. I don’t know about you, but that seems about as big as it gets for being honored!