Thoughts on Proverbs 10

of note [for the sake of this entry]:

  • written by Solomon
  • seems to correlate righteousness w/ wealth (& blessing – v. 15 & 22)
  • also, laziness with poverty (v. 4)

Off hand, this seems out of sync with what I understand to be the trajectory of scripture in regards to wealth … “blessed are the poor,”  “harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God than for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle,” the idea that wealth corrupts, and that the poor are to be considered and cared for …

So I must be missing something here, but in my ignorance have questions like “how does this fit into the story & mission of God?”  “How significant is it that Solomon (who let his wealth corrupt) is the author, and if that is significant, is it possible that the proverb is true in representing Solomon’s (or Israel’s under Solomon) understanding of wealth and blessing even though that understanding may be flawed?”

Does this understanding of wealth and blessing and God not contradict the message brought forth in Job that God’s ways are beyond our concepts of fair & unfair and cannot be reduced to a simple formula like they seem to be in v. 15?

Now that some of my blasphemous questions are out there, it seems wise to question/discuss our approach to scripture:

How frequently we, in whatever tradition we are in, focus on what we agree with and ignore or attempt to explain away what we disagree with or are challenged by.  It is an arrogant heart that approaches the Word of God this way.

Is it not naive, however, to think that we fully, or properly understand words spoken or written to a group of people 2000+ years ago in another culture in such a way that they are easily applicable to our own situations and culture?

So, do we attempt to master scripture?  Do we allow the words of a page to master us?  Or can we enter into humble dialogue with the scriptures … with God through God’s Word?

What does it look like for me to read this proverb of Solomon that appears to put forth a worldview which I understand to be counter to that of most of the rest of scripture, and honestly ask and seek after the question “Why is this here?” “What does it say and how does it fit into the whole?”

Any thoughts on the proverb would be appreciated.

With Love …

~ by Will Norman on August 10, 2009.

One Response to “Thoughts on Proverbs 10”

  1. I think there are 2 different messages when the bible talks about the poor and rich. Being that the theme of this proverb is mainly Foolishness vs. Wise Living. I think it addresses the mindset of people…for example to some people, they have wealth; contentment, generousity, selfless, but may not have much, but will gladly give, though the poverty mindset is, wanting more, not content, hoarding, pride. Regardless of how much money or stuff you have, one can be rich and live their life distracted, always wanting more, or using it to bless others.

    Where we see blessed our the poor, its more of a mindset or a simple life, ie, going to a third world country, what i have seen, where many don’t know life with much, they are thankful for every meal they receive truly and live with joy, almost even see God more clearly. Then you look at the majority of the American culture, top 1% of the wealthiest of the world, that has much and is spoiled, they live a distracted life.

    Does that make sense? I may be rambling, but that i my take from it. Regardless, God ultimately is in control, and however God provides, we must be faithful, good stewards and thankful.

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