Tuesday, 25th Week in ordinary time – Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13

Tuesday, 25th Week in ordinary time – Proverbs 21:1-6,10-13

While Chapters 1-9 of the Book of Proverbs was largely a general introduction, chapters 10-29 is the body of the book. Yet this section of the book consists of several collections of brief moral teachings, most of them consisting of just one verse each. There are though, a few longer units but those are few and far between. In a few instances, the author has attempted to bring together single teachings and give them thematic form and shape.

Our teaching of today falls in what was the oldest section of the teachings of this book. The predominant theme of the book of Proverbs is the comparison between the wise man and the fool , the righteous man and the wicked. They are concerned with general attitudes than with specific acts.

The section of today’s teaching deals with God’s omnipotence and justice. The first few proverbs in this chapters speak of God’s perfect knowledge of our innermost thoughts. Merely “doing” right is not enough to please God. He knows whether we act in arrogance or humility, and whether pious actions are motivated by worship, or selfishness. As do other parts of the book of Proverbs, this section extols the value of wisdom and warns against the consequences of sin and wickedness (Proverbs 21:1–16).

Let us take a few proverbs for reflection – verse 1 says, “The kings heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord, he turns it where ever he wills.” Clearly, It is God who holds and guides the human heart. If God can do this with someone as powerful and noble as a king, He can do this with any man or woman He chooses. Was it not he who turned the heart of Pharoah to Joseph or the heart of Saul to David or Darius to Daniel. Sometimes we despair when we see the stubbornness and hardness of man’s heart against God and His will, but the king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord and He can guide it wherever He wishes like the rivers of water. In moving a river, one does not need to carry each drop of water to a place where it is desired; if one can shape the banks and guide the direction of the river, the water will go where desired. So, God does not need to do force the human heart to guide it; He may do it simply through arranging other circumstances like banks of a river to guide the flow where He wants it.

The second proverb – “the deeds are right in the sight of the doer the Lord weighs the heart.”
By nature, we justify ourselves according to our hearts. Sometimes we do this in sincerity, sometimes with deception, but stubborn pride makes us generally think every way of a man is right in his own eyes. But God weighs the heart, his power of discernment goes beyond unmasking those who fool others; he even finds out those who have fooled themselves.

Proverbs 21:3
“To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.”
This proverb sounds so familiar. It was echoed by Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:21-24. God prefers ethical conduct to mere ritual exercises. The way we treat people, what might be called our horizontal relationship, is important to God. This was the truth missed by the priest and the Levite in Jesus’s story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-36).

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