The Bible is pretty clear about the staggering toll assessed against the proud, the arrogant, the boastful. Legal, prophetic, wisdom, song, story, and apocalyptic literature in both testaments regularly embed sentiments which dog the steps of those who think themselves special, better, advantaged. Consider passages like “How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn” (Isa 14:12); “How the mighty have fallen…” (2 Sam 1); “Pride goes before destruction …” (Prov 16:18); “I have need of nothing … you are wretched …” (Rev 3:15-22).
Things aren’t always what they seem. I may have a run-in with a colleague who has been irresponsible in accomplishing her part of our shared assignment. I find myself grumpy with her and irritated that, once again, I have been left holding the bag. Later, I find out her marriage is collapsing and her oldest child has been diagnosed with a frightening disorder. This information changes the picture for me and I view her actions with a different perspective.
On February 3 the Associated Press broke a story that has since generated much chatter via radio, television, print media, and the Internet. Overwhelmingly strong opinions were shared regarding the announcement of the July 14 publication of the novel, Go Set a Watchman the sequel to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.
Two weeks ago I wrote on Proverbs and I suggested that, rather than each individual proverb being a piece of prescriptive advice, to be applied to various situations as we encounter them (but otherwise ignored), all the proverbs, taken together, embody the search for insight into life. They are the epitomized experiences of a man (one man, but who had a whole lot of experiences—spiritual and sensual—good, bad, and ugly!) as he thought about his life. They collectively represent his view of what is wise, prudent and sagacious behavior.
Verse 1 The original here is difficult, and differently understood. Some take it as a rebuke to an affected singularity. When men take a pride in separating themselves from the sentiments and society of others, in contradicting all that has been said before them and advancing new notions of their own, which, though ever so absurd, they are wedded to, it is to gratify a desire or lust of vain-glory, and they are seekers and meddlers with that which does not belong to them.
It is the excellency of the word of God that it teaches us not only divine wisdom for another world, but human prudence for this world, that we may order our affairs with discretion; and this is one good rule, To avoid suretiship, because by it poverty and ruin are often brought into families, which take away that comfort in relations which he had recommended in the foregoing chapter. 1. We must look upon suretiship as a snare and decline it accordingly, v. 1, v. 2.