Proverbs, Wisdom and Blessings turned to Curses

cri-blog-hanegraaff-hank-proverbs-reflectionsI had heard the personification of wisdom mentioned in the Book of Proverbs is a reference to the Holy Spirit. They are one and the same. Is this true?

The truth of the matter is that the Holy Spirit inspired the words of Proverbs; therefore, they are useful for faith and practice. This is what Paul tells Timothy: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17).*

When you look at a book like Proverbs, you have the principles and maxims for living life in a way in which you can be successful. Not in a hedonistic worldly sense but in a sense in which your success is directly tied to your relationship to the Spirit that lives within.

There are so many wonderful proverbs. Every enterprise becomes wise through planning, common sense, and staying abreast of the facts. “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord. The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the Lord” (Prov. 21:30-31). You look at Proverbs 3, which is one of my favorites. “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her” (Prov. 3:13-15). Go down a few verses: “By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations, by understanding he set the heavens in place; by his knowledge the deeps were divided, and the clouds let drop the dew (Prov. 3:19-20). The Book of Proverbs is just rife with wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit.

One thing I recommend people do is to read one chapter of Proverbs every day and you work yourself through the book once a month on average. Again, all the maxims and principles for successful daily living are encapsulated in the Book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 27:14 states, “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.” Why is blessing your neighbor early in the morning considered a curse?

Remember that proverbs are truisms. They are generally true. What is being communicated in Proverbs 27:14 at this point by Solomon is this: If a man loudly—the emphasis is on the word loudly—blesses neighbor early in the morning it will be taken as a curse. Why would that be? Well, think about it? Timing, we might say, is everything. The wrong time for a wonderful action is still a woeful thing. You do not want to curse someone loudly, nor do you want to bless someone loudly, particularly if it’s early in the morning. If you are doing something loudly in the morning it’s going to be taken as a curse.

I think this is related to what you read in Ecclesiastes:

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace (Eccl. 3:1-8).

There’s a time for everything. All of that of course has to be contextualized. For example, you can lie but only if it’s a greater good. In other words, Rahab purposed to lie to save the Israelites from certain destruction. So the greater good was the saving of life. There’s a time for everything, if you do something at the wrong time, it still would be considered a curse, that’s the point.

What is probably going on in Proverbs 27:14 as well has concerns suspicious motives. It’s probably a hypocrite, someone going to great lengths to create the impression of friendship when in reality there is no real friendship intended. There’s a lot we can read into the possible meaning of that proverb.

—Hank Hanegraaff

For further study, please see the following:

Who is Wisdom in Proverbs 8? (Leland Ryken)

Blog adapted from “In Proverbs 27:14 why is blessing your neighbor early in the morning considered a curse?” and the April 5, 2016 Bible Answer Man broadcast.

*All Scripture cited from The Holy Bible: New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1984 unless noted.

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