Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 27:17 (day three)

“Iron sharpens iron,
So one man sharpens another.”

Nothing will replace one human life living together with another human life – longing, discovering, struggling, reaching, finding, revealing, hurting, repairing, nurturing, loving. Without this connection, a person will be injured, and might well die. Life with another is no luxury. It is as necessary as food and air. It is the way a human being develops. There could have been no substitute for a human Savior. God became flesh because we cannot find our way without the company of another human. God created you and me to exist as fully human only as we are in fellowship with other humans. It’s a mark of God’s image. You are not merely living better when you share life deeply with other people. It’s more profound than that. You cannot be fully yourself without such communion.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 23:17-18 (day three)

“Do not let your heart envy sinners.”

It’s not uncommon to caricaturize sinners as those who crush people who get in their way, or those who don’t worry about good and evil. But those descriptors don’t reveal what actually happens to a human being as that person tries to find welcome, nurture, connection, and safety – things that only love will provide. Sin arises when a person has become so fearful of not finding those things that whatever promises such things presents an attractive proposition which the person then pursues. Such a person, desperately longing for love that will save a life, will follow that promise to the death, and the collateral damage will be agonizing for everyone connected to that person. Surely envy is not the way to regard such a person, but rather compassion that moves you to love.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 22:7 (day three)

“The rich rules over the poor,
And the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.”

Cheap shoes are cheap for a reason. What is that reason? Electronic devices can’t exist in mass quantity unless certain conditions are met. What are those conditions? You can afford a certain good or service. Can a person long afford to provide those things for you? This is curiosity. This is hearing people. What happens to all those people? Do you know? Do you care? Do you hear them? The Lord does. From cover to cover, from “Your brother’s blood cries out from the ground” to “The wages you’ve withheld from those who’ve served you cry out against you,” the Bible demands an accounting from you for how you live with people. There’s always someone less powerful than you over whom you can find it easy to rule.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 15:15-17 (day three)

Better is a dish of vegetables where love is
Than a fattened ox served with hatred.

Riches are not evil in and of themselves. Much good can come from the beneficent use of wealth. Ailing loved ones can get premium care; adverse circumstances don’t turn into catastrophic losses; and so on. But riches cannot fill the need for love, welcome, nurture, and safety in the presence of people who are important to you. Financial abundance is a poor substitute for human touch and empathy. It can serve as a distraction from the absence of those things for a while, but eventually, emotional starvation will make itself known, with extremely distressing outcomes. When you apply money to circumstances to make life better, will you also apply love?


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 14:34 (day three)

“Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a disgrace to any people.”

What is righteousness? Is it doctrinal purity? Devotion? Moral behavior? A profession of faith? God and country? Progressive cred? Repudiation of liberalism? Siding with the tax collector instead of the Pharisee in Jesus’s parable of the men who when to the temple to pray? Many will insist they aren’t perfect, even though they think they’re right. Righteousness is tricky that way, for individuals and for the nations. Claims to righteousness often have the effect of drawing lines and fracturing community. These days, it’s not uncommon to hear groups of people setting themselves against each other, declaring they’d rather not build a nation with those who don’t meet their standards. What kind of disgrace awaits such a people?


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 13:24 (day

“He who withholds his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently.”

Disciplining children can be terrifying — not because you might be ineffective, but because you might be more effective than you could ever have imagined. What children learn about who they are through what is allowed or disallowed will stay with them and shape them as their years unfold. What do I have to do to gain the approval of people I love? Does my voice matter? Who can I go to for soothing when I am tormented by guilt and fear? Who can I trust? Discipline includes punishment but is not limited to it. Parents will build trust when they acknowledge to children that being a child who needs to learn about life is not a punishable offense — that learning what’s right isn’t easy.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 9:1-18 (day three)
“Come, eat of my food
And drink of the wine I have mixed.
“Forsake your folly and live,
And proceed in the way of understanding.”

Why doesn’t the entirety of the Old and New Testaments consist solely of Genesis 15:6 – “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness” – and John 3:16? What’s all this extra content about wisdom and understanding and encouraging one another and living in peace with each other? The reason is that it’s not extra; it’s essential. The way of God is not a verse to memorize. It’s not even a system to accept. It’s an eternal kind of life. There is no way of living eternally other than the way of wisdom and generosity and peace and love. If you’re going to live eternally, the Bible’s got to teach you to live eternally.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:9-10 (day three)

“Honor the Lord from your wealth
And from the first of all your produce;
So your barns will be filled with plenty
And your vats will overflow with new wine.”

God created the universe with no shortages whatsoever. Air, water, vegetation, and mineral resources abound. Scarcity is engineered by people as they vie for superiority, power, position, and favor. The winners of this competition control the levers of influence and domination. Most all human beings not occupying this pinnacle of supremacy find themselves on lower rungs – the second, third, fourth tiers, etc., all the way down to abject poverty and powerlessness. There is one way to stand in defiance of this order of dearth and lack: give away what you have before it gets into the system. Generosity before the Lord is the death knell of the regime of shortage.



Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:5-7 (day three)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart.”

Where you feel safe, valued, heard, wanted — or where you believe there’s a chance of finding those things — this is where you will be. When the woman at the well said to her fellow townsfolk, “He told me everything I ever did,” implicit in that statement was the declaration, “and for the first time I felt no shame.” She knew Jesus was the one to trust with all her heart because he saw all of her and loved her. This is the God you can trust.


Re:Verse passage – Proverbs 3:1-4 (day three)

My son, do not forget my teaching.”

Memorizing Bible verses will not guarantee that you don’t forget God’s word. How can that be? Because the Bible presents to you not just theoretical concepts for you to discuss but a way of living for you to experience. It is a continually unfolding mystery that invites you to grow and be transformed. The letter kills, says the apostle Paul, but the Spirit gives life. He ought to know. As a Pharisee, the rigid letter of the law was his stock-in-trade. When the Spirit blew into his life, he entered into a way of experiencing the life of God that he would never get over. Merely to memorize is to risk understanding the word of God as frozen in place. But to learn to live it out is to remember it. That will renew your spirit.