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Chinese1/13/2020English
經文:箴言二十一∼二十二章
鑰節:「追求公義仁慈的,就尋得生命、公義和尊榮」(21:21)
提要

        廿一章一開始就論到上帝的主權和祂的眷顧,祂能統管所有的事;就像一個農夫,明白如何將灌溉渠道的水引流到田中,上帝也能如此回轉一個王的心(21:1,20:24)在以斯帖記及但以理書中,主要記的是王成為上帝的工具,以完成上帝的目的和計畫,也就是上帝向人顯明祂的慈愛及審判(賽45:1)。我們當為國家的領導者及在位的官員禱告(提前2:1~2,羅13:1~7)。上帝的主權在人類中自由運行,祂的決定不是我們能了解的,但我們能確定的一件事是:在這世間沒有一個王或領導者,能從上帝手中奪去管理這世界的權力。

        甚至戰爭結果的定奪也在上帝。人們可以計畫如何作戰並相信自己的兵力(如:馬匹、坦克、飛彈),但只有上帝能使之得勝(21:31,19:21);人的計畫謀略若是違背上帝的,就將永遠不會成功,因這些都不是真智慧,真智慧和謀略唯有來自於上帝。

        箴言書一再強調,敬畏上帝的是真正聰明,因他是跟隨了公義和慈愛,也有謙卑。上帝回報給敬畏祂的人生命、公義和尊榮(21:21,彌6:6~8),再加上財富(22:4);這堜珓的不一定是物質的豐富,主要的財寶是家中有平安和喜樂的生活(21:20),而不是爭吵的配偶(21:9,19)。比錢財更好的還有「好名聲」,也就是得上帝和人的喜悅(22:1),一個聰明人的特點是被尊敬得尊榮。在中東地區,個人和家庭的好名譽,極被珍視與保護,就像聖經時代。許多的箴言提到家庭的神聖,以使家庭的名譽不會招致羞辱(19:26);有一個極重要的教導,能使家庭遠離羞辱,是在孩子年幼時就教導他們應走的路,教導他們認識上帝,聽上帝的話,順服上帝的命令。教導所付的代價是愛和耐心(22:6)。

        「愚蒙迷住孩童的心」(22:15),這是人本身的罪性,為此要教導孩子走在上帝的道路中,這樣他才能走得正確,在遠離罪惡的路上成長,因為他們所被塑造的方式,會影響到他將來的一生。對於那些能忠心為孩子禱告且照聖經來教導孩子的父母,上帝給的應許是,孩子到老也不會偏離敬虔之路。

        「喜愛清心的人,因他嘴上的恩言,王必與他為友」(22:11),同樣的,殷勤的人,也必站立在王面前(22:29,21:5),他們不像懶惰人,懶惰人找各樣的藉口不願工作(22:13),他們只妄想財富而不願努力工作,他們的懶惰導致犯罪,行欺騙得財富,可是這些財富都是暫時的,且將他們引入死亡(21:6,提前6:6,10)。

        另外還有許多罪,也是領人走向死亡,像是邪惡、暴力、不公義,不正當的行為以及和暴怒的人交往(21:7,12,15~16,22:8,24~25);還有欺壓窮人的也被定罪,因上帝垂聽窮人的祈求,那些虐待窮人的,上帝必使他們被搶奪成為窮困,上帝也不聽他們的呼求(21:13,22:16,22~23),而他們也不得人的尊重,因上帝對所有的人都是公平的(22:2,徒10:34~36),相對的,那些對窮人寬容施予的,上帝也是豐富的祝福回報他們(22:9)。

禱告

        上帝啊!我們心所願的是全意跟隨您走在公義中,賜我們智慧,引導人走向豐盛永遠的生命。奉主耶穌聖名,阿們!

English

Scriptures:Read Proverbs 21 &22
Key Verse:"He who follows righteousness and mercy finds life, righteousness and honor."(Proverbs 21:21)
Overview

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        Proverbs 21 begins by expressing the sovereignty of God and His providential care. He is in control over all things. As a farmer controls the flow of water in his fields through irrigation channels, so the Lord can turn the heart of a king (21:1; 20:24). In the books of Esther and Daniel, this principle is well illustrated. God uses kings as instruments to fulfill His purpose and plans, such as showing mercy or bringing judgment upon a people (Isa. 45:1). We are to pray for our nation's leaders and be subjected to them (1 Tim. 2:1-2; Rom. 13:1-7). The sovereignty of God in relation to the free will of mankind is a mystery, yet we can be sure that there will never be a king or leader who will be able to take control of this world from the hands of God.

        Even the outcome of battles is decided by God. Man may plan and be confident in his military strength (be it horses, tanks, or missiles), but only the plans of the Lord are sure, and only He can give the victory (21:31; 19:21). If man's plans, counsel, and worldly wisdom are directed against God, they will never stand (21:30), for such are really not wisdom or understanding at all, since true wisdom and counsel come only from Him.

        The book of Proverbs stresses that the truly wise man is the one who fears the Lord; this causes him to "follow righteousness and mercy" as well as have humility. The rewards that God promises for the one who fears Him are "life, righteousness and honor" (21:21; cf. Micah 6:6-8), as well as riches (22:4); this does not necessarily refer to material prosperity but mainly to the desirable treasure of a peaceful and joyous home life (21:20) without a contentious spouse (21:9; 19).

        Far better than riches is a "good name" which is attained by having favour with God and man (22:1). Such a person is wise and has a worthy character which is respected and honoured. In the Middle East, an individual's good name and the good name of one's family is highly treasured and safeguarded, just as it was in biblical days. Many of the proverbs deal with the sanctity of the family, so that no reproach or shame will come upon the name of the family (e.g. 19:26). An important teaching that can safeguard a family from being put to shame is to "train up a child in the way he should go" by teaching him about God, His Word, and His commands from an early age; this requires great love and patience (22:6a). Because of man's sinful nature, "foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child" (22:15). Therefore, along with teaching the child to walk in the ways of the Lord, that child must also be corrected, so he might not grow in the ways of sin; for the way the child is molded and carved will last his entire life. There is a promise to parents if they prayerfully and faithfully heed these instructions about child-rearing the biblical way: when that child is old, he will not depart from godliness (22:6b).

        The person who has a good name is a worthy friend of the king, since he "loves purity of heart and has grace on his lips" (22:11), as well as being industrious and diligent (22:29; 21:5). He is the total opposite of the slothful man who makes up excuses so he might not have to work (22:13). The lazy person greedily covets riches and yet does not want to work hard to attain prosperity. His laziness can lead to sinful and deceptive ways of becoming rich, but such riches are temporary and lead one in the path of death (21:6; 1 Tim. 6:6,10).

        We also read of many other examples of the sinful way that leads to destruction and death, such as wickedness, violence, injustice, iniquity, and befriending an angry man (21:7,12,15-16; 22:8, 24-25). Oppressing the poor is also condemned, for the Lord takes notice of it and will plead the cause of the poor. Those who mistreat the poor will experience divine punishment; they will themselves be plundered and poverty stricken, and God will not hear their cry (21:13; 22:16, 22-23). God insists that man be no respecter of persons, for God made all people equal (22:2; Acts 10:34-36). In contrast, the one who gives generously to the poor will be abundantly blessed (22:9).

Prayer

        Our desire, oh Lord, is to wholly follow You in the path of righteousness. Grant us the wisdom to direct others to that path, leading to abundant and eternal life.


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