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Daily Devotions – Paths to favor

 

Click this link to hear an audio version of the below text narrated by SOTH member Jerry Rhinehart: 

Proverbs 11:16-31 

16 A gracious woman gets honor, and violent men get riches. 17 A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself. 18 The wicked earns deceptive wages, but one who sows righteousness gets a sure reward. 19 Whoever is steadfast in righteousness will live, but he who pursues evil will die. 20 Those of crooked heart are an abomination to the Lord, but those of blameless ways are his delight. 21 Be assured, an evil person will not go unpunished, but the offspring of the righteous will be delivered. 22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without discretion. 23 The desire of the righteous ends only in good; the expectation of the wicked in wrath. 24 One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. 25 Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. 26 The people curse him who holds back grain, but a blessing is on the head of him who sells it. 27 Whoever diligently seeks good seeks favor, but evil comes to him who searches for it. 28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf. 29 Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind, and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart. 30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and whoever captures souls is wise. 31 If the righteous is repaid on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!

Chapter 11 finishes with many sayings related to our reputation with others. Verses 24-26 emphasize how generosity leads to favor with others, and even inspires others to be generous to us. Verse 25 is a good one to memorize. Verses 16 & 22 compare two kinds of women. The gracious woman receives honor, the indiscrete woman’s beauty is wasted. She is compared to putting a gold ring in a pig’s snout, a great example of humor in the Bible. Jesus illustrated verse 11:28 when he taught his parable of the rich fool (in Luke 12:13-21). When verse 29 speaks of “inheriting the wind,” it is a common Jewish expression which means something you can feel but you cannot catch or hold on to. This is important advice: many times we are good-natured and helpful at work (because we want to keep our jobs), but are grumpy and difficult at home (because we think our family will ‘understand’ and forgive us). But in the long run, troubling our own household will lead to personal ruin.