Our Old Testament reading for this week is from Proverbs 25:2-10. It’s identified in the text as a passage of proverbs of Solomon.
Verse 2 points out that in fact God is the one who hides some things, but kings have a desire to reveal them. A king is typically very inquisitive. He does not want to be outdone by anyone, even by God. Yet, at the same time, while we think of God as being unsearchable, it is actually the king who is difficult to read and understand.
The verses which follow draw a concept from verses two and three. Here the ideas are grouped in chunks of two verses each, rather than the one verse which was used earlier. Verses 4-5 compare wicked people to dross, which pollutes pure silver. Like dross is removed from silver so it can be used rightly, it is in everyone’s best interest to remove wicked people from the king. This allows the good king to follow his God given calling to lead his people well.
Verses 6-7 speaks to the idea of allowing others to advance you. While we should not purposely give a false impression that we are unworthy, it is better to allow advancement than to seek advancement. The person who is always seeking self-promotion is going to be demoted by someone else.
Verses 8-10 speak to making peace with neighbors. Rather than entering into litigation to get our way we work out peace with our neighbors. This guards our reputation and also may serve to guard our neighbor’s reputation.
To pull the context back together, we remember that while God has concealed things, the king seeks to uncover them. The ideas of living in society, working within a cultural or political culture, and being at peace with our neighbors are often difficult for us to understand. If they are not unintuitive, they often go against our inner desires. While God has made them clear by his very nature, they often remain hidden to us until pointed out by someone, in this case, a king.
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