1 He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck, will suddenly be broken beyond healing.
2When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, but when the wicked rule, the people groan.
3He who loves wisdom makes his father glad, but a companion of prostitutes squanders his wealth.
4By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
5 A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet.
6An evil man is ensnared in his transgression, but a righteous man sings and rejoices.
7A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.
8 Scoffers set a city aflame, but the wise turn away wrath.
9If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet.
10Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.
11A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
12If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.
13The poor man and the oppressor meet together; the LORD gives light to the eyes of both.
14If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.
15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
16When the wicked increase, transgression increases, but the righteous will look upon their downfall.
17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.
18Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
19By mere words a servant is not disciplined, for though he understands, he will not respond.
20Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.
21Whoever pampers his servant from childhood will in the end find him his heir.
22 A man of wrath stirs up strife, and one given to anger causes much transgression.
23 One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.
24The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
26Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice.
27 An unjust man is an abomination to the righteous, but one whose way is straight is an abomination to the wicked.
I must give you a disclaimer before I start. I’m not a writer, nor am I a “theologian” . I’m just a guy that reads the Bible, loves Jesus, my family and discipleship.
Part of our upward growth involves becoming more Christlike, and the Word is rich with directions for doing so, particularly Proverbs. That being said, most of us are aware of the benefits of studying Proverbs. However, it wasn’t until I was asked to write this that I realized it’s much more beneficial to go through each chapter and let each verse soak in one by one. I’m not going to talk much of all of every verse of Proverbs chapter 29. In fact, I’m only gonna touch on one verse that really grabbed hold of me. That verse would be, “A righteous man knows the rights of the poor; a wicked man does not understand such knowledge.” Proverbs 29:7 ESV.
I just recently got married to a wonderful woman. We had (or still have) very little, but one of greatest things that we have is a wonderful community of believers that we fellowship with. They helped with many aspects of our wedding in order for it to be a special moment. Strapped for cash we were just gonna hang out and maybe do a honeymoon some other time. But our brothers and sisters in Christ blessed us by sending us to Savannah Georgia for an evening. So Savannah is a lot like Charleston SC (where we are from) but in Savannah there is a lot squares with park benches and such about every block. Now walking through the streets I noticed in Savannah there are more homeless people than I’m accustomed to seeing, at least in Charleston. I found myself almost being irritated by that, and not in the desire social justice way but more in the manner of “please don’t talk to me” way. I felt a little convicted for feeling that way but I shrugged it off because by golly I was gonna enjoy my trip.
Not more than a few days later Chris asked me to do something for Proverbs 29. So I sat down with my bible and started going through chapter 29. When I got to verse 7 I was punched in the face with conviction. Wow! I felt the need to repent of how I had been feeling about the homeless. That feeling was that I had been virtually ignoring them my whole life. Out of sight out of mind is how I had been living. I didn’t personally know anyone that was homeless. Yes, I struggle with money but my needs have always been met. My life was a safe little place where I was shielded from the destitute. Looking back at Matthew 25:42-43 again after reading Proverbs we see Jesus explaining the importance of actually helping those in need and not merely giving lip service. We need to be missional Christians not only to the unreached tribes but also to those that need love here in our own town. Proverbs chapter 29:7 as well as Matthew 25:42-43 has spoken to me in ways I have never imagined in the past week. I am seeking to educate myself more on the needs and rights of the downtrodden.
I invite you all to search Gods word and see how social justice, giving and compassion are used to give relief to those in need. This will be our upward growth in seeking these things in scripture and prayer. Our inward growth should be rallying your local body of believers to do the same. Lets discuss these things in our small groups this week. Lets cry out to God for help as a community with direction and resources to do something. Finally, our outward growth will be putting these words, prayers and ideas into action. Lets go out there and Gods work.
Joshua Acanfora is a husband and father, who isn’t perfect but seeks to be a disciple of Jesus. He and his family live in Charleston, South Carolina. You can follow him on Twitter @Acanfora79.