Proverbs 17:8-14

Proverbs 17:8‑14  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
But it is not a question of speech only, excellent or deceptive. Acts are still more serious and influential; and to this we are now led on.
“A gift [is] a precious stone in the eyes of the possessor; whithersoever it turneth, it prospereth.
He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that bringeth a matter up again separateth chief friends.
A reproof entereth more deeply into him that hath understanding than a hundred stripes into a fool.
The evil seeketh only rebellion; but a cruel messenger shall be sent against him.
Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man rather than a fool in his folly.
Whoso rewardeth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house.
The beginning of contention is [as] when one letteth out water; therefore leave off strife before it become vehement” (vers. 8-14).
The Law and the later O.T. writings, the Gospels and the Epistles, bear ample witness to God's love of liberal and cheerful giving. But there may be a gift when it becomes a bribe, and even the law loudly warns in this case. Accordingly here its influence is asserted to be as a precious stone in the eyes of him that obtains it, as the giver too knows its power, where Jehovah was not before the soul.
But in a world of contrariety and evil, there is a mightier power and of a higher source. “He that covereth transgression seeketh” not a bribe, but “love “; as on the other hand “He that bringeth up a matter again,” without any motive higher than idle talk, with no positive aim of edification, “separateth chief friends.” Love is not at work.
There might be error or evil, and this continued. In such a case to be indifferent for peace' sake is a sin; and reproof is called for, especially where a man of sense was concerned. For a reproof penetrates such a one more than a hundred stripes would a fool. How timid even Christians are in this office of love, even when a worldly mind does not make them unfeeling!
It is an evil man that indulges a spirit of revolt: for rebellion is hateful to God, and His word gives it no quarter. Circumstances on earth yield constant opportunity; and hence such a one “seeketh only rebellion.” It gives an unhappy self-importance, which to vanity is irresistible. But God is not mocked, though it be the acceptable year, and not yet the day of His vengeance; and a “cruel messenger” will not fail to be “sent against him.” Even now is there moral government.
But a fool in his folly goes a great deal farther and bursts through all bounds. To be met by a she-bear robbed of her cubs is a dangerous thing for any man; but a fool in his folly is worse still, as not the wise alone know to their cost. It is difficult also for the considerate to conceive what a fool may dare in his folly.
Ingratitude too is an evil of no small magnitude, and the face of God is set against such sheer baseness as rewarding evil for good. If one be thus guilty, evil shall not depart from his house. Even if it were but the snare of Satan for the highest in the land, himself most generous habitually, Jehovah did and could not overlook it: the sword departed not from his house, who gratified his passion at the cost too of a faithful servant's blood to bide his own sin. How Solomon must have felt as he remembered this!
And who has not seen to what a blaze a little spark may come, if godliness and grace do not rule? It is as the letting out of water when one begins contention; mere drops trickling at first, till the opening enlarges for a flow that sweeps all before it. “Therefore leave off strife before it become vehement.”