Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Poetry of Proverbs- Chapter 10- Day 10

I think it will now be helpful to talk a little about the structure of the aphorisms in Proverbs. I have always been amazed that God chose a people to reveal Himself whose language would retain the poetic nature and clear teaching even though translations into multiple languages. Obviously, a skilled translator would work to keep the genre clear- but because the heightened speech, in comparative and parallel language, using examples of common sense observance, allows the message of the fun aphorisms to be  hammered home in what I call 'tweaked antithesis'. The power of the wise sayings survives over time and generations.

The witty use of language has always peaked our interest: from Shakespeare's brilliant irony, to modern day cutting sarcasm, and even (alas) rap music- witty words spoken in unusual, compressed, and parallelled irony makes the message stick. We all have a friend or two who is gifted in short power-point responses and these one-liners punctuate deep truths- and put a period on great stories!

So we begin some of these in Chapter 10- and my journaling will change up some now. My guess is that my blogs will be shorter, general, and highlight a few of my favorite quips in each listing.

But don't forget the narrative- this is a King to a son- he has framed life as an active pursuit of godly wisdom which will help him navigate between the call of two lovers: Lady Wisdom and Woman Folly. One leads to life and the other leads to death. At the end- you almost feel him hand off the bat-tan and say, "Choose well, my son."

So when verse 1 says, "A wise son makes a glad father"- immediately I recognize what I desire for my children and why. I used to think it was selfish for me to pressure my children to conform and 'make me look good' and the danger is to make looking good matter more than the good of the child- but because I believe in 2 roads- or 2 ditches off the road of life- it makes me happy to see my daughters on that good road.

And the antithesis- "A foolish son is a sorrow to his mother"- isn't this always powerful to think "I have really hurt my mom.". See the parallels: wise/foolish- glad/sad- father/mother- and this simple aphorism presses a deep heart button that any human being can relate to regardless of language, continent, culture, or time. This universal spirituality and soul consciousness and common communication is powerful evidence for the existence of God. It is a stretch to say "it just is."

Now general points in Ch. 10:

Honest work
Honest work pays off because God supports it
Laziness has its fruit as well- and it is not good
Honest work is also persevering work- life is a marathon
Long walks in the way of wisdom is pleasant and has less regrets
A good heart is open to instruction
Truth telling and integrity is stable and long lasting
A good heart produces positive speech
Wisdom is life- sin is death
A wise son uses thoughtful words- and they are fewer- a fool spews words without care
Darkness and anger deep in the heart will stir a brew of violence and death

and many of these general things are said over and over....

And we need reminders- every day... for life.


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