Proverbs 3.31-35 Tuesday, Day 22

This episode goes back to the original language of Hebrew to discover some important information on how to avoid hurting others, what not to do, and how God treats the oppressor.

Moments in Proverbs
Proverbs 3:31-35

Today it is Tuesday, and it is Day #22.  We are in chapter 3 of Proverbs, and we will complete this chapter today.

Proverbs 3:31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.  33  The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,  but He blesses the home of the just.  34  Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble.  35  The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

There are many words in these verses that need to go back to the original Hebrew language using the Strong's Concordance, because the meanings today in our English vernacular may not give us an accurate picture of the true meaning of these verses.

Who is the oppressor?

Let's begin with verse 31:

Proverbs 3:31 Do not envy the oppressor, and choose none of his ways;

Envy - H7065 - To make zealous, and in a bad sense jealous or envious.

Oppressor - H2555 - Cruel, unjust gain, injustice, urighteous and wrong.

We immediately think these verses speak only of unbelievers who do horrible things to other people.  Most of us want to look at these verses to point to someone who is horrible and mean toward other people, and that certainly could not be Christians.  While that is often the case, I want to keep this in the context of what is being written. 

King Solomon has been teaching his son, whom both he and his son were believers and followers of the Law, and he has been teaching his son how to gain wisdom by what he is teaching.  In the previous verses, he was teaching him how to get along with those around him and always strive for peace. 

We know that those verses also speak to us Christians today. We are to do our best to get along with those around us and always strive for peace.  Help those who need help if it is in our power to do so.  So my personal thoughts are that these verses are written to those who belong to the family of God, both under the Old and New Covenant and not Gentile unbelievers. 

Going back to previous teachings in Proverbs, we have learned that the evil and the wicked can refer to unbelievers, but it can also appear to believers.  Basically it means those were and are doing anything that is contrary to the will of God.  Since this scripture is written to believers, let me ask you this question:  How often have you, as a Christian, done things that are contrary to the will of God?  Now add anger toward someone and look at your motives and actions toward that person.  In other words, anyone, including Christians have it within them to oppress other people, either out of spite toward someone or even in not realizing their motives, in that what they are doing could be contrary to the will of God toward someone else.    Every person, Christian or otherwise, is capable of being an oppressor toward someone - especially in anger and the motive of the heart springs forth in their actions toward that person. 

So God is telling us through King Solomon to never be envious or jealous toward anyone who oppresses anyone no matter how it looks that they are in control or gaining favor with others.  For their just due will come to them as the Lord sees fit.  We need to trust that God sees the heart motive of everyone and He will judge accordingly and in His timing.

God's Secret Council of the Upright

32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright. 

Perverse - H3868 - Departed, to turn aside, be perverse.

Abomination - H8441 - Disgusting (morally), an abhorrence.

Secret counsel - H5475 - Secret assembly, company of persons in close intimate deliberation.

Upright - H3477/H3474  - To make straight, pleasant, prosperous, righteous.

Looking at the original meanings of these words makes it easier to understand this verse of scripture in the way that King Solomon meant it to say.  For those who have departed from the ways of the Lord, they have become perverse in their behavior.  God calls this kind of behavior disgusting and something He abhors.  But for those who have a close intimacy with the Lord, which is what God desires for His whole family, they will walk straight - meaning according to His will, be prosperous, life will be pleasant, for God considers them the upright or righteous.

Understanding the Curse of the Lord

33  The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,  but He blesses the home of the just. 

Curse - H3994/H779 - An execration (to detest utterly; abhor, abominate). 
Wicked - H7563 -  Morally wrong, a bad person.
Just - H6662 - A lawful (meaning one who faithfully follows the Mosaic Law)  righteous man

Again, trying to understand this scripture verse in its context, and as King Solomon taught it to his son, the curse of the Lord is not an action that God would put upon anyone, for God does not curse people.  God is not in the cursing business, choosing to only bless the just - those who follow in His ways.  It is the devil who curses, as well as people can bring about their own curses simply by their evil actions.  What King Solomon is saying here is that God considers their acts utterly destible, something He abhors, and is an abomination in His eyes.  People's wicked actions bring about their own curses in which Satan may or may not be a part of it.

God blesses the home of the "just."  In this verse, the "just" refers to those under the Old Covenant who faithfully followed the Law of Moses, and God considered them as a righteous person.  For a New Covenant believer, however, how can we understand who is a "just" person?  The "just," in its Greek meaning (G1342) that comes from the New Testament, means one who is innocent and holy - set apart by God to do a work of holiness in that person.  In other words, Christians can take this verse to refer to those who have an intimate, deep, close relationship with the Lord, and are set apart by Him to do a work of holiness.  As such, he or she will walk more faithfully in God's ways.  God can use that person even greater for His plans and purposes.  That is the person whom God blesses.

34  Surely He scorns the scornful, but gives grace to the humble. 

Scorns/scornful - H3887 - To make mouths at, that is, to scoff; to interpret or intercede. 
Grace - H2580 - Favor, kindness, beauty, pleasant, precious, well-favored
Humble - H6035 - lowly, needy - especially saintly. 

As some other more modern version say of this verse - The Lord mocks or laughs at them who mocks and laughs at Him.  In other words, God speaks forth from His mouth in the same way what others speak out to Him.  If you scorn God, God scorns you. But if you praise God, God will praise you.  However you speak of God, God will speak the same way of you.

God gives grace or kindness and favor to those who are humble.  They are well-favored in the eyes of God.  Humble or humility has nothing to do with those who have low self esteem and appear humble in the eyes of the proud.  This humble is speaking here of the lowly in heart who know they have a need for the Lord in their life.  Humility in heart is what the Lord wants for each one of us.  He wants us in a place where we constantly are in need of the Lord.  He is the One Who fills our life with whatever we need.  At that, we continuously have a need for Jesus as we humbly reach out to Him every day.

The Future of the Wise and the Fool

35  The wise shall inherit glory, but shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Inherit (H5157) - To occupy, causatively to bequeath, or generally distribute, instate.
Glory (H3519) Splender or copiousness (meaning age of abundance), glorious.
Shame (H7036) confusion, disgrace, dishonour, reproach, shame.
Legacy (H7311) - Bring up, promotion, set up
Fools (H3684)  - Stupid or silly

The wise - those having the God kind of wisdom - will occupy or have bequeathed to them splender and glorious abundance in their life.  In other words, wise people will receive honor, but fools will be disgraced.  While honor or dishonor may not happen immediately to a person, man's behavior is a set up for how they have lived their life.  Honor catches up with a person in the same way dishonor catches up, based on past behavior.   

God so desires us to have His kind of wisdom, for when we do, God promises that we will inherit glorious abundances in our life.
Again, that take us back to the beginning of Proverbs - First comes knowledge, then understanding, and when understood, we will gain wisdom - and what King Solomon is referring to is God's kind of wisdom.

That ends today's teaching.  A lot of meat was given today, and much to meditate on.  We have ended chapter 3, and will begin chapter four of Proverbs tomorrow.  Join me again tomorrow.

God bless

Pastor Joyce Erickson



Written by Pastor Joyce A. Erickson

Believers Bible School, Founder