Grace. Truth. Family.

Random Organization, Part I (Plus More Financial Wisdom)

I knew I was in trouble when I had an hour’s worth of material written down for my sermon and was only halfway through my outline!  This might’ve been the first sermon I’ve ever prepared that I spent more time cutting material than I did writing the material.

            Proverbs just simply has a ton to say about finances!  So in this week’s blog, I’ll share with you a few of the points I had to cut out due to time constraints.  But first, I’ll begin with Part I of evidence for Random Organization within the middle section of Proverbs.

Evidence for Random Organization, Part I

            The middle section of Proverbs might look like it is entirely random.  Each verse jumps to a new topic seemingly without a pattern.  But upon closer inspection, there are many different pieces of evidence that add up to demonstrate that, at the very least, there is certainly purposeful organization in some areas of Proverbs.

            This post briefly examines large-scale evidence of organization.  Many scholars have noted that Proverbs 10-15 contains a dominant amount of antithetical parallels (an antithetical parallel is where the first and second line contrast each other).  For example, Proverbs 10 contains 32 verses, at least 26 of which are clearly antithetical.

            However, once we get to Proverbs 16, chapters 16-22a are mostly synonymous or synthetic parallelism (synonymous is where the two lines say similar things; synthetic is where the second line completes the thought of the first).  Antithetical parallelism is rare in this section.

            There is other evidence of large-scale organization.  Proverbs 10-15 have a dominant focus on the “righteous” (usually in contrast to the “wicked”).  This isn’t nearly as much of a focus elsewhere in the book.  Proverbs 15-16 has a higher-than-normal concentration of “YHWH” proverbs (proverbs that include “the LORD”).  “YHWH” is used only 11x between Proverbs 10-14, but it’s used 20x in just these two chapters!

            There are other threads of large-scale evidences like these, but this is enough to demonstrate that there was some level of purposeful organization to these seemingly “random” proverbs in the middle section of the book.

            Next week, we’ll take a look at one of the smaller-scale evidences of organization: catchwords.

More Financial Wisdom

            The preparation for this week’s sermon as exhausting… mainly because I ultimately wrote enough for at least two sermons.  There was a large section in the middle of the sermon that I cut out due to time that outlined some of the dangers of being wealthy.  Here are the points and the relevant Scriptures (all Scripture in ESV):

The Dangers of Wealth

A) Wealth brings a false sense of security.

10:15 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city; the poverty of the poor is their ruin.

18:11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and like a high wall in his imagination.

11:28 Whoever trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

B) Wealth doesn’t last

11:4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death.

11:7 When the wicked dies, his hope will perish, and the expectation of wealth perishes too.

23:4-5 Do not toil to acquire wealth; be discerning enough to desist. 5 When your eyes light on it, it is gone, for suddenly it sprouts wings, flying like an eagle toward heaven.

C) Wealth attracts the wrong kind of friends

14:20 The poor is disliked even by his neighbor, but the rich has many friends.

13:8 The ransom of a man’s life is his wealth, but a poor man hears no threat.

19:4 Wealth brings many new friends, but a poor man is deserted by his friend.

19:6-7 Many seek the favor of a generous man, and everyone is a friend to a man who gives gifts. 7 All a poor man’s brothers hate him; how much more do his friends go far from him! He pursues them with words, but does not have them.

            I also had a section that I knew from the beginning wouldn’t make the sermon, but I figured it might be helpful to share it here anyway.

Eight Things Better Than Wealth

1) Integrity

28:6 Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity than a rich man who is crooked in his ways.

2) Reputation

22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

3) Wisdom

16:16 How much better to get wisdom than gold! To get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver.

4) Fearing God

15:16 Better is a little with the fear of the LORD than great treasure and trouble with it.

5) Love

15:17 Better is a dinner of herbs where love is than a fattened ox and hatred with it.

6) Righteousness

16:8 Better is a little with righteousness than great revenues with injustice.

7) Humility

16:19 It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.

8) Truth

19:22 What is desired in a man is steadfast love, and a poor man is better than a liar.                   As you can see, there’s enough here for several different sermons on financial wisdom in Proverbs!  In the future, I plan on circling back around to the book in between other sermon series and hitting some of these topics again.


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