We see a need…the Holy Spirit nudges us to give, whether that be our money, time, or talents…but we resist, make excuses, or just plain say, “No way!” The very greatest thing we can learn from this Proverb is to not repress a generous impulse. For when we silence that compulsion to be unselfish…we are denying others and ourselves a blessing. We are stopping God from using us to further His Kingdom work…and we are depriving ourselves of His favor. So don’t suppress a generous impulse when it happens…for the Lord is depending on you to fill that specific need.
God has an uncanny way of getting our attention…of controlling situations until suddenly we find the walls closing in around us. And most times, we’re there because of our own disobedience. We’re self-absorbed and engrossed in the idols of this world…or we’re preoccupied and fixated on what others think of us rather than God. Either way, we end up in dire circumstances with no way out. And as the old saying goes, “Sometimes you have to end up in the gutter to finally look up.” Jonah was running from the Lord in disobedience, when God got his attention by confining him in the belly of a fish for three days. Three long days to think about what he had done…three long days to repent, relent, and be restored. Have no doubt about it, if you’re running from the Lord today, He will get your attention sooner or later.
The important part of this Scripture is not what is said, but rather the space of time between when the building of the Temple stopped and it was restarted. For it was 16 years that no work was done at the building site. How many people do you think looked at the Temple foundation year after year and considered all the work a loss? We will all have setbacks in life…times when our forward motion is hampered or even stopped for a season… and we don’t know why. This delay is not a time to declare defeat…for with God, any setback is only temporary in His timetable. And if we have faith and persevere, any delay will have success in the end.
I love how Webster’s Dictionary defines nagging…to find fault incessantly, to complain or constantly scold. That’s what this Proverb is addressing…a contentious wife who is always finding fault, clashing verbally over often petty matters, and demanding the last word. No wonder her husband is out in the garage or in his man cave hiding out. No one wants to live in that kind of environment. And elsewhere in Proverbs, we find this interesting idea that coincides, “The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.” (Proverbs 14:1)
The incident happened this Summer while extended family of mine were on vacation. My niece’s teenage son observed a group of teenagers encircled around a little boy…shoving him roughly from one teen to another…all the while taunting him. He felt compelled to step in, so he quietly walked up, put his arm around the boy and asked what they were doing to his little brother. He stood there, firmly telling them to stop and leave… using his sheer size as intimidation…until the gang broke up and moved off. As this young man got done recounting this story to me, I asked him why he thought kids bully others. His insight I thought was remarkable. He told me kids who bully are filled with anger and hurt, and they take out that pain on others. I can dare say as adults, we all fall into two camps…either we were once bullied as a child…or we were that bully. But now with Social Media, the cruelty that can be inflicted by those just wanting to be mean is enormous. As school starts for the year, have a discussion with your kids around the dinner table about bullying…all that it encompasses…and how it feels to be bullied. That just because someone else is cruel doesn’t mean you have to join in. And that being a good friend and loving one another will make a difference.
Moses led the Hebrew Children out of Egypt…but none of them ever saw the Promised Land due to their unbelief. Instead, they wandered in the desert for 40 years…going around and around the same mountain. Doubt and unbelief wastes time. God tells us to do something, but out of unbelief, we say “No!” So God sends us around the mountain to think about it. Soon, His tells us one more time the thing He wants us to do. If we again say “No!”, guess where He sends us…wandering around that same mountain! Unbelief wastes time…precious time that we could be changing lives for Christ if we had said “Yes!” the first time.