Where there is no guidance, a nation falls, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14
The Book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom concerning governance and nation building. In the days of King Solomon no one would have bought into the idea of a separation between church and state! Interestingly, the idea that “many heads are better than one” when it comes to leadership shines through these proverbs. Even kings needed a variety of voices and opinions around them to have the wisdom to lead. As we lead our families, our community, and our church, may we listen to this ancient wisdom and seek an abundance of counsel.
Prayer - Gracious One, bring good counsel into my life today for whatever I must face and whatever I must decide. Amen.
Written by Stacy Ikard, Senior Associate Pastor at WHPC
Some give freely, yet grow all the richer; others withhold what is due, and only suffer want. Proverbs 11:24
Recently, a national survey showed that over half of American households are unprepared to cover a $1,000 emergency expense without going into debt. About 1 in 10 American households are food insecure, meaning that families do not know where their next meal is coming from. I feel for these people who are “suffering want.” It’s hard for me to imagine telling people in such situations to freely give; if they are withholding something for themselves—if they are saving up—well, maybe that’s a good idea for them.
I’m reminded that some of what we read in the Bible is more descriptive than prescriptive. A passage may be there to describe what the world is like—and not to prescribe what we ought to do. Proverbs like this one may even be read both ways. Indeed, it is good to be generous; it brings its own kind of wealth, whereas holding back our resources—especially from God or from our neighbors in need—impoverishes our hearts. Consider these ideas, but also consider that this proverb might be pointing to the injustice of wealth disparity; it’s lamentable and unfair that any should suffer want when there really is enough to go around. I wonder how we might be called to correct this where we see it in our world.
Prayer - Loving God, open our hearts to receive your free gift of grace. Open our minds to the mind of Christ. Help us to empathize as friends with people who are materially poor, and to work alongside them—not for them, but with them—toward freedom from want for all people. Amen.
Written by Claire Berry, Associate Pastor at WHPC
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but those who hate to be rebuked are stupid. Proverbs 12:1
Golly, there are so many strong words in this proverb. It feels abrupt. It contains the “s” word. I was taught to never call another person this name. So before I get defensive and judgy of the text, I will remember that this is God’s word speaking to me from a place of love. I will remember that while I associate some of these words with people or situations that invoke hurt, that these are words from a loving Parent who has my best interests in mind. Being corrected or disciplined by God’s word is always about shaping us more into the likeness of Christ. And that shaping process, although uncomfortable, is rooted in love and hope so that we can be our best selves.
Prayer - Father God, thank you for the ways your word shapes me into being more of a servant like you. Mother God, thank you for the ways your word corrects me into being more loving and compassionate. May I receive your discipline with grace and courage to be transformed more into the likeness of Jesus. In His name I pray, Amen.
Written by Emily Wright, Senior Pastor at WHPC
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. Proverbs 12:15
During this pandemic, we have all listened to the advice of experts. Do we listen to learned experts about other aspects of life? Or do we assume there is nothing else we need to consider about things we have already made up our minds about? Being human, we have blind spots in all areas of understanding. Shouldn’t we try to identify as many of these as we can? Shouldn’t we listen carefully to others in the hopes that they will help us understand that we have gotten something wrong? Shouldn’t we feel more satisfaction when our wrongs are discovered than when our right beliefs are confirmed?
Prayer - Lord, humble me so that I may be open to listening to others, to seeking out new understandings of your will, to finding my wrong beliefs. In this way, help me to grow in your ways, not in my ways. Let my humility be a testament of your greatness.
Written by Dawn Scott, Library Assistant at WHPC
The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
Human words from human tongues—how different those words can be. And the effects of those words can be totally opposite depending on what words are used and how they are delivered. The contrast here is very clear between the careless, reckless speech that pierces like a sword and wise, thoughtful speech that can soothe and even heal. Can we not all think of those moments in our lives when we would have given anything to take back that word that wounded, or exposed, or dismissed another? We remember the times when we were the wounded one. And yet we are here encouraged to strive for the wisdom that speaks praise to our God and love and healing to our brothers and sisters. James reminds us that curses and blessings come out of the very same mouth (James 3:9–10). He says that should not be. Indeed!
Prayer - Oh powerful, loving God, make my tongue an instrument of your peace. Redeem the hurtful, ugly words I have spoken and those that have been spoken to me. Redeem them, transform them for your good purpose and your glory. In Christ’s name, Amen.
Written by Nancy Kocurek, Elder at WHPC