PROVERB PRACTICALS another better than proverb, proverbs 12:9 audio
Prov 12:9, He that is despised, and hath a servant, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
Their are two Hebrew words in this proverb that are antonyms; words of opposite meaning.
The Hebrew word translated "despised" means to be light while the Hebrew word translated "honoureth" means to be heavy.
So we are given two characters, two individuals, to ponder in our study, one character is light and the other character is heavy.
In our parlance we would call one character a light weight according to this world and the other character we would call a heavy weight.
In our worldly way we would lightly esteem the light weight and think of him as unimportant while we would make way for the heavy weight.
We think the light weight cannot do much for us so he is despised.
But we make allowances for the heavy weight because he is the important one and he may influence our lives.
The heavy weight is the big shot in our thinking.
In the Navy the admirals are called elephants because they are the heavy weights.
The ensigns are the light weights.
An ensign can't do much to you but an admiral can do much.
Our proverb states that the light weight is despised, and hath a servant.
But by my study I believe that this means that he is despised and is a servant to himself rather than him having a servant.
I believe this proverb should read: He that is despised, and is servant to himself, is better than he that honoureth himself, and lacketh bread.
This is about a laboring man and by his labor he serves himself rather than others serving him.
As a laboring man he is lightly esteemed by the world and is not given any importance.
He is despised by the world.
He cannot pull strings for people, he cannot influence others to undo red tape, he has no leverage to move the mighty.
His arguments sway no one.
His powers of persuasion fall on deaf ears.
When he speaks no one listens.
The world cares not what he says because he can do little to advance the ambition of others.
He is a light weight in this world and therefore lightly esteemed.
Now the heavy weight in this proverb is no heavy weight in reality but he makes every effort to appear to be a heavy weight.
He honors himself by making himself to appear weighty, to appear noble, to appear rich but in reality he lacks bread.
He comes across as honorable but he lacks the basic necessities of life.
He proudly displays his position, he advertises his family background but he has no means of supporting any of these.
His circumstances have been humbled but his heart has not caught up with his circumstances.
He refuses to yield to the state that God has placed him in but instead remains proud when there is nothing to be proud of.
By keeping up a false appearance he refuses to engage himself in the common virtue of labor to provide bread for himself or his household.
He is too proud to work for minimum wage or minimum prestige.
So he works not at all and continues to make every effort to appear more honorable than he is.
God puts many though humbling circumstances who refuse to accept this curriculum of God.
They exalt themselves when God wishes to humble them so that he may lift them up.
They ignore the teaching of James 4:10 which says, Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
Isn't it possible that the training path of God for you may be a descent from worldly promotion?
Do you think that God's ways are like we want our ways to be?
Always upward and never downward.
Always promotion and never demotion.
Psalm 75:6,7, reminds us that.... promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another.
He putteth down one who lifts himself up and setteth up another who humbles himself in His sight.
He puts the man of this proverb down but this man refuses to accept the will of God and learn his lessons so that God can use a humble soul.
This man honors himself by putting on an image that is not real.
As a song of the 1930's portrays this condition, He is putting on the Ritz!
But God does not use a man who honors himself!
King Nebuchadnezzar put on greatness, he put on might, he put on honor when he boasted:
Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
But he learned what self exaltation brings when that same hour he was driven from men.
He ate grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
The man who honors himself yet lacks bread has the same pride as the Laodicean church John describes in the book of Revelation in verse 3:17:
Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
That church honors itself by proclaiming its riches and its power while in reality it is wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked in the sight of God.
This man also honors himself but he is naked.
He thinks of himself as rich in this world but he has no bread.
But our proverb tells us that in God's sight the man who is a
lightweight in the eyes of the world,
the man who is despised,
the man who has no influence,
no worldly power
is better than one who lifts himself up to appear as a heavyweight but in reality is simply puffed up ready for a fall.
Jesus said in Mark 10:31, But many that are first shall be last; and the last first.
This simple truth is to bring contentment into our lives.
We are to glory in this truth because it helps the laboring man, it helps the one who is his own servant to be content because God says this is better!
James captured this truth when he said in James 1:9-11:
Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.
And this is what happens to rich man.
Much more so to the man of imagined riches who honors himself yet lacketh bread.
As Paul in Phil 4:12 expressed: I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
If God allows you to abound then abound but if God abases you accept that abasement and do not refuse the will of God in pretending otherwise.
To do so is simply pride and rebellion against the rod of God in your life.
To do so hinders the correction of the Lord and it quenches any exaltation the Lord may perform to the humble soul.
Mat 23:12, And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.