We should control ourselves.

 

[Proverbs 25:16-28]

 

In 2 Timothy 3:3, the Bible says that “There will be terrible times in the last days” (v. 1) and “People” (v. 2) are “without self-control” (v. 3).  And indeed, even now we Christians are unable to control ourselves and are doing the acts of the sinful nature according to the desires of the sinful nature that is contrary to the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:17, 19).  Among the acts of the sinful nature there are “sexual immorality”, “dissensions”, “jealousy”, “fits of rage”, “selfish ambition”, “discord”, “envy”, “drunkenness” and “orgies” “(vv. 19-21) seems to stand out among us.  The reason is because we aren’t under the control of the Holy Spirit.  In other words, we are now doing the acts of the sinful nature because we aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit.  That is why the Bible Galatians 5:16 tells us, “…  live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  So what is the life of living by the Holy Spirit?  It is to bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit by being filled with the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (vv. 22-23).  I would like to think about “self-control” in particular here.  The reason is because in Proverbs 25:28, King Solomon says: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls Is a man who has no control over his spirit.”  Today, I would like to receive nine lessons that the Bible teaches us to refrain from, under the heading “We should control ourselves” based on Proverbs 25:16-28.

 

First, we should control eating.

 

                Look at Proverbs 25:16 – “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.”  What is overeating?  Isn't it consumption of food in excess of a certain amount?  When we overeat, it can cause obesity or vomiting (Internet).  Korean Internet Health Chosun suggests ‘Useful to know … Here are 9 ways to change your overeating habits’ (Internet):

 

(1)   Let’s start with an appetizer 12 minutes before a meal.

 

When we eat full food, leptin, an appetite suppressing hormone that makes us feel full in the body, is released.  This hormone signals our appetite center, and when we feel full, we stop eating.  It takes at least 12 minutes for leptin to be released to signal a feeling of satiety in the appetite center.  Before a full-fledged meal, we should use a light appetizer to speed up the secretion of leptin.  If we induce the secretion of leptin in advance, we can quickly feel full when we eat and reduce the amount of food we eat.

(2)   Let’s prevent leptin resistance.

 

When overeating becomes a habit, the human body becomes insensitive to leptin signals and becomes leptin-resistant.  In this case, even if a large amount of leptin is secreted, the body cannot accept the satiety signal and eats a lot and becomes obese.  In fact, people who are obese have higher levels of leptin than those who are not.  There are also foods that increase leptin resistance.  Sweet foods such as soda and sweets are typical.  Stress also leads to leptin resistance.  We should pay attention to our usual food control and should avoid building up stress.

 

(3)   Let’s increase ‘fuel efficiency’ with exercise.

 

Even if we eat the same amount of food, our ability to convert nutrients into energy varies from person to person.  To increase the efficiency of converting nutrients into energy, we need to exercise consistently.  Exercise improves the functioning of our mitochondria in our cells.  Mitochondria are energy power plants that convert nutrients into energy.

 

(4)   Let’s boost the secretion of serotonin.

 

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter in the brain.  When it is insufficient, negative changes occur in the body.  They become violent, depressed, and increase their appetite, leading to binge eating disorders.  Conversely, increased serotonin secretion leads to positive changes in the body.  Our body functions smoothly, our mood improves, and our appetite is suppressed.  So, let's prevent overeating by promoting the secretion of serotonin.  To stimulate the production of serotonin, frequent sun exposure, deep breathing, walking, or listening to bright music is recommended.  Deliberately imagine a pleasing picture and chew at least 30 times before swallowing.  We should not forget our protein intake.  Protein is the main ingredient for various hormones such as serotonin and endorphin.

 

(5)   Let’s focus only on our meals at mealtime.

 

When we do other things, such as watching TV or the newspaper while eating, our brain isn’t clearly aware of the eating behavior and we feel hungry quickly.  On the other hand, we can prevent overeating by focusing on food so that the brain can recognize it.

 

(6)   Let’s start with foods that have a love glycemic index.

 

The order in which food is eaten is also important.  Vegetables rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals are eaten first, and foods containing carbohydrates or fats are eaten last.  Vegetables feel full quickly and last a long time, which has the effect of reducing the amount of food we eat next.  The next nutrient to eat after vegetables is protein.  Protein helps keep us full longer and increases muscle mass than carbohydrates or fats of the same size.

 

(7)   Let’s have small plates and large ingredients.

 

Let's use visual effects.  When the ingredients are cut into a small plate, the food looks more than it actually is.

 

(8)   Let’s set the amount before eating.

 

If the food is delicious, we will eat more without our knowledge.  To prevent overeating, let's decide how much to eat.  If the goal is 2/3 of the rice, the other 1/3 is put in another bowl beforehand and eaten.  If we want to eat less than others, we will chew for a long time to keep pace with our meal.  But the chewing exercise promotes saliva secretion and helps digestion.

 

(9)   Let’s look at the psychological factors.

 

There are times when we overeat or binge when we're angry or depressed.  It is important to check whether we are currently eating because we are hungry or to forget certain emotions.  If we overeat for psychological reasons, we need to find an activity to replace food.  If we have a habit of overeating when we're angry, we can make an appointment with ourselves in advance, saying, 'I should call a friend or go to the sauna next time I'm angry.'  Exercise or our favorite hobbies are also good alternatives.  When psychological problems are solved by overeating, the vicious cycle continues.  We may become obese, lose confidence in our appearance, and feel defeated.  If it is difficult to stop overeating caused by psychological problems, let's find an expert for consultation.

 

In Proverbs 25:16, King Solomon says, “Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, That you not have it in excess and vomit it.”  Here, King Solomon is telling us to eat enough honey if we see it, but not to overeat it.  We have already meditated on “honey” in Proverbs 24:13 – “Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste.”  King Solomon tells us to eat honey, especially honey from the comb, because it is sweet to our taste.  And we also thought about why honey is good for the body.  As an example, according to Hu-Joon’s “Dong-uibogam” (Principles and Practice of Eastern Medicine) it is said that honey regulates blood sugar levels to eliminate body fatigue, and has calcium and magnesium.  So it is very effective in insomnia, neuralgia, arthritis, and is good for various inflammations (Internet).  In Proverbs 25:16, King Solomon told us to eat enough honey because it is good for us, but not to overeat it.  That is, he is telling us not to overeat because “It is not good to eat much honey” (v. 27).  In other words, he is telling us to refrain from eating.  No matter how good it is for the body, excessive consumption doesn’t make the body healthy, but rather harms the body.  So the important thing is to eat “only what you need” (v. 16).  ‘Eating only healthy foods doesn’t mean we can live a long, healthy life.  An obsession with well-being can cause stress.  It is necessary to find a sense of balance for what we must eat while enjoying our favorite food in moderation.  Professor Taeseon Park of the Department of Food and Nutrition at Yonsei University said, ‘There is no need to distinguish between good food and bad food.  If we don't eat too much, it's also important to get mental satisfaction from eating foods that aren't good for our body sometimes.  Defining cola and donuts as junk food and avoiding them unconditionally or obsessing with calories considering obesity can induce disaster.  If we like food that is bad for our body, eat it in moderation.  It's better to eat something we don't want to eat because it's good for our body.  Food isn’t just a filling, it is a pleasure’ (Internet).

 

Therefore, we must enjoy the food.  We must practice the habit of refraining and moderation.  No matter how healthy the body is, I hope and pray that we can enjoy moderate eating without overeating.

 

Second, we should control pursuing only our own honor.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:27 – “It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor.”  What is “honor”?  In the Essence Korean Dictionary, honor is interpreted like this (Internet): (1) A name that is said to be wonderful in the world (Ex.) To restore honor.  (2) Awareness of moral dignity or moral dignity being approved, respected, and praised.  (3) A person's social evaluation or value.  (4) A title that is written on words that indicate a position or title, and is given to pay homage to that person, and to praise his merit.  (Ex.) Honorary President / Honorary Citizen.  Pastor Man-Pung Kim defined honor like this (Internet): ‘Honor is 'a glorious name that gives glory to God and receives love, respect, and praise from people by pursuing good works for righteous purposes in the right way.’  The Bible Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, Favor is better than silver and gold.”  The Bible tells us to choose good name and favor more than silver or gold or a lot of wealth.

 

When I thought of “honor” and “favor,” I remembered the man named Noah in Genesis.  The Bible Genesis 6:8 says, “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.”  Also, the Bible says, “Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God” (v. 9).  I hope and pray that my three children, Dillon, Sophie, and Karis, to become those who are favored by God like Noah.  Therefore, I hope and pray that they have good names that God knows and recognizes.

 

We must live well in order to die well.  So what does it mean to live well?  How can I know how well I am living?  It seems that whether or not we have lived well for a lifetime is evaluated only after we die.  Can we tell how well we have lived?  We can tell by thinking of our names.  In other words, at the funeral after death, if people think about or not praise our names, we can see how we lived our lives.  The old saying goes that everyone has three names: (1) A name given by our parents, (2) One others call us, and (3) One we acquires ourselves.  What is the name we are acquiring?  We have to think about whether we are truly people who believe in Jesus and is praised not only by God but also by people because of living a righteous life.  This is what the Bible Proverbs 10:7 says: “The memory of the righteous is blessed, But the name of the wicked will rot.”  The name of the righteous is said to be praised when commemorating after death.  That name is a blessed name.  To borrow the words of Ecclesiastes 7:1, it is a good name.  King Solomon says that this beautiful name is better than “a good ointment”.  A beautiful name is more precious than the wealth of the world.

 

By the way, in Proverbs 25:27, King Solomon says, “It is not good to eat too much honey, nor is it honorable to seek one's own honor.”  There is one thing we need to point out here.  That is, there are two kinds of honor.  We need to distinguish between these two kinds of honor.  One is “desire for honor”.  This desire is a gift from God with appetite, desire to sleep, and sexual desire.  If the result is to glorify God and to edify our neighbors, then our desire for honor is just and desirable (Ref. Deut. 26:19-19).  However, “greed for honor,” which pursues self-honor by making honor itself a purpose, regardless of means or method, is that we should always be on the lookout.  In Proverbs 25:27, King Solomon tells us that it isn’t honorable to seek one's own honor.  It is meaningless.  Why do we fall into greed for honor?  Among those who have fallen into greed of honor, they are unable to resolve their frustrations because they don’t receive recognition from people who have had an important influence on them, such as parents, siblings, teachers, friends, etc.  It is said that people who have been around are often found.  If we look at the self-portraits of people in greed of honor, we find that the sense of inferiority and the sense of superiority are colored.  Therefore, we compare our position with others and are very sensitive to the attitudes and actions others treat us.  Envy and jealousy are hiding.  It is shaded by anger and complaining.

 

What, then, should we do if we are free from greed for honor?  To escape from greed of honor, we have to reflect our self-portrait in the mirror of God's word and rectify the wrong partWhen we walk in the faith, hope, and love in Christ Jesus on the path of pursuing in a good way, not for honor itself, but for the glory of God and pursuing things that fit His will, then praise, honor, and glory will be our reward of God's grace (Internet).

 

Third, we should control going to the neighbor's house.

 

                Look at Proverbs 25:17 – “Seldom set foot in your neighbor's house-- too much of you, and he will hate you.”  What do you think of your neighbors coming to your house often?  How would you respond if you were happy the first few times, but you are also busy and difficult, and your neighbors keep coming to your house often?  No matter how close you are, going house too often can be a nuisance to your friend.  In Proverbs 25:17, King Solomon is telling us not to go to neighbors often.   The Bible tells us to love our neighbors.  In order to love our neighbors, shouldn't we meet often and often go house and spend time together?  It is never a bad thing to visit a neighbor's house when it comes to loving neighbors.  It is rather good.  It is good for us to build friendships through close fellowship as we come and go to our neighbor’s house.  But in verse 17, the word we need to watch out for is “too much of you”.  In other words, it is good to go to the neighbor's house, but don't do that because going “frequently” is a nuisance to the neighbor.  As honey is good, but eating too much can be bad for our health, it’s good to go to a neighbor’s house, but going too often can be bad.

 

Today's text Proverbs 25:17 literally means 'make your foot (step) valuable.'  What can we do to make our steps valuable?  We shouldn't overdo in setting our foot in our neighbor’s house.  Also, we shouldn't go to the neighbor's house and overstay too long (Murphy).  What is the reason?  The reason is said in the second half of verse 17: “… and he will hate you.”  In other words, the reason we shouldn't go to our neighbors often is because otherwise our neighbor will get bored with us and hate us.  Therefore, it may be better for us to go to our neighbor's house infrequently rather than often.  This is one of the ways to make our steps valuable.  I would like to call this the 'principle of rarity'.  The Bible Knowledge commentary says: “A person should refrain from frequently visiting his neighbor, to avoid being a nuisance, but he should visit enough so that his visits are valued (Walvoord). 

 

                Visits to our neighbors' houses should be understated so that there should be consideration that doesn’t bother them. Therefore, I hope and pray that a visit to our neighbor's house will be worthwhile and valuable.

 

Fourth, we should control our mouths.

 

In Proverbs 25:16-28, King Solomon is giving us four lessons about the mouth:

 

(1)   We should not give false testimony against our neighbor.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:18 – “Like a club or a sword or a sharp arrow is the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”  In Proverbs 24:28, King Solomon said: “Do not be a witness against your neighbor without cause, And do not deceive with your lips.”  We must not be false witnesses to our neighbors without cause.  We should not deceive our neighbors with our lips.  This means that even if the other person lies to us and deceives us, we shouldn't do it to that person.  Of course, the reason we should not do so is not only because the Bible forbids us to retaliate (revenge) ourselves, but also we should not lie and not deceive our neighbors.  If we lie and deceive our neighbor, it pleases the devil, the liar and father of lies (Jn. 8:44).  Rather, we must follow the Christian Golden Rule.  What is the Golden Rule of Christianity?  Look at Matthew 7:12 – “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”  This is a key principle that clearly teaches how to love our neighbor in fulfilling the commandment of “love your neighbor as yourself” in Jesus' double commandment.  The principle is, ‘As I want to be treated by the other person, I must first treat him like that.’  For example, if I want the other person to understand me a little, I have to try to understand that person first.  We should change our position and get into the habit of thinking in other person’s perspective.  Then we will be able to treat others as we wish to be treated by them.  In particular, we must be true to the other person first, just as we want the other person to be true.  We must never tell lies.  And we should never give false evidence to our neighbors.  Only we must be true witnesses.

 

Even in Proverbs 25:18, King Solomon once again mentions “a man who gives false testimony against his neighbor.”  The key point of this word is that the person who gives false testimony against his neighbor is like “a club or a sword or a sharp arrow.”  What does it mean?  Aren't club, sword, and sharp arrow weapons that can cause fatal injuries to our opponents?  Anyone who falsely witnesses to a neighbor means someone who inflicts a fatal wound on that neighbor.  Therefore, we must not falsely testify against our neighbor.  We must not inflict fatal wounds on our neighbor.

 

(2)   We must not sing songs to a heavy heart.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:20 – “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”  In Proverbs 10:32, the Bible says that “The lips of the righteous know what is fitting.”  In other words, the lips of the righteous speak the right words to please the other person.  In Proverbs 25:11-15, we have already meditated on “a word aptly spoken” or “a word spoken in right circumstances” (v. 11).  Here, the Hebrew word for “right circumstances” means “wheel”, which means ‘spinning in good control in the circumstances at that time’ (Park).  In other words, at that time, the appropriate word that is well controlled in the circumstances has a great value like apples of gold in settings of silver.  Then I would like to ask you a question: ‘Is it appropriate to bless your neighbor out loud early in the morning?’  I am sure no one will answer “Yes”.  What is the reason?  The reason is because no one would like to listen the loud voice in the early morning, no matter how blessed it is.  Indeed, the Bible Proverbs 27:14 says, “If a man loudly blesses his neighbor early in the morning, it will be taken as a curse.”  What does this word teach us?  The important lesson we need to learn here is that even when we do the truth of God, we must do it in right time.  Whatever good thing is, we must meet the right time to do it (Park).

 

In Proverbs 25:20, King Solomon says, “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”  Here, “a heavy heart” in Hebrew means “a sad heart” (Gesenius).  Now King Solomon makes two comparisons of singing to the sad heart: (a) Singing to the sad heart is like taking off clothes on a cold day (v. 20).  In this winter which is exceptionally cold and there are many people suffering from the flu, who would take off clothes?  Wouldn’t we wear thicker clothes?  However, King Solomon is saying that singing to the sad heart is like taking off his clothes on the cold day.  What does it mean?  In a word, it means that it isn’t the word aptly spoken (v. 11).  Can you imagine someone approaching you and singing happily when you are sad?  Probably no one will like it.  (b) Singing to the sad heart is like vinegar that is poured on soda (v. 20).  The word translated “vinegar” here means the Hebrew word “natron” refers to a substance known in ancient times as “an alkali mineral”.  It is said that this material was used for cleaning in the East at the time (Swanson).  Look at Jeremiah 2:22 – “Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your iniquity is before Me," declares the Lord GOD.”  When vinegar is poured over this soda substance, it immediately breaks up and has a fermentation effect.  Likewise, singing a song without sympathy to the sad heart makes more agitation of that person's sad heart (MacArthur).  Therefore, we should not sing to those who are sad in heart.   Rather, we must “weep with those who weep” with sympathy for the sad heart (Heb. 4:15; Rom. 15:17).

 

(3)   We should not gossip.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:23 – “As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.”  Here, “a sly tongue” original literal meaning is “a tongue of secrecy”.  In other words, the sly tongue is “a slanderous tongue” (Walvoord).  Wouldn't that person be angry if we secretly see the other person's scars behind the scenes, criticize him for his faults, and put the words in his opponent's ears?  In particular, if we use ridiculous words to criticize the other person or even trick the other person to harm him, and eventually even damage the other person's honor, why not try to sue us for defamation by being angry with the other person?

 

In the letter written to a person named Gaius by the apostle John, 3 John 1:9-10, there is a person named “Diotrephes, who loves to be first” among the church members.  Not only did he not welcome the apostle John (v. 9), but he also gossiped maliciously about him with evil words (v. 10).  He was a person who unjustly accused the apostle.  In today’s word, he was a person who reproached and slandered the pastor.  This kind of soul is greatly wrong.  It is a person with a wrong soul, like Diotrephes, that the saints in the church gossip and criticize the pastor.  We must not slander not only pastors but also members of the church.  If we slander each other, the relationship will inevitably be broken.  So, who would like it if the church is in trouble and divides the church.  To slander and gossiping maliciously the brothers of the Lord is foolish.  We must be on the lookout for such a person.  The Bible Proverbs 10:18 says, “He who conceals his hatred has lying lips, and whoever spreads slander is a fool.”  And Leviticus 19:16 says, “'Do not go about spreading slander among your people. " 'Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor's life. I am the LORD.”  Therefore, we should not go around and reproach others.  We should not gossip about others.  It's the act of the fool.  The wise person is careful about telling other people's stories.  In particular, he doesn’t gossip other people's secret (Prov. 11:13).  Therefore, he doesn’t gossip.  I hope and pray that we can become wise Christians who don’t gossip.

 

(4)   We must preach the good news with our lips.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:25 – “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”  The wise man not only doesn’t gossip about others, but also he doesn’t sing to those whose heart is sad.  And he never falsely testifies against his neighbor.  Rather, he uses his lips to preach the good news to his neighbor.  In Proverbs 25:25, King Solomon says, “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.”  What does it mean?  It means that the good news quenchs the thirst of our hearts like cold water to a thirsty person.   I remember the words of Psalms 42:1 – “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”  As we live in this sinful world, most of what we hear every day through news or the like is only bad news.  Therefore, our hearts, like Lot who lived in Sodom and Gomorrah, have no choice but to be tormented in our righteous souls (2 Pet. 2:8).  Therefore, our broken hearts are bound to pant for the Lord more and more.  What refreshes our broken hearts as we come before the throne of God's grace with panting hearts?  That is the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We must preach the good news of Jesus Christ with our lips.

 

            Fifth, we should control trusting.

 

                We must be very vigilant about trusting people.  We need to be careful with people who come to us and do us so well when we are tired of mind and body, especially because we are going through difficult things.  The reason is because at such time we may be tempted to trust people more than the Lord.  In particular, we should avoid those who speak two different words with one mouth.  For example, we must avoid “the man who gives false testimony against his neighbor” (Prov. 25:18).  Especially when we are struggling, we should not trust those who tell false lies.

 

In today’s text Proverbs 25:19, King Solomon says: “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.”  He is telling us not to trust the “unfaithful”.  What is the reason?  The reason is because it is like “a bad tooth or a lame foot” to trust the unfaithful man.  Can you imagine eating food with “a bad tooth”?  Will you be able to walk with “a lame foot”?  The Bible says that it is like this in the day of tribulation, that is, when we are in crisis, that we trust in the unfaithful man (v. 19).  Therefore, we must not rely on those who aren’t truthful and faithful in the day of tribulation. Rather, we must trust in our truthful God.

 

This is what Psalms 125:1 says: “Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever.”  The Bible says that those who trust in God will not be shaken like Mount Zion and will be forever.  “Mountain” is a symbol of immovability and rest (Park).  The Bible tells us that those who trust in God will stand firmly and unshakable in any trouble and adversity like a mountain, and will enjoy the peace and rest that God gives forever.  How is this possible?  How can we enjoy peace and rest without being shaken like the mountain in this sinful world of sorrow, hardship, and death?  It is because God protects those who trust him (v. 2).  It is said that Jerusalem is geographically surrounded by many mountains (Park).  Like so many mountains surrounding Jerusalem, God surrounds those who trust in Him.  In other words, those who trust in God are forever before God and will be protected from Him forever.

 

God is telling us to “call upon me in the day of trouble” (Ps. 50:15).  What is the reason?  The reason is because when we cry out to the truthful God in the day of trouble, God will answer us (20:1) and comfort us (2 Cor. 1:4).  Also, because God will deliver us from that trouble (Ps. 50:15), we must call on God in the day of trouble.  Therefore, I hope and pray that all of us glorify God (v. 15).

 

            Sixth, we should control hating.

 

                During the Lunar New Year, I saw the scenes of Koreans are going home with their children to see their beloved parents through the Korean news.  I also heard an interview from an elderly man who said he was more pleased with his grandchildren than his children.  How grateful it is to be able to have a great time with the whole family in one place.  Our families who believe in Jesus must achieve the heavenly home because we love God and our neighbor, the twofold commandment of Jesus.  But in many families, hate is growing more than love.  There are many families who are hurting, receiving wounds and pains, and shedding tears.  In particular, the marital discord is becoming more and more serious, and there are many families where the relationship between parents and children is growing more hate than love.  If our families believe in Jesus, then we should love each other with the love of God.

 

Our old nature is to repay the other person with life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut. 19:21).  Our sinful nature is to hate our enemiesOur sinful nature is to hate enemies to the point of wanting to kill them.  Therefore, our nature isn’t to forgive our enemies, but rather to take revenge.  But the Bible says, “Do not say, ‘I'll do to him as he has done to me; I'll pay that man back for what he did’” (Prov. 24:29).  Also, Proverbs 20:22, which we have already meditated on, says: “Do not say, ‘I'll pay you back for this wrong!’  Wait for the LORD, and he will deliver you.”  Here, the Bible tells us no to pay back for this wrong, which means that the other person has caused me pain and I don’t try to inflict pain on that person.  This is what the Bible Romans 12:19 says: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord.”  In other words, the reason why we should wait for God without repaying evil ourselves is because it is God’s to avenge and not ours so we must believe in God and wait for Him to repay our enemies for us.

 

In Proverbs 25:21, the Bible says, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.”  As I meditate on this Bible verse, I remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:43-44: “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”  Our nature is to “love our neighbors” and to “hate our enemies”.  Of course, the “neighbor” here is also our neighbor, not the neighbor Jesus is talking about.  In other words, the “neighbors” we think of are those who love us (Mt. 5:46), but the “neighbors” Jesus is talking about includes even our enemies.  That’s why Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (vv. 43-44).  Jesus' teaching is to love our enemies.  The concrete practice lesson of that love is found in Proverbs 25:21.  The lesson is to give our enemies food to eat when they are hungry and to give them water to drink when they are thirsty.  How is this possible?  How can we give food and water to our enemies?  I looked for the answer in Romans 5:10 – “For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”  The Bible says that when we were enemies with God, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, died on the cross for us, and we had been reconciled to God.  That is, God demonstrated His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners and God’s enemies, Christ died for us (v. 8).  When His love is full within us, we can love our enemies without hating them.

 

Why, then, does the Bible Proverbs 25:21 tell us to give our enemy food when he is hungry and to give give him water when he is thirsty?  Look at Proverbs 25:22 – “In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head, and the LORD will reward you.”  According to Pastor John MacArthur, in ancient Egyptian culture, if a person wants to publicly show people that he has repented of his sins, he walks with burning coals on his head.  Here, “burning coals” symbolizes the burning pain of a person's shame and guilt (MacArthur).  Now, why is King Solomon saying, “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink” (v. 21)?  Why should we show love to our enemies? There are two reasons: (1) The first reason is because if we show love to our enemies, they will feel shame about hatred, resentment, and hostility within them (MacArthur).  (2) But even greater reason than this is because if we show love to even our enemies who oppose us and persecute us, their cold and hard hearts will melt and become our new friends (Park).  The apostle Paul quotes this in Romans 12:20.  The apostle Paul quotes this word in Romans 12:20.  To sum up this word, the apostle Paul exhorts the saints in Rome and to us to love their enemies.  The reason is because by doing so, we can melt the hearts of our enemies and make friends in the Lord.

 

If we look at 1 John 3:15, the Bible says, “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”  In other words, if we think the opposite of the saying that those who hate their brothers are murderers and murderers don’t have eternal life, those who have everlasting life because they believe in Jesus, the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:12-13), respond to Jesus' double commandment in obedience.  It means to obey to love God and to love our neighbor.  Therefore, I hope and pray that we can control hating our brothers or enemies and love our neighbors as well as our enemies.

 

            Seventh, we should control quarreling.

 

                We Christians, like the commandment of Jesus, should love our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus has commanded us.  However, even though we know this, we sometimes hate our neighbors and even quarrel with them.  What is the cause?  The Bible James 4:1 says the cause: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you?”  The reason we quarrel is because of the quarreling desire within us.  We must fight this desire.  The Bible 1 Peter 2:11 tells us: “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.”  We must fight the sinful desires that fight against our souls.  One of the sinful desires is the desire to quarrel.  Therefore, we must fight and overcome this quarreling desire. 

 

In Proverbs 25:24, King Solomon speaks of “a quarrelsome wife.  He says that it is better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  Why does the wife quarrel with her husband?  If we look at Proverbs 15:1, the Bible says: “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”  Can you imagine?  You have to calm the other person's anger with gentle words.  But how would the other person react when you say a harsh word to an angry person, as if you were pouring gasoline into the fire?  This is what the Bible Proverbs 15:18 says: “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel.”  If we are in a hurry and get angry easily, we are bound to quarrel.  The reason is because we cannot restrain our mouths in anger, and speak the harsh word that hurts others (15:4).  So we need to close our mouths when we are angry.  In other words, when we are angry, we need to refrain from speaking.  The reason is because the words from our mouths can be harsh if we fail to manage our anger.  Therefore, we should be slow to speak when we are angry because we can hurt the other person's heart (Jam. 1:19).

 

In Proverbs 25:23, I looked for the cause of the wife's quarrel with her husband: “As a north wind brings rain, so a sly tongue brings angry looks.”  The reason why the wife quarrels with her husband is because of “a sly tongue” (the tongue of gossip)Here, “a sly tongue” means “a secret tongue,” and it refers to the words of a person who flatters to harm others and to benefit himself (Park).  And the husband who hears such word causes anger, and the couple quarrel.  Today the Bible says that it is better to live alone on the corner of the roof than to live in a large house together, arguing with a woman with a tongue that accuses like this, with the woman who speaks words that are harmful to her husband.  Such a woman speaks flattering words for her own benefit.  The similar word is found in Proverbs 21:9, 19: “Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife.  …  Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”  The Bible Proverbs 21:9 says “a quarrelsome wife”, but in verse 19 it says “a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.”  The cause of the quarrel is because we aren’t being patient and get angry easily.  We can know this because in Proverbs 15:18, the Bible says, “A hot-tempered man stirs up dissension ….”  However, the Bible also says, “…  but a patient man calms a quarrel” (v.18).

 

In a marital relationship, if we are unable to manage our anger and are easily outraged, we will inevitably lead to quarrels.  What is the reason?  One of the reasons is because we speak the harsh word (v. 1).  When we think about the quarrelsome wife and the quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife, the Bible Proverbs 19:13 says, “a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping” (Ref.: 27:15).  What does it mean?  A wife who has a habit of quarreling with her husband often quarrels with her husband so that there are few days of peace, and when quarrels begin, she doesn’t stop talking like “a constant dripping” (Park).  How would her husband react if such a quarrelsome, angry wife pours out words in anger continually?

 

It is better to live in the corner of the roof or in the wilderness than in a large house with the quarrelsome and angry woman.  It is more uncomfortable than having the couple living comfortably together in the large house and arguing.  It is better to live in harmony with each other even in the hut.  We must be committed to building up the peaceful couple in the Lord.

 

            Eight, we should control giving way.

 

                Look at Proverbs 25:26 – “Like a muddied spring or a polluted well is a righteous man who gives way to the wicked.”  Here, the Hebrew word ‘to give way’ means ‘to fail’, ‘to fall’ or ‘to stagger’.  The reason he falls and staggers is because he is in an inadequate state (Swanson).

 

When we are in a state of spiritual shortage, especially when we face the difficulties and adversities of our faith, are we not shaken and eventually fall?  The psalmist had this fear.  Look at Psalms 13:4 – “my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall.”  The psalmist feared that his enemy had won and that his enemy would rejoice when he was shaken.  When our faith is shaken, we are in danger of failing.  Not only that, but in our lack and weakness, our faith is shaken.  So we reluctantly agree with those who oppose us, and there is a high risk of accepting theirs.  Therefore, we must not be shaken.  In order to do that, we must cast our cares on the Lord (Ps. 55:22).  Then God will sustain us and will never let us fall (v. 22).

 

                We Christians who have been justified by believing in Jesus by the grace of God must clearly distinguish between what must we give way and what must we not give way.  First of all, what must we give way?  Look at Romans 8:7 – “the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so.”  Looking at this word, the Bible says that the sinful mind not only doesn’t submit to God's law, but it cannot do so.  Contrary to this word, we who have been reconciled to God through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross must submit to to God's law (the word).  What, then, shouldn’t we submit to?  As Proverbs 25:26 says, we must not give way to the wicked.  For example, when we are persecuted and suffered by wicked people who don’t believe in Jesus by faith, we must not give way to them.  The reason for this is because giving way to the wicked is like “a muddied spring or a polluted well” (v. 26).  Can you imagine?  Of course we want to draw water from a clean well and drink it.  But what if the the well water gets dirty?  I am sure no one will draw water from that dirty well again and drink it.  I think that has happened in the history of our Korean church.  That is why Korean Christians visited the shrine and did shrine worship during the Japanese colonial era.  I think that it is to give way to the wicked.  As a result, many Christians must have been disappointed.  This give way or surrender to the wicked is by no means an good example for later generations of Christians.  Therefore, we Christians must not give way to the wicked.  We must control giving way to the wicked.

 

            Ninth and last, we should control our hearts.

 

Look at Proverbs 25:28 – “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.”  Imagine a city that has collapsed and a city without walls but the enemy is attacking.  So, what will happen to all those who live in the collapsed city and the city without walls?  They will lose the war while they are very vulnerable and unprotected (incapable of defending) the enemy's attack.  The Bible tells us that it is like this to those who don’t have the ability to control their hearts.  Those who aren’t self-controlled and out of control are bound to be vulnerable to trouble and temptation.  For example, those who are unable to control their anger, that is, those who are quick to anger, may fall into troubles and temptations and sin against God.  Look at Proverbs 14:17, 29 – “A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated.  …  A patient man has great understanding, but a quick-tempered man displays folly.”  The Bible says that those who don’t have the ability to control their anger do foolish things.  A person who is in a hurry only shows his foolishness.  That’s why the Bible Proverbs 29:11 says, “A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control.”

 

We must be able to control our anger.  Look at Proverbs 16:32 – “Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city.”  We must be those who control our hearts.  We must be slow to anger and to restrain anger.

 

We must control ourselves.  We must control eating, seeking honor, going to neighbors house, our lips, trusting, hating, quarreling, and our hearts.  I hope and pray that God the Holy Spirit will bring forth self-control, one of the fruits of the Holy Spirit.