I am writing this in the early morning, so I will say to you: Good Morning. I missed yesterday-Wednesday is typically a pretty busy day for me. Anyway, it's good to spend some time in God's Word. Enjoy Proverbs Ch. 21, my comments follow.
21 The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord;
He turns it wherever He wishes.
2 Every man’s way is right in his own eyes,
But the Lord weighs the hearts.
3 To do righteousness and justice
Is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.
4 Haughty eyes and a proud heart,
The lamp of the wicked, is sin.
5 The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage,
But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.
6 The acquisition of treasures by a lying tongue
Is a fleeting vapor, the [a]pursuit of death.
7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away,
Because they refuse to act with justice.
8 The way of a guilty man is crooked,
But as for the pure, his conduct is upright.
9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than [b]in a house shared with a contentious woman.
10 The soul of the wicked desires evil;
His neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
11 When the scoffer is punished, the [c]naive becomes wise;
But when the wise is instructed, he receives knowledge.
12 The righteous one considers the house of the wicked,
Turning the wicked to ruin.
13 He who shuts his ear to the cry of the poor
Will also cry himself and not be answered.
14 A gift in secret subdues anger,
And a bribe in the bosom, strong wrath.
15 The exercise of justice is joy for the righteous,
But is terror to the workers of iniquity.
16 A man who wanders from the way of understanding
Will rest in the assembly of the [d]dead.
17 He who loves pleasure will become a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not become rich.
18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous,
And the treacherous is in the place of the upright.
19 It is better to live in a desert land
Than with a contentious and vexing woman.
20 There is precious treasure and oil in the dwelling of the wise,
But a foolish man swallows it up.
21 He who pursues righteousness and loyalty
Finds life, righteousness and honor.
22 A wise man scales the city of the mighty
And brings down the [e]stronghold in which they trust.
23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue,
Guards his soul from troubles.
24 “Proud,” “Haughty,” “Scoffer,” are his names,
Who acts with insolent pride.
25 The desire of the sluggard puts him to death,
For his hands refuse to work;
26 All day long he [f]is craving,
While the righteous gives and does not hold back.
27 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination,
How much more when he brings it with evil intent!
28 A false witness will perish,
But the man who listens to the truth will speak forever.
29 A wicked man [g]displays a bold face,
But as for the upright, he makes his way sure.
30 There is no wisdom and no understanding
And no counsel against the Lord.
31 The horse is prepared for the day of battle,
But victory belongs to the Lord.
Today's chapter is filled to the brim with great wisdom and advice. I would like to draw you attention to vs. 3 and vs. 9.
vs. 3. To do righteousness and justice is desired by the Lord more than sacrifice.
This is a similar verse to what we find in Proverbs 51 where David declares:
16 For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. 17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Both Psalms and Proverbs have the same idea: that our Lord would much prefer that we obey from righteous and contrite heart, rather than simply obey the rule because we have to. To the writers of both examples, having an open ear and a soft heart toward the Lord will always supersede simply "following the law."
Next, is vs. 9:
9 It is better to live in a corner of a roof than in a house shared with a contentious woman.
I need to be careful here, just incase my wife ever reads this. I think we have all known contentious people (women or men). Regardless of their gender, contentious people can quickly drive a person away. A contentious person is one who is "given to arguing or provoking an argument"(dictionary.com). It is easy for us to look at others and focus on their problems. I think for us, taking a hard look at ourselves to determine when/if we are ever contentious is much more difficult.
"Lord, help me to have a pliable, soft heart that seeks to do the right thing, for the right reason. Reveal to me the situations in which I can become contentious and give me the grace to change."