Verse 6 and 7 should sound familiar, because they later came from the lips of the Lord Jesus. “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Then came an application – “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
That near direct quote of Jesus from the Proverbs got me thinking – and ultimately asking the question: “How often did our Saviour quote Solomon?” In order to answer that question, I pulled out the first Bible I had as a Christian – with its center references. And that led me to one of my on-line Bibles. So with three Bibles in front of me I spent some enjoyable time in comparing a hundred or more verses. It was consuming so much time that I didn’t really complete it, so my conclusions might be inaccurate. But I ended up with 3 pages of notes and it might have become twice that size.
My preliminary conclusion is that this may be the only time that Jesus directly quoted Proverbs. But as my notes suggest, Christ lived on, or taught, the principles of this book. For example, there are dozens ways that the Sermon on the Mount, inter-relates with Proverbs. And we can see in Jesus’ life illustrations helpful in teaching this book.
This evening I thought I’d share a few of those interrelationships beginning from chapter 25. What I would recommend is that you stay here in Proverbs while I bring up other verses from the gospels. I won’t have time to make a lot of comments. You might not see or agree with all my connections, but I hope that most of these will be a blessing.
Verses 8-9 – “Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbour himself; and discover not a secret to another: Lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away.” Jesus put it this way, “Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison” – Matthew 5:25.
Proverbs 5:21 – “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the LORD shall reward thee.” In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good ot them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you” – Matthew 5:44.
Proverbs 5:25 is a great verse – “As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” Remember that the word “gospel” literally refers to “good news.” John 7:37 – “Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.” And in Revelation we read, “the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”
Verse 5 – “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” How many times did the Lord Jesus refuse to directly reply to the Jews’ foolish questions? Matthew 16:1 – “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.”
How often did the Lord have to deal with people of Proverbs 26:12 – “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” How does that compare with Luke 18:11 – “The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are…..”
Proverbs 26:17 – “He that passeth by, and meddle with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” It is not a good idea to try to grab a 60 pound pit bull terrier by the ears. There was a man who came to Christ one day demanding that He deal with a legal matter concerning an inheritance. What was Jesus’ reply? “Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?” In that case, no matter what side He took, His message of the gospel would never be heard by the other party.
Proverbs 26:28 – “A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted by it; and a flattering mouth worketh ruin.” Jesus said in John 15 – “If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin; but they have no cloke for their sin. If I had not done among them the work which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father.” It is important that people realize their sinfulness; flattery and denial only make matters worse.
Verse 1 – “Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.” Luke 12:17-20 – “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?”
Verse 4 – “Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?” In regard to the arrest of Christ, Pilate knew “that for envy they had delivered him.” The Jews couldn’t stanch their envy, and Pilate didn’t try to stand against ti.
Proverbs 27:5 – “Open rebuke is better than secret love.” Matthew 18:15 – “Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.”
Proverbs 27:6 relates directly to the betrayal of Christ by Judas – “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Mary’s pound of spikenard upon the feet of the Lord were a blessing to Him and a lesson to the disciples.
Proverbs 27:9 – “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart; so doth the sweetness of man’s friend by hearty counsel.”
Can the Lord’s parable of the good Samaritan be related to Proverbs 27:10? “Thine own friend, and thy father’s friend, forsake not, neither go into thy brother house in the day of thy calamity; for better is a neighbour that is near than a brother far off.” The reference to the fig tree in verse 18 might be applied to several situations in the New Testament. “Whoso keepeth the fig tree shall eateth the fruit thereof; so he that waiteth on his master shall be honoured.”
Verse 19 – “As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man.” Mark 7:20 – Jesus said, “That which cometheth out of the man, that defildeth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts…. (and other sins)… all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
In my study I found a great many proverbs that shed light on or were enlightened by Matthew 6:33 – “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these thing shall be added unto you.” Proverbs 27:23 and 27 – “Be diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. And thou shalt have goat’s milk enough for thy food, for the food of thy household and for the maintenance of thy maidens.” Proverbs 28:10 – “Whoso causeth the right to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit; but the upright shall have good things in possession.”
Verse 3 – “A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like a sweeping rain which leaveth no food.” Against that we have Jesus’ parable of the servants, one of which “went out and found one of his fellow-servants, which owned him an hundred pence, and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. And his lord was wroth and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”
Verse 5 – “Evil men understand not judgment; but they that seek the Lord understand all things.” John 7:17 – Jesus said, “My doctrine (my teaching) is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God…”
I could go on with many more of these verses which link to the words and actions of Christ. And there are many others which were picked up and quoted by the apostles. Then we could go to other books like Psalms and do the same thing there. The books most often quoted by the Lord Jesus were Psalms, Isaiah, Exodus and Deuteronomy.
By this we learn not to confine our Bible study to the New Testament. If Christ and His disciples used the Old Testament and learned from the Old Testament then so should we. We not only see our condemnation in the Old Testament but we also see how to pattern our Christian lives.