Tuesday of Pentecost 12 – Proverbs 25:2-10

It is the glory of God to conceal things,
    but the glory of kings is to search things out.
As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth,
    so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Take away the dross from the silver,
    and the smith has material for a vessel;
take away the wicked from the presence of the king,
    and his throne will be established in righteousness.
Do not put yourself forward in the king’s presence
    or stand in the place of the great,
for it is better to be told, “Come up here,”
    than to be put lower in the presence of a noble.

What your eyes have seen
    do not hastily bring into court,
for what will you do in the end,
    when your neighbor puts you to shame?
Argue your case with your neighbor himself,
    and do not reveal another’s secret,
10 lest he who hears you bring shame upon you,
    and your ill repute have no end.

One of David’s mottos, according to his son, was “Never pass up an opportunity to say nothing.” We gathered for David’s memorial service today. It was a beautiful day filled with tears and laughter, memories and promises of God. The church was full of friends and family who had come to comfort one another and thank God for his grace and a life a well-lived. This motto was one of the things we remembered. David lived the motto in my experience. He was not the sort of fellow who jumped into the conversation right off the bat. But when he did chime in, it was a good idea to listen.

The Proverbialist is dishing out good advice today, including the motto by which David lived. I am particularly struck by the aphorism which makes up verses 4 and 5 and wish I could choose some of the advisors to those in power. It would be good to take away the wicked from the presence of those who make the decisions. I think anyone who lives in a democracy needs to ask how we can contribute to that goal. The whole point of a democracy is that we should have some say in this.

But first you and I need to hear the exhortation to humility which is given to all in these words. In an age of social media, when hardly anyone has an untweeted, unposted, or unuttered thought, we do well to remember that motto of David’s. Don’t pass up an opportunity to be silent. Try it. Take a social media fast, hold the gossip, enjoy the silence. 

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