Thursday, September 27, 2012

Proverbs 26:17 Don't rush in...

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears
    is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.


Let's imagine that you have done what Solomon is saying here --- you have grabbed a stray dog by the ears. Perhaps he was menacing you or your little one, and you grabbed the first thing your hand touched . . . what's going to happen? Well, if you keep holding on, you have a pretty good chance of getting bitten by the squirming dog. If you let go, you have a pretty good chance of getting bitten, by the squirming-but-now-free-to-move dog.

Either way, it doesn't look good!

Solomon is telling us that, just as in the example above, there are not many good consequences if we rush into a quarrel that is not our own.  Just in the last chapter, number 25, we were told in verse 8: Don't go forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbour hath put thee to shame.
If we are to be slow to anger, and not be hasty to get into fights on our own account, then we definitely don't need to be meddling in other people's business!

But, you say, I'm just trying to help. I've got the best of intentions, and I have a great track record, too. Well, let's look at a story of a king who had a super track record, and great intentions . . .

In the Old Testament, one of the shining stars is King Josiah. He ascended to the throne at the tender age of eight, and when he was a mere teenager (nineteen) he started reforms in his kingdom, to end pagan worship. He took down idols, burned and destroyed false prophets bones and idolatrous shrines, and just generally was giving his kingdom a good spring cleaning.
When he was twenty-five, he decided to rebuild the temple of the Lord. Workers found a dusty old book, and it was discovered to be a "Bible" or what was known to be scripture at that time. (It would have been the first five books of our modern-day Bible.)  As a portion of it was read to King Josiah, he realized what it was, and tore his kingly garment. This was to show his sadness and repentance, as he realized how far his country had gone, away from God.
Filled with energy and enthusiasm, he began a campaign to restore his country's worship of God. The population was assembled, and the entire scripture was read to them. King Josiah and the people pledged themselves to the covenant of God, and more reforms and "cleaning" were carried out. Finally, King Josiah hosted a huge Passover celebration; this hadn't happened for years. All of the people of Judah, and some from Israel, joined the celebration and worship of God.
Now that you know his track record, let's hear the rest of the story. In Josiah's 31st year as King, The Egyptian king and his army wanted to cross over Judah to get to a battle with someone else. "Just let me scoot across here," he said, "I have no quarrel with you." (My paraphrase.)  He was even inspired by God to tell Josiah that he should not meddle in this situation.
Now, whether Josiah thought he could meddle and keep the two factions from fighting, or whether he just wanted to keep the other king out of his land, he should have obeyed the message from God, and minded his own business.
But he didn't. (You knew I was going to say that, right?) He went into battle and was mortally wounded --- and Judah slipped right back into their old sinful ways.

If we stick our noses into a dispute that is not ours; if we rush to take sides in a quarrel that has nothing to do with us; oh, the consequences are often pretty distasteful. Let's heed Solomon here, and learn to mind our own business!

1 comment:

Belinda said...

OOOh, you are soo right. I've learned the hard way to stay out of it and only offer assistance if it's asked. Even then you can really get yourself into some deep trouble! Great post!