What does a life focused on God, not self (3:5, 7) look like? You won’t neglect (vv. 27-28) or harm your neighbors (vv. 29-30). The “do not’s” of these verses practically describe what loving God and your neighbor looks like (cf. Lev 19:18). This is how one who fears the Lord lives with and among others. On the one hand, you won’t neglect your neighbors (vv. 27-28). Nothing specific is said here, so this is a principle that can be applied to many different circumstances. “Good” can be any act, thing, or decision—money, tools, skills, physical help, time, etc. Don’t go to the extreme of giving a “blank check”—Proverbs condemns those who are lazy sluggards. The point here is that when your life is focused on God you care about the needs of those around you, particularly brothers and sisters in Christ (Gal 6:10). On the other hand, you won’t harm your neighbors (vv. 29-30). The picture in v. 29 is someone who trusts you, who has no reason to expect you to harm him or her. If you were to unexpectedly cause harm, what would that do to the mutual love and trust between you? It would be lost! So think about how you live with those in your sphere of life—does how you live among them show that your life is focused on God, or on yourself?
- Think awhile about and on verse 27. Does God withhold good from you?
- Meditate on verse 28. Is this loving? Who knows the heart?
- Is verse 30 saying never to deal with wrongdoers?
- What needs do brothers and sisters in your church have that you can help with? Are you?