Proverb for Today
Surely the churning of milk brings forth butter, and the wringing of the nose brings forth blood, so the forcing of wrath brings forth strife. (Proverbs 30:33, MEV)
I think the picture of today’s proverb is hilarious.
Imagine sitting down to churn milk and being shocked to see butter forming. It’s ridiculous to expect anything else but butter.
The writer makes clear the guarantee in this scenario: surely the churning of milk brings forth butter. It’s an absolute, a given, a known fact.
But the thought continues. If you wring somebody’s nose, you can expect blood. Another “duh” statement. Of course wringing someone’s nose will make it bleed.
And then comes the third statement. This is the one where we fail to see the guarantee so many times. If you make someone mad (you “force their wrath”) expect a struggle. Expect a fight. Look for conflict.
I have to laugh at myself as I look back on past fights I’ve had. I’ve walked through some intense verbal altercations. As I meditate on the truth of today’s proverb, I’m confronted with the sad reality that most of those fights came because of my own actions up front. I stirred the hornet’s nest, but somehow expected not to get stung. I churned milk and was surprised I got butter.
As you look at your life, and specifically your actions towards others, consider what type of action you provoke them to. The book of Hebrews reminds us, “And let us consider how to spur one another to love and to good works” (10:24). So think about it. What action do you spur others to? What response do you push others in the direction of?
Our actions have more or less predictable reactions. So the next time you’re shocked by the butter, take the time to consider whether your action was what churned the milk.
Reflect and Respond
- How can you push those around you to love and good works, instead of anger and fighting?
- Think about the last few pointed conversations you’ve had. What was the outcome and why? What words were said that produced the conflict or peace?
- How can you help those around you be more conscious of the expected reaction to their words?