Do you see someone skilled in their work?
They will serve before kings;
they will not serve before officials of low rank.
Skill is admired. Whether it be skill with one’s hands and one’s mind; whether it be artistic work or that of the laborer, a person of skill is admired especially by his peers. It is they who will bring him before “kings” for recognition.
The skillful person not only has the skill but delights in using it. That is what separates him from others. Such delight compels him to perfect his craft. He is dedicated to his work because the very work itself (perhaps even more than the finished product) gives him pleasure. The tragedy for many persons of skill is letting the recognition of “kings” divert their attention to fame and thus lose their focus and pleasure in their work. They become more interested in being known for their skill than in exercising their skill.
The proverb is not dismissing recognition. It is presenting recognition as a reward for skill. But remember – it is the skill, not promotion that leads him before the kings. Keep attentive to what you do well. For some day you will stand before the King to present your work. Take pleasure in that work now; take joy in the ability given you now to serve your King.
O God, why have you rejected us forever?
Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?
2 Remember the nation you purchased long ago,
the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—
Mount Zion, where you dwelt.
3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,
all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.
4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;
they set up their standards as signs.
5 They behaved like men wielding axes
to cut through a thicket of trees.
6 They smashed all the carved paneling
with their axes and hatchets.
7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground;
they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.
8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”
They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.
9 We are given no signs from God;
no prophets are left,
and none of us knows how long this will be.
10 How long will the enemy mock you, God?
Will the foe revile your name forever?
11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?
Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!
12 But God is my King from long ago;
he brings salvation on the earth.
13 It was you who split open the sea by your power;
you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.
14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan
and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.
15 It was you who opened up springs and streams;
you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.
16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;
you established the sun and moon.
17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;
you made both summer and winter.
18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,
how foolish people have reviled your name.
19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;
do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.
20 Have regard for your covenant,
because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.
21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;
may the poor and needy praise your name.
22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;
remember how fools mock you all day long.
23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,
the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.