“The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.” Proverbe 17:14
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary is the resource we turn to in order to define Biblical terms. Noah Webster compiled this magnificent work in 1828, thus the name. He took words used in common English language at the time and applied their meaning according to its use in Scripture. It is a valuable resource when wanting to gain the full meaning of a Bible verse.
Strife according to Webster means contention in anger or enmity; contest; struggle for victory; quarrel or war.
Think of strife as it relates to your marriage. What are the areas of contention or anger? Are there areas where you are competing against each other? Do you struggle to gain the victory in each and every challenge? Are there topics you avoid because of the strife they cause?
We all witnessed the destruction of Hurricane Irene in the beautiful state of Vermont. The flooding and resulting damage is the worse they have seen in over a hundred years.
Let this verse stand as a warning to our marriages. Letting such strife continue is like the beginning of Hurricane Irene. The water came from the sky and from the breaches in dams. It started slowly and continually increased. The effects were catastrophic.
The water from above could be compared to the outward difficulties you are facing in your marriage – finances, family matters, school, health, children – you name it. We all face different challenges throughout our marriage. The breach in the dam is the little offenses you allow to go unchecked. The nights when you go to sleep in silent anger. The morning comes and you choose to not bring it up. Days go by and the offense is never resolved. It is one small breach in the dam. As these habits continue, a day comes like last week when it all comes crashing down. The couples stands on the side of the rushing water where their home once stood and wonder what happened? It didn’t happen in one big offense – it was the tiny offenses not dealt with day after day, week after week. Slowly the security of the marriage was breached and a flood of disaster ensued.
This verse is a warning. Listen to it now while there is time to quit. God has promised to help us say no to the strife and yes to His grace to resist it’s clutch. Strife and anger come easy. It is our nature to lash out this way. But God has promised to help us in our weakness, if we will but cry out to Him for help and mercy in our time of need.
This video from the floods in Vermont is a powerful visual of the damage that can occur from the “letting out of water.” Don’t let another day go by where strife is allowed refuge in your home. The effects could be devastating!