Proverbs 18:19 A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.
In Bible times, the greatest form of defence for a city was to remain strong and surrounded by high walls. If a people group or nation had high walls and a strong city, they were extremely difficult to conquer. During these times, the barriers were imperative for a strong national defense. The Lord considered this scenario as an appropriate picture to demonstrate the state of an offended brother, resulting from contention. The Lord likens this contention to the bars on a castle. Even if the enemy were capable of getting into the strong city, other obstacles existed making it impossible to break through to its core. These included the bars erected to avoid someone from entering the castle. In like manner, contention makes it almost impossible to break through to the heart of an offended brother.
∙ (For children): Jacob tricked his father into giving him the blessing meant for his elder brother Esau. For this deception, Esau hated Jacob and planned on killing him. Jacob had to flee for his life and safety (Genesis 27:41-45). Twenty years later, Jacob returned home still fearing Esau (Genesis 32:11). Fortunately for Jacob, the Lord took care of Esau’s bitterness (Genesis 33:4).
∙ (For everyone): Bars of a castle would keep the enemy out, but they could also work as a prison for those whom they supposedly protect. How is this a perfect picture of contention?
∙ Have you offended somebody with contentions? Have you tried to make things right? How is the relationship now? Have you been able to remove the bars of the castle?
∙ Ask God to protect you from strife.
∙ Ask God to give you wisdom to see the dangers of contention.
SONG: THROW OUT THE LIFE-LINE