"Many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but who can find a trustworthy man?"
This proverb presses a truth home that we often don't want to believe. What a person does is more important than what a person says.
This is the Hebrew word qara which is to call or to call out. It carries primarily the idea that one has a message to deliver. A part of this word is the fact that it is not quiet but a proclamation. It is to more than just a few – either saying it to lots of people individually or in a group.
This is the Hebrew word hesed which has for centuries been translated love or lovingkindness, unfailing love but has lately been translated loyalty because of an emphasis on the covenantal relationship between God and Israel. It would seem better to realize that loyalty is a part of love rather than try and blunt the clear implications of the word by emphasizing the contractual aspects. Solomon is helping us see that talk is cheap and many people say they love or will be kind or will work hard (which is love in a business context), but not everyone's proclamation can be trusted. In fact, experience trumps what they say.
This is the word masa which means find.
This is the Hebrew word emuna which means firmness, fidelity, steadiness. It comes from a root which is truth, certainty. This is the idea that when something is said by an individual, it will be done. There is no question that what this person says, they will do. Whether in business or in relationships, we want to be with people who mean what they say and say what they mean. But these kinds of people are not easy to find. But keep pushing.
Two questions come immediately to mind. Are you a person who promises a lot but doesn't come through? Do you wait before you hire someone until after you have discovered what they are really like or do you just believe what they say? Do you hold back your heart, young man or young lady, when you meet someone, or do you tend to believe what people say and what people look like?
The first crucial thing is to be a person who others can count on. Second, it is crucial to begin to be someone skeptical of what people say and wait for the actual performance of the promises. God, through Solomon, is trying to have us not be so gullible. Realize that everyone can paint a rosy picture of who they are and what they will do. But the proof is in the actual performance.