Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:13
"Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him. For he refreshes the soul of his master."
Solomon is comparing good things to remind you of how valuable some of the hidden things of life are. In this proverb, he is emphasizing or highlighting a faithful messenger. We do not tend to focus on the person who is faithful. They are doing what they are supposed to do. They have completed their tasks. Notice the whole list that appears here in this section of the 25th proverb—a word in the right circumstances, a wise reprover, a patient request, praise. All of these are small, hidden, overlooked things; but they are part of the grease of life that makes it run smoothly.
Solomon, as he gets near the end of the book, wants to make sure that we don't just work on the big things but we realize that life is full of small, little things that can make or break our enjoyment of this wonderful gift God has given us. One of these small but important things is to surround yourself in an employment situation with faithful people.
Too many people are not ruthless about who they hire. They will give people a job because they need one or because they said they could do the work or because they are a friend or relative. Solomon is advocating faithful people. If you are going to be involved with employing people, then employ faithful ones and you will have your soul consistently refreshed by their work. They will complete the assignments you give them; they will not betray your confidence in them or to them.
This is the Hebrew word aman which means to confirm, support, believe, faithful, trusted, enduring. It is in that word cluster which includes Amen, which is about surety and truth.
The faithful person is the person who, when they are given an assignment, actually completes it. The way that this proverb is written, it makes us restrict our thinking to people who run around with notes but this is not what is meant. The faithful messenger is the person who works under you who can be counted on to complete an assignment. This is the person who you give a general direction to and they finish it.
like the cold of snow in the time of harvest
This is a word picture of a deep level of refreshment. There were two periods of harvest in the land of Israel: the spring and the fall. Cold falling in the Lebanon mountains would be extremely welcome during either time. If it was during the spring, then one more snowfall and cold air mass before the long, hot summer was very refreshing and would increase the amount of water available during the summer months. The land of Israel was and is an extremely hot place in the summer growing season. When the harvest time comes in the fall, it has usually been a long, hot summer. So to have an artic blast during the hardest work of the season is extremely refreshing. It is also unexpected.
This is the Hebrew word siba which means to turn or return, to restore, retirement, even backsliding. Here the meaning is that it refreshes or returns the soul of the master to a condition of lack of stress or concern about whatever job the person was sent on.
This feeling of accomplishment and refreshment is overlooked until one has a foolish or unreliable messenger. Your soul is constantly involved in the process of wondering whether a thing was done right or completed at all.