Today we are approaching the one-third mark on our journey through the Proverbs. Officially we will hit that point sometime next Sunday, but we have been moving along faithfully in the Proverbs with a break for Gideon testimonies and some review of where we have been in the Proverbs.
So, let’s get back to God’s wisdom as it came mostly through Solomon.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction or wisdom and discipline. If fools despise it, then the odds are in favor of God’s people seeking it.
If you revere God so highly that the fear of anything in the world pales in comparison, you have begun a journey that leads to knowledge that leads to wisdom that embraces the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We continued with another favorite. Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.
Trust in the Lord is wisdom and wisdom points us to trust in the Lord.
Seek Lady Wisdom and watch out for the adulterous woman, prostitutes, and the woman known as Folly. These three each have unsavory plans for you that lead to destruction.
Stay out of the traps set by these women but if you find yourself in an unsavory relationship of any kind, your first priority just became to get out of it. Better yet, don’t get trapped.
There is God’s way and there is everything else and all the traps are set in the everything else. You may have conflict and you may have trouble in the world as you seek God and follow Jesus, but the traps are set along the paths that don’t follow Jesus.
Solomon not only tells us what we need to know but he counsels us to pay attention. This isn’t the stop sign in the middle of nowhere. We come to the busiest of intersections every day.
Do not forget.
Accept my words.
Store up my commands.
Most of us realize that our thoughts tend to drift. We have to refocus time and again. We have to remind ourselves to stay on task, to pay attention.
We are charged to know the value of wisdom.
Choose my instruction instead of silver,
knowledge rather than choice gold,
for wisdom is more precious than rubies,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.
In the last chapter we came across something very similar to where we began.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
We can begin to understand some of God’s ways—those ways that are higher than our ways. Somehow, God’s ways start to make sense to us, even in our depraved condition. We know that we must belong to Christ to be saved, but we still wrestle with our human condition. We begin to see the sanity of God’s course set for us even in the midst of our wrestling match with our nature.
Is everyone back in wisdom mode? Are we ready for chapter 10? Here are some quickies.
A wise child not only brings blessings upon himself but is the joy of his parents. Those who have gone down the road of foolishness bring anguish to mom and dad.
Ill-gotten gain never pays real dividends. The woman folly will try to convince you that stolen water is sweet, but wisdom tells us that sweetness is short-lived.
The Lord does take care of his own and lets the wicked get their just due. We don’t need to second guess how God will deal with the wicked. Just rejoice that he takes care of the righteous.
Here’s another quip on industry and laziness. Laziness brings you to poverty. Industry creates wealth. Consider the value of work as demonstrated in an earlier proverb by the example of the ant.
Righteousness leads to blessings. Wickedness leads to violence and destruction.
The wise value instruction and discipline but fools come to ruin. We might list this as a recurring theme. God’s people love wisdom, instruction, and disciple.
With integrity comes security. Deceit is always found out.
God hates disension but embraces love. There is God’s way and there is everything else. Love is smack dab in the middle of God’s way. Dissension runs amuck in the everything else.
You can count on the wealth in this world that has come through righteousness. God will bless you with material things in your wisdom. It’s ok to have money and stuff and poverty is often a sign of laziness.
In Woke America, there will be some up in arms about this, but remember that we are all given the same amount of time each day and God will reward us for our work. Where you start out matters if you are running a race against others, but has little bearing on improving yourself and your condition and making a better life.
It is ok to be blessed with money and things because you pursue God and his kingdom and his righteousness. When we start to compare what we have with what others have, we have lost sight of God’s kingdom. We are focused on building our own kingdoms.
Don’t you wish that God would have told us not to covet what others have?
When we see our blessings as a chance to bless others, we are beginning to understand the ways of the God whom we seek.
It’s ok to be blessed with money and things for your hard work but remember that knowledge, wisdom, discipline, and instruction from the Lord are much more valuable. Such things often lead to material blessings, but these blessings are secondary to seeking the Lord and abiding in his ways and his wisdom.
God understands win-win.
God did not set the world in opposition to his will. It got there by ignoring his will and his wisdom.
Not only does the fear of the Lord lead to knowledge and wisdom and prepares us to embrace the discipline and instruction of the Lord, it offers long life.
Let’s put a theme to some of these. Seeking and abiding in God’s wisdom manifests blessings in this life. It’s not all about the life to come. Wisdom offers blessings in the here and now as well as in the eternal.
Seeking the everything else shuns the blessings of the Lord. There are consequences for rebelling against God. There are consequences for mocking God. The blessings of the wicked are cut short.
There is God’s way and there is everything else. Live God’s way. It is the only wise thing to do.