Read Proverbs 1-9
Why study the Proverbs?
The first few verses answer that question.
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
Why? To gain:
· Understanding insight
· Instruction on prudent behavior
· Instruction on doing what is right and just and fair
· Prudence—not just instruction but prudence herself
· Knowledge and discretion
· More wisdom and learning
· God’s guidance
· Understanding wisdom literature
This brings us to what I will call a golden nugget. It’s Proverbs 1:7.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
We must understand that there is a right way to live! The world will tell you that everyone sorts out what is right and wrong for themselves. The world in wrong. Woke America is wrong.
God decides what is right and wrong and he has given us wisdom to understand his ways. We must desire God’s ways. The Proverbs help us do that.
To understand this proverb, we must understand the parallelism of much of Hebrew literature. The two phrases describe God’s wisdom in terms of those seeking God and those denying God. Thus, God’s people fear the Lord, desire knowledge, wisdom, instruction, and in some translations, discipline.
Those who reject God do not fear him and do not seek his knowledge, wisdom, instruction, or discipline.
From the beginning, Solomon tells us there is God’s way and there is everything else. Blessings lie in God’s way and destruction in the everything else.
I’m not going to cram 9 weeks of reading and study into a few minutes, so we will jump to the next golden nugget. It’s Proverbs 3:5-6. Many know this by heart. Trust in the Lord…
There is a lot packed into this verse. It uses the parallelism that you will come to know well.
First trust in the Lord with everything that you have and you are. It’s an all in sort of deal. That’s what we are charged to do. It stands in opposition to what we are told not to do—lean on our own understanding. That’s our human nature—to trust our thinking over God’s wisdom.
It’s a wrestling match for most people. God says one thing but I’m thinking something else makes more sense. How do I choose God’s way?
Acknowledge him every step of the way. God, I do not understand it but I will obey you.
When you hit that first big obstacle in doing something God’s way, you don’t think or say, Told you so, God. We should have done this my way. On the contrary, you say, Hallelujah, Amen, Praise the Lord.
You are no sunshine soldier. You acknowledge that you will stay the course even during hardship.
God’s promise is to keep you on the very path that he designed for you.
There is God’s way and there is everything else!
We only go a little farther into this same chapter to gain wisdom on the Lord’s disciple. Hear Proverbs 3:11-12.
My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
Direction, correction, rebuke, admonishment, sanctions, and other actions taken because you veered from the path set for you by the Lord fall under the umbrella that we call discipline. Discipline is more than this, but for now, we consider the corrective part of discipline.
It’s not punishment. Punishment has to do with God’s wrath and if you have truly professed Jesus is Lord, you will not know that wrath. It’s more than saying some words. It’s professing as truth that you believe completely that Jesus is Lord of all, but especially in your life. It’s also believing that Jesus is who he says he is.
We might think of the way, the truth, and the life.
What you need to understand is that God does not punish those who seek him. He disciplines them. Sometimes it might be hard to tell the two apart, but they are different and distinct. How?
God disciples those whom he loves. God’s love is for everyone, but not everyone will recognize God’s discipline as his love.
Some will—wisely—receive his discipline. Others will—foolishly--reject it and harden their hearts against him.
Understand that God desires none to perish. He loves you. If you will trust in him and seek him, he will use the circumstances of your life to bring you to loving relationship with him.
One day, you will become a parent and will get a taste of this. Whether your child brings home a perfect report card or spent all day in the principal’s office, you will still love them.
You might give them 20 hugs and a day of being grounded at the same time, but both are rooted in love.
God loves you and he will do what he thinks is best to keep you on track.
Our response to God’s discipline should be Thank You, Amen, Hallelujah, and Praise the Lord! It’s for our own good and comes out of God’s love.
That’s as far as we will go for now. You are challenged to read the Proverbs. Read one chapter every day until you catch up with us and then read the same chapter every day. It is a worthwhile investment.
Wisdom is worth it!
These links may help you catch up.