Reject Pride – Receive Grace

In Your Bible: Proverbs 3: 34,35

Solomon declares that mockers of sin or those who reject the Word are considered as fools by the Lord! A more current understanding here is these people are prideful – full of pride. God resists the proud, those with arrogance or a pharisaical spirit. Praise God, grace is imparted to the humble believer.

Reject Pride

He mocks proud mockers
 but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
The wise inherit honor,
 but fools get only shame (Proverbs 3:34,35 NIV).

Don’t be confused. Believers are to be confident (but not proud) of their position in Christ. They know they in are secure hands. Our inheritance is being part of God’s family, grafted in through Christ Jesus. It’s truly a wonderful thing. Selah.

Receive Grace

Grace sanctifies, justifies, pardons, and adopts. These pure gifts for believers come without any merit motive, or condition on our part. God gives them liberally. *

What a contrast Solomon shows. Honor is given for the wise [trustworthy and dedicated believer] but fools [the proud and mockers] receive only shame. Believers have chosen the best and the right path in God’s eyes. Grace is imparted to the humble believer.

Prayer: Father, you are so generous with your love and grace. Thank you. Each day I take joy in praising You.

*John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible, Proverbs 3:34,35, at biblehub.com

 

Private Counsel

In Your Bible: Proverbs 3:32

Solomon continues warnings against the perverse man who walks in sinful a path. The warning is also for people who try to divert you from a righteous path of living for God. The good news is that believers who remain steadfast in character are rewarded with His intimate counsel.

A Warning

For the devious are repulsive to the Lord;
But His private counsel is with the upright
[those with spiritual integrity and moral courage].
Proverbs 3:22 AMP

The writer of Proverbs often uses the words devious or crafty or cunning as a warning to be aware of being drawn away from God’s ways. Too often we miss this warning! What is a believer to do? Remain of upright integrity! This is a condition for a good life with God. The Lord actually hates deviousness!

Solomon uses the words private counsel, it’s also said to be secret counsel, which holds great meaning for believers. Here we see how the Lord loves to communicate with us, even at our side. This is the secret for our inner man. Selah.

We need to heed the fear the Lord. Remain in awe of the Lord God Almighty.

The secret [of the wise counsel] of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will let them know His covenant and reveal to them [through His word] its [deep, inner] meaning (Psalm 25:14 AMP).

Integrity Rewarded

The writer of Proverbs tells the believer that upright integrity is rewarded in an amazing manner! The Lord honors spiritual integrity with private counsel! What more incentive is there than God’s intimate advice whenever we ask:

 Call to Me and I will answer you, and tell you [and even show you] great and mighty things, [things which have been confined and hidden], which you do not know and understand and cannot distinguish (Jeremiah 33:3 AMP).

God talks to the righteous—believers who remain steadfast in character—and they are rewarded with His intimate council.

Prayer: Father, your promises written by Solomon guide me to embrace spiritual integrity, and good moral courage.

Acts of Stewardship

In Your Bible: Proverbs 3:27, 28

Proverbs contains many wise sayings, often as one or two verses (couplets). These sayings may not be grouped together, which makes reading them seem choppy and difficult to grasp. My goal is to select key verses, clarify some of the content and see parallel scriptures. Let’s glean God’s message in Proverbs.

Be Generous

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due [its rightful recipients],
When it is in your power to do it.
Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,” 
When you have it with you (Proverbs 3:27, 28 AMP).

Stewardship should be guided by the Holy Spirit. Some versions associate Proverbs 3:27, 28 only with giving money, but the context is much larger. It could be in the form of helping, comforting with a word, or spending time with a person who needs it. It’s our readiness and willingness to help others.

God’s Perspective

As believers we are to follow the teaching of Christ. As an example, do justly, love mercy, walk humbly and hold on to things loosely (see also Micah 6:8). The Apostle Paul said it too:

So then, while we [as individual believers] have the opportunity, let us do good to all people [not only being helpful, but also doing that which promotes their spiritual well-being], and especially [be a blessing] to those of the household of faith (born-again believers) from Galatians 6:10 Amplified Bible (AMP).

Divine favor is shown to the humble believer who looks at things from God’s perspective. Let’s glean God’s message in Proverbs.

Prayer: Father, what a message you reveal when you ask to watch for ways to help others. Thank you, help me listen for your Spirit and follow your lead.

Discipline of the Lord

In Your Bible: Proverbs 3: 11,12

As the Israelites wandered in the desert, they received harsh discipline from God for disobedience. Moses also taught that obedience would be rewarded with blessings. In a milder tone, Solomon said, “Do not do this” and “Do this.” The frequency of the “Do not do this” could make the proverbs difficult to take in.

However, whether it is from Moses, Solomon, or Jesus our Lord, lessons on obedience are words we need to heed.

Discipline is Necessary

Solomon, teaches believers that we learn from the discipline or correction God brings—and he will bring it! We must be wise in God’s ways. Solomon uses endearing words on this subject we often would rather not face. However, the writer of Proverbs speaks to us [lovingly] as children.

Discipline Shows God’s Love

What is the purpose of discipline or correction? Solomon tells us in succinct wording — it shows God loves us and even delights in us. Through correcting what we do, he allows us to make our ways more like his. If we are not corrected, we could assume that we are on our own. A dangerous place to be.

Commentators * relate that Proverbs is a wonderful departure from the Deuteronomy 28 account where Moses harshly confronts the Israelite nation for their actions of disobedience. Solomon confronts disobedience sternly yet with compassion.

Solomon uses the word “son” to show our relationship with God is endearing. It’s intended to be corrective — not punishment from God. However, all God’s children must, without exception, submit to God’s discipline.

My son, do not reject or take lightly the discipline of the Lord [learn from your mistakes and the testing that comes from His correction through discipline];
Nor despise His rebuke,
For those whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:11,12 AMP).

What an amazing progression from Moses, Solomon, and to Jesus our Lord—lessons on obedience are words we need to heed.

Prayer: Father, thank you for showing me the purpose of obedience. I know these commands give opportunity for me to continue to receive your love—especially when I need correction.

* Matthew Henry, Commentary, Proverbs 3:11,12, biblehub.com.

Qualities That Define You

In Your Bible: Proverbs 3:1-12

Interestingly, the Jewish people view the writings of Solomon in this manner: Proverbs as the outer court of the temple, Ecclesiastes as the holy place, and Song of Solomon as the holy of holies. *

Several scholars consider Proverbs Chapter Three to be one of the “most excellent” of the Proverbs. While addressing key issues of the heart, Solomon stresses that we need to know God’s heart to act properly in this world—It’s all God’s world.

Qualities That Define You

Gently Solomon says, keep my commandments in your heart, not merely in your mind. A soft heart for God is the best way to live.

Do not let mercy and kindness and truth leave you
[instead let these qualities define you];
 Bind them [securely] around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart. So find favor and high esteem (Prov 3:3,4 AMP).

Mercy, kindness, and truth often represent the character of God. As you cultivate these carefully, others will see why you do things differently.

An Issue of the Heart

Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all your heart. 
And do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know and acknowledge and recognize Him, 
And He will make your paths straight and smooth [removing obstacles that block your way] (Proverbs 3: 5,6 AMP).

The Amplified Translation helps us grasp what Solomon is teaching—how we need to live. This strong reminder to trust him will guide us in the way he plans. We need to know God’s heart to act properly this world—It’s all God’s world.

Prayer: Father, help me cling to your pearls of wisdom. I need you to calm my storms, clear my brain, and touch my heart.

*What The Bible is all About, Bible Handbook, Henrietta C. Mears, Tyndale House Publishing Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois, 2015, p.229.

The Benefits of Wisdom – Proverbs

In Your Bible: Proverbs 2:1-20

Solomon addresses those willing to be taught. He vividly implores them to ask, to seek, and to hold onto the message he brings from God. He pours out words of life to guide, protect and save those who seek wisdom.

Commands from Solomon

Solomon begins lovingly. . . My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands (Proverbs 2:1 NLT). He’s a stern teacher, who knows those who understand will be rewarded when they receive wisdom. Note: for clarity, what he says must be bathed in PRAYER.

  • Cry out for insight and knowledge
  • Ask (fervently) for understanding
  • Search for them as if they were hidden treasure (valuable)
  • Work hard as if mining gold, silver, or jewels (again value to be gained)

What God Grants

Solomon asserts that the challenging task of prayerfully searching for wisdom will be rewarded. Believers will also be close to the heart of God and will then know what it is to fear the Lord—reverence, awe, and respect.
In addition, more benefits of wisdom will be granted:

  • Common sense to the honest
  • A shield to those who walk with integrity
  • A guard to the path of the just in the Lord
  • Protection for those faithful to the Lord

One bountiful benefit of God’s wisdom is that God will fill your heart with JOY as you come to know him. He pours out words of life to guide, protect and save those who seek wisdom.

Prayer: Father, teach me as I search for wisdom, understanding, and knowledge in my walk with you. I ask this fervently.

 

God’s Word Guides – Proverbs

In Your Bible: Proverbs 1: 23; 1:33;
13:14; and Hebrews 4:12.

My plan is to select edifying verses in Proverbs to ponder and study. With the understanding that . . .the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires(Hebrews 4:12 NLT).

Many proverbs are difficult to read, even understand, and some may not seem applicable today. But they are. Bear with me as I guide you through this minefield of wisdom and rebuke. It’ll be worth the effort because Solomon wrote it for all, for all times. Remember our focus is to attain wisdom by delving into Scripture.

Listen

Solomon pleads with his people to not listen to the noise of sinful people around them. He reminds them of (probably helpful) instruction given by their father or mother to stay on the good path of life. Then he says plainly, “Listen to me as I (God through Solomon) share my heart with you.” Today too, we need wisdom.

Come and listen to my counsel. 
I’ll share my heart with you
and make you wise (Proverbs 1:23 NLT).

Solomon has many words of warning. However, keep in mind his earnest plea is for us to come and listen. We must listen to his soft appeal. We know many things that tug at our mind and heart are not edifying to say the least. God wants us to listen to him. Do we listen enough? Lean into God to hear him.

Receive Good Advice

But all who listen to me will live in peace,

untroubled by fear of harm (Proverbs 1:33 NLT)

We read in the Bible that God’s people didn’t listen or obey as often as they should have – to put it mildly. Even today, few do as much as God expects. The benefit of listening and obeying is God’s promise to live in peace. This is something to ponder. Selah.

Again, Solomon puts it plainly: The instruction of the wise is like a life-giving fountain; those who accept it avoid the snares of death (Prov 13:14 NLT). We must remember our focus is to attain wisdom by delving into Scripture.

Prayer: Father, your Word is powerful. You gave Solomon these words knowing they would help us today. Help me not only understand but learn how to apply your instruction to my life.