Wednesday, July 27, 2022

            Proverbs is known as a book of wisdom.  It was written by Solomon—a man blessed by God with wisdom and understanding.  And, incidentally, Solomon gained his wisdom simply by asking God for it.  His wisdom reached legendary status.  “King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart” (I King 10:23-24).  In Proverbs, Solomon endeavored to bring the wisdom of God into the realm of ordinary, normal human activity—finances, relationships, work, parenting, conflict management, conversations and worship. 
            Proverbs began with an important lesson.  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (1:7a).  To know, fear and reverence God is a continuing theme in this book.  A bit later, we discover two of the most beloved and quoted verses in all of the Bible.  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We learn that we can lean into God at any time and for any reason.  He can straighten our crooked paths and crooked people.  It is important to seek and to follow the Lord’s wisdom because, as Solomon wrote, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12).
            Proverbs can help us to strengthen our worship and prayer life.  We read that “the Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous” (Proverbs 15:29).  We want to ensure that sin and wickedness do not get in the way of our prayers and walk with the Lord.  Evil cannot take us anywhere that is good.  Solomon wrote, “if a man pays back evil for good, evil will never leave his house” (Proverbs 17:13).  By contrast, the Lord God is always a safe place to turn.  We will never regret a decision to turn toward Him in faith and trust.  God is our refuge and our strength.  “The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe” (Proverbs 18:10).  God’s protection is an undefeatable castle or fortress where His people remain safe in His care.
            Proverbs 31:10-31 features the beautiful passage of Scripture often referred to as the virtuous woman or the woman of noble character.  People will often request that this passage be read at the funeral of saintly woman who has gone to be with the Lord.  In Proverbs 27, we learn that godly men can bless and benefit each other.  Solomon wrote, “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).  Since Proverbs spans thirty-one chapters, a person could gain a graduate-level education in wisdom by committing to read a chapter a day over the span of a month with thirty-one days.  Proverbs is a book that beckons us to read it again and again.  The wisdom we discover cannot be exhausted with one reading.  Two cardinal values that we encounter consistently in Proverbs are humility and the fear of the LORD.  “Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).  We discover the kind of life that God blesses and honors when we commit to read the wisdom that Solomon described. 
            Much of what we read may strike us as profoundly common sense.  Yet, often today, common sense can be in short supply.  Proverbs speaks a word to many of the ordinary, everyday things that we encounter as we go about the work that God has assigned to us.  One final example of godly common sense is found in Proverbs 20:19 where we read, “a gossip betrays a confidence; so, avoid a man who talks too much.”  Be careful with what you say and those to whom you say it.  We know that words can be destructive and harmful so we must measure and choose them carefully.  Choose a month where you go deeply into Proverbs to discover the wisdom that awaits.  Have a great Wednesday and remember you can always share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.  
           

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