Insights from Proverbs 3 for the 3rd:
First off, this is one of the greatest Proverbs! I mean, Solomon starts with a whopper of a guarantee to the one who reads & applies God’s Word: “long life and peace.” Anyone else want some of that? Solomon can say this with absolute confidence because God’s ways are always the best way: Do you know them? Do you believe them?
Mercy & Truth should like a necklace you wouldn’t leave the house without; The ultimate accessory! Write them on your heart! Meaning: make everything that comes into or out of your heart pass through Mercy and Truth. Solomon guarantees that this will earn you points with man and it pleases/glorifies God. (That’s what I call a twofer.)
Then there’s the slam-dunk of verse 5-6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.”
This is like the Mona Lisa of verses. Its the Sistine Chapel. Memorize it.
7 and 8 are also primo: Solomon says don’t think you’re smarter than you actually are. Then he gives a jab-uppercut combo: Fear God and Flee evil. This will heal you & strengthen you. Think about it:
- Robbing a bank = doing jail time.
- Helping the needy = serving someone who needs comforted.
- Which will heal/strengthen you, which will hurt/weaken you?
Your stuff can honor God (v. 9). Is it? Are your possessions being used to honor God? Ever thought of that before? Solomon also says to tithe your firstfruits then your pantry will be filled (security) and your wine will flow (celebration).
Next is a toughie (v. 11): don’t get mad at God when He corrects you. He does it because He loves you. If He didn’t care, He wouldn’t bother. God doesn’t just care about you, He “delights” in you. (That’s a nice little thought to remember.)
Want happiness? (v.13) Find wisdom, not just knowledge (facts). We’ve all known book-smart people who have done boneheaded things by not applying their facts. Solomon calls wisdom a treasure greater than silver, gold, & rubies. Bonus: If you have wisdom you also will have a longer life. For instance, you might say “Hey, swimming with sharks may not be the wisest thing to do.” Thereby, you may live longer than someone who says, “Cool, they’re gonna let me swim with sharks! What could go wrong?”
Wisdom also gets the image of a “tree of life.” (v. 18) I could camp out on that thought: tree = growth, fruit, roots, shade, support, etc.! In fact, God used considerable wisdom in making this rock we live on (v. 19).
Again & again Solomon attributes niceties to those who seek & apply wisdom: they will be life to your soul, grace to your neck, help you walk safely, & help you sleep sweetly. Wisdom will keep you unafraid that God won’t let anything grab your foot and trip you up (v. 26).
Then out of nowhere Solomon has a non sequitur about being a good neighbor (v. 27). It’s like a machine gun of neighborly advice: If you can help someone, do it. Don’t lie & say you don’t have something that you do have (to lend). Don’t devise evil against your neighbor. Mind your own business. Don’t go around picking fights (v. 30).
Solomon ends this Proverb with a warning against ignoring wisdom: The person who does not seek God and follow His Ways is an abomination & perverse. He will be cursed & scorned. However (silver lining), God blesses the just & gives grace to the humble. The wise get glory & the fools get shame.
Which are you?
If this blessed you, please Like & Share!