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apple with books May 25 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: 1Kings 4:29-34; Proverbs 1, 2, 3, 4

Wisdom for Living

A stitch in time saves nine. Measure twice, cut once. Happy wife, happy life. These short sayings and many others are sage advice born from experience. They help us remember important principles to give us success. At the height of Solomon's reign, Solomon wrote many pithy sayings of wisdom in the book of Proverbs. Solomon had asked for discernment and wisdom in leading the Israelites. In response, God granted him wisdom and riches above all others. As an apple a day keeps the doctor away, so applying a proverb a day will help keep trouble away (at least trouble of our own making).

Proverbs are poetry, written for the most part in couplets (more…). Proverbs are jewels of wisdom that are usually true. They are not promises, although in reading them they sound like promises. Like jewels in a jewelry box, each gem of wisdom becomes brilliant in our lives as we take it out, and rub it on the cloth of life, putting it into practice.

According to Proverbs 1:2-6, the book was written

for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to the 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. (NIV)

Living in the Fear of the LORD

The theme of Proverbs is found in Proverbs 1:7 and is repeated in one form or another throughout the book: “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (NIV)

What is the fear of the LORD? Looking at Proverbs 1:7 we learn that “the fear of the LORD is the beginning (or start) of knowledge,” (NIV). Knowledge, therefore, must come from God since he was from the beginning. Evolutionists deny this and teach us that all life evolved from simple matter. The design of the universe and its consistent laws, however, argue for an all powerful, wise God (more...). The name, “the LORD”, we are to fear means he is the covenant (promise) keeping God. He established a covenant relationship with Israel after he delivered them from slavery in Egypt and brought them into the Promised Land. He established a new covenant with us, a covenant that his Son Jesus witnessed with the shedding of his own blood. Fearing the LORD, therefore, begins with a true relationship with him (more...) In Proverbs 1:7, the “fear of the LORD” is contrasted with the foolish despising of wisdom and discipline.

There are many benefits to fearing the LORD. Proverbs 3:7-8 and Proverbs 10:27 say that fearing the LORD brings health to our bodies and nourishment to our bones and adds length to our life. Spiritual health and physical health are related. There have been recent medical studies done by our American government to confirm this (more…). Proverbs 19:23 says the fear of the LORD leads to a more trouble free life. Proverbs 22:4-5 and Proverbs 21:21 say that the “fear of the LORD,” and pursuing righteousness and love often reap the rewards of wealth, honor and life.

God fearing men and women are reverent before God (Ecclesiastes 8:12). Fearing God and keeping his commandments is the whole duty of mankind because “God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” ((Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, NIV)

The fear of the LORD, then, involves living out a righteous life in reverence for His person and considering His judgment for our actions. It is our starting point for further wisdom. If we reverence God, then we will listen and obey, and reap the benefits and rewards he wants to give us.

In contrast to the ways of wisdom are those who are simple (unlearned), foolish, and wicked. They will suffer for it. The case for wisdom in chapter 1 can best be summed up in Proverbs 1:32-33: “For the waywardness of the simple will kill them, and the complacency of fools will destroy them; but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm,” (NIV). Let us learn to listen to the ways of wisdom.

Obeying your Parents

Listen. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don't fight; get along with your brothers and sisters. Eat your vegetables. Do your best in school. Live within your means. We may not always like what our parents have to say to us, but most of the time they instruct us for our good. In Proverbs 1-9 “Dad” or the Teacher (King Solomon) instructs his sons or students, making the case for wisdom. He shares with them the benefits of wisdom. What is wisdom? “Godly wisdom is cleverness and skill, which results in practical action” (The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, by Harris, Archer, and Waltke, © 1980, p.283) Wisdom is learned by those who fear the LORD, and the application of wisdom is often life giving and life preserving.

Heeding the counsel of our parents usually leads to a longer life and prosperity according to Proverbs 3:2. Most parents give rules and instructions, chores and other responsibilities to their children. This is done, not to exercise their authority over their children, but to protect them and to teach them some of the life disciplines they will need to succeed in the world - things like respect, responsibility, hard work, and excellence. These life lessons often lead to prosperity. Some parents stop there, but spiritual instruction is just as important as teaching children how to succeed materially. Do we want God's blessing on our children? Then we must raise them up to fear the LORD and follow his wisdom for living.

Where to look for Wisdom

According to Proverbs 2:1-6, wisdom resides with God, but we must exert some effort in finding it. We find it by listening (not just hearing), calling out for it, and searching for it as a hidden treasure. The best place to look for wisdom is in the Bible; His word is precious. Psalm 19:10-11 says, the words of God “are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them your servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.” (NIV)

The Benefits of Wisdom

The great rewards or benefits of wisdom according to Proverbs 2:12, 16, and 20 are: first, that it will save you from following the ways of wicked men; second, that it will save you from the adulteress or adulterer; and third, that it will keep you walking in the ways of good men and women.

Two ideas from Solomon are most important in his instructions to his sons. Proverbs 4:7 says, “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding,” (NIV). Wisdom and understanding often bring us honor. What organization does not want someone who is wise and understanding working for them? What parent does not want his child to make wise decisions for living? The foundation of wisdom is God.

The second idea is stated in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life,” (NIV). The condition of our hearts will manifest itself in what we say and by what we do. Verses 24-27 proclaim that perversity in our speech and in our actions lead to ruin. We are exhorted to live a life of integrity. A firm foundation of wisdom and integrity comes from listening to the wise advice of parents or elders and from following the LORD. Let's make the choice to listen so we will have Wisdom for Living.

Lessons to live by:

  • As an apple a day keeps the doctor away so applying a proverb a day will help keep trouble away (at least trouble of our own making).
  • “Fear of the LORD,” and pursuing righteousness and love often reap the rewards of wealth, honor and life. Do you know him? (more...)
  • Wisdom is learned by those who fear the LORD and seek him (Proverbs 1:7; 2:1-6; 4:7). The application of wisdom is often life giving and life preserving.
  • Like jewels in a jewelry box, each gem of wisdom becomes brilliant in our lives as we take it out, and rub it on the cloth of life, putting it into practice.
  • Heeding the counsel of good parents usually leads to a longer life and prosperity.
  • “Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding,” (Proverbs 4:7, NIV). “Above all else guard your heart for it is the wellspring of life,” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV)

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” (NIV)

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