A Wise Man Once Said, Read More Proverbs

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Homework. Who could really say they ever enjoyed it? Just the mere sound of the word echoes an anthem of yawns the world over.

But occasionally, you would hear great rejoicing in the class when whispers about a textbook that included the answers written in the back were being supplied. Hope in teenage humanity is restored once again while muttering “This will be a piece of cake” to your mates, just shy of teacher earshot range.

Graduation day sooner or later comes by and then you are thrust into the world of being a responsible adult, and expected to perform the standard in whatever role you’ve chosen in the workforce. Suddenly life becomes a whole lot more complicated and unhinged where the rules and boundaries of what you ought and ought not to do about your life are grey and unclear. While peering through this grey fog, you must not only be wise with your career choices and integrate into a strong social circle, but pay careful attention to navigating the uncountable temptations that the world offers.

If that wasn’t enough, you now have to pay your bills on time, fill out tax forms and clean your own stinking bathroom for a change. But, it’s not all glum monotony. I remember when I had the sudden realization that I could finally eat whatever cereal I wanted because I’m now chief over my own food bill. Fruit loops and coco-pops that were once rare treats to invade my cereal bowl while living under my parent’s roof, are now an accessible everyday staple. Not revolutionary, but the principle in practice works. I was once eating under somebody else’s roof (Mum and Dad’s), With somebody else’s rules,  under somebody else’s financial budget, and before I knew it, I was making my own decisions about not just breakfast preferences, but the life I plan to live.

Around this time you begin to question and experiment with the morals you grew up with and make choices whether to do away with some (or all) of them, or even double down, depending on how it serves you and your goals. This is especially true if you were expected to turn out a certain way, live in a certain place, follow a certain career path, or parent your children a particular way. This can be confusing if you are somebody who worries a lot. You may fear that any deviation from how you were taught would bring judgement and dis-ownership.

 

So how do you know where to look for answers? 

Today, the proverbial “textbook with answers in the back” is in your pocket. I am definitely grateful for the enormous leap in technological advances that we’ve made over the decades and my own kids (with proper instruction and wisdom) will have a richer life because of it. But like the textbooks that we were handed as kids in school, they weren’t a perfect solution to every problem we would encounter in life. They taught problem solving principles and showed the formula for particular examples but there was no way it could be an exhaustive list to solve every problem that may arise.

Google, Youtube and Facebook are quite wonderful tools but as quick as they are to give you an answer to every question, their version of wisdom is often rooted in diseased soil. How do I know this? Because people are fallible and quite likely to lie, cheat and act out of their own bias. God’s Word is different because it is quite literally perfect. Holy, is another word for it.

If living a “good and fulfilled” life is what you are after, that is a perfectly noble and sound goal to have. But to cast an adequate blueprint for that yearning, you must dare to dig deeper than you ever have before and dare to go to your knees to ask God to teach you things about:

What is good? 
What is bad? 
How can I be fulfilled? 
Can I ever be fulfilled? 
Why work hard?
Who is God?
What is man’s purpose?
Is there a plan for my life?
Why is there evil and suffering?
What is wisdom?
Does Even God Care?

 

God’s word is the only place you can go to find the answers to these questions. This is where the Book of Proverbs comes in. It was written by Solomon between 950 and 700 BC and is featured in the Old testament as the 20th book written inside the closed canon.

 

A Summary of Proverbs

“In writing the Proverbs, Solomon hoped that his readers would attain practical righteousness in all things and that we would do this by living our lives under the authority and direction of God. He specifically explained the book’s purpose in 1:2–6, focusing on imparting understanding that would impact every facet of our lives. Much of the book emphasizes listening to others so that we might learn from them and apply the combined knowledge of those who have gone before us—such as parents and elders—to the unique circumstances of our own lives (1:5, 8). Wisdom then involves appropriating a measure of humility, first before God and then before others.” – source: www.insight.org

Work Ethic and Wealth

Proverbs 16:3 ESV
Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

Proverbs 14:23 ESV
In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty.

Proverbs 12:11 ESV
Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.

Proverbs 10:4 ESV
A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Proverbs 21:5 
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Proverbs 13:4 ESV
The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.

 

Wisdom

Proverbs 1:20-21
Wisdom cries aloud in the street, in the markets she raises her voice; at the head of the noisy streets she cries out; at the entrance of the city gates she speaks

Proverbs 1:7 ESV
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 10:23 ESV
Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.

Proverbs 15:2 ESV
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly.

Proverbs 17:28 ESV
Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

 

Patience

Proverbs 15:18 ESV 
A hot-tempered man stirs up strife, but he who is slow to anger quiets contention.

Proverbs 14:29 ESV
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.

Proverbs 25:15 ESV
With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.

 

Folly and Foolishness

Proverbs 29:11 ESV
A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.

Proverbs 28:26 ESV
Whoever trusts in his own mind is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom will be delivered.

Proverbs 18:2 ESV
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Proverbs 19:3 ESV
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.

 

Family

Proverbs 6:20
My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 22:6 ESV 
Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

Proverbs 12:4 ESV
An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

 

Happiness

Proverbs 16:20 ESV
Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.

Proverbs 15:13 ESV
A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.

Proverbs 14:13 ESV
Even in laughter the heart may ache, and the end of joy may be grief.

 

Conclusion

The Book of Proverbs provides us with practical, pragmatic, spiritual, and moral blueprints for how to faithfully live a life that is honoring to God first, and secondly honors others around us by living a loving, peaceful and selfless life. It gives great warnings against foolhardiness and how to avoid / deal with certain types of people that could ruin your life. It promotes happiness and joy through everyday meekness and humbleness of heart. It pushes me personally to think of the bigger picture about the development of my character and how my everyday actions impact how I walk with God. 

Finally, I always walk away from reading Proverbs with a sense that I just had a conversation with a father figure who had galaxies more wisdom than myself. It feels more like a hushed talk over coffee on a park bench while people-watching in a busy city, and the person instructing me is pointing out active examples of good and foolish people, in real-time.

Read more Proverbs and make it a habit to read them regularly. They are life giving scriptures that always provide great value no matter the age, maturity or life stage that somebody is at.

 

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