The book of Proverbs pulls together 513 of the over 3,000 proverbs pondered by Solomon (1 Kin. 4:32; Eccl. 12:9). The word “proverb” means “to be like”; therefore, Proverbs is a book of comparisons between common, concrete images and life’s most profound truths. Proverbs are simple, moral statements (or illustrations) that highlight and teach fundamental realities about life.
Solomon was seriously committed to God’s wisdom (2 Chr. 1:8–12) and he offered pithy sayings designed to make men contemplate important aspects of life. As we continue to study the Proverbs this year, may we not just hear them but put them into action.
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but let your heart keep my commandments,
2 for length of days and years of life
and peace they will add to you.
The old covenant promises of God meant that if his people walked uprightly and honored him, then he would bless them and add to their days. This was a temporary provision that ultimately pointed to the greatest blessing we could ever receive- salvation in Jesus Christ who is peace and life. Praise God for his provision of grace! Here, Solomon reminds the learner to not forget his teaching, but to keep his commandments. How do you do at this? Do you hear a Sunday sermon and forget it by Monday? Or do you mediate on it? Do you dig back into that passage and really chew on the bread your pastor gave you of God’s Word? Are we keeping the commands of God or are we just hearers and not doers? We will not honor God or live the life he has saved us for if we forsake these things and just go about life.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck;
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good success
in the sight of God and man.
Steadfast love and faithfulness are next in things we should not forsake. Enduring love and faithfulness. Is the practice of your days and the power of the Lord within you causing enduring love? Meaning you endure, you continue, you fight, you don’t give up. No matter how hard it gets you continue. No matter what the other person is doing or not doing you endure in love. The love of God that is not selfish but selfless. Do you remain faithful to your commitments and thereby prove to be a man of God?
Brothers, we are to bind these practices around our neck. Meaning we wake up and go to work in them. Again, Solomon reminds the Old Testament people of God’s promises. Again, they are abundantly greater for we who are in Christ. Praise God.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.
Here in chapter 3, we arrive at probably the most popular proverb of all time- verse 5-6. I must say, they are amazing guides of wisdom that we need almost daily. Why do we need to be reminded to trust in the Lord and lean not on our own understanding?
Because of sin. Because our hearts are desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9) and corrupt and selfish. Because we are at war with the work of our flesh (Galatians 5:19). This reminder to TRUST GOD with ALL OUR HEART is vital! We are lost in the ocean without true trust of God. Do you truly trust him? I would argue that salvation at its core is trusting God with your entire life. A Christian is one who trusts God. To not trust him is to make war with the very identity you have in Christ.
There is great wisdom in the words, “do not lean on your own understanding” and “Be not wise in your own eyes” because we are idiots compared to the wisdom of God. Why would I want the counsel of an idiot next to the infinite wisdom of God? And yet this is our struggle, is it not? Oh, how we need this counsel every day! There is so much more I could say here, but I must move into the rest of this passage.
Honor the Lord with your wealth
and with the first fruits of all your produce;
10 then your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will be bursting with wine.
We are truly wealthy! If you are reading this on your smart phone or computer, you have means that much of the world has never even seen or known. We have such a slanted view of wealth when we consider our western world view. So, to all of us who are wealthy, “Honor the Lord with your wealth”. I mentioned just a few weeks ago about worshipping God with our first fruits of the income he has entrusted us with to be stewarded for his glory and purposes. Here it is again. Are you joyfully committing a regular, generous amount of the first fruits of your monthly income to your local church and then to other ministries? We should decide this and then the lifestyle we will have with what is left over and not the other way around. If you are not, then repent and honor the Lord in this way. The people of God do not take God’s provisions and do with them what they please. They want to serve him and honor him with them. May it be so.
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline
or be weary of his reproof,
12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves,
as a father the son in whom he delights.
We will close this study with this!
How do we know that we truly belong to the Lord? Scripture gives us many signs to look for in our lives that indicate that our faith is real and that we are children of God. One of these evidences is that we confess faith in Christ alone for salvation (Rom. 10:9). But as many profess faith falsely, there are other things to look for. Today’s passage gives us one of the markers to look for as evidence that we are true children of God—the discipline of the Lord.
Solomon says that we should expect to be reproved by our Father God and that the rod of His discipline is a good thing.
It is out of love that God disciplines us. As a parent, I do not love my children while letting them do whatever they want. No, it is loving to help shape them and protect them from things that will hurt them. This means I must discipline them. This is the loving act of a parent. It is the same for God! No matter the discipline imposed, the Lord also has our maturity as His goal. He is working through every possible means to present us mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). God’s fatherly discipline is for all His saints. In this, we should be thankful and receive it will glad hearts knowing he loves us and is helping to shape us for all he has for us.
Wow, God’s Word is good. I pray that you are encouraged and continue to hunger for all God has before us.