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apple with books May 25 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): 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 life principles to give us success. At the height of Solomon's reign, he wrote many short verses of wisdom in the book of Proverbs. 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. Each gem of wisdom in this jewelry box becomes brilliant in our lives as we take it out, and rub it on the cloth of life, putting it into practice.

The book of Proverbs 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 (Proverbs 1:2-6, NIV).

Living in the Fear of the LORD

The theme of Proverbs 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” (Proverbs 1:7, NIV).

What is the fear of the LORD? The LORD is the most common name for God in the Bible and is often coupled as the LORD God. He is the great and powerful “I am,” the eternal self-existent one, the Sovereign creator and sustainer of everything. He is loving, kind, and very patient, but he is also just and exercises discipline or punishment for wrongdoing. Although he is above and beyond all in greatness, power, holiness, and comprehension, he is personal and wants a relationship with us, his creation (more...).

Living in the fear of the LORD involves living a righteous life in reverence for his person and considering his judgment (or discipline) 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.

The Benefits of Wisdom

The great rewards or benefits of wisdom according to Proverbs 2:12, 16, and 20 are:

  • it will save you from following the ways of wicked men
  • it will save you from the adulteress or adulterer
  • it will keep you walking in the ways of good men and women.

Other benefits to fearing the LORD are that it brings health to our bodies, nourishment to our bones, and adds length to our life (Proverbs 3:7-8; Proverbs 10:27). 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 state 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 reaps the rewards of wealth, honor and life.

In contrast to the ways of wisdom are those who are simple (unlearned), foolish, and wicked (Proverbs 1:7). They will suffer for it. The case for wisdom can best be summed up in this statement: “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” (Proverbs 1:32-33, NIV). It is best to fear the LORD and listen to the ways of wisdom.

Obeying Your Parents

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. 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) 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 (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 disciplines they will need to succeed in the world—things like respect, responsibility, hard work, and excellence. These 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. This is best done by example.

Where to Look for Wisdom

Wisdom resides with God, but we must exert effort in finding it (Proverbs 2:1-6). 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. 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” (Psalm 19:10-11, NIV).

“Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7, 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.

Is getting wisdom enough? No. Proverbs 4:23 says, “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. Perversity in our speech and in our actions lead to ruin (verses 24-27). 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.

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).
  • Living by the “Fear of the LORD,” and pursuing righteousness and love often reap the rewards of wealth, honor and life. Do we 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 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.
  • Get wisdom and also guard your heart.

Focus Verse

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

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A Look Ahead: Beware of Lures that draw us away from a life of wisdom.

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