man holding a key June 1 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Proverbs 22, 23, 24; Psalm 49 (more…).

Hope or No Hope—What is the Key?

We all want hope in our lives, the confidence that we are going to succeed in the future. It is more than a simple wish; we desire to live in such a way that it gives us success. How can we do it? What is the key that opens the door to a better future? In the Proverbs of King Solomon there are many various jewels of wisdom in this treasure box. One of these jewels is about securing our hope.

We may not be able to secure all hope, but we can improve our chances for success in this life and secure our hope in the next. How? Solomon informs us,

Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life. In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares [difficulties and traps which leave no hope], but he who guards his soul stays far from them (Proverbs 22:4-5, NIV).

Do we fear the LORD? Do we have a personal relationship with him which causes us to reverence him and live the way he desires? Are we walking in humility before him so we will listen to his directions? Are we willing to do whatever he desires, or do we have our own agenda? It is easy to follow our natural inclinations, to seek our own agenda, to envy what the world has, to seek our own paths to success, but Solomon tells us, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but always be zealous for the fear of the LORD. There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off” (Proverbs 23:17-18, NIV). Fearing the LORD will give us hope in this life and the next.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-- kept in heaven for you. (1Peter 1:3-4, NIV) (more...)

Wisdom is the prudent application of knowledge and gives us a life of hope. Solomon tells his sons,

Eat honey, my son, for it is good; honey from the comb is sweet to your taste. Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul [as honey is to your taste]; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off (Proverbs 24:13-14, NIV).

How is this true? Solomon instructs his sons about the benefits of wisdom:

My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure,

  • then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.
  • He holds victory in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.
  • Then you will understand what is right and just and fair-- every good path, for wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.
  • Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.
  • It will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God, for her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.
  • Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it (Proverbs 2:1-22, NIV).
  • Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who embrace her; those who lay hold of her will be blessed (Proverbs 3:13-18, NIV) .

These verses instruct us that a life of wisdom gives us hope for success and protects us from destruction.

Evil men, although they may succeed by their vices, will ultimately come to trouble and calamity.

Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out. Fear the LORD and the king, my son, and do not join with the rebellious, for those two will send sudden destruction upon them, and who knows what calamities they can bring?

Lessons to Live By

  • Although the wicked may prosper, they have no eternal hope and their lives often end in destruction.
  • A genuine relationship with the LORD will change our character and give us hope in this life and the next. (more...)
  • A life of wisdom gives us hope for success and protects us from destruction.

Focus Verse

Proverbs 24:14 (NIV) “Know also that wisdom is sweet to your soul; if you find it, there is a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.”

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A Look Ahead: In our Next Lesson from Proverbs we will be talking about sharing secrets. Is Gossip so bad?

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