Proverbs – Life Skills
At the request of a dear friend in our ladies Bible study group, we are going to dive into the book of wisdom. Wisdom means “skills for living”. We will want to live well, right?
Many people think that what’s written in the Bible has mostly to do getting people into heaven–getting right with God, saving their eternal souls. It does have to do with that, of course, but not mostly. It is equally concerned with living on this earth–living well, living in robust sanity.
In our Scriptures, heaven is not the primary concern, to which earth is a tag-along afterthought. “on earth as it is in heaven” is Jesus’ prayer.
“Wisdom” is the biblical term for this on-earth-as-it-is-in-heaven everyday living. Wisdom is the art of living skillfully in whatever actual conditions we find ourselves. It has virtually nothing to do with information as such, with knowledge as such. A college degree is no certification of wisdom–not is it primarily concerned with keeping us out of moral mud puddles, although it does have a profound moral effect upon us.
Wisdom has to do with becoming skillful in honoring our parents and raising our children, handling our money and conducting our sexual lives, going to work and exercising leadership, using words well and treating friends kindly, eating and drinking healthily, cultivating emotions within ourselves and attitudes toward others that make for peace. Threaded through all these items is the insistence that the way we think of and respond to God is the most practical thing we do. In matter of everyday practicality, nothing, absolute nothing, takes precedence over God. Amen?!
Proverbs concentrate on these concerns more than any other book in the Bible. Attention to the here and now is everywhere present in the stories and legislation, the prayers and the sermons, that are spread over the thousands of pages of the Bible. Proverbs distills it all into riveting images and aphorisms that keep us connected in holy obedience to the ordinary.
Get your wisdom on, it time to dive in to living in robust sanity!
Proverbs 1, The Message
A Manual for Living
1-6 These are the wise sayings of Solomon,
David’s son, Israel’s king—
Written down so we’ll know how to live well and right,
to understand what life means and where it’s going;
A manual for living,
for learning what’s right and just and fair;
To teach the inexperienced the ropes
and give our young people a grasp on reality.
There’s something here also for seasoned men and women,
still a thing or two for the experienced to learn—
Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate,
the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.
Start with God
7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.
8-19 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
like rings on your fingers.
Dear friend, if bad companions tempt you,
don’t go along with them.
If they say—“Let’s go out and raise some hell.
Let’s beat up some old man, mug some old woman.
Let’s pick them clean
and get them ready for their funerals.
We’ll load up on top-quality loot.
We’ll haul it home by the truckload.
Join us for the time of your life!
With us, it’s share and share alike!”—
Oh, friend, don’t give them a second look;
don’t listen to them for a minute.
They’re racing to a very bad end,
hurrying to ruin everything they lay hands on.
Nobody robs a bank
with everyone watching,
Yet that’s what these people are doing—
they’re doing themselves in.
When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.
20-21 Lady Wisdom goes out in the street and shouts.
At the town center she makes her speech.
In the middle of the traffic she takes her stand.
At the busiest corner she calls out:
22-24 “Simpletons! How long will you wallow in ignorance?
Cynics! How long will you feed your cynicism?
Idiots! How long will you refuse to learn?
About face! I can revise your life.
Look, I’m ready to pour out my spirit on you;
I’m ready to tell you all I know.
As it is, I’ve called, but you’ve turned a deaf ear;
I’ve reached out to you, but you’ve ignored me.
25-28 “Since you laugh at my counsel
and make a joke of my advice,
How can I take you seriously?
I’ll turn the tables and joke about your troubles!
What if the roof falls in,
and your whole life goes to pieces?
What if catastrophe strikes and there’s nothing
to show for your life but rubble and ashes?
You’ll need me then. You’ll call for me, but don’t expect
No matter how hard you look, you won’t find me.
29-33 “Because you hated Knowledge
and had nothing to do with the Fear-of-God,
Because you wouldn’t take my advice
and brushed aside all my offers to train you,
Well, you’ve made your bed—now lie in it;
you wanted your own way—now, how do you like it?
Don’t you see what happens, you simpletons, you idiots?
Carelessness kills; complacency is murder.
First pay attention to me, and then relax.
Now you can take it easy—you’re in good hands.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN?
1. God first. “First pay attention to me…”
2. “When you grab all you can get, that’s what happens:
the more you get, the less you are.”
What consequences are you living with right now?
Is God first in everything you think about and in everything you do?
Do you feel you are too old to get advice? But old enough to give in bucketfuls?
As we review our lives, seek God first each day. Ask Him what He thinks. Allow His Holy Spirit to come and settle you with His Truth.
Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves and assume what others think. This thinking does not help us but drags us down where Satan can do his limited work to prey on our weaknesses.
I hear the words “relax, God’s got this” in His words of wisdom today.
I also remember what the enemy wants. So, shout if you have to, “Not today, satan, in the Name of Jesus, not today!” and he will flee from us. That’s a Biblical promise from God. God’s Holy Presence will then move in, overwhelm and fill us with His love, joy, peace, no matter what is happening around us!
God loves us more than anyone else on this earth. GOD is the source of all wisdom. God will lead us to Truth. God is the Way to live in robust sanity!
Dear Heavenly Father,
Be working in us as we meditate on these words of wisdom all day long.
In Jesus Name, Amen