Proverbs – Life Skills
When I was led to read a proverb a day, I didn’t imagine how much these words would apply to today’s world situation. I had a clue from previously doing this exercise for learning God’s ways and what He thinks our behavior should be, but the depth and breadth of these words are clearly as relevant today, right now, the day after violence, the months after isolation from a virus, as it was in Solomon’s day as he spoke to his son.
The following is what God wants and what makes Him smile. Do we want to look up and see Him smiling as He looks into our hearts, minds and souls? Then here are some life skills that will do just that along with advice on pitfalls of thinking and behaving to avoid…like the plague.
Proverbs 11, The Message
Without Good Direction, People Lose Their Way
God hates cheating in the marketplace;
he loves it when business is aboveboard.
2 The stuck-up fall flat on their faces,
but down-to-earth people stand firm.
3 The integrity of the honest keeps them on track;
the deviousness of crooks brings them to ruin.
4 A thick bankroll is no help when life falls apart,
but a principled life can stand up to the worst.
5 Moral character makes for smooth traveling;
an evil life is a hard life.
6 Good character is the best insurance;
crooks get trapped in their sinful lust.
7 When the wicked die, that’s it—
the story’s over, end of hope.
8 A good person is saved from much trouble;
a bad person runs straight into it.
9 The loose tongue of the godless spreads destruction;
the common sense of the godly preserves them.
10 When it goes well for good people, the whole town cheers;
when it goes badly for bad people, the town celebrates.
11 When right-living people bless the city, it flourishes;
evil talk turns it into a ghost town in no time.
12 Mean-spirited slander is heartless;
quiet discretion accompanies good sense.
13 A gadabout gossip can’t be trusted with a secret,
but someone of integrity won’t violate a confidence.
14 Without good direction, people lose their way;
the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances.
15 Whoever makes deals with strangers is sure to get burned;
if you keep a cool head, you’ll avoid rash bargains.
16 A woman of gentle grace gets respect,
but men of rough violence grab for loot.
A God-Shaped Life
17 When you’re kind to others, you help yourself;
when you’re cruel to others, you hurt yourself.
18 Bad work gets paid with a bad check;
good work gets solid pay.
19 Take your stand with God’s loyal community and live,
or chase after phantoms of evil and die.
20 God can’t stand deceivers,
but oh how he relishes integrity.
21 Count on this: The wicked won’t get off scot-free,
and God’s loyal people will triumph.
22 Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful face on an empty head.
23 The desires of good people lead straight to the best,
but wicked ambition ends in angry frustration.
24 The world of the generous gets larger and larger;
the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.
25 The one who blesses others is abundantly blessed;
those who help others are helped.
26 Curses on those who drive a hard bargain!
Blessings on all who play fair and square!
27 The one who seeks good finds delight;
the student of evil becomes evil.
28 A life devoted to things is a dead life, a stump;
a God-shaped life is a flourishing tree.
29 Exploit or abuse your family, and end up with a fistful of air;
common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.
30 A good life is a fruit-bearing tree;
a violent life destroys souls.
31 If good people barely make it,
what’s in store for the bad!
What characteristics of God do we see in this proverb?
What characteristics would you like for God to develop in you?
What does God hate?
What does God want?
What happens when we follow God’s voice? What happens when we don’t?
We need God in all the details of this life. He is not just a compartment of our lives we visit. He IS life! We seek a relationship with God that is intimate, knowing and growing more in love with Him each day. When we know God we know how to live.
The more we love Him, the more we want to talk with Him. Begin today to speak to God through conversations throughout the day just as you would to your best friend. Prayer is simply conversation with God. It’s not flowery, prepared speeches.
Meditate on God’s Word. Read it, chew on it, ask God what His words mean for you. Meditation lets God speak to us!
Dear Heavenly Father,
You are God and we are not. We do not want to be You. We only want to hone and develop your character so we can obey your ways wisely. Help us to know You more. Help us to know your ways. We cannot do life without you. Help us to hear your voice above all others. Give us wisdom. Help us to obey quickly in ways that bring you glory and honor…and make you smile…even in the details of this life. Thank you for saving my soul. Help us to love like you love. Heal us. Heal our land.
In Jesus Name, Amen