Friday, 7 July 2017

The Advantages of Heeding Parental Instruction

Proverbs 3:1-2

My son, do not forget my teaching,
    but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years
    and bring you peace and prosperity.


“Child, remember the teaching of wise and godly parents. All they teach you to do and not to do, make it a part of your nature, your personality – let them become a natural part of you. These teachings will prolong your life and improve its quality, because the wisdom you learn and practice will enable you to avoid dangers, live safely, be healthy and have good family and social relationships. These habits and the intelligence that they give you will enable you to prosper and live in peace. They will prevent you from making wrong and damaging decisions and cause you to do things from a long-term perspective that will benefit you and your family. Your life will be better because of it.”


Intelligence = the exercise and practice of wisdom and knowledge.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Wisdom Will Protect You From Evil

Proverbs 2:9-22

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 have left 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.

Wisdom will save you also from the adulterous woman,
    from the wayward woman with her seductive words,
who has left the partner of her youth
    and ignored the covenant she made before God.
Surely 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 the good
    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.


THEN (See verses 1-6 - when you have inclined your ear to wisdom, applied your heart to understanding, eagerly desired to have insight, sought wisdom as a precious treasure and developed a fear of the Lord, that led you to walk uprightly) you will understand what is right and just and fair. You will know which is the good way to take. By then you will have wisdom in your inmost being and because of that your soul will enjoy knowledge and your good judgment, cautious outlook and careful speech will keep you safe from harm and from going down the wrong path.

Wisdom will help you discern wickedness in the people around you and avoid being led astray by them. Because evil leads people away from what is right and natural and good to ways that are wrong – though those who follow those ways seem to enjoy them, advertise them as good and acceptable and encourage people to follow them. Their ways are dishonest, fraudulent and devious – there is no straightforwardness or transparency in their dealings. Wisdom will save you from joining such people and also from falling prey to them.

Wisdom will save you also from adulterous men and women, who have deserted their partners and ignored their marriage vows. Don’t have anything to do with them, because they will take you on a path to spiritual death – you will get trapped in bondage from which there is no recovery – you will not be able to get back on the path that leads to life in God.*

If you are careful and follow the way of wisdom, you will be a good person, God fearing and always doing what is right. You will be assured of a place in Heaven (the Promised Land), which is for the blameless and upright– the wicked and unfaithful will be barred from entering it or living in it.**


* Proverbs is part of the Old Testament, when the people had to live according to the law that God gave them through Moses. Today those who sincerely repent and trust in Christ's sacrifice for forgiveness of sins are accepted by God, regardless of what sins they may have committed in the past, and by Christ's grace and strength, are empowered to live a transformed life.

** Those who do not repent and find forgiveness, but continue in sin will suffer the consequences of their actions.

Victory for the Upright

Proverbs 2:7-8

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.


Doing the right thing is not always easy. In fact, many times it is very difficult, as one has to go against the established pattern of the world and often has to face a lot of opposition and hostility. Sometimes doubts creep in – “I am trying to do what is right. Why is it so difficult? Why doesn’t God help me? Make it easier? Why doesn’t he vindicate me?” It may seem like God is distant and unconcerned about our difficulties, since he doesn’t step in and help.

However, God sees the struggles of those who try to do the right thing. Though it may sometimes seem like they are not getting anywhere, he is holding success and victory in store for them and will give it to them at the right time. He will shield them from harm and ensure that they do not stray from their course and give in to temptations. Those who are faithful to God, love him and want to please him will be especially protected from straying away.

The purpose of God is not to make our lives easy and comfortable. Today, many preachers preach a prosperity gospel. “Now that you are born again, you are a child of the King of Kings. Everything belongs to him and he wants to give it to you. You just have to claim it.” But that is not what the Bible teaches. We are to live not for ourselves, but for God. Christ gave his life for us – we are to lay down our lives for others. We are to BE Christ to them. The primary purpose of God is to form and perfect Christ-like character in each one of his children, not to ensure that they enjoy worldly prosperity.

When we understand this, we understand “victory” differently from the world. Our victory is not always over people who oppose us, or situations that come against us. Our victory is against our spiritual enemies. Against the temptations that try to persuade us not to do the right thing, that try to convince us to take the easy way out, that try to make us give in to out unholy desires that conflict with what God’s word says, that cause us to get discouraged and give up, that persuade us not to trust in God, but in ourselves.

God watches with concern as his children struggle with temptations. He is not distant or uninvolved, but is using these very same circumstances to work out something precious in us. He is right there with his encouragement when we turn to him for help in overcoming our temptations as we deal with our circumstances. Those who truly want to do the right thing, he strengthens and helps and protects them so that they don’t slip and go the wrong way. And if we don’t give up, but persevere, he gives us success in what we are trying to do as well.

However, such victories are not always guaranteed in this world. Sometimes an apparent failure may set off circumstances where someone else steps in to carry the baton and wins the victory, but the person who fought the fight and struggled is not around to see it. They will see their victory only in eternity, when they come face to face with their Master and he welcomes them with a smile and says, “Well done, good and faithful servant! Now come and share in my happiness!”


Wisdom Comes from the Lord

Proverbs 2:1-6

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—
indeed, 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;
    from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.


“My son,”…. Solomon wrote these words centuries ago to instruct his son. Being the wisest man in all the earth, he was qualified to teach about wisdom, because he knew that his wisdom was from the Lord, and the above verses are precisely how he acquired it. God gave him wisdom because he desired it above all else and asked for it in prayer. Though these are Solomon’s words to his son, as we read them today, we can almost hear the voice of God our Father speaking to us as to a beloved child - loving, caring, teaching, guiding, with our good in mind always!

“Believe and trust my words and live according to them. Remember them whenever the occasion demands. Seek to do what is right and best. Sincerely desire understanding and insight, seeking them as something of great value. If this is your attitude towards my words – if you do these things, then you will know God, understand Him and how He works, and be in awe of Him. Because it is the Lord who gives wisdom; His Word contains knowledge and understanding. It will give you good sense, good judgment, insight, intelligence and capability."