There is sufficient wisdom in Proverbs 3:7 alone to keep us going for a lifetime! As you probably do not want to spend the rest of your life reading my blog, I will try to be concise!
7 Don’t be wise in your own eyes.
Fear Yahweh, and depart from evil.
8 It will be health to your body,
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor Yahweh with your substance,
with the first fruits of all your increase:
10 so your barns will be filled with plenty,
and your vats will overflow with new wine.Proverbs 3:7-10 WEB)
Taken out of context, the phrase “Don’t be wise…” does not appear too often in Proverbs! This is heavily qualified though by adding “in your own eyes.”
Our own eyes, when used to look on ourselves, are rarely a good judge. Few people would admit to being unwise, and only by looking at ourselves soberly can we obtain a truer estimate.
Paul, in his letter to the Romans, says this:
For I say through the grace that was given me, to every man who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think reasonably, as God has apportioned to each person a measure of faith.Romans 12:3 (WEB)
Too often we give ourselves miles of leeway, while giving others none whatsoever. We judge our own intentions, while we criticise others’ performance (irrespective of their intent).
Too often we give ourselves miles of leeway, while giving others none whatsoever. #Bible #Wisdom #ChristianityTweet
When we think we are wise, we can be overinflated and that makes us careless and prone to mistakes. Rather, we should know that wisdom comes from dependence on God and on His ways. Each and every moment we must surrender to Him, seeking His guidance and obeying His commands.
Verse 7 ends by telling us to fear God and depart from evil. That is something we must live our lives by!
Verse 8 links the fear of the Lord to our physical health. We have touched on this point before, earlier on in Proverbs 3, and will do so again later on. Being a Christian does not guarantee good health, neither does avoiding evil prevent all and every sickness. The principle here is that if we make wisdom our guide, following Jesus and steering well clear of evil, then we reduce our likelihood of ill-health. As we noted before, this is a natural consequence. It is wise to eat healthily, exercise regularly and avoid excessive stress. I do not think anyone would argue that such things will indeed bring health to our bodies.
Verse 9 and 10 instruct us to honour God with our money and possessions. This is quite right to do, and is essentially an act of our worship. We may pray, sing songs, study the Bible and attend church; all of which are acts of praise. Giving of our money and possessions is every bit as important though.
How so? Because we humans are rather attached to our money and “things.” By offering them freely to the Lord, we are rightly putting Him above all such material items. We invest much of our life trying to earn money, and so, by giving it to God, we are reminding ourselves of His rightful place in our life.
God has given us so very much! And by offering back to Him a portion of our income, we are honouring Him. Notice it uses the phrase “first fruits” indicating that we do not give God whatever we have left at the end of the month, rather we give Him the first part of our income because He is first in our lives.
Verse 10 begins with the word “So” indicating that what it says is the result of our giving in verse 9. Because we have given God first place in our lives, even with our income (verse 9), we will have barns filled with plenty and vats overflowing with wine (verse 10).
I want to tread carefully here, as many who buy into the prosperity gospel might teach this rather simply as “Give to God, and He’ll give back to you.” God is not an ATM or better still, fruit machine. We do not simply throw in a coin, crank the handle and out comes a jackpot. God is not a machine, nor a set of rules for us to decipher and “crack the code.” He is a Person, and a Father, and He is keen for us to learn a healthy relationship to money.
Like any good Father does, God wants us to use money wisely; He was us to have possessions, but does not want them to have us! By putting Him first in our finances, and indeed in every area, we are ensuring that God is number one and that nothing is competing for His place.
So do not be wise in your own eyes. Do not think you can get away with evil, ignore God and live a healthy and abundant life. God wants us to be healthy, and I believe He wants us to have good things too, but more than either of those, He wants us to be devoted to Him and His glory. We do not seek after money, nor do we consider ourselves to be God’s gift to humanity.
Rather, we should be sober minded, honest about our own wisdom, and utterly dependant on God for our physical and financial needs.
Thanks for reading!