We have spent a good amount of time on Proverbs 3 so far, and I want to try and complete the chapter today. We will then take a little break from Proverbs to think about some other things, and I hope to return to it in the near future. We’ve only covered three chapters out of thirty-one, and barely scratched the surface.
I am actually praying about whether this series should one day become a book… as some of my other posts have said, I am working on a number of projects right now and I am not sure it is “wise” to add another, but I shall see where the Lord leads!
11 My son, don’t despise Yahweh’s discipline,
neither be weary of his correction;
12 for whom Yahweh loves, he corrects,
even as a father reproves the son in whom he delights.Proverbs 3:11-12 (WEB)
Much of the rest of this chapter revisits themes we have already looked at, so I will not dwell on them here. At the end of this post, I’ll include a list of the other posts from this series so you can go back and review anything you wish to.
Verses 11 and 12 remind us not to hate the discipline that comes from God. His correction helps us to stay on the right path. He does not enjoy it any more than I enjoy disciplining my own children, but it is a necessary act of love. Love? Yes! Absolutely! As per verse 12, the Lord corrects those He loves because He knows that if we carry on down the wrong path, it can destroy us.
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gets understanding.
14 For her good profit is better than getting silver,
and her return is better than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies.
None of the things you can desire are to be compared to her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand.
In her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness.
All her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her.
Happy is everyone who retains her.Proverbs 3:13-18 (WEB)
This section reviews themes we have covered before. It cites that wisdom is more precious than gold, and acquiring her is better than getting wealth. Note the change from a masculine pronoun in verse 13, referring to the one gaining wisdom, to the feminine one ins verse 14 referring to wisdom herself. We saw in earlier chapters that wisdom was referred to as feminine.
These verses remind us that:
- Happy are those who have wisdom
- Wisdom is more valuable than silver, gold or precious jewels
- Wisdom can provide length of days, riches and honour
- Wisdom leads down the path of peace
We have discussed these things before, but do not simply pass them by here. Review each one in turn, and remind yourself why wisdom is the right choice.
19 By wisdom Yahweh founded the earth.
By understanding, he established the heavens.
20 By his knowledge, the depths were broken up,
and the skies drop down the dew.Proverbs 3:19-20 (WEB)
Verses 19 and 20 link God’s wisdom with Creation. They tell us that God used wisdom to establish the earth, and all the complexities of the creation around us. Despite scientific efforts, the origin of life has never been explained and we see such a delicate balance of life in nature. The Earth is the precise distance from the Sun it needs to be. The angle of the planet produces the seasons. Gravity, water cycles, atmosphere, and so on are all in perfect balance so we can thrive in the home that God made for us.
Such complex and finely balanced ecosystems and structures require a depth of wisdom we cannot fathom. All the wonders of creation demonstrate clear design, and to think it is all a cosmic accident is foolhardy.
For the sake of brevity, I will skip over verses 21 to 26. This is not because they lack anything of interest, far from it! They recap some of the themes we have already explored, but also the idea of wisdom being an antidote for fear and sleeplessness. Do give them a read.
Closing out the chapter, we read:
27 Don’t withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in the power of your hand to do it.
28 Don’t say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again;
tomorrow I will give it to you,”
when you have it by you.
29 Don’t devise evil against your neighbor,
since he dwells securely by you.
30 Don’t strive with a man without cause,
if he has done you no harm.
31 Don’t envy the man of violence.
Choose none of his ways.
32 For the perverse is an abomination to Yahweh,
but his friendship is with the upright.
33 Yahweh’s curse is in the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the habitation of the righteous.
34 Surely he mocks the mockers,
but he gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise will inherit glory,
but shame will be the promotion of fools.Proverbs 3:27-35 (WEB)
Verses 27 and 28 warn us not to procrastinate. Do not refuse to do good now, when you have the power to do so. The example of a neighbour in need is given to us. We should not tell that neighbour to come tomorrow if we are able to help them right here and now.
Procrastination is a real danger. Putting off things you know you ought to do is not wisdom. The ultimate example is when we put off getting right with God. Often the young will want to wait until later in life to start to follow Christ. This is so they can have all the “fun” that sin offers now, and set things right later on. “If I follow Jesus now, then I might never get married, or I might miss out on the good things life has to offer…” This is foolishness! We never know what tomorrow will bring, or when our lives will be demanded of us. Do not put off seeking God’s forgiveness until tomorrow, just in case tomorrow never comes!
The subsequent verses give us clear instructions.
- Verse 29 tells us not to plan evil against our neighbour, not just because it is wrong, but because they dwell right beside you
- Verse 30 warns us against fighting with someone without a just cause
- Verse 31 instructs us not to envy those who do evil and violence, with obvious reason.
Verses 32 – 35 contrast the evil and the good. Perverseness is an abomination, yet friendship with God is the reward of the upright. The wicked are cursed, while the righteous are blessed. The mocker is himself mocked, while grace is bestowed on those who are humble. The wise find glory, while the fool only shame.
Which side of this are you on? Make your choice, and follow your chosen path. The path of wisdom leads to God and His goodness, so I suggest you take that road – it’s a no brainer!
If you want to catch up on this series, then here are a few of the previous posts: