If you are just jumping in now, I have been pulling out a few lines in Proverbs that stand out to me, but I encourage you to do the same – you will likely find different ones!
22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
My mom always tells these horror stories from when I was a young child about how I was a nightmare to deal with (I’m sure she exaggerates…), but that didn’t mean that she just accepted it. She tells me she prayed and asked that God would turn my stubborn, strong-willed self to be stubborn and strong-willed for God. I can’t say that I have done a perfect job, but I know I am thankful for the prayers my mom said. I don’t hit people in anger anymore (or throw whatever is in my hand across the room when I get mad). Though I sometimes struggle to stay on fire for God, I am trying to do what I can to stay faithful through it. The attribute of being strong-willed has been put to use in staying steadfast even when I go through times of struggle. If you are the child who was raised in the faith and is still in it, thank your parents! If you are someone who has children or plans to someday, keep this in mind. It starts young.
23:4-5 Saying 8
4 Do not wear yourself out to get rich;
do not trust your own cleverness.
5 Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone,
for they will surely sprout wings
and fly off to the sky like an eagle.
Finding a balance between providing for life and accumulating wealth can be difficult. Most of us want to have nice things in life, but it can consume us. That first line stands out to me – “Do not wear yourself out to get rich;” If I am so focused on work that I am worn out everyday, or don’t have time to spend with my family, I don’t think that is right. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of other places in the Bible that tell us we should be hard workers and not to be lazy (see next section), but overworking yourself just to gain wealth doesn’t feel right. You might not be able to get everything you want, but learning to be content with what you have is for the better. Contentedness is something I have been working on the last few months. What I have is enough.
30 I went past the field of a sluggard,
past the vineyard of someone who has no sense;
31 thorns had come up everywhere,
the ground was covered with weeds,
and the stone wall was in ruins.
32 I applied my heart to what I observed
and learned a lesson from what I saw:
33 A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest—
34 and poverty will come on you like a thief
and scarcity like an armed man.
Being lazy leads to an inability to thrive. We have to find that balance of hard work, but not letting it consume us to where gaining possessions becomes our sole focus. How are your priorities? Where is God on that list?
We are moving out of Proverbs tomorrow, so enjoy these little bits of wisdom!
Today’s Bible passage can be read or listened to at https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Proverbs+22-24&version=NIV
Tomorrow we jump from Proverbs (many of Solomon’s writings) to 1 Kings 5-6 and 2 Chronicles 2-3 to read some of the events of King Solomon’s life and reign. We return to the rest of Proverbs next week on our 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan.