Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Proverbs- Chapter 3

Proverbs 3

-Solomon begins this section with a plead for his son not to ever forget his teaching. He wants his son’s heart to keep the commandments from God that he is laying out for him to abide by. “For,” he says, “length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.” He beseeches him to never let “kindness (checed- goodness, kindness, faithfulness, mercy, pity)” and “truth ('emeth- reliability, sureness, continuous, firmness, faithfulness, truth)” leave him. He tells him to bind these qualities around his neck and write them on the tablet of his heart. The result will be favor and good repute in the sight of God and man when he applies these nuggets of wisdom. Then my life verses come to the forefront, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Wow! That’s great advice from a father to his son. Solomon goes on to tell him that he should never be wise in his own eyes, which amounts to selfish pride. Instead, he should fear the LORD and turn in the opposite direction from evil. If he does this, generally there will be healing to the body and refreshment to the bones. Next, the king seeks to develop a giving spirit unto the LORD with his son. He instructs him to honor the LORD from the first of all his produce and wealth. The result would be an overflowing abundance of plenty, and he mentions specifically the vats overflowing with “new wine.” I think the “new wine” reference is interesting in considering other biblical uses of such metaphors including Christ Jesus (Genesis 27:28, Deuteronomy 7:13, Matthew 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:36-39). He then provides a warning that his son NOT reject the discipline of the LORD or loathe His reproof. He offers a biblical theme that reproofs from the LORD are a sign of His love, just like a father who corrects the son in whom he delights (Proverbs 3:1-12, Hebrews 12:4-13, Revelation 3:19).

-The second section of this chapter begins with relating how blessed a man is who finds wisdom, which is again the accurate application of knowledge, and understanding, which has to do with reasoning and discretion skills. The profit of wisdom is better than the money one could have from silver. Wisdom’s gain surpasses fine gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing man can desire compares with her. Long life, riches, and honor are in her hands. Her ways are pleasant and produce paths of peace. Wisdom is a tree of life to those who grasp her and hold on. Happy is the man that finds wisdom and holds to it. By wisdom, Solomon continues, the LORD founded the earth. By understanding, He established the heavens. By His vast and unsurpassing knowledge the deeps were broken up and the skies drip with dew. Solomon reiterates to his son that he NOT let these principles of wisdom vanish from his sight. In other words, keep sound wisdom and discretion. They will be life to the soul (eternal life) and an adornment to the neck. A secure walk will be the norm, and the foot will not stumble and fall. Sleep will be restful, sweet, and unafraid. Wickedness will not alarm the wise one; sudden fear, or terror, will be no match. “For the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught (Proverbs 3:13-26).

-The third and last section of this chapter begins with continued lessons in generosity. Solomon tells his son never to withhold good from those to whom it is due when it is in your power to do it. He emphasizes that to send folks away empty handed when you have the goods in hand is flat out wrong. Give, that is the theme. Further, do not devise harm against your neighbor, while he lives at peace and secure around you. Never contend with a man without cause, especially since he has done no harm to you. Live and let live is the mantra. It is evil to devise harm against your neighbor who is innocent. Don’t even envy a man of violence, nor choose any of his ways. “For the devious are an abomination to the LORD; but He is intimate with the upright.” The curse of God is on the house of the wicked, but He blesses the dwelling places of the righteous. The LORD scoffs at the scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted. One last contrast here, “the wise will inherit honor, but fools display dishonor (Proverbs 3:27-35).”

-*Application* A divided heart should have no place in our walk with God. Single focus is key to the productive, pleasant, and rewarding life. We simply do not know enough and cannot control situations enough to live life without God’s providential hand and guidance. Therefore, we should trust in Him and acknowledge Him for every decision. He is the only One that can direct our paths in the way they should ultimately go. Let the LORD be our confidence. Find wisdom. Fear the Almighty. Be generous. Be fair. Love peace, not violence or devious things. These all contribute to the righteous lifestyle. Inherit honor, not dishonor. Be wise, not foolish.

Verses to Memorize: Proverbs 3:5-6, 26

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