The book of Proverbs contains inspired wisdom that relates to all our relationships (family, friends, colleagues, etc.). As Christians who are to conduct themselves with wisdom (Eph. 5:15, 16), we can benefit from the wisdom found in this book; it can serve as a valuable guide in many areas of daily living.
Of all our relationships, the one with God Himself is the one in which we most need wisdom (Eph. 5:17). For example, in our relationship with God, we learn from Proverbs that:
I. True wisdom recognizes a need for the fear of the Lord.
Why should we fear the Lord? The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). Unless we have a proper respect for God, we will not be receptive to the Word of the Lord as "fools despise wisdom and instruction" (verse 7b).
The fear of the Lord is valuable because:
A. It prolongs life (Prov. 10:27) by keeping one away from evil (16:6) and thus keeping one untouched by evil (19:23).
B. It improves the quality of life (Prov. 22:4) by giving one a strong confidence (14:26a); by providing refuge (14:26b); by making life an overflowing experience (14:27a); and by helping us to avoid the pitfalls which could destroy us (14:27b). Thus the fear of the Lord gives us "quality of life" as well as "quantity of days."
II. True wisdom recognizes that some things are an abomination to God.
"Abomination" is defined as something which is "worthy of or causing loathing or hatred; something which is detestable." In other words:
A. True wisdom understands that God hates some things with a loathing disgust.
1. A proud look ("pride") (16:5);
2. A lying tongue (12:22);
3. Hands that shed innocent blood (murder);
4. A heart that devises wicked plans (15:26);
5. Feet that run swiftly to evil (15:9);
6. A false witness who speaks lies (17:15);
7. One who sows discord among brethren.
8. False weights, by which others are cheated (11 :D;
9. Committing wickedness (16:12);
10.The sacrifice (worship) of the wicked (15:8); and
11 .The prayers of those who ignore the laws of God (28:9).
Understanding that God detests and loathes these things, Christians walking in wisdom before God will certainly avoid them!
III. True wisdom recognizes that our relationship with God is affected by our relationships with others (Proverbs 21:3).
A. The poor and needy
1. How we treat them reflects how we treat God (14:31).
2. If you make fun at their plight, beware (17:5).
3. The Lord wi 11 bless those who are gracious to the poor (19:17).
4. The Lord will punish those who rob the poor (22:22, 23).
B. Widows and the fatherless
1. God is concerned for widows (15:25).
2. He will redeem the fatherless who are abused (23:10, 11).
C. Our enemies
1.The Lord is not pleased when we rejoice over the defeat of our enemies (24:17,18).
2.The Lord will reward those who show kindness to their enemies (25:21, 22).
What wisdom can we glean from the book of Proverbs? Simply that if we fear the Lord and do what pleases Him, if we avoid the things which the Lord hates, if we treat others with righteousness and justice, our relationship with God will be on a solid foundation! "He who heeds the word wisely will find good, and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he." (16:20).
Have you placed your trust in the Lord by humbly submitting to His Word?
General Conference Ministerial Association