Proverbs 3:1-2-Solomon tells his son to not forget the things that he teaches him. They will help his life to be both peaceful and long.
Proverbs 3:3-4-He advises his son to always use kindness and truth as components of his decision making. Kindness without truth can lead to action based on nothing more than sentimentality…which can produce great error in making correct judgment. However, truth, without kindness, may arrive at a right conclusion…but leave people wounded and bleeding in its wake, along with broken relationships.
Proverbs 3:5-8-Don't trust in your own wisdom, but God's...and it will give your very body health. It is not uncommon for believers to find themselves in a situation that they thought they would never be in. They got there when, unconsciously, they began to make small, seemingly insignificant decisions on their own…without consulting God. Over time, they became even more unaware that they were beginning to “lean on your own understanding” to a greater measure. They were not intentionally leaving God out. They just were not intentionally bringing God in. There is no such thing as being neutral towards God. You are either working with Him, or, you are working against Him. Working without Him is simply a degree of working against Him. That is why Solomon tells his son to, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart.” Don’t leave anything in your life out of God’s will.
Proverbs 3:9-10-Solomon says that we are to honor God with all of our material possessions. He says that we should do this with the “first of all your produce.” The word “first” literally means “the best, the choice part”. Don’t give God your surplus. Never give God your leftovers. Give God from the very best that you have. As a result, God will bless you so that you might continue to do so, again and again.
Proverbs 3:11-12-Don't reject the discipline of the LORD...it is a sign of His love for us. The word “discipline” means “correction, chastening”. Often, when people are disciplined they allow their pride to become an issue. They have already done something and don’t want to be told they were wrong in doing it. For many people it is easier on their ego if they are told beforehand, rather than after. But Solomon tells his son to not reject God’s discipline. The word “rebuke” means a similar thing…but may even take it a step further to include, “correction, reproof, punishment, chastisement.” Again, Solomon warns his son to recognize God’s rebuke as a sign of His love for him.
Proverbs 3:13-20-A man is blessed when he lives his life as God has determined, because it is the operating system of creation (:19-20). His wisdom, understanding, and knowledge are the prime directives for all of creation. Someone has said that we don’t break God’s law, God’s law breaks us. Solomon lists the values and benefits of living by God’s wisdom and understanding (:13)…
The values of God’s wisdom…
- “its profit is better than the profit of silver” (:14a)
- “its gain than fine gold” (:14b)
- “more precious than jewels” (:15a)
- “nothing you desire compares with her (:15b)
The benefits of God’s wisdom…
- “Long life is in her right hand” (:16a)
- “In her left hand are riches and honor (:16b)
- “Her ways are pleasant ways” (:17a)
- “all her paths are peace” (:17b)
- “She is a tree of life” (:18a)
- “happy are all who hold her fast” (:18b).
Proverbs 3:21-26-Solomon tells his son to always see life through the filter of God’s wisdom and discretion. “Discretion” means to understand how and why something operates. Solomon tells his son that if he understands how and why God’s creation operates the way that it does…and follows that same form of operation in his life…then he will be blessed. He will…
- “walk in your way securely” (:23a)
- “your foot will not stumble” (:23b)
- “When you lie down you will not be afraid” (:24a)
- “your sleep will be sweet” (:24b)
- he need not suffer from “sudden fear” (meaning unexpected, or to be afraid of the “onslaught of the wicked”…because “the LORD will be your confidence, and will keep your foot from being caught” (:25-26).
Proverbs 3:27-35-These verses tell us to live among other people in such a way that we are a blessing to them. When we have the opportunity…do good to others. Don’t keep putting them off in hopes that they will finally just quit asking (:27-28). Don’t take advantage of a man’s trust in you (:29-30). Do not be envious of what an evil person gets away with and certainly do not participate in his evil activities with him (:31-32). Solomon then contrasts the differences between God’s attitude and action towards those that are good and those that are evil.
- The “crooked” (this word means “to depart, to turn aside, to be lost from view”) man is an “abomination” (someone to be loathed, detested, abhorred) to God. He will have nothing to do with him. However, God is “intimate” (the root word means “to sit together”)…God is close to and familiar with the “upright” (this word means to be “straight, correct”)…those that live according to His will (:32).
- God will place a “curse” (to make an oath, or agreement to invoke harm) on the “wicked” (those hostile towards God, or guilty of sin). However, He “blesses” (to speak favorably of someone) the “dwelling of the righteous” (:33).
- The word “scoff” means “to scorn, make mouths at, talk arrogantly”. These people think that they have no need for God…so they scoff at Him. When people scoff at God…He simply allows them to suffer the consequences of living life without Him. As if He is saying, “You say that you don’t need me? Okay, I’ll give you what you want.” However, when people are “afflicted” (this word means “to be poor, needy, weak”). They cannot help themselves, they know it, and they call out to God…then, God gives them “grace” (this word means “favour, good will, pity”). He extends His help to them (:34).
- The behavior of “fools” will “display” (this word literally means “to be high, lofty”…here it signifies that the results of their foolishness will be made vividly clear) “dishonor” (shame, disgrace, ignominy). But the “wise” will “inherit” (the word means “to be allotted, to be made to possess) “honor” (glory, abundance, splendor). The words “dishonor” and “honor” are two different Hebrew words (:35).
Proverbs 4:1-9-Solomon tells his son to seek wisdom and not lose it (:1-2). This is what his father told him, as well (:3-4). While Solomon was an extremely wise man…he made some terrible decisions. It sounds here like he is trying to convince his sons to do what he is teaching them…so that they will not have to learn the lesson the hard way, through disobedience and then suffering the consequences. Like a father trying to protect his son from the outcome of bad choices. He now portrays the process of acquiring of wisdom, with the process of acquiring a woman, or wife (:5-9). He tells his son to “acquire” (to get something and to hold on to it) wisdom (:5). Get a wife (wisdom) and never let her go. To “forsake” means “to leave, abandon, neglect”. Once you have a wife…pay close attention to her and take care of her. “Love her” and she will take care of you (:6). But don’t just seek wisdom for the sake of knowing information. Learn how to use the information that you have…understand what it can do for you (:7). If you take care of her, she will prove to be a great benefit in your life (:8-9).
Proverbs 4:10-19-Solomon tells his son to pay close attention to what he has been taught. If he does so, his “steps will not be impeded” and “you will not stumble” (:12). He warns his him to stay away from wicked men. Their evil drives them to do more evil…even keeping them up at night as they think of how they can harm other people (:14-17). Righteousness will make your life bright and you will be able to clearly see how to live a blessed way (:18). But wickedness will bring darkness into a person’s life…and will affect his thinking so that he no longer even realizes that the bad things going on in his life are the direct result of his evil behavior (:19).
Proverbs 4:20-27-Solomon warns his son to diligently guard the things that influence his “heart” (his thinking and feeling, :23) by being careful of…
- what he hears (:24)
- what he sees (:25)
- where he goes (:26-27).
Prayer: Lord, I want to know Your blessings in my life. And I realize that they are the direct result of my obedience to Your will. Please give me Your wisdom to guard my heart so that it is only influenced by Your Spirit. Show me what is beneficial and what is harmful in the things that I listen to, the things that I look at, and the places that I go.