Day 160 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue in Proverbs.
Proverbs 22 – Humility. The foundation of biblical wisdom is humility before God and one another. There is also a false kind of “wisdom,” a worldly way to get ahead, driven by pride and selfish ambition (James 3:13–18). This selfish wisdom comes to us naturally, but is contrary to the Lord (Luke 16:15) and it lets us down. God’s wisdom always involves humility, depending upon God for everything we need and crediting Him with everything we have (1 Corinthians 4:7). This is a difficult adjustment but it is rewarding—with riches and honor and life in Jesus (Colossians 2:3; 1 Peter 1:7). Solomon humbled himself as a child, and God gave him both wisdom and its rewards (1 Kings 3:5–15). Jesus humbled Himself all the way to the cross, and God gave Him a name above every other name (Philippians 2:5–11). Humility is the key to everything we desire in our own deepest intentions.
What is humility? It is the fear of (reverence for) the Lord: “The reward for humility and fear of the Lord” means “The reward for humility, that is, fear of the Lord.” Reverence for the Lord changes our focus from self-esteem to joyful Jesus-esteem (Philippians 3:4–11). Our own accomplishments and privileges come to mean less to us, replaced with a sense of need that draws us closer to Jesus and His strength (2 Corinthians 12:1–10). We submit our problem-solving to the Lord, because He loves us more than we love ourselves (1 Peter 5:6–7). Rather than brag about our own plans, we humbly entrust our future to Jesus (Proverbs 27:1; James 4:13–17). This is the wisdom of humbly fearing the Lord, as Jesus did.
When the eternal Word became earthly flesh (John 1:14), humility came down into this proud world as a conquering power, overthrowing human strategies for success (Matthew 23:12; Luke 14:11; 18:14). The humility of Jesus becomes visible today through the humility of His followers (1 Peter 5:5; Matthew 18:1–4). But at His second coming, Jesus will return not in lowliness but as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:11–16). Then the meek will truly inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5).
Family. Verse 6 is not a sure formula for success in child rearing; it is an assurance of how profound a parent’s influence can be—though that influence might be rejected. The Proverbs provide reliable guidance but they do not address every contingency encountered in a sinful world. Wise parents invest in a child during the crucial, early years, because such care typically has godly results. But even the best parenting can result in a prodigal and a prideful son (Luke 15:11–32). Ultimately, the way a child “should go” is not a college or career choice but an eternal choice to live for God. Such a “way” is profoundly influenced by parents’ actions, but is ultimately determined by the child’s heart.
“Train up” means to dedicate the child to God (Ephesians 6:4), so this proverb raises the question of the parent’s own commitment. The parent’s dedication is sustained by remembering that Jesus Himself is committed to that family. “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). A wise parent is realistic about a child’s innate folly. Something deep inside a child wants to demand its own way. But “the rod of discipline” will drive that folly out. Even so, our Father in heaven disciplines us all (Hebrews 12:5–11), proving thereby that He cares about us. Wise parents discipline their children with the same love they themselves have received from their gracious heavenly Father.
How do these words on humility and family help you today?
Proverbs 23 – The rich host may be using his wealth to manipulate his less-wealthy guests to do his bidding. His hospitality is deceptive.
The workaholic is encouraged to be discerning enough to desist in his pursuit of wealth. Wealth is fleeting; there should come a point where a person decides he has enough, and that he will devote some of his time and effort to activities that bring no financial reward.
The Redeemer of the fatherless is the Lord Himself (Psalm 19:14; 119:154). He is perhaps portrayed here as the near kin.
Wisdom cannot be acquired without determination.
Verses 13–14 clearly affirm the place of corporal punishment in child rearing. The father punishes in this way to teach the child, not to vent his anger. The goal of such discipline is developing the child’s character. In these verses, he will not die and you will save his soul from Sheol are parallel ideas. Sheol here is the place where the ungodly go after death. Discipline equips the child to continue in the way of eternal life.
Instead of envying those who ignore God’s way, bringing glory to God is the believer’s top priority. Such a path is the only true hope for a future.
The phrase give me your heart should guide parents in their task of child rearing. Their goal must be the deepest source of the child’s thoughts, words, and actions. observe my ways. Parents must live as an example of virtue for their children. In particular, the parent reminds the child to avoid a prostitute and an adulteress. Such persons are as deceitful as a robber. They lead one to betray their family.
Your eyes will see strange things. A drunken person cannot perceive the cause-and-effect connections of events. On the top of a mast is a picture of instability.
How are you determined to seek and apply God’s wisdom to your life?
Proverbs 24 – Friendship and conflict. A true friend does more than accept us: “whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips.” As a later proverb puts it, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend” (Proverbs 27:6). True friends stir us to strive and grow (Hebrews 10:24). Wisely, the wounds of a true friend are not rash or reckless but gentle and respectful, for “a brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city” (Proverbs 18:19). It is easy to offend, but hard to reconcile.
If someone you love has betrayed your trust and harmed you, the path of God’s wisdom for you is this: “Do not say, ‘I will repay evil’; wait for the Lord, and He will deliver you.” Waiting for the Lord is not easy, but taking your own revenge can only make matters worse. Far from repaying one evil with more evil, God’s counsel is that you unsettle your ex-friend with surprising kindnesses: “If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat, and if he is thirsty, give him water to drink, for you will heap burning coals on his head, and the Lord will reward you” (Romans 12:19–21; 1 Peter 3:8–17). The Lord does not ask us to trust our enemies, but He does ask us to love them, for He loved us when we were His enemies (Romans 5:8; 2 Corinthians 5:17–20). By this heavenly wisdom, and by this means alone, the love of Jesus will be wonderfully seen and felt in our angry world today.
How will you allow Jesus to help you respond in love when you’ve been wronged?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
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