Day 162 – Thru the Bible
Today we complete in Proverbs! Great job.
Proverbs 28 – Work and money. Our feelings about money make an impact on our relationships. A greedy man stirs up strife because of his unrestrained appetites, expectations, and demands. His heart is not contented with God’s provision, so he oversteps his bounds with others, who are understandably offended (James 4:1–3). But the one who trusts in the Lord is not out for himself. His heart is given over to the Lord first and foremost. And he will be enriched, in the way Jesus promised (Matthew 6:33).
Greed spreads conflict, while generosity spreads friendship: “Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered” (Proverbs 11:25). Many investments are uncertain, and some will come to nothing. But godly generosity cannot fail to bless and be blessed—ultimately, and most wonderfully, with God Himself (11:24; 19:17; 22:9; Matthew 25:40; Luke 16:9; 2 Corinthians 9:6–11; 1 Timothy 6:17–19; Hebrews 13:16). Every aspect of our new life in Jesus, including generosity, grows by use and withers by neglect (Matthew 25:29).
How can we become less greedy and more generous? By the power of the gospel: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you by His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). The most powerful motivation for generosity is not a threat or a demand but the grace of God made plain in Jesus.
How does all the Jesus has done for you flow out of you in generosity to others?
Proverbs 29 – Humility. The surprise of God’s wisdom is that it outfoxes our own intuitive formulas for success. Pride feels smart, but is foolish (26:12). Inevitably, pride goes before a fall (16:18). “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death” (14:12; 16:25). This is so because in selfishness and impatience our pride overreaches. Pride even hastens judgment, because it scorns the saving Word of God (13:13). By contrast, “he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor” (29:23). The lowly might be highly talented people, but they are teachable before the Lord (15:31–33).
This theme of humility-before-honor opens up the heart of the gospel. Jesus Himself walked this path—first the cross, then the crown—and now He is giving us the privilege of following Him there (1 Peter 1:10–11; 4:12–13). Sometimes, when we are bearing the cross of humility, it can be heavy. That is when we can remember that the glorious crown of honor is coming to us just as surely as it came to Jesus Himself.
One of the practical ways we can walk in humility together is to confess our sins to one another: “Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy” (Proverbs 28:13; James 5:16). Rather than save face, we can humbly own up to our sins, because God has justified us by His grace as a gift (Romans 3:24). The curse of the law’s condemnation fell NOT on us but on Jesus at the cross (Galatians 3:13). We are now free to be honest with God, and with one another, about our real problems. When we walk humbly together in this gospel light, we experience renewed fellowship and fresh cleansing (1 John 1:7).
How do you enjoy community with others where you can be open and honest about your life?
Proverbs 30 – The Sayings of Agur. The identity of Agur, son of Jakeh, is unknown. One claim is that the word translated oracle actually should be the proper name “Massa,” so that v. 1 would read, “Agur son of Jakeh, the man of Massa.” If so, then it might refer to a tribe in northwest Arabia, and Agur could have been a Gentile.
Wisdom texts often begin with a teacher proclaiming that he is wise and so his words ought to be obeyed. Here, Agur does just the opposite: he confesses that he is not learned in wisdom. Agur then asks a series of rhetorical questions to show the limitations on human understanding and achievement. Like the questions of God in Job 38–39, these questions point to things that only God can do. Silent reverence is the only proper human response. The whole of verses 2–6 teaches that human wisdom is limited, that the wisest people recognize their ignorance, that truth resides in the word of God, and that no one should think he is able to improve upon the wisdom that God has given.
Every word of God proves true. God’s words are a proven foundation for one’s life. The proverb’s emphasis on every “word” underscores the truthfulness, trustworthiness, and reliability of the Bible, not just in its overall message but also in every detail.
Agur asks for two things. The first request (remove far from me falsehood and lying) probably implies both that he does not want to become a liar and that he does not want to have people lie to him. The second request (give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me) expresses caution about trusting in wealth.
Are you weary and worn out? How can you find refreshment in the Word of God?
Proverbs 31 – Family. The book of Proverbs concludes with a family scene both impressive and heartwarming. At the center of this ideal family is a strong woman of wide-ranging capabilities, fully involved in the challenges of life. The glowingly positive message here is that “a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” The word “praise” occurs three times in verses 28–31, setting an overall tone of encouragement in this home. The children rise up in respect and speak well of their mother. The husband, never a faultfinder, gently praises her for her outstanding qualities. This remarkable woman gives herself diligently to her family and her community, and her family communicates how they admire her. This wise family sees through the false glories that inevitably disappoint: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain.” Their mother, who “has devoted herself to every good work” (1 Timothy 5:10), embodies the godly wisdom of her entire family.
Clearly, the life of wisdom is not just for men, but for all. It is not just for Sunday, but for every aspect of life. It is not austere and grim, but attractive with a sincere enjoyment that flows from one human heart to another. Best of all, the life of wisdom will matter forever. When we are with the Lord on the new earth, we will find that our deeds will have followed us, transformed by His grace into eternal blessing (Revelation 14:13).
But “who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Corinthians 2:16). We are not. Even the “excellent wife” of Proverbs 31 is not sufficient in herself, but she “fears the Lord”. Her ultimate regard is not for her beauty, goodness, or accomplishment, but for the One who provides for her every need and loved one. We are prepared by such an example to remember that God must make us sufficient for what we face and for what He requires. Ultimately, in Jesus, He does so. What He commands, He also gives. Therefore, we may receive His counsels in the book of Proverbs with this wonderful assurance: “Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5).
How does the assurance that it is Jesus within you, and not your own doing, that will transform your life to look more and more like Jesus every day, give you peace and encouragement today?
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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