Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Vertical And Horizontal In Proverbs Chapter Three

Proverbs chapter three deals first with vertical spirituality. God and the individual. Trust (3:5-6), Wisdom (3:7-8), Honor (3:9-10) and Correction (3:11-12) are addressed and soon the writer will talk about horizontal spirituality but before that happens wisdom is extolled...

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her; those who hold her fast are called blessed. The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps broke open, and the clouds drop down the dew. My son, do not lose sight of these - keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble. If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet." - Proverbs 3:13-24 ESV

"Do not be afraid of sudden terror or of the ruin of the wicked, when it comes, for the LORD will be your confidence and will keep your foot from being caught." - Proverbs 3:25-26 ESV

This is wisdom. We are given a shield of faith and it protects us if we use it wisely. Trusting, leaning and honoring add a fear free dynamic when we mix faith in God faithfulness while in circumstances.

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it." - Proverbs 3:27 ESV

In the Hebrew the first part reads 'Do not withhold good from it's owners' and that changes the meaning for me. I don't have to let people bleed me dry because they are 'proactive askers.'

If we are given power it is for a purpose beyond ourselves and not to be withheld but we also are not obligated to give simply because someone asks.

"Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it' - when you have it with you." - Proverbs 3:28 ESV

This is an interesting one.

"Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you." - Proverbs 3:29 ESV

This one is also.

"Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm." - Proverbs 3:30 ESV

All three of these have something in common. They reflect a value system that values things or principles above people. Politics makes people impersonal in this way. Business can do it also. Rationals are formed that justify decisions that would fall squarely in these categories.

"Do not envy a man of violence and do not choose any of his ways," - Proverbs 3:31 ESV

Sorry action hero fans. Read it and weep. {smile}

"for the devious person is an abomination to the LORD, but the upright are in his confidence. The LORD's curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the dwelling of the righteous. Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor. The wise will inherit honor, but fools get disgrace." - Proverbs 3:32-35 ESV

The book of Proverbs is not the law. It is a description of principles and dynamics. It reveals how things work giving people of every age a blueprint to work from to live life and live it well.

I want to be wise in my dealings with God. Sin is not in that equation anymore. It has been removed by my Savior. How can I be wise in my dealings with people today. Grace will teach me. Reading the scriptures I see potential pitfalls... now grace will guide me in how to navigate through the day.


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