<< Previous | Index | Next >>"THE BOOK OF PROVERBS" Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living (3:1-35) INTRODUCTION 1. Proverbs chapter two presents Solomon as a father encouraging his son... a. To diligently seek after wisdom - Pr 2:1-4 b. To appreciate the benefits of diligently seeking wisdom - Pr 2: 5-22 2. In chapter three, we find Solomon imparting wisdom to his son... a. With six keys for a good life - Pr 3:1-12 b. With praise and illustrations of the value of wisdom - Pr 3:13-24 c. With six negatives for a wise life - Pr 3:25-35 [I like to think of this chapter as containing "Fatherly Counsel For Godly Living," and imagine sitting at the feet of Solomon as he imparts wisdom by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. We first hear him speak of...] I. SIX KEYS FOR A GOOD LIFE A. THE KEY TO A LONG AND PEACEFUL LIFE... 1. Heed the guidance of your father (parents) - Pr 3:1-2 2. The same thought as expressed by Paul - Ep 6:1-3 3. Place more stock in this secret to longevity, than those given by the world a. Diet, exercise, etc., are important b. But here is a commandment of God with promise! -- Do we honor our parents by giving them careful heed? B. THE KEY TO POPULARITY... 1. Some think the way to popularity is good looks, intelligence, or athletic ability 2. The qualities of truth and mercy are key to lasting popularity - Pr 3:3-4 3. Truth and mercy are more enduring, because they are more endearing! a. They find great favor in the sight of God - cf. Mt 5:7,37 b. Likewise in the eyes of men 1) No one likes a liar 2) Mercy (compassion, forgiveness) is admired by many -- Are we developing the qualities of truth and mercy in our lives? C. THE KEY TO SUCCESSFUL VENTURES... 1. Have the Lord "direct" your paths - Pr 3:5-6 a. The word "direct" means to make smooth or straight b. The Lord can help our journey in life go smoother with His blessing 2. To ensure that the Lord directs your paths... a. Trust in Him with all your heart - cf. Ps 37:3-6,23-24, 34-36 b. Acknowledge Him in all your ways - cf. Jm 4:13-16 c. Don't lean on your own understanding - cf. Pr 28:26 -- Do we involve the Lord in our decision making? D. THE KEY TO GOOD HEALTH... 1. Do not be arrogant, fear the Lord, and depart from evil - Pro 3:7-8 2. Do not underestimate the harmful effects of anxiety and stress a. Some authorities suggest that 50% of all illnesses may be psychosomatic b. Our body's immune system is certainly weakened by anxiety and stress c. Guilt is a major cause of anxiety, and can weigh heavily on our body - Ps 32:1-4 3. There is also the physical cost of sin a. E.g., the effects of drunkenness (cirrhosis of the liver) b. E.g., the effects of fornication (STDs) 4. Yet if we truly fear the Lord... a. We will depart from evil - Pr 16:6 b. We will be freed from much anxiety, stress, and many diseases c. And that will be good for our bodies! - cf. Pr 14:27 -- Is developing the fear of the Lord part of our "wellness program"? E. THE KEY TO PROSPERITY... 1. Give of your best to the Lord - Pr 3:9-10 2. In the OT, that involved paying tithes and putting God first a. When tithes were not given, it resulted in hardship - Mal 3: 8-12 b. When God was not first, likewise - cf. Hag 1:6-11 3. In the NT, it is not that much different a. Put God and His kingdom first, and we enjoy His providential care - Mt 6:31-33 b. Give cheerfully and liberally, and God will empower us to give more - 2Co 9:6-9 -- Do we give to the Lord the "first fruits" of our time, energy, and money? F. THE KEY TO ACCEPTING THE LORD'S DISCIPLINE... 1. Value divine chastening as the actions of a loving father - Pro 3:11-12 a. Even the righteous may be allow to suffer - cf. Job 1:8-22 b. And God may deem fit to compensate for it even in this life - cf. Job 42:10-13 2. Whatever persecution or hardship God allows, it is for our good a. We should expect discipline, if we are His children - He 12:7-9 b. But it will produce the fruit of holiness and righteousness, if we let it - He 12:10-11 -- Do we appreciate the positive role of discipline in our lives? [How blessed many lives would be if people implemented these "Six Keys For A Good Life." Perhaps to encourage us to heed such wisdom, Solomon proceeds to describe...] II. THE VALUE OF WISDOM A. SEEN IN SOLOMON'S PRAISE OF WISDOM... 1. Provides true happiness for those with wisdom and understanding - Pr 3:13 2. Profits one more than silver and fine gold - Pr 3:14 3. More precious than rubies, nothing we desire can compare with her - Pr 3:15 4. Offers length of days, riches, and honor - Pr 3:16 5. Her paths are ways of pleasantness and peace - Pr 3:17 6. A tree of life to those who take hold of her, happiness for those who retain her - Pr 3:18 -- Do we share Solomon's high estimation of the value of wisdom? B. SEEN IN GOD'S USE OF WISDOM... 1. God used wisdom in His acts of creation - Pr 3:19-20 a. To create the earth and heavens - Gen 1:1 b. To break up the depths of sea, and create the clouds above - Gen 1:6-9 c. Its beauty and harmony were made possible by the use of wisdom - Pr 8:22-31 2. Consider the implication for us a. The same wisdom is being offered to us! - cf. Jm 1:5-8 b. To provide our lives with harmony and peace - cf. Jm 3:17-18 -- Don't we want to have the same divine wisdom guiding our lives? C. SEEN IN WHAT WISDOM CAN DO FOR US... 1. To make our lives "a thing of beauty and joy forever" - Pr 3: 21-22 a. By offering wisdom and discretion b. Which give "life to your soul and grace (adornment, beauty) to your neck" c. Just as Jesus desired to give to His disciples - Jn 10:10; 15:11 2. To make our lives safe and secure - Pr 3:23-24 a. To help us walk safely 1) Our steps will be directed by wisdom 2) We thus avoid many of the pitfalls experienced by others - cf. Pr 2:8; 4:12 b. To help us sleep securely 1) For we will not be anxious about what may come 2) For the Lord will guard His saints - cf. Ps 3:5; 4:8 -- Don't we want to have lives filled with grace and security? [With such praise of the value of wisdom, perhaps we will be more open to what Solomon has to offer. Sometimes wisdom comes in the form of various "thou shalt not" directives. Thus we now have...] III. SIX NEGATIVES FOR A WISE LIFE A. DO NOT BE AFRAID... 1. Of sudden terror or trouble from the wicked - Pr 3:25 2. For the Lord will be your confidence and keep you from harm - Pr 3:26; cf. 14:26 3. Besides, fear is indicative of weak faith - cf. Mt 8:26 -- Let faith replace fear in your life B. DO NOT DENY GOOD... 1. Especially when we owe it and have it - Pr 3:27 2. As Christians we owe everyone love - cf. Ro 13:8 3. We should not deny those we can help - cf. 1Jn 3:17 4. Remember, to know to do good and not do it is sin - Jm 4:17 -- Do good unto all men as you have opportunity (Ga 6:10) C. DO NOT DELAY GOOD... 1. When it is in your power to do it today - Pr 3:28 2. Too often, delay is a cover for selfishness, a secret hope the matter will be forgotten 3. We may not have another opportunity - cf. Pr 27:1 -- Procrastination in doing good is a great evil D. DO NOT DEVISE EVIL... 1. Especially against your neighbor, who lives nearby for safety's sake - Pr 3:29 2. A neighbor expects you to be neighborly, and rightly so 3. A heart that devises evil is an abomination to the Lord - cf. Pr 6:16-18 -- Think well of your neighbor, that he and God might think well of you E. DO NOT STRIVE WITOUT CAUSE... 1. Especially if he has done no harm - Pr 3:30 2. Left unchecked, strife can easily escalate - cf. Pr 17:14; 18:6 3. Strife can easily ruin one's reputation - cf. Pr 25:8-10 -- Leave vengeance to God, and seek to overcome evil with good (Ro 12:18-21) F. DO NOT ENVY OPPRESSORS... 1. Do not envy an oppressor (lit., a man of violence) , nor choose his ways - Pr 3:31 a. As seen earlier, the oppressor is eventually caught in his own snare - cf. Pr 1:15-18 b. The Lord is the avenger of those who oppress the poor - cf. Pr 22:22-23 2. The Lord will bless the upright and just, the humble and wise - Pr 3:32-35 a. But He will curse wicked and perverse - cf. Pr 21:12 b. He will scorn the scornful, and shame will be the legacy of fools -- Don't be jealous of the prosperity of the wicked, they will never be as rich as the righteous! CONCLUSION 1. So we find that "Father Counsel For Godly Living" includes... a. Six keys for a good life b. A high estimation of the value of wisdom b. Six negatives for a wise life 2. This chapter does not begin to exhaust the wisdom God offers... a. More will be shared in the discourses to come in chapters 4-9 b. Much is to be found in the proverbs of chapters 10-31 Of course, Christ is the ultimate repository of wisdom and knowledge (Col 2:3), and many commentators suggest passages like Pr 3:13-20 to be veiled references to Jesus. Are we willing to let the wisdom of God in all its manifestations guide us in this life...?<< Previous | Index | Next >>
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