Proverbs - Day 3
“Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man.” Proverbs 3:3 - 4
Don't lose love
Love is a powerful force. There are holidays that are specifically dedicated to remind us of love like Valentine’s Day. There are industries that exist to promote and share the idea of love with others. Hallmark works hard to make sure that you know all about love through greeting cards and Christmas-themed movies. Love seems to make the world go around.
With all this, how could we misplace love? Solomon tells us to not forsake steadfast love and faithfulness (v 3). As I read these verses, I am reminded of a story in the New Testament where the Pharisees wanted to stump Jesus in a religious game. Jesus had just silenced the Sadducees (read Matthew 22:23 - 33 for context), so the Pharisees gathered together around Jesus and asked, "’ Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?’ And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and Prophets.’" (Matthew 22:36 - 40)
The Pharisees were concerned with outward appearance; it was important that they were ‘better’ than other people. They knew the Law and the Prophets (what we would consider the first five books of the Bible) said. They memorized the Torah so they were well aware of the commandments and guidelines of the Law and the Prophets. Jesus reminds them (and us as well) that without love, we have failed. Loving God and loving others (with that same kind of love that we have received) is the foundation for our lives; there is nothing greater than love.
Let's go back to Proverbs. Why would Solomon tell us to keep a tight hold on love? Why should we put love around our neck and write it on our hearts like a tablet? It's because we can go through life and miss love. We can act with selfish ambition and use wisdom for our own gain; we can keep the outward expression of the law without acting in love toward someone else. Wisdom is not merely knowing facts and figures. Wisdom is the application of knowledge, and our application of that knowledge is channeled through love.
Trust in the Lord
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5 - 8
These verses in Proverbs may be one of the most quoted sections of the Bible (and for good reason!). We all want a straight path, healing, and refreshment to our bones. How do we gain those rewards? What must we do to gain a path that is made clear by the Lord? Solomon again reminds us where our hope and security should lie. We are presented with a choice: we can put our hope and trust in God or we can lean on our own understanding. We can be wise in our own eyes, or we can trust God and submit to His plans for our life. Wisdom is more than sitting and waiting, wisdom is acting while acknowledging. We walk in the truth of who God is and what He has spoken over our lives, but we still have to walk the path of life.
I don't know about you, but I would love to feel refreshed in my bones. The pain of life is real and 2020 has not been very refreshing for anyone. Solomon, however, does not give a disclaimer for 2020 or any other bad times in our lives; there is nothing that can stop God from making your path straight and giving you the healing and refreshing that you need. The promise remains even though the problems persist.
Reflect and Respond
Read Proverbs 3:13 - 22. As you read this passage, reflect on the blessings that come from finding (and following) wisdom. How can you walk in wisdom and peace this week? What would it look like if we (as the church) walked in peace together?