“behold, I have done according to your words; see, I have given you a wise and understanding heart...” – 1 Kings 3:12
The book of Proverbs is where Solomon shares some of that wisdom that he was given. Wisdom and understanding given to him by God…makes me think I should pay close attention. Proverbs 3 is entitled Guidance for the Young. I still fancy myself young, so I read this as though it were directed at me to, not only learn for myself, but also as something I should be striving to teach my children.
As I read this chapter, 5 points seem to stand out to me.
1. Live a merciful and honest life. (Prov. 3:3-4)
Be merciful. There are two different situations where one person has the opportunity to bestow mercy on another. One is in the case of helping those less fortunate. This seems to be the popular way to show mercy. You give to someone in need. They receive something they did not earn and you get those nice warm fuzzies in the pit of your stomach. It would be easy to just leave it at that. However, when I looked up the definition of mercy…there was another…compassion shown especially to an offender. Being merciful also means extending compassion even when punishment is justified. Personally, this is an area where I struggle. After all, if punishment is warranted… But, it becomes much easier to be merciful to others when you begin to comprehend how merciful God has been to you. Daily, I fall short in my attempts to worship and serve God in the manner He deserves. Yet, His mercies are new every morning. Each morning when I awake, I know that it is a brand new day with brand new opportunities to extend mercy to those around me.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. – Matthew 5:7
2. Trust in the Lord. (Prov. 3:5)
This may be something that I would want to stress to my girls the most. If we could just learn to trust Him… I think about how much time and energy I spend worrying about the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of every situation. I am learning this a little more every day though…to just let go and trust. I do not have to know what is going to happen down the road. I do not have to know how God is going to work out the particular problem or situation I’m facing. I just need to stay on my knees and in the Word and trust Him.
3. Honor the Lord with your possessions. (Prov. 3:9)
This is definitely something that my husband has taught me. From day one, this was non-negotiable. Our family will tithe. While I totally agreed with the concept and understand that God demanded it…I struggled with the reality of writing that check. When we first got married and did not make much money, it did not seem like it was possible to let go of ten percent of our income. Now, looking back, I can see that it was an act of faith. That is what is pleasing to God…the faith that says I am going to give you this money, not at the end of the month when I know it is leftover, but now…in advance because I believe you will provide as you have promised. Now, I would be totally not following the first point if I led you to believe that I have never suffered a lack of faith. There were definitely times in the past when I have written the check and then held on to it to make sure everything worked out that month. I know that this was probably disappointing to God, but I am thankful for the mercy that allows me to step up and try again.
Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; so that your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9-10
4. Seek Wisdom. (Prov. 3:13-18)
Here are just a few things that are byproducts of wisdom:
· happiness (vs 13)
· more profit than silver and gold (vs 14)
· something more precious than rubies and better than anything you could desire (vs 15)
· long life, riches and honor (vs 16)
· pleasantness and peace (vs 17)
· again, happiness (vs 18)
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. – James 1:5
5. Always do good when an opportunity presents itself. (Prov. 3:27)
This was is pretty much self-explanatory. Satan often convinces us that our acts of kindness may not be needed. I think of times when I’ve felt the urge to send a card and was able to convince myself that it would be silly or not helpful or just one of many cards they would receive. Or there are those times when I see something that I should probably do for someone, but I’m in a hurry and think I will do it later. This verse specifically says…
Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, and tomorrow I will give it.”
No, if there is an opportunity to do good…do it right then. That same opportunity may not present itself tomorrow and you will have missed a chance to be a blessing to someone and to show the love of Christ.