Proverbs 3:11-12

In Discipline, Find the Father’s Love

11) My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, 12) because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.

I once heard someone say, “Come to Jesus, and all your problems will be solved.” That is very misleading. Nowhere are we told that we will not have problems on this earth. In fact, Jesus says, “You will have trouble(John 16:33). I saw my earthly troubles increase when I became a Christian at age 33. I wondered, “Why doesn’t God just take me home and spare me from this?” Since then, I’ve discovered He keeps us here in part to make us into the persons He wants us to be: made into the image of His Son (Romans 8:30). We are disciplined for our good, even as children beloved by the Father (Hebrews 12:5-11).

God disciplines those He loves in two ways. One way begins with our “I’m going to do my own thing” attitude. If you get away with it, and don’t experience God’s discipline, you should tremble, because this is like you are an illegitimate child and not a true child (Hebrews 12:8). If you are disciplined, take joy in your misery because you are a true child of God (James 1:5). But there is a better way.

The other way to find the Father’s love is by the study and ingestion of His Word (Psalm 119:11). Scripture is given to us by God to train us in godliness (2 Timothy 3:16), and to cause us to grow to maturity in Christ (Hebrews 5:14). We study God’s Word in fellowship with other Christians. By either path, God will get you where He wants you to go; but believe me, the latter is the much more pleasant route.

Scriptural Examples

The Laodicean church. This lukewarm church was rebuked by Christ for its lack of commitment. They were neither cold nor hot. He stood at the door of their hearts and knocked. Those who were genuine Christians would hear His voice and open the door, receiving His discipline and the joy of His subsequent fellowship (Revelation 3:14-22).

Prayer of Application

Lord, thank You for Your hand of discipline, as You have guided me into Your truth through the years. When I leave the path, You turn me back to the true way.

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Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 3:9-10

Find Wisdom’s Secret to True Riches

9) Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; 10) then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.

The “first fruits” (or tithes) were consecrated to God by the Israelites under the Law of Moses. It was a testimony to God’s mighty hand in bringing the nation out of the land of bondage and into the Promised Land (Exodus 13:11-14). The offering brought rich temporal blessings from God. But what about today? Should we tithe, and what benefits are we promised if we do?

There are two sides to the question. While some say that the tithe is still in effect, others disagree. They argue that under the Law, the Israelites were like children under a schoolmaster (Galatians 3:24 KJV), while the new covenant treats us as adults (Galatians 3:25). They say the matter is left up to the individual’s circumstances and conscience. God no longer wants a mere 10 percent, He owns it all, they argue, and the question is, how much shall we keep?

Unlike Israel, we are not promised worldly wealth. In Luke 16:11, Jesus makes a distinction between temporal wealth and “true riches.” True riches bring understanding of God’s mysteries (Colossians 2:2); met needs (Philippians 4:19); strengthened inner beings (Ephesians 3:16); an eternal inheritance (Ephesians 1:11); and the wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33). This is the bottom line: that we affirm our trust in God by generous giving to His kingdom. Thereby we know the true riches of Jesus. Bless your pastor, your congregation, yourself, and indeed the world, as you honor God by your faithful giving.

Scriptural Examples

The poor widow. She put in only a fraction of what the rich were contributing, but Jesus honored her as He said that in her poverty she had put in more than all the others. She had given all she had. Should we do less than she? (Mark 12:41-44)

Prayer of Application

Dear God, keep me from presuming upon the freedom that I have in Christ and forgetting that I owe You all that I am and ever will be. Open my heart and my wallet, that I may honor You.

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Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 3:7-8

Find Wisdom’s Healthy Body

7) Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil. 8) This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

We’ve all known someone who was “a legend in his own mind”—wise in his own eyes. But the command is to “fear the Lord and shun evil.” These are opposite sides of the same coin. If we honor the Lord, we will hate sin. When we turn to Christ for salvation, we turn away from sin (Proverbs 14:27; Romans 12:9). Christ and sin are like oil and water; they don’t mix.

God’s love always seeks what is best for us. Sin does not. There are both eternal and temporal consequences of sin. For instance, drunkenness can produce cirrhosis of the liver, cancer, car crashes, divorce, and abuse toward others. The list could go on and on.

Health clubs abound in America as people seek physical fitness. These places look to me like 14th century torture chambers with their heavy iron, stationary bicycles, and rowing machines. Now all this is fine, but I belong to a different kind of health club. It’s called a church. Within my health club I learn to fear the Lord and to live according to His commandments. While this doesn’t guarantee that I’ll always be in good health, it’s a far better way than any that will ever be invented by humans.

Scriptural Examples

Gehazi. After Elisha’s healing of Naaman, the prophet’s servant ran after the visitor seeking the payment that Elisha had refused. Because of his sin, Gehazi was stricken with leprosy, like Naaman, who had been healed. Gehazi did not “fear the Lord and shun evil(2 Kings 5:1-27).

Uzziah. This king of Judah had feared the Lord, but became prideful in his latter years and sinned when he burned incense in the temple. God sent upon Uzziah the same leprosy that Gehazi had received, but it never healed (2 Chronicles 26:5; 16-23).

Prayer of Application

Father, help me to meet You each day in reverence and awe, and to follow Your leadership in all things, not allowing sin a foothold in my life. Surely it will mean health and peace for me.

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Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 3:5-6

Find Wisdom’s Straight Path

5) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6) in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.

Many of us list these verses as some of our favorites. And yet, do we really understand what they are saying to us?

First, we are to trust the Sovereign Lord with every fiber of our beings, putting the full weight of our cares, worries and problems on Him (1 Peter 5:7; Matthew 11:28-30). We are to place our trust solely in God Almighty and His Word (Job 13:15a). This is easy to say, but very difficult to do. It runs counter to our sin nature and upbringing. Many are raised to be self-reliant, but self-reliance is condemned by God (Proverbs 28:26). Self-reliance is the province of the fool, not the wise man. It is idolatry.

How can we trust Him fully? Verse 6 shows us the way. The word “acknowledge” in that translation is better rendered “know” (Kidner, p. 63). To “know” God is to have intimate fellowship with Him. We are to prayerfully and consistently study and ingest His Word (2 Timothy 2:15), growing daily in our knowledge of Him (2 Peter 3:18). The more we truly know Him, the more we will trust in Him, and less in ourselves and others.

We who have trusted God for our salvation and our eternal security, how can we not therefore trust Him for all things? (Romans 8:32) Let us then get up on our feet and run the straight path set out before us, trusting only in Jesus, who is the author and the perfector of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2).

Scriptural Examples

Daniel. Daniel’s trust lay completely in his God. Three times a day he prayerfully sought God’s face for help and sustenance. Wicked men tried to use his faith against him, but even in the den of lions God had Daniel on a straight path. Later, Daniel’s enemies and their entire families found themselves on the lions’ menu (Daniel 6:11-24).

Prayer of Application

Dear Lord, help me to grasp the truth of these verses in its full meaning and power, to the end that I would trust You fully in every area of my life. Help me to know You more each day.

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Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 3:3-4

Find Wisdom’s Good Name

3) Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4) Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.

The “love and faithfulness” of verse 3 above is translated “truth and mercy” in the KJV. Jesus was full of “grace and truth(John 1:17). Just as the Lord exhibited these virtues, so also are we to reflect them in all of our thoughts and actions. Together, they are the perfection and wisdom of God. Divided, as they may easily be, the lack of one lessens the efficacy of the other.

Suppose a person shows mercy but doesn’t give out the truth? If we feed a homeless man one day, but then fail to give the man the gospel, our mercy is diminished. On the other hand, if we give out the gospel without a corresponding loving concern for an individual’s physical needs, our words are as a “resounding gong or a clanging cymbal(1 Corinthians 13:1-3).

And what will be the end result of our binding these twin perfections upon our necks and writing them upon our hearts? It is to win favor and honor and “a good name in the sight of God and man.” (See also Proverbs 22:1; Ecclesiastes 7:1.)

Scriptural Examples

The good and faithful servants. Three servants were each entrusted with large sums of money and told to invest it in their master’s absence. The first two did as they were told, and received a good name. The master said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!(Matthew 25:14-23).

The wicked, lazy servant. The third servant hid his master’s money. He didn’t even put it in the bank in order to draw interest. His faithlessness wasn’t honored (Matthew 25:24-28).

Enoch. The father of Methuselah “walked with God.” He pleased God by his faithfulness. God took Enoch home before he tasted death (Hebrews 11:5-6).

Prayer of Application

Father, help me to reflect the mercy and truth of Christ in all of my dealings on this earth. I want to hear Him say, “Thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

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Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 3:1-2

Find Wisdom’s True Prosperity

1) My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, 2) for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.

The path of wisdom, with its admonishments to purity and moderation, may well lead some to longer life on this earth. But what does Solomon mean by “prosperity” in verse 2? Does God want us all to be rich in this world’s goods?

The Christian has been resurrected to new life, a life of true prosperity (Romans 6:4-7). No longer are we slaves to disobedience. No longer are we separated from the love of God (Romans 8:39). No longer are we under the bondage of guilt (Hebrews 10:26-27), or fear (Hebrews 2:15), or the law (Romans 7:4). And no longer do we walk under the shadow of eternal death (Psalm 23:4).

On the contrary, we have life as those who have already died and who have been resurrected to a new and living hope (Galatians 2:20); to a new desire to follow after the ways of righteousness (Romans 6:18); to fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 1:9); to a lifting of guilt and shame (1 John 1:9); to an absence of fear (Isaiah 43:1); and to an eternity as joint-heirs with Christ in all the riches of God’s glory (Romans 8:17). Now what could possibly constitute greater prosperity than that?

Scriptural Examples

Barzillai. This old man was not only blessed by the Lord with long life, but he was blessed with great wealth as well. His prosperity included friendship with King David, who blessed Barzillai for his faithfulness to the crown (2 Samuel 19:31-39).

Jehoiada. Jehoiada was a priest of the Lord and an advisor to Joash, king of Judah. During Jehoiada’s life, Joash did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and prosperity surrounded Jerusalem. He was a man who understood the path to true prosperity (2 Chronicles 24:1-6).

Prayer of Application

Father, what great and precious promises are in Your Word. You have given us an eternal prosperity that is beyond anything imaginable. Thank You for Your marvelous grace.

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Chapter 3: Introduction

More Advantages of Being Wise

In Chapter Three, the father gives his child more reasons to search for wisdom. To remember the father’s teaching and to internalize his commands is to find prosperity and a long life (vv. 1-2). To follow “love and faithfulness”—the summation of God’s law—will win one “favor and a good name in the sight of God and man” (vv. 3-4). In verses 5 and 6 we are shown that faithfulness to God’s ways will result in God’s perfect guidance down the roadways of life. Godly wisdom will bring with it “health to your body and nourishment to your bones” (vv. 7-8). Verses 9 and 10 promise prosperity linked to one’s honor of God with tithes and offerings.

The promise of God’s loving discipline to those who delight Him is given in verses 11 and 12. In verses 13 through 18 wisdom is portrayed as more valuable than precious jewels, and we find the promise of the “tree of life.” Wisdom will bring with it confidence and sureness of foot, and will allow its possessor fearless courage in the face of adversity (vv. 22-26). In verses 27 through 32 we are given some examples of wisdom in action. Given in contrast are the ways of the violent and perverse person. Finally, we see the ultimate results of wisdom versus foolishness. Wisdom brings blessing, grace, and honor while fools receive cursing, mocking, and shame (vv. 33-35).

Copyright 2015 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 2:20-22

Find Wisdom’s Path to Eternal Life

20) Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous. For the upright will live in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; 22) but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the unfaithful will be torn from it.

The hope of the Jew has always been in the land that God promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Genesis 12:7). Aging Abraham was promised that he and Sarah would have a child from whom would come a people beyond number. All nations on earth would be blessed (Genesis 22:17-18). Abraham believed God and God counted his faith as righteousness (Genesis 15:6).

The writer to the Hebrews speaks of entering the Promised Land as entering “God’s rest.” Beginning at chapter 3, verse 15, he writes of those who rebelled against God and perished. He goes on to speak of a “new rest” for the people of God (Hebrews 4:10). This rest is for those who, like Abraham, believed the words of God and were justified, saved by their faith (Romans 3:20-22).

We are saved by faith just as Abraham and all of the Old Testament saints were (Romans 4:16; Ephesians 2:8-9). But saving faith is proven by what we do. As Abraham believed God’s promise of a son and acted upon it, so saving faith always leads to works of obedience (James 2:14-26). They will “walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous(Proverbs 2:20).

Scriptural Examples

Joshua, Caleb, and the Israelites. At Kadesh-Barnea Moses sent 12 spies into the Promised Land. They told of a place of abundant harvests and wealth. But there was a hitch. The men in the land were giant, formidable opponents. Two of the spies, Caleb and Joshua, had faith in God’s promise and wanted to lead the Israelites into the land, but the other spies discouraged the people. As a result Israel wandered in the desert for 40 years until that generation had died (Deuteronomy 1:19-39).

Prayer of Application

Father, give me the faith of Joshua and Caleb, who when faced with the spectacle of a large and dangerous opponent walked by faith—not by sight—and entered into Your rest.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 2:16-19

Flee from Both Kinds of Adultery

16) It [wisdom] will save you also from the adulteress, from the wayward wife with her seductive words, 17) who has left the partner of her youth and ignored the covenant she made before God. 18) For her house leads down to death and her paths to the spirits of the dead. 19) None who go to her return or attain the paths of life.

As Jesus taught in Matthew 5:27-30, two kinds of adultery exist: the physical and the spiritual. In Jeremiah 3:8-10, God speaks of adulterous Israel defiling the land with gods of wood and stone. Idolatry is spiritual adultery (Ezekiel 23:37), the worship of created things rather than the Creator (Romans 1:25).

We live in a time when adultery of both kinds is commonplace. Spiritual adultery today is manifested largely in two ways. First, there is an overarching love for the material things of the world, its pleasures, comforts, riches, and power (James 4:3-5). While we may enjoy the things of the earth that God has given to us, overweening love for the things of the world is diametrically opposed to the love we owe the Father.

The other manifestation of spiritual adultery is in the smorgasbord approach to knowing God. Many people don’t want to hear sound doctrine, but will hire teachers who will make them comfortable (2 Timothy 4:3). It’s as if they were in front of a salad bar, i.e.: “I’ll take some love, but I’ll pass on the wrath. Mercy is nice, but I don’t want any holiness.” (Many pray for justification but not for sanctification.) We either take God as He is in His Word, or we don’t take Him at all.

Scriptural Examples

Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. Today, we might call Joseph a “hunk.” He was well-built and handsome, we’re told, and far removed from family and friends. He was sold to a wealthy Egyptian named Potiphar who put Joseph in charge of Potiphar’s entire household. Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him day after day. But Joseph ran out, saying, “How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?(Genesis 39:1-20)

Prayer of Application

Father, protect me from one who would lure me into sin and from the smooth talker who from his pulpit of lies leads people on paths to death.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
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Proverbs 2:12-15

Find Wisdom’s Escape from Evil Men

12) Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, 13) who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways, 14) who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, 15) whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways.

In one sense, God’s grace gives the regenerate person supernatural protection in this world and for eternity. But in another sense, God’s practical wisdom seated in our hearts by study, meditation, and memorization keeps us from trouble.

Jesus told His disciples as He sent them out to the lost sheep of Israel that they should be as “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves(Matthew 10:5, 16). We, too, are to lead innocent lives which allow us to live at peace with everyone (Galatians 5:22).

Verse 13 above, in speaking of those “who leave the straight paths to walk in dark ways,” reminds me of some false preachers who distribute evil on television. Verse 14 speaks of those who get their kicks from their evil ways. Such people abound in our society. In God’s practical book of Proverbs, we learn ways of avoiding the traps of these evil ones.

Scriptural Examples

David from Saul. King Saul was jealous of David. Saul had “left the straight path to walk in dark ways,” and vainly sought David’s life. By the grace of God, David’s wisdom protected him from the evil king (1 Samuel 23:7-29).

Esther and Mordecai from Haman. Haman set out to kill all the Jews living in Babylon. But through a combination of Mordecai’s foresight, Esther’s fortitude, and the providence of God, the vile Haman was thwarted (the book of Esther).

Mary and Joseph from Herod. Herod, the wicked king, sought to kill baby Jesus. But Joseph was warned by God to take the baby and go to Egypt (Matthew 2:13-14).

Prayer of Application

Father, thank You for Your promise to keep us safe from the wiles of evil people. I pray that through Your Word acting upon my heart and mind, I will avoid the traps set for the unwary.

Copyright 2014 – Robert C. Beasley
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