31 Days with Solomon – Proverbs 3

Read: Proverbs 3

Verse(s) that struck me:

Pro 3:13-35

(13)  Joyful is the person who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding.

(14)  For wisdom is more profitable than silver, and her wages are better than gold.

(15)  Wisdom is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.

(16)  She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left.

(17)  She will guide you down delightful paths; all her ways are satisfying.

(18)  Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly.

(19)  By wisdom the LORD founded the earth; by understanding He created the heavens.

(20)  By His knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth, and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

(21)  My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment. Hang on to them,

(22)  for they will refresh your soul. They are like jewels on a necklace.

(23)  They keep you safe on your way, and your feet will not stumble.

(24)  You can go to bed without fear; you will lie down and sleep soundly.

(25)  You need not be afraid of sudden disaster or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,

(26)  for the LORD is your security. He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.

(27)  Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them.

(28)  If you can help your neighbor now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

(29)  Don’t plot harm against your neighbor, for those who live nearby trust you.

(30)  Don’t pick a fight without reason, when no one has done you harm.

(31)  Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways.

(32)  Such wicked people are detestable to the LORD, but He offers His friendship to the godly.

(33)  The LORD curses the house of the wicked, but He blesses the home of the upright.

(34)  The LORD mocks the mockers but is gracious to the humble.

(35)  The wise inherit honor, but fools are put to shame!

Reflection:

This is a larger chunk to consider than I was going to use; but, the longer I examined these verses, the more I realized the common theme that runs through them. He is not discussing here some short saying that one can nod in agreement with and walk away from unfazed. Solomon tries to really describe a life truly affected by wisdom. He experienced the gift of wisdom in a way that few others in history ever have. He got his wisdom as a gift, directly from God (see 1 Kings 3:10-12).

The things recorded in this chapter, I believe, are how Solomon saw wisdom working itself out in His life.

Let’s list the things he found:

  • Joy

  • Long life

  • Riches and honor

  • Happiness

  • Creativity

  • Safety

  • Life without fear

  • Security

He also advises us on how to use our new life,

  • Do not withhold good when it is in your power to give

  • Do not plot harm

  • Do not pick fights

  • Do not envy

Then he points out how God will deal with things in His own good time. Put your trust in God. Believe that, if you seek Him out, you will find Him. Seek out His wisdom. In it lies the secret to a good and happy life.

Application:

We can get our wisdom in much the same way as Solomon. If we truly seek the Lord and allow Him into our lives, if we search the scriptures daily, if we devote ourselves to His service (regardless of our profession or vocation) then true wisdom will inhabit us in the ways described in this chapter. Try it. Test the Lord to see if it is true. Taste the Lord and see that He is good.

Prayer:

Lord, come into my life fully and completely. Don’t let me hold back any corner of it. Take it all. Please fill me with your wisdom so that I can use it to serve you. I know that is the only way that I can truly be happy. Thank you, Lord for loving me and making the riches of your wisdom available to such a wretch as me.

Proverbs 2 in my 31 days with Solomon devotion…

Read: Proverbs 2

Verse(s) that struck me:

Pro 2:1-22

(1)  My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.

(2)  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding.

(3)  Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding.

(4)  Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures.

(5)  Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God.

Reflection:

It is so easy to overlook these opening verses and jump directly to the more commonly focused on verses later in this chapter. To my mind, for me right now, this is the core of the message of Proverbs and of much of scripture. We (I) need to listen to the Lord. I spend far too little time just listening to Him. I think I value what He has to say and yet, how often do I resort to just doing what I think is best?

In today’s crazy world, it is hard to tune out all the rest of the messages being slammed at us every minute of every day. And yet, this is exactly what I must do; not just now, but every moment of every day.

Do I really value God’s wisdom as much as silver? Do I spend one tenth the effort to gain and understand God’s word as I do the elements of my job or favorite hobby?

Application:

This is really not something that I can really do on my own. I need to plead with the Lord for His assistance in tuning out the rest of the messages and for understanding of His message. If I am to truly understand and value the Lord’s commands, then I need to devote time and energy to listening and ingesting what He has to say to me.

I also need to take His commands to heart and make sure that they are the guiding principles that guide my life, control my thoughts and direct my actions.

Prayer:

Lord, help me to tune out the rest of the world so I can focus on you and your Word. Help me to really concentrate on what your Word has to say to me, not what everyone else needs to hear, just me. Help me to Love your Word enough to follow it daily, as a moment by moment guide that I yearn to follow.

New/Old projects – “31 Days with Solomon”, Proverbs 1

I have decided to dust off some old projects of mine and post them here. Over the coming days, weeks and months, I hope to reinvigorate some of my earlier writings and explore them in new ways.
The first one I would like to present has been titled “31 Days with Solomon“. My intention was to create 31 days of devotional writing from the Book of Proverbs. The work, as presented here, is still in somewhat of a raw form. I hope to get better at that over time. Feedback would be helpful in refining it.

Read: Proverbs 1

Verse(s) that struck me:

The New Living Translation   Proverbs 1

1:2 The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline, and to help them understand wise sayings.

1:3 Through these proverbs, people will receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.

1:4 These proverbs will make the simpleminded clever. They will give knowledge and purpose to young people.

1:5 Let those who are wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. And let those who understand receive guidance

1:6 by exploring the depth of meaning in these proverbs, parables, wise sayings, and riddles.

1:7 Fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. Only fools despise wisdom and discipline.

The King James Version (Authorized)   Proverbs 1

1:2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding;

1:3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; F1

1:4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. F2

1:5 A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

1:6 To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; F3 the words of the wise, and their dark sayings.

1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning F4 of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Reflection:

One of the first things that struck me about this collection of verses that open up this chapter are the bookends that we see in verses 2 and 7. In verse 2 we are told that “The purpose of these proverbs is to teach people wisdom and discipline”. In verse 7 we are told that “Only fools despise wisdom and discipline”. It appears, to state the obvious, that it is God’s purpose with these teachings to inject some “wisdom and discipline” into our lives. He tells us that “only fools despise wisdom and discipline”. Do you or I want to be or remain undisciplined fools? No, I do not think that anyone wants to be a fool. I know that I don’t. So, understanding that, I can’t just turn my back on what I can learn here. But, what is available to learn from the Proverbs? Let’s look at what these verses tell us to expect.

1.      “Understand wise sayings or words of understanding.”

I don’t know about you, but I really dislike sitting in on meetings or conversations where the level of understanding required to participate is higher than mine. I find myself fidgeting, daydreaming or using my notebook to plan other activities. I need God’s wisdom in all areas of my life.

2.      “…receive instruction in discipline, good conduct, and doing what is right, just, and fair.”

I, quite often, think that I already know the right thing to do in most situations. My wife occasionally points out areas that I lack in what would seem to be this “common” sense. My poor judgment or sense of justice can also pervert my “common” sense. This happens most often when I am driving or when someone else exercises one of their rights at the expense of one of mine. I need to be reminded of what good conduct is and how to do what is right, just and fair. I am often in need of remedial instruction in these things.

Application: We should seek out God’s wisdom from the scripture and put it to work in our lives daily. Rejecting the advice of the wise because we think we know better than they do or that no one really understands our situation is foolishness. Receive the instruction, be willing to learn.

Prayer: Lord, help me to be wise. Help me to seek out and acquire wisdom from your Word and from the Godly people in my life. Help me to be humble enough to accept and apply that wisdom in my life. Amen.

More Adventures in Unemployment and Medicine

I have been remiss and did not post for that last couple of weeks. Primarily, that was because nothing really positive has happened.

On the job front, I did not get the healthcare job I interviewed for. They told me I was one of the final two, but they chose the other guy. No worries, God will provide and, in some ways, it was a relief that I was not going to be having to commute for two to two and one half hours each day. (That is me trying to find a nice takeaway from not being chosen.)

I did hear about another job that I would be qualified for and, once again, it is about an hour commute away from home. I have mixed feelings about it. I am a good fit for the job and was submitted with a strong chance for an interview. We shall see.

On the medical front, the biopsy determined that our preliminary diagnosis was incorrect. That puts us pretty close to square one in determining what is wrong with me (physically, that is). I started physical therapy and the therapist thinks that there may be a problem with my back that is causing all the symptoms. While that could be true, I would be astounded that all the doctors that I have seen did not think of that and eliminate it. Once again, we shall see.

I have been working on the prospect of shifting to some form of technical writing as a career change. However, most of the technical writing jobs require technical skills I do not have and, to be quite honest, will require writing about things that bore me to tears.

I want and need to find something to do that either comes from or incites a passion in me. I plan to spend time this week exploring that idea.

To that end, I am going to be devoting more time to this blog in order to share that journey and to spend more time writing.

Thanks for reading.