You are hopefully in the midst of reading the whole Bible through in a year, with this blog as a brief, reflective commentary. But another Bible reading regimen that could be very worthy would be one that I heard using the book of Proverbs. Read through Proverbs one chapter at time every day for a month for several months running — there are 31 chapters, you know. The difficulty of this book is that the meaning is so densely packed. If you don’t take the time to consider each proverb (or proverbial section), it almost becomes like reading one fortune cookie after another — you may say, “Oooh-Ahhhh!” each time, but you won’t remember or apply much. Reading only one chapter at a time, takes you through slower giving you more time to think about how these meaty verses apply to your personal life. And reading them through a few months straight will give you more opportunity to gain the understanding that the book hopes to impart.
That being suggested, let dive into today’s reading, Proverbs 4-6.
“The beginning of wisdom is: Acquire wisdom….” (Proverbs 4:7) — Yes, I know; yesterday Proverbs said that the beginning of wisdom was fear the LORD. Which is it? It’s both. It’s like saying, “The beginning of school is books …and teachers… and pencils… and pads.” They’re all true, and the beginning of wisdom is fear of the LORD and a drive to acquire wisdom and understanding, too. Read, observe, learn, study, reflect, practice, correct mistakes, and practice again! It’s not something that comes in a one-time pill, nor something that you can get by sitting in a class one time. It takes drive, it takes desire, it takes perseverance, it takes effort, and it takes wanting it. That’s why it’s so rare. It’s so much easier to go with how we feel, what we think, or what everyone else is doing.
“Drink water from your own cistern And fresh water from your own well.” (Proverbs 5:15) — This section of the Proverbs is about keeping one’s sex life orderly. It is a warning to young men about sinful sexual relations, especially with married women. It is a warning that never grows outdated. As long as testosterone is around, young men will find themselves tempted by those who are fair of face and form — and are willing. But it’s a deathly mistake. Wisdom pleads with young men to find their own wife and “drink from their own cisterns” — be sexually satisfied with your own wife. “As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.” Proverbs 5:19, NAS95. We live in a society that has cast aside all the sexual moorings of the Bible, and society’s families are already reaping what they’ve sown, but will doubtlessly be reaping an even more vicious whirlwind in years to come. Save yourself from the emotional and spiritual train wreck of sexual immorality — listen to this wisdom.
“Go to the ant, O sluggard, Observe her ways and be wise,” (Proverbs 6:6) — The point here is that the ants all seem to know what to do without anyone telling them — unlike some lazy humans, who must be goaded, prompted, and pushed like a slave to get them to do anything. Much contempt has been thrown at what is sometimes called a “Protestant work ethic”, but it’s not something that belongs exclusively to Protestants — it’s a biblical work ethic, a godly work ethic. I’m not much into mixing the Bible and politics, but in my humble opinion laziness is becoming a problem in some parts of society, especially where “entitlements” abound. When we read things written to sluggards (lazy folks), “Your poverty will come in like a vagabond And your need like an armed man.” (Proverbs 6:11, NAS95), it makes us wonder if the current recession is really all Wall Street’s fault (don’t worry, I would still hold them responsible for their irresponsible actions). Ants don’t complain that there aren’t any jobs for them, they just do what needs to be done.
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.