The book of Proverbs is a collection of wisdom sayings, gathered during the reign of various kings. In our Bibles, most chapters or group of verses have a sub-title. These titles are not part of the original script.
Chapter 4 starts with advice to children to listen to their parents and to remember their wisdom and teaching as they grow up to become adults. They are admonished to gather wisdom and to walk on the paths that lead to right living. They are told to avoid lying and devious activities. They are told in no uncertain terms to keep their hearts pure and true to God and to avoid distractions.
Chapter 5 warns us to keep away from impurity (here personified as a “loose woman”), not to even go near to those who are evil and twisted since they will draw us far from God and far from goodness.
Chapter 6 continues with multiple admonitions to watch our speech and not get caught with making foolish promises. We are told to learn from the ant how to work diligently, to prepare food for the winter, and to avoid oversleeping and laziness. It is said that the Lord God hates lying, and pride, and violence, wicked deeds and those who sow discord. This chapter again advises the young man (especially the youth) to avoid sexual immorality.
A term used today by some adolescent and young adults is “adulting” or the process of becoming an adult. The advice from Proverbs contains some of the best advice on becoming an adult: keep the commandments, get wisdom and insight, keep to the path of right living. This is a lot of good advice. Although these are not the commands as given by God to Moses, they offer much wisdom on how to conduct one’s life in a way that leads to health and good relationships: “the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life.”
Sexual immorality is almost considered the “normal life” in our society. Although marriage is still honoured (for the most part) in our culture, multiple heterosexual and homosexual relationships are not unusual and not often deemed to be “sin”.
The wisdom found in these chapters is not in the same category as the Ten Commandments. I visualize these wise sayings as a kind of glue or oil or ‘filler’ to be applied to those “gray areas” of life. When we don’t know what to do or which way to go, we can read through the books of wisdom to see what may apply to our life. Use the wisdom God gives in these pages to help us set guidelines for our life and our relationships.
Do you feel as though you have not received the kind of teaching or guidance you needed from your parents, or from other adults in your life? Do you feel you have “missed out”? Be reassured, God has not abandoned us to just figure it out for ourselves. This wisdom book is one example of God giving guidance to our lives.
Dear Lord God, you have told us to ask You when we lack wisdom. Many times, Lord, we make foolish choices. Keep us pure. Keep us true to you. Keep our minds on those things that lead to you and not to be caught in foolish speech or actions.
Whatever is true…Brian Doerksen
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