Chapters 22-26 are, as indicated at the beginning of proverbs, a collection of wise sayings in no particular order. Some themes are revisited:
22:2—The rich and the poor have this in common: The Lord made them both.
23:4,5—Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich…in the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.
24:3,4—A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense. Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.
25:11—Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.
26:23,24—Smooth words may hide a wicked heart, just as a pretty glaze covers a clay pot. People may cover their hatred with pleasant words, but they’re deceiving you. They pretend to be kind, but don’t believe them. Their hearts are full of many evils.
Let’s unpack the verses I’ve listed above:
22:2—There is one Creator God and God will determine what is just regardless of a person’s wealth and power.
23:4.5—Our only reference point – our goal and ground in life is the Holy Triune God, Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit. If we start focusing on getting rich, we will lose sight of what has true meaning.
24:3,4—This reminds me of Jesus’ parable about building one’s house on the rock rather than on the sand. It also reminds me of the story about storing up treasures in heaven rather than here on earth. Look for what has eternal value—see Philippian 4:2 whatever is true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, of good report—think on these things.
25:11—Listen to good advice—but also be prepared to sift through the advice you’ve been given so you will recognize the good advice versus poor advice.
26:23ff –Be discerning of people. Don’t be taken in by a charming manner or pretty words. Don’t accept what people tell you without weighing it –where does it come from? What is the person’s motivation in telling you the news? Be aware of evil in peoples’ lives: see I Peter 5:8--Stay alert, your adversary as a roaring lion seeks—to devour.
Wisdom sayings are easy to read and easy to memorize. I encourage you to take the plans or issues you are working on or thinking about, and go through the book of Proverbs to find some “pearls of wisdom” that pertain to your situation. You will find that it is a book of wisdom for today and for us as well as for the ancient peoples.
What plans and decisions am I working on today? Does God say anything to me about my work? My family? My relationships? Holy Spirit – guide us in the way of the true Gospel and live your life through me.
Dear Lord God, you have told us to ask You when we lack wisdom. So we ask you to remind us of your words of wisdom as we make our day-to-day plans and decisions. Keep us mindful that you are the only One who is ever faithful and ever sure. You are the ground of our being. You are the One who keeps us always in your care.
Ever faithful, ever sure. – D. Bruce Moore
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.