OBSERVE: The first three chapters of Proverbs do well to introduce the material of the whole book of Proverbs. Proverbs 1:7 indicates that the patterns discerned in the world ultimately come from God and place God at the center of the observable world. The objective of the book is to share advice for successful living by having a pursuit for wisdom and a healthy fear of God. In the first three chapters we get to listen in on a father giving advice to his son about how to live life, avoid pitfalls, and achieve success. Over and over, the father points out to the son that two “ways” or two “paths” are open to him, and that he will have to choose one or the other.
INTERPRET: One choice is the way of wisdom, which leads to life in its fullest sense. God is with those who are on this path; he protects them from danger. “He guards the paths of the just and protects those who are faithful to him” (Proverbs 2:8). The other choice is the way of folly. This path is called “dark” (2:13) and “crooked” (2:15). Its dangers include evil people who take pleasure in doing wrong, and hidden snares that may appear good but ultimately only bring harm. Most significant, however, is the path’s destination – death and destruction.
APPLICATION: Jesus also spoke of two choices, two ways of living or two paths. In the Sermon of the Mount, he talked about two roads, warned that people cannot serve two masters, and described two builders, one who was wise and the one who was foolish. “You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate,” Jesus said. “The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many that choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it” (Matthew 7: 13-14).
Whereas Proverbs describes a way of wisdom that provides general rules to live well, Jesus then defined the way in much more personal terms. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me” (John 14: 6). This decision, as Jesus made it clear, is not merely a matter of behavior or companions, but a choice about how we respond to him, whether or not we will choose him as our path in life.
REFLECTION: Where do you seek wisdom?
PRAYER: Jesus – you are the path to eternal life and the true source of wisdom. I turn to run in your direction, knowing that only as I walk in you will I find joy and peace, satisfaction and security. Your Word is a lamp to me feet as I walk in this path, enabling me to see your beauty and your worth, convincing me of the folly of any path that takes me in another direction. AMEN.
SONG: Perfect Wisdom of Our God - Keith & Kristyn Getty
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.