Saturday, January 11, 2014

Be Wise (Proverbs 3.1-12)

Scripture: Proverbs 3.11-12
Translation: 3.1My son, don’t forget my instruction! And your heart had better keep my commands! 2Because longness of days and years of life, and peace will be added to you! 3Loyalty and faithfulness had better not leave you! Tie them to your neck! Write them on the tablet of your heart! 4And find grace and good intelligence in the eyes of God and man. 5Trust in Yahweh with all your heart! And don’t rely on your understanding! 6In all your ways know Him, and He will straighten your paths! 7Don’t be wise in your own eyes. Fear Yahweh and turn from evil! 8Healing will be your bellybutton’s and refreshment [will be] your bones’! 9Glorify Yahweh from your wealth, and from the first of all your harvest! 10And your storehouses will be filled with abundance and your vats will explode with new wine! 11Don’t reject Yahweh’s corrective discipline, and don’t hate His punishment, 12because Yahweh punishes the person He loves, namely like a father [punishes] the son he enjoys.
1.      Structure
a.       6 Commands and Motivations
                                                              i.      Don’t forget the father’s instruction: long life and peace will follow (vv.1-2)
                                                            ii.      Be loyal and faithful: Get grace and good sense (vv.3-4)
                                                          iii.      Trust and Know Yahweh: Yahweh will guide you where you need to go (vv.5-6)
                                                          iv.      Be Humble, Fear Yahweh, turn from Evil: healing and refreshment will be yours (vv.7-8)
                                                            v.      Glorify Yahweh with your resources: Have more than enough resources (vv.9-10)
                                                          vi.      Receive Yahweh’s discipline: Because it shows He loves you (vv.11-12)
2.      Themes
a.       Wisdom
b.      Instruction
c.       Correction
d.      Trust
e.       Relationship with Yahweh
f.       Father/Son relationship
g.      Reward follows those who listen to wisdom
3.      Notes
a.       Loyalty and faithfulness are primarily terms used for the relationship God has with His people and His people with God, but it does of course also include other similar kinds of relationships
b.      While healing for your navel and a refreshing drink for your bones certainly includes bodily health and refreshment, the body here is likely meant to be understood more in terms of the whole person, whether by merism (navel/outside + bones/inside = whole person), or by synecdoche (two parts standing in for the whole person, such as “all hands on deck”), thus, I take it to mean the whole person physical and spiritual
c.       While surely vv.9-10 do refer to mainly material possessions, and presuppose a tithes and offerings obligation as found under the Mosaic Covenant for the proper expression of the relationship with God, it surely is not limited to material possessions, nor to agricultural cultures, that is, is the merchant safe because he has no harvest
1.      The last two verses are key here, they actually are quoted in Hebrews 12 as encouragement to endure. I wanted to talk about them, because all of our lives go through times where there is great pain, trouble, sorrow, loss, confusion, etc in them. There will be times in your life if you are really a Christian when you feel like God is punishing you, that He is causing you pain, that He is correcting you. sometimes our lives will be miserable, and it may even feel so bad that we wonder if God hates us, but it is in those times that we must cling to verses 11 and 12, because what we experience it as and what God is really doing may be vastly different. In fact, this verse tells us that it is not because God hates us that we are miserable, but because He loves us and enjoys us! He is our Father, and good fathers punish their kids because the kids need it to be healthy and maturing people, they need to become Godly, wise, and mature adults. Sometimes we are miserable because God is correcting us, He is teaching us. These verses probably lean to the punishment side of things, but sometimes God is not exactly punishing us as much as He is teaching us something important, much like Job, who was not being punished.
2.      However, there is a reason that the correction and punishment from Yahweh part comes after the Trust in Yahweh with all your heart part, and that is simply because when Yahweh is disciplining us, when He is punishing us, when He is correcting us, we first and foremost have to trust that Yahweh is wisest and knows what He is doing, that He is acting out of love and not hate. Moreover, we have to recognize that vv.11-12 are a natural outgrowth of vv.5-6, because Yahweh straightening us out, guiding our paths, while it will often be comfortable and pleasant, may sometimes be more painful depending on the kind and/or degree of the correction. The promise to guide us, also means the promise to put us on the right path and keep us there, even though that may at times hurt, but that is why we don’t depend on our own understanding, and why we seek to know Him in all our ways, because that way, when Yahweh puts us through something hard or painful we trust Him to know what He is doing and we see it as another opportunity to know Him more and recognize Him for Who He is in our lives.
3.      Of course, I’m telling you this, much like the father in Proverbs and ultimately Yahweh behind the father in Proverbs, because I love you all very much and I long for you to live long peace-filled lives. I want both God and people to say “I like that Christian, that Christian is so wise and successful.”

4.      While being humble, fearing Yahweh, and turning away from evil will probably 

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