Text: Proverbs 3:1-26
Benefits of God’s Teachings
Solomon presents a list of benefits to heeding the teachings of God. It starts out with an admonition to pay attention because this list is important. God’s laws are not arbitrary, they are given to benefit the follower. “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
Remembering the teachings of God comes from sincerely keeping the commandments. Learning doesn’t remain with a person until it is put into practice (James 1:21-25). The keeping is not ritual obedience, but a desire to do from the heart what God asks of us.
The result is a longer life. While we could talk about eternal life, it is clear that earthly life is primarily being considered. People who sin, breaking the laws of God, tend to live shorter lives because sins cause harm in people’s lives. However, it is more than just a length of life, it is also a more peaceful life (Psalms 119:165; Isaiah 32:17).
- Does this mean that all people who have troubles or die young are not following God?
- Why would following God’s commandments result in a peaceful life?
Favor in God and man’s sight
The Hebrew word chesedh is translated as kindness, mercy, loyalty, or steadfast love. Different translations pick a preferred English word to translate chesedh, but none completely capture the meaning. When chesedh is used in combination with truth, it refers to legally binding oaths or covenants (Psalms 25:10; 40:10-11; 61:7; 85:10). Thus, this is another way of saying to not lose sight of God’s covenant or laws.
Carry God’s laws with you like a necklace so they are always with you. Make them a part of your thoughts. The result is favor and respect from God because you are living to please Him. But it also will bring you favor and respect from men because God’s laws make you a better person (Acts 2:47; Romans 14:18; Galatians 5:22-23).
An Easier Way
There is a strong tendency to believe anything we believe must be right. After all, it is our own thoughts on a matter. But if we learn to fully and sincerely trust God, decisions become easier as God directs us in our choices. We have to learn not to depend on our understanding of right and wrong, but acknowledge that God knows best. “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass” (Psalms 37:5).
There is also a tendency for people to think they fully understand matters and whatever they think is the best answer to any problem. It is a false pride because no one knows all (Romans 12:16). The counter is a healthy fear of God and the realization that we must leave evil behind.
Instead of suffering the consequences of our own poor choices, following God will keep us out of trouble and make us healthier.
- Give some examples of how sin causes a person to have poor physical health.
Beyond following God’s laws and gaining the benefits from His direction, we need to give honor to God with our possessions. All that we have is truly from God. “Firstfruits” are the initial harvest when crops come in. The first fruits are the best of the harvest and it is from this that we honor God and not the leftovers that no one wants. Nor is God expecting you to give what you don’t have. They are the first fruits of a person’s increase or profit (I Corinthians 16:2).
It may seem odd that giving away a portion of what God gives results in more, but that is what God has promised His people (Malachi 3:10-11; II Corinthians 9:6-8). God will be generous to those who are generous.
None of us knows everything. There are always things that we each need to learn. That implies that there are things that I am currently doing wrong because I haven’t learned better ways yet. If I’m going to learn God’s ways, that means I have to be accepting of being told that I’m wrong and that at times I will face the consequences of my faults. God corrects and disciplines us, not because He desires to be mean, but because He loves us and wants us to improve (Hebrews 12:5-14).
It is the same type of love fathers are supposed to show their own children. It is because fathers want their children to grow up into people they can be proud of, they will correct and discipline when they go wrong.
Therefore, we have to see that even the hard times in life are evidence of God’s love for us. He is molding us into stronger and better people.
Benefits of Finding Wisdom
When a person finds the wisdom taught by God, he has found happiness. He has gained all the benefits God has promised.
Wisdom is more valuable than riches. Wealth is unstable. It may be here today and gone tomorrow. But with wisdom, a person can gain wealth. Thus, it doesn’t matter if I lose everything, with wisdom I can rebuild. But wealth is just about things. Wisdom makes us rich things that cannot be purchased: friends, love, righteousness, and long life; Therefore wisdom is more valuable than money because it gains things that cannot be purchased (I Timothy 4:8).
Following wisdom actually makes life more pleasant and peaceful (Matthew 11:29-30). Wisdom keeps us from making mistakes that can ruin a life.
Wisdom is powerful. The universe was created by the wisdom of God. Having a portion of that great wisdom is valuable.
Therefore, we need to hold on to sound wisdom and good decision-making because they will give us life and make us look good. Wisdom also protects us. Not just in our daily life, but even when we sleep. Knowing that we have made good choices, we can sleep peacefully and not have to worry about future problems. This doesn’t mean problems won’t come, but wisdom gives us the tools for which to deal with problems. We can take steps now to minimize future problems and know how to deal with big problems when they come.
Let me give a minor example. I could live, spending all that I make. I’ll survive up until the car breaks down or the roof develops a leak. Then I would be panicking about how to pay for these unexpected expenses. Or I can be wise and know that problems are bound to happen. Therefore, I spend less than I make and save some aside as an emergency fund. Then when the car breaks down, it is not a panic only an annoyance. I pay for the repairs from the emergency fund and then return to rebuilding the funds. Wisdom didn’t stop the problems from happening, but it made the problems to be workable.
My confidence then is not in my abilities, but in God who both teaches me and watches over me.
- How can wisdom benefit you in the workplace?
- How can wisdom protect you in relationships with people?
- How can wisdom protect you spiritually in dealing with sin?