31 days. 31 chapters in Proverbs.
I committed to reading one chapter a day for one month. It was such a worthwhile experience as I dug into God’s Word and gleaned wisdom from the rich book of Proverbs. To keep me accountable and help me recall what I read, I kept a journal of a verse or passage that stuck out to me in each chapter. I’d love to share my thoughts with you. I pray you are encouraged and challenged – and that you decide to take a month to read Proverbs and digest the wisdom God has to offer.
If you’re new to studying Proverbs, the Bible Project published an excellent introduction video:
Here are the verses that stuck out to me from Proverbs 1-7:
Passage: Proverbs 1:10, 15 “My son, if sinners entice you, don’t be persuaded…my son, don’t travel that road with them or set foot on their path.”
My thoughts: Proverbs 1:10 – Sinners (those who delight in sin) will try and entice (persuade, lure, persuade) others to join them in their dangerous, foolish, sinful ways. Verse 15 tells us how strongly we must avoid their company: we are not to travel that road with them or even set foot on the path. We must actively and intentionally resist them or else we will be drawn into their lifestyle and compromise on our beliefs.
Passage: Proverbs 2:1-5 “My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, listening closely to wisdom and directing your heart to understanding; furthermore, if you call out to insight and lift your voice to understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it like hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.”
My thoughts: Verses 1-5 really stuck out to me this morning as I read all of the verbs that we are called to do in reference to gaining wisdom from the Lord. We need to:
- accept His words (v. 1)
- store up His commands (v. 1)
- listen closely (v. 2)
- direct your heart (v. 2)
- call out (v. 3)
- lift your voice (v. 3)
- seek it like silver (v. 4)
- search for it like hidden treasure (v. 4)
THEN we will “understand the fear of the Lord and discover the knowledge of God.” (verse 5).
Our search for wisdom cannot be passive – we must be intentional and active to seek out the heart of God and live in a way that imitates Him and brings Him glory. We will not gain wisdom by accident or happenstance. Where is the source of wisdom we must seek? It’s only found in His Word. Let’s actively search the Bible and ask God to give us wisdom. He has promised to give it to us generously! (James 1:5)
Passage: Proverbs 3:12 “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, just as a father disciplines the son in whom he delights.”
My thoughts: Discipline can be difficult, painful, and humbling, but we can trust that God disciplines us because He loves us and wants us to conform to His image (“be holy because I am holy” 1 Peter 1:16). God is not vindictive, waiting for us to make a mistake so He can punish us. He loves us unconditionally and seeks to discipline us, for our good and His glory. When we lean into the Father’s discipline, we gain not only knowledge, but wisdom to walk in obedience to Him and His Word.
Passage: Proverbs 4:4, 23 “Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live… Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”
My thoughts: If we want to live a life of purpose for God’s glory, we have to be very careful what we allow into our hearts. In the Bible, “heart” doesn’t just refer to our emotions, but rather it is the essence of who we are. If we allow selfishness, lying, pride, bitterness, corrupt speech, and a search for power to take root in our heart, then those will characterize who we are, how we think about God, ourselves, and others, and how we treat those around us.
Instead, we are to be vigilantly guard our hearts, confess our sin, and fill our hearts with wisdom and truth from God’s Word, that we may overflow with with His truth, love, and grace. Only then can we truly live.
I’m reminded of Jesus’s teaching in Luke 6: “A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” Luke 6:45
When you speak today, what will overflow from your heart?
Passage: Proverbs 5:8, 21 “Keep your way far from her. Don’t go near the door of her house… For a man’s ways are before the Lord’s eyes, and he considers all his paths.”
My thoughts: Chapter 5 talks about the dangers and consequences of unfaithfulness in marriage. The forbidden woman is a beautiful smooth-talker, but she is unwise, deceitful, and cruel. Giving in to her will lead to complete ruin.
When we are tempted to sin, we don’t need to prove how strong we are by going near or spending time with people who are sinning and/or encouraging us to sin. Instead, we need to put safeguards in place so that the temptation to sin will be less. Turn off the computer, walk away from the conversation, don’t go into that store, that bar, that neighbor’s house, etc.
If we are to guard our heart (like we read about in Proverbs 4), we need to be intentional and persistent in our avoidance of sin.
We may think that our sin is no big deal, is not hurting anyone else, or is hidden from those around us, but this chapter reminds us that our mighty God is omnipresent, in all places at the same time. There is no where we can run where God cannot see. The Lord sees our actions, but He also knows our words, our attitudes, and our thoughts.
Psalm 139:7-10 says,
Where can I go to escape your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I fly on the wings of the dawn and settle down on the western horizon, even there your hand will lead me; your right hand will hold on to me.
We cannot hide from God. This idea can feel uncomfortable, scary, and like a violation of privacy if we don’t remember who God is and who we are. God is our loving Creator and He longs to be in relationship with us, His children.
There is no where for us to run – and there is no need for us to run!
Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross, we can “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Proverbs 5:21 reminds us that God’s eyes are everywhere – but so is His love, His forgiveness, and His grace.
Passage: Proverbs 6:6-11 “Go to the ant, you slacker! Observe its ways and become wise. Without leader, administrator, or ruler, it prepares its provisions in summer; it gathers its food during harvest. How long will you stay in bed, you slacker? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, your need, like a bandit.”
My thoughts: Verses 6-11 stood out to me as an important reminder about the value of hard work and diligence. Ants are small creatures, but can usually carry immense loads, up to 50 times their body weight. If you’ve ever seen an ant farm, you know that ants are busy. They work tirelessly, digging tunnels and creating nests, for the good of their colony.
May we be people marked by wisdom and self-motivation rather than foolishness and laziness.
Questions to ask myself:
- Do I do all of my work diligently and thoroughly, even if no one is watching?
- Would others describe me as a dependable and hard worker?
- Are my actions, words, and attitude honoring to God?
- Have I neglected any important commitments this week?
- How will I intentionally set myself up to be productive and live life with purpose rather than giving into laziness and doing things half-heartedly?
Passage: Proverbs 7:13-15 “She grabs him and kisses him; she brazenly says to him, “I’ve made fellowship offerings; today I’ve fulfilled my vows. So I came out to meet you, to search for you, and I’ve found you.”
My thoughts: Like Chapter 5 and 6, Chapter 7 speaks to the dangers of sexual immorality, equating it to a trap that will ensnare and ultimately lead to ruin (verses 22 and 23).
In Old Testament Jewish culture, the fellowship offering was one of the sacrifices made in the temple. Exodus 29 tells us of the four offerings that were to be made: the sin offering (for unintentional sins), the burnt offering (for general sin), the wave offering (for thanksgiving), and the fellowship offering was last – it was a celebration of fellowship between God and man. But we know from Scripture that we cannot have fellowship with God while living in our sin.
Too often we hear stories (or, if we’re honest, live this way ourselves) of people who act religious on the outside, but their hearts are far from the Lord. This forbidden woman, the cunning and manipulative seductress, went through the motions of temple worship (fellowship offerings, fulfilling her vows) but then was clearly not obeying God and living according to His commands. She made a mockery of God’s guidelines for sacrifice.
Nothing, nothing, we can do on the outside guarantees salvation. Attending church, teaching Sunday School, donating money and time to charity, even reading your Bible – none of that means you’re a true Christian.
We aren’t called to offer sacrifices in the temple like in Exodus. Jesus was our once-and-for-all, perfect atoning sacrifice. When we accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross in faith, we gain adoption into God’s family.
“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— not from works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
After we accept that gift from God, we are called to live in obedience. And 1 Samuel 15 tells us that “to obey is better than sacrifice” (15:22).
It doesn’t matter what you say and do when others are watching you; your true character is revealed when you are alone. We read in Scripture that God sees our hearts and tests our motivations. We cannot be Sunday Christians who show up in clean clothes and put on a fake facade and then live any way we want Monday-Saturday. God demands – and is worthy – of our whole-hearted allegiance, 365 days a year!
Like David, this is my prayer today:
Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my concerns.
See if there is any offensive way in me;
lead me in the everlasting way. Psalm 139:23-24
Have you ever read through Proverbs? It’s such a great way to dig into your Bible and glean godly wisdom. There is so much practical advice and insight into how to live in a way that honors God. If you haven’t read it (or not recently) I challenge you to dive in!