The Key To Understanding Proverbs

As Christians we come across quite a few Proverbs that we feel we followed to the T, but the “promises” didn’t come to pass.  One great example is in Proverbs 22, Solomon tells us that if we “train up a child in the way he should go, he won’t stray from it.”  So many parents raise their kids in the care and admonition of the Lord and then the kids go off into lala land, doing God knows what, and the parents feel that either they did something wrong or that God has failed them.  If you’ve read my blog long enough you know that God never fails.  If you’ve ever read your Bible you know that God never fails.  So what does that mean?  The parent failed?  They did something wrong?  Absolutely not.

The key to understanding the book of Proverbs is to know that this book is one of the few in the Bible that cannot be taken as promises from God.  It is a book of wisdom.  It is written as GENERAL WISDOM, not universal truth.  What this means in this particular “for instance” is that the parent may have done everything right.  Not every parent who trains their child properly produces a good Christian kid.  The passage is great advice; teach your kid well and chances are that when they are faced with tough choices they will listen to God… but not always.  We still have freedom of will which means that there’s not a magical formula to creating the perfect child.

As we study the book of Proverbs this month (and hopefully you will continue on, as I will, in reading it over again in the following months and years) I pray that you will always remember that although Solomon was a very wise man, he isn’t giving us promises from God, just great advice.

Proverbs 3

Further Benefits of Wisdom

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,

2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you prosperity.

3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.

4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.

9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
with the firstfruits of all your crops;

10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.

11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline
and do not resent his rebuke,

12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
as a father  the son he delights in.

13 Blessed is the man who finds wisdom,
the man who gains understanding,

14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.

15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.

16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.

17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.

18 She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;

20 by his knowledge the deeps were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.

21 My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment,
do not let them out of your sight;

22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.

23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble;

24 when you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.

25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,

26 for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.

27 Do not withhold good from those who deserve it,
when it is in your power to act.

28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back later; I’ll give it tomorrow”—
when you now have it with you.

29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.

30 Do not accuse a man for no reason—
when he has done you no harm.

31 Do not envy a violent man
or choose any of his ways,

32 for the LORD detests a perverse man
but takes the upright into his confidence.

33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.

34 He mocks proud mockers
but gives grace to the humble.

35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools he holds up to shame.


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