If you value what is written within the pages of the Holy Bible, you would be excited about the book of Proverbs; there is never a dull moment. You can start from anywhere, it does not matter. The advice given by the Writer is profound, practical and causes you to pause, sit still for a while, and think.
I find myself turning to Proverbs when I need a boost for my daily living. The book of Proverbs actually gives us ways to improve our emotional health. Relationships are always in need of a “fixer upper” and Proverbs would help you out there. We are always in a place, where decisions need to be made and if you are like me, you prefer to choose wisely, no one likes looking back and regretting a foolish decision of their past. The wise sayings of Proverbs help you to guard your heart and mind, keeping you focused on what is good and wholesome. The book of Proverbs shows you how to guard your heart spiritually.
I discovered that I am born to lift up, build up and inspire others, through the expression of my gifts and abilities. I have discovered as well, that I can easily stray from my purpose because I love the feeling of accomplishment, I love learning and advancing in knowledge, I hunger for victory over weak areas and I often think “It is possible” when the critics say it is not. For me, therefore, Proverbs keeps me in check.
So, just for you, I have sought to capture my thoughts as I read, meditate and study a few verses in Proverbs within chapters 1-10. I call them “Proverb Boosters” because I get a kick out of the respective verses and that encourages me to behave myself wisely; guarding my thoughts and then acting in a way that would allow me to reap great rewards. In other words, if we take the wise sayings of the Writer seriously, we can sow healthy seeds and reap the benefit of what we sow.
Proverb Booster number 1
“A wise man will hear and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.”
When I read this verse, I reflected on the times when I was too busy thinking or talking, to listen and how it did not work out in my favour, meaning I could not and did not benefit from the possible knowledge or insights or lessons, that were being passed on to me in a simple “taken-for-granted” conversation. It is always my wish to develop my listening skills, and this verse refreshed my desire to allow myself to be still and listen. In our world today, Managers who understand the importance of listening skills, invest monies into their staff, so that they can learn effective communication which involves listening. If we are not able to listen, we are not able to grow and develop.
You and I will be acting wisely if we practice listening to others. The Holy Spirit would guide you, letting you know when the counsel you are receiving is of poor quality and you need to shut out that voice, and that’s ok. That is the job of the Holy Spirit in our lives, once we let him do his thing. Let’s remember, however, that he uses our spouses, our children, the man on the street, that you don’t really know, the Lecturer who thinks he know it all, the teenager who is just beginning to discover him/herself, the mentally challenged woman and just about anyone, to speak to us.
You are therefore acting wisely when you listen to good counsel, and taking a step further, when you act on the wise counsel given to you. Value the guidance and advice and warnings given to you, by others and don’t always measure its worth by their standards. God can choose to speak to you through whatever and whoever he wishes to use.
Many times, we learn from our children, when we least expect it. They blurt out words that stop us in our tracks and shake us up from our sleeping daze, reminding us to walk circumspectly at all times.
Would you like to join me in a commitment to listen more? You can say;
“I RESOLVE TO LISTEN MORE SO THAT THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED, WOULD NOT BE MISSED AND THE KNOWLEDGE TO BE GAINED WOULD BE RECEIVED”
“ I RESOLVE TO ADJUST MY BEHAVIOUR TO REFLECT THE LESSONS LEARNED AND THE KNOWLEDGE GAINED, SO THAT NONE OF IT WILL BE IN VAIN.”
Proverb Booster No. 2
“But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more and more unto the perfect day.”
I love the comfort being released from this verse. It is comforting to know that no matter how the world sees you, no matter if you are not recognised for it by your friends, doing right is the right things to do every time. If you choose the path of doing right, if you decide in your heart to live according to the principles of God’s Holy Word, no matter what, you are on the path of the just, seeking to make wise choices daily and in so doing you stand out. You become a beacon of goodness, honesty and hope. It seems like the more we stick to this “doing it right” thing, the more we are lifted up, and the extent of our impact on others, broadens into realms we don’t even know of.
If you look around you, I am sure you can think of people who chose a different path, and instead they are known for their betrayals, their lies, their selfish pursuits and their disregard for God’s principles. Once they refuse God’s transforming work in their life, they would continue down that ugly path, and would only be remembered for causing pain and hurt and for their miserable search for real peace.
I urge you to get on the path of the just and don’t ever step off when it seems as if it is not worth it. It is always worth-it when God values it.
You can say; “I RESOLVE TO RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO DO AS I PLEASE, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW DEEP DOWN IT IS WRONG.”
“I RESOLVE TO BE CONTENT WITH LIVING HONESTLY, ALWAYS CONSIDERING THE WELFARE OF OTHERS, UNDERSTANDING THAT MY DECISION TO CHOOSE A RIGHTEOUS LIFE GIVES LIGHT TO MANY WHO ARE IN THE DARK AND NEED HOPE.”
Proverb Booster No. 3
Proverbs 7: 1-3
“My son, keep my words and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments and live and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart.”
The words “My Son” can apply to anyone, the young, as well as the not so young. After reading these verses, I asked myself “Why is it so important to hear and understand “these words”? What happens if “these words” are completely ignored? I also noted words and phrases like ” “keep” and “apple of thine eye”
Then it gets more interesting, we are urged to bind “these words” upon our fingers and write them upon the table of their hearts. Didn’t I say to you earlier that Proverbs would make you sit still?
If you are still a teenager or young adult, these words are “hot out of the oven” for you, because you are at a point in your life, where you are solidifying your values, your character and your personality, as you are closer, now more than ever, to the realities and the responsibilities of Independence.
I was boosted by these verse, as I thought of my children and the need to do even more to make sure they are provided with wise, godly counsel, necessary for good success, where God’s principles are held up in the highest regard.
I want to focus more on the “a” part of the last verse; “Bind them upon thy fingers”; now, I am well aware that the bible was written within the context of the Jewish cultures then, which, sometimes, are still evident today.
I pondered on those words a bit. Some bible commentators explain it as; treasuring the word of God as a ring on your finger, we would not wear a ring unless it is precious to us, right? And we don’t ever want to lose it. It suggests then, a degree of value and the constant need to have it visible, where it is always at the forefront of your minds.
God is using Solomon (the Writer) to speak to us, he says “My Son’. My Son of course suggests that he is our Father and he can only be our Father if we have recognised him as Lord of our lives, and have submitted our will to his will, his plan and his purpose.
God wants us to carry the word with us, as we would wear a ring, it goes with us wherever we go.
There is another supporting passage in Deuteronomy chapter 6, verses 7,8 &9; “And thou shalt teach them (these words as mentioned by Solomon) diligently unto thy children, and shall talk of them when thou sit in thine house, and when thou walk by the way, and when thou lie down, and when thou rise up; And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as front-lets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house and on thy gates.
Do you know of the tefillin or phylacteries? These were worn both on the hand and the forehead. It consisted of a box made of leather, with strips of parchment, on which were written scriptures. The box had a leather strap attached to it and this strap was wrapped around the arm three times and then on the middle finger.
Are you beginning to rally grasp what God is desiring here for us? While he was instructing the children of Israel, he was indirectly instructing us. It certainly does not give us any feeling that the word of God should be something hidden or referred to as obsolete. If you would just read it, giving it a chance to speak to you, you would understand how relevant it is to us today.
Going back to the tefillin or phylacteries; as God instructed his people, they obeyed, and these practices became well known in the Jewish communities.
Below is an interesting link to a BBC website that I found very useful, feel free to check it out.
The tefillin or otherwise called phylacteries, are mainly worn by Orthodox Jewish men. As mentioned before, they wear it on their heads and their arms and then down to their fingers. I also mentioned that the boxes contained texts, interestingly, I learned that they are specific texts that are placed in the boxes. They are texts in which believers are commanded to wear on the hand and between their eyes. These texts are hand-written on a single parchment strip, but the head tefillin has sections or compartments and each compartment has a single text in it.
Here are the verses placed in the tefillin:
Exodus 13: 1-10
Exodus 13: 11-16 and
Deuteronomy 6: 4-9
Deuteronomy 11: 12-21
If you were to dig deeper, you would realise how very much connected the word of God is to world history and current practices.
My third booster, boosted me to market the word of God as a preservative from all forms of corruption that can spoil our character and our future. My third booster has created a stir for more knowledge about the practices of the Orthodox Jews, and many ways in which the Word of God connects with world history and present-day happenings.
I started meditating on a few verses in Proverbs and it took me on an exciting tour. I am better for it today, as it has only wet my appetite for more. I would continue reading the Book of Proverbs and maybe share more of my discovered treasures.
The book of Proverbs would shake you up, make you sober and help you to choose wisely. I do hope you would begin to read it soon.