Summary: Whatever struggles we may encounter in life we can know that God is worthy of our trust and that He will deliver us.
Just Trust Him
Today we begin our study of the third heart-to-heart talk between the parents of Proverbs and their son. In the first two chapters of Proverbs we’ve seen how the wise counsel of the boy’s dad and mom have been offered to steer their son away from those who would lead him down a path to ruin. Today, as we begin our study of chapter 3, we get to be a fly on the wall, listening in as they teach their son how godly wisdom can mold his heart and teach him to trust in the Lord, which is of greatest importance. Today’s study makes it very clear that to walk in wisdom is truly an inside job.
Today we put so much emphasis on environment. If a young person steers off course and starts drinking, using drugs, and hanging out with the wrong crowd, then it has to be his friend’s or parent’s fault. If an employee is dishonest and steals from the company then it is due to the fact that there are extenuating circumstances going on in her life, or the company precipitated the theft by cheating her out of a promotion or paying her such low wages. If a husband is unfaithful to his wife and destroys his home then we are told that we need to try and understand how the unbearable situation he was living in led him into the arms of another woman. We’ve spent four weeks studying the first two chapters of Proverbs so that we can gain a good grip on the importance of avoiding those who will lead us down a path of ruin, but this is not the only factor that we need to consider. Jesus spoke to the Pharisees of His day in Matthew 12:33-37.
33 “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. 36 But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:33-37 NIV)
James, the brother of Jesus, wrote to believers in his day and encouraged them to refuse to lay their temptations and sin in the laps of others. Turn with me to James 1:12-15 and let’s read together.
12Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. 13When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; 14but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. 15Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. (James 1:12-15 NIV)
Walking in wisdom, walking with God, and avoiding the path of destruction, humiliation, and ruin is a two-fold undertaking, but our first priority must be the matter of our own heart. Let’s read verses 1-12 together and then we will get into our study.
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. (Proverbs 3:1-12 NIV)
Before we get into the particulars of the benefits of wisdom there are some comments that I need to make in order that we might gain a firm footing as we study this passage. This section of Scripture and others like it have been misused by many in the Body of Christ. Throughout the ages those who subscribe to a “health, wealth, and prosperity” gospel have used passages like this to try and buttress their arguments. The reason we have seen such growth with this type of theology, especially in America, is because we want to hear what we want to believe. Instead of studying the “whole counsel of God” we pick and choose passages and paste them together to get what we are looking for. I’m sorry my friends but we are not given this latitude in the study of God’s Word. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. Take a look with me at verses 8-10 and let’s read together.