Summary: Christians are citizens of God’s Kingdom needing Kingdom Wisdom as detailed by Solomon in Kingdom: Rules (The Ten Commandments); Principles (Love and Faithfulness); Decision-Making (Trust in the Lord); Economics (Honour God with our Money) and Discipline
God wants His people to have a full and satisying life. But how do we get it? Demands are made on us, with the pressures of the 21st century in terms of time and resources. We’re bombarded by the influences of the secular environment and at the same time there’s the insistent call of God as we seek to be disciples of Jesus. If we’re serious in our commitment to our Lord, as citizens of His Kingdom, we need to be continually refreshed with a healthy dose of what I’ve called:
I’ve called it Kingdom Wisdom because as Christians we’re different, or should be, from unbelievers. The Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor 5:17). The verses we’ve read (Proverbs 3:1-12) are a beginners’ manual to Kingdom Wisdom. We need to absorb its wisdom. The qualities described will help us to take responsibility for our conduct and above all, to make a habit of examining everything in the light of God’s Word and to know the witness of the Holy Spirit within us.
As we look at the text we’ll find some wonderful assurance of God’s provision for the believer. Some of the statements promising “the good life” seem almost too good to be true! How can we tell if “a proverb” is “a promise as well as a proverb”? Something we can count on. It’s by comparing them with the rest of Scripture, in other words, to “handle accurately the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). If a proverb expresses a truth promised elsewhere in Scripture, we know it is a promise.
The passage is addressed by Solomon to an unnamed son. “My son,” he says. But let’s take it as if it we’re addressed to us personally - “My son (my daughter) do not forget my teaching.” Solomon begins first with:
KINGDOM RULES (verses 1 & 2)
”Keep my commands in your heart” he says. It follows from this that the young man had previously been instructed in godly living, but young people – no, let’s face it, all of us – often forget what we we’re taught only last week! Solomon speaks of “commands”, a word which reminds us of the foundation of all wisdom, “The Ten Commandments”, not as as been said, “The Ten Suggestions!” We’re to fix God’s Law, His “commands” as our rule of life, not only in our heads, but in our hearts, the centre of our being.
An old preacher is reported to have said, “We either keep the Ten Commandments or we illustrate them!” A true word! When they were given to Moses on Mount Siniai, they were written, not on sheets of paper or even rolls of leather so that we can bend them, but on tablets of stone so that we either keep or break them! The “commands” that Solomon mentions are for a purpose: “for they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity”. What a wonderful statement –but what does it mean?
Is it a promise of unconditional long life and prosperity on Earth? Too many of my godly friends didn’t have their lives prolonged, being taken to glory at an early age. Certainly, following God’s commands doesn’t guarantee that you’ll live to get a congratulations card from the Queen! God alone is sovereign in the matter of our years on Earth. Perhaps the Amplified Version gives a better insight when it mentions “a life worth living” and the eternal security of the believer. Matthew Henry has an encouraging word for us who, shall we say, are of a certain age! He says that the reference to “many years” and “prosperity” mean that “Even the days of old age shall not be evil days.”
Solomon gives us further detail of Kingdom Wisdom as he discusses:
KINGDOM PRINCIPLES (verses 3 & 4)
The philosophy of the 21st century, what has been termed “post-modernism”, is “if it’s right for you, it’s all right; if it feels good, do it!” Solomon, however, at least at one point in his life, had revealed to him a higher wisdom. Regrettably his conduct in later life shows that it’s one thing to know about wisdom, but quite another to work it out consistently in daily life.
Hear Solomon’s wise words: “Let love and faithfulness never leave you …” “Love”, says the apostle Paul, is “the most excellent way” (1 Cor 12:30). It’s the love of God that enables us to be like Jesus. It will prevent us from keeping a record of alleged wrongs done to us, to think the best rather than the worst of people we find it hard to relate to. It’s letting God handle things in the pressure of life. Love is giving the benefit of the doubt. That’s how relationships are transformed. Love is forgiveness. Love is a heart of compassion. Love doesn’t keep a score. Love is about giving and helping. We need to experience and express this grace of love and commitment for one another.