I’d like to invite you to journey through the Book of Proverbs with me January 2018! Proverbs is a book of teaching – It’s full of wisdom, knowledge, and instruction. There are many lessons of justice, integrity, and discretion. When we study this text and begin to actively put what we learn into use through everyday life, we will begin to learn, grow, and ultimately change. Learning begins at making the decision to do something different, to make a change. It’s not easy, but as we go through this study I pray your eyes will be opened to how to actively live out God’s calling on your life, take a leap of faith, and grow in your spiritual walk.
1 Timothy 4:8 “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”
This study is set up so you can do it independently or with an accountability group. I do encourage you to find a someone or a group of friends to walk through this journey with you. Life is a team sport, we all have our own unique gifts and talents that help us and those around us grow.
“Life change occurs in an environment of true community. In true community, people live open, honest, and confessional lives in a culture of grace.” – Dr. Rob Reimer, Soul Care
Because it’s one of the Old Testament books referred to as the *wisdom literature. The scripture in this book is written for those of all ages, the wise and the foolish, the saved and unsaved. The content address issues most of us will face at some point in time throughout our lives – diligence, laziness, friendship, speech, work, eternity… the list goes on!
Thank you for taking the time to take on this challenge with me! I hope you will learn to see God’s love, blessings, and guidance in your life as we dig into the wisdom He gave us through Proverbs. 🙂
Proverbs 1:8 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Proverbs 30- 31 – a little something for everyone
Read: Proverbs 30-31
This is such a beautiful passage. It’s beautiful for both men and women, married and single. God paints a picture of the character in which He desires to see in all His people. The role of a wife is plainly laid out and it’s clear that it’s not an easy job – it’s full of early mornings and late nights. As a single woman these verses are just as important, during this time of your life you should always be working to serve and please the Lord with the diligence the wife does in these verses. There is beauty in strength (vs. 17). This is where the men come into play… Single men, it’s important to recognize the women in your life that have this kind of heart, work ethic, and love. This isn’t a switch that ladies can just flip on when they become a wife, these are traits that are picked up and grow over time. If you desire a wife that fits the Proverbs 31 bill, she will need to first be a women who encompass those characteristics over time before she becomes a wife. For husband’s these verses help guide you in how to love and support your wives. Men and women are called to complementary roles and it is important for both to know how the other is called to live out their life to praise the Lord.
Here are some other verses that come to mind when I think of the calling God has given us throughout the book of Proverbs:
Philippians 2:12-14 “So then, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed, not only in my presence, but now even more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God who is working in you, enabling you both to will and to act for His good purpose. Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world.”
Mark 12:30 – 31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.”
1 Corinthians 13:13 “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
2 Timothy 2:15-16, 22 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who doesn’t need to be ashamed, correctly teaching the world of truth. But avoid irreverent, empty speech, for this will produce an even greater measure of godlessness…The Lord’s slave must not quarrel, but must be gentle to everyone, able to teach, and patient, instructing his opponents with gentleness.”
- How can you relate this passage to where you’re at in your own life?
- What action steps can you take to begin to actively live out what you’ve learned over the last 31 days?
Proverbs 27, 28, 29 – rest
Read: Proverbs 27-29
As we wrap up this study take today to reflect on some of the lessons you’ve learned, how God has opened the eyes of your heart, and the impact being in the Word has had on your daily life.
Reflect, Thank, Worship
Proverbs 25-26 – learning from others
Read: Proverbs 25-26
In these two passages Solomon pours out his wisdom. As we experience life we gain our own kind of wisdom, from our own successes and failures. These experiences shape us into who we are and who we’ll become. As we learn and grow God tends to put us in situations to help others through similar circumstances. Likewise, the book of Proverbs is in the Bible to do just the same. Solomon is one of the wisest men to ever walk the earth and he’s sharing his wisdom through circumstances with you, with us, through these Proverbs.
What are your big takeaways from these two chapters?
Why are they your takeaways?
Deep down in your heat, why/how is God opening the eyes of your heart?
Pray, ask God for peace as you enter this season of learning, loving, and embracing who He has created you to be.
Read: Proverbs 24
3 By wisdom a house is built,
and by understanding it is established;
4 by knowledge the rooms are filled
with all precious and pleasant riches.
5 A wise man is full of strength,
and a man of knowledge enhances his might,
6 for by wise guidance you can wage your war,
and in abundance of counselors there is victory.
7 Wisdom is too high for a fool;
in the gate he does not open his mouth.
What kind of house/future are you creating for yourself? Even in times of waiting & anticipation we are always preparing ourselves for how our future selves will behave, think, and live.
Proverbs 22-23 – words of wisdom
Read: Proverbs 22-23
Ask God to join you in this time, ask Him to open your eyes to the wise words in these verses that apply to where you are in life right now. Re-read the two chapters, take some time to stop and reflect on the verses that really stick out to you. What areas in your daily life can you live more like Jesus – actions, words, thoughts, etc.
Proverbs 20-21 – diligence & hard-work
Read: Proverbs 20-21
13 Love not sleep, lest you come to poverty;
open your eyes, and you will have plenty of bread.
17 Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man,
but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel.
29 The glory of young men is their strength,
but the splendor of old men is their gray hair.
These verses are all taken from Proverbs 20… It’s important to work for things. God asks us to seek Him & trust Him. But He also calls us to work hard, when we live diligent, hard-working lives & even when we go through hardships & heartbreak, those situations are to bring us closer to Him. Closer to being like Jesus.
What areas in your life do you need more integrity?
How can you work harder to please God while serving your earthly authorities?
What do you want your ‘gray hair’ to say about you when you are old?
Proverbs 18-19 – actions and words
Read: Proverbs 18-19
20 From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.
21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits
Do actions really speak louder than words? Proverbs brings to light that what’s in the heart, what the eyes willingly see, the words that come out of our mouths, and our actions all have consequences – good and bad – in our lives.
Do you make conscious decisions in this life in light of eternity in the Kingdom of Heaven?
Are your thoughts and the words that come out of your mouth sweet and satisfying? or do they leave a bitter taste in your mouth?
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
James 1:5 ESV
Pray. Ask God for wisdom. Ask God to show you the areas of your life that you have not invited HIm into, and let His grace and love overwhelm you. Rest in His peace.
Proverbs 14- 17 – foolishness, understanding
Read: Proverbs 14-17
These chapters give a lot of attention to the way of the wicked or foolish as opposed to that of those who seek wisdom and knowledge. Below are some verses that jumped off the page as I prepared for today’s study.
Proverbs 14:2, 6, 10,
Proverbs 15:1, 9, 15-16,
Proverbs 16:2, 24-25,
Proverbs 17:14, 20, 25, 28
What verses challenged you as you read through these chapters?
How does the foolish man vs the righteous man seek to know the things of this life?
As Christians, how can we healthily pursue wisdom, knowledge, and understanding; how do they differ from each other?
Proverbs 13 – hope
Read: Proverbs 13
12 Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
Where are you placing your hope?
Are you seeking God in decisions, hopes, and dreams?
What desires has God put in your heart that give you life?
Proverbs 12 – Faith
Read: Proverbs 12
When we fear, anxiety, and other similar emotions, that’s having faith in the enemy. We are called to walk in faith and trust in our Lord. If we even have the faith of a mustard seed we can move mountains.
As I read through this chapter this verse jumped of the page, so I dediced to dive a little deeper and focus on what the Bible says about being faithful in anxious times.
‘Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.’
‘He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”’
Choose two or three verses from this capter to meditate on, memorize, and help enourage you in times of frustration, waiting, and patience. Thank the Lord that He has gone before us. His timing is perfect and I pray that we can continue to see that every day of our lives, thorugh the good and the bad. Ask the Lord for renewed Faith and trust in Him.
Proverbs 10-11 – labor and integrity
Read: Proverbs 10-11
The next couple chapters are full of encouragement, wisdom, and guidance for those who follow Christ. I just want to highlight some verses from each chapter and relate them our lives and other books in the Old and New Testaments. Some themes found in chapter 10 and 11 are those of laboring for the right things and living with integrity.
Reread these verses along with these passages of Scripture
Labor for the Lord:
Proverbs 10:2, 16, 22
Proverbs 10: 9, 24, 11:2,
These passages have been encouraging to me through times of doubt, frustration, and seasons of life where I’ve really questioned my Faith. We learn through these verses God doesn’t ask much of us and if we do as He commands we will reap the rewards in the life to come!
What does it mean to live this life as preparation for eternity? How do you do this in your life?
In what ways are you living with integrity? How is this honoring to God?
Proverbs 9 – which way?
Read: Proverbs 9
The Way of Wisdom:
Builds her own strong house (v 1), prepares a meal with her own hands for her guests at her table (v 2), she fears the Lord increasing her knowledge and understanding (v10), her way leads to eternal life (v 11)
The Way of Folly:
Loud (v 13), lacking of knowledge and wisdom (v 13), lazy (v 14), places themselves higher than others (v 14), feeds others with lies and deceit (v 17), leads to death (v 18)
Re-read Proverbs 9 and note the areas in your life where the qualities of wisdom are present. I even want to encourage you to let yourself be convicted about where the way of folly has gotten a hold of your life. Acknowledge these areas, pray about them, and give them to God.
Proverbs 7- 8 – exercise your wisdom
Read: Proverbs 7-8
More on wisdom, eh? As I read through this passage in preparation for today there were a couple verses that really hit me with where I was at in life at that time. Today, I want to share those verses with you in hopes that anyone struggling with similar things now or in the future can have the peace and encouragement that comes through this Word.
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength.” – Proverbs 8:12-14
“For whoever finds me (wisdom) finds life and obtains favor from the Lord,” – Proverbs 8:35
I’m in a season of waiting. It’s hard, uncomfy, and I really dislike it. We all go through this and it’s easy to be on the outside looking in as an encourager and sometimes you just don’t want to hear it any more. I definitely got to that point and began to live like a slob; not taking care of my body physically, eating anything and everything, all while living vicariously through Jim and Pam’s relationship (aka – binge watching The Office on Netflix)… You may think, okay so you’re going through a slump, but the thing is I went to school to study how to keep our bodies healthy and I know (have wisdom, knowledge, and learned) how crippling the sin of laziness can be. I was convicted through these verses of having knowledge but am ignoring it. Proverbs 8:30 reads, “Then I was beside him, like a master workman, and I was daily his delight,” God called me out: how can wisdom become your daily delight? Practice what you learn and practice what you preach!
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” – Matthew 7:24-27
How can you exercise your wisdom? How can wisdom become your daily delight?
Ask God for discretion, wisdom, and strength to give those trouble areas over to the Lord.
Proverbs 6 – addressing fleshly desires
There is sooo much here we could talk about… I want to take this time and focus on the first 19 verses. Here are some other verses with related content for you to think about, read over, and ask God to show you areas in your life you need to surrender to HIm, where you need to listen to Him and give HIm total authority over your life. These things are hard. It’s not easy to control your mouth and emotions. Or have patience and trust in the waiting. Ultimately, know and understand that God says these things and gives us these commands because He loves us.
Look up these verses. Spend time with the Lord and ask Him to hlep you live out these verses in your life. Pray.
Matthew 5:29-30, 7:11
Proverbs 5 – physical and spiritual purity
The message in chapter 5 is directed at men but is also very applicable for women. Read these passages, meditate on them, and ask God to open your eyes to how these verses apply to your life today.
“So, my friend, listen closely;
don’t treat my words casually.
Keep your distance from such a woman;
absolutely stay out of her neighborhood.
You don’t want to squander your wonderful life,
to waste your precious life among the hardhearted.
Why should you allow strangers to take advantage of you?
Why be exploited by those who care nothing for you?
You don’t want to end your life full of regrets,
nothing but sin and bones,
Saying, “Oh, why didn’t I do what they told me?
Why did I reject a disciplined life?
Why didn’t I listen to my mentors,
or take my teachers seriously?
My life is ruined?
I haven’t one blessed thing to show for my life!””
Proverbs 5:7-14 – The Message Bible
“Death is the reward of an undisciplined life; your foolish decisions trap you in a dead end.” – Proverbs 5:23
“I said to myself, ‘Go ahead, I will test you with pleasure and enjoy what is good.’ But it turned out to be futile. I said about laughter, ‘it is madness,’ and about pleasure, ‘What does this accomplish?’ I explored with my mind how to let my body enjoy life with wine and how to grasp folly – my mind still guiding me with wisdom – unitil i could see what is good for people to do under heaven during the few days of their lives” – Ecclesiastes 2:1-3
“Then I turned to consider wisdom, madness, and folly, for what will the man be like who comes after the king? He will do what has already been done. ANd I realized that there is an advantage to wisdom over folly, life the advantage of light over darkness.” – Ecclesiastes 2:12-13
Ask God to enter into your relationships and work, ask for discernment and direction.
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7
Proverbs 4 – wisdom, instruction, & understanding
“Your heart must hold on to my words. Keep my commands and live.” – Proverbs 4:4
As we enter this new year and season of life these verses encourage readers to lean into the wisdom of the Father. In C. S. Lewis book, The Screwtape Letters, Lewis addresses how the enemy seeks to slowly destroy our relationship with Jesus.
“Murder is no better than cards if cards can do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”
If we don’t take time to recognize where the enemy is attacking us we can’t defend him. It’s important to continue to seek wisdom, instruction, and understanding of the Bible.
“The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday.” – Proverbs 4:18
“If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.” – Matthew 5:29-30
“Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” – Ephesians 4:25-5:2
What is some wisdom, instruction, and understanding you’ve gained over the years you don’t want to forget?
Who has given you the most wisdom?
What does it look like to “not let the sun go down on your anger?”
Proverbs 3 – trust, therefore
Read: Proverbs 3
Throughout the book of Proverbs we see “Do [or do not do] this” followed by “For,” Sometimes the “for” comes in different forms, take a look at these verses.
Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
- Command: Trust in the Lord
- Reward: He will make straight your paths
Proverbs 3:21-23 “…keep sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck. Then you will walk on your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.”
- Command: Keep sound wisdom and discretion
- Reward:Your foot will not stumble
Chapter 3 talks about honoring God and obeying Him using wisdom and humility. Don’t be foolish and selfish, but seek the Lord and His righteousness!
When reading through Proverbs 3, which ‘do this, for this’ statements popped out to you?
What is a tangible application of these scriptures to your life?
Proverbs 2 – wisdom
Read: Proverbs 2
So, this Chapter in it’s entirety is highlighted in my Bible… I wonder why? Let’s dig in.
My two biggest takeaways from this Chapter are 1) fear of the Lord leads to wisdom [we learned a little about this yesterday…] and 2) wisdom leads to deliverance.
Since we nailed the first point yesterday (check it out here), we’ll focus on wisdom and deliverance today.
“if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord.” – Proverbs 2:4-5
Through these verses the author of Proverbs emphasizes the importance of gaining wisdom and understanding, that wisdom and understanding is more important than searching/yearning for silver and or hidden treasures. When we seek after wisdom in this way there is deliverance from so many dangerous, ugly, and evil things of this world.
“Delivering you from the way of evil, from men of perverted speech, who forsake the paths of uprightness to walk in the ways of darkness…” – Proverbs 2:12-13
- What is spiritual wisdom?
- What values do we gain from seeking wisdom?
- What do you need deliverance from and how can wisdom help you get there?
Proverbs 1 – fear the Lord?
Read: Proverbs 1
Proverbs 1:8 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Fear – why would we use a word that carries such a negative connotation in our culture to describe how we should treat our Ultimate Authority? There are many other adjectives that could take it’s place – respect, love, honor… just to name a few. So, why does this book of wisdom begin with the bold statement calling us to fear the Lord?
Well, this fear is not referring to the scared type of fear but that of reverence. Fear of the Lord is being conscience of how are living our lives for Him, it’s us being in awe and worshiping His grace and authority over our lives, it’s obedience and honor – often referenced as the same type of fear a servant has for their master.
Fearing the Lord helps us in times of temptation, helps us make decisions based upon His will for us, helps us to be in continual awareness of God’s omnipresence, and motivates us to be more like Christ.
Take a moment to re-read Proverbs 1, pray, and consider the questions below.
- How does fear of the Lord lead to knowledge?
- In what ways is the Lord asking you to fear Him?
Invite Jesus into this journey with you!