Reading

  • Value of Wise Sayings - Prov. 22:17-21
  • Purpose of Proverbs - Prov. 1:1-7; 25:1
  • Preeminence of God
    • Fear of the Lord - Prov. 9:10-12; 10:27; 14:2, 26-27; 15:33; 19:23; 28:14
    • Trust in God or Self - 3:5-8; 14:12; 16:3, 20; 18:2, 4, 10; 19:3; 20:24; 21:22; 26:12; 28:26; 29:25
    • Divine Providence - 15:3; 16:1, 4, 9, 33; 19:21; 21:30-31; 22:12; 27:1
  • Insight and Ignorance
    • Wisdom and Folly - Prov. 13:14; 14:24; 15:24; 16:22; 17:12; 24:7, 13-14
    • Dealing with Fools - Prov. 26:4-11; 27:22; 29:9
    • Discernment and Understanding - Prov. 10:13, 23; 13:15; 14:6, 8, 15, 33; 15:21; 16:16; 17:24; 19:8; 20:5, 12
    • Knowledge - Prov. 10:14; 13:16; 14:18; 15:14; 18:15; 19:2; 20:15; 21:11; 23:12; 24:3-4

Devotional

Our reading for today begins with the phrase, "Pay attention and listen..." One of the keys to obtaining wisdom is to pay attention. So many times it seems people make the same mistakes over and over, often without even realizing it! As you go through your day, watch for patterns. Patterns are all around us, in the way people behave, speak, the way life and nature functions, and the way machines and science work. If you can understand the pattern, many times you can solve a problem, whatever you might be trying to accomplish. If you fail to see the pattern, however, it will likely continue taking advantage of you.

10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. 11 For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life.
(Prov. 9:10-11 NIV)

If we want to gain wisdom, GOD says we must start by fearing Him. What does this mean? This is a lot like a child should fear a parent. It starts with the child understanding who the parent is. Mom or Dad is in charge; they have responsibility for me. When the child is young, they don't understand a lot about why Mom or Dad tell them certain things to do or avoid doing. The child has to have a healthy respect for Mom and Dad's role such that they know, "If I don't do what Mom or Dad says, I'm going to get punished, and that isn't fun." But as the child grows and matures, they come to know Mom and Dad better, and they begin to see the wisdom behind the commands they give.

The same is true of our relationship with GOD. At first, we fear GOD because of His power and the fact that He is our judge. If I do evil I will be punished; if I do well, I will be rewarded. As we grow in our relationship with GOD, we come to understand the wisdom behind GOD's commands. We start to love Him for who He is and what He has done for us. As that love grows and our life becomes more like GOD wants it to be, our fear of punishment becomes less (and eventually fades away). GOD wants us to trust in Him and not upon our own understanding.

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 shall direct your paths. 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil. 8 It will be health to your flesh, And strength to your bones.
(Prov. 3:5-8 NKJV)

And always remember:

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Keeping watch on the evil and the good.
(Prov. 15:3 NKJV)

Tim Harris
Author: Tim Harris

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