Learning from God's Word (Proverbs 23-26)
23:1-18 - ‘Continue in the fear of the Lord all day long. Let reverence for the Lord be the concern of your life’. To those who put Him first in their lives, God gives His great promise of blessing, ‘There is surely a future hope for you. You have a bright future. Surely you have a wonderful future ahead of you’ (17-18). What a glorious future lies ahead of those who love the Lord: ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him’ (1 Corinthians 2:9)! We must not become ‘short-sighted’. We must look ahead to ‘the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ’. God has given us ‘His very great and precious promises’. Let us press on in ‘faith’, becoming more and more ‘active and effective in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 1:3-11).
23:19-35 - ‘Keep your heart on the right path’ (19). How are we to do this? We must seek ‘truth, wisdom, instruction and understanding’ (23). We must give our hearts to Christ. He is ‘the Truth’ (John 14:6). We must open our hearts to Christ. He is ‘our Wisdom’ (1 Corinthians 1:30). Opening our hearts will mean opening our Bibles. Giving our hearts to Christ will mean giving time to reading God’s Word. As we read ‘the Scriptures’, we will receive ‘instruction’. We will learn about ‘salvation through faith in Christ Jesus’. We will receive ‘instruction for right living’ (2 Timothy 3:14-17). As we read God’s Word, we must pray that the Holy Spirit will give us ‘understanding’ (1 Corinthians 2:9-13). ‘Be filled with the Spirit’. ‘Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly’ (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16).
24:1-14 - ‘Wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, there is a future hope for you’ (14). How do we find wisdom? We read the written Word of God, seeking God’s promised blessing: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect and revives the soul. The Lord’s instruction never fails. and makes the simple wise’. As we read God’s written Word, keeping our eyes fixed on Christ, the living ‘Word’ of God’, we discover that He is the ‘Wisdom’ which is ‘sweeter than honey’and we rejoice in Him, our ‘Hope of glory’ - ‘You believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls’ (John 1:1-2,14; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Psalm 19:7,10; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:8). ‘Ask God’ for ‘wisdom’.‘Seek and you will find’ (James 1:5-8; Matthew 7:7).
24:15-34 - ‘Though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again’ (15). We are ‘kept by the power of God’. We do not raise ourselves. It is the Lord who is ‘able to keep us from falling’. He ‘knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations’ (1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24; 2 Peter 2:9). When our ‘faith’ is ‘tested by fire’, we must pray that God will give us His victory: ‘Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace’ (1 Peter 1:6-7;Daniel 3:17). When our strength is almost gone, the Lord comes with His Word: ‘My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9), ‘Amazing grace!... Through many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come. ‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home’ (Mission Praise, 31).
25:1-28 - ‘The Lord will reward you’ (22). The work done by God’s servants is tested by fire: ‘the fire will test what sort of work each one has done’. There is work of real ‘quality’ - ‘gold, silver, precious stones’. There is work which has no real value - ‘wood, hay, straw’. God wants us to think about the work we do in His Name. We are to ‘remove the dross from the silver’ (4). We are not to be content with superficial work which does not lead to changed lives. Our words are to be ‘apples of gold in a setting of silver’. They are to be words of wisdom, words which are ‘better than fine gold’, words which ‘surpass choice silver’ (11; 8:19). We are to bring God’s Word -‘good news’ - and God’s Spirit -‘rivers of living water’ - to our hearers (25; 1 Peter 1:12,23-25; John 7:37-39).
26:1-28 - ‘There is a lion in the road, a fierce lion roaming the streets!’ (13). This is the voice of fear speaking. We need to speak with the voice of faith - ‘I believed, and so I spoke’ (2 Corinthians 4:13). We know that ‘the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour’. The devil can fill us with fear. We must not let him do this. We must face him with faith - ‘Resist him, standing firm in the faith’ (1 Peter 5:8-9). When we ‘resist the devil’, standing firm in the faith, ‘he will flee from us’ (James 4:7). Let us face the ‘roaring lion’ with faith in an even more powerful ‘Lion’. Jesus Christ - ‘the Lion of Judah’ - ‘has conquered’ Satan. He ‘has triumphed’ over him (Revelation 5:5). May Christ’s ‘perfect love drive out our fear’ (1 John 4:18).