The Ways of Wisdom – January 8, 2017

Proverbs 3 – Part 1

3:1-6

Introduction

: I choose to begin the new year with a series of teachings from the proverbs and specifically proverbs chapter 3.

Context

: As a whole, the

Proverbs

are given to us as short and important little teachings that are designed to direct and instruct us in our ways of believing, acting, and understanding.

Hebrew word for ‘proverbs’ is

mashal

= proverb, parable, maxim, adage: a simile or allegory; an object lesson or illustration. The noun comes from the verb

mashal

which means to ‘compare; to be similar.’

So proverbs are not so much promises but short statements of general truths.

We are told/instructed immediately as to why Solomon’s spirit-given inspiration are important.

Proverbs 1:2-7,

“Their purpose is to teach people wisdom,” for “fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge…”

Proverbs 3 is a summary or right human behavior toward God and then toward other people.

Proverbs 3 (like 7 & 8) is composed of three parts: (1) an instruction on the “fear of the Lord” (vv.1-12); (

half of these verses I will look at this morning);

(2) a blessing that praises Wisdom’s benefits and role in Creation (vv.13-20); and (3) an instruction on relations with other people (vv.21-35).

Transition

: So, let me dive into Proverbs 3:1-6.

Proverbs 3 actually opens with a negative!

It is an admonition to keep (one’s) parents “instruction” and “commandments.”

Aside from this text we know that “honoring,” “obeying” one’s parents is the first commandment with a promise. Exodus 5:12, “

Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you

.”

Honor

kabad

= to be heavy, weighty

3:1, “Never Forget” “keep (store) in your heart” – In the sense of living out what is learned.

So, I will call my above first point,

“Pay & Pursue.”

Pay attention and follow that which you know is necessary and essential.

Transition

: After this general word of wisdom to pay and pursue, we are given two specific areas for our focus.

3:3 in the NLT says, “

Never let

loyalty

and

kindness

leave you

.”

Depending on what version your reading, the words might be different in English so let me refer both to the original Hebrew which are

Let not

chasad

, (reproach = good name, without fault and kindness) and

emeth

(firmness, faithfulness, truth) leave you.

We are to “

tie them

” or bind them “

around our neck

” and “

write them deep within your heart

.”

 

In ancient Israel, as in Orthodox Judaism today, amulets with sacred writing were bound around the neck, thus close to the heart, as spiritual reminders.

“On the tablet of your heart” is also metaphorical for memory at the deepest level of one’s being.

What penetrates to the depths of the heart determines one’s very character and nature!”

This second of my main points I will call “

Paste (Profoundly)

So, we have as widom instructions “Pay Attention & Pursue” and now “Paste (Profoundly).

Question

: The result (of paying attention and pasting)?

3:4, “

Then you will find favor with both God and people, and you will earn a good reputation

.” (NLT)

Transition

:

These first two points are foundational!

Once this is established, instructions are given.

Instruction # 1

– “Trust in the Lord”

 

Hebrew

Trust

= To be safe, careless

 

Instruction # 2

– “Do not depend upon your own understanding.”

Hebrew

– Lean

= support yourself

 

Instruction # 3

– “Seek his will in all you do.”

 

Instruction # 4

– “Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.”

Impressed =

wise

 

Instruction # 5

– “(Instead) Fear the Lord”

Fear

= Revere

 

Conclusion

: Where does wisdom begin and end? According to the Word in Proverbs is comes as a “result of listening and applying will and ways of God’s instruction

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