Proverbs 3:1-35

1 My son, do not forget my teaching,
   but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
   and bring you peace and prosperity.

 3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
   bind them around your neck,
   write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
   in the sight of God and man.

 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight.[a]

 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
   fear the LORD and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
   and nourishment to your bones.

 9 Honor the LORD with your wealth,
   with the firstfruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
   and your vats will brim over with new wine.

 11 My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline,
   and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the LORD disciplines those he loves,
   as a father the son he delights in.[b]

 13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
   those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
   and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
   nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
   in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
   and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
   those who hold her fast will be blessed.

 19 By wisdom the LORD laid the earth’s foundations,
   by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
   and the clouds let drop the dew.

 21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
   preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
   an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
   and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
   when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
   or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the LORD will be at your side
   and will keep your foot from being snared.

 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
   when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
   “Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
   when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
   who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
   when they have done you no harm.

 31 Do not envy the violent
   or choose any of their ways.

 32 For the LORD detests the perverse
   but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
   but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
   but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
   but fools get only shame.

The Good Life

In Proverbs 3 the author outlines the life of ShalomShalom is more than ‘peace’, it is life the way it was supposed to be.  If mankind was not prone to sin an ideal world would have broken out.  It is the way that God wishes for things to operate.  Within the fabric of Creation are systems and if we go along with them, in general life will go better for us.  However, the goal is not to crack the system and get the reward.  The goal is not to be self-serving.  If we pursue wealth, happiness or prestige for ourselves we are not in shalom.  Shalom comes about when we pursue God, pursue wisdom, and pursue the good of others.  Proverbs 3 emphasizes these three things.  There are three sections which start with, “My son,” and they outline the three main aspects of a life that brings shalom.  In this sinful world there is no gaurantee of positive outcome.  However chances of the good life are increased if we live in harmony with the Created order. 

Questions

  1. In which verses do we read “my son”?
  2. What is the subject of each section?
  3. How are the three subjects different aspects of the same thing?
  4. How do you see people looking for The Good Life before they look for the Good God?
  5. How could you pursue God wisely in the three areas of Proverbs 3 for the sake of children who look up to you?

About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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