Listen, kids! Proverbs- Week 1- Day 2

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:  (9)  For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck.

Proverbs 1:8-9

Explanation:

Solomon has begun the book by laying out the purpose of the literature. The purpose of these Proverbs is to give wisdom and instruction to the young, to the simple, and to those that will listen. This culminated to the most foundational beginning and primary truth. That truth is that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge”.

It is in that context that Solomon begins to speak to his son. We as readers get to lean in and listen to this instruction. Certainly we can believe that any father would give their son the best advice they can give. There is little incentive to give your own children bad advice. They bear your name! God granted Solomon his request for wisdom, and so the ability to read the kingly advice of Solomon to his son is of utmost value.

Solomon tells his son to “hear” the instruction of thy father. The word translated “hear” does not just mean to physically comprehend what is being said. The word means to physically comprehend with an inclination towards obedience. Listen and obey the instruction of your Father. The idea is continued in the parallelism of the phrase. “Forsake not the law of thy mother”. Clearly this is not just speaking about physically listening, but also obeying.

In verse 9 he references “they”. What is “they” referring to? It is referring to the instruction of the father, and the law of the mother. This instruction and law will be an “ornament of grace”. The word for ornament is used twice in proverbs. It is used here, and also in Proverbs 4:9.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Proverbs 4:9

The picture of this word is a wreath or a crown on the head. It is something that decorates the person wearing it. The idea is that this instruction and law will bring favor to your life by the obedience the son gives to it. Similarly they will be “chains about thy neck”. To wear jewelry and crowns at this time would be a sign of prosperity, favor, and riches.

Solomon is saying that heeding the instruction and law of your parents tends to lead to life, favor and blessing.

Application:

For children still living in their parents’ home, the application of this verse is pretty direct. There is blessing and favor for the child that listens and seeks to obey the guidance of their parents. The new testament repeats this directive and promise.

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.  (2)  Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;)  (3)  That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Ephesians 6:1-3

For the adult not in the home, the truth is no less direct. We should remember and not forsake the wise instruction and guidance handed down to us from our parents. If your parent wasn’t particularly wise, it doesn’t mean that there is not anything wise you could learn from them. There are others older and wiser. There are elders you may have access to in your local church from which to gain wisdom and instruction.

In the context of this passage, we all have access to the wisdom of the Lord contained in the scripture. We should heed the wisdom and instruction contained in the pages of scripture. When we obey the wisdom given to us it will bring us blessing.

Response:

  • What is something that you are doing that is unwise?
  • Is there anything that your parents taught you to do that you are forsaking?

The Fear of the Lord- Proverbs Week 1- Day 1

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  

Proverbs 1:7

Explanation:

This verse is the foundational principle of the entire book of Proverbs.  The word “fear” has the idea of moral reverence, but does include dread or being scared.  One who understands the potential of the Lord has a reverent awe, and even a dread of Him knowing their own sinfulness.  The word translated Lord is the transliterated yehovah.  It means “self-Existent or eternal”, and is one of the most used names of God, showing up 6,521 times in the Old Testament.. 

Notice that the fear of the Lord is the result of special revelation.  The fear of the Lord is confirmed by natural revelation in this way.  When someone looks at the world they could come to the conclusion that something or someone more powerful than ourselves must have caused all of what we see in creation.  Yet, there is no fear of Jehovah God without knowledge of Him specifically.  We could not properly understand who Jehovah God is without His self-disclosure.  He had to reveal Himself to us.  In His amazing grace He has revealed Himself to us.  This is what Solomon says is the beginning of knowledge.  It is a right, reverent, and fearful response to God’s revelation about Himself. 

The Word “beginning” doesn’t just speak to chronology but also to priority.  One does not rightly understand themselves or the world around them properly until they take on God’s view of the World.  “What the alphabet is to reading, notes to reading music, and numerals to mathematics, the fear of the Lord is to attaining the revealed knowledge of this book.” (Waltke)

There is a contrast to the beginning of the statement.  Those that properly grow in knowledge begin with the fear of the Lord, but the contrasting person is the fool.  The attitude of the fool towards wisdom and instruction (also special revelation from God) is that He despises these things.  There is no reverence for the Lord.  There is a lack of fear.  

Application:

The fundamental question of so much of the book of Proverbs is the question that could be surmised from this verse.  Which person am I going to be?  Am I going to be wise, fearing the Lord and therefore caring most for his view of me?  Am I going to adopt his revealed word both in understanding and in obedience?  Or am I going to be the fool who despises wisdom and instruction?

Response:

Where do you need God’s wisdom and instruction in your life today?

Bibliography

Waltke, Bruce K. New International Commentary on the Old Testament: Proverbs. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004. E Sword Software.

Romans- Week 14- Day 5- Romans 15:33

Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.   

Romans 15:33

Explanation:

After finishing his list of prayer requests, Paul ends what seems to be the teaching portion of this book with a prayer for them.  He prayed that the God of peace would be with all of them.  Of course this title of God would have been profound to the attentive reader of the letter, because they now saw God as the one who brought peace specifically by the blood of His Son.

Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  (10)  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  (11)  And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   

Romans 5:9-11

God had made the positionally at peace with Him because of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  We now can experience the presence of the God of peace, and this is exactly what Paul prayed for them.

Application:

In the midst of difficulty and trial, those who know Christ as Savior can experience God’s peace.  Philippians 4 tells us how to pursue peace:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  (7)  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.   

Phillipians 4:6-7

The Child of God can experience the peace of God through time spent in the presence of God.  We can strive for peace on our knees.

Response:

Are you in need of God’s peace today? 

If you don’t know Christ, admit your sin and call on Him as Savior to save you!

If you know Christ as Savior, strive for peace on your knees!

Romans- Week 14- Day 4- Romans 15:30-32

Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;  (31)  That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;  (32)  That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.

Rom 15:30-32 

Explanation:

Paul begins his final conclusion of the letter by asking the local church at Rome for prayer. He prays for them to strive with him in prayer, saying that he is already praying for the requests for which he is about to ask. He asks for prayer regarding his relationships with three specific groups of people.

1. “Those who do not believe in Judaea”- There were many people in and around Jerusalem and Judea which saw the Gospel of Jesus Christ as heretical and a threat to their position and power in Judaism. Much of the church was scattering from Jerusalem because of persection there. Paul was asking for freedom from them so that he could make it eventually to Rome and beyond.

2. The saints in Jerusalem- Paul’s desire was that the gift and ministry that he was taking to Jerusalem would be accepted by those in Christ that were there.

3. Church at Rome- Paul prayed that He would make it to Rome and that He and they would be used to refresh together upon his arrival.

It is interesting that these three groups all had an effect on Gospel. There were those who would hinder the gospel mission that Paul prays to be delivered from. Then there were those who he wanted to minster to and partner with that would help the Gospel to be advanced.

Application:

Prayer is essential for effective Gospel ministry. It is right and proper for leaders to ask for people to pray. It is essential that leaders pray themselves. We should pray for deliverance from those who would hinder Gospel proclamation. We should also pray for partnership with fellow believers to proclaim God’s Word.   Of course we should also pray for the lost, those who have not heard, that the Gospel would be proclaimed to them.

Response:

Take some time to pray for the Gospel to be advanced today by your life and around the world.