Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. ~Proverbs 4:10-13 NIV
In Genesis 5:27, the word says, “Altogether, Methuselah lived a total of 969 years, and then he died.” Methuselah is the longest-lived character in the Bible.
The Bible is full of examples of people who were granted long life by the Lord. Likewise, the scriptures have plenty of examples of people whose lives were cut short because they didn’t do what God wanted. Among them are Ananias and Sapphira, in Acts chapter 5, verses 1-11:
Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
Your steps will not be disrupted. When you run, you will not trip and fall. In fact, the Amplified Version translates verse 12 as, “When you walk, your steps shall not be hampered [your path will be clear and open]; and when you run, you shall not stumble.”
Instruction is the essence of God’s plan for your life. Guard it carefully. That’s quite a promise. You may not get another chance.
Wisdom will save you from the ways of wicked men, from men whose words are perverse, who have left the straight paths to walk in dark ways, who delight in doing wrong and rejoice in the perverseness of evil, whose paths are crooked and who are devious in their ways. ~Proverbs 2:12-15
Homosexual activist Wayne Besen is shown here shouting through a bullhorn into the window of a Boston church. He’s using a megaphone because he’s uninvited; He’s not in front of the group of former homosexuals. He is talking, though, hoping to be disruptive with words the crowd will be confused by.
Besen is just one of many often called upon by the media to discuss tolerance and hate, two subjects that arise when discussing homosexuality. He’s one example of many who are eager to pull people onto a wicked path.
Wisdom, on the other hand, is there to save you from the wicked ways of men. Men who are perverse. Men who have traded straight paths for twisted, dark ways. Men who delight in doing the very things God says are wrong. Men who are willing to lie and trick people in order to get what is wanted.
Perverse is defined by Merriam-Webster online as “wrong, or different in a way that others feel is strange or offensive.” Psalm 101:4 says, “The perverse of heart shall be far from me; I will have nothing to do with what is evil.”
God offers his wisdom to protect you. Are you safe?
He who passes by and meddles in a quarrel not his own Is like one who takes a dog by the ears. ~Proverbs 26:17 NKJV
If you’re a dog owner, you know one of the best ways to irritate your pet is to grab them by the ears. Gentle rubbing behind the ears is usually welcome, but most dogs truly hate having their ears roughed up.
Solomon’s recommendation in Proverbs 26:17 is that you choose to stay out of trouble whenever you can avoid it. You may be tempted to intervene in someone else’s quarrel. And once in a while, it may be necessary. But be smart: Deciding to grab a dog by the ears often means your fingers will be bitten.
Every person faces life situations that are stressful, challenging, difficult – even dangerous. The Lord promises Christians grace and wisdom in great measure to navigate these troubles.
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My son, give attention to my wisdom, Incline your ear to my understanding; That you may observe discretion And your lips may reserve knowledge. ~Proverbs 5:1-2 NASB
You give your attention to God’s wisdom and his understanding for a reason. You want to observe discretion, and have lips that reserve knowledge. “…your lips will express what you’ve learned,” the New Living Translation puts it.
Is it easy to observe discretion? Being careful about what you do and say, so that people will not be embarrassed or offended, seems like a good idea. But that’s letting your gaze off yourself. This is one time when the Bible encourages you to keep focused on yourself. Your gaze must be on the Lord’s wisdom and understanding.
Where are you placing your focus today?
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it,” When you have it with you. ~Proverbs 3:27-28 NASB
While clever, it doesn’t mean quite the same thing as our verses from Proverbs. That’s because the wording is (intentionally) quite different. And words, they say, have meaning.
When you’re with a person who deserves good things, that’s the time to do them! Whether it is your brother or sister, or mother or father, doesn’t matter. Only your obedience to the Word of God does.
How are you doing today? Obeying the Word, or neglecting it?
Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser. Let those with understanding receive guidance by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables, the words of the wise and their riddles. ~Proverbs 1:5-6 NLT
When you read, you should receive guidance as you explore their meaning. That implies taking time to ponder and reflect on the material.
How are you at discerning the meaning of riddles? You’ll encounter them in the book of Proverbs.
The proverbs you’ll come across have a real meaning. Several, in fact. The tenacity you have for navigating the words with intention will prove just how much meaning you’ll get.
This is my first attempt at a blog post in almost a year. I suffered a stroke on August 10, 2013, and it’s been difficult getting to this point. Thanks for your prayers – goodness knows I need them.