A couple of days ago, I had a meeting in Eugene with the Pastor Brian Eno (the Youth and Children’s director for the state of Oregon), and the rest of the Children’s Area Pastors Team. Pastor Bryan (our worship pastor) was out-of-town, so I had his car. Before I left, I grabbed my set of the Bible on CD to take with me.
As I was pulling out, I thought about my listening strategy for the ride down. It would be good to listen to the radio some to get traffic reports as I was cutting it close already. So I decided that I would listen to the radio until I got to I-5, after which the traffic does not matter. After I get on I-5, I would listen to the Bible. Having been really into the Proverbs for a while, I thought that I would listen to the entire book of Proverbs down, and depending on how that went, I’ll think about listening to another book on the way back.
I am not sure that I would do it again, or recommend doing it. Pastor Fulton Buntain (the Pastor I grew up under) often says, “Don’t read more than one Proverb a day-the conviction of one Proverb is more than enough for a person.” Wow, he was right. While reading it would have been too much conviction to get through it, listening on the other had is a different story. When you are listening to scripture, it is not as easy to go back and reread something, or even pause and meditate. However, what I did get was a great look at the Proverbs from a 30,000 foot level. There were a few that stuck out to me, but this is what I saw as the main themes of the book of Proverbs (in no particular order):
1) Take care of the poor: Many of us are blessed; in fact if you live in the United States, or other developed country, you are blessed. God does not simply bless people to make them feel good; he blesses people with the purpose of us passing the blessings on to other people. This one hit me square between the eyes, because I do not have much mercy for the poor. When I see someone begging for money, the first thought that comes to my mind is, “get a job and quit asking for a hand out.” It is so important, that Solomon even put it in the virtues of a good wife in Proverbs 31:20, “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”
Other verses concerning poor include:
Proverbs 28:27, “He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.”
Proverbs 29:7, “The Righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
Proverbs 19:17, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward him for what he has done.”
2) Work Hard: This one is obvious, if you work hard, you will get what you need/want (for the most part), but if you do not work hard, you will get nothing. I am fortunate that hard work is in my blood. Coming from an Asian background, I naturally have a drive to work hard. In addition to that, my parents also pushed me to do my best in everything that I do whether it is in an occupational setting, school, or sports. My hardest work may not always be the best, as there are always people who have better skills, but as long as it is my best, that is all that counts. Work hard, do your best if someone is watching or not. Here are a couple Proverbs about working Hard:
Proverbs 6:4-8 “Allow no sleep to your eyes, no slumber to your eyelids. Free yourself, like a gazelle from the hand of the hunter, like a bird from the snare of the Fowler. Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.”
Proverbs 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.
3) Fear of the Lord: Without looking hard, I found 13 times over the course of 31 chapters that Solomon mentions the Fear of the Lord. The Fear of the Lord does not speak to an actual fear of God, as in the same kind of fear that one might feel toward public speaking, or great heights, rather a deep respect for the nature and Glory of God.
Here are a couple of verses on the Fear of the Lord:
Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.”
Proverbs 10:7 “The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.”
Proverbs 22:4 “Humility and the fear of the LORD bring wealth and honor and life.”
The Proverbs contain many truths about God, wealth, hard work, and life in general. I have reading one chapter of Proverbs a day, and getting a lot out of it. Since there are generally 30 days a month and 31 Proverbs, it adds up well to read one a day corresponding with the day of the month. If you do this for one year, and take one verse a day and really try to practice it, you will become more wise, and closer with God. I dare you to give it a try.