Proverbs 3:1-20 The Exhortations And Blessings Of Wisdom

Memory Verse: Proverbs 3:5-6

3:1-12 The Wise Exhortations Of A Caring Father

  • 3:1A, 11A The writer of Proverbs, Solomon again exhorts his son. He wants his son to stay on the right path and obey the commands and principles that God gave him. He gives the following exhortations which are each followed with blessings that come from such obedience:
  • 3:1B-2 Remember and retain the right teachings: (1) “forget not my law” or “don’t forget the things that I am teaching you.” (2) He also exhorts him to “let thine heart keep my commandments”—meaning that he needs to internalize and maintain these truths within his heart and obey them from the heart. (3) Blessings: prolonged life for many years and it brings peace and prosperity (completeness, wholeness, health, and harmony).
  • 3:3-4 Embrace, exhibit, and engrave lovingkindness and faithfulness in your life: (1) Do not let lovingkindness (mercy, loyal love) and faithfulness (truth) forsake or leave you. You should put effort towards embracing them. You should (2) “bind them about thy neck”—meaning they should be noticeable outwardly in our behavior; and (3) “write them upon the table of thine heart”—meaning they should be engraved inwardly in our hearts (character). (4) Blessings: You will find or experience favour and good understanding (success, name, repute) in the sight of God and humankind.
  • 3:5-6 Trust, depend, and acknowledge God in everything and not yourself: (1) Trust in the Lord with all your heart—meaning completely believe, rely , have faith in God; (2) and lean not on your own understanding—do not rely or depend on your own insight; (3) in all your ways acknowledge (submit to) him—meaning we need to have intimate knowledge of God, who He is and what He wants us to do in each circumstance—to know Him and to live accordingly. (4) Blessings: God Himself will direct your paths or make your paths straight—meaning he will guide and remove obstacles from our path—fewer problems.
  • 3:7-8 Humble yourself, revere God, and avoid sin: (1) Do not be wise in your own eyes—meaning that we can’t be a “know-it-all” but instead we must humble ourselves and be learners. We learn true wisdom by (2) “fearing the Lord”—meaning we have a reverential respect for who God is, and this leads to (3) departing (changing direction) from evil—meaning that we learn out of respect for God to stop sinning, to not go down the paths of sin, and to no tempt ourselves with it. (4) Blessings: It will bring health to your body (navel) and nourishment (marrow, refreshment) to your bones—spiritual health and physical health are intertwined or related—our spiritual health can have an effect on our physical health—so being healthy spiritually can have a positive impact on our health physically.
  • 3:9-10 Honor God by prioritizing giving and giving generously to Him: Honor the Lord with (1) your wealth (substance)—meaning we are to be generous in our giving to the Lord as it is a means to worship and honor Him; and (2) with the firstfruits (first fruit of a harvest or season) of all your crops (increase, produce)—meaning that giving to God was to be a priority—choosing to give first before other things take our wealth. (3) Blessings: If we do so, then God will cause our “barns be filled with plenty (excess)”, and “thy presses (wine vat) shall burst out (overflow) with new wine (recently pressed grape juice)”—meaning prosperity.
  • 3:11B-12 Understand, receive, value, and appreciate God’s discipline: (1) Despise not (don’t reject with contempt) the chastening (discipline) of the Lord; and (2) do not resent (be weary, abhor) his rebuke (correction). We need to receive and appreciate the discipline from the Lord, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. (3) Blessings: The blessing here, although not specifically stated like the other verses, is to know that through discipline from God, although uncomfortable, we have the awareness that God loves and delights in us. He is our loving and caring Heavenly Father!
  • Two areas of review to guard from misunderstanding these proverbs:
  • The “heart” represents the “inner person” or the real orientation, belief, motivation and attitude of a person. It is from the heart that we think, feel and make decisions. It is the source from which everything we do in life is issued from.
  • Wise living leads to positive results and blessings under normal circumstances, but it isn’t a magical spell nor does it mean bad things won’t happen, but it is advice that helps us live our lives in a wise way, a way that honors God, and keeps us from making mistakes that could shorten our life or lead to bad health, trouble, financial hardships or sin.

3:13-20 The Blessing And Value Of Wisdom

  • 3:13, 18B Blessed (happy) are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding. If you hold wisdom fast (retain), you will be called blessed, highly favored, fortunate, or happy. Why? Because wisdom is valuable, precious and profitable.
  • 3:14-15 The value of wisdom: Wisdom is more profitable than silver (better than the merchandise of silver) and yields better returns (gain, income) than gold. Wisdom is much more valuable than silver, gold, money or any material wealth. Wisdom is more precious than rubies or jewels, and all the things you desire can’t be compare with wisdom. Do you understand how valuable and precious wisdom is?
  • 3:16-18A The benefits of wisdom: Wisdom has “length of days” in her right hand; and she has “riches (things money can buy) and honour (things money can’t buy, a good name)” in her left hand. The ways of wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. Wisdom is a tree of life to them that lay hold of her—this is a metaphor meaning just like this tree was the source of life in the garden, so is wisdom that source for us; it offers renewal and refreshment; it is the means by which we continue on and confirms what is right. Wisdom provides a long life, a quality life, a prosperous life, a pleasant life, a peaceful life, and a right life.
  • 3:19-20 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding he established the heavens; by his knowledge the deeps were broken up, and the clouds drop down the dew. If God used wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to create the world, we should use wisdom, understanding, and knowledge to live in the world he created. God who is all-knowing built these principles into the world itself. Wisdom is basically accumulated understanding and knowledge. Understanding is comprehending knowledge, and knowledge is reasons, facts, information, skills, and application. Thus, in relation to God from whom this comes, wisdom is the knowledge and skills to live a godly life and thrive.

Review Questions

  • What are the six areas of exhortation the father told his son?
  • What are two things we need to remember to not misunderstand the proverbs?
  • What kind of person does the proverbs say is happy?
  • What more valuable than silver and gold?
  • By what three things did God create the word?

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