Bible Studies, Proverbs

A Subject Study of Proverbs: God & Man

Subject Study of Proverbs

Proverbs is a book that is written to us as a father giving wisdom down to his beloved child.  It is God the father giving us practical advice on how to get the most joy out of this life.  This book takes the wisdom of God and applies it to our everyday situations that we will face.  We will be wise to look at this book as a way of training for life.

In this book of the Bible, there are eight subjects that get mention repeatedly: God and man, wisdom, the fool, the sluggard, the friend, words, the family, and life and death.  In this study, we will look at each one to see what God wants us to learn from each one.

First, we will look at the relationship of God and Man.  First, in this book of wisdom, that the beginning of all wisdom comes from the fear of the Lord (9:10).  Therefore, we can conclude that in order for us to have a right relationship with God, we must fear him.

But what does it mean to fear God?  Does that mean we walk around fearful that He might strike us down at any moment if we screw up?  No, what the fear of the Lord involves is awe, reverence, love, and trust in God.  A healthy fear should produce knowledge, humility, obedience, and blessing. In other words, it is getting a right perspective of ourselves and of God.  That God is all-powerful and all-knowing and that we are vastly inferior to Him.

In Proverbs 20:9, Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?  Here in this passage we see that we cannot make ourselves good, we cannot forgive our own sins.  The only way we can fix our greatest problem is going to God for the forgiveness of our sins.  The only thing that will help us produce long-term good fruit is having our sins taking away and a new life through Jesus Christ given to us.

This is further confirmed in Proverbs 3:5-7.  Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.  Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil.  Here we are encouraged to not rely on our own wisdom or our own understanding, but to trust that God’s way is the best way.  To trust anything or anyone other than the Lord results in disaster.  Sometimes we are tempted to think, that our situation is special or that we are the exception to the rule and we justify going against God’s wisdom.  However, God encourages not to rely on our own strength and knowledge, but to rely on His because He is greatly superior to us.  This means that our trust must be solely in the Lord.

Proverbs 22:19 confirms the notion that our faith should be solely in the Lord.  That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you.  Our trust in the Lord is to foster, not self-reliance, but faith.

In conclusion, we see that the relationship between God and man works best when man submits to the authority and majesty of God.  Or, in other words, when man fears the Lord, he will gain wisdom that will lead to a life more joyful.

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Bible Studies, Proverbs

Proverbs 31

Nobility and the Virtuous Wife

 

Today we will be concluding our series on the book of Proverbs and how we are to be searching for wisdom.  We see in the last Chapter of Proverbs how a woman who fears the lord is to be praised.  This is an important chapter for all of you because for the young ladies in here it gives you insight on what it looks like to be a Godly woman.  And for young men it gives insight on what you should be looking for in a girl that you want to date.

Proverbs 31:10: An excellent wife who can find?  She is far more precious than jewels.

Here we see how valuable an excellent wife is.  What is it about these precious stones that the author mentions that makes them so valuable?  It is their rarity.  You do not find diamonds in your back yard.  You have to search for them, and when you find one you cherish it because of all the hard work you put into finding one.  Likewise, so is an excellent wife.  You will not accidently stumble across an excellent wife, just like you will not stumble across are rare diamond.

Proverbs 31:11: The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain.

And this verse tells us why an excellent wife is so valuable.  And that is because you can trust her.  You do not have to worry about it she is cheating on you, you do not have to worry about if she still loves you, and because of this trust, you will be able to work together for gain instead of competing against each other.  A woman who fears the Lord will not squander the family’s livelihood on pointless purchases, but will have the complete trust of her husband because she is for him and not against him.  Wherever possible she supplements his earnings rather than wastes it.

Proverbs 31:16-17: She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.  She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong.

A common misconception about Christianity is that it calls women to be passive and weak.  This comes from a misconception of what it means when God calls women to submit to their husbands.  We see here in this passage that the woman of God is strong and active in all decisions of her household.

Proverbs 31:20: She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

Another mark of the woman who fears the Lord is she lives for the good of the needy.  God has drawn near and secured her future in his care.  Now she draws near to those who need most help.  This woman in Proverbs 31 is wealthy and esteemed, but she does not allow her social status to hinder her association with the poor.

Proverbs 31:21: She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

Winter is a fearful thing in Kentucky, my wife and I  learned that the hard way when we got hit by an ice storm a couple of years ago when we lived in Louisville.  And God has appointed that we do more than pray that our feet not freeze.  Her careful preparation of necessary clothing in advance means that she is not afraid of sudden changes in weather, for they will not catch her unprepared.  Clothing must be made or bought.  When a woman fears the Lord, she will not be anxious about tomorrow, she will do what God has appointed for her to do and trust him in everything to show her mercy.

Proverbs 31:23: Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land.

Verse 23 seems out of place in a song of praise to women.  How is this verse a word of praise to the wife who fears the Lord?  Proverbs 12:4 gives the answer: “A good wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is the rottenness of his bones.”  A wife who fears the Lord increases the esteem of her husband at the gates of the city.  Kaley and I will be married for four years on March 29th and we have known each other for 12 years and my wife has never done or said anything in public that would have caused me to be ashamed.  She has my absolute trust as a representative of what our family stands for.  There is no place I might go where I would be ashamed to take Kaley.  As Proverbs 12:4 says, She is a crown to my head.  She is for me 100% because she is a woman who fears the Lord.

Proverbs 31:25: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.

A woman who fears the Lord is not anxious about the future.  Satan dangles in front of her the danger of tomorrow’s troubles, but she glances up at the almighty God at her right hand and laughs at Satan’s folly.  She fulfills in her own life Proverbs 14:26, “In the fear of the Lord one has strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.

Proverbs 31:26: She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

In this verse, we see that the woman who fears the Lord has practical wisdom.  We studied earlier in this study of Proverbs, that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10), so it is no surprise that the woman who fears the Lord “opens her mouth with wisdom.”  And there is a very close connection between a practical, gracious wisdom and freedom from anxiety about the future.

Proverbs 31:30: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Charm can be deceitful because someone can charm you into doing something that you did not want to do.  Beauty is vain because despite our best efforts it is fleeting with age.  But more important than charm and beauty that our society places so highly is the character of the woman of God.  She can be recognized because she is confident and not anxious about the future, gracious wisdom is on her lips, she covers herself with strength, she brings her husband honor by her support, and she reaches out her hands to the needy.”  A woman who fears the Lord is to be praised!”

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