I love the proverbs. Some are profound. Some witty. Some sarcastic. Some dripping with dry humor, if that’s possible. And some are downright funny. Let’s begin with Chapter One:
1:2-3 — Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline, to help them understand the insights of the wise. Their purpose is to teach peple to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
We had to begin here with the statement of purpose. The purpose of the proverbs goes far beyond fortune cookie entertainment. Indeed they are the foundation of good living.
1:17-19 — If a bird sees a trap being set, it knows to stay away. But these people [sinners, evil doers] set an ambush for themselves; they are trying to get themselves killed. Such is the fate fo all who are greedy for money; it robs them of life.
The image here is simple and profound. Those who willingly and purposefully live sinful lives are setting their own trap. They are not even as smart as a bird, who knows to stay away from what will kill it. It is, you could say, suicide knowingly sin.
And speaking of greed, how many people look back on their life and wonder why they felt compelled to spend so much time at work, trying to make a living, paying for that second car, paying the mortgage, and working toward their “dream house,” while all the while their kids are grown and gone before they realize it, their marriage has fallen apart, and they’ve done so very little of eternal significance. The pursuit of money–even for things they thought worthy of the effort–has robbed them of the best times of their lives.
Teach me, Lord, to value the things you value and to live first and foremost for you. Don’t let me spend my life in worthless pursuits, for things that will not matter in the end, but rather on things that will bear eternal dividends.