“Don’t envy violent people or copy their ways. Such wicked people are detestable to the Lord, but he offers his friendship to the godly.” Proverbs 3:31-32 NLT https://www.bible.com/116/pro.3.31-32.nlt.
This is a relevant word for today, as our culture is shaped and influenced by violence. It has even seeped into theology, because of scriptures taken out of context. But this passage makes it very clear that God does not condone (He despises) violent people, calling them wicked and detestable. The Bible also refers to violent people as oppressors and perverse. does mince words.
Why would anyone “envy” a violent person or copy their ways? Well, throughout history and. especially today, society rewards violent and oppressive regimes. They gain power by cruelty, deviance, unethical or conniving ways and use similar tactics to stay in power. That power is what many people envy, and they may be tempted to use similar tactics to gain / maintain power. This passage is a direct appeal to our hearts to not envy these people or to copy, mimic or follow any attributes or ways of oppressive violent people. When we embrace violence and violent oppressive tactics, we are not operating in wisdom or faith in God.
It is wonderful that the verse ends with God extending His friendship & deeper relationship with those who follow Him and His ways. That friendship is also called a confidently communion and sweet counsel. He invites us into closer counsel with Him as we walk in His precepts.
“Her ways are highways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who lay hold on her; and happy (blessed, fortunate, to be envied) is everyone who holds her fast.” Proverbs 3:17-18 AMPC https://www.bible.com/8/pro.3.17-18.ampc
On my morning walks or on road trips, I am often delightfully surprised by what I see & experience along the way. Wisdom provides direction and guidance to “delightful” paths or as the amplified version says, “highways of pleasantness” and satisfying peace. The process of gaining wisdom/ understanding is not drudgery, but it guides us to pleasant, delightful & peaceful paths. In fact, wisdom illuminates those paths like a lamp/ flashlight in the dark.
Wisdom is the tree of life to those who embrace her. We are plugged in to the eternal wellspring of joy, happiness when we hold on, and blessed when we cling tightly. An embrace is warm close hug normally with a loved one or someone you care about. But when you give or get a little squeeze with that hug, you feel the flood of well-being, love and happiness in knowing how much you are cared for. That flood of blessing and happiness is what happens when we cling to wisdom. As the Amplified version says, we are blessed, fortunate, to be envied.
What wonderful imagery Solomon paints of wisdom. The gospel is relational, personal and requires close proximity to God, His principals and God’s people.
“She offers you long life in her right hand, and riches and honor in her left. Proverbs 3:16 NLT
Wisdom offers us long life in her right hand and riches and honor in her left hand. This verse continues extols the incomparable virtues of wisdom from the previous verses.
In this passage Wisdom is presented as a gracious, just queen who abundantly offers long life, health and wellness and also physical riches, good reputation and honor. Solomon personifies and makes Wisdom more tangible & relatable by using this feminine analogy. Gender is not really important in the scheme of things, but this passage beautifully illustrates the attributes that Wisdom offers.
Biblically, the right hand right is used over a hundred times and is symbolic of ruler-ship, authority, sovereignty, blessing, and strength. This blessing of a long life is echoed at the very beginning of Proverbs 3, the preferred blessing of a healthy meaningful long life ( and some think, foretells eternal life.) Then wisdom holds in the left hand the more temporal blessings of riches and honor ( from God and man).
The balance in both hands is overall prosperity that Wisdom offers to those of us who are actively seeking and finding wisdom. #Wisdom #longlife #honor #riches #prosperity
“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.” Prov. 3:9-10 NLT
Ever since Jesus told the rich young ruler to SELL everything and give it away, people’s first reaction to this verse is to clutch their wallets tighter. That instruction was just for the rich young ruler and God was identifying where his heart really was. Where your treasure is your heart is also, which tells us that how we behave around finances really shows us the state of our hearts. Ouch!
What does it mean to Honor the Lord with your wealth?
It first means realizing that God gave you the wealth in the first place. In fact, the Lord specifically tells us to remember that fact in Deuteronomy 8:18 “And you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth…” We thank God for His continuous provision in our lives and for empowering us to accumulate not only what we need but to help others.
Secondly, we honor God by seeking His guidance in how we should manage that wealth. The latter part of that verse is even more specific, that we should honor God not only with wealth but also with the BEST part of everything we produce. He is talking both accumulated wealth and the continuous income or increase that we receive. God modeled that for us in giving us the precious thing He had, His son Jesus.
When we do this we are showing God and reinforcing in our hearts that we trust Him as directed earlier in Prov. 3:5. God is the ultimate financial advisor. When we give Him the reigns of our wealth, He shows us where to give to have the highest impact. We are conduits of God’s Grace, resources, power and love to others.
THEN, watch this, God will fill our BARNS with grain and our VATS will overflow with good wine. We often see the verse or phrase, “Fill my CUP Lord” or in Psalms 23, “ my cup running over”, but as we honor God with our wealth and increase, this stewardship multiplies it in greater measure. That cup is transformed into very large containers He fills with grain with sustaining power for years and very large tanks overflowing of good quality, valuable wine. Good stewardship brings increase.
“Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.” Proverbs 3:7-8
This made me chuckle a bit, because it seems to say, don’t get the Big Head, thinking you’re all that. We often hear “ Hype yourself!” But I think every now and then we get carried away. It’s okay to feel pride in accomplishment, but sometimes we believe that we did it on our own. We may fall into self-reliance or conceit, thinking we don’t need God. One commentary (Barnes) noted “The great hindrance to all true wisdom is the thought that we have already attained it.” Staying humble keeps us teachable .
We are to Fear the Lord, with reverent awe and obedience. When we turn and see God in His omnipotence and greatness, we can’t help but feel how small we are. We can then turn away( and stay away) from evil.
The benefits of this is Healing! Can you imagine that when we resist self reliance, fear and worship our awesome God, we will have physical healing for our bodies and strength! Our own reservoir of strength can get quickly depleted when we do things on our own or in our own strength. When I’m feeling tired and worn down, I always know that I have not giving something over to God or tried to fix something with my own intellect. But God wants us to turn to Him and his unlimited regenerative power and strength will sustain us.
Revelation 22:21 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you all. Amen.
So very fitting that I conclude this 21 days of Grace series with the final verse of the Bible which emphasizes Jesus’s desire for His grace be with US, Gods people. This is the heart of God toward us, this is His desire – that His empowering, amazing grace and favor be with each of us always. He is waiting on us to receive it. And that is great news!
Thanks you all who walked with me on this grace journey. I hope we return to these verses again and again, hide them in ours heart, so that we can truly walk in Gods abundant grace so that we can be His vessel of grace to others. God bless you! #Grace #favor #GodwithUs #21Days
2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me
This verse is actually the Lord’s response to Paul to remove or cure a “thorn” in his flesh. God’s answer was to say, My grace is all you need, for my strength, my power works best or is amplified best in weakness.
How do we respond when God tells us no?
Paul immediately knew that God’s “No” was always going to be better than a Yes to answered prayer.
God promised him that He would be with him at his weakest. Paul desired and valued Gods presence so much that he said he “gladly boasted” of his infirmities, his weakness so that Christ power would rest (dwell) on him. When we are most vulnerable, as we cry out to God, He promise that His power will be amplified and leverage our weakness to bridge any problem and lead us to victory. But Paul knew and we must also know, that growing in Gods presence and grace, is always the answer to every problem – it is the only solution.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.
It is God’s grace alone that saves us. Earlier in this passage, we are told that it is His great love for us, even when we were dead in sin, that He made us alive in Christ. It is His gift to us. We can’t earn it, we just have to receive this grace BY FAITH. In this passage, Paul also recognizes man’s natural tendency to brag about our performance and he shut it down.
God’s abundant grace and gift of salvation are free to all who have faith in Christ and receive it! Ephesians 2:10 then says ““For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” God then empowers us to do the work which in turn glorifies Him.
Psalm 145:8 (MSG) God is all mercy and grace– not quick to anger, is rich in love.
Grace is the very nature of God – He is ALL mercy and grace. As we walk in Grace, we truly allow God’s character to permeate/ override ours. We become more long suffering and slow to anger- overlooking offense. That is how God operates. He is gracious and compassionate – rich in unfailing love and mercy. Lord, help us to be more like you.
There is great power in not being shaken or moved to anger by circumstance and to continue to be gracious and merciful in difficult times. We need Gods grace to do it. #Grace #21DaysofGrace #compassion #mercy