Proverbs 3:1-2, “1 My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments. 2 For length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”
Proverbs 3:3-4, ”3 Do not let kindness and truth leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. 4 So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man.”
Proverbs 3:5-6, “5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Proverbs 3:7-8, “7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.”
Proverbs 3:9-10, “9 Honor the Lord from your wealth and from the first of all your produce; 10 So your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine.”
- The book of Proverbs is referred to as wisdom literature.
- There are other books on wisdom like Job (walking through seasons of suffering), Ecclesiastes (walking through the toil of life), or Song of Solomon (walking through relationships).
- In verse 1 if we don’t forget His teachings we will find long life and peace. In verse 3 if we don’t let kindness and truth leave us, if we tattoo truth around our neck, then we will find favor.
- In verse 5 if we don’t lean on our understanding, life will be easier, our paths will be straight. In verse 7 if we are able to avoid arrogance, our bones will find rest, and if we honor the Lord with our wealth, verse 9, we will have more money than we can imagine. Do you see the pattern, “If we do this” then we will get “that.”
Doesn’t it sound easy? If we just do these things in life, verses 1-10, then life will be great! We have peace, favor, simplicity, rest, and wealth. Doesn’t that sound great? Do “this” get “that.” But, we must remember we are talking about wisdom literature. Wisdom literature in Scripture isn’t presented as the Top Ten Tips on How to Live a Great Life.
- The word, “wisdom” in the original language is the word, “hak-ma.” Write that in your notes. The word “hak-ma” in Proverbs is used 45 times and it means, “skill or expertise on how to live life.
- We see the same word used for the tabernacle being built in Exodus. We see the same used for sailors on the sea, or musicians composing music, or government officials leading the people.
- “Hak-ma” is to be skillful and effective, and in Proverbs it is applied to all of life, so that Proverbs is ultimately teaching us how to live out the beautiful life we have been freely given in Jesus, but in verses 11-12 the author of Proverbs 3 writes something really interesting.
Proverbs 3:11-12, “11 My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord or loathe His reproof, 12 For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”
- What! Discipline of the Lord? Where did that come from? In verses 1-10 it sounds like if we earnestly pursue verses 1-10 then we will find a great life of peace, favor, rest, and wealth, and avoid the discipline of the Lord.
- How come the author of Proverbs 3 is talking about “discipline of the Lord?” I thought “discipline of the Lord” was for those people who didn’t follow verses 1-10? But, this is the wisdom of Proverbs.
- The assumption in verses 11 and 12 is that the “discipline of the Lord” is going to come. The assumption in verses 11 and 12 is that the “discipline of the Lord” is going to come.
- Proverbs 3 is making it really clear that we can do the right things in life, the moral things in life, and still experience difficult challenges. We can obey God’s Word like reading the Scriptures, we can be gracious toward others, we can be generous toward others, and still experience really difficult challenges in life. This is the wisdom of Proverbs.
This is why the author of Proverbs 3 writes in verse 11, “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord.” The phrase, “My son” is a reminder that Proverbs 3 isn’t just technical instruction on what to and what not to do in life, but Proverbs 3 is personal. Write that in your notes. Proverbs 3 is familial. Proverbs 3 is relational. Proverbs 3 is, “My son.”
In addition, the phrase “discipline of the Lord” in the original language simply means, “instruction or training.” In verses 11 and 12 we see the same pattern in our relationship with the God of Scripture. There are going to be times in our lives where the God of Scripture will bring instruction and training into our life, many times that we will not want, and His sole purpose is to help us grow and mature.
That is why the author writes in verse 11, “My son, do not “reject” the discipline of the Lord, or “loathe” His reproof. The word, “loathe” means to dread or to become disgusted.
This is the wisdom of Proverbs. Let us not harden our hearts toward His discipline in our lives. Let us remember the intent of His instruction in our lives is to be helpful toward our maturity, not hurtful.
- This is why the author of Proverbs 3 writes in verse 12, “For whom the Lord loves He reproves, even as the father corrects the son in whom he delights.” The instruction He brings into our lives is motivated by love.
- That is why verse 1 the author writes, “My son, do not forget my teaching. Bind them around your neck, write them on your heart.” It is because we forget, therefore, we want to place anchors of reminders in our lives to help us remember.
This is why Jesus is so important. Yes, pursue verses 1-10, and at the same time let us be confident, “discipline of the Lord” is going to come into our lives, maybe the whole of our lives, but in Jesus we see that is love and delight never waivers.