Saturday, September 02, 2006

Proverbs 1 - Road Signs for Life

Solomon became king nearly 1000 years before the birth of Jesus. He was the son of David. He was known for his wisdom.

The first and most famous incident of his cleverness as a judge was when two women came to his court with a baby whom both women claimed as their own. Solomon threatened to split the baby in half. One woman was prepared to accept the decision, but the other begged the King to give the live baby to the other woman. Solomen then knew the second woman was the mother.

Solomon wrote Proverbs, as well as Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.

Proverbs begins with a discussion of wisdom and it lays an important foundation:

Written down so we'll know how to live well and right, to understand what life means and where it's going; A manual for living, for learning what's right and just and fair; To teach the inexperienced the ropes and give our young people a grasp on reality. There's something here also for seasoned men and women, still a thing or two for the experienced to learn— Fresh wisdom to probe and penetrate, the rhymes and reasons of wise men and women.

I like that he acknowledges that the young need this, but also for those of us that are a bit more "seasoned". We are fortunate that someone as wise as Solomon took time to write down these instructions for us. If we follow his guidance, we can avoid untold frustration and sorrow. Like the sign in my graphic for today, he is showing us that there will be obstacles in our lives, some even unseen to us, but no less trecherous.

This week we've been battling the homework and study challenges at home. Although our daughter is very bright, she is failing at her least favorite subjects -- math and science. To this, Proverbs says:

7 Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God;
only fools thumb their noses at such wisdom and learning.

8-10 Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you;
never forget what you learned at your mother's knee.
Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair,
like rings on your fingers.

From this, I take away that we should pray without ceasing even when it comes to homework, honoring God and acknowledging that it is only through Him that we can turn learning into wisdom. Also, that we need to remind our daughter to pay attention to what we are telling her, as we've been there before. How different we would treat our parent's advice if it was like flowers in our hair or rings on our fingers!

There is a very important passage beginning with verse 10 that reminds us not to listen to our friends when they try to get us to do things that are wrong. It is easy to relate to this when we think about our children, but is much more subtle when we are adults and are swayed away from what is important by the mundane -- email, a house that needs to be cleaned, finishing up that client project even though it is the weekend.

The rest of the chapter talks about the fools that reject wisdom and learning and how bad choices have consequences. The New International version says:

29 - 31 Since they hated knowledge and did not choose to fear the LORD,

since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke,

they will eat the fruit of their ways

and be filled with the fruit of their schemes.

32 For the waywardness of the simple will kill them,

and the complacency of fools will destroy them;

But lest we think that it is all hopeless, he continues:

33 but whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm."

So, if we follow the road signs of life and have a healthy fear of the Lord, we will be safe, at ease and without fear of harm.

In these tumultuous times, where terrorists would have us be anything but safe and at ease, it is wonderful to know that in God, we can be at peace -- and become wise!

Lord, show us your ways and help us to desire your wisdom and to be able to pass on that desire to our children.

Chicke Fitzgerald

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