Verses 1-4 – Reiteration of the need to retain at the deepest core of our being the wise instructions of the father to benefit from life.
Verses 5-8 – The basis of the advice is complete dependence on God with 100% focus on Him and His way so as to ensure health is a reality for us all over.
Verse 9, 10 – Expressing that trust and dependence by giving Him the very best of what we have accrued and thus ensuring the reciprocation and multiplication principle.
Verses 11, 12 – This is a theme that would be repeated in Hebrews that discipline is not something to be bitter about, but should be recognised for what it is, the heartfelt expressing of compassion and care for the child that only a loving Father can express.
Verses 13-18 – Lady Wisdom highlighted as someone to doggedly chase after more than anything else because of that which she has to offer which is priceless in value
Verses 19, 20 – The vaunted position of Lady Wisdom saw her at the very creation shaping that which is.
Verse 21-26 – Due acknowledgement and acceptance of this track record will stop sleepless nights and assure safe journeys in the right direction
Verses 27-31 – Due acknowledgement also wards you away from the negative behaviour and influences that can steer you away from doing good towards a more devious approach
Verse 32-35 – The summary points again bears out how God will sort out those who seek Him but will devastatingly sort out those who go the other way. The phrase ‘the devious person is an abomination to the Lord’ had me thinking about what else was an abomination to Him. It also had me reflecting on God’s grace to me because I would be classed in that category before. Thank God for Jesus and the life that comes through Him.
And here are some expanded thoughts.
I have admired women since I could admire anything. The significant figures in my upbringing were mostly women. The dominant characters in my upbringing were mostly women. My mother and sister played critical parts in my formative years. When I got a rebuff from the first approach I made to a girl at the age of 12, the rejection set so deeply that I never asked another girl out until the woman that turned out to be my wife almost ten years later.
In the interim period the fail-safe mechanism meant that I could approach friendships with women free from any fanciful notions that it could be anything more than friends and that meant I could spend time just listening to them and expressing admiration and encouragement to them. That meant a lot of time was spent looking for and celebrating admirable qualities in women.
I’m not saying I was completely pure especially in the troublesome later years where certain incidents led to certain undesirable experiences. Yet for all those experiences my stance with engaging with women was as much as possible respectful and courteous. My dad had a similar charming approach to women which made him easy in their company whilst remaining secure in his marriage. When he left Wellingborough and England the sadness in the church sisters was palpable – a great testimony in itself to the integrity and compassionate service he gave to his church community. I’ve endeavoured to take a leaf from his book in that regard.
These thoughts spring to mind when I particular reflect on Proverbs 3:11-18. In was just looking at the depiction of wisdom as a lady. Here she is far more precious than anything material and whose benefits are so enriching they are worth pursuing wholeheartedly for the rest of life’s days. I can testify that in the short time I’ve been married (five and a half years) the best times have come when I’ve sought to pursue Authrine as the precious person she is and the positive Christ-like qualities that shine through her. When that happens, the pleasantness and peace associated with wisdom herself are real benefits that I receive.
Not in anyway deifying my wife to the status of wisdom incarnate, but recognising that I benefit when I see her as someone embodying wisdom herself in her connection with Christ. This takes the desire and attraction to her from the physical and heightens it to the spiritual. When she practices this more often through encouragement good things ensue. This beats viewing and treating women as objects of lust or caterers of various menial pleasures.
I am blessed to get on with a number of women and I see this in them and for those who are single it is a crying shame that men miss these qualities and they search the elusive all-inclusive package not appreciating that when you can identify and celebrate these qualities as well as pursue them faithfully and honourably then they can benefit in ways beyond their comprehension.
This pursuit of course goes beyond the relationships between men and women and extends to the human pursuit for real life. If they only moved away from the material and sought after the eternal it would so enrich their appreciation of the material whilst treating these as lightly as they should be.
For His Name's Sake