Author: Ron Graham

Old Testament

Proverbs for Now
—Principles for living

Our Lord Jesus, from his youth, "kept increasing in wisdom and stature and favour with God and men" (Luke 2:52). Jesus set us an example to increase in wisdom. Certainly God has not left us short of wisdom for life. The book of Proverbs is rich in wise instruction. So are the other sacred writings, but we shall limit ourselves, in this lesson, to a few pertinent sayings in the book of Proverbs.

The principles here will not surprise you. They are common knowledge. What is surprising, is that few people choose to live by them!

1 Living in God’s Providence

Prov 21:31  "The horse is prepared for the day of battle, But victory belongs to the Lord".

The soldier prepares carefully to the best of his endeavour. But when he goes to battle, he goes with God, and God gives the victory. We must do our best to plan and prepare. But at the crunch, after we have done all in our power, we rely upon God to provide. So...

Prov 27:1  "Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth".

James quotes and applies that proverb, telling us that we ought to say, "If the Lord wills we will do this or that" (James 4:13-17).

2 Living Honestly

Prov 20:14  "Bad! Bad! says the buyer, but when he goes his way, then he boasts".

In the market place a buyer has pretended to think one thing, and to his friends he boasts how his deception gained him a bargain. This describes a common approach to life. People cheat each other all the time with their ploys and pretenses, but they are not wise. Truthfulness brings the best deal in the end.

3 Living with Moderation

Prov 24:13  "My son, eat honey, for it is good."

I have heard of a man who read this proverb, and so he gormandised on honey. Consequently, he became quite sick. He complained to a preacher of my acquaintance, that the Bible proved to be wrong. But the preacher told him to read...

Prov 25:16  "Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, lest you have it in excess and vomit it".

All things in moderation according to need! Lately there is much ado about the rape of planet earth, but there is ample for everybody if everybody just practices moderation and takes only what is needed. There’s more than enough for need. there’s not enough for greed. By all means work hard, make money, live well. But observe...

Prov 23:4-5  "Do not weary yourself to gain wealth".

If I may speak bluntly, the sixteen hours a day seven days a week money chasers are not only greedy, but fools.

4 Living Orderly

Prov 24:27  "Prepare your work outside, and make it ready for yourself in the field; afterwards, then build your house".

Some people want everything now, and won't gain one thing at a time, taking first things first. One who buys a farm, first sets the land in order and provides for income. He does not, if he is wise, build his six bedroom homestead first; he waits till his fields are producing the funds before he gets luxuries.

5 Living Consistently

Prov 28:19-20  "He who tills his land will have plenty... but he who follows empty pursuits will have poverty".

People tend to live in bursts, in fits and starts, from crisis to crisis or from whim to whim. Steadiness and regular application may not be as exciting as jetset ways. Lurching through life is foolish. Work steady, and progress will come.

6 Living by Reckoning

Prov 27:23-27  "Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds... And you'll have goat's milk enough for... sustenance".

Be a caretaker and accountant of your blessings, and they will sustain you. Many people don't take stock, but just muddle through life. They have no records to judge the past, and no means of plotting their course. A little reckoning now and then will stop you having seven years of plenty and seven years of famine, so to speak. Many a crisis is avoided by taking stock and keeping track. This is as much true of moral and spiritual things as of material and physical.

7 Living with Generosity

Prov 28:27  "He who gives to the poor will never want, but he who shuts his eyes will have many curses".

The wise will always keep in store something to share with those in need, and open their eyes to the needs of others.

Add these simple proverbs and principles to the guidelines by which you live. They will help you to be more effective in this life, and to attain to the life to come.

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