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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Book of Wisdom: Proverbs

Proverbs is one of my favorite books in the Bible. Not only do I enjoy passages from Proverbs because they are often poetic and pretty sounding, but also because they give great advice and relate so closely to my life. The purpose of Proverbs is to give wisdom and instruction; and enable us to better understand what it means to give our life to Christ, to follow in His footsteps every day, and to live a life pleasing to Him. It humbles the wise and gives guidance to people of all ages.

I have all these verses from Proverbs written down in my prayer journal, and as I was reading through them a few days ago, each one spoke to me in a different way. They reminded me that I am not in control of my life, God is. They humbled me and allowed me to take a step back and slow down. I want to share with you these verses and give you a little commentary on each of them, as I hope they will speak to you and attest to your life as they did to mine.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
 – Proverbs 19:21

We all know that God has a special plan for our life and that we shouldn’t worry because our lives are in His hands. But really, if you are like me, you hear that, but you don’t really register it. You make up your own plans anyways. “When I graduate I am going to have this job and live here and do this and that is my plan and it is going to happen.” This verse humbles me and makes me realize that I can make up all these plans for my life, but a lot if it won’t even matter anyways. I am a planner, and I think it is okay to plan a little, to plan things you pretty much know God wants you to do. But for the large, magnificent plan for your life, leave that one to God. It is His plan that will win out anyways.

A person’s steps are directed by the LORD. How then can anyone understand their own way? – Proverbs 20:24

Going along with this theme of God has control of our lives, this verse serves as a reminder that we won’t be able to understand where we are going without God. If we are headed down a path that doesn’t lead us towards God, why are we heading there? Maybe it is the path we want to take, the path we think is best, but really, isn’t it God who knows best? If we aren’t headed down the path that God has led us down, I think our priority should be to get off that path and start the one God wants us to be on. It is never too late to turn back to God. I have had to do this many times in my life. It is easy to start following the path we desire to take, but we have to remember that it is God who should be directing our steps and our life. If we are taking our own path, we will eventually become confused and lost, and we will have no choice but to turn to God for guidance. Take the path God is leading you down. And don’t be afraid because He will be there with you throughout your whole journey.

Plans are established by seeking advice; so if you wage war, obtain guidance.
 – Proverbs 20:18

Life can kind of be a war in itself some times. So when we are going through a tough time, we should take some weapons: God and His word. I have gone into life battles before without these weapons, and it usually doesn’t turn out all that well. I found that we should not try to do anything by our own strength, but to seek guidance and counseling from the Lord. Since He ultimately knows our steps and our paths, we should ask him for advice before making any big decision.

The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the LORD.
 – Proverbs 21:31

His will, His way. All the glory and honor belongs to Him. That is why when we have success, we should give the glory to God. It is by his will and wisdom that we earned the success in the first place. God expects us to do the necessary preparations such as fill our minds and souls with His word and presence in order to be successful, but every good and perfect gift comes from God, not from our own strength. It is easy to give ourselves a little pat on the back whenever we accomplish something, but this verse helps us to remember that all the victory belongs to God. It is not by our own power, but by God’s power.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:5-6 

Often the hardest thing for me to do is just to trust in God. I struggle with trusting in God a lot, especially if He is leading me down a path I don’t necessarily want to go down. This verse gives a little more insight into what it means to trust. Trust means to not lean on your own knowledge and understanding, but to lean on God and have confidence that He is there. This verse is reassurance that God is there and He will make things work out for His glory. All we have to do is TRUST – easier said than done, but surely with His strength and power already within us, we can do it. 

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