We have been taught to shun evil since we were small children, both at home and at church, but what is this verse really saying to us? It’s not an easy verse to understand and put in context. It’s hard to see how behaving well will save us from being hungry. We may need a little expert interpretation for this confusing, yet meaningful, proverb. A proverb is a kernel of wisdom, and it is for us to see what lies within that kernel that is of meaning to each of us.
This is one of the proverbs of Solomon. For the Israelites, wisdom not only promoted a life of discipline and prudence, but it also enabled persons to unravel clever and mysterious sayings.
The heart is Israelite wisdom asserts that no one can begin to understand God’s ways and life’s mysteries apart from God’s revelation, as stated in Chapter 1, verse 7. All human attempts at wisdom ill ultimately fail.
The proverb we are considering today is the third of Solomon’s discourses. In it he says that wisdom is more than a matter of knowing rules of right and wrong; it is a matter of knowing God. Those who are wise trust in the Lord, rather in their own wisdom. They fear and honor Him and accept His discipline. The Lord, not just their awareness of certain principles, protects them.
It is this wisdom that we seek and this protection that will nourish and sustain us. May we, like the Israelites so long ago, trust in the wisdom of God rather than our own wisdom and know that, in all things, He will protect His own.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor.
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