Proverbs 19 is one of those chapters that is written with a subliminal meaning whereby we must glean truths by “reading between the lines.” We must step outside the box to truly gather what Solomon is saying. The crux, a vital, decisive or pivotal point of this chapter lies in one word: knowledge. When I finally gleaned that point the meaning became crystal clear and also gave me the motivation to do what I need to do to be armed and ready for the battle before me…moment by moment and day by day.
As a wise teacher Solomon grabbed my attention with the usage of contrasts through the pictures of the fool, the poor, the sluggard and the scorner. How all of these pictures were intertwined was for me to unravel. Through vivid imagery, as I sat in the front row of this theatrical production I was a witness to how each faces life’s circumstances based upon their choices. It became so real as I watched my granddaughter in her latest play and how she reacted. It was surreal! This chapter was the same! It was surreal.
In addition I was not left wondering what happens but I vividly could see the results of these choices that I might learn wisdom and why Solomon keeps harping. Yes, Solomon has a way of doing that, chapter after chapter after chapter. It all boils down to this: get wisdom/get knowledge. Proverbs: 1:5 “(Let the wise also hear and gain instruction, and let the discerning acquire guidance!)”
The verse in Peter stands as my benchmark. The “lion in the road” is the enemy of my soul. He has one thing on his agenda: deceive and destroy. If he can keep me ignorant or without wisdom he has mastered the first step into leading me down the garden path to the gate that leads only to one destination: outside the will of God. He seeks avenues where you and I are vulnerable and unprotected. We must beware of his ways! If we want to know how to face adversity, wealth/luxury, relationships [public and private] then we need to pick up our shovels and dig into wisdom from the Word. 2Tim 3:16 Every scripture is inspired by God and useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness.”
We who are believers have the indwelling Holy Spirit as our teacher so we are truly without excuse to say “I didn’t know!” God’s Word is our blueprint for building lives that will honor Him as well as provide for us blessings here on earth. Therefore, take heed from this chapter the consequences of a lack of God’s most basic instructions. Some thoughts I gleaned:
- If we choose to walk in paths that do not include integrity as well as revealing that we are a teller of lies we are not only our own worst enemy but it leads to poverty of mind and spirit.
- If we make poor choices it may be because we have a zeal to do but lack knowledge of the how.
- If we choose to shirk knowledge it leads to folly and really, if truth be known, it is because we think we know better than God.
- Both wealth and poverty have their own reward…one with temporary friends (think of Adonijah IKings 1:49 and Naboth 1Kings21:1) and one left bereft of even family members to help in times of need (think of Joseph).
- If we choose to break one of the Ten Commandments such as Honor thy Father and Mother, who are we to blame? Not God!
Thus Solomon is saying that the result of many of life’s choices falls into my own laps. I am ultimately responsible because I have disregarded the most basic tenet which is to fear the Lord.
The bottom line is that if you and I want God to guide us, bless us and make us fruitful for Him it begins with the fear of the Lord. Solomon ends his lengthy description with these cryptic words: If you stop listening to instruction, my child, you will stray from the words of knowledge.
Thus this is where I need to begin. Isa 55:6 Seek the Lord while he makes himself available; call to him while he is nearby!