I was just reading Proverbs 24. Here are a few points I learned:
1. God values wisdom and expects us to value wisdom, too.
“My son, eat honey, for it is good, and the drippings of the honeycomb are sweet to your taste.
Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 24:13-14 (ESV)
Throughout the whole book of Proverbs is about wisdom, and at certain points the fear of the LORD and things like that are linked to wisdom. Sometimes we think wisdom is just head knowledge and that God is not interested in us getting smarter about the world, the Bible, and everything else in life. Not true. In 2 Peter 1:5, the Scripture specifically commands us to add to our faith in Jesus, knowledge. It’s like this: let’s say you’re an idiot (or as the Bible puts it, a “fool”); then you will hurt those around you, fail to protect and help others in the world, and you won’t live a life that shows how great God is – largely because you haven’t a clue about any of that. So let’s not be jerks like that who are lazy in gaining wisdom and who don’t care about anybody else.
2. God wants us to actively protect those who need help and do what we can to correct those who are evil or enslaved to sin.
“Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.” – Proverbs 24:11 (ESV)
God commands us there to actually STEP OUT and rescue those who are being taken away to death, and to hold back those who are stumbling towards their own doom. That includes defending the needy and helpless, such as: homeless people in Canada, orphans in Asia, the starving and diseased in Africa, etc. It also includes seeking to correct those who are living in sin (e.g. false teachers, self-centered people, etc.) and pointing those who don’t know Jesus towards Him (by sharing the Gospel message in whatever way you can).
3. Don’t enjoy the downfall of your enemies.
“Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles,
lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” – Proverbs 24:11 (ESV)
Especially in light of Jesus sermon on the mount (Matt 5, especially vv. 43-48), we know that we are to actually LOVE our enemies. Why? Just because Jesus said so? No. It’s because God loves everyone and causes the rain to fall even on the wicked (that’s a good thing in a dry environment such as the Middle East). This is at least in part because God created each of us in His image, and thus we are valuable and lovely at a basic, fundamental level. Not pure, but still valuable. This is why I think a KEY way to see whether you’re the kind of person who is able to love his/her enemies is to ask yourself this question: do I genuinely love or care about strangers? If you only love people who give you good reasons to love them, then what’s the difference between you and someone who has never encountered Jesus? (I just realized that those points I just raised are all found in vv. 43-48)
Anyways, I think the summary of points #1-3 is that God doesn’t want us to be content to sit at where we are spiritually. He wants us to seek out wisdom – to seek Him out – in such a way that it transforms how we live life and love God and love others. And so if we aren’t quite there yet, that’s why we need to throw ourselves at His feet and be like, “that’s why I need you. Please change me for the better and for your name’s sake.”
From the Sermon on the Mount – Matthew 5:43-48
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (ESV)
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