The third chapter of proverbs is one of my favorites in the bible.It is replete with words about favor.. with admonitions about wisdom (which I have earlier addressed).. with instruction concerning heart faith and a few words about discipline and giving.
Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. (v3-4)
Love and faithfulness are the hallmarks of healthy relationships.. it is really hard to have one without the other. Interesting how favor and success are related.. both on a human and divine level.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (v5)
One of the most important verses about faith and trust in the scriptures. I lived most of my Christian life leaning on my own understanding and really deceived about what faith looked like. Faith and trust are heart issues - our head usually just gets in the way because it wants to lead our heart.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (v6)
Interesting use of "all".. we error when we acknowledge him in "some" of our ways.. and wind up with crooked paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. (v7-8)
There does seems to be a therapeutic effect to humility.
Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine. (v9-10)
I love the word "honor" in this verse.. it is a challenging one isn't it? So easy to tithe a tenth and not really honor God with the rest.. wonder if sometimes we do not honer Him with the tithe?
My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. (v11-12)
A lot of bad theology out there about this verse. Suffice to say that evil and sickness are not instruments of his discipline. Sometimes the hardest thing a parent can do is to let their child learn from their mistakes.
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. (v27)
If one ever needed wisdom it would be around the performance of this verse. I think that the key to that wisdom is the word "due". Many times we are not discerning about our giving and fritter it away to those who are "due" it.
If you liked this post then please click here to catch some of my other ponderings on the book of Proverbs.