Reflections on Proverbs 3

» Want long life, prosperity and success? (3:1-12)
Teacher to student: Do not forget my teachings ... bind kindness and truth (love and faithfulness in NIV) around your neck ... write them on your heart ... keep my commandments


(1) long life ... due to healing and refreshment to our physical body (3:8) ... good health??
(2) peace (prosperity in NIV)
(3) favour with God and man

Righteous people are prosperous and have long lives ... generally true but not a guarantee (c.f. 3:11-12; Psa 73:2,12; 2 Tim 3:12).

3:5-6 should not be used as an excuse for failure to plan (20:18) or non-action (14:23). Nor should they be used as a cliché!

Do not lean on your own understanding ... do not be wise in your own eyes ... instead acknowledge the LORD ... trust Him ... lean on His ways. Why do that? Because the LORD is wiser (far wiser) than me!! The LORD has perfect and complete knowledge; I don't! He knows the future; I don't!

Result: God will make your paths straight ... removing obstacles ... to reach your goal??

God's ways are contrary to the world. For example, in financial management ... give and it shall be given unto you (3:10 c.f. Mal 3:10 and Luke 6:38). We are challenged to trust in the LORD and follow His ways.

Want long life, prosperity and success but don't have!

Life is not one smooth path for the righteous; they do go through hard times e.g., the discipline of the LORD (c.f. Heb 12:11 ... all discipline are not joyful but sorrowful). Discipline from the LORD is evidence of God's love ... accept the discipline

» Blessed is the man (3:13-18)
Blessed is the man who finds wisdom.

When the righteous are not prosperous ... need to have the right perspective: what the righteous have (i.e., wisdom) is far more valuable than silver, fine gold or jewels ... they are blessed!

What wisdom has to offer ... long life in her right hand, riches and honour in her left.
Her ways are pleasant and prosperous.

She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her ... reminds me of Psa 1:1-3
1 How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.
Psa 1:1-3
Want to know how great wisdom is? Wisdom guided the LORD in the creation of the world (3:19-20)

Blessed are those who find her and hold on to her (3:18b c.f. 3:21 ... keep sound wisdom and discretion; don't let them leave you i.e., hold on to them!

No fear when trouble comes (3:25), you will walk securely (3:23, 26b) and you will sleep well (3:24) for the LORD is on our side (3:26a).

» How to win friends and how not to get rich (3:27-35)
Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due (i.e., the owners) ... 3:27-28 talking about the repayment of a debt. Owe money, pay money (O$P$) ... when it is in your power to do it ... do not delay!

Do not plot harm against your neighbour ... do not accuse falsely (3:29-30).

Do not envy a man of violence ... what's there to envy?
His riches?? Wealth accumulated by violence (c.f. 1:11-14)??
Do not choose any of his ways ... his violent ways to get rich??

The crooked man is an abomination to the LORD ... the LORD recoils from the crooked man.
The LORD is intimate with the upright ... the LORD draws near to the upright (3:32b).
The LORD blesses the dwelling of the righteous (3:33b).
The wise will inherit honour (3:35a).

The wise ≡ the upright ≡ the righteous
Wisdom always results in righteous behaviour (see conclusion drawn in Prov 2 ... "So what is wisdom?")

Going through difficult times? The LORD gives grace to the afflicted.

Alan's Gleanings | Copyright © October 2005 by Alan S.L. Wong

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