I love old sayings and adages. Told to us in childhood, they tend to stick and sometimes we mistakenly think they are scripture. My mom used to say, “oh what a web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” I think my mom was the most honest person I’ve ever known. She just did not have an ounce of fraud in her. Until I grew older and had kids of my own did I realize what a true gift that was in a relationship. Integrity was the foundation for everything she did and that gave us a compass to live by. Another saying she often said was “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” We lived in a city but to me that meant things can change so rely on things that are certain. Then there’s “the early bird gets the worm.” One day I woke up and thought, first off, I don’t want a worm and secondly, I want to sleep in! Then I became a mom…. Little birds need worms. When we started getting up at 5:00 AM that wisdom made a lot of sense. Now in my older years I’m starting to understand the mama wisdom she passed on. Oh, for one more day to be able to thank her for all of her “wisdom”.
The book of Proverbs is also called the “writings”. Many are written by Solomon, some by another author. There are 30 of these wise sayings that give us moral lines to live by. As a teenager someone told me that if I read one per day that would equal an entire month and when I grew up I would have a system of integrity built into my mind. Year after year I’ve read the Proverbs and I haven’t memorized many of them but every once in a while, when I get in a sticky situation one or two will pop up. Here are a few that I’m especially fond of:
Prov. 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
When you are a child or even a teen that doesn’t make much sense but now looking back at some of the paths I’ve seen people take– it shouts with wisdom. Rather than following God on a trajectory to Heaven, sin can distract, detain and even end a life of promise and blessing. I see tragedies like this every day. Straight paths are a blessing and a life centered on God, even though it has bumps and twists in the road glorifies God. The pathway is paved with blessings and favor, despite difficulties.
Sometimes we think we are doing “wise” things but they aren’t Biblical, just human reasoning. I think of good old family advice too. Once I saw my grandmother making Thanksgiving turkey. She took the bird to the sink and poured in a cup of coffee. When I got older I used the “secret recipe” and added coffee making the flavor of my bird robust. Proudly I shared with grandma that I was following in her tradition and wanted to thank her for passing it on. Grandma was horrified. Grandma had never done that before. Then she realized one year she poured her coffee down the sink only to realize that the sink was empty but holding the thanksgiving bird that was cooling off! We have a tradition but instead of it being my grandmas secret it is now my secret and mistake. Lol. Other families pass down their “traditions” of holidays, perhaps driving while intoxicated, family fights or feuds. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish what is common sense, what is Biblical and what is absolute nonsense. That’s where Proverbs can help us. Chapter One tells us what they are for and their importance and yet many live day to day without ever getting the gold stored therein:
The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
2 for gaining wisdom and instruction;
for understanding words of insight;
3 for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4 for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5 let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
6 for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I’m no longer a teen… but I still needs God’s wisdom and guidance. The more I branch out to seek God’s will and direction, the more these Proverbs will help by bringing understanding.
Lord, open our hearts, minds and spirits to gain Your wisdom and to walk in Your ways. We need Your mind on matters more than ever before. Lead us by Your Spirit, Your word and these Proverbs we pray.