It is ironic when we realize how free we are when we are obedient to God. Contrary to what we believe, obeying God does not inhibit us, it frees us to be What God intended us to be. Psalm 119:45 says, I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. Obedience gives us freedom from guilt and gives God the ability to fulfill His plan for our lives.
When we turn our hearts toward God, we gain something far more valuable than earthly treasures, which is the eternal treasures God has promised us. Psalm 119:36 says, Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. When we align our hearts with God’s desires for our life, we may not gain what we think we want, but we will gain everything He ever intended for us, which is far more valuable.
Sadly, today is our last day in Proverbs. I think I will somehow try to make proverbs a bigger part of our reading next year. But for today, the passage that stood out to me was Proverbs 31:30, Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. This verse is a good reminder for us all, not just to women. As we age, the things we once thought were so important will no longer matter. The only things that truly matter are those of eternal consequence.
I have shared the following passage before, but it always gets my attention. Proverbs 30:8-9 says, 8 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. 9 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God. All I need in my life is God. This is true for me mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Everything else is a distraction.
We should always try to help others find their way. But there comes a time when all guidance and attempts at correction are ignored and we must simply let consequences take their toll. Proverbs 29:1 says, Whoever remains stiff-necked after many rebukes will suddenly be destroyed—without remedy. Unfortunately, there comes a time when there is nothing more we can do but give it back to God and trust Him.
When the Bible talks about fearing the Lord, it is not talking about a fear that overcomes us to hide and cower, it simply means to revere and honor Him. Proverbs 28:14 says, Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble. It is when we refuse to acknowledge God for who He truly is that we fall into trouble. God deserves our respect, recognition, and honor.
Sometimes foolish people are simply foolish and there is nothing we can do to help them. Proverbs 27:22 says, Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding him like grain with a pestle, you will not remove his folly from him. Ultimately only God can change someone’s heart, mind, and direction in life. The key is to be mindful of how much you personally invest in them. Continue to love people and help them, but do not allow yourself to be drawn into their vortex of drama and destruction.
It is easy to go back to the familiar no matter how bad it may be to stay in a bad situation. Whether it is a relationship, a job, or a community, it always seems easier to stay in the familiar than to go out and look for something new. Proverbs 26:22 says, As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly. Returning over and over to the same bad situation is not only foolish, but it also limits God from being able to show you what is really possible through Him.
We must always guard our hearts, minds, and emotions from evil. If we do not put up barriers, they will take over and cause us to fall. Proverbs 25:28 says, Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control. While self-control will limit us for sure, it is necessary because being out of control only leads to vulnerability to attack from the enemy. Self-control is our wall of defense and we should constantly strengthen and reinforce it.