chastening-of-the-lordAs we return to Proverbs 3 we are in the midst of a series of proverbs that give us a portrait of a spiritually minded man (Proverbs 3:11-26).  In previous devotions we have noted two of three characteristics of this man of godly wisdom.

The first, a spiritually minded man accepts with humility and a right heart attitude the chastening of the Lord (3:11-12).

Proverbs 3:11-12 “My son, despise not [do not reject; refuse] the chastening [instruction; correction; discipline] of the LORD [Self-existent, Eternal God]; neither be weary [abhor; loathe] of His correction [reproof; rebuke; punishment]: 12 For whom the LORD loveth He correcteth [reproves; chastens]; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth [accepts; favors; pleased].”

The second, a spiritually minded man pursues, values and enjoys the reward of godly wisdom (3:13-18).

Proverbs 3:13“Happy [blessed] is the man that findeth wisdom [experienced, skilled in the application of knowledge and truth], and the man that getteth understanding [discretion; discernment drawn from God’s Word and experience]. 14 For the merchandise [profit] of it [wisdom] is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain [increase; gain] thereof than fine gold. 15 She [wisdom] is more precious [excellent; honorable] than rubies [could also mean “pearl”]: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her [wisdom]. Trust in the Lord16 Length [long] of days is in her [wisdom’s] right hand [stronger, more important hand]; and in her left hand [considered the weaker, less rewarding] riches [material blessings] and honour [glory; reputation]. 17  Her [Wisdom’s] ways [journey; path] are ways of pleasantness [delight; sweet and pleasant to the soul], and all her paths are peace [well-being; prosperity]. 18  She is a tree of life [i.e. fruit-bearing tree] to them that lay hold [fasten upon; be strong] upon her: and happy [blessed; satisfied] is every one that retaineth her [follow close upon; lay hold of Wisdom].”

The third characteristic of a spiritually minded man is he enjoys the confidence and security of trusting and resting in God’s promises and benevolent care of His people (3:21-26).

1) He is a man of integrity and walks circumspectly [discreetly; thoughtfully and soberly] before the Lord in the way of godly wisdom (3:21-23).

IntegrityProverbs 3:21-23“My son, let not them [vs. 13 – wisdom and understanding] depart from thine eyes [don’t depart from the way of wisdom and understanding]: keep [preserve; guard; obey] sound wisdom [judgment] and discretion [purpose]: 22 So shall they [vs. 13 – wisdom and understanding] be life [good and prosperous life] unto thy soul [breath; life; heart], and grace [favor; pleasantness] to thy neck. 23 Then shalt thou walk [travel; journey] in thy way [life journey] safely [confidence; hope; security], and thy foot [walking; journey] shall not stumble [struck down].”

2) Like David who found peace in “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psalm 23:4) and quietness “in the presence of His enemies” (Psalm 23:5), the spiritually minded man follows the path of godly wisdom confident and at peace in the Lord (3:24).

Proverbs 3:24 – “When thou liest down [sleep; rest], thou shalt not be afraid [tremble in fear]: yea, thou shalt lie down [sleep; rest], and thy sleep shall be sweet [pleasant; pleasing].The Lord is My Shepherd

3) Unlike those anxious souls who take flight in the day of God’s judgment, the spiritually minded man takes solace in the providential care of God’s justice (3:26; Romans 8:28).

Proverbs 3:25“Be not afraid [frighten; tremble in fear] of sudden fear [terror; dread], neither of the desolation [destruction; rushing storm] of the wicked [ungodly], when it cometh [i.e. rushing storm of the wicked].”

4) When troubles and trials seem to assail him on every side, the spiritually minded man takes refuge in the love and benevolent promises of the Lord Who is Almighty, Omniscient and Omnipresent (3:26).

Proverbs 3:26“For the LORD [Self-existent, Eternal God] shall be thy confidence [hope; trust], and shall keep [guard; watch; preserve] thy foot [walking; journey] from being taken [captured; seized].”

My friend, we live in the midst of a sin-cursed world and will face adversaries, troubles and trials.  Our challenge is to determine how we will respond when we face those who would hurt and maim us.  Will we turn to fear and flight or to the Lord?

What time I am afraidI close with the prayer of David when he found himself surrounded by his enemies:

Psalm 56:1-4 “Be merciful unto me, O God: for man would swallow me up; he fighting daily oppresseth me. 2  Mine enemies would daily swallow me up: for they be many that fight against me, O thou most High. 3  What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. 4  In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me.”