Note from the author of HeartofAShepherd.com: I greet this 1st day of January 2015 rejoicing in God’s grace that He has blessed me with the joy of ringing in a New Year with my loved ones. The passing of time and loved ones has underscored for me what I know all too well—this earthly life is fleeting and too precious to waste in foolish pursuits.
The setting of “New Year’s Resolutions” is frowned upon by the undisciplined as an example of setting oneself up for failure; however, a majority of Americans (estimates as high as 62%) resolve and pursue personal goals for the year ahead. An incentive for setting worthwhile goals is that you are ten times (10x) more likely to attain your goals than someone who does not make resolutions.
Given that statistic, I challenge you to ponder and consider some spiritual resolutions for your life and family.
- Resolve to be a daily student of God’s Word (Psalm 1:2; 119:11, 15-16)
- Resolve to live a life that is holy and consecrated to God (Hebrews 10:19-22)
- Resolve to be faithful and unwavering in your faith and walk with God (Hebrews 10:23)
- Resolve to love and serve others (Hebrews 10:24)
- Resolve to make congregational worship a weekly priority (Hebrews 10:25)
Today’s devotional in Proverbs is the preamble of the book, Proverbs 1:1-4.
Proverbs 1:1-4 – “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; 2 To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; 3 To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; 4 To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion.”
Solomon expresses a five-fold goal for conveying his proverbs in writing.
1) “To know wisdom…” (1:2) – Wisdom carries a greater meaning than mere knowledge. A man can be intellectually brilliant, but lack wisdom. Wisdom implies the “skillful [right] use of knowledge”.
2) “To know … instruction” (1:2) – Biblical instruction implies both “reproof” and “chastisement” (discipline). The word translated “instruction” in Proverbs 1:2 is translated “chasten” in Proverbs 13:24 – “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” By application, the primary purpose for a parent to chasten a child is instructive, not punitive.
3) “…to perceive [discern] the words of understanding” (1:2) – An appropriate application of this goal is that of imparting what we might call “common sense” (a sense that is not so common in our day).
4) “To receive [accept] the instruction of wisdom [disciplined instruction], justice [discerning between right and wrong], and judgment, and equity [integrity, justice… determining what is right and fair]” (1:3)
To acquire wisdom, one must have a right attitude toward discipline and instruction (1:3). Sociologist and pragmatist might question whom or what determines right or wrong; however, God the creator has weighed in on that debate with His Law and Commandments [“for by the law is the knowledge of sin” – Romans 3:20].
Finally, the fifth goal cited by Solomon for imparting his proverbs is given in verse 4.
5) “To give subtilty [discernment] to the simple [silly; foolish], to the young man knowledge and discretion.” (1:4)
Remember, the primary object of Solomon’s proverbs was the instruction of his son who would be king. An oriental king was the supreme judge in judicial matters and there was no court of appeal after a king had passed judgment. It was critical that Solomon’s son have an ability to discern between good and evil; to know what to say and what not to say; to know when to be silent and when to speak.
You and I are blessed to have the proverbs of Solomon for our instruction and meditations.
Copyright 2015 – Travis D. Smith