Learning from God's Word (Proverbs 12-14)
12:1-14 - The Word of God shows us the way we are not to go as well as the way we are to go. We are told that ‘the root of the righteous stands firm’ (12). We are warned: ‘he who follows worthless pursuits has no sense’ (11). Do you have any sense? Here’s the most sensible thing you could ever do: Let ‘Christ dwell in your heart through faith’. Be ‘rooted and grounded in love… the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge’. Does it make any sense to live a life of emptiness - ‘worthless pursuits’ - when you can be filled with all the fullness of God’? What sense is there in living a life that amounts to nothing - ‘worthless pursuits’ - when you can have ‘His power at work within you’? There are two ways: the way of giving ‘glory to God’ and the way of ‘no sense’ (Ephesians 3:17-21). Only one ‘Way’ makes sense - Christ (John 14:6).
12:15-28 - What harm can be done by ‘reckless words’ (18). We need to take care how we speak. As those who belong to Christ, we have a special responsibility. We are to ‘witness’ for Him. We are to give our ‘testimony’, declaring what He has done for us. We are to speak of the ‘one thing’ that is more important than anything else - what the Lord has done for us: ‘I used to be blind, but now I can see’ (John 9:25). This is what the Lord has done for us - ‘He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light’ (1 Peter 2:9). There is a better way than the way of ‘lying lips’ (22). When the ‘lying tongue’ has no more to say for itself, there will be one confession of faith which will remain forevermore: ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’. This cofession brings ‘glory’ to ‘God the Father’. Let it be your confession of faith: ‘Jesus Christ is Lord’ (19; Philippians 2:11).
13:1-11 - ‘The light of the righteous rejoices’ (9). Jesus is our Light. He is ‘the Light of the world’. In Him we rejoice. Through Him, ‘we have now received reconciliation’. We are no longer walking in darkness. We are walking in the light with Him, giving thanks to God that ‘the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin’ (John 8:12; Romans 5:11; 1 John 1:7). What a wonderful thing God has done for us in Christ. He has ‘called us out of darkness into His marvellous light’. Let us ‘declare His praises’, rejoicing in His great love, His rich mercy and His saving grace (1 Peter 2:9; Ephesians 2:4-5). Keep on rejoicing! There is light at the end of the tunnel - even when you have ‘to suffer grief in all kinds of trials’. Don`t lose sight of ‘the goal of your faith’ - ‘the salvation of your souls’ (1 Peter 1:6-9).
13:12-25 - What do you do with the Word of God? How do you respond to the Word of God? What a difference there is between those who respect God’s Word and those who despise His Word. We have here a word of warning - ‘He who despises the Word brings destruction on himself’ and a word of promise - ‘he who respects the commandment will be rewarded’ (13). Those who keep on ignoring God’s Word are putting themselves in great danger - ‘He who is often reproved, yet stiffens his neck will suddenly be broken beyond healing’ (29:1). Those who take God’s Word seriously will find ‘great reward’ - God’s Word ‘revives the soul’, ‘makes wise the simple’, ‘rejoices the heart’ and ‘enlightens the eyes’. May your heart often meditate on His Word. May your mouth often speak His Word (Psalm 19:11,7-8,14).
14:1-19 - ‘A perverse man will be filled with the fruit of his ways, and a good man with the fruit of his deeds’ (14). Jesus speaks to us about ‘good fruit’ and ‘bad fruit’. He warns us not to be deceived by those who have no real love for Him: ‘You will know them by their fruits’ (Matthew 7:15-20). How does good fruit grow in the ‘tree’ of our lives? - ‘Blessed is the man... whose delight is in the law of the Lord... He is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season’ (Psalm 1:1-3). There is good fruit to be enjoyed when we take delight in the Word of the Lord. There is bad fruit to be thrown away. Let’s throw away the bad fruit - ‘...strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness...’ - and enjoy the good fruit - ‘love, joy, peace...’. Let ‘the fruit of the Spirit’grow in you - ‘be filled with the Spirit’ (Galatians 5:19-24; Ephesians 5:18).
14:20-35 - ‘Righteousness lifts up a nation, but sin is a disgrace in any society’ (34). Our nation can flourish again - by the preaching of God’s Word and the praising of God’s Name. Times of blessing can come again - if we will listen to God’s Word and sing His praise. Times of blessing will not come if we refuse to listen to the Lord, if we will not worship Him. We are living in difficult times - ‘dark powers are poised to flood our streets with hate and fear’. We must learn to see things as God sees them - ‘You stand appalled to see Your laws of love so scorned and lives so broken. Pray for mercy - ‘Have mercy, Lord’. Pray for revival - ‘Revive Your Church again’. Pray that Christ’s ‘glorious Cross shall tower triumphant in this land’. Pray that ‘righteousness’ will flow ‘like a never-failing stream’ (Mission Praise, 509).