Learning from God's Word (Proverbs 19-22)
19:1-29 - ‘The fear of the Lord leads to life’ (23). ‘The friendship of the Lord is for those who fear Him’ (Psalm 25:14). What a strange combination - friendship and fear! We ask, ‘How can there be friendship where there is fear?’. Here, we have a special kind of friendship - ‘the friendship of the Lord’ - and a special kind of fear - ‘the fear of the Lord’. Why is this friendship and fear so special? It’s because the Lord is special! He is the God of perfect holiness - ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty’. We must come before Him in ‘the fear of the Lord’ - ‘Woe is me! I am undone; I am a man of unclean lips...’. He is the God of perfect love. He calls us into friendship with Himself - ‘Your guilt is taken away and your sin forgiven’ (Isaiah 6:3,5,7). We rejoice in ‘the friendship of the Lord’. Let us respect Him with ‘the fear of the Lord’.
20:1-30 - ‘Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler; whoever is led astray by it is not wise’ (1). We need to learn the truth of these words - before it’s too late! There is a better way than the way of drunkenness. It is the way of being filled with the Holy Spirit: ‘Don’t get drunk on wine, which leads to wild living. Instead, be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18). We must not ‘live according to the flesh’. God calls us to ‘live according to the Spirit’. He warns us against making the wrong choice: ‘To set the mind on the flesh is death’. He shows us the way of blessing: ‘To set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace’. ‘Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth’. May God help us to turn from ‘the works of the flesh’ and seek ‘the fruit of the Spirit’ (Romans 8:5-6; Colossians 3:2; Galatians 5:19-23).
21:1-31 - ‘The victory belongs to the Lord’ (31). When defeat seems inevitable, God comes to us with His Word of encouragement: ‘The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save, a Warrior who gives victory. He will take great delight in you. He will renew you in His love. He will rejoice over you with singing’ (Zephaniah 3:17). God’s Word shows us the way of victory. It is the way of faith in our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: ‘This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?’ (1 John 5:4). God ‘gives victory’ to us. We must receive His victory by ‘faith’. Living for Christ is never easy - ‘In this world you will have trouble’. Don’t let this get you down. Jesus says, ‘Be of good cheer. I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).
22:1-29 - ‘So that your trust may be in the Lord, I teach you today, even you’ (19). Many people say, ‘It’s not for me’. They know that others have been greatly blessed through reading God’s Word. Still, they do not take the trouble to read God’s Word for themselves. They can’t be bothered. Receiving God’s blessing doesn’t really matter that much to them. Don’t miss out on God’s blessing. God’s Word is for ‘you’. It’s not just for somebody else. It’s for you - ‘even you’. Some people say, ‘I’ll read God’s Word tomorrow’. When ‘tomorrow’ comes around, they’re still saying the same thing - ‘I’ll read God’s Word tomorrow’! Sadly, their ‘tomorrow’ never comes. They never get round to reading God’s Word. They’re missing out on so much. Don’t say, ‘I’ll leave it till tomorrow’. Read God’s Word ‘today’.