WORDS of PRACTICAL WISDOM for DAILY LIVING: "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." (Prov 24:3-4)
Today’s readings from Proverbs 22-24 provides us practical words of wisdom not only from King Solomon, but also words of other wise men other than Solomon (22:17-24:22) and more words of the wise (24:23-34).
We need to understand that knowledge is nothing more than an accumulation of raw facts, but wisdom is the ability to see people, events, and situations as God sees them. In the Book of Proverbs, it is wisdom that takes center stage—a grand, divine wisdom that transcends the whole of history, peoples, and cultures. Solomon and other wise men reveal the mind of God in matters high and lofty and in common, ordinary, everyday situations, too.
The recurring promise of the Book of Proverbs is that those who choose wisdom and follow God will be blessed in numerous ways: with long life (9:11); prosperity (2:20-22); joy (3:13-18); and the goodness of God (12:21). Here are a few practical words of wisdom for daily living that we can glean from Proverbs 22-24:
- We need to choose a good name and loving favor (from God) over accumulating wealth (22:1). In our modern, pleasure-seeking culture, character and reputation have a way of being ignored by everyone. True value must be seen, however, not in what one has but in what he or she truly is. A good name is an asset whose currency is unaffected by the boom or bust of the material world. In fact, as per Eccl 7:1, a “good name is better than precious ointment”.
- If we excel in our work, we will stand before leaders (22:29). We need to be hardworking and diligent in our work, and the natural consequence is that "the hand of the diligent makes rich" (10:4) and "the plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty" (21:5). This will definitely increase our standing in life and we will keep company with leaders.
- We should not withhold in giving timely correction to our children (23:13-14). We need to maintain strong discipline in the home, and ‘train’ up our children in godly ways (22:6). While there is little danger that the use of the "divine ordinance of the rod" will produce bodily harm, there is great hope of spiritual good.
- We should not associate with those who are given to change (24:21). We need to avoid the company of restless people who are unstable in their convictions and are fickle-minded.
- We should not be lazy but always work hard (24:30-34). Verses 30 & 31 give us a striking picture of the effects of laziness. We need to learn wisdom from the folly of the lazy person. "How long will you slumber, O sluggard? When will you rise from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep -- so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler, and your need like an armed man." (Prov 6:9-11)