Understanding the Book of Proverbs (Come, Follow Me: Proverbs)

VIDEO: Understanding the Book of Proverbs (Come, Follow Me: Proverbs)

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Understanding the Book of Proverbs (Come, Follow Me: Proverbs) – powered by Happy Scribe

Hello. I’m Lynn hilton Wilson back with the scripture central team to talk about Come, follow me. In the Old Testament, the book of Proverbs is absolutely beautiful. I’m thrilled we have a chance to talk about it. This wisdom literature, as you know, is part of the writing writings.

So in the Old Testament we have the law of Moses or the Torah, the first five books, and then the writings, and then the prophets. And inside the writings we have a portion of the wisdom literature. And of course with Solomon’s request to the Lord as a young king that he would be given the gift of wisdom, it becomes his sign. People know him by that and it becomes something that he wants to record. And so as he’s writing this how to develop Wisdom manual, he divides it into three portions.

The first portion, chapters one through nine, is a ten speeches, first with father and son, and then four poems on wisdom. And he’s a personified woman. It’s chapters one, three, eight and nine. So we’ll talk about that in my assignment today. The middle portion, which my colleagues will cover is chapters ten through 29.

And this is 100 ancient proverbs where you have two sentences, usually the opposite, usually an example of choice and accountability. Do this, don’t do this, here’s what the righteous will get, here’s what the wicked will get, things like that. And then it enos with these beautiful two, chapters 30 and 31 on a virtuous woman that the fear of the Lord life will go better. Let’s jump in to talk about more of what the wisdom literature entails. First of all, the word in Hebrew is very similar to the idea of a parable.

So we have dual meanings and multiple levels of meanings, but it’s actually quite preachy. Sermons or didactic or moralizing is saturating this text. There’s no storylines, it’s just a sermon, a Mormon a sermon. In addition to being a manual of conduct. People think that it probably started the time of Solomon about the 10th century and went clear down into the fifth or 6th century with either different editings or people adding in new ideas.

My assignment today is Proverbs three and four, and we begin with this call to the father and the son, my son. Hear ye children, the instructions of a father. This is a great one to read in family home evening. And of course, one of the first scriptures that I taught my kids to memorize was Proverbs three, five and six. And I have different translations here that emphasize different meanings we know best.

Trust in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not on thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths. But I also like the CEV. With all your heart you must trust the Lord and not your own judgment or in the NAB on your own intelligence. Do not rely the ISV, do not depend on your own understanding and the DRB have confidence in the Lord with all thy heart and lean not upon thy own prudence.

So interesting. Different little twist to it. In the ancient world, a heart referred to the inner man or the mind, the will, the heart or memory. So we usually equate things a little differently now. But this is good to know when we’re saying, lean not onto your own understanding, but trust the Lord with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your memory.

Remember the Lord. That’s what trust the Lord with all your heart means in the ancient Hebrew definitions of the world, let’s move ahead to verse seven. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil. This is such great advice.

It’s so hard to look outside of ourselves. But this is what our Savior gave the example to of in. Gethsemane not my will, but thine be done. And as servants of God, that’s the whole point. We are here to do it his way, on his timetable, under his conditions.

And of course, the word fear, we have to remember it refers a little more to have reverence for or respect and honor it’s to our God. And we do need to make sure that we remain humble and meek, and he is the one who receives all of our attention and we honor Him. The second half of verse seven continues on fear the Lord and depart from evil. It shall be health in thy navel and marrow in thy bones. There’s a lot of people who are very righteous who still do not have good health when I say these are just generalizations.

But I do appreciate the fact that this phrase held in the naval marrow in the bones is one that was repeated by our prophet Joseph and the words that the Lord revealed to him in section 89 of the Doctrine of Covenants. And we also hear them in our temple text. But here in section 89, verse 18, we read and all the saints who remember and keep and do these things walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health and naval marijuan bones. This is interesting to me. Our bodies and our spirits are combined.

And the Lord is saying, when we honor our God, it will have an effect on our bodies as well, which is also the blessing, of course, of the oath. And the covenant of the priesthood is that our bodies will be renewed. So this is great hope. Another phrase in these two verses both refer to keeping the commandments or departing from evil. And I know for myself that my body is affected if I am living up to the commandments of the covenants that I have agreed to live.

And it’s a blessing to my body and my spirit when I am obedient. I love the imagery of verse nine. Honor the Lord with thy substance and with the first fruits of all thine increase. In addition to thinking of this as the law of tithing, I like to think of it as the first hours of my morning. My first waking up should be falling on my knees before the Lord.

When my mind is the clearest, should be the time that I’m communicating with the Lord to spiritually outline my day, to do a scripture study, to spend time asking the Lord what he would like me to do and how I can better serve Him that day. We also honor Him with our means. And in the ancient world, the first fruits after a whole winter where you’ve been waiting for to get food are very precious to this hungry family who’s been needing vitamin C again. And yet they’re given to the Lord. They give their best to the Lord.

This is one reason why on the Sabbath we want to do our best for the Lord. Our increase is always given to Him in the law of consecration. Everything beyond what we need, what we have is for Him our time, talents and effort. Jumping down to verse ten, then your barns will be filled with plenty and your vats will overflow with new wine. This is the same promise that we receive if we pay our tithing.

It’s really not about money. Our offerings are about the conditions of our heart. It’s our testimony. It’s relying on God, it’s asking for blessings. In addition to calling our tides and offerings our life insurance or our fire insurance, I also think of them as the best thing we can do to help our families, to make sure that we always have enough.

Because the Lord has promised that he will provide for us. In verse twelve, we read my son despise not the chastening of the Lord. Neither be wary of correction for whom the Lord loves. The Lord correct us. Verse eleven and twelve are so important that we have that deep down inside.

And I don’t know how you feel the Lord’s corrections, but when I get them, I feel loved, I feel cherished. I always am motivated to do better. I try to start my prayers asking the Lord where I should change. And usually now I can feel the spirit when I know I’ve done something wrong. But it’s encouraging.

Okay, I’ll do it better next time. I’m so grateful for a loving chastening Lord. As we continue on to finish up verse three, we have our second of the four poems by Lady Wisdom. And I feel like wisdom takes on a new light in this personification. Now, in many ancient languages, many words are gender related.

So Wisdom happens to be female. So is other things, like a plate in a car. In other languages, it doesn’t really mean anything about the gender, it’s just that they’ve divided up and the languages have been organized that way. But Wisdom is different in the ancient world, it really does get this personification of this goddess kind of a figure, this great female idea of deity. And I don’t know if that’s necessarily good.

I’m always a little leery about that. Wisdom can also be translated with the word skill at least five times in King James it is Wisdom is also translated as wisely. And there are several other translations, but these are the ones that are used most often for this word. But the reason why I have a hard time with the personification is starting in verse 18. She, meaning wisdom is a tree of life to those who take hold of her.

Those who hold her fast will be blessed. Wisdom is a great gift and yes, she can become a tree that bears fruit, but the tree of life is our Savior, Jesus Christ. And wisdom is not the entirety of our Lord, it is one of his attributes. But I feel like they’re missing the point and maybe the tree of life can have many levels of understanding and that will be just fine. So it’s probably okay.

But it bothers me a little bit to think of a female deity or a wisdom as something that is also a symbol for our Savior. The same thing happens in verse 19. The Lord founded the Earth by wisdom and established the heavens by understanding. Well, of course it was through wisdom. But the power of God is the priesthood of God.

And God founded the earth through thousands and thousands of millennial, number of people in years. And I just feel we’re taking our Savior out of things. I want to give our Savior credit for this and not the other. Verse 25 and 26 I’ll skip down. Be not afraid of sudden fear, for the Lord shall be thy confidence.

Now that one I love. We’ve got the Lord returning as the center figure here. And when we have moments of anxiety or fear or depression, look to the Lord, get out of bed, get to work, do the Lord’s work and he will sustain you. He will bless you. Continuing on, this is a different translation, the BSB.

It’s one of my favorites. It’s a very literal translation. Do not withhold good from the deserving when it is within your power to act. Do not tell your neighbor, come back tomorrow and I’ll provide. When you already have the means.

When we receive a prompting, that’s the time to act. When we receive a nudge to go and help someone, that’s the time to do it. And sometimes the timing is part of the miracle and we need to act immediately. As we look at Proverbs chapter four, verse seven, we continue on wisdom is the principal thing or another translation wisdom is supreme. Or the NLT translation getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do.

Now this is a little bit offensive to me because the wisest thing you can do is to come unto Christ and to fall at his feet. And, yes, wisdom was a blessing. But perhaps Solomon became too proud and that’s why he fell. I don’t know why he fell. It says his wife led him astray.

But if we can build our foundation on our Savior, Jesus Christ, and have a rock on him, that is the principal theme. That is supreme. And that is the wisest thing we can do. And I leave this with you. In the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

You.

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