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1st June

Proverbs 4-6; Psalm 147

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
1st June

Proverbs 4-6; Psalm 147

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Proverbs we’ve started the introductory speeches from a father to his son. We learnt that wisdom is to be practised and that these are not promises or laws. They are principles for living out righteousness and justice. The father started out by warning his son to avoid following those who are wicked. Instead, he should chase after Lady Wisdom, the embodiment of wisdom. Lady Wisdom calls out to all to listen to her, but the foolish ignore.

The father explained the value of wisdom and how it only comes from God. It comes when we put our trust in God and not ourselves. And it also comes as part of righteousness. They’re a package deal. If you’re not living righteously, you’re not listening to wisdom.

Proverbs 4-6

The father teaches his son how wisdom is a lifelong journey. Just as his father taught him about wisdom, and he has spent his life putting these teachings into practice, he now teaches his son in the hope that his son will do the same. Chase after wisdom. Make her a key part of your life and she will lead you well. Then, having sought wisdom, choose to follow her ways. Follow her paths, not the paths of the wicked.

The wicked are constantly choosing evil and end up stumbling around in darkness. Instead, you should choose wisdom so that you might live in light. In order to choose to live rightly, make sure you concentrate and focus on wisdom. You are to be attentive to the words of wisdom. Incline your ear to them. Keep them in your heart. Ponder them. So that they might guide your feet.

We've already looked at Lady Wisdom, and she will keep coming up in the speech from a father to his son. But to contrast Lady Wisdom, the father also talks about the adulteress. A woman that will lead you down the way of wickedness, not wisdom. It's worth being clear, women are not more likely to tempt than men. This father chose women to be the ones to embody these two paths, wisdom and wickedness, because he is talking to his son. But this isn't meant to be a commentary on women. It's a commentary on how wisdom and wickedness can lead you down two very different paths.

While the words of Lady Wisdom are more precious than gold or jewels, the words of the adulteress are like honey initially, but then bitter in your stomach. She does not lead towards life, but towards death. The father encourages his son to choose integrity in this area. Because the cost of pursuing the adulteress is your honour. This way of life robs you of your honour and your strength. Your life will be filled with regret; regret that you hated it when people challenged you and regret that you never listened to their advice.

Instead, the son should choose integrity. He should stick to the things that are his and not chase after what belongs to others. The father narrows in explicitly in the area of marriage. He encourages his son to enjoy his wife. It is a good thing to be delighted in one another. Why would he choose to pursue a toxic relationship with another man's wife when he has something so incredible at home? God sees everyone's actions. The wicked are trapped and enslaved by their choices. They perish because they didn't listen to good advice.

The father then turns to very practical matters, giving a series of short bits of advice on different topics. He encourages his son to avoid debt. If he is already in debt, he needs to do whatever he can to get out of it. He should flee from debt like a gazelle fleeing from a hunter.

The son should avoid being lazy. Ants are constantly working and providing for the nest. But lazy people will end up poor and empty. Avoid corrupt speech that is intended to deceive people. Be clear with what you want to say, so you don't cause trouble or add to confusion. We then get a list of things that God hates, that include pride, lying, and oppressing others.

But by far the largest segment in these practical tips is adultery. The father keeps coming back to this point because it is so destructive. He encourages his son to listen to his words, and the words of his mother. To bind them to his heart so that they will be a light to guide him. Do not let yourself be enticed by the temptation of adultery. It would be like playing with fire. You're only going to get burnt. A thief may be pitied if he is trying to steal to provide food for himself, but no one is going to feel bad for someone who commits adultery. That behaviour only produces jealousy and anger in others that you would do such a thing, and so you sentence yourself to a life of disgrace and dishonour.

Psalm 147

This psalm isn't attributed to anyone in particular and falls into the category of praise psalm. These final five psalms (Psalm 146-150) serves as a doxology for the whole book of psalms. They praise God as king and speak his authority over all things.

Psalm 147:1-6 - Praise the Lord of Jerusalem

Psalm 147:7-11 - The Lord of creation provides

Psalm 147:12-14 - Praise the Lord of Jerusalem

Psalm 147:15-20 - The Lord of creation provides

The psalmist starts with a call to praise the Lord. He is the Lord that builds up Jerusalem. While this focuses on the city itself, the city represents the people. Jerusalem is the capital of the Israelites, and the idea is that when it flourishes, they flourish. And so the Lord builds up Jerusalem and in doing so he gathers the outcasts of Isreal and he heals the brokenhearted. He is the Lord of the universe, creating all the stars and knowing each of their names. His power and understanding are more than we can fathom. And despite that, he stills cares about those who are downtrodden.

The psalm then switches to how the Lord provides for his people as Lord over creation. He provides the clouds which rain and cause things to grow. He provides food for all animals, even the small ones, like young ravens. But he doesn’t care about appearance or ability. What he cares about and delights in is those who put their trust in him.

And then we’re back to Jerusalem. The psalmist praises the Lord for strengthening the gates of Jerusalem and blessing those within. This city he has built with its wall serves as a place of peace for its people. He provides the city with all the resources it needs. Then we’re back to creation again. He is the God who brings the snow and hail. He provides wind and flowing water. And as Lord of all creation, he committed himself to the Israelites that they would be his people.

This psalm ties together the Lord as Lord over creation and Lord over Jerusalem. Jerusalem is where his temple is and therefore where his presence is. The point is that because the Lord protected Jerusalem and dwells, the Israelites are a people who have access to God. Now, we have access to him through Jesus and we too can praise him for being Lord over creation and for his provision for us as we draw close to him.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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