Skip to main content
7th June

Proverbs 22-24; Psalm 3

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
7th June

Proverbs 22-24; Psalm 3

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Proverbs, we’ve read through the introductory speeches from a father to his son and started the wisdom one liners. We learnt that wisdom is to be practised and that these aren't 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. Wisdom should be a lifelong journey. It doesn’t happen overnight.

The father then brought a second character, the adulteress. While pursuing Lady Wisdom leads to righteousness and life, pursuing the adulteress will destroy your life. This wasn’t meant to serve on a commentary on women. It’s a father using the idea of a good woman and a bad woman to teach his son wise principles. The ways of the adulteress seem attractive to begin with, but they soon lead to destruction. Instead, the son should hold to integrity and right living. The father also offered some practical advice. From handling debt, to working hard, to keeping your talk honest.

Again the father warned about the temptings of the adulteress, the life that looks good but quickly destroys. He explained that she uses all sorts of tricks to distract you from thinking so she can lure you in. In order to protect yourself from this, you need to guard your thoughts from being clouded, not stray too close to temptation, and look beyond the immediate promises of pleasure to the consequences of these actions. In contrast, Lady Wisdom is an open feast where all are invited and should be encouraged to join. As long as you fear God and put your trust in him and his wisdom, then you will be blessed. All of this then becomes the lens through which the wisdom sayings are looking through.

Proverbs 22-24

As we’ve mentioned so far, because the proverbs aren’t passages you study, but passages you soak yourselves in, I’m not unpacking what they mean. Instead, I’m modelling what applying the proverbs to your life could look like. Try to find a handful of proverbs that jump out to you in today’s reading. Here are some that jump out to me.

One of the wisdom sayings focuses on those who are social climbers, who want to improve the standing in society and who want to 'sit down and eat with rulers' (Proverbs 23:1). The first point is to recognise that if you want to play this game, you need to be sensitive to the situation. Be as weary as though there was a knife to your throat. When you play the game of social climbing, you need to recognise that everyone else is also playing and that they are judging your every move and are subtly making their own. You can’t necessarily trust what they say or do.

While playing this game, do not set your eyes on getting rich, because wealth can go as quickly as it comes. Be weary of those who are stingy, because whatever you take from them, they will expect favours from you in return. In short, the writer is purposely painting a dim picture of this kind of living to say, it's better to not play this game at all. Don't try to socially climb.

The verse before this section is "Do you see a man skilful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men." (Proverbs 22:29) and in previous chapters we have read "A man’s gift makes room for him and brings him before the great." (Proverbs 18:16). If you are meant to move in those circles, then let your God-given skills and ability take you there. Don't strive for it yourself, because you will quickly find yourself trapped by people who can play the game better.

A little later, we get a section dedicated to drink (Proverbs 23:29-35). It starts by pointing out that those who drink heavily often find themselves full of sorrow and complaining. Yes, the drink may go down smoothly, but it is like the poison of a snake inside you. It affects how you view the world and it makes it easier to stir up wicked things in your heart. For those who are trying to pursue wisdom, excessive alcohol is not helpful.

Then there is a section on being honest and speaking truth (Proverbs 24:23-26). Too often we see friends doing wicked or stupid things and feel like the loving thing to do is to just support them. "You are in the right". But this doesn't help them. If I was doing something stupid, and I couldn't see it, but you could, and you never told me, then I would curse your silence. We are all the better when we are honest with each other and allow one another to speak the truth that we cannot see.

This is why it says, "Whoever gives an honest answer kisses the lips" (Proverbs 24:26). This is best done with people you already have a relationship with. If you don't have that relationship, people don't know you care enough to listen to what you say. Just like I don't want a stranger coming up and kissing me, I don't want someone I don't know too well to point out all my mistakes. I want those who are close to me to do it because I know they're doing it with a right heart.

Then at the end of this section, we get some sayings on being lazy or slow to work (Proverbs 24:30-34). The lazy person is likened to a farmer in his fields struggling against the weeds. Life is constantly throwing new problems at you. If you're not proactive at dealing with them, those problems are going to start to overwhelm you, like a farm fighting against a whole field of wields. It can be tempting at times to think, oh, I'll just relax. There's no rush. But then poverty and problems will sneak up on you and overwhelm you.

Just like with all proverbs, this needs to be taken with balance. If you’re someone that is more likely to relax and not get things done, then you need to listen to this. If you're someone who works hard, is a perfectionist or a workaholic, then you may listen to this and justify working even harder, when really you need to learn to rest. This is why we need the Holy Spirit to guide us when we read these proverbs. What might be helpful to one person might actually be harmful to someone in a different situation.

Psalm 3

This psalm is attributed to king David when he had to flee from his son Absalom (2 Samuel 15-19). This idea is that either David wrote this psalm, or someone else wrote it as they were meditating on this story. A poem, working through the emotions David must have been feeling at the time. 

The psalm is categorised as a lament psalm, which make up over a third of all psalms. Biblical lament is whenever a person takes their pains, hurts, and frustrations before God. It tends to include four steps; turning to God, bringing the complaint, making a request of God, and then declaring trust in God. We see this in the structure of Psalm 3.

Psalm 3:1-2 - The complaint

Psalm 3:3 - Declaring trust in God

Psalm 3:4-5 - Remembering what he has done before

Psalm 3:6 - Declaring trust in God

Psalm 3:7 - Asking God to rescue them and defeat their enemies

Psalm 3:8 - Declaring trust in God

This psalm was typically sung in the morning. It opens with a reminder that sometimes it seems like we are surrounded by opposition. Opposition that is declaring there is no hope for us. The response to this is to declare the truth of who God is. We can support this by reminding ourselves of his goodness to us in the past. We do not need to be afraid, because God has answered us and sustained us in the past and he will do it again.

The psalmist invites God into this pain and struggle. To rescue them and strike down this opposition. Finally, the psalmist ends, challenging the lies their enemies had spoken over them. In Psalm 3:2, the opponents declared there is no salvation for them, but in Psalm 3:8 they respond that ‘salvation belongs to the Lord’.

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.

Share this article